And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain
It’s Gameweek 38 and the curtain is about to fall on another Premier League season. But before we dive headlong into an existential crisis and wonder what the heck are we going to do with our lives next week?! Let’s enjoy, if we can, our final fix of FPL for 2018/19. It’s been emotional.
The big news from Gameweek 37 was the dismissal of Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son. The South Korean was sent off for only the second time in his career against Bournemouth. Owned by 77% of the top 10,000 managers, many are now wondering who to replace him with.
David, Az, and Andy debated the options on this week’s Scoutcast, opinions were divided with Az calling Pogba the sensible choice but Andy wondering how Manchester United will pick themselves up after being “so bad” against Huddersfield. Instead, Andy fancies the Crystal Palace v Bournemouth match to offer up some goals.
Brandon from the Always Cheating Podcast agrees:
All signs point toward a buccaneering shootout. The Palace midfielder of choice is Milivojevic, who is essentially Zaha’s shooting boots—the Palace forward loves to go down for penalty calls, leaving Milivojevic to sweep the goals home. On the other side would be Ryan Fraser, who is second only to Eden Hazard this season for assists (13).
Who to get to replace Son? was only one of the questions tackled by our FPL Question Time Panel. With Wolves facing a testing encounter away to Liverpool, other pressing concerns included “Who to replace Jiménez with?” FFS moderator Gregor, an FPL manager with an excellent track record of three top 1,000 finishes in the last five seasons, points out that after recovering from a shoulder injury, Rashford could be an excellent pick:
I don’t think there is any doubt that he’s one of the players Solskjær is depending on for next season and I think local boy Rashford will be keen to end the season on a high against the creaky Cardiff defence.
However if selling Jiménez means taking a hit, former FPL winner Simon March offered some cautionary words:
Generally speaking, a hit for the final Gameweek of the season is risky due to the fact that you obviously only have the one chance for it to pay off. Even a couple of points at this stage of the season can have huge implications for ranks and mini leagues so sacrificing them isn’t something we should take lightly.
Our Scoutcasters agreed. It’s also worth noting for those FPL managers in and around the top 10,000 that Jiménez had a 91% ownership in Gameweek 37.
Continuing with the all-important team news – and thank you to both Neale and Rotation’s Alter Ego for patiently sifting through the 18 press conferences we had on Friday – Andrew Robertson “should be fine” after he picked up a knock in Liverpool’s epic comeback against Barcelona, the same goes for Jordan Henderson, while Mohamed Salah has been training and is expected to return.
Not such good news for Roberto Firmino however, who will miss the final game of the season.
The latest from Manchester City is that Kevin De Bruyne could be involved this afternoon, having taken part in training in the last two days. However, Fernandinho is out.
Outside of the top two, there was some noteworthy defensive news: reinforcing Andy and Brandon’s view that there could be goals in the Crystal Palace v Bournemouth match, Palace – already without James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho – could also be without Scott Dann; And elsewhere, goalkeeper Joel Coleman will make his Huddersfield debut away to Southampton – can he possibly be as good as Mark Travers was on his debut for Bournemouth last week?
Owners of Southampton players, in particular their attacking assets, will be buoyed by the news. Recently crowned Southampton ‘Player of the Year’, Nathan Redmond has the underlying statistics to take full advantage. Not only is he selected for the Scout Picks but his captain credentials were even the subject of a members-only article. It makes for very impressive reading with perhaps only a low goal conversion rate letting him down.
Speaking of captain credentials, David’s Captain Sensible piece considers a number of armband candidates noting that:
There is a strong chance that Gameweek 38’s top points-scorer will come outside of the two Premier League title-related games.
Following Chelsea’s exertions on Thursday evening as their Europa League tie went to penalties, Leicester’s Jamie Vardy is attracting interest. No team has had more Shots on Target than Leicester’s 29 over the last four home gameweeks.
However, rather than in-form Leicester, it’s the somewhat out-of-sorts Manchester United who are predicted to do well in G-Whizz’s final DS stats, fixtures and clean sheet odds. A DS for United of 466 is enough to put them in third place behind only Liverpool (609DS) and neighbours Manchester City (595DS).
This is a prediction mirrored by Hutch_James in the Wisdom of the Crowd.
Finally, on the Scoutcast, Andy offered some wise words – and this applies to your captain pick as well:
If you’re ever going to wait to make your transfers, make it this week… every team is going to have to put their line-ups in at 2 o’clock, and we’ve had plenty of news in past seasons so wait wait wait.
No doubt he remembers that on the final day of the 2016/17 season Josh King famously posted on Instagram that he was missing out.
Grey Head opened his regular examination of The Great and The Good with a marginally less clichéd song lyric than I used at the outset of this article – The Final Countdown v My Way. Don’t let anyone accuse us of lacking in originality.
It was a surprise to discover that Mark, the highest ranked of The Great and The Good, has not owned Robertson all season. Remarkably, the first defender to score over 200 points in a single season never once graced his side. Although currently ranked inside the top 1,000 I doubt it’s a decision Mark regrets.
A man with a few regrets, and certainly enough to mention, is the FPL General. He’s had a season reminiscent of the well-known Eric Morecambe quote: “I’m playing all the right notes. But not necessarily in the right order.” Reflecting upon his season, the General observed:
With all the great content available to fantasy managers nowadays, the biggest challenge is managing yourself. Playing your own game has never been harder.
