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.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Week 36: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A touch of drama last gameweek as the ever eventful IEFSA/Fantrax points compiler decided to reset most teams’ rosters on Sunday. For some sides this was probably an improvement! But after all the dust had settled, come Monday night my side had earned the victory. But because of other results I am still left in fifth position battling it out for a top four spot. Another significant result saw @RotoZdroik take home the title after a Sigurdsson freekick and a Jakupovic penalty save was enough to win a high scoring match-up with @TAMc10.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand...... Sunderland are relegated 

This week the fixture computer doesn’t let my side have an easy ride. My side has to face sixth place @nikarg. Nik beat my side by nearly thirty points back in Gameweek 17. He won’t have an Ibrahimovic brace to fall back on this week though. But he still has players who can do a lot of damage. Hopefully it will be a closer contest.

@nikarg’s Team


Nik needs to win his last three games to have a chance to break into the top four and take home the coveted Fourth Place Trophy. He will have to do so without Zlatan, so he will have to fall back on his next two biggest signings. Christian Eriksen and Georginio Wijnaldum play in Midfield and cost $49 and $26 respectively. Eriksen averages 25.76 points per game and will need to be in top form away at West Ham on Friday night in order to keep Tottenham’s title hopes alive. Wijnaldum averages ‘only’ 14.59 points and can surely earn a similar amount as Liverpool chase a Champions League spot in a game at home to Southampton on Sunday.
Erikson helps cancel St Totteringham's Day 2017

If these two fail to shine then perhaps @nikarg will fall back on two players who cost the minimum of $1. Ashley Barnes has been filling Zlatans boots for Nik in the Forward position. Burnley have a favourable fixture at home to West Brom on Saturday, where Barnes will get a change to add to his six goals this season. Crystal Palace travel to play Manchester City and Andros Townsend will be trying to get the Eagles enough points to avoid relegation. Man City have not been on top form lately and are vulnerable to giving up the odd goal or two. Townsend averages over 15 points a game too.

What I Need To Happen


Most of my team is playing away from home this weekend, and most of them still have something to play for. The question is though, will some of these players be playing at all? My back three has remained unchanged for a number of weeks now, but with Michael Keane a doubt for Burnley’s game against West Brom, that means Hector Bellerin could well be called from the bench. The problem there is, that Bellerin has found himself frozen out of the Arsenal first eleven ever since he came back from injury and Arsene Wenger invented something called the back three.
Sunderland and Bournemouth were charged with not controlling their players. Although, when was the last time Sunderland controlled their players in any meaningful fashion?

On the attacking front, things are not looking too good. Battling relegation did not seem to bring the best out of Fabio Borini, so now that Sunderland are actually relegated, maybe the Italian will cut loose. Or more likely, with relegation confirmed, David Moyes will cut Borini loose and play Joshua Erowoli Orisunmihare Oluwaseun Maja up front. Henrik Mkhitaryan played for Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday night. He was subbed off with over ten minutes to go. He should be in United’s plans for their game against Arsenal, but more because of all the injuries the Red Devils must deal with, rather than any undroppable form he finds himself in.

Predictions


Six correct and three incorrect predictions last weekend. @RotoZdroik will be doing his victory lap against @FantasyYIRMA this weekend. Other interesting games at the top of the table include, @FuzzyWarbles (4th) facing @EPL_MOstradamus (3rd), and @SportsByGotti against @TAMc10 with a place in the top half at stake. Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter as we come to the business end of the season. Here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone


Friday, April 28, 2017

Week 35: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

An odd week in IEFSA last time out as managers scrambled to get a full set of players playing. My side was one of only eight teams who got nine scoring players earning points. And this was only after the late acquisition of Evandro at Hull because the previous weekends big signing, Tom Huddlestone, found himself on the bench. Evandro only contributed 4.65 points though, so I don’t know why I bothered. Especially since Joe Allen had made a miraculous recovery from injury and plundered 15.6 points away at Swansea. These points were lost to the bench. Allen got more points on his own than the playing trio of Evandro, and the normally more reliable, Arnautovic and Mirallas.
Joe Allen couldn't stop Stoke going down to Swansea last weekend

A low scoring week then, with the total coming to 100.2 points. This was enough to beat @FuzzyWarbles, who was hampered by the omission of Man City players from the gameweek. Steve can feel doubly unlucky, as he would have beaten five other sides with his total of 70 points.

