Fantasy Football

I really hate this game. More than words can describe, which probably makes me a poor writer but I can’t come up with anything witty enough that still gets over the fact that I want this game to die. My score of 52 beat the average of 46, but that wasn’t enough to save me from the dreaded red arrows as I slipped to 310,365th. It goes against the grain but I’m going to tell you why I hate it, in the hope that it inspires you to stay away from bone headed decisions.

I’m playing catch up in my leagues and I’m very much in the “may as well lose 3-0 as 1-0” camp, so in fantasy football terms, I take a punt at this time of the year. So, on Friday evening as I sat down to digest the team news, I decided that David Luiz was taking up more of my budget than he deserves to – Chelsea haven’t kept a clean sheet in ages, so he’s out. Jack Stephens of Southampton is £2m cheaper and they’re at home to Hull, with two games next week. He’ll do. Sigurdsson is away to Man Utd and he’s been poor in Fantasy terms for a while now, so I get greedy and take a 4 point hit to bring in Coutinho, who will surely slaughter Watford on Monday night. We’ll give Aguero the armband and that’ll be that.

I awake on Saturday in a cold sweat. What if Gabriel Jesus displaces Aguero? What if he comes off the bench for a point? I’ll play it safe and give the armband to Kane. Jack Stephens keeps a clean sheet and gets two bonus, so that’s fine. Jakupovic gets 14 points but is sat on my bench, whilst Wayne Hennessey concedes after ten minutes in the late game. I can feel the worm turning.

Sunday arrives, and would you believe Siggy curls in a beaut of a free kick at Old Trafford. What’s more, David Luiz keeps a clean sheet and gets the bonus to boot. Aguero gets a goal and an assist, whilst Kane scores, gets booked and misses out on bonus points. This is fine. Coutinho will sort it out.

Then big clumsy Adrian Mariappa ran over Coutinho like a tram in the first five minutes on Monday night. Watching Coutinho limp around for five minutes was basically a walking metaphor for my FPL team, only Coutinho was put out of his misery whilst I saw a good week turn into a very average one. Now you have to hear about it.

The Dilemma

Not much of a dilemma this week. Chelsea host all-but-relegated Middlesbrough on Monday night so get Hazard, get Costa, do what you need to do, they’ll fill their boots. Title rivals Spurs play away to West Ham on Friday night, which in itself is a pain but the Hammers aren’t the best at home so I’m not overly worried. Man City host Palace on Saturday lunchtime, though Aguero is an injury doubt, which only heightens Gabriel Jesus’ appeal. Arsenal host Man Utd on Sunday afternoon, it’s a difficult one to call as Mourinho seems intent on parking the bus now with his exhausted squad, but Arsenal really need to win, so it should be an interesting game anyway. Before that, Liverpool are at home to Southampton, with the stricken Coutinho suffering from a dead leg. Yes, really. Goodness me. Everton have clocked off now but Lukaku and pals travel to Swansea, and the Toffees look destined to finish 7th now and literally can’t finish any lower. Pass the beach towels.

Bargain Bin

Swansea and Hull players really come under the microscope now, as, with just three weeks to go, both could do with every point going. There’s actually no reason why Swansea can’t take nine points from their last nine games, aside from the obvious problem of being disorganised and lacking talent. It’s Hull who may take your interest this weekend though, their home record under Silva is fantastic and the visit of already relegated Sunderland should mean another three points are on the way. Elsewhere, Josh King is a one-man wrecking train for Bournemouth, a midfielder playing up front and scoring for fun. Home games against Stoke and Burnley are next on the agenda, you have to like those odds.

Also Consider

FRIDAY NIGHT DEADLINE. It shouldn’t be a thing, but it is. Get your teams sorted by 7pm Friday and then watch in horror as most of your team has played before the Saturday 3pm games have even started.

There’s also a double game week for Southampton and Arsenal, a little bit of a warm-up for next week’s plethora (oh yes, the posh words are out) of doublers. Arsenal have more to play for and the nicer fixtures (both have double-doubles) but if you can predict Arsenal’s performances, you are a better man than I. It’s worth pointing out that five of the top six (sorry Liverpool) have double game weeks next week, so if you do want to front load on those players (Man City play three home games in a row now, for example) it’s probably not a bad idea. Remember though, you can’t play your wildcard and triple captain chip at the same time.


My first choice is Eden Hazard, I just can’t see him not punishing Middlesbrough. I guess he’s interchangeable with Diego Costa, depending on who you have. The same can be said for my second choice, which is Gabriel Jesus or Sergio Aguero. Aguero has an injury and as of this writing, there’s been no news. They’re hosting Palace who have been much better recently but without Sakho, they are not good. My third, wildcard pick, is Josh King. A player with confidence and on a great scoring run, I fancy he’ll score points against a Stoke side that looks ready for a change.

So you’ve made it to the end, thanks for putting up with my rant. I’m off to overthink my choice of transfers for the next few hours, but whatever you do, I wish you good luck and may all your arrows be green.