Thursday, October 27, 2016

Week 10: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


Battling against the odds, my plucky squad have climbed to second in the table. I said last week I would need 130+ points to win against @cjradune, and thankfully a Pedro goal and assist pulled my team over 150 points, and when Sturridge failed to take the field for C.J., I knew I was within touching distance of the win come Sunday. A positive from last weekend was that all of my nine players posted double figure scores.

A glance at the table this week and you would be forgiven for thinking that as I’m facing second from bottom @FantasyYIRMA, I should be favoured to pick up the three points. But sometimes the table does give a false impression this early in the season. @FantasyYIRMA has scored more points than eight other sides and if his players hit their fantasy points average, I will need 128 or more points to win. As usual the IEFSA/Fantrax fixtures computer tries its best to hamper my team, as both of @FantasyYIRMA’s highest scoring players have enticing fixtures; Dele Alli is at home to a Leicester side that don’t seem to bother playing away from the King Power Stadium; while Mesut Ozil faces bottom of the table Sunderland, who don’t seem to bother playing anywhere.

@FantasyYIRMA’s Team


Alli and Ozil are joined in Midfield by two players who average around fifteen points a game, and both play at home on Saturday. Juan Mata scored midweek in the EPL Cup against Man City, so he will surely fancy his chances facing Burnley. Wilfried Zaha hasn’t had the same luck in front of goal lately, but still has goal and two assists in seven starts this season. The only problem here though, is that if Zaha does get on the scoresheet, he will be taking points away from @FantasyYIRMA’s Liverpool goalkeeper. In his squad is another Palace player who could return from injury and take over the Forward slot that is currently up for grabs with Wayne Rooney’s injury. Loic Remy is trying to shake off a thigh injury in a race to be fit for the Saturday evening kick-off.

At the back @FantasyYIRMA can count on the return of Jonny Evans from suspension. The West Brom defender will get a chance to rack up the points against a Man City attack determined to stop a slide of no wins in their last six games. Evans might not be assured of a spot in @FantasyYIRMA’s back three though, but with two defenders facing each other in Reid (West Ham) and Williams (Everton) he may be forced to choose one over the other. His remaining defender is Bournemouth’s Simon Francis. The Cherries kept a clean sheet last week against Spurs, so should be fancied to do the same again against Middlesbrough, who haven’t scored since October 1st.
One of these players is due a goal

What I Need To Happen


Stoke are at home this week, which can only mean one thing….. Joe Allen getting himself back up the scoring charts. The only problem here though is that Stoke face Swansea on Monday night. I guess I will have to hold a roster spot open for both Allen and Arnautovic. But can I afford to? Pedro is coming off the back of his best game of the season, but has an awkward fixture away at Southampton. Kevin Mirallas was back in the starting line-up for Everton last week, but after that game was lost I would not be surprised to see Ronald Koeman change his first eleven. Elsewhere in Midfield I have two Man Utd players. Jesse Lingard could possible take the field against Burnley, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan appears to be on the missing list. My biggest summer signing has barely 25 points to his name this season. I don’t expect that to improve on Saturday.
Juan Mata will look to keep Man Utd in the hunt for seventh place.
Thankfully a number of @FantasyYIRMA’s players face each other and could cancel each other out. Ideally I’d like his players to have a quiet day and let others do most of the work. Big hitters like Dele Alli, Ozil and Mata having an off day on Saturday would help a lot. Come Sunday night I’m thinking that if my side is within 80 points, then I can just sit back and watch Joe Allen drag me back into the tie, and hopefully to victory.

Predictions


The league seems to get tighter and more difficult to predict every week. It really is wide open and anyone can beat anyone. The predictions last week saw only four correct from nine. A number of intriguing games this week doesn’t make things any easier. The leader @EPL_MOstradamus plays last week’s high scorer @TRKingston. Who will win that battle? Well, you’ll just have to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to find out.

This week’s predictions. Good luck everyone.









Friday, October 21, 2016

Week 9: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


My squad bounced back from their biggest defeat of the season to record their biggest win last time out. @Tamc10 felt the backlash as my side pulled away by nearly 80 points; in fact it was the first time this season that my team recorded the highest points total for the week (179.95) in the league. All this means that I’ve moved up to 3rd and if results were to fall my way this weekend, I could go top. Eight other teams will be thinking the same thing though, and one of those is my opponent @cjradune.

After falling down the table thanks to three losses on the spin, @cjradune is still just one big win away from top spot. If we played each other every week so far, we would have four wins each. Therefore it should be a close fought contest this time out. But in further proof of the Fantrax and IEFSA’s fixture computer's bias against my side, the top three points scorers on @cjradune’s team are all playing home games this week. It looks like I’ll need the Welsh Pirlo to put in another stellar performance away to Hull City to have any chance.
Not every Defence is as kind as the one at Sunderland

@cjradune’s Team


It looks increasing likely that C.J. will have to be without the services of Toby Alderweireld for a few weeks as the Spurs defender recovers from a knee injury. This won’t bother his team much though, as despite being his most expensive signing at the back, he was actually the fourth highest scoring Defender on his roster. His cheapest signing in Defence ($9) is currently his sides highest points scorer overall, Hull’s Curtis Davies.  In goals he can call on Arsenal’s Petr Cech. The Gunners are at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday in a matchup that screams ‘Clean Sheet!’ The Smoggies are averaging less than a goal a game.