This week could see the title being decided if @RotoZdroik can avoid defeat to @TAMc10. I don’t have time to worry about that though, as the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer has handed me a fixture with @nealjthurman. My side is still in fifth position, but with the right set of results, I could rise up to second with a win.

@nealjthurman’s Team


Neal is out for revenge after I beat his side by a slim 1.25 points in Gameweek 16. I had a Leighton Baines assist to thank for the victory that day, as a few of @nealjthurman’s team didn’t show up. Neal may have a number of players on the missing list this week too. He has four red flags to content with and a few players struggling for gametime with their respective clubs. Of course, one of those players that will be struggling for playing time for a considerable amount of time is Joey Barton. The Burnley midfielder has been handed an eighteen month ban for gambling offences. He placed 1,260 bets over a ten-year period, including 15 on games involving teams he played for at the time. Burnley travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, and someone else will have to fill Barton’s ‘Dafabet’ sponsored jersey for the game. In Neal’s team, that hole will probably be filled by Man Utd’s Ander Herrera, if he can survive the fickle hand of rotation.
What odds @nealjthurman keeping Barton in his squad until next season?

Building from the back is probably @nealjthurman’s best bet this weekend. In goals he will have Ben Foster of West Brom. The Baggies are usually stiff opposition at home, and face a Leicester side who have failed to ignite in front of goals this season. In that game he will also have Christian Fuchs lining out for Leicester. His other two defenders are Ben Gibson of Middlesboro and Andrew Robertson of Hull City. Those players average over 12 and 11 points per game respectively.

What I Need To Happen


Joe Allen is back, so that means Evandro will probably be dropped back to Free Agency (cue a brace against the Saints on Saturday now!) The other Midfield spots looked to be filled by Kevin Mirallas and Luka Milivojevic. I have a few choices up front. Marko Arnautovic missed a penalty last weekend, and surely won’t repeat the trick against West Ham this week, though he’ll probably be taken off spot kick duties. Fabio Borini will more than likely start from the bench for Sunderland again, although he is the last player to score for the Black Cats and might be called on again in a must win game against Bournemouth. Pedro is the other Forward option. The Chelsea man was only a substitute in the last game, but still gained an assist, and will surely get some minutes against Everton on Sunday.
Arnautovic will hope for an improved display at home to West Ham

Trying to stop Pedro doing anything positive will be Defender Leighton Baines. Averaging nearly 15 points a game, the left back will be in direct opposition to the Chelsea Forward in this gameweek. Elsewhere across the defence, we welcomed back Hector Bellerin from injury in midweek. Arsenal have recently changed to a back three though, and we have yet to see how this will impact on the Spaniard averaging over 12 fantasy points per game. Two Burnley players will face Crystal Palace and hopefully keep them from scoring. Keane and Heaton have been some of the more reliable players in my side this season, and will continue to be as long as Sean Dyche’s side don’t decide to head to the beach too early.

Predictions


Only four correct predictions last week as the fixture list really messed up some sides. Not @RotoZdroik though, who rolls on, and as mentioned, only has @TAMc10 standing between him and the title. To keep track of all the action, please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter. And remember there is a Monday night game this week in the shape of Watford hosting Liverpool, so don't start etching the name on the trophy until then. Anyway, here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Week 34: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A Win! And with those three points the title race is not over yet! For another week at least. A Marko Arnautovic goal helped my side to the victory over @jforquer11 last gameweek. Unfortunately all the other big guns won, so my side is still positioned fifth on the league table. Being 15 points off the top means I need a little bit of a miracle in order to win the title. A loss this week and all those dreams will be shattered, leaving my side having to fight over the (probably more) coveted fourth-place trophy.

Preparations for this week have been thrown into chaos though with the news that Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for the rest of the season with injury. He gets injured at just the wrong time, as all of my injured reserve slots are full. This means he will be cast to Free Agency like so many other anonymous England internationally capped midfielders. And speaking of random England international midfielders, I have drafted in Tom Huddlestone of Hull City into my side to replace Wilshere.
Get your boots on Tom you're in!

This week will see all the Premier League matches stretched out over the whole week and not just the weekend. This means some sides will play twice (Man Utd, Middlesboro, Crystal Palace) and one team doesn’t have any fixture (West Brom). In Fantrax scoring, players can’t gain points from two games. Therefore, players will only earn points from the first game they play. Probably? But whatever way the IEFSA/Fantrax works out the points, it will probably be the way that impacts my team negatively the most. And my opponents this week? Second placed @FuzzyWarbles. A team that has already beaten me this season.

