Saturday, September 23, 2017

Week 6: IEFSA Fantasy League 2017/18 Preview

A fifth loss to start the season would make you believe I’m feeling the pressure. But things have been positive this past gameweek, as my side posted their second highest total of the year and everyone got on the pitch and contributed their little bit. Beating @wrigavin was always going to be a tough ask, and a Xherdan Shaqiri (of all things!) goal was the difference between the two sides. Harry Kane had a quiet game but still put up 13 points, which would have been the third best score if he was on my team. Which basically means if @wrigavin wanted to trade Kane for any of my better players, then my door would perhaps be open.
Shaqiri loves a long range shot or two

With performances slowly on the up I can look forward with optimism to this week’s matchup. So, who has the IEEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer decide to pit my side against? Oh it’s @FuzzyWarbles. *checks IEFSA league table* Oh…… oh…. @FuzzyWarbles just happens to be top and has scored the highest amount of points in the league. He has scored almost three hundred points more than my team and scored the highest amount of points last weekend. Surely this fixture is just further proof of the IEFSA/Fantrax bias against my side.

@FuzzyWarbles’s Team


Steve has a player who has already scored more goals than my whole squad put together. Liverpool’s Sadio Mane. He has a player who would be my top scorer (2 goals) if he was on my team. Burnley’s new signing Chris Wood. In Midfield things don’t get much better when you compare our sides. The best passer in my side is, obviously, Joe Allen, with 144 accurate passes in Midfield. @FuzzyWarbles’s players would laugh at this stat though. After five games, his three midfielders of Tom Carroll, Andrew Surman and Eric Dier post numbers of 200, 247, and 316 accurate passes respectively.

At the back things look equally as grim. I somehow have six defenders in my squad and between them they’ve played 15 games and have earned a total of three clean sheets. @FuzzyWarbles also has six defenders in his squad, yet they have managed 13 clean sheets between them. Phil Jones (4) on his own has more clean sheets than my whole team! Steve’s goalkeeper is Spurs’ Hugo Lloris, and the Frenchman has three clean sheets this season. I on the other hand have whoever mans the sticks for Burnley, currently Nick Pope, and that side has yet to stop an opponent from scoring.

@FuzzyWarbles also has another player he can call on if he needs a bit of a goal threat.
@FuzzyWarbles will rest him right?


What I Need To Happen


Not many sides can boast a Golden Boy award winner in their squad!
Well, six sides can boast that, including @FuzzyWarbles, doh!
But moving on… I secured the talents of Renato Sanches for a steal of only $45 a few weeks ago. The Swansea midfielder has yet to find his feet in Wales, but surely will find things easier going when he faces Watford on Saturday. This should also be the game where Tammy Abraham bags (conservative estimate) a brace. Looking elsewhere for goals. My best hope is probably Tom Ince. The Huddersfield man has taken 19 shots this season and is yet to find the net. It would be just my luck that he finally pops one in when he is up against my Burnley goalkeeper.
Izquierdo is Brighton's record signing #TheMoreYouKnow

Jose Izquierdo managed 104 minutes for Brighton during the league cup in midweek. Unfortunately, he didn’t use this time by scoring any goals and probably missed his side’s best chance of the game, as the Seagulls were knocked out. Using my crystal ball, I’d say that the Colombian will fail to break the starting line-up again for some time. This means I may have to offload the winger for another promising player on the Free Agency list. I’m hearing good things about this Marko Grujic, maybe I’ll pick him up…

Predictions


Five from nine last weekend, as a number of tight games didn’t fall the way I had expected. @wrigavin against @TRKingston is the tie of the round. Both teams have a record of 4-1 and the winner of this tie could go top if @FuzzyWarbles has a below par performance. *crosses fingers* To keep track of all the goings on of this gameweek, please follow @THE_IEFSA. To hear tales of woe, heartache, despondency, misfortune and the occasional cat meme, please follow @GarryIrwin on Twitter.

Here are this week’s predictions. Good Luck Everyone.



