Fantasy Football Review: Week 1

The Premier League is back, and that means the return of Fantasy Football. The Hit Row Z Championship has kicked off – you can join the league here: access code: 176262-49046

In the first of a series of articles, Nick Lane reviews his dismal first week.

It has been a pretty underwhelming first week of the season for me. At the time of writing Chelsea have yet to play Aston Villa and therefore, with any luck, Eden Hazard could still bail me out of trouble, but currently I am 40th out of 41 teams in the Hit Row Z fantasy league.

Only Gary Egan is behind me, and inexplicably he has Van Persie on his bench [why Gary?] meaning he has a further 12 points waiting to be counted since Kolarov remained unplayed.

36 points is my current total; 14 points off the league average. It seemed like such a good team on paper, at least to me, but here I am, one week in and already playing catch up.

I now have the rest of the week to ponder what to alter to change my luck. It is no good playing the long game, as I have found out to my cost in previous seasons. Riding out a Rooney goal drought may seem like a good idea, but for every week he scores a pitiful four points (having doubled down and made him captain) I miss out on the good form of Lukaku and fall further behind. If I have learnt anything from previous failures, it’s not just about picking the good players, it’s about picking the good form. That’s a dangerous game though, chasing the dragon and finding yourself perpetually one week behind Arouna Kone’s good games.

Our week one leader in the Hit Row Z championship, the aptly named “ME WIN” scored an impressive 75 points, more than double my tally. Where did Conor go right, and what ideas can I steal from him for next week?

The big contributor to his success was Mignolet: 15 points, but five of those are from a penalty save and 3 from a bonus. Chopping and changing goalie has to be a foolish choice, how likely are consecutive penalty saves? I think I can chalk that one to a single game anomaly and move on to the back line.

Spurs, Chelsea and Man City, all with clean sheets, help Conor’s cause; and my back row three of an unplayed Azpilicueta, Baines (one) and O’Shea (two) have contributed very little. In retrospect Sunderland does seem a less likely clean-sheet source than Spurs or Man City. Given Tottenham face Swansea and Man City have the seemingly less taxing Cardiff (I’m not intentionally stoking any Welsh rivalry here) I think option one for my first transfer looks like picking up a Man City defender.

In midfield Oscar has made my choice of Wanyama look a little naïve, but Chelsea are spoilt for choice in midfield, and I already have Hazard. None of the top three teams in our league have scored heavily in the middle of the park so I don’t feel too foolish averaging three points per player. Next up for Southampton are Sunderland, and they are closer to Scotland than most of the Premiership so perhaps Wanyama will feel more comfortable. For this week, I think I will stick where I am, keep the faith.

So, that leaves me with the strikers. Big money, but potentially big returns. Benteke, Wellbeck, and Van Persie all scored a brace and Aguero chipped in a goal and an assist; three of these four are players that were heavy favourites based on last season’s form. My choices of Altidore and Anelka suddenly look like I picked from an alphabetised list and didn’t bother to get beyond page one.

This is my perennial quandary. Van Persie, or not Van Persie? I have to admit, I have missed out on all of his points for the past two years, clinging to the belief that he was bound to get injured, and there was no way he could score three weeks in a row… again. Who am I to query Gary’s choice, the flying Dutchman didn’t even make my bench? I have until 11am on Saturday to swallow my pride and admit I should have had him in from week one, or I could look at how much it costs to add Joleon Lescott to my side.

Any advice gratefully received below in the comments feed.


  1. Last season I was told by a Man U fan to build my team around Van Persie, I did, and it worked a treat. He was captain for almost all of the gameweeks. This time around I have done more-or-less the same, but also invested heavily in the midfield, I am in the top 300,000 players so far. Goalkeepers and defenders always score the lowest amount of points, so why spend big on them? That’s my opinion, anyway. You need big players who you know every week will churn out something special.

  2. Pick the players that score highly in FF, not just who are great for a team. For example Michael Essien – a great player for Chelsea in the past, never scored a bean in the FF league as he was always 2 passes away from every goal.
    With the top teams you need to look how much they’re rotating their squads and how many players they have in each position. Sometimes picking a defender for a lesser team who plays every week and sometimes nicks a goal (e.g. Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross) is better than a Man City player who plays less often (probably with the exception of Zabaleta).

  3. Nick my friend, I’m not hugely well positioned to comment here, as I too have had a disappointing first week.

    However, I sense you will ultimately need to think about using your wildcard to bring RvP in to your team if you don’t have him at this stage. He’s so expensive, it will take a fundamental re-shaping of your team surely?

  4. Steve Clift says:

    To advise the competition would be criminal, but with £1.5m in the bank I’d suggest replacing one of your front three for a Southampton or Stoke striker. Can’t see any other games being high scoring this weekend.

  5. Thanks for the advice, although Ben I still think wild-card might be a bit drastic, it’s early days yet, I could still come good.

    I have gone with Zabaletta for now, and am going to try and address the striker problem next week, shore up the back first!

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