Friday, 30 October 2015

Stag's Knight - Gameweek 11



The Stag surveyed the expanse of colours laid out before him. The jerseyed knights jostled for positions, snarling as they sought the upper ground and over enthusiastically celebrated their triumphs. However, The Stag required a differential.  Only a knight less than 20% of the herd would do.  Only one knight could help him vault the others over the next 3 gameweeks.  Only one knight could bring him the fabled Green Arrows.  A knight to brighten his day.





The return of last season’s heroes gradually, gameweek by gameweek continued last week with Harry Kane coming up trumps with a hat trick. However, one game isn’t enough for me to back him for this week’s Stag’s Knight, combined with the fact that Spurs’ fixtures aren’t all that great. Instead, it’s Gameweek 9’s man of the moment Georginio “Wij” Wijnaldum who comes in as my top pick for the upcoming three gameweeks. For the Dutchman, it’s a combination of partial form, undoubted ability and fixtures that make him the standout pick.

I’ll hit all the nails I just outlined on the head now, starting with form. Wij’s returns have been more consistent than Newcastle’s results for a start. In the two games before the infamous 4 goal bonanza against Norwich, when the Toon faced Chelsea and Arsenal, he managed to get a goal and then an assist. In addition to that, Wij also scored on his Premier League debut against Southampton in Gameweek 1. You have a certain comfort in picking Wij too that you wouldn’t have often wouldn’t have when you’re dealing with players from other teams – almost everything Newcastle do successfully in attack goes through him. Of the 12 goals they’ve managed to score this term, Wij was involved in 7 of them. That’s staggering!

Undoubted ability you say Mr Stag? Prove it! Okay, okay precious readers. Sit down around the fire to hear some career stats. From midfield, he managed to score 56 goals and create a further 24 goals in 154 competitive appearances for PSV over in Holland. Just over one attacking return every second match. Bear in mind also that he managed all that while a young developing player (Wij turns 25 on November 11th). While I’ve outlined his Premier League returns, I didn’t mention the stats that underpin them and highlight his ability further. When you consider how terrible Newcastle have been, averaging 1.5 shots per game and 1.1 key passes per game is quite impressive (whoscored.com). These personal stats are sure to improve as they consistently play weaker opposition over the next three gameweeks, and the team around Wij will find it much easier to supply him.

Speaking of weaker opposition, I’ll outline the enticing fixtures I’ve spoken about. Newcastle host Stoke, go to wayward Bournemouth and then play Leicester in St James’ Park after the International break. Stoke won’t exactly be shrinking violets when they head up to Tyneside. It’s the most difficult of the three. However, the injury to Geoff Cameron is a sure blow to their defence system, as is highlighted by the two goals Watford put past them last weekend after he was forced off. Need I explain Bournemouth? Boruc has suddenly become the poorest ‘keeper in the division and the team have shipped 10 goals in their last two games. Leicester are still poor defensively, their first clean sheet of the season last weekend doesn’t change that. Oh yeah, why didn’t I choose him last week so? Two reasons, derby and new manager playing at home. Two things I always fear.


6.9m, 7% ownership and a key attacking outlet. Georginio Wijnaludum is Gameweek 11’s Stag’s Knight. @FPLStag

(Click to enlarge)


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Chief's #FPL Team - Gameweek 11

Disclaimer: *FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will  most likely be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter account.


 CHIPS USED: 0

GW TRANSFER(S): 2

-4 HIT

  KANE & MANE (IN)

  COSTA & WALCOTT (OUT)

  WILDCARD: UNTOUCHED
(TBU after GW12 deadline)


Thoughts & Reasoning:

Another Gameweek, another red arrow and another 100k fall.  I'm now floating around the 600k mark which is far from ideal, obviously. Captain Vardy just about delivered, albeit "bap-less" and selling Ritchie for Wijnaldum for a -4 was premature, if not costly.  It could have been far worse had I not captained Vardy as the rest of my attacking players flopped. Walcott's no show was the final straw.  I didn't want to take another -4 hit, but the fact that both he and Costa got injured midweek gave me a chance to reshuffle some dead wood. Even if Costa is fit for the Liverpool match I doubt he'll be performing at 100% and Walcott over Ozil was a mistake I still regret.