Friday, September 15, 2017

Week 5: IEFSA Fantasy League 2017\18 Preview



“A life spent defensively, worried, is a life wasted”                         -                      Lance Armstrong


Four weeks, four losses. Times were getting desperate. I couldn’t field a whole starting roster, injuries were mounting up as Tom Heaton injured his shoulder which would necessitate a lengthy absence, goals were becoming a rarity (two in four games), and an assist had yet to be seen. Something had to be done. I could not just ride it out and hope Dwight Gayle battles his way back into the Newcastle starting eleven, or that Victor Lindelof would finally usurp Phil Jones from the Man Utd back-line. Actions needed to be taken before I was cut adrift at the bottom of the table.
Shoulder surgery will keep Tom Heaton sidelined for months

That those actions would entail me spending almost my entire budget on three players who probably won’t start for their respective teams this weekend, was not something people could have foreseen. In fact, I didn’t even see it that way, as I had expected to be outbid on at least one of the three players I now possess. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a value of $68 last season, so I assumed he would go for slightly higher this time around and I had initially bid over $70. But I kept notching up the value until I settled on $85. I probably could have acquired him for a fair but less. The Swede can’t come back from injury fast enough. My other two players each cost me $40 less than Zlatan, but I vastly overpaid. Serge Aurier becomes the most expensive Spurs defender in the game and is fighting with $1 Kieran Trippier for a spot in their line-up. Renato Sanches was made the fifteenth most expensive Midfielder in the league. Not bad for a player who completed 90 minutes only once during a year at Bayern Munich, where he was largely anonymous. While signing these players I had to let go Gayle and Shelvey, what with the earlier release of Jose Fonte, means I’ve basically thrown away nearly $100 since the draft. This sounds like doom and gloom, but my new team get their chance to prove themselves this coming gameweek against @wrigavin. Gavin has three wins this season and would have beaten my side handily if we had met on any other gameweek. Thanks IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer!

@wrigavin’s Team
 
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU><"{{@$^!$$*!)(!!@#$

What I Need To Happen


Zlatan is injured. Heaton is out for months. Rojo is also still injured. Lindelof might as well be injured. Izquierdo (who?) can’t seem to start a game. Tammy Abraham has less accurate passes in 330 minutes of football than Renato Sanches managed in 70 minutes last weekend. Joe Allen is off form. Keane and Cook are defenders in name only as they don’t seem to want to keep clean sheets anymore. Gareth Barry is……. still in my squad??? My only hope this weekend could be the longshot of my Bournemouth and Brighton players outscoring @wrigavin’s Anthony Knockaert (a tough ask in itself), followed by some sort of nuclear war that gets all the other games on Saturday and Sunday cancelled.
Kim Jong-Un has won every season of the North Korean Fantasy League

Predictions


An improvement from the week before sees six correct predictions from nine. It was the tough-to-call games in the Primary League that were my undoing. To heap praise on this week’s predictions, feel free to follow me on Twitter @GarryIrwin. Also, feel free to badger @THE_IEFSA to ease up on the fixture congestion my side unfairly has to face every week.

Here are this week’s predictions. Good Luck Everyone.



Friday, September 8, 2017

Week 4: IEFSA Fantasy League 2017/18 Preview

Three matches and three defeats. And while performances have improved week on week, I can tell the fans are getting restless. I’m not sure how long it’s acceptable to be rooted to the foot of the table, but thanks to the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer we may just find out. Firstly, I’m not sure how I lost my match-up last week when @RotoZdroik’s biggest threat to goal was a Lukaku missed penalty?? I had two goal scorers, as Tammy Abraham got off the mark for Swansea, and late signing Ciaran Clark netted for Newcastle. But lose I did, which leaves me bottom of the table with zero wins and the lowest points scored in the two divisions of IEFSA.
Ciaran Clark clearly delighted to have signed with my team this week

When times are tough you can always count on the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture compiler to give you a little kick. This week I will have to face @jwl_15, who would be undefeated if not for an Aaron Ramsey horror show against Liverpool two weeks ago. What makes this worse is that his star man is a player I let go at the end of last season!! And I’m not talking about Jack Wilshere (though he does have him too!).

@jwl_15’s Team

That star man of course is Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Last season he managed a total of one assist and barely a paltry ten points per game. In only three games this season, he has five assists and averages over 26 points per game. (anyone who points out I seem to have replaced the Armenian with Jonjo Shelvey, -2.1 ppg, will immediately be blocked on Twitter!) As has been mentioned, he also has Ramsey in midfield, who is usually good for a decent haul of points, last gameweek aside. Partnering them he has the workhorses of the Chelsea and Liverpool midfield's in N’Golo Kante and Jordan Henderson.
How many assists can he provide this season?....or this weekend?

Up front @jwl_15 has Southampton’s Manolo Gabbiadini who recent got off the mark and will be looking to score again at home to Watford on Saturday. He could also play Andre Ayew, but seeing as West Ham don’t play Huddersfield until Monday night, @jwl_15 may not have the luxury of waiting on the Ghanian’s fitness until then. But seeing the numbers my side has posted so far this season, he probably could afford to! At the back it looks like Cedric Soares, Southampton, Stephen Ward, Burnley, and Mamadou Sakho, Crystal Palace. Between the sticks will be Swansea’s Lukasz Fabianski. Putting him in direct opposition to two of my star players!

