We were pleased to be invited by @The_UEFFA to join a draft Fantasy Game for the Premier League for the start of the 2014/15. The draft element was something different for us and there is a charity element attached so we agreed to take part.
Chris has assembled some of the global fantast soccer writers to compete head-to-head in a very unique fantasy competition.
What is the UEFFA?
Written by Chris Mosinski
Where’s the Beef?
Or more importantly, “Where’s the goals?” Coming into the week, an average of 14.4 goals were scored by players starting for UEFFA teams. In fact, it had been very consistent. Each week, somewhere between 13 and 17 goals were scored by UEFFA teams. This week was significantly different as just 9 goals were scored by players starting in the UEFFA, and it led to some pretty low overall scoring.
But what was the cause of the low goal total? Was there a goal drought this week in Premier League play? The answer to this question is, sort of. Coming into this past weekend, there had been an average of 29 goals scored in Premier League matches each gameweek. This most recent week, there were 23 Premier League goals scored.
However, this did not lead to the drop in UEFFA goals. This was not the only time 23 goals were scored in a Premier League weekend. Back in Gameweek Three there were also 23 goals scored. That number translated to 14 UEFFA goals, right at the league average. So if it is not the volume of goals scored each week, what is the cause.
The question is not really about how many, but rather who? Approximately 250 players (not including goalkeepers) will get some amount of playing time each week. In a typical gameweek, only 11 percent of those players will find the back of the net. Goals are at a premium in the Premier League and in the fantasy leagues. The difference is, while it does not really matter to Everton who on the squad scores the goal, it is a very important part of the fantasy game.
Less than half the teams in UEFFA had a player score a goal this past week. Much of that was because of who was doing the scoring. While Wilfried Bony, Alexis Sanchez, and Romelu Lukaku did score, so did Samuel Eto’o, Sammy Ameobi, and Mile Jedinak. When goals are scored by some of the “other” players it leads to low fantasy scoring. It doesn’t matter if you are in the UEFFA or playing in another fantasy league, fantasy points were the lowest of the season. The cause is more of a who than a how.
Transfer Window Opens
Before the next gameweek kicks off the UEFFA transfer window will open November 1. Teams will be able to buy, sell, loan, or trade players with other teams in the league. Before all the fun officially begins, let’s take a look at who are potential buyers and sellers during the November transfer window.
@Ben_Jata – Ben Jata has £122 left in his budget, second most in the league. This alone makes him a strong candidate to dole out some money for a few players. What could he be in the market for? Well with Diafra Sakho and Saido Berahino on the squad, he likely won’t be spending on a striker. It’s more likely he would go after a defender that gets regular playing time and provides a good number of clean sheets.
@cjradune – CJ Radune is another team with plenty of money left in the bank as he still has £102 available to spend. A weak midfield appears to be a position of need as his midfielders have combined for zero goals and just one assist so far this season.
@EPL_MOstradamus – Sitting currently in seventh place, Chris has seen his position in the table drop ever since the injury to Daniel Sturridge. After spending large sums of money on players like Jason Puncheon and Gylfi Sigurdsson, he was unable to sign any forward depth at the beginning of the season. He could be looking for a loan of some sorts to fill the gap until (if) Daniel Sturridge is fit to return.
@SportsByGotti – Mike has more money available to him with £124 currently in his bank. A team full of holes and plenty of money to spend could lead to some big transfers during the open window.
@FuzzyWarbles – The team currently in first place in the table also has no money left to spend on players this season. Steve has built a squad of superstars, but has left himself vulnerable to injuries. That has been the case as Kevin Mirallas has been forced to miss time and FuzzyWarbles suffered their first loss of the season. With plenty of depth at midfield and striker, look for him to sell off a player or two.
@rdrcrr – Having both Graziano Pelle and Wilfried Bony is a luxury. But most times it is difficult to see one of the players sit the bench each week. Rod could seemingly add to his budget by loaning out one of the top class strikers for the rest of the season and get some money to buy himself some depth at the other positions.
@Ben_Jata – Having both Diafra Sakho and Saido Berahino could make Ben a seller as well as a buyer. Especially in a market where many in the muddled bunch of the table will be looking for some depth at the position for the rest of the season.
1. @FuzzyWarbles – One loss will not drop you much in the power rankings. This holds especially true when you still put up 40 points (still better than ½ the league) in the loss. It holds doubly true when the team hot on your tails also suffers a loss and allows you to remain at the top of the table.
2. @NealJThurman – Hit a bit of a speed bump, aka Diego Costa missed the match. All indications are he will return this weekend which spells good things for the team that leads the league in scoring in weeks Diego Costa has played.
3. @FantasyYirma – This team has quietly moved up the rankings and the table. A two match winning streak that includes a victory over the team at the top of this list is certainly impressive. If he is able to add a striker in the transfer window, this will certainly be a dangerous team.
