Yes, yes, we know: we are too good to you people here at Fantrax! Not only do we give you the wise words of the Kickaround Pod, the astute analysis of Genie’s Waivers, the informed insights of the Chaps Sleepers XI, and the must-read musings of Totti’s Weekly Rankings, but NOW we are providing you a preview of your very own personal league. Okay, enough of the alliteration. Hopefully, you know the score: on Monday we gave you the opportunity to win a written preview of your league’s matchups, and you got back to us admirably (by the way, a big thank you for this – we love reading all the retweets!).
This time we picked @FantraxBearCave as our Community Special winner (I mean, the guy used the Roy Hodgson gif in his retweet…how could we not?!), so here is that preview…
Community Special: Gameweek 11
Even if this isn’t your league there should still be some useful tips for gameweek 11!!!
Note: this article gets written on a Wednesday and therefore is based on information available up until that point. For players who are classified as ‘doubtful’, I tend to go by the status report at premierinjuries.com, with anyone less than ‘75%’ generally not considered for the starting 11 (unless their inclusion is required in order to field a full 11).
Funkyzeit mit Bruno Fernandes vs Who’s Jarrod Bowen
Rule number 1 of Fantrax Fantasy Football is to make sure you have 11 starters. Rule number 2 is to never start Conor Coady. This week Funkyzeit is in the unenviable position of having to break one of these rules. (Disclaimer: Coady is currently having the season of his life, with an FP/G at the dizzying height of 3.4, after a 2.9 in 2019/20 and a 1.0 in 2018/19). The scoring system in The League of Smiffy is a little different to Fantrax scoring, with players rewarded for blocked shots, minutes played, accurate long balls, accurate passes, and fouls suffered, but even then, when your best defender is most likely Eric Dier, you know your team has issues. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Leeds give up chances defensively and Havertz and Ziyech could bring in some big points…if Lampard goes with both of them. I’m a big fan of Che Adams too, though he is up against the surprisingly stingy Brighton defense, at least in terms of PP90 given up. Rodgers should bring Harvey Barnes back into the fold, and a matchup against the Blades should prove nice for Funkyzeit, whilst Richarlison could easily make it three double-digit returns since his suspension as he takes on Burnley. All five of these players need to do the business if Funkyzeit is to cause an upset here.
Who’s Jarrod Bowen is a 5-time champion, and with the squad put together here, it wouldn’t be a surprise if 5 became 6. City’s early kick-off will be a big help for any selection dilemmas. If Sterling returns from the cold, we could see him kickstart his season against Fulham. If he doesn’t, well at least the dilemma is solved as the manager can throw Raphinha into the mix. I’ve left the Leeds man out – favoring Neto and Lookman – despite the hype that is building around him. All three of these potential diamonds in the rough have tough matchups, but I think Raphinha’s against Chelsea is toughest of all. Martial recovering from his mysterious illness would also throw a spanner in the works, and emphasizes the ridiculous depth in this squad. Boly (vs Liverpool), Lamptey (suspended), and Saint-Max (postponed) make this a frightening proposition for the rest of the league going forward. That said…you can’t field more than 11 (another key rule, just in case you weren’t aware)…so it may be worth the manager seeing if he can package up 2 or 3 of these valuable assets in order to acquire one of the absolute elite level players (KDB, Bruno, Salah, Mane, Kane, Grealish).
Funkyzeit mit Bruno Fernandes 85-97 Who’s Jarrod Bowen
Carry on My Heung Min Son vs Fuming FC
There’s a reason these two teams are fighting it out at the top of the table. Their squads are deep, particularly in midfield and up top (i.e. the important places). Things were looking even rosier a few weeks ago for Carry On, with Digne and Jimenez – two premium players – fit and healthy. Add in Mitrovic’s exile and now Watkins’ postponed game and Carry On will be forced to go with Wood and Son (no, not a local carpentry company) up top. This is more than serviceable, though. The bigger issue is Antonee Robinson against City in defense. I’m a big fan of the American left-back, but if I could bench him this weekend, I would. Pereira, McNeil, Soucek, and Townsend are an underrated midfield and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of the first three so far this season. That could change with some decent matchups across the board (yep, even Soucek, as United give up the 2nd highest PP90 to opposition midfielders).
