Posts Tagged ‘gameweek’

Fantasy Premier League – End Of Season Review 09/10


So another year of fantasy football ended last Sunday without too much drama. A solid final week meant I held on to my league lead and won it for the first time in the four seasons we’ve played.

Victory at last.

It was an entertaining season and at one stage looked to be a four-way title race. That said I don’t think I let go of the lead since about week 19 so without gloating too much victory is deserved. I was kind of limping to the finish line for the last few weeks and dropped from a position of 7,264 as late as gameweek 31 down to a final ranking of 24,501 out of 2.3m+. Not my highest ever position but still very good and just outside the top 1%.

Sportboy P came a worthy second while longtime leader Amer came third. Too many transfers and dodgy captain choices cost him and he couldn’t pick it back up. Three time winner the Football Guy had his worst ever season in fifth. I expect him to bounce back next year.

On to some awards.


Player of the season:

Frank Lampard wins this for the second straight season. I learnt from my lesson last year and made sure he was in my team when in mattered, not least for the run in. Top scoring player by 42 points and his total of 284 is quite incredible. I only realised while writing this that it’s the highest ever score in a fantasy season, edging out Ronaldo’s 283 points in 2007/08.

I think it was Chelsea’s sheer volume of goals that did it, as although he ‘only’ scored 22 (compared to C-Ron’s 31) he weighed in with a season high 17 assists (only 8 for CR). If you factor in that he wasn’t even the highest recipient of bonus points, or that he played neither game vs Wolves, you start to wonder whether a 300 point season is possible.

An honourable mention too for Cesc Fabregas who matched Lampard for points per game and got the second most bonus points this season but due to his various injuries missed eleven games thus ended up with  214.

Frank Lampard fantasy football

Maverick's 2009/10 Top Gun.

Best value player:

Thomas Sorensen is the clear winner here, gaining 164 points for his measly £4m initial price tag. He even saved three penalties this season. Joe Hart was also a big plus here, with a lower score but higher price rise over the course of the season.

However I think the best bargain to be had this season was Darren Bent. Costing just £7m to start with, he banged in 24 goals for a frankly average Sunderland side. He was quieter in the second half of the season when Sunderland went on a long winless run and Drogba/Rooney/Tevez was the way to go but picked it up again in the final few games.

bent sunderland

Bargain of the season.


Best sub:

Birmingham defenders were this year’s Fulham, providing regular clean sheets at a bargain basement price. Though they faded somewhat once they hit 40 points, they were a great option.


Fantasy bike:

There wasn’t one single player I kept bringing in this season, but looking back it seems Drogba, Lampard and Tevez were all transferred in on three occasions. With expensive players all generally performing this season, you could usually mix and match as fitness and suspension dictated and not have to worry about losing money.


Biggest flop:

Many of last season’s flops bounced back, not least Fabregas, Tevez and Drogba. For his price tag Steven Gerrard has to be up there. A victim of Liverpool’s poor season; he was generally pretty useless until about gameweek 32, before an end of season points binge.

Elsewhere big things were expected of Andrey Arshavin after last year’s four-month cameo but I thought 135 points was poor while Dirk Kuyt has gone back to being a plodder. You could argue Van Persie and Torres were disappointing but everyone knows they’re injury prone. When they played they both had a high points per game average – 5th and 6th overall.

arshavin arsenal

Could have done so much more.


Best improvement:

The way of looking at this is rise in value over the season. Here Richard Dunne and Didier Drogba are the winners, just edging out James Milner. All three had terrific seasons and the former two rose by £1.8m in price.

I would say Dunne was the most unexpected, and he picked up Martin Laursen’s tendency for being a bonus point machine while captaining Aston Villa at centre back. That said, clever old me came up with this gem of a prediction about Drogba in one of my previews.

"I no longer think the Ivorian has the ability to get 20 goals a season."

Good thing I realised the error of my ways!


Biggest surprise:

The under performance of Gerrard – previously a lock for 200 points. Gareth Bale post January (116 points) compared to pre January (2 points).