Attack-wise, @cjradune has had to rely on the form of Raheem Sterling. The Man City man has four goals this season, but has been a little quiet of late which has coincided with Pep’s side not winning any of their last four games. C.J. would have presumed that most of his goals would come from one Jamie Vardy. The England frontman has only two goals to his name this season after eight starts. He will get a chance to rectify this at home to Crystal Palace come three o’clock on Saturday. The Eagles have yet to keep a clean sheet in eight league games. Elsewhere in @cjradune’s squad is Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge. Like Vardy, he has yet to hit the heights of last season, but will fancy his changes at home to West Brom in the Saturday evening kick-off, if he is called upon by J├╝rgen Klopp.

What I Need To Happen


If @cjradune’s side all hit their fantasy-points-per-game average, then I will need 130 points to beat him. My team has only managed above that mark twice this season. Like last week, I will need someone to step up and score a couple of goals. Joe Allen hit two last time out, and while Stoke head to freefalling Hull City, I can’t expect him to do that every week. Hopefully Marko Arnautovic can chip in with a strike this week. Or perhaps it’s the turn of Pedro or Kevin Mirallas to add to their respective goal tallies. Of the two, Pedro is at least getting on the pitch for some game time, though he does have a tricky matchup against Man Utd. But I’m not worried too much about those players scoring this week, as I’m almost sure Jack Wilshere only failed to score last week when Bournemouth knocked in six, because he was saving his goal for this weekend, when the Cherries host Spurs.
One of these players is due a goal...
I’m currently staring at five red injury flags, so perhaps I will just be happy to get a full squad to play. Having two Bournemouth, two Arsenal, two Burnley and two Stoke players means I’ll be looking for positive results from those teams. I also have two Everton players, Baines and Mirallas, but I doubt they will get much game time between them. My two Manchester United players have barely been on the field together this season also. Big signing, Mkhitaryan has only started one game, while Jesse Lingard is at least fit and coming off the back of a good game midweek in the Europa League.

Predictions


A lot of very close games last week, so I only managed a paltry two accurate predictions from nine. The league is really getting tight now; a win could shoot your team right up the table. There are some interesting ties in Week 9; two of the bottom three meet; leader @EPLMOstradamus is trying to prevent a third loss in a row; while in form side @jwl_15, 4 wins on the trot, faces second placed @FuzzyWarbles. To keep track of all these scores please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Here is this week’s attempt at predictions. Good luck everyone.









Saturday, October 15, 2016

Week 8: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview


The international break couldn’t come quickly enough for my side after the loss in Gameweek 7. @SportsByGotti handed me my biggest loss of the season thanks to goals from Chelsea’s Willian and Callum Wilson of Bournemouth. A Matt Phillips assist was just the icing on the cake, as my side were humbled by nearly twenty points. The (biased) fixtures computer pits my squad against that of @TAMc10 in Gameweek 8. @TAMc10 would have beaten out my side if we had faced each other in each of the last five gameweeks. Will this week be any different? I’ll need an improvement from my players to upset the odds.
A World Cup without Joe Allen is not one I want to watch
As usual with international breaks, most squads will now be fretting over the fitness of many players. My side is not immune from this, and the biggest red flag this week is hanging over the most in form player in my squad, Joe Allen. The World Cup qualifiers did throw up some questions about some other players in my squad. How come Arnautovic has scored more goals for Austria this season than Stoke City? Jesse Lingard acquainted himself well with England, can the 1m signing become a regular starter for my fantasy side?

@TAMc10’s Team


Tate will be fretting over a number of players before Saturday. One of his highest points scorers, Adam Lallana, is still recovering from a groin injury. He’ll have to decide is it worth leaving a roster spot open for the Monday night game between Liverpool and Manchester United, or use up his players during the weekend games. He also has Marcus Rashford in his squad; can he risk leaving two spots open to play before Monday?  This really becomes a conundrum for Tate as both his other Forward players, Alexis Sanchez and Abel Hernandez are playing at three o’clock on Saturday.

Three players he won’t have to think too hard about including this gameweek are a Midfielder and a pair of Defenders that have been putting up consistent double digit scores. Azpilicueta and Koscielny at the back both have home fixtures that look like possible clean sheet opportunities. Burnley travel to Southampton on Sunday, Steven Defour already has a goal and three assists this season, but all of those came at Turf Moor and The Saints have kept three clean sheets in a row at home, perhaps Tate will rotate his fourth highest scorer to the bench.

What I Need To Happen


While @TAMc10 has two Arsenal players, I have two of my own, Bellerin and Cazorla. If the Gunners can breach the Swansea rear-guard and dent the points total of @TAMc10’s goalkeeper, I hope the Spaniards are the one’s doing the damage. Unfortunately I also have two players competing in the Monday night game, both for Man Utd. But should I gamble on the fitness of Henrikh Mkhitaryan? Should I try and second guess the starting eleven of Jose Mourinho? Will it include the Armenian, or Jesse Lingaard? Not only is the Fantrax fixtures computer against me, but the Premier League fixture makers are out to screw me over too!

I need Joe Allen to be fit. I need the Welsh wizard to be playing. I need Stoke to let loose against Sunderland in their relegation six-pointer. If Joe starts and doesn’t score 40 points I’ll be severely disappointed. Yet if Allen cannot overcome his hamstring niggle, I can fall back on the goal that is inevitably coming from Jack Wilshere….
Wilshere scoring away in Slovenia                   (16 months ago)

Predictions


The previously undefeated @EPL_MOstradamus suffered a first reversal of the year which tightened up the league, and just goes to show how hard it is to predict a winner between all the managers. Anyone can beat anyone. Not only did I get that matchup prediction wrong, but got four other predictions wrong too. Leaving only four correct. Not a great week, but if you follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter you will see this week’s predictions all come true, probably.










Good Luck Everyone.