@FuzzyWarbles’ Team


Two West Brom players and only Luke Shaw means @FuzzyWarbles will not be impacted too much by the fixture kerfuffle. Shaw should only gain points from the game against Burnley on Sunday. That’s if Shaw plays at all, with rotation being a problem because of Manchester United’s Europa League commitments. A lot of Steve’s players don’t play until midweek. He has three Man City players, Tadic of Southampton, Vertonghen of Spurs, and Januzaj of Sunderland. The only player that represents his side on Saturday will be Tom Carroll of Swansea. Because I could have five players playing on Saturday, and will have built up such a lead, @FuzzyWarbles could be panicked into wholesale changes to his squad on Sunday as he frets over the fitness of Sergio Aguero.
Aguero faces a tough (really?) game against Arsenal in the FA Cup this weekend

Aguero has scored 17 goals this season and averages a healthy 16.92 points per game. He strangely hasn’t registered any assists so far though. Which is strange because, he had contributed 26 assists in the five seasons before this one. A sign of dropping standards? Or of Man City’s change of style under Pep? The other City players in @FuzzyWarbles’ side are Yaya Toure in Midfield and Nicolas Otamendi in Defence. Toure averages 14.12 and Otamendi 15.94 points per game. They do face a home derby with Manchester United though, which should hopefully blunt their normally heavy passing attacking style.

What I Need To Happen


Huddlestone is not exactly the quick fix I need at this stage of the season. But he does average over ten points a game and will be playing Watford at home this gameweek. He will, hopefully, be partnered in midfield by Kevin Mirallas, who is in good form at the moment for Everton. Luka Milivojevic of Crystal Palace will only have his points counted from the game against Liverpool on Sunday, I presume. While Henrikh Mkhitaryan can only gain points from the game against Burnley in the early Sunday kick-off.
Marko Arnautovic has scored six goals in the league this season

Burnley will face an injury hit Man Utd who have been heavy on ball retention but light on penetration. (Tell me about it! Story of the season) My goalkeeper Tom Heaton and Defender Michael Keane will hopefully rack up the points when the Red Devils visit Turf Moor. Last week’s hero Arnautovic will travel to Wales to play Swansea. He will have to score without the help of Stoke’s best player Joe Allen though, who is still side-lined with injury.

Predictions


A perfect set of predictions in the last gameweek was ruined by one of the upsets of the season. @DFS_Hambazaza picked up only his fourth win with victory over @jwl_15. This week @DFS_Hambazaza will be hard pressed to repeat the trick when he faces table topper @RotoZdroik. The tie of the round is probably @EPL_MOstradamus (4th ) against @wrigavin (8th). Don't forget, to follow all the action you need to be watching the Twitter feed of @THE_IEFSAHere are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Week 33: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A third loss in a row sees my side drop to fifth in the table. I have the worst form in the top half of the table at just the wrong time of the season. In true premier league manager fashion, I need someone to blame for the latest loss, and unfortunately that someone is my player of the season Joe Allen. The Stoke midfielder went off injured against his old club Liverpool after only gaining a paltry 5.45 points. If he had been replaced in the lineup with the two midfield players that sat on the bench, my side would have picked up the win. Kevin Mirallas had two assists on his way to 31.6 points, while Luka Milivojevic converted a penalty against Arsenal when he scored 22.25 points. I also had to content with @RotoWireAndrew lucking out and getting a third start of the season from Kieran Trippier, who posted a total of 37.55 points. This total is the highest Trippier has ever gotten in Fantrax Fantasy Football. Amazing how the IEFSA/Fantrax Points Computer rates a clean sheet against Watford. For those wondering, Plan B Jack Wilshere scored 13.45 points (his second highest score in over two months). I never said Plan B was a good plan.
Deeney was on the bench and Trippier wasn't? Bizzaro world at White Hart Lane

This week my side is made face @jforquer11. The IEFSA/Fantrax *cough* biased *cough* fixture computer knows that Joel has one of the most inform strikers in his squad at the moment in thirteen goal Joshua King. My highest scorer is seven goal Chelsea man Pedro. If all @jforquer11’s players simply get to their average points total, I will need to score 117 points to beat him this week. That’s a total which my side has failed to achieve sixteen times this season already. Did I mention that I have three midfielders on Injured Reserve too?