Best performance:

Last season’s high was 21 points from Arshavin. I think this score got beaten six times this year. In reverse order:

Joint 3rd: Benayoun and Kalou – 24 points

2nd: Defoe – 25 points

1st: Lampard – 28 points versus Aston Villa through four goals, an assist and three bonus. Needless to say that was one of the few weeks he wasn’t in my team, let alone in my team as captain.

Credit to Fabregas for getting 22 twice and Rooney for getting 32 in a double gameweek.

And Arshavin’s high score this season? 11…


Cesc Fabregas award for cheap bonus points:

Wayne Rooney with 46 (matching Lampard last year). Cesc was second with 41.

rooney man utd

Bonus. Om om om.


Biggest fall from grace value wise:

Biggest price drop was Diamanti of West Ham and surprisingly Nicolas Anelka. Both went down £1.2m. I assume the latter was a victim of people going with the three highest scoring strikers and just sticking with them. Of the other renowned players Carrick fell by £1m while Arshavin again plays a part here, falling £0.9m.


Biggest fall from grace performance wise:

Aaron Lennon was fantastic until December, then got injured and only returned for the last few games. Perhaps it’s a little harsh to include him here. Jermain Defoe on the other hand had 14 goals before January and just four afterwards. Antonio Valencia was also pretty poor in 2010 with just four assists and no goals.


Best impact:

Gareth Bale was immense after the turn of the year, scoring well over 100 points. I didn’t bring him in though due to his price.

From a personal point of view I was pleased with the transfers of Martin Olsson and Adam Johnson. The former was listed as a £3.8m defender yet played in an advanced midfield role, while the latter made a big impact after joining Man City in the January transfer window. Both were nice differentials who scored steady points in the run in.



I mentioned the Drogba one earlier and how I fancied Anelka over him this season. Other specials included tipping the likes of Ebanks-Blake, Zhirkov, Scotland and Robinho while being negative on players like Bellamy, Lennon and Valencia. In my defence, I had Milner, Bent plus more expensive guys like Fabregas and Rooney to have good seasons.


Finally lets take a look my team in August:

fantasy premier league week 1

Ebanks-Blake, what was I thinking?!

and the team I ended the season with:

fantasy premier league week 38

The league winning side.

Pretty different as you can see. I think Sorensen was the only player to make it through the season without being transferred out, surviving even the wildcard. I played a three-man defence for much of the season and given how well strikers did it was usually three up front.



Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 36 Preview


An interesting week last week with Aston Villa and Hull providing opportunity for double gains. Unless you were the gambling type, I imagine most bets were hedged on the key Aston Villa players. While the returns weren’t huge, they weren’t bad either and will probably have justified any points spent in transfers.

It was a slightly above average week for me, not helped by going for Ashley Young as captain. Just 12 points from him as he got just a solitary bonus point. The league lead is 39 with three weeks left, and Sportboy P (remember him?!) now takes up the chase.


Gameweek 35 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

James Milner Top Gun Aston Villa

Maverick approves of Milner's second top gun.

matt taylor bolton

Goose approves of Taylor's best performance this season.

Two midfielders got 15  points this week; James Milner and Matt Taylor. Milner scored once and got six bonus points last week while Taylor got into double figures for the first time this season through two goals and three bonus. He has been a little underwhelming in 2009/10 but still has eight goals and three assists.

Elsewhere Charles N’Zogbia got himself 13 points against Arsenal while six players scored eleven. Of those the most interesting was Gareth Bale. After not scoring for over two years, he now has two goals in two weeks.


Three Captain Picks:

1. Lampard/Chelsea – A home game against Stoke should be easy pickings for Chelsea. Stoke are still rubbish away from the Britannia and I’m sure Ancelotti will be looking for a response from his team after last week’s debacle against Spurs. Drogba picked up an injury during the defeat and may not be fully fit, thus possibly creating an opportunity for Lampard to run the show.

2. Arteta/Everton – A home game against Fulham is no doubt tough but Roy Hodgson has gone on record as saying that the Europa League is now his priority. Everton are in good form and should probably win against a Fulham side in the middle of a European semi-final against Hamburg. Arteta is back from injury and scored last week.