4. @rdrcrr – There isn’t a hotter team right now that @rdrcrr. Rod is on a five-match winning streak and leads the league in scoring over that stretch. If he’s able to get anything out of Remy Cabella or Samir Nasri in the future, this team could challenge for the title.
5. @BenDinnery – Fourth overall in the table. Third overall in points scored. This team will continue to go as far as Sergio Aguero and Cesc Fabregas will take him.
6. @EPL_MOstradamus – Steadily treading water while waiting for Daniel Sturridge to come back. Fraser Forster looks to be one of the steals of the offseason.
Attacker of the Week
Alexis Sanchez (@FantasyYirma: 2 goals, 5 shots, 2 assisted shots, clean sheet) – You couldn’t ask any more from a midfielder than what Sanchez produced this weekend.He came up big against the best team in the league and helped @FantasyYirma right back into the title picture.
Defender of the Week
Dejan Lovren (@FantasyYirma: 9 clearances, 3 shots, clean sheet) – It wasn’t just the attack that helped @FantasyYirma to the victory. The fine play of Lovren (although a goal would have been nice) provided some scoring from the backline, as well.
Bargain of the Week
Sadio Mane (@N_Pitner) – It’s been Pelle and Dusan Tadic that have been stealing the headlines in Southampton, but watch out for Mane. He’s averaged over three shots and two assisted shots a match and has been a steal for Nick at just £1.
Stat of the Week
They say the Premier League has moved to a more defensive game. They say defense wins championships in American sports. @FuzzyWarbles leads the league in fantasy scoring, is first in the table but is only the league leader in one scoring category: Clean Sheets. Maybe everyone is right.
XI Things I Think I Think
With all due respect to @SportsByGotti, the biggest win of the season so far has to be @FantastyYirma taking down @FuzzyWarbles. He got some big time play from his big time players as we previously discussed.
What has happened to @GaryIrwin? Since starting the season 4-0, Gary has dropped four straight and is on the outside of the relegation bubble should the season end today. Part of it has been the Wayne Rooney suspension, so we’ll see if Gary is able to bounce back upon his return.
There hasn’t been a smarter owner at purchasing players since the season began than @Ben_Jata. Players purchased: Diafra Sakho, Saido Berahino, Morgan Schneiderlin, Stewart Downing, Younes Kaboul, Eric Dier. Maybe you don’t need to spend a ton of money during the offseason to build a competitive squad.
@NealJThurman was terrible without Diego Costa in his lineup this weekend. It doesn’t seem serious, but if he wants to get serious about contending for the title, he may want to look to add some depth at the position.
The King of Assists (@EPL_MOstradamus) was at it again with four more this weekend in his victory over @nikarg. Chris’s squad now has 20 on the season, twice as many as any other club.
@FuzzyWarbles went with the hot foot of Abel Hernandez over Robin van Persie this past weekend and it ended up costing him. It’s hard to argue with the move, but RvP’s saving goal for Manchester United would have also saved @FuzzyWarbles undefeated season.
@TomSunderland_ needed just one shot on target to get the win over @SportsByGotti. The win is big as it helps Tom move closer to the relegation line.
@cjradune keeps turning to Edin Dzeko, and it has killed him as the striker has scored in just one match this season. I’m sure he’d like to see more out of Danny Welbeck, but it may be time to make a switch.
@GalinDragiev’s midfield is starting to show signs of life. After starting the season on a disappointing note, Willian, Steven Gerrard, and Yaya Toure combined for 20.8 points, 11 shots and 7 assisted shots.
@RotoZdroik made all the right lineup choices in getting back on the winning path. After losing two straight, this past win was big for Zdroik’s morale.
@rdrcrr got it done with defense in his win over @RotoWireAndrew. Five clean sheets paved the way for the hottest team in the league to earn a fifth straight win.
Next Week’s Matches
@nikarg vs. @Ben_Jata – The 9th and 10th place teams in the table face off in a crucial battle to remain out of the relegation zone.
@NealJThurman vs. @BenDinnery – The match of the week pits two top-four team head-to-head in what will certainly be a classic showdown.
@N_Pitner vs @EPL_MOstradamus – RotoWire guys go head to head as an improving @N_Pitner squad looks to take down his website-mate.
@GarryIrwin vs @cjradune – Two teams on losing streaks will battle it out to get back into the win column.
@TomSunderland_ vs @FuzzyWarbles – @TomSunderland_ will be hoping for a high scoring match between Everton and Swansea City in order to take down @FuzzyWarbles.
@rdrcrr vs @RotoZdroik – @rdrcrr will look for a sixth straight victory while the strong midfield of @RotoZdroik (Hazard, Silva, Sterling) all have great matchups this weekend and will look to pull the upset.
@RotoWireAndrew vs @SportsByGotti – RotoWire buddies go head-to-head for website supremecy. Getting Christian Beneteke back has been big for Andrew, but now can the Aston Villa striker score to help him earn a crucial victory?