BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 18)

We needed a reaction. We got a reaction.

After one of the worst fantasy football performances of all time in game week 16, game week 17 produced a more satisfactory 60 points. A result I’m putting down to getting our allotted lucky charm Newcastle United players back into the side and nothing else – The straws you clutch at as a Toon fan. Looking at it, we actually could have been about 15 to 20 points better off had Leicester and Chelsea not conceded very late consolation goals.

I’ve been looking forward to the prospect of game weeks 18 and 19 for months. The shortened fixture set of the former, the long double gamer of the latter. Now that they’ve finally come round, I have a feeling of absolute fear and dread which has been exacerbated by the fact Spurs’ game at Villa is in serious doubt due to the Covid crisis.

There are only 6 fixtures in GW18. Should the Spurs match go ahead, I would have 9 players potentially involved. This means I could get away with making a couple of transfers to make up the usual full 11. Sounds straight forward? It’s not. A big problem would arise if the Spurs match is called off, taking our player involvement down to 6. That won’t be enough to have a meaningful score for the week. I would have to use my free hit and rejig the whole team to suit, what would be, the remaining 5 fixtures. Hopefully we get a decision on this match in good time, giving us enough scope to really use the free hit properly as I’m assuming the match will be bashed on the head. I am actually tempted to use it anyway regardless of any postponement. The conundrum and nightmare scenario being if Tottenham do actually play at Villa as planned, Kane bags a hattrick from 3 Son assists and we miss a massive truck load full of points. ——- All in all the situation is a f**king mine field. I’ve set the Premier League a 17:00 Monday night deadline to make their decision before I’m forced take matters into my own hands and pick a team on pure gut feeling – the worst type of team selection. Yes a certain percentage of your team should involve your gut but you also have to have those important elements of form, stats and certainty.

One plus from these dilemmas is that every fantasy manager in the land will be roughly in the same boat and that is why my question this week is simple.

HOW ARE YOU APPROACHING GW18?

Freehit, wildcard, transfers or even same XI. I want to know. Listening to the excellent fantasy 606 podcast, Statman Dave had, what at the time, sounded like a decent enough solution involving both transfers and the free hit at the same time. Trying to remember it properly without listening to the pod again is proving a difficult one though and would probably complicate matters further anyway.

What I do know is some managers will massively profit this week, some will massively fail and a large portion of what happens will ultimately come down to luck.

Of the 6 fixtures to look out for this week, scoring chance has to come at the Etihad. Man City at home to Brighton. That is providing you’re willing to play Pep Ball with city having played in the cup just 2 days earlier.

Man United away at Burnley could be another double figure Bruno return and, of course, Spurs away at Villa but we know the nonsense surrounding that match, it really is a lottery.

At this point on the blog I would usually run through my team for the week, explain my changes, Captain etc. But and it’s a massive but, I haven’t a clue what I’m doing yet and, as mentioned earlier, I’m leaving it till the last possible moment to do what needs to be done. I have the scenarios in my head, we are simply awaiting Premier League clarification now.

So whatever you fellow managers do in game week 18, I wish thee good luck and see you on the other side.

BALLS DOWN THE CHANNELS LADS, EARLY.

BLOGIN BETS 19/12/20 – £100 Christmas Singles Special (Stage 1)

STAGE 1

– OVER 2.5 GOALS IN NEWCASTLE V FULHAM 11/10

  • STAKE: £10
  • RETURNS: £21

Who fancies trying to land £100 for Christmas from a starting stake of £10?

We’ve had pretty much no luck with the accumulators this season and I don’t hold much optimism until full crowds are allowed back into the stadiums to be honest. So we going down a different track for the next week or so.

I’m looking to turn £10 into £100 with a series of single bets. The odds for each bet will be around evens, rolling over the winnings at each stage until we reach the tonne mark. It should take 4 or 5 bets and I want it completed in time for the turkey being served. I did a similar challenge in the summer and completed it, albeit with shorter odds and more stages.

Admittedly, stage 1 does carry a fair element of risk but Fulham have been an open book in the Premier League this season whilst Newcastle’s last match had 7 goals in it. The form of Calum Wilson has been a positive also, the striker has been involved in 10 goals so far this season scoring 7 of those. An early goal in this one and the flood gates could open at either end.

MAGPIES 3 – 1 and the ball is rolling!

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 11)

OVERVIEW: Hello one and all. Only one place to start this week and yet again it’s the CURSE OF THE CAPTAIN. For what seems like the 20th week running the captain’s selection has cost our lads a big score. Rewinding back to Game Week 9, Mané only returned the basic numbers as did Calvert-Lewin last time out, both with favourable home fixtures at their feet. What is going on? When will we get it right? Only explanation – CURSED. As a result, we’ve slipped down to 3rd in the office league, our lowest position of the season and now have a forty point deficit to make up. Are we downbeat? Absolutely not, the enthusiasm is as strong as it was in gameweek 1, we go again.

Other than the captain catastrophe, we actually scored ok last week. 48 points in total, 4 above the average but it’s certainly a case of what could of been. Noble mentions must be given to my beloved TOON ARMY lads, clean sheet points for Federico Fernandez and match winning goal points for Calum Wilson – That’s Bruce ball. The problem we now have is those boys will have to be removed from the lineup this week with Newcastle’s match at Villa postponed due to COVID.

Looking ahead to this week, Man City home to Fulham has to be in every fantasy manager’s thoughts. It’s just who’s going to risk the pep selection roulette and who will play. Chelsea v Leeds and Liverpool v wolves are also notable matches.

But, it’s the North London derby that intrigues me this week and it shifts some questions from the back of my mind to the front. Recently, I’ve been thinking that both Kane and Son shouldn’t be in my lineup at the same time, especially with Spurs’ current fixture set. If Tottenham have an off day that’s two big players not contributing rather than just the one. What I want to know is, Is playing them both worth the risk? Should managers now remove one of them? And is there better value elsewhere? I know a lot of managers have a similar situation when it comes to Chelsea defenders. Let me know what you think.

PICKS: Ok, so the all important team news. I’ve made 2 transfers this week (both free) and I tell you what, it’s made my team look very strong – in my biased, yet humble opinion of course.

I’ve been try to get Bruno Fernandez signed for weeks now and I’ve finally succeeded, T’s crossed and I’s dotted, get in. It’s took the removal of Son (as deliberated earlier) and Newcastle’s Postponement at Villa to manage it with Wilson also making way, hopefully on a temporary basis. Welbeck, who’s shown some form at Brighton of late comes in for him.

De Bruyne and Fernandez in the same midfield is a mouth watering fantasy football prospect the only thing left is to rid the Captain pick curse to which I’ve gone with KDB. Reason being that his match is at home and nothing else. It’s now set up for Pep to leave him out but fingers crossed. Bruno takes the vice.

It’s the first time in 2 seasons we haven’t had a Newcastle United player in our starting line up and, I’m not going to lie, it’s heartbreaking. BIG SCORE THEREFORE REQUIRED.

KEEP HIM ON HIS LEFT, LADS.

GW11 starting XI

BLOGIN BETS 28/11/20

This week’s accumulator selection is £10 @5/1.

BOLTON 1/2 (Home v Southend. Saturday – 15:00)

JUVENTUS 4/11 (Away v Benevento. Saturday – 17:00)

REAL MADRID 1/3 (Home v Alaves. Saturday – 20:00)

AC MILAN 4/6 (Home v Fiorentina. Sunday – 14:00)

MONACO 1/3 (Home v Nimes. Sunday – 14:00

CONFIDENCE: 7/10

OVERVIEW: Welcome again one and all, this week’s accumulator selection is a weekend whistle stop tour of the great European hotspots – Starting in Bolton and heading 5 star to Turin, Madrid, Milan, finishing in Monte Carlo for a little casino dabble with our winnings. All during lockdown, what a belter.

The set up is simple, £10, 5 teams, all to win, spread across Saturday and Sunday. We are due a winner and this could be the one.

PICKS: Bolton have started to pick up in League 2 after a difficult opening period. They’ve won their last four matches in all competitions and face a Southend side rock bottom of the football league. The visitors have been the whipping boys so far and have lost 4 of their last 5. HOME WIN

Juventus are starting to do what Juventus do, win games. Although not at their very best in Serie A thus far, they travel to a Benevento side who lost 4 of their last 5 league games and by some by decent margins. ROUTINE AWAY WIN.

Madrids league form has been a bit scratchy so far this season however, they welcome Alaves to the Bernabeu, A team they have beaten by at least 2 goals in their last 8 meetings. More of the same. HOME WIN.

Table Toppers AC Milan welcome 15th place Fiorentina to the San Siro where they haven’t lost for 13 league matches. In form Zlatan Ibrahimovic to continue his rich vein of form in this HOME WIN.

Monaco have won their last 3 Ligue 1 matches including a Cesc Fabregas inspired 3-2 win over PSG last time out. Opponents Nimes have lost 4 of their last 5. The equation suggests a Monaco win to WRAP UP THE ACCA.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 10)

OVERVIEW: Welcome again one and all. What can you say about game week 9? Own goals, a flawed captain pick and a general mixed bag just about sums it up. When Federico Fernandez knocked into his own net for great a -1 start it was a case of here’s away. But with a few average 2’s across the park backed up by good returns from Calvert-Lewin and Son we rallied to post a decent enough score. After all, I did predict a tough week.

The Captain selection was typically key again and only yielded 6 points. I have to say, the form of Mané is a little worrying. You need to be getting big weekly points from your premium priced players and that’s several weeks now where he hasn’t delivered. It’s quite possible it’s not so much a reflection on him but in fact, the Liverpool injury situation and an unsettled side affecting his game. Saint-Maximin at Newcastle maybe also a big case in point here, underperforming because of the team’s inadequacies. Or are of they as much to blame for their team not playing well. This begs the question..

Do you keep a player in your fantasy side if their team is struggling collectively?

There’s always the danger of the form is temporary, class is permanent thing biting you on the arse end should you transfer out said player. The flip-side being the player carrying on his poor run for another month or so which, in fantasy football terms, is too long to be not scoring good points and especially for those players who are premium priced. One to think about and certainly a dilemma yours truly is going through this week.

Anyway, was I happy with the overall points return for the week? On the whole, yes. 51 with the week average at 55 we were expecting a lot worse. I did say if we could get through game week 9 in or around the average score we would take it and it’s actually the first time this season we’ve been below the average total. We remain in 2nd place and the leader has gained around 20 points but, as I said, it could have been a lot worse and we live to fight another gameweek.

Looking ahead to this weekend, the potential point scoring fixtures that stand out are Man City v Burnley and Leicester v Fulham with arguments also to be had for Everton v Leeds. I mentioned last week about City having a favourable fixture set for the next month or so. The problem we have which has been mentioned so many times in past, is Guardiola’s rotation policy. Only once in the last 3 years has he gone with the same line up back to back, a fantasy football manager’s living nightmare. Also their form has been scratchy, are City players worth taking the risk? Find out later.

We open up with another early Friday night fixture. Silent treatment in full effect. You know the score, keeping quiet in hope that our rivals are unaware of the early start and thus, causing them to miss the team sheet deadline – Any marginal gains welcome in this cut throat game. The trouble is, most of my colleagues have now cottoned on to the hush hush tactics and have downloaded the app which sends alert notifications. Marcelo Bielsa covert cover blown!!

Anyway, here’s hoping for big points weekend.

PICKS: You may recall we didn’t use a transfer last time out in order to gain an extra swap this week. Well believe it or not, I’ve actually only used one of the changes which basically renders last week’s main tactic utterly pointless. I mentioned the worrying form of Mané earlier so I’ve taken him out and replaced with Kevin De Bruyne. This has risk written on both sides of the paper.

1. Mané could quite easily bag a hattrick at Brighton. Form is temporary, class is permanent.

2. De Bruyne didn’t even make the bench in City’s champions league win midweek. Is he injured? Or was he rested for Burnley? One prays it’s the latter, that’s my gut feeling and fortune favours the brave.

Elsewhere, Saint-Maximin has also had a dip in form and I was thinking of changing him. However his value is so cheap, I couldn’t find a worthy replacement and not forgetting, he’s a TOON man still tugging on the old heartstrings. Wilson remains on the bench as Harvey Barnes will have a great scoring chance at home to Fulham and we’re hoping Calvert-Lewin continues his rich vein when he wears this week’s armband.

FINAL THOUGHTS – How many fantasy points would Diego Maradona have racked up in Naples during his title winning Serie A seasons? A TRUE GREAT AND A REAL LIFE FANTASY FOOTBALLER.

GAMEWEEK 10 line-up

BLOGIN BETS 21/11/20 (League 2 Special)

This week’s accumulator is £10 @10/1

CHELTENHAM 8/11 (Home v Walsall – KO 15:00)

EXETER 4/6 (Home v Oldham – KO 15:00)

CAMBRIDGE UNITED 4/6 (Away v Southend – KO 15:00)

NEWPORT COUNTY 1/1 (Home v Port Vale – KO 15:00)

CONFIDENCE: 7/10

OVERVIEW: I’ve scowled the usual leagues across Europe in search of something to get excited about and it’s either shortest of short odds or risky risky. Quite often you get weekends where the fixture list is not worth wiping your backside with. It’s a shame seeing as we finally made to the arse end of the naff international break.

Anyway, I had a little look at the lower leagues and realised most of the top teams are playing sides quite low down. Delving a bit deeper into form, odds etc I’ve managed to get a canny looking line from League 2. So here we have it, a League 2 special. Yes I know, there’s nowt special about it, same carry on, £10, 4 teams, all to win. 10/1 is cracking odds in my opinion and here’s why.

PICKS: Cheltenham sit 3rd in the league and have only lost once at home in their last 8 games which includes 6 wins. They entertain a 13th placed Walsall side who have lost their last 3 matches including a defeat to bottom side Southend. HOME WIN.

Exeter are now 13 games unbeaten and sit nicely in the playoff places. They welcome an Oldham side who have to make 500 mile round trip and sit perilously above the professional football relegation zone. HOME WIN.

Newport County are top of the tree and have won their last 6 league matches at home. Although opponents Port Vale sit just outside the playoffs, they are leaking as many goals as they are scoring. 7 home wins in a row incoming for County.

although Southend won their last match against Walsall, they hadn’t won for the previous 16. They sit rock bottom of the table, an ideal fixture for Cambridge who are flying high in 2nd. They have amassed 25 goals in their 12 matches so far only conceding 9. Go on you university toffs, WRAP UP THE ACCA FOR US.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 8 – Wildcard Weekender)

OVERVIEW: Reach the top and the only way is down. Fellow managers full of hate, envy and jealousy all trying their damndest to knock you off your pedestal and so it was. We had one solitary week at the top of the league as our boys only managed a total of 44 points, 9 below the week’s average. Some would say that’s the added pressure of leading the way, I would say just a bad week at the office. We may be (temporarily) removed from our top spot perch but we’ve had a taste of the big time, the office glitz and glamour of being the top dogs and we’re ready for more. All in all we aren’t too downbeat, our time will come again, only 2 points off the summit and, in fact, only 4 points separate the top 3 in our office. It’s a pressure cooker and one we’re relishing.

So looking ahead, this is the week. The week where boys become men, water turns to wine, Kane squares to Sterling. The WILDCARD is played. Baring in mind you get another one in the 2nd half of the season, I reckon this is the best time for a shake up, about a quarter of the way through the campaign. We know who’s been hot and who has not, the form teams, the injuries and just the general feeling of the league starting to take shape. I would be interested to know when everyone feels is the right time to stick or twist.

When is the ideal time to WILDCARD it?

Obviously, it’s all dependant on the start to the season your squad has, early decisions and predictions on players/teams are key. Should your team have a nightmare start or begin to pick up injuries left right and centre then your hand is forced. Before you know it you’ve used your main chip after gameweek 1 and it can’t be helped, after all, that’s what it’s there for. Getting to game week 7 onwards without having to play it and still having the decision in your own hands can only be a good thing and a huge advantage. Luckily that’s where we’re at.

Fixture wise, gameweek 8 looks a tricky one in terms of point scoring. The big 2, Liverpool and City, collide on Sunday so there is potentional for some big players to cancel each other out. Spurs at West Brom has got to be where the money goes with Kane and Son in superb form collectively.

Again we have Friday night matches to kick off the round, not one but two this time. The the first of which starting with an extremely early slot of 17:30. This could mean big trouble for the gaffers who aren’t privy to this key bit of tactical information. Team sheets must be summited by 16:30, have I disclosed this knowledge to my colleagues and subsequent rivals? Absolutely not.

UP THE WILDCARD.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS: So we’ve played the wildcard this week, but how many changes does that actually equate to? Truth be told we’ve had a pretty decent season so far and I’m happy with the majority of my squad. The idea of the wildcard play was to make my squad more rounded rather than have just a great starting 11. Making a sub rather than having to waste a transfer would be very useful going forward so the transfers made in this wildcard are as follows.

  1. OUT – Ward 4.4m (Goalkeeper) IN – Forster 4.0m
  2. OUT – Castagne 5.7m IN – Justin 4.8m
  3. OUT – Williams 4.3m IN – Kilman 4.3m
  4. OUT – Barkley 6.0m IN – Ziyech 8.0m
  5. OUT – Willian 7.8m IN – Barnes 6.9m

Only 5 changes made with the wildcard but without the chip this would usually enforce a -20 point penalty. As mentioned before, I was still quite content with the vast majority my team but what this wildcard has given us is a bit more strength in depth around the whole squad. Of all the changes, Hakim Ziyech excites me the most and getting him in along side what is already a very strong midfield brings a lot of satisfaction. I think he will be a big player for Chelsea in the coming weeks and his delivery from set pieces could be a huge points scorer in both goals and assists.

It was disappoining to see Castagne of Leicester pick up an injury. He has been very impressive since arriving in the summer and it has forced this change but I have no qualms in his replacement. James Justin, also of Leicester, has potentially been one of the young players of the season in the Premier League so far, long may that continue. The inclusion of another young Leicester player Harvey Barnes is a testament to how well they are doing under Brendon Rodgers.

Elsewhere, my 3 toon players all retain their places which we’re thrilled about, big up the TOON ARMY. What I will be looking for this week is a better return from my captain selection, Mané only delivered 4 points last week, when Harry Kane takes the armband this time round we’ll be looking for at least 10, fingers crossed.

ZIYECH ON CORNERS LADS.

BLOGIN BETS 24/10/20 – £100 Challenge (Stage 5)

STAGE 5

MILLWALL & DONCASTER EACH TO SCORE 1+ GOALS 8/13

  • STAKE: £55.69
  • RETURNS: £89.96

OVERVIEW: I’ve had a few messages about when the £100 challenge would continue, it’s been a while since we completed stage 4. As we are now so close to the target I’ve been agonising over the right bet to take us forward but I think I’ve finally found that bet.

This bet won’t take us to exactly £100 but will leave us pretty darn close so one more stage will be required to get to the magic target. However £89.96 is nothing to be sniffed at considering we started with a measly £10. Pulling out that point is perfectly fine if people so wish.

So, Stage 5. All we require is for Millwall and Doncaster to score a goal each in their respective matches this afternoon. Millwall, who is sit in the Championship playoff spots, are home to relegation candidates Barnsley and have amassed 10 goals in their last 6 league matches. Doncaster entertain Crewe who sit just below mid table in league 1. Tellingly, Doncaster have also managed 10 goals in their last 6 league matches. I expect both teams to win never mind get 1 goal each.

Remember, that’s all we need, a goal from each side. What a chance to complete this stage and be within touching distance of £100 mark. GOALS GOALS GOALS.

BLOGIN BETS 8/10/20 – £100 Challenge (Stage 4)

STAGE 4

ENGLAND v WALES OVER 2.5 GOALS 13/20

  • STAKE: £33.75
  • RETURNS: £55.69

OVERVIEW: Barcelona and Seville did not disappoint in stage 3 and we role on to 4 tonight, albeit a few days late. I was hoping to have the £100 challenge wrapped up by now but the international break put a dampener on the fixture list and enforced a couple of days break.

Looking ahead to tonight’s stage 4 match, I think we’ve got another corker on our hands and one that should take us to step 5. England host Wales in a friendly and all we require is 3 goals in the game to progress. The shackles should be off the players but the game will still contain that competitive edge given the rivalry between the two sides. Also, given the form or messers Kane, Sterling and potential debutant Dominic Calvert-Lewin, what’s to say this stage won’t be complete by half time.

Despite drawing 0-0 last time out, England have managed 18 goals in their last 5 international matches, an average well over the required amount tonight, not forgetting the potential of the Welsh finding the net which would be just as welcome.

GO FOR GOAL.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 4)

OVERVIEW: It’s gameweek 4 and this is where the season really begins. We’ve had a look at the early point scorers, who’s in form, whos not, who’s looking likely to be in contention for titles, European spots and relegation places. The league is starting to take it’s shape.

The average point score for game week 3 was 43. I scored 44. Would I have taken that before hand? Absolutely. I said the fixtures were a nightmare and that I would snap the hand off anyone that offered an unscathed week. What’s more pleasing is that I managed that score with 10 men, Saint-Maximin not fit and none of my bench players played.

This brings me on to an important point, do you use your budget on a wide range of players so that you have a stronger bench and squad? Or do you blast it on the best players, have a strong XI and risk a player not playing for whatever reason? Unintentionally, my team is looking that way, meaning if I need to make a change it has to be a transfer rather than a substitution. This usually results in going down the -4 and beyond route. It’s all well and good if your best starting eleven play every week but as has happened in game week 3, I ended up playing with 10 men. Did it matter? Turns out not but in other weeks it’s a weak point that could be costly. Going forward it’s something I will be considering when the time comes to play my wildcard. Not just yet.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS: One forced transfer this week. Aubameyang replaces Mané who has tested positive for COVID-19. The original plan was to go unchanged and create an extra transfer for game week 5 but of course availability is a manager’s biggest headache and you just have to deal with these situations head on. Here’s hoping the late announcement of Mané’s absence has gone unnoticed by my fellow gaffers. This week’s silent treatment.

I’m again banking on the fitness of Allan Saint-Maximin at home to Burnley. He is still part of the 3 toon player trio in the side despite their patchy form. Thinking about it, I may be closer to the wildcard than I had anticipated, I’ve snookered myself a bit with weak subs and 3 dodgy magpies.

Aubamaueng will be captain at home to Sheffield United, while Kane will be vice away to another United located in Manchester. Let’s hope we get the luck of the captain’s pick draw this week as this has been a costly swing either way recently.

KEEP IT TIGHT EARLY DOORS LADS.

GAMEWEEK 4 starting XI