Looking to Gameweek 11 I needed some inspiration.  This came in part when listening live to the Weekly Fantasy Football Show (podcast) with their discussion on Kane. But it was during a chance conversation with Rob (6 consecutive Top 5k FPL finishes in a row) that swayed and ultimately validated my purchase of Mane.  Firstly, with Kane, he won't score a hat-trick every week. But with the no Spurs cover and with him finally showing some form it made sense to buy him - he also faces Villa at home during a "MNF" game.  If he falters, I can always replace him with Lukaku through my wildcard.

As for Mane, I think he will go under the radar this week.  Many FPL managers saw him get a red card last Sunday and they may erroneously think he is banned for this Sunday. Wrong! The ban has already been completed with Southampton's League Cup game.  Mane has scored 3 goals and bagged an assist in his last 4 Premier League games, which is a fantastic return for a non-top 4 club midfielder that costs less than £8M.  To put things into perspective, he scored 10 league goals in 30 games last season.  Mane is a de facto striker and will face a depleted Bournemouth defence at home.  In addition, Southampton face Sunderland and Stoke in the next two Gameweeks. At less than 10% ownership and with an eye for scoring, he makes sense. I'm so impressed by his overall prowess that I am even captaining him over Kane.

Here's to hoping for some green arrows.  Good luck to you all!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Vintage FPL: Leicester 3-3 Arsenal (Guest Post)

As a 35 year old man I have seen a lot of goals in my ‘career’ as a football fan/FPL manager. The best three hat-tricks I have ever seen in the flesh are:
1). Sam Smart for Earls Barton Saxons Under 13s Vs Oakley Lodge Under 13s at The Pioneer, in 1993. This hat trick genuinely included a 35 yard header and Sam was a centre half!!
2). Neil (Larry) Grayson for Northampton Town away at Preston North End in 1996– The bald, stocky, pacey Cobblers forward bustled his way to a ‘hattie’ away at top of the league Preston, to help turn them over in their own back yard, “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to see the Cobblers win away!”
3). Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal, away to Leicester City, earlier this season (did I mention I went to the game?!) – made all the better as I had him in my FPL team and my brother in-law had just taken him out of his (who I had gone to the game with).

@FanFeudPodcast - Gameweek 10


Weekly Fantasy Football Show

Don't Mesut with Kane!

with , , , & host .

You can also listen on iTunes

Feel free to follow FanFeudPodcast on Twitter!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Vintage FPL: Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle United (Guest Post)


So there I was, scratching around in the FPL wilderness trying to find my place, thoroughly enjoying my time being part of the FPL Community but feeling the need to do something to ‘earn’ my place. I began by posting some vines for a bit of fun – predominantly based on Ari Gold from Entourage and The X-Factor were getting me by but I needed something more...
In choosing the name @FPLVintage I suppose I kind of subconsciously pushed this kind of thing on myself but it wasn’t until an inspiring DM session with the man himself (when I was supposed to be washing up) that the task dawned upon me.
Chief - “You should do a Twitter post with vintage FPL values”
Nah I thought, too much effort. But then I started considering it; Why not? Shouldn’t take too long,  could make it a regular thing (if I can be bothered), might be quite an interesting thing to do plus I’ve always found it a lot easier talking more accurately about the past than the future, so….. here we go.
Number 1 instalment of FPLVintage, VPL (Vintage Premier League – not Visible Panty Line). Took place at Anfield on Wednesday 3rd April 1996, I remember listening to the game on Radio 5live in my bedroom on the ghetto blaster I had for my 15th Birthday (the November before) as the old man was always too tight to get Sky. Considered to be one of the most entertaining matches in Premier League history and, as a childhood Liverpool fan, I have to agree: Liverpool 4 v 3 Newcastle United.
Any suggestions for my next post would be greatly appreciated. Get involved.
Nice one.
 