3. Van Persie/Arsenal or Adebayor/Man City – Hate each other, face each other this weekend at the Emirates and will both be super motivated to be the match-winner. Van Persie has home advantage but may not start. Adebayor will get royally booed with every touch but is match fit and has the benefit of facing Silvestre and Campbell.

Frank Lampard Chelsea

Gets a Captain's tick!


Three Suggested Transfers In:

It’s all about form players right now.

1. Bale/Spurs – Obviously he’s been excellent in the past two weeks with 20 points but looking further back he’s been consistently good since regaining his place in mid-January. 85 points since gameweek 22 plus two matches coming up next week.

2. Players with something to play for – Whether that’s from teams who are relegation threatened, fighting for titles or simply those after personal gain like World Cup selection – now is the time to go for motivated players ahead of those whose season has ended.

3. Craddock/Wolves – 25 points in his last four games.

gareth bale spurs

Might be worth a pick.


Three To Avoid:

1. Wigan players – Beat Arsenal last week so judging by how their season has gone will probably lose against West Ham this time round.

2. Terry/Chelsea – Out this week through suspension and generally not playing well.

3. Arsenal goalkeepers & defenders – Not that you’d have one!

n'zogbia wigan

Are you taking the mick?!



Fantasy Premier League Preview 09/10 – Draft Teams & General Strategy


After previews on goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and strikers it’s time for some more general strategy and team selection thoughts.


Draft teams

I’ve written a lot over the past week about players to possibly choose but not actually showed you any potential teams. We’ll go through a few examples where the focus is on a particular area before going for something with a little more balance.


Spending it on defenders:

Solid defence

Solid defence

The team has a focus on a strong defence where all five plus the keeper play each week. In this example I’ve used Liverpool and Man Utd. Hit on both teams getting clean sheets and you have a base of 36 points before any attacking players have even played. It’s a little risky as one goal conceded screws up your week competely. Also you’ll lack money for the superstar attacking players but you can still afford people like Robinho and Van Persie as well as some good top half players. If you consider that each week there’s a high chance either United or Liverpool or both will be keeping clean sheets it’s certainly an interesting tactic.


Blowing it on midfield:

Assists, assists, assists. A few goals too.

Assists, assists, assists. A few goals too.

This option is to spend all your money on the best midfielders possible and then hope that you pick the right cheap players who prove to be the bargains of the season. In my opinion Gerrard, Lampard and Arshavin are all guaranteed locks for 200+ points barring injury. You still have enough money for a relatively solid defence which takes in the cheaper starting options. Up front it’s lacking a bit though Bendtner and Beattie will both get around 120 points I’d say. You could always swap one of the big three in midfield for someone slightly cheaper and buy a better striker. It’s worth investing in midfield though just as goals are worth five points and you have several guys in the league who are capable of double figures.


Striking prowess:

Scoring goals for fun.

Scoring goals for fun.

The riskiest option of all I would say is to put your money in strikers, just as very few are consistent scorers one season to the next. Even the top guys we’ve chosen here are risky as strikers will often do nothing in a game if they don’t score. They are not the bonus point hoggers that midfieders are. Someone like Torres who usually scores when he plays is a risk just due to his fitness record whilst at Liverpool.

However, assuming you are unconcerned by seasons past and only with what the this coming season holds then this could all be a worthwhile gamble. Having him, Rooney (who should be United’s top point scorer this year) and last year’s top striker Anelka gives you a formidable front line. As the best strikers are cheaper than the best midfielders, you can still afford a decent team with the rest of the money you have. People like Modric and Young are at the hub of their team’s creative play so are good value to get around 150-160 points if not more. The defence is not terrible and again you can play around with the exact players to upgrade other ones.

We’ll look at a mixed team later in the post.


General Strategy – Captains

My biggest error last season was not having a range of reliable captain choices. By this I mean I only had Ronaldo in my team but not Gerrard or Lampard meaning I would usually have to pick him as captain. Now of course towards the end of the season there’d be too many gameweeks where Ronaldo did not much at all so I would get ten points from my captain while people with Gerrard would be getting twenty. I was however stuck in picking him (or Arshavin to be fair) as it was too late to change things around.

