Sometimes these posts are hard to write. Not that I don't have anything to say. I've been running through what to say in my head for two days now. Can't sleep because of it, to be honest, as evidenced by the fact that I'm writing this at 2:30am. I've had a terrible week in fantasy football. I made no good trades... in fact I made terrible, panic trades at the barn door and followed them up with terrible Friday trades, which I strongly recommend fantasy managers never do. Why? I'm not entirely sure but I do have my (exculpatory) theories.
I've been living and breathing this stuff for a month now. I know... so have you. But with the blog, the Facebook page... talking about fantasy football, writing about fantasy football.... I've been up to my neck in it almost constantly for a month. After week one, I lost it. I did fine. Mid-table return. But I'm the fantasy football blogger! I need to do better than mid-table. I'm doing this live on stage. I need to be clever and right! So last week I made some dumb moves on the barn door to "prove" how smart I was. To myself, at least. I went in for Everton and Sunderland players because of their schedules. I got off ManU because of their shaky defence and anemic offense. I went in for Arsenal midfielders. I was determined to have Leighton Baines and by Friday thought Benni McCarthy was a smart pick because he had shots on goal from free kicks against Manchester City.
Needless to say, my team got spanked this weekend. My best player was Vermaelen. My defence provided 2/3 of my points. I'm seeing a lot of fantasy teams returning around 100pts. Great return, great week everybody. I got 30. Just a crushingly miserable performance. I can't even look at that number without feeling a little sick to my stomach. Am I taking this too hard? Probably. I know it's just a game and everyone is likely to have a week like this once a season or so. But again, I'm doing this live on stage to some extent and I'm really, really mad at myself... and more so, I'm just really, really embarrassed.
I hope the blog and our "insights", such as they are are helpful to you. But now I've spotted all of you 150-200 points in the first two weeks of the season. It's a long season and I'm going to be playing catch-up the whole way. I'm going to have to just follow my own advice from now on and do so in as rational a fashion as I can. Hopefully you can too.
Now, with that out of the way (and thank you for sticking through it) we can turn to the weekend's matches:
Fulham 0 - 2 Chelsea
Chelsea continue to stroll through the opening weeks of the season and it's again Drogba at the sharp end. The Elk finally gets off the mark, but it's Drogs providing the assist. Just put him in your lineup and don't look at that spot again until January. Seriously. 44% of teams already have him and the other 56% should.
Meanwhile Lampard is having a very quiet season. Just the PK goal to his name. While he's getting phantom points, it's certainly not enough to justify his upper tier middie price tag. Maybe he's still worth a gamble home to Burnley this week, but I'm not sure the money isn't better spent on Gerrard or Rooney.
On the other side of the pitch, it was a nice debut for Damien Duff. He may be one to watch.
Burnley 1 - 0 Everton
Burnley do it again! After turning over ManU by a goal, they do it to Everton. I was invested in this match and earned a tidy 4.5 points from three players. Ugh! They're getting their goals (goal) from midfield and I'm not sure anyone can predict who, or how long. But Graham Alexander got clean sheet points this week and is still a very cheap defender. We singled him out before the season and he might be a good pick up in a few weeks - they now face Chelsea and Liverpool back to back.
Everton aren't a shambles, but they aren't the same team as last season. Fellaini is MIA and their fit players aren't making up for the loss of their injured teammates like they did in the past. It might be worth sticking with someone like Howard for the time being (pending Moyes' bringing in another center half), but I'm hard pressed to even slighty up another one of their players except for Rodwell who should return enough points to justify his 3.65 price tag.
West Ham United 1 - 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Carlton Cole scores and then turns around and gifts Defoe the equalizer. Could you sum up Carlton Cole any better than that? Good player, but prone to do the stupidest things! If he and Titus Bramble were on the same side... oy! Jimenez got another shot on target. He looks like he could be value - not just yet, but maybe if he settles into the game a bit more.
Spurs, meanwhile, continue their great run. Kudos to 'arry for finally spending smart money at the club. Ok, maybe not all of it, but certainly whatever Defoe, Palacios and Bassong cost. Defoe, Lennon and Keane are returning the points but prices as such. Bassong is somehow still a reasonable option at 6.15. They way defenders are priced these days that's still a steal.