What I Need To Happen


Well, I’ll need both of these star players to make the first eleven for a start! It’s Newcastle who travel to face Fabianski and Swansea, but seeing as the Toon won 3-0 last time out without Shelvey or Dwight Gayle, I won’t be holding my breath. As I mentioned earlier, Ciaran Clark was a late signing who came good for me last week. He was brought in after I gave the heave-ho to Jose Fonte after he failed to make it back into the West Ham side. Looking around my squad, there are a few names under pressure to perform. Joe Allen is not his usually box-to-box self and is averaging a woeful, by his standards, nine points per game. Big signing Tom Ince has yet to trouble the oppositions net. While Victor Lindelof has yet to even feature in a Premier League game.
Abraham may have scored but are his other stats letting the side down?

Times are getting desperate. If a heavy defeat is suffered this week, I could be forced to abandon the whole squad that was carefully assembled during the draft. I will need to replace them with grafters. Players who are ready for a scrap. Who can play dirty for ninety minutes and get you all those much-needed tackling and accurate passing points. Tammy Abraham has 26 accurate passes in three games. 26?!? My goalkeeper has more! If, as I presume, he’s generally around for the kick-offs, that’s a quarter of his passes. Wholesale changes could be on the horizon if results don’t improve. If there is no reaction this week I will have no qualms about replacing an expensive signing with….. checks Free Agency list…… squints….. Solly March?

Predictions


To send me general abuse for my team/signings/predictions follow me on Twitter @GarryIrwin. Though you should really direct your ire @THE_IEFSA who seem to find new ways to undermine my carefully thought out plans every week. Before the international break I managed a rather poor four from nine. Will it be any better this weekend? Let’s find out.

Here are this week’s predictions. Good Luck Everyone.



Friday, August 25, 2017

Week 3: IEFSA Fantasy League 2017/18 Preview

A slight improvement from the opening weekend, but unfortunately it was still a loss to @FantasyYIRMA in Gameweek 2. Fifteen extra points were scored, and even better, all of my players stayed on the field, but it wasn’t enough, as a failure to get a clean sheet out of any of my defenders or goalkeeper cost my side dearly. It leaves my side deep in relegation trouble and we haven’t even reached September yet. So, this week what has the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer in store? Why it’s only the second highest scoring team in the league, @RotoZdroik.
Dwight Gayle  has had some early season struggles in front of goal

The international break can’t come fast enough. It might give my players a chance to rest and recuperate! As I mentioned many times, goals win games. With no goals so far this season, I’m starting to think Dwight Gayle is not as good Romelu Lukaku. My side also has failed to register any assists, with only three assists of actual shots from my whole squad. Compare this to @RotoZdroik’s squad who has assisted 23 shots and it looks like it might be a long weekend.


@RotoZdroik’s Team


Everton have scored two goals this season and both were assisted by Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The youngster must surely have moved himself up the pecking order in Adam’s Midfield. This week Everton have a difficult trip to Chelsea though, so perhaps Calvert-Lewin will be held over in the OF position until Sunday. A lot of his players, at least on paper, have difficult ties. The majority of them have an away fixture this weekend. His highest scoring player has a home fixture on Saturday though.
Can @RotoZdroik be tempted to rest Lukaku??

Romelu Lukaku has scored 48 points in the first two games of the season, scoring three goals. The Belgian has had eight shots and will hope for a few more at Old Trafford when Manchester United face Leicester City. @RotoZdroik could pull a trick on everyone though and play Ayoze Perez in the Forward position. At three o’clock on Saturday, Newcastle will play West Ham United. The Hammers have shipped seven goals in two games and it could be fruitful for Adam to find a spot in his roster for the Spaniard.


What I Need To Happen


I really need my side to break the 100 point barrier. @RotoZdroik averages 154 points, which is only 18 points less than I have managed in two Gameweeks. I`m in desperate need of some goalscorers. Dwight Gayle didn’t even last an hour last time out and has only one shot on target this season. The players who have taken the most shots in my squad, (and are therefore due a goal this weekend!) are Tammy Abraham of Swansea and Tom Ince of Huddersfield.
Gareth Barry will face Joe Allen in the game of the weekend

Looking elsewhere around my squad for points, you have top point scorer Michael Keane, who faces a tough away day at Chelsea with Everton. In Midfield Gareth Barry has settled in well with West Brom who have won two games to start their campaign and have yet to concede a goal. Barry and his side face a resurgent Stoke City on Sunday. Joe Allen has not has as good a start as he managed last term, but hopefully he can pick up some points in this game, which should be a tense midfield battle.