@jforquer11’s Team


Joshua King is key to success or failure here. The Bournemouth Forward has scored 10 goals since the turn of the year. None of these goals have been assisted by Jack Wilshere by the way, so I’m going to presume he gets all his chances from defensive mistakes, meaning King puts in lots of work and gains lots of points. In goals he has Stoke keeper Lee Grant. They may have let up two goals last weekend, but this week they face Hull City, who are the lowest scorers away from home in the league with only eight goals so far. He also has Erik Pieters at the back for Stoke, as he looks to double up on the cleansheet.
It wont matter who @jforquer selects if my players can't stop getting injured

Also at the back he has West Ham’s new signing Jose Fonte. He hasn’t had the brightest start to life with the Hammers, but this weekend gets to play against Sunderland, which is pretty much a gimme these days. Filling out @jforquer11’s backline is Man Utd’s Daley Blind. The Dutchman averages a little under 16 points per game, and on Sunday faces Chelsea at home. Two players in Midfield will be playing for Josh on Monday night. Marten de Roon of Middlesbrough and Alex Iwobi of Arsenal. If I’m not 25 points clear at that stage, (if I’m in the lead at all!) my side will be in big trouble.

What I Need To Happen


Hull City need to improve on their average of half a goal a game away from home against Stoke. When pressing for those goals, if they could let Marko Arnautovic sneak in at the other end for a goal or two, that would be great. Kevin Mirallas must surely be certain of a start for Everton. But who knows the mind of Ronald Koeman. Unfortunately, if he does start, and score, he will be taking points from my goalkeeper, Burnley’s Tom Heaton. I also have two Burnley and Everton defenders in Michael Keane and Leighton Baines, so this will be an interesting match. Hopefully they will keep each other busy and rack up the points.
I feel Moyes' struggle in getting the best out of Fabio Borini

With three midfielders injured now in Allen, Winks and Cazorla, it looks like I will have no choice but to start Jack Wilshere. But there is an upside. Bournemouth are playing Spurs, and the Arsenal man will be doubly determined to score. He is a due a goal after all. Perhaps he has been saving it for this game. Some of my other players will be playing against each other on Sunday too. Pedro travels with his Chelsea teammates to Old Trafford to face Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Neither of these two players are assured of ninety minutes though, so I might have to fall back on Plan… ummm… C. That would be… aaah… Fabio Borini…

Predictions


Six correct predictions last Gameweek as the league tightened up again. Nine points separate second from tenth. @RotoZdroik is still 12 points clear at the top and faces a stiff test against @BenDinnery this week. That’s not the tie of the round though, which is probably the fixture between @TRKingston in third and seventh placed @TAMc10 who is six points behind him. Don’t forget to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to see how my side is being screwed… every one of the matchups is panning out. Here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Week 32: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

The trio of Mahrez, Redmond and Deeney combined for a total of over 75 points, and as a result my side suffered their second defeat in less than a week. This defeat drops my side down to third in the league and means I was not able to capitalize on the loss suffered by table topper @RotoZdroik. Though I suppose things could have been worse, as @Smokey_Loogy left midweek Liverpool goalscorer Divok Origi on the bench for our match-up. That recent run of results means that only three points separate the team in second from the team in eighth.

The IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer have engineered a very interesting league table, and will try and send my side tumbling further down this weekend when I have to play a side who scored more points than mine in midweek, should have its best player back from injury, and will have three Man Utd and two Arsenal players, who are playing sides in 20th and 16th respectively. That side is managed by @RotoWireAndrew. Andrew’s team sits in 13th place and is hoping for a late season push to rise up the table.

@RotoWireAndrew`s Team


Andrew spent most of his transfer budget on one man. Paul Pogba. The French midfielder has been recovering from a hamstring injury, but after a 45 minute run out on Tuesday, he seems poised to return to the Manchester United starting lineup. Pogba is Andrew`s highest scoring fantasy player, and the sixth highest player in the league overall. Pogba also has the third highest score per game average with 22.28 points. A total only beaten by Alexis Sanchez and Christian Eriksen. In comparison, my side`s highest scorer and highest per game average player, is Joe Allen. Helping Pogba out in Midfield for @RotoWireAndrew will be in form James Ward-Prowse of Southampton.
Only @RotoWireAndrew will have a bigger smile this week.

Another player on a positive run of late for Andrew is Theo Walcott. The Arsenal player has scored in his last two games, after having not previously scored since before Christmas. The 25.4 points Walcott scored against West Ham was his second highest total of the season, and you would be confident he could earn a similar score away to Crystal Palace on Monday night. @RotoWireAndrew will also have defender Nacho Monreal in that game. I could only have Milivojevic for that fixture, so I will probably need a sizable lead going into Monday.