Top of the table heading into the weekend, and top of the table coming out of it. But by the tiniest of margins. Like Carry On, Fuming has built a top-heavy squad that has an elite asset at the head of it (Salah) and which is having most of its selection questions answered for it this weekend. The Newcastle-Villa postponement puts star man Grealish on the bench, as well as Callum Wilson, who is having a very good season right now. A couple of surprise starts (Bale and Haller) could tempt the manager into changing this 11, but I would hold regardless. March/Djenepo (vs Brighton/Southampton) may be less glamorous than Bale vs Arsenal but is likely to be more profitable. Eze is going to come good (I’ve just traded for him in my own league, so I really hope so!) and Mount should have one of his big games against Leeds (I’ve just noticed that, despite a very nice FP/G of 11.1, he’s been very hit or miss this season). The last three teams I’ve written about are the current top three in the league. Come May, that won’t have changed. But will the order have?
Carry on My Heung Min Son 106-107
HUNtgarian FC vs For Fuchs Sake
Ah, the lesser-spotted ‘Opponent Double’. The Fantrax equivalent of lapping the field in Formula 1 (disclaimer: other motorsports are available). It’s not often you see someone score twice as many points as their opposition, but unless HUNtgarian follows a few of these tips, it’s going to happen this weekend. First of all (and this is key as it is integral to steps two through seven), don’t get attached to any player not named KDB. The ability to drop and pick up at will is an undervalued one, and too often managers will hold on to players because they drafted them high, spent half their waiver budget on them, or traded them in. Admitting to mistakes and moving on from them will have long-term gains in draft fantasy. Step 2: drop Koch. Step 3: drop Ruben Neves. Step 4: drop Rodrigo. Step 5: drop Kouyate. Step 6: drop all of the bench, except maybe Joelinton. Step 7: stream the goalkeepers based on matchups…which means dropping Ramsdale this week. Now, the next part may be a little trickier, but in fairness, things can’t get that much worse: pick up some half-decent players. Having a full squad would also help.
Head-to-head draft fantasy is where it’s at, and as I mention probably every week, a high scoring loss or a low scoring win is what makes the game great. Another twist of the format is the unnecessarily large victory – which is what Fuchs Sake is getting this week. These are the weeks when you hit one of your highest scores of the season, only to see your opponent put up a meager 50-odd. Why couldn’t this week have fallen against one of the big dogs?! First world problems, I know, but it’s guaranteed to cross the mind. Anyway, easy win this one, with Reece James, a returning Zaha, Kane, and Rashford all firing to bring home the weekend’s top score. Going forward, though, this bench could do with a makeover. (Side note: this matchup is also a battle of the Tottenham right-backs…who will Mourinho go with against Arsenal? It won’t matter to the outcome, but the decision could make this a little less embarrassing for HUNtgarian if it’s Doherty…or at lot worse if it’s Aurier!).
HUNtgarian FC 59-118 For Fuchs Sake
Mo Mane Mo Problem vs Boom Xhakalaka
Mo Problems is an apt name for this team. Yeesh. Outside of Werner and Semedo this is not pretty. Torres, to be fair, has proven more useful than many imagined he would, but how long he continues to start is anyone’s guess. And it really wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s dropped/rested this weekend, which, given that City host Fulham, would be a nightmare for the manager. Much of the advice dished out to HUNtgarian applies again here, and it says something about the midfield options available that I am actually suggesting playing a 532 formation. That sort of thing shouldn’t even be part of the playbook. The 5-man defense is also based on the shaky assumption that Laporte and Matip start – two players who I’m also not a fan of, but given their matchups, I like marginally more than I like Moutinho. Like how I prefer torrential rain to blistering winds. Dip into the FA market, please.
