Fantasy Football Review: Week 2

Based on week 1 results it would be foolish for me to set my expectations too high, and therefore with the bar set appropriately low I consider week 2 a qualified success for the Nearlymen. I am only 3 points away from the weeks average score and have achieved that clear indicator of progress that is a green arrow against my team in the league standings. There are now fully 5 teams below me and whilst it’s hardly nosebleed time, I can smell the change in the wind, it’s onwards and upwards from this point on… next week average, the week after, the moon!

Why, then have I declared it only a “qualified” success? Well, I have to admit that this was a low scoring week. With Podolski and Frazier Campbell both scoring braces, but having only been selected by 3.6% and 2.9% of fantasy managers respectively there were fewer standout performances in most people’s teams.

When looking at players sorted by the percentage of managers selecting them we have to go all the way down to Jose Enrique (6.8% of managers picked him) before we get a player in double figures. For the top 50 selected players the average score this week was 3.66 points, those same 50 players averaged 5.86 points the week before with 13 players reaching double figures, this week none of the top 50 got over 9 points.

What does this mean for me and for my quest to rise up the table? There are two questions I need to ask myself:

Question 1 – Are any of the performances this week indicative of a player undervalued by the crowd but about to come good for the minority?

Podolski is a case in point, with no new strikers at the Emirates he is likely to get games, and in a possession-heavy Arsenal side, he is likely to get chances. I might have been tempted to gamble that his performance is a sign of things to come and not a one-off. A quick check of the week three fixture list has stopped me hitting the transfer button though as it is the North London derby this weekend and I’m not sure whether I anticipate a thrilling goal-fest this early in the season, both sides have reason to be cautious. And now he’s injured – so a narrow escape.

Cardiff, meanwhile, face Everton at home buoyed by their success over Manchester City. Was this result an anomaly or will Cardiff have picked up that great un-measurable quantity in football, momentum? For one week perhaps Campbell is the better bet to sustain form with an eye on swapping him for Podolski the week after, in time for Arsenal’s visit to the Stadium of light. That said, Campbell will then be at Hull, where he could invoke the rule of the ex… I’m in danger of confusing myself here, it’s fifty fifty for me between the two. But with Anelka on compassionate leave my second free transfer has to be in attack.

Question 2 – In a low scoring week the difference between teams is the Captaincy, where should I put my armband?

It’s a debate that has taxed England fans over recent years, but in the fantasy league it actually matters as the captaincy translates to real gains for your team. Mental Dynamics, this week’s top-scorer in our league, boosted their score by doubling Soldado’s 7 point tally. Conor Cornelly, having changed his team’s name to the more modest “Expected Toulouse”, had his captaincy undervalued this week by placing his bet on Benteke continuing his goal streak against Liverpool.

For me, Hazard at least benefitted from an additional clean-sheet point, but if I had picked Baines or Giroud I would have broken the average score barrier. For next week, Chelsea have no game and so Hazard has to lose the honour. Am I better hoping for goals from my front men, clean-sheets from the defence or hedging my bets in midfield? My instinct is to trust Baines to gather a clean-sheet, and if not, hope he compensates with an assist thus highlighting what might be defined as “Problem 1” of fantasy football: a conflict of interest. If I buy Campbell, I want him to score, and yet I also want Baines to stop him scoring. Is captaincy the way to manage this kind of conflict or should I make better use of the subs bench?

Van Persie Watch

I feel vindicated, a measly 2 points for Man Utd’s frontman, I lost nothing by sticking with the comparatively unheralded Altidore. Gary Egan trusted the Dutchman with a starting spot this week, but has been devastated by the choices of real managers who left swathes of his team as unused subs; Gary has fallen foul of the question that is on many football watchers minds, why is Jose not picking Mata?

Please do continue to leave your advice below, Steve Clift correctly predicted that Southampton or Stoke would have goals, but it was a defender in Shawcross that reaped the rewards rather than a frontman.


  1. where's_the_white_ball_going? says:

    Don’t pick Podolski – he’s out for 10 weeks.

  2. where's_the_white_ball_going? says:

    sorry, just read this again and you mention that.
    2 lame comments in a row. Well done me

  3. The benefits of a good editor saving my own blushes at flagging an injured player as a good bet! Thanks Ben!

  4. Steve Clift says:

    Have no idea where the highest scoring games will be this weekend, maybe another high scoring draw at the Emirates? One things for sure, Palace and Hull haven’t been the whipping boys I expected!

  5. ‘but it was a defender in Shawcross that reaped the rewards rather than a frontman.’

    See my comment last week!

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