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How Did You Do in Game Week 18?

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We finally get a well-deserved break from the Premier League’s December madness, so it’s a moment for reflection if your strategy and squad are well-selected.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
We are past mid-December and things are getting even hotter!
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

...Rooney just scored from the second penalty attempt and is up for all three bonus points (BPS), Calvert-Lewin again remained on my bench after scoring... My GW-18 FPL score is 66, and I am looking forward to those green arrows. Bring them on as we are on the unstoppable roll of the Premier League! Are you enjoying?

My latest four December game weeks (GW 15 - GW 18) earned me 70, 55, 52 and 66 points respectively, while allowing me to jump from my 475k position to the 251k one. I can now dream of even higher ranks after Wayne Rooney earned me 13 points against sorry Swans. I can imagine some of you just sighed in despair and asked yourselves, “Why am I even reading this?” Believe me, I have something to bring to your success table too as it is just my first FPL season in this format.

Because I activated my Wildcard much earlier in the season, I had to swallow a certain number of “hits” to get to what you will see at the end of this article. If you compare my GW 15 roster to what I have for GW 19, you’ll see that only four players kept their positions, .

Below is the way my December has developed (both positively and negatively unfortunately):

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GW 15

That's how I was lining up, having in mind Chelsea’s favourable calendar and my hope to ride a Burnley’s clean sheet train:

  • Pope
  • Alonso / Otamendi / Ward
  • Gross / Hazard (C) / Richarlison / Sane / Salah
  • Rooney / Morata

I started December with the Chelsea triple-up and was rewarded with a captain Hazard brace. Chelsea survived an early scare against Newcastle, though I couldn’t be completely happy at Alonso’s sorry two points for his high price-tag. What worried me the most was the manne, in which Chelsea let that goal get in. I shut my worries in my mind and was optimistically looking in the future after securing a solid result of 70 points.

In the midweek Liverpool humiliated Spartak Moscow in Manchester City’s fashion and I couldn’t stop myself from swapping the struggling and too de-centralized Leroy Sane for Philippe Coutinho with only couple cents to add to his price.

GW 16

I didn’t make any changes to my Chelsea representatives, despite them drawing against Atletico Madrid in the middle of the week and not resting their key performers. This was probably the cause of Alonso’s abysmal showing against West Ham in the first half as he got booked and was quickly removed from the pitch after the break. I think my shout of frustration was heard around the whole city of Prague as I couldn’t believe that my 6.9 million star defender returned only two humiliating points per game against struggling Newcastle and West Ham.

My other two Chelsea star assets brought my mood even lower, and I started thinking of an alternative strategy. Hazard’s efforts looked disjointed, and Morata, carrying a knock, shouldn’t even have started the game . As you may guess, the zero Belgian was still my captain.

Right after Chelsea’s game, Harry Kane bagged a quality brace and condemned my week to be an average one. It was rescued though by the Burnley clean sheet plus Mo Salah’s and Otamendi’s goals. I ended up with 55 points and reached my 2nd highest rank this year, oh wow 194k one. I slept well that night though, really well.

GW 17

I was so impressed with Harry Kane’s apparent return to fitness and upcoming favorable fixtures that I anxiously started trying to get him in at all cost. I felt that not owning him would damage my chances of climbing the rankings way more than simply taking a hit. I got in a trap, as almost simultaneously with my new emerging strategy arrived the news that Morata’s layoff was confirmed with a back injury. As I was still raging at Alonso’s let down, and I was desperate to jump on Kane’s new gravy train, it looked like a marriage made in heaven.

I didn’t hesitate for a moment and confirmed chopping Alonso’s and Morata’s heads. I while kept Chelsea’s defense coverage with Christensen. Kane was my obvious new captain.

Imagine my state, when I hardly made it over the 50 points mark.