If you want to see an example of how one player can single-handedly win a gameweek, this matchup here is the one for you. Without KDB, Boom lose. With KDB, Boom win. It’s as simple as that. Andrew Robertson may contribute with a nice score, and Dias would be favored to get a clean sheet too, but I think the Premier League’s Mike Trout/LeBron/Virat Kohli (delete as sporting preference permits) could well make up 30-40% of his team’s score this weekend. That’s a ludicrous amount, and reflects to some extent, the lack of talent elsewhere. I like Phillips (though Chelsea is not a good matchup this weekend), Cash is a tidy DEF2 as well, and Jota is the ultimate hot and cold player, but if Aguero doesn’t come back as the old Aguero, this squad is destined for mid-table mediocrity. Boom could make things a little easier for themselves in this matchup if they find someone to replace Rodrigo, as the Leeds forward is not getting much game time at all. Dropping Mendy and picking up Brighton’s Connolly would be my advice.
Mo Mane Mo Problem 75-89 Boom Xhakalaka
*there are probably only two ‘keeper keepers’ – i.e. ones you don’t drop on a week to week basis – and these are, ironically, the two North London rivals who face off against each other this weekend.
Team Masseysheretostay FC vs Innocent until proven Gylfi
I’ve got Sig in the lineup here, partly because I think Ancelotti will bring in the Ice-man after Iwobi’s poor showing against Leeds, and partly because I think it’s poetic for him to play (and score big) against this particularly named opponent. Elsewhere, Bruno will continue in his Batman vs Superman (KDB) role – another big haul might start to convince people that he is the true superhero in the Premier League. Cancelo (assuming he starts) and Calvert-Lewin should also produce the goods given their matchups. Whether all of this is enough is another question. I’m not sure it is, but a couple of upgrades (i.e. the Palace left-back who I refuse to acknowledge by name, such is his worthlessness as a fantasy asset) could swing this one the other way.
Some nice matchups for Innocent here – nice enough to overcome what will be a good score from Masseys and earn the win. When I first saw the squad I thought, with TAA missing, the enforced double-West-Ham-defence against United might be catastrophic. But Coufal and Cresswell are quietly going about having themselves a season (10.4 and 11.0 FP/G’s, respectively), whilst the PP90 Against data shows that United actually are a middle-of-the-road side for opposition defenders to face. With the defence now sorted (Chilwell should go double-digits against Leeds), Maddison and Tielemans up against the Blades, and Ayew taking on West Brom, it could come down to two things: 1) can Traore regain some faith and value with a big performance against Liverpool? and 2) will Foden get the start in a tasty tie against Fulham? If these two happen, Innocent wins.
Team Masseysheretostay FC 99-102 Innocent until proven Gylfi
WinnINGS!!! Vs Whose got the meat?
So far I’ve backed the team who’s higher in the league…and that isn’t changing with this final matchup either. Unfortunately, no shocks are on the cards in The League of Smiffy this weekend, with 6th placed WinnINGS!!! rounding out the action by defeating Whose got the meat. It’s a battle of the forward lines in this one, with elite taking on elite in the form of Mane/Mahrez and Cavani/Jesus/Vardy. Yet these guys will probably cancel each other out, meaning that the winner of this tie is decided by the defense and midfield, and that’s where WinnINGS!!! has the advantage. Well, advantage may not be the right word. Less of a disadvantage is probably more accurate. That is unless Michail Antonio gets dropped…I don’t think it will happen, but Monday’s victory against Villa (where he was subbed off at half time for the marginally more effective Haller) has definitely made this debatable.
Anyway, back to “less of a disadvantage”. At this time, the prosecution would like to offer exhibit A: Luke Ayling (6.2 FP/G vs Chelsea), exhibit B: Stuart Dallas (5.5 FP/G vs Chelsea), and exhibit C: Dani Ceballos (6.2 FP/G vs Tottenham). Additionally, the prospects of Bellerin and Balbuena also look bleaker this weekend than their (surprisingly) decent FP/G’s would suggest. Interestingly, The Meat has the opposite problem to Carry On My Heung Min Son, in that a few weeks ago, the forward quintet looked about as exciting as Boxing Day without the pubs open. Now though, with Jesus back fit, Cavani instigating a big United comeback, Fabio Silva potentially coming in to replace Jimenez, and Benrahma getting a match-winning assist, this is a front 5 up there with the best in the league. The manager has to capitalize on this possibly fleeting moment to cash in and strengthen the rest of the team. Would Masseys be tempted to let Wan-Bissaka go for Benrahma? It’s worth asking the question.
WinnINGS!!! 94-85 Whose got the meat?
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