What a strange end to an otherwise frustrating holiday period. The best thing I can say is, thank God it’s over. I am sure many fantasy managers echo those sentiments. It was A LOT of football in a short period that produced mixed results. Gameweek 16 started the festive period, where I was 296k, by the end of Gameweek 22 I dropped to 409k. Considering injuries, gameweeks of 35 and 36 points and no Kane, it didn’t turn out too terribly bad.
While my expectations were higher ahead of the festive period, the stars unfortunately did not align for me. DGW22 was a blessing in disguise and one that ended better than I had anticipated. It started Sunday, New Year’s Eve as both matches played out to draws. Knowing there were games on Monday, I held off making my 2 FT, after rolling GW21 over.
Unfortunately, I miscalculated the start time of the first game on Monday as I was driving into work and missed the lineup deadline. I was livid! It means I was not able to transfer out Eden Hazard and Charlie Austin for Abdoulaye Doucouré and Harry Kane. In hindsight though, the non-transfers worked in my favor, as I finished DGW22 on 64 points or 20 better than the overall average.
I had 3 non-starters in Jonjoe Kenny, Philippe Coutinho and Mohammad Salah, while Callum Wilson and DGW participant, Arthur Masuaku were on the bench. It appeared my gameweek was a complete shambles, upset with myself for missing the deadline and not bringing in Kane on the back of 6 goals in 2 games. With many managers favoring Kane with armband, even going as far to add the Triple Captain Chip.
My frustration turned into confirmation as Coutinho and Salah wouldn’t feature during the gameweek, but got an early present as Wilson return 6 points against Brighton, points I would be getting off the bench. Austin wasn’t supposed to be in the mix for GW23, so I started with Laurent Depoitre as my lone forward in a 4-5-1 formation. Masuaku also found himself in the number two slot on the bench ahead of his two games.
It was slim pickings on Monday until the Man United fixtures, when Paul Pogba posted his first double digit haul (12 points) since returning from suspension with 2 assists and 3 bonus points, however it was Jesse Lingard who shined brighter. More on him later. Raheem Sterling continued his dominance with an early goal against Watford, he also picked up 2 bonus points.
Biggest question mark of the week was Hazard, coming very poor performances since Gameweek 15, he was my default captain away to Arsenal. A late, questionable penalty on Hazard put him on the spot, as he converted, picking up 3 bonus points for a total of 20 points.
His Chelsea teammate, Marcos Alonso continued his torrid pace, netting his 6th goal of the season, returning 7 points. Unfortunately Chelsea couldn’t keep a CS, so his back mate, Andreas Christensen, while featured in the Blues starting XI, didn’t return but a single point. By virtue of an own goal, Christian Kabasele saw his worst return in the last 5 games of -1 in a loss to Man City.
David de Gea and Man United appear back in form, defensively, as they have posted back to back clean sheets ahead of STO/bur, before playing at Wembley against Spurs. His 13 points were his best 2 game return since investing in the Spaniard since Gameweek 18.
Breaking down my team statistics for the season, thanks to FPL Statistico, I now sit on 1206 overall points through 22 gameweeks. A goal at the start of the season was to average 60/ppg each week, but currently falling short of the expectation, just 54.8/ppg. In order to achieve that goal, I would need to average 72.3 ppg over the next 15 gameweeks. Possible? Sure, as I rocket up the overall rankings, but unlikely. However, I would like to finish above my best overall score, recorded in 2015/16 of 2,170. That’s a total of 964 points over 15 weeks, which equates to a weekly average of 64.2/ppg.
You can see the points over the festive period, dotted by back to back red arrows and poor scores of 35 and 36 points, which really caused a decrease in my overall rank. Gameweek 19 and 20 were back to back 77 points, but saw a -12 point hit taken in order to fill out my 5-man premium midfield, which didn’t fair very well in the grand plan surrounding #KANEXIT, which started after Gameweek 14 for me.
Looking ahead, there are some short term goals I am aiming for. Looking at the ‘Point Difference To’ chart, I am just -55 points away from the top 100k, which would be the first time on the season that high in the overall ranking. After GW15, I was a season best 171k. I do believe in order to crack the top 10k, I would need to find an additional 8 points a week over to make the -118 I am short now. Best finish on the season was 75,024 in 2015/16, that number could be hard to achieve this year, but keeping a positive outlook and hoping luck it on my side.
The biggest difference maker this year, in terms of overall ranking still hinges on the success of your captaincy selection. Through Gameweek 22 I have scored 232 captain points (19.24% of overall score). By comparison, Boom Xhaka Laca (id#870749) has scored 365 captain points or 24.32% of his overall score. Big discrepancy, 133 points, which is the difference between 500k and 5k!
After the fast and furious holiday period, we now have time to sit back, relax and collect our thoughts and plan on how we move forward. First and foremost on my mind, the potential activation of my second wild card. Currently, I sit with 4 injuires, which includes the league’s top scorer, Salah, set to decrease in price. The January transfer window is also open, which means the mindset of Coutinho has him acting a little bitch off the pitch. Surprised if we see him play in Gameweek 23.
The biggest question, at 43.6 TSB% do I add Harry Kane to my starting XI? What about Sergio Agüero, as an option that’s £1.1 cheaper. Jesus out injured and favorable City fixtures, the Argentine has the potential to explode; liv/NEW/WBA/bur/LEI. Kane as EVE/sou in the next two games, but Spurs hit a bumpy period; MNU/liv/ARS followed by another green stretch.
Spending big up front on Kane or Agüero means budget options will play a supporting role if a 3-5-2 is used. Remaining in a 4-5-1 means I need address the injuries to Coutinho and Salah. While I don’t want to lose money on Salah, he’s flagged for the upcoming week. No idea if he’ll be fit in time for home fixture against Man City.
Other potential players I am considering, Riyad Mahrez, Jesse Lingard and David Silva in the midfield. Adding Silva would see me double up in the City midfield with the possibility of Agüero up front. In order to save money, I would move Christensen (£5.6) to a budget defender and replace Kabasele in a lateral move.