  • Kane blanked, while the Spurs narrowly won at home against struggling Brighton.
  • Hazard blanked, in his Man of the Match performance... pathetic.
  • Liverpool, home at Anfield, couldn’t crack a stubborn West Brom defense. Both Mo Salah and Coutinho played 90 minutes and earned six points combined.
  • Finally, Stephen Ward was subbed at the half time and didn’t get clean sheet points

Now tell me this -- What is going on?? Whatever I change, seems to end up as a disaster, especially at captain. [Editor’s Note: It’s a well known fact that many EPL managers and stars follow fantasy blog teams and articles so they can throw squad selections and performances just to mess with us.]

Am I too reactive? I ended up at 52 points and a slight drop to 202k.

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GW 18

I took a deep breath, though didn’t have time to think long about it. Harry Kane was about to face the all-mighty Manchester City, and I didn’t want to keep him. I felt betrayed... I can declare the Kane’s transfer to be the most absurd one I made this whole season.

Besides him, I sensed that Burnley’s clean sheet magic was about to end, so I was desperate, if not to replace Nick Pope (thanks for all you have done Nick, this won’t fade in time), then to at least buy a reliable rotation partner. In the meantime Phil Jones returned from injury for a Manchester United side that look to keep the most clean sheets this season.

It was a no-brainer, when I realised I could bring the likes of my beloved Alvaro Morata, Phil Jones and, wait for it, David De Gea for the fallen Harry Kane, Rob Elliot and injured Stephen Ward. Would you even wait for a second? I didn’t, happily confirming the swap and -8 hit. I had to resist my wife’s pressure, as she prompted me to make Wayne Rooney a captain. I told her that Eden Hazard is the guy, and who is Wayne Rooney in general. She still reminded me of Hazard’s latest ineffectiveness in the False 9 role and how frustrated I was with him just a couple days ago, but I didn’t listen. I gave my team’s armband to Hazard.

You know, what happened afterwards...

Hazard (having in mind his price tag and captaincy) and Morata made me feel and look like a fool yet again, while Marcos Alonso made me switch off my TV and leave for a walk to keep my composure. What a joker this Spaniard is! My Pope to De Gea miraculous sub didn’t really work out, as Nick held on his clean sheet yet again. Sean Dyche is doing something simply phenomenal there.

With all the frustrations came the positives, and they were Wayne Rooney, Philippe Coutinho, Mo Salah and inspiring Andreas Christensen. The Dane deserves some special praise for his display and is now looking like the main central defender. 66 is my final score.

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Lessons learned

  1. Don’t overreact as this game is all about the averages.
  2. Nevertheless, don’t get stuck with one player (yes, Hazard). There is so much value around.
  3. Low price players are cheap for a reason -- don’t get too excited (Richarlison and Gross).
  4. Right captain is 30% of success - pick wisely (easier said than done).
  5. Trust your wife :)

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What’s is my Christmas plan?

I’m not a fan of early transfers, but I simply couldn’t help myself. I transferred in a Man City duo after watching how they thrashed Pochettino’s Spurs. My heartfelt welcome to Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling -- please make my team great again! I ended up with a power five in midfield, stalwart goalie and the goal-threating defenders. I’m possessing none of the classic premium forwards, and I don’t plan to have any until either Morata’s form deteriorates completely or the double game week for Spurs and Hammers arrives. Hope the second comes sooner than the first.

I shouldn’t take any more hits in the upcoming game rounds and am in general happy, with what I see on my team’s page:

De Gea

Christensen / Otamendi / Jones

Sterling / De Bruyne / Loftus-Cheek / Coutinho / Salah

Rooney / Morata

Bench: Pope, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Kiko Femenia, Mbemba

I still own the dead-weight Mbemba, but can’t find that free transfer to upgrade him. I lost faith in Chelsea’s rotation game and Hazard’s weird positioning, so am turning now to the almost-nailed City and Liverpool players no matter whom they face (am I really saying it?).

How are you doing in the December roller-coaster thus far? Do you own any premium forwards? Did you already activate your Wildcard? Have any other fantasy formats treated players differently than what we see in FPL? Let us know in the comments, and thank you for reading!

Alexey

PS: Remember that whave a Friday match coming, so some formats’ deadlines will be early, and one format will ignore the Friday match completely (those players will NOT count in the coming game week!)