Season preview

The blog is going to look a little different this season. I’m going back to school. Literally. I decided I had it in me to train to become a teacher. It takes most youthful, energetic, ambitious and enthusiastic people three years. I’m going to do it all in one. At least that’s the plan. Its going to be an intense year. I wasn’t even sure I was going to enter a team, never mind run the league, but as soon as they published the player lists I couldn’t help but put a squad together. And it looked pretty good. Then the rest of you started signing up.

So – the league survives. Yet, I won’t have the time to update quite so much and quite as regularly. My aim is to produce a results round-up after each gameweek. From the end of August through the first weeks of September it might feel like I’ve disappeared completely. I haven’t. I’m just moving house. Just bear with me round that time until I get my set up…set up.

Last season was our most competitive yet. This season could be even better. We’ve lost a lot of non-starters from previous seasons. Separated the wheat from the chaff. We’re a very wheaty league. Full of proper fantasy players who take this shit seriously.

We’ve 49 teams at the minute. I’ve updated the cup and prize money links based on this. We may get one or two more entrants and I’ll alter accordingly if we do. Anyway, you can check out what you could win and when. Check out December. And when the cup starts, and how you achieve yourself a bye into the 1st round proper.

There’s a new chip to contemplate and then play in a blind panic in GW37. The ‘free hit’ replaces the fairly pointless ‘all out attack’. With it, you’re able to make unlimited free transfers for a single gameweek. Then, for the next gameweek, you’re squad reverts back to the line up you had before you played the chip. When to play? Dunno. Haven’t figured that out yet. It could work in any number of situations – if you play it right. Hope that helps. Bench boost and triple captain remain. As do the two wildcards – one for the first half of the season and another for the second half of the season. I’ve tried my best to explain the rules of our league (and cup) on the relevant pages. Any questions, please ask.

Good luck for the season ahead. Good luck squeezing those wing backs in. And picking the right cheap midfielder. And the right striking combo. At the head of the right formation. For the right amount of weeks before wildcard time. Good luck.

Gameweek 37 preview

Arsenal v Everton
Burnley v West Ham
Chelsea v Sunderland
Hull v Spurs
Leicester v Bournemouth
Liverpool v Middlesbrough
Man Utd v Crystal Palace
Southampton v Stoke
Swansea v West Brom
Watford v Man City

We’ve made it to the final week of the season. The race for this year’s Buckets title is between three teams. When Harry Met Alli lead The Craggy Islanders by two points. Long time leaders, Aquamar, are 30 or so points back in third. WHMA have their All Out Attack chip remaining, and given the crazy goalfests you often get in gameweek 38, it might be the best time to play it. It might be what gets them over the line ahead of their rivals.

Five other teams go into the week with a realistic chance of finishing fourth. Kebab Eaters United have their All Out Attack remaining. Hedgehog Corpse have a triple captain to play, and they have Gabriel Jesus and Alexis Sanchez in their squad. Manchester City and Arsenal are two of the three teams left with something to play for and those two players were two of the top five scorers from last week’s mega double gameweek. That’s not to rule out last week’s high scorers, Edgbaston, last year’s champs, FC Caligula, and double manager of the month, Rico United. It’s the creme de la creme.

The other team with something to fight for are Liverpool, who, due to their lack of action in double gameweeks, have fallen off the fantasy radar a little. Their rout of West Ham last week, and the fact they take on a relegated Middlesbrough at home this week, should turn your attention to that elite midfield bunch of theirs for one last time this season. Philippe Coutinho seems the obvious choice and would only cost £8.6 million. They’ve also finally figured out how to defend with four clean sheets in their last five. Joel Matip leads the way in their defence with three two point bonus performances in that run.

Gameweek 37 preview

Everton v Watford
West Brom v Chelsea
Man City v Leicester
Bournemouth v Burnley
Middlesbrough v Southampton
Sunderland v Swansea
Stoke v Arsenal
Crystal Palace v Hull
West Ham v Liverpool
Spurs v Man Utd
Chelsea v Watford
Arsenal v Sunderland
Man City v West Brom
Southampton v Man Utd
Leicester v Spurs

Here it is. The gameweek that will probably decide so much. The title chase could take a dramatic turn this week. It’s a three horse race. Aquamar have been at the top since February 2nd. They built a lead, but over the last few weeks, The Craggy Islanders and When Harry Met Alli have chipped away. Aquamar go into this double gameweek with 12 players potentially playing twice, as do WHMA. Both have played their bench boost. The Craggy Islanders haven’t. They have 13 players lined up for a double appearance and their bench boost chip remaining. They’ve two free transfers this week. Expect 15 double gameweekers and put your money on The Craggy Islanders for the trophy.