Predictions


Those of you following @THE_IEFSA on Twitter (and you all should be) will see that a lot of sides have been busy in the transfer market in the hope of unearthing that $1 gem that can turn a loss into a win. Six sides including mine have yet to get off the mark. In the prediction stakes, last weekend was a bit of a bust as only four of the nine predictions were correct. Let’s hope for better this Gameweek. Here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone



Friday, August 18, 2017

Week 2: IEFSA Fantasy League 2017/18 Preview

Gameweek 1 was nothing short of a disaster. Joe Allen had a below par performance. Luka Milivojevic was hauled off at halftime. Big signings Lindelof and Gayle didn’t contribute any points. And finally Jonjo Shelvey got sent off for Newcastle on the way to a suspension and minus two points. The one upside was the performance of Michael Keane, who in his debut performance for Everton picked up a clean sheet and 24.1 points. @nikarg barely had to break into a sweat as he took all three points in our match-up.

There was good and bad on both sides, but Shelvey sees red #unfair

But don’t worry fans as there is a ray of hope on the horizon, in the shape of Gareth Barry. The 36 year old midfielder has recently signed for West Brom and will be playing in his 21st Premier League season. The Baggies usually play with around six midfielders so surely he will get some minutes under Tony Pulis. Barry can also play at centre back if needed. I will probably need Barry to go straight into my side this week as the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer sees fit to pit my team against @FantasyYIRMA. Only four teams outscored YIRMA last weekend, unfortunately for him though, he was in a match-up with one of them. He will be determined to get his season underway with his first win.

@FantasyYIRMA`s Team


All bar one of his players scored double figures last weekend. He even had two goal Steve Mounie resting on the bench (his inclusion wouldn’t have altered the result). He also had two goals from Jamie Vardy and one from Wayne Rooney. His forward line has hit the ground running this season it seems. In Midfield Dele Alli earned over 20 points and Mesut Ozil over 15. Top this off with a David De Gea clean sheet and he can be very happy with his opening weekend performances, if not with the final result.

Mounie can't possibly score another brace can he??

Gameweek 2 will see his squad face some favourable fixtures. Vardy and Leicester City will host new boys Brighton on Saturday. Ozil will get to display his silky skills against the plethora of Champions League winning stars that currently ply their trade at Stoke City. Mounie continues his chase for the golden boot against Newcastle on Sunday; and Wayne Rooney gets a chance to add to the 11 goals he has scored against Manchester City in his career to date, when Everton head to the Etihad Stadium on Monday. @FantasyYIRMA will have a choice to make though, as he can only play two from Mounie, Vardy and Rooney. But that’s why YIRMA is paid the big bucks!

What I Need To Happen


A lot of my players could well find themselves facing off against those starting for @FantasyYIRMA. Joe Allen (the best player not to win the Champions League?) will be tasked with shackling Ozil and also causing problems for YIRMA`s defender Nacho Monreal. Summer signing Tom Ince of Huddersfield can hopefully have more luck this weekend when he comes up against Newcastle United and defender Jamaal Lascelles. In another game of attack versus defence, that will help determine the winner of our match-up; will see David De Gea face Tammy Abraham of Swansea. Abraham will hope to get his first goal for his new club after scoring 26 goals in all competitions for Bristol City last season.

West Brom love an aging star in the heart of midfield

Jonjo Shelvey being suspended until September will leave my Midfield relatively thin. Allen and Ince seem assured of starting places. Milivojevic will hopefully keep his place in the Crystal Palace midfield as they hope to bounce back from a poor opening result. West Brom might pick an unchanged eleven for their trip to Burnley meaning Barry will have to be content with a place on the bench. Of the five defenders in my squad, three of them didn’t play last weekend. The best chance of getting three players on the pitch is probably Jose Fonte of West Ham breaking into the team. With the Hammers shipping four goals at Old Trafford, if he can`t break into that backline soon, he won`t get in there all season.

Predictions


A solid start of five correct and four incorrect last time out. This week will hopefully go a bit better. To keep track of all the scores this weekend don’t forget to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter. The big clash this weekend will see the top two scorers from last week going head to head. @FuzzyWarbles (171) and @RotoZdroik (182) is also a clash of Aguero v Lukaku.