VPL FF points:
Collymore 16 pts (2pts – 90 mins, 8pts – 2 goals, 3pts – 1 assist, 3BAPS)
Fowler 12 pts (2pts – 90 mins, 8pts – 2 goals, 2BAPS)
Ferdinand 10 pts (2pts – 90 mins, 4pts – 1 goal, 3pts – 1 assist, 1BAP)
Asprilla 10 pts (2pts – 90 mins, 4pts – 1 goal, 3pts – 1 assist, 1BAP)
Ginola 7 pts (2pts – 90 mins, 5pts – 1 goal)
McManaman 5 pts (2pts – 90 mins, 3pts – 1 assist)
Barnes 5 pts (2pts – 90 mins, 3pts – 1 assist)
Lee 5 pts (2pts – 90 mins, 3pts – 1 assist)
FPL Vintage Values:


 
LFC
VFPL Value

NUFC
VFPL Value
5.5M

Pavel Srníček
5.5M
5M

Steve Watson
6M
6M

Steve Howey
6M
5.5M

Philippe Albert
6.5M
6M

John Beresford
5.5M
6.5M

Peter Beardsley
8M
5.5M

David Batty
5M
5.5M

Robert Lee
7M
8M

David Ginola
9.5M
10.5M

'Tino Asprilla
10.5M
12M

Les Ferdinand
12M
4.5M

Darren Peacock
5.5M
4.5M

Keith Gillespie
7M
5.5M

Lee Clark
6M








Thursday, 22 October 2015

Chief's #FPL Team - Gameweek 10

Disclaimer: *FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will  most likely be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter account. 


 CHIPS USED: 0 

GW TRANSFER(S): 2

-4 HIT

  VARDY & WIJNALDUM (IN)

MARTIAL & MAHREZ (OUT)

  WILDCARD: UNTOUCHED


Thoughts & Reasoning:

Gameweek 9 brought my FPL team back down to reality. The acquisition of Costa proved to be a mini-masterstroke, but captaining de Bruyne again was anything but.  The fumble on not buying Wijnaldum proved costly and buying Mahrez for Walcott (-4) was dire.  All in all, my team fell 100,000-ish places. Pish. Another Gameweek to write off.

I was fortunate enough to be a panelist a few days ago on the Weekly Fantasy Football Show podcast alongside the current champion and a former champion (Simon and Matt). Hearing their thoughts and validation on some points gave me another light bulb moment. I realised that I had  to get Wijnaldum. In addition, having Vardy would be a massive bonus. At the same time, I had to act fast to avoid price rises.

I sold Ritchie as he has been indifferent this season. Despite a rocky start he showed glimmers of hope, but it wasn't enough.  Who else could I sell? Simpson for Cedric could have funded a move for Wijnaldum, but it didn't make sense for a -4. I had to look further up field. Martial faced my ire, after his inability to score in recent weeks. I know the Manchester derby could be a kick start time for him, but I'm worried he'll be forced out on the flank, rendering him as being ineffective.  On paper, Vardy and Wijnaldum made sense due to their form and upcoming fixtures.

My captain picks haven't been that delightful this season. If only I could captain my highest points scorer, always. If Wijnaldum was at home again I probably would have given him the armband. But it came down to Sanchez and Vardy the former with double digit points in his last 3 and the latter not blanking for FPL returns since Gameweek 2. In the end I went for the Chilean as I feel he is more capable to score 2+ than Vardy.  HOWEVER if I suspect by Friday evening that Sanchez will be rested, I will make Vardy my captain and confirm it on Twitter.

Good luck to you all!

Stag's Knight - Gameweek 10




The Stag surveyed the expanse of colours laid out before him. The jerseyed knights jostled for positions, snarling as they sought the upper ground and over enthusiastically celebrated their triumphs. However, The Stag required a differential.  Only a knight less than 20% of the herd would do.  Only one knight could help him vault the others over the next 3 gameweeks.  Only one knight could bring him the fabled Green Arrows.  A knight to brighten his day.


It’s extraordinary how quickly the FPL landscape can be changed. A few weeks ago, people scrambled to bring Anthony Martial after he went on an unbelievable hot-streak. Then we had the Aguero injury which forced people to invest money elsewhere. Indeed, the injury to the Argentinian was a huge factor in Gameweek 7’s Stag’s Knight Raheem Sterling being deployed further forward last weekend, where, as you all surely know, he got a hat-trick. Meanwhile Wilfried Bony reemerged from relative FPL obscurity to score 2, assist 1, and notch up 3 BAPs alongside the Englishman. His instant impact honestly surprised me. I had considered him for both my own team and Stag’s Knight but doubted him too much to take the plunge. He proved me wrong! So with that slice of humble pie in one hand and my own FT in the other, I’m selecting Wilfried Bony as Gameweek 10’s Stag’s Knight.

