Winners – The Vinegar Pissers
The third manager to pick up their second title scoring the second highest finishing total. The Vinegar Pissers only spent six weeks outside of our top 10, first taking root in GW5. They did drop to the depths of 11th and 12th, before permanently floating around 6th until gameweek 29, when a manager of the week performance saw them rise to third. Then GW31 – only four games – but a Mohamed Salah masterclass and everybody’s posting 100+ totals and challenging for the highest weekly score prize. The VP’s kicked arse with 124 points from eight players, 58 of which came from Salah. That put them at the top of the league and that’s where they stayed – and in truth, no-one really got that close to them. Congratulations to the Pissers. They got as high as 8,202nd in the world, never took more than a four point hit, played their triple captain and bench boost in the run in and utilised their free hit well, picking up a good score with it and a green arrow just before Christmas. Interestingly, they played their wildcards at almost the earliest possibly opportunity on both occasions. Proving that there is still no logic to this game and it’s all complete luck.
Runners up – Nashton Villa, Edgbaston and Despicable Mee
Our Champions League qualifiers all had similar seasons, making their surge into the top ten and then the top four at around the same time. It was during March that they all lost ground on the VPs and were left desperately trying to claw back the points lost during gameweeks 29 and 31 – the two weeks that definitely won the VP’s that manager of the month, and arguably won them the league. It was a superb debut season for Nashton who reached their highest worldwide position after GW37, but were unable to continue the rise and challenge for the top spot. They would have had to surpass the 100 point mark in GW38 to knock our champions off their perch.
Edgbaston have finally crept into our top four after two consecutive 5th place finishes, despite finishing lower in the world rankings than in both of their last two attempts. And fourth placed Despicable Mee are regressing. Two consecutive runners up placings and now fourth place. Once always the bridesmaid – now a distant uncle only invited because they had a space to fill. In all seriousness – if one of these two doesn’t win this title soon, I’d be very surprised.
There were valiant efforts by two former champs who just ran out of steam at the last knockings – FC Caligula and The Craggy Islanders finished 5th and 6th respectively. We’re sure to see them in the running next season. Hornets, a total rookie FPL debutant, who were top every week bar three between gameweeks 2 and 29, finished in a respectable 7th. By gameweek 16 they had climbed to 1,663rd in the world, as high (possibly) as any Buckets manager has been, but they peaked too early. Better understanding of the chips and when to play them might serve them better next season. The rest of us – probably got stung by Harry Kane once too often, and only realised when it was too late that they should have had Mo Salah as captain EVERY WEEK.
We had more managers of the week scoring 100+ scores than in any previous season. The Vinegar Pissers’ 124 point score was the second highest weekly winning score, but falls way behind their own record set in the 2013-2014 season when they managed 165 points in a week in which virtually everybody passed the 100 point barrier following a mammoth double gameweek. That same season produced the highest winning finishing score in our league of 2356 points. Despite there being more 100+ weekly winners in this season, The VPs finished 67 points behind that total. It’s worth noting that the 124 points scored in GW31 was done so from only four games. Another thirteen of our fifty teams passed the century mark that week. And most of them were only fielding bit part teams.
We had ten different managers of the month, six managers taking two weekly accolades, but only one, The bloody Vinegar Pissers, managing three highest weekly scores. Shoelace Untied took the December prize, accumulating 477 points for the month – the highest ever monthly total.
We may have fallen just short of breaking our manager records this season, but the reason we got so close was largely due to one player – Mohamed Salah. He became the first player to pass 300 points for the season. No-one else came close – which may explain why we didn’t quite eclipse the higher scores from four years ago. Back then, in the ‘Suarez’ season, there was a great supporting cast, with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Robin Van Persie, Yaya Toure and Eden Hazard all scoring big, playing consistently and featuring in a lot of teams. This season only Harry Kane, Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne passed the 200 point mark. Despite Kane running Salah (fairly) close in the golden boot chase, he was still close to 100 points behind. Which says more about the frustrating, annoying, inconsistent, trolling season the Spurs striker had. Nowt for weeks then just when you get sick of it all three frickin’ hat tricks…or whatever it was. Dickhead. Still – he’ll be in from the start next season.
Kane picked up more player of the week awards (three) than anyone else. Salah, who only scored more than anyone else once throughout the whole season, was much more consistent. A goal every week rather than three and a gap. And lets mention GW31 again – 29 points – the highest ever single match gameweek score. Sergio Aguero, Heung-Min Son and Marko Arnautovic were the only other players to get two player of the week awards. Tottenham won the award six times ahead of Chelsea with five, and then perhaps surprisingly, Manchester City, with only four winners. Ayoze Perez, Federico Fernandez and Callum Wilson showed up on the bargain list more than once and Newcastle appeared to be the best go-to cheapo team, winning the award five times over the course of the season. Watford were king of the twats offering up six ‘worst of the week’, with Jose Holebas winning the award twice. Jack Stephens also won it twice – and in consecutive weeks, so well done to him. Manchester City did dominate the goal of the week contenders with eight wins, but anyone who tells you that Jamie Vardy’s over the shoulder volley against West Brom in GW30 isn’t the goal of the season, is some kind of goon.
Debatable team of the season
- GK – David De Gea – 172 points
No arguments here, although Lorus Karius did pick up more points per match of all keepers playing more than 10 games. Karius and Mignolet played half a season each – 19 games a piece. Mignolet scored on average 1.1 points per game less and kept three less clean sheets – although still 7 out of 19 which is pretty respectable.
- DR – Cesar Azpilicueta – 175 points
- DL – Marcos Alonso – 165 points
- DC – Nicolas Otamendi – 156 points
- DC – Jan Vertonghen – 138 points
Antonio Valencia, Ben Davies and Kyle Walker all scored more than Vertonghen, but none are central defenders. In the favoured three at the back, you’d probably have to drop Alonso. He hasn’t scored enough to warrant his usual left wing back position ahead of the highest scoring midfielders either…coming up next. Andrew Robertson missed 16 games and Phil Jones missed 15 games, but both beat all of the above, other than Alonso, in points per game. Jones managed 15 clean sheets in his 23 games. Basically – if he didn’t play – United usually conceded.
- DM – Luca Milivojevic – 144 points
- CM – Kevin De Bruyne – 209 points
- AM – Mohamed Salah – 303 points
- AM – Raheem Sterling – 229 points
- AM – Christian Eriksen – 199 points
Obviously, this is where it all gets a bit ‘debatable’. No real team is complete without some kind of defensive holding player, so when you see the PFA team of the year, and it’s basically a goalkeeper and 10 attackers, you do wonder if they ever really watch the game. But then if you were going to stick a defensive midfielder in there, you wouldn’t necessarily be basing their inclusion on their fantasy points total, seeing as how nothing they do is ever taken into consideration when the scores are totted up. You’d just pick N’Golo Kante and move on wouldn’t you? Milivojevic is definitely worth a mention though. Arguably the most reliable penalty taker in the league, double figures for goals and in the top 10 for bonuses.
- CF – Harry Kane – 217 points
His best goalscoring season but not his his best fantasy season. Too many braces and hat tricks, if their can be such a thing, and not enough consistency. Kane would go missing for weeks, but then burst back into life racking up the highest bonus score too. It was all about catching him on a good day. He blanked in 19 gameweeks – half a season. Salah failed to score anything other than appearance points in only 10 games. Aguero, and latterly, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, finished the season with more points per match. There’s your front three for August.