Friday, August 11, 2017

Week 1: IEFSA Fantasy League 2017/18 Preview


Is it just me, or did that summer break seem to pass by in the blink of an eye? Barely have I had time to celebrate finishing fifth in the IEFSA league when Gameweek 1 rolls around and I’ve to cobble together a team to face @nikarg. It seems I’m not the only one who the new season has snuck up on. Spurs have sold four players and loaned out another four, but as of yet haven’t replaced any of them with a game against Newcastle looming. The Toon manager Rafa Benitez for his part has been complaining about his side’s lack of summer signings (they have only brought in seven players). Perhaps the summer break isn’t long enough and the Premier League should copy what happens in Germany, Italy and Spain, where everyone gets an extra week of down time in in order to entice Phillipe Coutinho into a transfer request? Or they could do what they do in Andorra, where the league doesn’t bother to start until the middle of September. That would have given me plenty of time to get an unbeatable squad together.

To see my thoughts on the IEFSA Fantrax draft from earlier in the month, please scroll down and read the previous post.

This season there has been a shake-up to the league. Instead of all 20 teams playing each other. The league has been split into two divisions of ten teams, with promotion and relegation at the end of the year. There will also be a Fantasy Cup which will happen during gameweeks that have midweek fixtures. Thankfully I’ve earned a bye in the cup until the second round. It should be a very interesting season.

@nikarg’s Team


Nik has a team which shouldn’t be short of goals. He splashed out $75 for the services of West Ham’s Chicharito to compliment the attacking threat of Bournmouth’s Jermain Defoe. In Midfield he can call on the talents of Christian Eriksen, who scored eight goals last season. @nikarg will be looking for Riyad Mahrez to rediscover the form he showed in Leicester’s title winning season, where he scored 17 goals. Elsewhere in Midfield he has Jesse Lingard of Man Utd, and Andros Townsend of Crystal Palace. Both players are capable of hitting the back of the net when given the chance.
If Huddersfield can score, Hennessey has problems.
Between the sticks he will have the Palace goalkeeper. Probably Wayne Hennessey for this weekend’s clash with newly promoted Huddersfield. The Terriers were the lowest scorers of the top eight teams in the Championship last season. They are actually the lowest scorers to gain promotion since Birmingham City in 2009. With all this in mind, it looks like Palace have one of the better chances of keeping a clean sheet on Saturday. In Defence, With McAuley out injured, Nik will have to start the trio of Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City, Rob Holding, Arsenal, and Leighton Baines, Everton.

What I Need To Happen


If I can’t score more goals than @nikarg, my players are going to have to out-work his to give me any chance of winning this match-up. Thankfully I have retained the services of the biggest workhorse in world football, Joe Allen. Helping the Welshman in Midfield will be this seasons star signing, the most expensive player in my squad, Tom Ince of Huddersfield. Another new signing in Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle will join an old face in Palace’s Luka Milivojevic. Up front I will have to choose between Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle or Swansea’s Tammy Abraham. Neither player is assured of a starting spot for their respective teams, so I will have to keep an eye on the matchday squads.
New Premier League  season excitement encapsulated in one picture

In goals this year will be Tom Heaton again. The Burnley stopper unfortunately has to travel to the champions Chelsea for the opening game of the season on Saturday. At the back, and hopefully pulling in a clean sheet or two, are Steve Cook of Bournemouth (a holdover from last year), Victor Lindelof of Man Utd (a new $34 signing), Michael Keane now of Everton (another survivor from last year’s squad), and Jose Fonte of West Ham (central defender who cost $15). Lindelof and Cook and not assured of starts, but Keane and Fonte should get 90 minutes. It would be great if three of those four could find their way onto the field this weekend.

Predictions


With so many changes after the draft it’s going to be difficult to call all this weekend’s games. I haven’t even figured out how the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer is clandestinely sabotaging my team yet! To keep track of all the action this season please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Here are this week’s predictions. Good Luck Everyone.

@nealjthurman over @jforquer11

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

2017 IEFSA Fantrax Draft Recap

Two weeks ago saw the  IEFSA Fantrax draft happen in Las Vegas (and China, and Greenland, and Antarctica. It was online). Now that the dust has settled and managers get a sober view of their picks, let’s take a look at all the big moves, and some of the little ones. First up, let me explain the reasoning behind the four players I decided to keep in my roster from the previous season.

Tom Heaton was retained in goals. I didn’t want to pay much money for a goalkeeper after spending far too much to get Courtois two seasons ago and enduring a year where the Belgian only managed five clean sheets, sandwiched in between seasons of 12 and 16 clean sheets. It`s just as good to keep a competent No.1 who is kept busy, than a keeper from a top club where you become very clean sheet dependent. If you can get a keeper for $1, and stay out of a scramble for the scraps to complete a roster during the draft, all the better.
Can Keane handle Joe Allen on the opening day of the season?