I’ll get straight to the facts here. Bony has got only 3 Premier League games to prove his worth to manager Manuel Pellegrini as star man Sergio Aguero is expected to then return in time for the Liverpool game on November 21st. In that sense, Bony fits the Stag’s Knight metric perfectly - a 3 week pick for a 3 week player. In terms of ownership, Bony is owned by only 3.1% of all FPL managers, 2.8% if you include all “ghost ship” teams according to Fantasy Football Fix. This highlights the striker as a staggering differential for improving your overall rank. Furthermore, the case for Bony is supported by an ownership of 7.3% among the eminent top 1000.

Bony’s Premier League stats this season are not comprehensive enough to paint a true picture of his performances, good or bad. Stats from sub appearances here and there coupled with a one-sided trouncing of Bournemouth hardly merit mentioning, let alone reliance. Hence, I’ll do an unusual thing and just highlight pure ability. He has 30 Premier League goals and 9 assists in 71 appearances. If you were to discount the cameos as a sub for City, you’d find he has been averaging about a goal every second game. That’s a solid ratio for any striker.

Apart from the psychological “now or never” factor and evident ability, Bony has decent fixtures on his side too. I tend to run an “avoid Manchester Derbies” policy when I’m looking at FPL players - the risk of cards is a major deterrent in general. I’m willing to turn a blind eye on this occasion though because those derbies tend to produce goals in bucket loads also. Following on from the clash in Old Trafford, Bony and co. host the league’s worst defence at the Etihad. You can probably guess who that is… yup, Norwich City. They’ve shipped 20 goals in 9 games so far. Bony will finish his term as Stag’s Knight when City visit Villa Park, where Tim Sherwood’s men are seriously struggling. I’d even go as far to predict that poor Tim won’t even be in charge by the time City visit. Regardless, I reckon City will go nuts there, especially with David Silva back providing assists.


Big, strong and sometimes lethal – Your Stag’s Knight for Gameweek 10 is Wilfried Bony.

                                     
As I highlighted at the top of the article, so much can change in a week. I concluded last week’s article hoping for a change of fortune for Stag’s Knights. That’s exactly what I got. All three came up trumps, each scoring goals..


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Find me and follow me @FPLStag

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Weekly @FanFeudPodcast - Gameweek 10


Weekly Fantasy Football Show

*Match Winners and Fixture-proof-ability*

This show features the reigning champion and a former world champion of FPL!


You can also listen on iTunes

Please follow FanFeudPodcast on Twitter!


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Chief's #FPL Team - Gameweek 9

Disclaimer: *FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will  most likely be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter account.


 CHIPS USED: 0 

GW TRANSFER(S): 2

-4 HIT

  WALCOTT & COSTA (IN)

MAHREZ & AGUERO (OUT)

  WILDCARD: UNTOUCHED


Thoughts & Reasoning:

What a difference a Gameweek can make. I was stuck at 1.4 million and out of the blue Aguero scores 5 goals.  This was complemented by good fantasy returns from Sanchez, de Bruyne and Payet.  Had I captained Aguero instead of de Bruyne, I would have scored over 100 points, but 97 was sufficient and elevated my team up to 400k.  It was a much needed boost to a sluggish start.  Unfortunately, Aguero got injured on international duty.  What's also worrying is that there are fitness questions over Mahrez, Kolarov and even Sanchez. With all the post-international knocks flying about, I felt this was an appropriate time to take another -4 hit.

I had a light bulb moment when listening live to the Gameweek 9 FanFeud podcast. I came to the conclusion that I needed attacking cover from Chelsea. They need a big win and in their recent past they have hammered Aston Villa who are going through a rocky patch. I decided to buy Costa in part due to his low ownership. I know his form has been poor this season, but I'm hoping that he has attained some rest after his three match suspension. He scored 20 league goals last season, he's definitely due more goals this season. I was on the cusp of buying Berahino to replace my dud sub Graham. But I was worried that Berahino hasn't played many full matches this season, despite three decent upcoming games.