It’s a sentiment that was echoed by Jon Reeson, the record points-scorer in FPL:
My performance often seems to be hindered by worries about ownership and missing out, rather than going with a hunch, like I might have when I won.
Speaking of regrets I’ve had a few of my own this past week. The Dutch footballer and outstanding FPL manager, Jordie van der Laan – the subject of a recent FFS Community article – was featured on the BBC after he was sacked by his club for attending the Spurs v Ajax Champions League first leg in London without permission. The phrase “Well that escalated quickly” has rarely felt more apt.
Having arranged the match ticket for him, and then attracting the TV camera’s attention by making a VAR sign, I do feel a modicum of responsibility. Jordie responded to the situation with his usual good humour by requesting a ticket to the second leg reasoning that he is, after all, now free. It worked. Following his appearance on Dutch television, a journalist offered him a ticket.
What next for Jordie? Well I can exclusively reveal that he has been asked to take part in the Dutch version of Love Island! Not exactly the career move he is looking for. Quite how this has gone from FPL to Love Island is mind-boggling.
Anyway, in an effort to get Jordie’s football career back on track I would like to share his showreel. There’s an obvious comparison to Peter Crouch given his height, skill, and passion for FPL. Who knows? Maybe Burnley will have a vacancy to fill this summer and Jordie could be the perfect fit. After the events of the past week, nothing would surprise me.
If you’re a member and are yet to get to grips with the custom statistics tables, you can view this movie for an explanation of how they work. Also, remember to tag them so that people can find the tables with ease.
Congratulations to LOKOMOTIV who lifted the Fantasy Football Scout Cup following a narrow 6-point victory over FFS moderator Rotation’s Alter Ego. As Neale revealed in midweek, the final proved to be a tight affair going down to the last match on Monday evening, where a goal from Agüero – captained by Rotation’s Alter Ego – could well have swung the tie in his favour. In the end LOKOMOTIV’s decision to captain Aubameyang proved decisive.
In our third-place play-off, Skogen89 claimed the £50 Amazon voucher as he defeated Ibra-gum 55-43. Well done to all four managers for making it to the final Gameweek of the competition.
In TorresMagic’s Last Man Standing competition, Alan Robertson (aka Villaweeal) emerged triumphant. In a cagey final round which saw all four finalists suffer captain blanks, Alan had 12-point contributions from defenders Laporte and Doherty, together with a goal from Salah, to thank for this 3-point victory. He becomes the sixth winner of the competition, congratulations to him and the other three finalists.
Adam Levy (aka Elvy) the leader of both our main FFS League and our FFS Members League, has now been world number one for the past nine Gameweeks. His closest rival Falah Allawati took a 4-point hit and Triple Captained Agüero, however a rare home blank from the Argentine means Adam still has a substantial 60-point lead going into the final Gameweek.
Yesterday morning, David took at look at how the top two teams compare in the FPL title race – could Salah prove to be the ultimate differential?
A community article from RedLightning examines Adam’s tremendous season. It includes a look at his chip usage and hits, and highlights just how well he’s done since the start of 2019.
Going into the final Gameweek, Adam has a chance to beat the record FPL points total set by FFS member Jon Reeson (aka Westfield Irons) in the 2009/10 season. In a separate community article this week, Jon was kind enough to answer my questions about his record points season.
Mark has increased his lead in the FFS Mods & Cons to 27 points, and moves up to 552nd overall. Rotation’s Alter Ego still occupies second spot with G-Whizz some way behind in third.
Craig Till Reumert is the new leader in RedLightning’s Top 10k Any Season mini-league following an impressive Gameweek score of 71 (-4). He’s up to 72nd overall. This is Craig’s 12th FPL season, and he’s had four previous top 10,000 finishes. He was 109th in our Live Hall of Fame after Gameweek 36 and is most likely even higher now. Andy Sullivan drops to second.
Andrew Hughes takes over at the top of RedLightning’s January to May League, although the previous leader, Vimal Krishnan, is level with him on points. This is Andrew’s sixth FPL season, and at 322nd overall he will easily eclipse his best finish of 7,772 from 2015/16. He’s had 7 green arrows in the past 9 Gameweeks, rising nearly 19,000 places since Gameweek 28.
Ted Maw (aka Rotation’s Alter Ego) increased his lead in RedLightning’s The Last Ten Gameweeks mini-league to 18 points. 8 green arrows in the past 10 Gameweeks have taken him from 46k in Gameweek 27 to 1,405 now.
Andrew Hughes has scored 706 points since Gameweek 29 compared to Ted’s 686, so if Andrew had entered The Last Ten Gameweeks mini-league then he would be leading that too.
Finally, it was announced back in January that the 2019/20 season will see the return of the FFS Head-to-Head leagues. This week Mir, who will be running the leagues, gave us an update – the entry details are as follows:
When FPL opens for the 2019-2020 season a league code will be created on FPL called ‘FFS Head-To-Head League’, which will act as the entry form. We will then take those entries and associate HOF rankings with them, to start putting people into Divisions and Leagues. Right now, entry will close with the start of GW1.
If you are running a community tournament and would like the latest scores included in future Community Round-Ups, please email us a summary of the current leaders and a link to your league, spreadsheet or head-to-head competition at firstname.lastname@example.org