Steve Cook of Bournemouth, $1, and Michael Keane now of Everton, $3, were both kept. These are two defenders who averaged over 13 points a game and who should be regular starters for their clubs. It`s vitally important to get a full roster playing every week and I didn’t want to take any chances with my salary cap on defensive players.

The final player I kept was Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic for only $1. He averaged a solid 13.5 points a game when he arrived in the Premier League in January and even chipped in with a few goals. I kept Milivojevic over last season`s player of the year Joe Allen purely because he was costing me less cap money. Allen was $4. But then…. during the draft I brought Allen back into the squad for $10 in some sort of Pogba-esque divine reclamation.
 
I would have paid double, nay triple, what he cost #bargain
For the draft itself I had my eye on a few players. Mostly new signings to the league as managers had kept a hold of their best assets. I also didn’t want to overpay for any players and had set myself a limit of around $50 because the big signings of the last few years for my side were not runaway successes. Paying over $50 for a player wouldn`t give you a huge advantage over a player you could pick up for $1 in my eyes. Only a handful of players, the Aguero`s, Hazard`s and Sanchez`s of the league are worth a big outlay in salary cap.

I would also bid up any players that I had last season. If I picked them up cheaper, then it was all good, as I had a pretty solid season last year. I was just making sure no one underpaid for them. Mkhitaryan went for $82, which was $11 up from last year, and I wasn`t too broken up to see him go.
The one that got away....

My first selection in the draft was a Forward, but I didn’t end up getting him as my phone had some early teething problems making bids. I was always frustrated last year getting a consistent goal scorer, or even a forward who would get consistent game time. I still wanted a way into an improving Man Utd side, Mkhitaryan I was happy to let go, Lukaku was held by @RotoZdroik for $30, while Pogba (last year’s biggest signing) was kept by @RotoWireAndrew for $125. With this in mind I really wanted to sign Marcus Rashford, but thanks to my fat thumbs, (ProTip: don’t draft on your phone) @jasonuk17 picked him up for a bargain $23. I would have happily bid up to $50 for him. When this happened I felt I had to chase a Forward because most of the goal scorers will be gone. As a result of this I ended up paying $37 for Dwight Gayle. Gayle was the top scorer for promoted Newcastle last season. As a backup, I took a chance of $19 on Swansea loanee Tammy Abraham. These are my only two forwards as you can only play two on any gameweek, but you must have one. It`s a waste of space holding too many forwards, so I hope at least one of these guys works out so I don’t have to go looking on the waiver wire in search of goals.

Gayle was not my most expensive player though, as I went for another newly promoted player in Tom Ince at $40. The Huddersfield midfielder has scored 25 goals in the Championship over the last two seasons (playing for Derby County) and I’m hoping he will have improved from his previous spells in the Premier League, which were with Hull and Palace.

My next big signing was $34 for Man Utd`s new defender Victor Lindelof. As I already mentioned, I believe Man Utd will improve this year. I also think Jose Mourinho is closing in on his preferred backline and perhaps Lindelof is the final piece. If the Swede does find himself in and out of the Utd side, I picked up Jose Fonte for $15 to fill in, providing that he cements his place at his new club West Ham.

My last big signing was in midfield where I paid $31 for Jonjo Shelvey. He proved he can score at this level when he played for Swansea, and as a vital cog in the Newcastle Utd team I know he will want to be on the ball a lot. To fill out my squad I have a number of $1 signings. Marcos Rojo is currently injured, but if he can fight his way back into the Man Utd lineup he could be a valuable addition. And lastly Gareth Barry at Everton; he is the player most at risk of being cast aside if I need to shake things up after gameweek one. Barry did start 23 games last season, but I expect this to be reduced with all the new signings that Ronald Koeman has made in the summer.

This season the IEFSA league has been split into two divisions of ten teams each. There will be promotion and relegation and of course a cup competition during the season. I find myself in the Primary League battling for the title. I`ll be honest though, I`ll be looking to avoid relegation. Looking through the squads, the side I assembled is the only one that features no players from teams who finished in the Top-5 last season. Every other team has at least three; @TRKingston could play a whole outfield of Top-5 team players! I`ve pretty much a shoestring side on a small budget, but I have kept a sizable salary in case a big new signing enters the Premier League before the end of August, or failing that, during January.