I had to change tact on Thursday evening, specifically after hearing news about Mahrez and Sanchez. I wanted a striker. What better one is there than an out of position midfielder - Theo Walcott has form on his side, scored on international duty, 5% ownership, returned early to his club and is a steal at £8.6M. I simply couldn't ignore him.  My 3-5-2 is in essence a 3-4-3.  Having said that, I know Watford haven't conceded a lot at home this season, but they are prone to being weak at the back against bigger clubs. If either of my Costa/Walcott moves fail, I can always remove them with my wildcard during the November international break. Finally, I have let de Bruyne retain the armband due to his consistency and reliability.

Good luck to you all!

Stag's Knight - Gameweek 9


The Stag surveyed the expanse of colours laid out before him. The jerseyed knights jostled for positions, snarling as they sought the upperground and overenthusiastically celebrated their triumphs. However, The Stag required a differential.  Only a knight less than 20% of the herd would do.  Only one knight could help him vault the others over the next 3 gameweeks.  Only one knight could bring him the fabled Green Arrows.  A knight to brighten his day.


Can you smell that in the air? I shouldn’t have to tell you that that whiff is the much anticipated return of everybody’s favourite self-torture device, FPL! Luckily for you all reading this, FPL’s return correlates with the return of Stag’s Knight. Hopefully, all of you are celebrating the triumphs of your respective countries over the International Break. I for one had a fantastic time, managing to attend mighty Ireland’s 1-0 crushing of world champions Germany. That night, I would have told you Shane Long was the most gifted striker ever to grace the emerald isle and the planet as a whole. Unfortunately, the hero of our age sustained a minor (thank goodness) injury in our defeat in Warsaw so he is ruled out of Premier League contention for at least 2 weeks. Had he been fit, I probably would have ignored all logical argument and selected him as Stag’s Knight for Gameweek 9.

Instead, I’ve gone with 22 year old English striker Saido Berahino of West Brom as my Stag’s Knight for the coming gameweek. At this stage, we all know about Bera’s controversial summer transfer window when he failed to sign for Spurs and announced he’d never play for the club again. Isn't it amazing though how a player’s opinion and attitude on the pitch can change when they realise that only good performances will help them get a move away! Tony Pulis has slowly begun to reintroduce the young striker back into his match-day squads in an effort to score much needed goals with the Baggies hanging precariously, 4 points clear of the relegation zone in 17th place. I do stress the word slowly though!

Bera’s last 3 appearances have seen him on the playing field for 66, 90 and 45 minutes respectively. Don’t be too alarmed though, he managed to score 2 goals in that limited time accruing 5 Bonus Points along the way. Why isn’t the starlet playing 90 minutes every game? Well obviously he is still going through “rehab” after his transfer saga. Along with that, Pulis is trying to share playing time with misfiring club record signing Salomón Rondón (who hasn’t hit the back of the net in 4 PL games) and Rickie Lambert.

I usually try to judge a player’s FPL potential by looking back on their last 5 games and looking forward to their fixtures to come. Berahino’s form I’ve already outlined, there is no more to go by. In terms of what’s to come, this is where my argument in favour of the striker gains more traction. West Brom’s next two games are relegation “6 pointers”. First, they host Big Sam’s Sunderland at the Hawthorns. No matter how much of a kick the new boss gives the Black Cats, I can’t see their lousy defence suddenly becoming impregnable. Next they take on Norwich away before finally hosting Leicester. Fascinatingly, these are the three teams in the league that are yet to keep a clean sheet!

As further back up, we see that Fantasy Football Fix’s algorithm churns out the Baggies as the team with the best attacking potential for the next 3 gameweeks. What I do concede is that their algorithm is nowhere near as optimistic as I am about Berahino’s points potential!!

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Saido Berahino - He’s sharp, he’s got a point to prove, owned by 7.9%. He’s my Knight for Gameweek 9.

Ask me questions, follow me and laud me @FPLStag


Results haven't gone our way of late. Hopefully things change this weekend.

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