Wigan Athletic 0 - 5 Manchester United
The champions sparkle again as Wigan lives down to old habits by capitulating to a top team. Rooney with the brace answering any doubts about him after the Burnley match. Even Owen scores, though I think he's going to settle into his sub role with Berbatov also shining and scoring. Nani returned too and scored too. There have got to be a lot of fantasy managers upset after shipping him out of their teams and I expect he'll be one to whom they return.
I'm not sure what to make of Wigan just yet. They were devestating against Villa, but maybe later today we'll learn that it was more of a reflection on Villa than Wigan. But I'm not ready to write off Rodallega, Koumas or Gomez just yet. They get Everton next, which will be a very interesting marker for both clubs.
Sunderland 2 - 1 Blackburn Rovers
Givet makes bargain hunting fantasy managers everywhere very happy. I don't think Rovers will keep many clean sheets, but Givet is shaping up to be a nicely priced, low risk defender. I'm on the bandwagon.
KJones with the double this week, after going missing for the first two matches. DBent is the one to disappear this week. I wonder if they'll every be on the same page like Beattie and Fuller were for Stoke last season, of if it is going to be a case of one will do well for you, but you'll never know which one. And their defence seems to have some clean sheet potential. McCartney and Fulop might be decent bets for the money.
Manchester City 1 - 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Second verse, same as the first. K2 scores and Given works miracles to keep the clean sheet. It's a great recipie for Hughes and for fantasy manager with those players in their team. Hint, hint... I'm now one of those managers. Tevez looked good on his debut, assisting for K2's goal while Robinho continues to flirt with a hat trick per game but ends up converting nothing.
In what looks to be one of the more frustrating things about the season, Milijas again comes out of the match early. Is he not fit? Not fitting into McCarthy's system? I don't know but it seems odd to me. And it's killing his fantasy value. I'm not ready to pull him myself, especially at the bargain price... and home to Hull this weekend. But something to watch closely over the next few weeks.
Hull City 1 - 0 Bolton Wanderers
Speaking of Hull City, they come up with a big three points here. Three points that Bolton sure could have used. It's a really good thing we don't bet on Bolton, because these types of things happen to them. Jozy Altidore with a dream debut and he'll be someone to watch and see if he becomes a regular starter and a regular contributor. Meanwhile Ghilas, the goal scorer, isn't in the Yahoo! game yet. C'mon guys!
Birmingham City 0 - 0 Stoke City
The scoreline no one could be surprised by. Wilkinson continues to contribute as a cheap defender. But across the pitch I've been really impressed with Franck Queudrue. He's been taking kicks all over the pitch, though mostly the restart play kind. But he's getting points from his defence, and keeping his nose clean which is a new aspect of his game. He's a bit pricey at 8, but has been returning 11 a match on a surpringly stingy Birmingham defence. You read it here first.
Arsenal 4 - 1 Portsmouth
Again Arsenal runs rampant and again fantasy manager are left scratching their heads. Where is Arshavin? Fabregas picks up a hamstring injury after 45mins. Almunia was slow to a cross and Kaboom beat him to the ball to score and ruin the clean sheet. van Persie continues to be the guy behind the guy, notching his third assist of the season. And after Fab4's double last week, it was Diaby's turn. Diaby has shone in flashes as an attacker and Wenger has said that when he plays, Fabregas will sit deeper. Well, now Fab4 is out and maybe Diaby gets a few games to let loose. Maybe Arshavin or Eduardo steps up to fill the void. It will be intruiging, and it will repay the fantasy manager who gets it right, but I'm surely not the one with any insight into it.
Portsmouth are only not bottom thanks to the train wreck that is Everton and the fact that they held the Gunners to two fewer goals in their whipping. Next they host Manchester City and it might be another beating for Pompey. You see, Citeh's Arab billionaire actually had some money.
Liverpool v Aston Villa
I fully expect Liverpool to thrash Villa again, say 3-1. Villa have no spine and Gerrard and Torres should be well positioned to take advantage of that. Villa should score themselves as Liverpool are still thin in the back themselves. But it's a Monday match and those never play out the way you expect.
So until next week,