The draft did see some managers’ splash the cash like never before (must be the TV money). Eden Hazard went for $102. Lacazette for $113. Salah was snapped up for $116. But the biggest deal, and now the most expensive player in IEFSA is Alvaro Morata. The Chelsea new boy cost @SportsByGotti $126.
$126 doesn't mean he can take a penalty

The new season gets underway on Friday the 11th of August when Arsenal hosts Leicester. So remember to get your fantasy teams sorted before then.


@IEFSA preview coming later in the week. Good luck everyone.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week 38: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

My team is entering into the final game of the season on the back of a loss after they were unable to overcome the Phillipe Coutinho inspired @TomSunderland_. Tom posted the highest total of the week thanks to Coutinho earning a crazy 54.95 points from two goals and an assist away at West Ham. The 120 points my team posted would have been enough to beat 12 other sides in Gameweek 37, including this week’s opponents @EPL_MOstradamus.
An actual bubble making machine couldn't have done any worse than the West Ham defence last weekend

Chris and I will be in a straight winner takes all game for a fourth-place finish. Looking around the league, apart from winner @RotoZdroik and the two sides at the bottom, every other team can move up or down depending on their result. My squad currently hold the advantage over @EPL_MOstradamus because of Fantasy Points For (FPtsF) over the season, so if I can just avoid defeat, I can get my hands on the fourth-place trophy that everyone wants to win. Chris though will be out for revenge after I beat his side in Gameweek 19.

@EPL_MOstradamus’s Team


Minding the net for Chris is Watford stopper Heurelho Gomes. The Hornets have failed to keep a clean sheet since April 15th. That was a month in which Gomes kept three clean sheets in four games, but May has not been as kind to the keeper and Watford have slumped to five defeats in a row. They face a Manchester City side seemingly intent on finishing the season on a high. City have scored ten goals in their last three games and will be looking for a win so as to cement a Champions League place. On the flipside @EPL_MOstradamus does have Aleksandar Kolarov in his Defence, so will perhaps be looking for a nice boring nil nil draw. If there must be a goal, perhaps Chris will hope it comes from an unlikely source in midfielder Abdoulaye Daucoure of Watford. That’s if Daucoure can break into his starting Midfield.
Roberto Firmino could be @EPL_MOstradamus' Ace card this week

Lots of firepower going forward has helped @EPL_MOstradamus to 23 wins in IEFSA this season. In Midfield he can call on Lanzini of West Ham, Puncheon of Crystal Palace, and Heung-Min Son of Spurs. These three players have 20 goals between them. What’s surprising about that is Jason Puncheon has precisely none of those goals (he does have five assists). Puncheon has not gone a full season without a goal since his days at QPR and he did score on the final day of last season, so could be due a goal against a ‘depleted’ Man Utd side this weekend. Up front he has Puncheon’s Palace teammate Christian Benteke. The Belgian is Chris’s top scorer with 15 goals, but if he does find himself frustrated at Old Trafford on Sunday, he will probably get more joy from Roberto Firmino at Liverpool. The Brazilian faces a Middlesbrough side that were pretty much relegated the day they fell into the bottom three, and who have conceded eleven goals in their last three away games.

What I Need To Happen


Joe Allen had a bad day at the office last weekend against Arsenal. Stoke lost 4-1 and he contributed a paltry 5.7 fantasy points. He has gotten my side out of a number of scrapes this year, and I will be calling on the Welsh wizard once more to deliver away to Southampton. Unfortunately, his, and Stoke’s end of season form has been atrocious. They have only won one game in their last ten and Joe Allen didn’t even play in that game! To cap it off Marko Arnautovic went off with an arm injury in the Arsenal game and is a doubt for this Sunday.
Women want him. Men want to be him. Fantasy Managers  want to *******

Looking across my back-line; Kevin Long might have just started two games this season and conceded four goals, but that’s good enough for a call up to the Irish squad this summer. I’m hoping this recent good news will spark a flurry of fantasy points from Long, as it seems he will once again be playing in the place of the injured Michael Keane. Another of my defenders has a tricky away tie against outgoing Champs Leicester City. Steve Cook of Bournemouth has been solid all season and he averages 14 points per game. My final defensive spot will be a toss-up between Leighton Baines and Hector Bellerin. Arsenal play Everton at home, so if Bellerin starts, he may just get to nod.
Fabio Borini Hattrick 

Goals are the key to winning games, but I just can’t see where they will come from this week. Both Manchester United and Chelsea have bigger games to think of, so will perhaps not risk playing Mkhitaryan and Pedro. As I mentioned Arnautovic is an injury concern, but Stoke seem to have gone on their holidays already this season anyway. Fabio Borini is due a goal. Could he spring a hattrick to ruin Chelsea’s day and put himself in the shop window to be snapped up by one of the Champions League playing clubs? "Borini to Monaco" You heard it here first! Probably the best chance of a goal will be from the player who scored from the penalty spot last weekend. Milivojevic of Crystal Palace has two goals for the season and if , or when, Palace are gifted a penalty at Old Trafford by an error from one of the U-14 Youth team players Jose Mourinho has been forced to start because of the bias of the Premier League IEFSA Fantrax Fixture Computer (PLIFFC for short), then the Serbian is just the man to take it.