The race for fourth should be as keenly contested. Rico, Hedgehogs, Kebab Eaters, Edgbaston and Caligula are separated by 38 points. Rico are in the box seat at the moment but have no wildcards or chips remaining. Hedgehogs are somehow still sat on their bench boost AND triple captain. Kebab Eaters have a wildcard left, and both Edgbaston and Caligula have their bench boost to play. I’m predicting a bench boost bonanza this week. How well that chip is played will probably determine our fourth place finisher.

Release The Hounds are the current holders of the highest weekly score. It’s 108 points, and they managed that in GW21. That’s got to go this week. If When Harry Met Alli can get a triple figure score from a double gameweek in which only two teams played twice, imagine what could be achieved this week. Ten teams take to the pitch for a second time, and that includes five of the top six. That’s 21 of the top 30 available players POTENTIALLY playing twice.

But only potentially. Chelsea could have the league wrapped up by this evening. If that happens, with the FA Cup final on the horizon, expect rotation for the Watford game. John Terry is bound to get a run out. Cesc Fabregas and Willian deserve more than a few more cameo appearances and will also probably start. We need a West Brom result – with a few Chelsea goals. That would keep Spurs going too. There’s less chance of rotation at the Lane, mainly because there’s not really anyone to rotate to, but how demoralised might they be come Sunday knowing they came so close for a second consecutive year? Surely Harry Kane’s pursuit of the golden boot should keep him motivated. It’s tricky. With something to play for, Arsenal and Manchester City are much better placed for this gameweek. If you’ve a wildcard kicking around – lucky you.

Gameweek 36 preview

West Ham v Spurs
Man City v Crystal Palace
Bournemouth v Stoke
Burnley v West Brom
Hull v Sunderland
Leicester v Watford
Swansea v Everton
Liverpool v Southampton
Arsenal v Man Utd
Chelsea v Middlesbrough
Southampton v Arsenal

There’s one extra fixture this week with Southampton and Arsenal both playing twice – once against each other in the midweek, and against Liverpool (Southampton) and Manchester United (Arsenal) over the weekend.

Meaning neither have an easy week ahead. Southampton are comfortably mid-table – about as mid-table as you can get. Last week, they were the first team since January to allow Hull to collect any away points, and before that were comfortably beaten by Chelsea and Manchester City. On the beach? This may open the door for Arsenal…or maybe not. Their respective form tables make similar reading.

Anyone holding both the triple captain and bench boost chips might be looking at this week to play the first of those. Mesut Ozil is Arsenal’s form man with two goals and an assist in his last five games. I guarantee Alexis Sanchez will still pick up more armband nominations. Ozil’s barely been on the radar at all this season. Sanchez sort of looks like he’s still trying.

Introducing Southampton players to your team is a much easier task. Their defence is made up of three players coming in at under £5 million and whilst clean sheets might not appear likely given the opposition, be aware that both Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens have picked up 27 and 23 points in their last five weeks. That includes bonuses, assists and goals. Up top they’re giving us very little at the moment. Manolo Gabbiadini was meant to offer more. He arrived, he scored goals, he got injured – and he’s been hooked before the 60 minute mark since that return. The last thing you want is four games in two weeks returning just four points.

Double gameweek 37 holds much more potential. Chelsea and Spurs players are a must. Also consider Chelsea welcome Middlesbrough this week, whilst Spurs visit West Ham (on Friday night – remember) with the possibility of reducing the league lead to a single point. The problem with ditching Southampton players is the price difference, but if you’ve got your wildcard left, now’s the time.

Gameweek 35 preview

Southampton v Hull
Stoke v West Ham
Sunderland v Bournemouth
West Brom v Leicester
Crystal Palace v Burnley
Man Utd v Swansea
Everton v Chelsea
Middlesbrough v Man City
Spurs v Arsenal
Watford v Liverpool

An island of single gameweek calm in between the double gameweek madness and a week in which we might see a lot of wildcarding, bearing in mind you can’t wildcard and chip at the same time. Arsenal and Southampton have two consecutive double gameweeks coming up. Gameweek 37 has five extra games with all of the top six playing twice. Good luck figuring all that out.

Southampton could be worth investing in ahead of time given they’ve got Hull at home this weekend. Hull’s resurgence has been built on a strong home record. Away, they’re a slightly less threatening proposition. Their last away point came back in January. Southampton come in relatively cheap. Three of their regular back four come in at under £5 million and those of us that have persevered with Manolo Gabbiadini may finally see some attacking returns for only £6.4 million.

We’ll know our April manager of the month after this weekend. Here’s the table…

up Hucking Fell
P Hawkins
86 356
same Shoelace Untied
Caroline Strong
82 349
up Aquamar 15
Noel Driver
74 327
down Kebab Eaters Utd
Paul Howard
41 324
up The Craggy Islanders
Adrian Roche
77 321

Realistically, there may only be two teams in it. Shoelace could add to their cup win, whereas Hucking Fell normally pick up at least one prize per season. Watch out for Aquamar though.