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.


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.


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…


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?


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.


@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.