Moral of the story is: the big players will always come through so get them in your team as early as possible. A big change this season is the backup captain who will come in if your first choice doesn’t play. I would strongly suggest leaving the setting on value rather than form 90% of the time. Any random cheap player can have a few good weeks but then suddenly stop scoring well. You don’t want to have him coming in as captain the week that happens.

Lampard double

Lampard double


Double Gameweeks

These are perhaps the biggest opportunity for making up lost ground, and come more into play in the second half of the season when a lot more games get rescheduled. That said I am fairly certain that the six teams who miss gameweek two will be playing those fixtures at some point before Christmas.

Anyway by double gameweek I mean a team who plays twice in one week, thus giving you the chance to pick a captain who plays twice. If someone like a Gerrard or Lampard has two easy home games you could be looking at the region of 50 points from just one player. Chuck in a defender or two from the same team and you’ll have a three figure score for the week.

You should try and be aware of when these games get played but at the same time you shouldn’t make too much effort to get players playing twice. Of course if it’s a strong team then you should try and have as many players of theirs as possible. If it’s someone like Hull playing twice then you should probably just take the hit rather than be stuck with the players for the weeks that follow.



I was previously of the view that wildcards should be kept hold of until at least the January transfer window but I think I’ve changed my mind. While saving it till then can definitely provide a bump in performance, if you’ve picked a bad squad to begin with it’s best to change things as soon as possible before the gap to your rivals gets too big. Bear in mind that the more successful a player the higher his value will go up, so there’s no point waiting as it will only make it harder to get all the star performers into one side.

You only get one of these.

You only get one of these.



One of the biggest changes this year is the rollover free transfer. Every week you get one free transfer and then any more will cost you four points each. This season though, if you don’t use the free transfer it rolls over to the next week, allowing you to change two players for free. It only rolls over once so you’d never get more than two in any given week but it’s definitely something to try and ensure you have when double gameweeks are looming. Being able to change three players for the cost of just four points could allow you to significantly revamp your team whilst not having to use the wildcard.


Balance & Substitutes

Fantasy football may let you pick a squad of 15 but it’s ultimately all about the first choice XI. All you want from your subs is that they are guaranteed starters for their clubs, so if they were to be used you’d be getting the minimum two points. As I mentioned in the positional previews, four weeks out of five your subs won’t come into play at all as your first team will all be playing. It’s only when Rio hurts his back in the warm-up or Rooney is serving a one match ban for five bookings that you will call upon those options. With this in mind you should spend as little as possible on the four subs – £4m for GK & DF, £4.5m for MF and £5-5.5m for the striker (no good £4.5m options).

This does depend on what formation you plan to play of course, but whatever position your subs end up taking, just make sure they’re cheap. There are loads of players from the promoted teams and the strugglers from last season who would fit into this bracket. They will play 30 games minimum (60 points) as well as contribute enough to get 30-40 points from saves/clean sheets/assists/goals or bonus. The money you save will upgrade the first choice XI enough to more than compensate for this.

An example of a balanced side.

An example of a balanced side.

Looking at the team above you have three studs in Arshavin, Gerrard and Fat Frank. One top quality striker in Berbatov who despite his critics was fifth best striker last year. The defence has three top four representatives. They’re not the obvious picks but Song will play nearly every game, O’Shea is a placeholder for whoever ends up right back at Utd while Insua has a fair chance of playing some games early on.

Of the other starters Beattie will do well again as Stoke are geared to his strengths, Ferdinand/Sunderland will concede less than many other teams this year while what little creativity Birmingham have will go through Seb Larsson. As mentioned before, the subs are cheap and will play and can always be changed.


It’s Only A Game

As the Football Guy mentioned in one of his previews the other day, it’s a only a game. Utimately this is meant to be a bit of fun between mates and a way of making games like Bolton vs Hull mean a little more interesting! Feel free to ignore some or all of what I’ve written, and I welcome anything you agree/disagree with in the comments.



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