What I Need To Happen


The only goal that Forward Fabio Borini scored in his 16 games this season came against Man Utd. Thankfully, Sunderland play the Red Devils again this weekend, but this time at home, meaning a Borini goal is bound to happen. Please mark your calendars for this occasion. With Pogba being back fit, he could impact the chances of my player Henrik Mikhitaryan getting 90 minutes at the Stadium of Light. Seeing United suffering a spate of injuries lately, it should have been the time the Armenian shone and repaid some of the $72 I paid for him at the start of the season. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to have been the case and Mikhitaryan can't be assured of a starting spot.
Wilshere is not even Arsenal's Plan B (do Arsenal have a Plan B?)

I may have to search for goals in other areas. Normally, with two players getting to take on Liverpool, I would be licking my lips at the prospect of goals. Sadly, Stoke City have only scored one goal in their last four games and seem to be clueless as to who to play up front. At various times, Walters, Crouch, Bony, Berahino, Diouf, and even someone called Bojan, had a stab at being a striker. Most of the Potters goals have actually come from the two other players in my squad. Joe Allen has six goals and Marko Arnautovic has five. I will need them to bail me out this week once again. If not, Plan B, as always, will be Jack Wilshere.
 
Has his time at Stoke prepared Bojan for a Bundesliga relegation battle?

Predictions


Nearly a perfect set of predictions last week, only ruined by @EPL_MOstradamus upsetting leader @RotoZdroik! I’m going to say that the match-up of this gameweek is the tie between @FuzzyWarbles (19-12) and @wrigavin (18-13). Here are this week’s set of predictions. Plus, don't forget to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of all the action.
Good Luck Everyone.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 31: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

The instant Harry Winks went tumbling over the sideline during the Spurs v Burnley game never to return, I knew my chances of victory against @wrigavin were sunk. What made the defeat an ever more bitter pill to swallow, was that helping Gavin to a 13 point victory was dabber extraordinaire Jesse Lingard. A player I had discarded because he seemed so far down the Man Utd pecking order as to become fantasy irrelevant. But thanks to a combination of (list gleamed from Mourinho press conferences), injuries, an unfair fixture list, the international break, Russian hackers, and the earth`s rotation around the sun, Lingard found himself starting at the weekend against West Brom, and duly went huffing and puffing his way to over twenty fantasy points.
Winks injury jinx sinks fantasy hopes methinks.

Winks was brought in after patience had finally ran out with the fortunes of Ibrahim Afellay. The Stoke City player was not in the starting lineup once again for the Potters trip to Leicester City, and in the end was never even summoned from the bench in a two nil defeat. With Kevin Mirallas not starting for Everton, my two other Stoke players woefully out of form (but at east playing games), Luka Milivojevic restricted on possession in a game against Chelsea, and Jack Wilshere being Jack Wilshere. I really needed to bolster my Midfield. Unfortunately with this injury, it looks like I’ll have to head back to the drawing board for the upcoming midweek fixtures. Fixtures where the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer pits my side against against @Smokey_Loogy. The fixture computer knows full well that @Smokey_Loogy would have beaten my side in Gameweek 30, even when using only eight players because his top scorer didn’t see any minutes!

@Smokey_Loogy`s Team


His top scorer is Troy Deeney. The Watford captain missed out at the weekend because of illness, but in truth, wasn`t really needed in a routine home win against Sunderland. Another home game, this time against West Brom should see the striker get a chance to add to his goal tally. @Smokey_Loogy could substitute in Divock Origi to his front line if needed though. The Liverpool player smashed in a goal a short time after coming on in the Merseyside derby for the injured Sadio Mane. If Mane does indeed miss time because of that injury, Origi could well be the player to take his place in Klopp`s side.
Mahrez coming into form when he faces my side. Coincidence?

@Smokey_Loogy`s other players to impress at the weekend were, Jordan Pickford of Sunderland, and his duo of Leicester players, Danny Simpson and Riyad Mahrez. Pickford picked up over twenty points despite conceding a goal, this is largely thanks to standing behind one of the poorest defences in the league. He`ll get another chance to rack up the save points when the Black Cats travel down to play Leicester City. Knowing my luck, all the shots that Pickford will face will be from Simpson and Mahrez.

What I Need To Happen


That dreaded word `rotation` will get bandied about this gameweek, as managers take on the thankless task of picking a team three days, sometimes four days, after having previously played a game. Squads will be stretched to breaking point. Unfortunately the rumours that Sunderland were playing someone who won a competition on the back of a cereal box in midfield, turned out to be a cruel April fool’s day joke. Or it actually turned out to be Darron Gibson, I’m not quite sure. With rotation in mind, I’ll hope that most of my players get rotated in, while @Smokey_Loogy has the headache of players being rotated out.
Koeman wants to run through the whole youth squad before starting Mirallas.

Seven of my players will be playing on Tuesday night, all involved in two games. Manchester United are at home to Everton, and fingers crossed, Mirallas, Baines and Mkhitaryan will be starters. In the Burnley game against Stoke, my Goalkeeper (Heaton) and Defender (Keane) will face off against my own Midfielder (Allen) and Forward (Arnautovic). Best case scenario here is probably a highly entertaining nil all draw, or narrow Burnley victory.

Predictions


@RotoZdroik stretched his lead at the top to 12 points, and he will be tested again this week when he faces fifth placed @EPL_MOstradamus. Last weekend saw seven correct predictions out of nine. As always, please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep up with the winners and losers of each match-up. Here are the predictions for midweek.

Good Luck Everyone.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Week 30: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

Finally, the international break is over and we can get back to the nitty gritty of league football. What seems like an eternity without fantasy football will come to an end with Liverpool facing Everton at Saturday lunchtime. My side won a nineteenth game of the season in the last gameweek, thanks largely to another clean sheet from Tom Heaton. That win keeps my side in second place, nine points behind @RotoZdroik.
Tom Heaton is the only goalkeeper with over 100 saves this season

This week the IEFSA/Fantrax fixture computer gives me a change to get revenge on a two-point loss from Gameweek 12. That painful loss was inflicted by @wrigavin. Gavin is on a run of three losses which has seen him drop down the table to ninth place. He knows a win, coupled with the right set of results, could move him into fourth though.

@wrigavin’s Team


@wrigavin has only one red flagged injury, but unfortunately for him it is to his most valuable player. Harry Kane has more goals than the rest of Gavin’s squad put together. Now without the Spurs forward, he will have to rely on Alvaro Negredo for goals. Normally this would be a pretty vain hope, but with Middlesbrough sacking their manager, perhaps they can start scoring goals off the back of that new manager bounce. Negredo heads to the worst defence in the league on Sunday, Swansea. The next top scorer on the team is his Defender Craig Dawson. The West Brom player will get a change to add to his three goals this season at Old Trafford on Saturday.
It was only Arsenal right? We can't read too much into this??

Gavin has made a few changes to his squad since the turn of the year. He overhauled his Midfield with the signings of Robbie Brady (Burnley), Lazar Markovic (Hull), and Luciano Narsingh (Swansea). All three have yet to cement places in their respective sides, but in only nine starts between them, they have contributed a goal and three assists. At the back he has added Bryan Oviedo. The Costa Rican defender joined Sunderland from Everton in January and averages over twelve and a half points per game.

What I Need To Happen


Tom Heaton will not have to face Harry Kane, but will have to contend with the rest of a potent Spurs attack. If not a clean sheet, then hopefully many save points will be coming his way. Michael Keane at the back will also be kept busy in the same game and should reach his thirteen point average. In Midfield, it would really help my side if Henrikh Mkhitaryan got back into the Manchester United starting lineup for the visit of West Brom. Scoring a goal would also take points off Craig Dawson. Elsewhere across the middle of the park; Jack Wilshere is slowly recovering from an injury, yet may get more minutes for Bournemouth this weekend; Ibrahim Afellay travels to the champions Leicester City but it would be a surprise if he gets into the Stoke first team.
If I had any hair it would have went white waiting for Borini to score too.

I may be reaching a bit, but it’s April now and Sunderland a running out of time to start trying to stay in the division. With that in mind, someone is going to need to help Defoe score goals, and that someone may as well be Fabio Borini! Failing that, I may have to fall back on Chelsea’s Pedro. He has a game at home to Crystal Palace come three o’clock on Saturday. If Borini and Pedro draw blanks, all my eggs will be in the Kevin Mirallas basket. Everton have a shockingly bad record against Liverpool recently though, so I’m not going to expect too many points from either Mirallas or defender Leighton Baines.

Predictions


Six from nine last time out. Lots of close games keep the league table nice and tight. Only six points separate the team in third from the team in eleventh. The big match-up this gameweek pits leader @RotoZdroik against fifth place @nikarg. Here are this week’s predictions.

Good Luck Everyone. Also go follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.