Predictions


Big improvement in predictions last weekend with seven correct from nine. It should be easier to call winners in games this weekend as all the Premier League games kick off at the same time. This means managers will have very little room for blame if they end up with someone who doesn’t play any minutes in their starting roster. The problem will be putting together your strongest starting team. Now, while everyone is not as spoilt as me in choosing between Borini or Arnautovic for the Forward slot, some tough decisions will still have to be made. To follow all the action please point your internet finding…. thing (there must be a better word?) to @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

It’s been an exciting, if occasionally skewed against my team, season. Here are the final gameweek predictions.

Good Luck Everybody


Friday, May 12, 2017

Week 37: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A 20-point haul from 'Player of the Year' Joe Allen was enough to help my side to victory over @nikarg. That win means I am guaranteed a top five finish. With @RotoZdroik having wrapped up the title with a few weeks to spare, the next four teams are separated by only three points, with @TRKingston being the man in form after winning nine games in a row. That is a ridiculously good run, when you see that the second-best run in the league is only four wins, by my side of all teams!
Bournemouth players all crowd around Joe Allen asking to swap shirts

This week the IEFSA Fantrax fixture computer throws my side up against @TomSunderland_. Tom would have beaten my side in the last gameweek as he posted one of the highest scores in the league thanks to a Kasper Schmeichel clean sheet and a Marcos Alonso goal. @TomSunderland_ might not be able to rise out of the bottom half of the table with two games to go, but he will be out for revenge after he lost to my side in Gameweek 18.

@TomSunderland_’s Team


Alonso of Chelsea in defence has been averaging over 16 points a game for Tom this season. Chelsea have a favourable fixture against West Brom this Friday and he should get close to that average again, and he might even add to his six goals and three assists this year. Alonso is only Tom’s second highest averaging player though. In Midfield Philippe Coutinho averages just shy of 20 points per game. The Liverpool player travels to West Ham on Sunday, as the Reds try to cement a top four finish. Coutinho has 10 goals and six assists in 29 games so far in 2016/17.
Jermain Defoe checks the year on the clock as he scores against Hull

Elsewhere on @TomSunderland_’s team you have some solid performers. In Defence, Hull’s Ranocchia and Stoke’s Bruno Martins Indi get double points every week and should be fancied to do so again this week. Patrick van Aanholt of Crystal Palace will face Hull on Sunday, and a nervy relegation battle could conceivably end up scoreless, earning him lots of points. Tom’s top scorer is Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe. He has 15 goals this season and even managed to score last week. Which was a surprise to Tom, who had left him on the bench.

What I Need To Happen


Not many goals around last weekend as sides are winding down the season, or are trying to avoid defeat in an effort to scrape 40 points and probable survival. Tom has lots of good defenders, so an improbable goal-fest would surely only help my team. Gameweek 36 saw a last minute change in my Defence as I was forced to bring in Kevin Long who played for the injured Michael Keane. Keane may return for Burnley’s game  against Bournemouth though, so Long will be sent back to Free Agency, despite a commendable 12.6 points scored last week.
Kevin Long (28) queues up to play Rock, Paper, Scissors against West Brom

Superstar Joe Allen gets to roam the midfield against Arsenal this week. But as always, it’s goals that win games in IEFSA. With that in mind, I will look to my top scoring players to perform. This could be a struggle though as both my Stoke City players are some of my top scorers and will have to crack an Arsenal defence who have kept two clean sheets in a row. Joe Allen and Marko Arnautovic have six goals each. My top scorer is Chelsea’s Pedro. He is probably a rotation risk as Chelsea have three games remaining, but only need one win to secure the title. Henrik Mkhitaryan has four goals this year, but is an even bigger rotation risk with Manchester United throwing all their eggs in the Europa League basket. United also have a tricky fixture away to Spurs, who have the best defence in the league.

Predictions


A horrible week for predictions last week as only three ties were correct. Lots of upsets at this stage in the season. Who would have though Sunderland would win? Who though @RotoZdroik would lose! Lots of interesting ties this week, so make sure you are following @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep tabs on all the action. Here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone.