Adventures in the Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 2
After Sunderland and Reading scuppered some of our plans to score big in the Fantasy Premier League this weekend, there were still plenty of points to be had in the other nine matches. And so far, it looks like many of you are doing well since the EPL Talk private league in Fantasy Premier League is currently the fifth highest scoring league in the world.
1. Eden is a Hazard: Here at EPL Talk, we never pass up opportunities like these: this pun was just too good – and too deliciously obvious – to resist. Eden Hazard (9.8) is, like, a hazard to, like, defenses. Get it? If not, the statistics tell a pretty vivid tale: Hazard has recorded six assists in his first three Premier League games. He is the Fantasy Premier League’s top point-scorer. His approach play – particularly when he combines with Juan Mata (9.3) and Fernando Torres (10.0) – is ridiculously effective. And when Lampard (9.0) is on the bench, Hazard takes penalties. Hazard’s “my-transfer-saga-is-on-Twitter” shenanigans annoyed a lot of people (who does this guy think he is – LeBron?) but, if you refuse to sign egotists, you rule out approximately 100 percent of the players available to you.
2. Fallen Stars: If you signed Sergio Aguero (11.2) or Wayne Rooney (12.0) – you know, that injured guy and that other injured guy – then, well, you got screwed. But that’s just what football does, what it has always done. Days after stumbling upon a “dead cert” or a “guaranteed starter,” it turns out that the dead cert has selfishly decided to make more money in another country, or that the guaranteed starter needs to lose a few pounds – or, in Rooney’s case, more than a few. That sort of thing happens all the time. After all, fantasy football is merely an extension of the misery that defines hardcore fandom. As such, it enjoys causing you pain.
3. Pleased to Michu, but I prefer Danny Graham: If you’re one of the few Fantasy Premier League managers who haven’t jumped on the Michu (6.9) bandwagon, then good for you. If you’re a member of the vast uncreative majority, an amateur tactician too timid to try something unorthodox, then congratulations, you’re a copycat. Everything about Michu – his nationality, the fact that he’s listed as a midfielder, his nationality again – oozes trendy, modern football-ness. More important, he has already picked up huge numbers of points. But, believe it or not, there’s a cheaper alternative. Former Watford striker Danny Graham (6.0), who scored his first goal of the season on Saturday, is pretty good, too. He’s cheap but prolific, a solid purchase. And, of course, there’s always a lot to be said for doing something different just for the sake of doing something different.
4. Everton: Don’t say it too loudly – because David Moyes will kill the guy who jinxes it – but Everton (yes, Everton) has started the season with two wins (yes, wins) in two games. Remarkable. Or maybe not. Complement the craft of Steven Pienaar (6.5) with the goal-scoring of Nikica Jelavic (8.5) and the sheer power of Phil Jagielka (6.0) and Sylvain Distin (5.5), and you have yourself a decent team. Throw in the odd Belgian Sideshow Bob (Marouane Fellaini) (6.7), finish it all off with an insane (and that adjective is deliberately ambiguous) goalkeeper (Tim Howard) (5.5), and you have yourself a more than decent team. However, buy these players sooner rather than later – this streak won’t last long. It can’t. Everton isn’t supposed to do this kind of thing (you know, the whole “winning” lark) until February, or maybe January, or whenever there’s just enough time to raise hopes but never enough transfer cash to fulfill them.
5. Tevez is back: Eight months ago, an overweight Argentine stood on a Buenos Aires golf course, negotiating with a sharply dressed Milanese agent. The Argentine probably had a beer in his hand. Fast forward to the present, and that same Argentine – Carlos Tevez (9.3) – has shed the weight, defeated the karma and made up with Roberto Mancini. On Sunday, he scored his second goal in two games. The guy who refused to play is back. It’s time to forgive him.
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