Fantasy Football Scout community writer Greyhead continues with his series of articles analysing the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) transfers and strategies of some noted Fantasy managers, from serial top 10k finishers to well-known faces.
The Great and The Good this year are the Scouts Joe Lepper, Neale Rigg, Geoff Dance and Tom Freeman, FPL Wire’s Zophar, from the Hall of Fame Fabio Borges, FPLMatthew, Yavuz Kabuk and Tom Stephenson, Blackbox’s Az and Mark Sutherns, FPL “celebrities” LTFPL Andy, Magnus Carlsen and FPL General plus last year’s mini-league winner Les Caldwell.
“No clue, of what’s happening to you. And before this night is through. Ooh baby the rhythm is gonna get’cha”
Wildcard rhythm spread uncontrollably through The Great and The Good as not one, not two, but five of them threw in their chip.
In other signs of international break madness, some started tracking Raphinha‘s (£6.6m) flight path as he returned to the UK, there was more COVID chaos and Timo Werner (£8.6m) was being considered an option for those with short memories.
Things didn’t get any better with the squad announcements as the ‘Great Benching of 2021’ saw Diogo Jota (£7.5m), Jack Grealish (£7.9m), Ruben Dias (£6.2m), Raul Jimenez (£7.6m), Adam Armstrong (£6.0m), Reece James (£5.5m) and even Brandon Williams (£4.0) getting nothing but splinters in their posteriors.
‘Jammy’ Joe was top this week with a slightly fortunate or well-planned, depending on your perspective, 71 points, where 13 of those came from his substitutes.
Conor Coady (£4.5m) and Tino Livramento’s (£4.3m) contribution meant he had a full house of defensive returns and a green arrow of 225,000 places.
LTFPL Andy continues to lead the way, opening a 17-point gap but it’s incredibly close with only 20 points separating Tom Stephenson in second and Joe in 13th.
Unfortunately, I gave the commentators curse to Az on Twitter this week as he looked on track to finally overtake Mark, after over a season of trying, with only a narrow gap and two Arsenal players in hand. But sadly it was not to be.
Plenty of Wildcard activity with now only two managers left standing holding the most powerful chip in the game, Matthew Jones and Mark Sutherns.
So, how did the famous five, who spent their international break drafting and redrafting, end up when it came to their final squads?
If Neal Maupay (£6.6m) is the answer, then what the hell was the question? Despite last season’s difficult experience with the Brighton striker, Az went back there again. He should really learn from his mistakes, maybe do an awarding podcast on his retrospective Blackbox? Nah, it will never catch on.
One error he did correct was Nelson Semedo (£4.9m), as he was ejected along with ten others to make it a significant overhaul.
Overall, it looks a good squad with depth, and he may need it with rotation risks Phil Foden (£8.0m), Reece James and Joao Cancelo (£6.3m) meaning he may call to the pine a few times over the coming weeks.
The full moves are below:-
IN – Ramsdale, Cancelo, James, Duffy, Alexander-Arnold, Mbeumo, Smith-Rowe, Foden, Raphinha, Lukaku, Maupay
OUT – Sanchez, Azpilicueta, Veltman, Coufal, Semedo, Greenwood, Benrahma, Sarr, Gilmour, Ronaldo, Toney
The headline from the Portuguese master is the distinct lack of any Chelsea defenders with Romelu Lukaku (£11.7m) the only Blue to make his 15. That alone makes this writer worry at the what the man with the algorithm has spotted about their defence.
A triple up on Brentford catches the eye and he has also doubled down on both Arsenal and City, edging his gamble by holding 1.7 million in the bank should he need to correct course.
The full moves are below:-
IN – Raya, Cancelo, Dias, White, Livramento, Alexander-Arnold, Saka, Mbeumo, Brownhill, Lukaku
OUT – Sanchez, Shaw, Dunk, Rudiger, Ayling, Omobamidele, Son, Benrahma, Bissouma, Ronaldo
Interesting here to see the Chelsea players that the General has plumped for, with Mason Mount (£7.4m) preferred to a defender despite his spotty returns this season.
Ben Chilwell‘s (£5.7m) inclusion could yet be a masterstroke if this weekend’s contribution is anything to go by, he is the only one of The Great and The Good to have him in his squad.
The full moves are below:-
IN – Ramsdale, Foster, Alexander-Arnold, Dias, Cancelo, Chilwell, Livramento, Mount, Mbeumo, Raphinha, Toney, Lukaku
OUT – Sanchez, Gunn, Rudiger, Veltman, Ayling, Shaw, Tsimikas, Sarr, Benrahma, Greenwood, Ronaldo, Saint-Maximin
‘Template’ Tom has set the new Wildcard template with a strong selection, although he himself described it as “punty”.
This possibly refers to the rotation threats of James, Cancelo and Foden but it was Ruben Dias (£6.2m) and Adam Armstrong (£6.0m) he should have been more worried about.
Interestingly, he has £0.5m in the bank and I suspect he will use this on Ivan Toney (£6.4m) to backtrack on his Southampton striker.
The full ins and out are below:-
IN – Ramsdale, Foster, Dias, Duffy, James, Cancelo, Foden, Mbeumo, Brownhill, Lukaku, Armstrong
OUT – Sanchez, Steele, Rudiger, Shaw, Semedo, White, Sarr, Benrahma, Greenwood, Ronaldo, Scarlett
Zophar must be taking notes from Tom or vice versa as his team is virtually identical, with only the choice of Livramento making him stand apart from the Hall of Famer.
Perhaps the one surprise is that he has only doubled up on his beloved Chelsea, preferring the Man City twin defence.
IN – Ramsdale, Foster, James, Dias, Cancelo, Livramento, Brownhill, Foden, Mbeumo, Armstrong, Lukaku
OUT – Sanchez, Steele, Rudiger, White, Shaw, Semedo, Sarr, Greenwood, Benrahma, Ronaldo, Obafemi
This is a summary of the transfers for this week :
Az – Wildcard
LTFPL Andy – Alexander-Arnold (Rudiger)
Fabio Borges – Wildcard
Joe Lepper – None
Geoff Dance – Cancelo (Williams)
FPL General – Wildcard
Les Caldwell – Son, Cancelo (Jota, Alexander-Arnold)
Magnus Carlsen – James (Shaw)
Mark Sutherns – Cancelo (Shaw)
FPL Matthew – Foden, Cancelo (Jota, Rudiger)
Neale Rigg – Dias (Shaw)
Tom Freeman – Foden (Son)
Tom Stephenson – Wildcard
Yavuz Kabuk – None
Zophar – Wildcard
Limited transfers outside of the Wildcarders but Les Caldwell must have insider knowledge as his hit to bring in Son Heung-min (£10.1m) paid off when, despite the Covid scare, he returned yet again, making a mockery of his 14.5% ownership.
FPL Matthew took a now-characteristic hit this Gameweek, he has now taken -12 for the season which goes against a previous conservative style and puts him ahead of some of the more maverick managers in this made-up mini league.
Probably the transfer that wasn’t should also be highlighted, as Joe’s decision to keep Mason Greenwood (£7.6m) paid off with a goal. With Jadon Sancho (£9.0m) still not justifying his price tag, his place looks slightly more secure.
The template for The Great and The Good is as follows with number in brackets showing how many teams in which they appear:-
Foster (10), Ramsdale (6)
Cancelo (13), Livramento (12), Alexander-Arnold (11), Rudiger (6), Dias (5)
Salah (15), Raphinha (14), Mbeumo (8), Brownhill (6), Foden (5)
Antonio (15), Lukaku (13), Ronaldo/Armstrong (4)
An explosion in the template with changes galore, the goalkeeper pairing moving from Robert Sanchez (£4.6m) and Jason Steele (£4.0m) to Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m) and Ben Foster (£4.0m) just the start of several shifts.
Dias and Armstrong join but the previous good value of Luke Shaw (£5.4m) no longer seems to be true and in midfield we see the arrival of woodwork loving Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m), as well as Foden and Josh Brownhill (£4.4m).
“Time. Space. Reality. It’s more than a linear path. It’s a prism of endless possibility…follow me and dare to face the unknown. And ponder the question what if….?”
That rather marvellous quote is neat a segue into the bi-annual look back at what might have been for The Great and The Good.
We do this by using the terrifying What if machine to assess what score they would have achieved if they had not made a transfer or captain change throughout the season.
You can see the full table below, but I warn you the results are quite alarming as they show the minimum impact the constant tinkering has had so far, LTFPL Andy leads the way with a 42-point gain from meddling but he and Les Caldwell are the exception rather than the rule.
If you cast your eye towards the bottom of the table, you will see some have even damaged their score because of their transfers and captain choices. Use the link above, if you dare, to see how you would get on.
After a week where the bench strength of our squads was tested, I suspect this coming week will drift into the debate of form vs fixtures, with question marks over Lukaku leading many of us to consider the in-form Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) as our captain this weekend.
The other question is whether we continue to ignore the likes of Jamie Vardy (£10.6m) and Son despite the consistency of returns and is the “threemium” option really dead?
Lots to consider but if the ‘What If Machine’ teaches us anything, maybe overthinking is not the answer and maybe it’s as simple as just leaving it well alone.
Anyway, that’s all from me for now and remember don’t have nightmares.
For those affected by any of the topics raised in the above article then you can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Greyhead19
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