As we know, everything is relative. As weird as it sounds, you may actually feel better scoring 55 in one week than 65 in another. If the average score is 50 and you put up 55, you’ll feel pretty good, right? But if the average is 70 and you “only” return 65, that’s kind of a downer.
This week, though, it was really difficult to feel good, no matter how relative. The global FPL scoring average was 36 points. THIRTY-SIX! Yeesh. We thought Week 2 (41 points) and Week 4 (44 points) were bad, but they’ve got nothing on the abject misery of Week 8. We haven’t even hit the rough patches yet from several teams sitting on the sidelines due to fixture congestion in other competitions.
Kevin De Bruyne (selected by 31% of FPL managers) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (20%) did not play due to injury and illness, respectively. But that wasn’t all! Let’s look at the painfully long list of fantasy favorites — and captain candidates — who fizzled out as duds.
THE MISERY MAKERS
- Norwich’s Teemu Pukki (41% selection, 1 point)
- Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (30%, 2)
- Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (27%, 2)
- Tottenham’s Harry Kane (19%, 2)
- Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino (13%, 2)
- Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson (12%, 2)
- Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford (10%, 2)
- Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (10%, 2)
- Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling (39% selection, 2 points) [the most captained player for GW8]
- Liverpool’s Mo Salah (38%, 2)
- Norwich’s Todd Cantwell (25%, 2)
- Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva (15%, 1)
- Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min (12%, 2)
- Aston Villa’s John McGinn (12%, 1)
- Manchester United’s Daniel James (12%, 2)
- Manchester City’s David Silva (10%, 3)
- Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez (10%, 1) [the most transferred in player for GW8]
- Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk (47% selection, 2 points)
- Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (30%, 3)
- Everton's Lucas Digne (23%, 2)
- Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson (20%, 2)
- Manchester City’s Kyle Walker (17%, 1)
- Manchester United’s Harry Maguire (15%, 2)
- Burnley’s Erik Pieters (13%, 1) [injured at 54’ to just miss the CS]
- Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake (12%, 2)
- Bournemouth’s Diego Rico (12%, 2)
- Manchester City’s Ederson (22% selection, 0 points)
- Manchester United’s David De Gea (17%, 2)
- Everton’s Jordan Pickford (10%, 2)
THE UNEXPECTED STARS
Instead of the usual suspects, who ended up starring instead over the weekend?
On offense, Aston Villa forward Wesley Moraes (14 points), Brighton & Hove Albion forward Aaron Connolly (13 points), and Wolverhampton midfielder Adama Traore (16 points) each notched braces basically out of nowhere. Aston Villa midfielder Anwar El Ghazi chipped in with two assists for 9 points.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham as well as Leicester’s James Maddison were solid with a goal each, and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez did very nicely with two assists for 10 points, but the stand-out offensive fantasy favorite who had a big game was Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, who notched a goal and assist plus all 3 bonus for 12 points. If you had him in your team and handed him the captain’s arm band, you were loving life. But if you gave it to someone along the lines of Aguero, Aubameyang, Kane, Pukki, Salah, Sterling, or Son, it was doldrums.
In the back, it was largely players whom not many managers have selected, and even worse, those who did have them may have chosen to put them on the bench due to seemingly daunting match-ups (particularly Wolves at City):
- Arsenal defenders David Luiz (15 points), Calum Chambers (8 pts), Sead Kolasinac (7 pts) and Sokratis Papasthopoulos (6 pts), along with keeper Bernd Leno (6 pts)
- Brighton defenders Lewis Dunk (10 points), Martin Montoya (6 pts), and Dan Burn (6 pts), along with keeper Mathew Ryan (7 pts)
- Burnley defenders James Tarkowski (9 points), Matthew Lowton (6 pts), and Ben Mee (6 pts), along with keeper Nick Pope (7 points)
- Crystal Palace defenders Patrick van Aanholt (9 points) and Martin Kelly (7 pts)
- Newcastle defenders Jetro Willems (12 points), Jamaal Lascelles (6 pts), Ciaran Clark (6 pts), and Fabian Schar (5 pts), along with keeper Martin Dubravka (8 pts)
- Sheffield United defenders Jack O’Connell (7 pts), Chris Basham (6 pts), Enda Stevens (6 pts), George Baldock (6 pts), John Egan (6 pts), John Lundstram (5 pts), along with keeper Dean Henderson (6 pts)
- Wolves’ defenders Willy Boly (7 points), Connor Coady (6 pts), Ryan Bennett (6 pts), and Ruben Vinagre (6 pts), along with keeper Rui Patricio (6 pts)
NMA FPL Mini-League Top 10 in GW8
To those of you who somehow made it through the muck looking pretty, take a bow!
- Pjanic at the Disco (89 points)
- STRETCARAHC02 (79 pts)
- Real Emirates FC (78 pts)
- Predator FC (76 pts)
- I dipxksx (72 pts)
- Ashley Out!!! (72 pts)
- Dream Fc (72 pts)
- Colourful Squad (71 pts)
- Nyants (70 pts)
- ghosts (70 pts)
Pjanic at the Disco lapped the competition by having Sadio Mane as captain (12 x 2 = 24 points), plus David Luiz (15 pts), Raul Jimenez (10 pts), Tammy Abraham (8 pts), Jack Grealish (7 pts), Mason Mount (7 pts), Mat Ryan (7 pts), and Sebastian Haller (5 pts) helping out in a brilliant performance, as only Dani Ceballos (3 pts), Virgil van Dijk (2 pts) and Frederic Guibert (1 pt) were under 5. Genius!
Myself, I had 39 points, three better than the worldwide average. (Relatively speaking, woo hoo!) I captained Salah while benching two players who scored well — Dean Henderson and Martin Kelly (7 points each), but at least Henderson didn’t really hurt me much since my starter in goal, Nick Pope, earned 6. At 462 points overall, I’m at #349 in the NMA league and #219,402 globally, barely outside the top 3% in the latter. After such a difficult, low-scoring week, and still holding my first half Wildcard chip in my pocket, I can’t complain.
Fantrax NMA-11 Top 10 in GW8
- [TYF] Ragasaki (105 points)
- JenJen11 (92 pts)
- Ambush FC (92 pts)
- The Mod Squad (92 pts)
- Team Galbatoreix (91 pts)
- Alehouse WAGs (90 pts) [way to go, editor Jeff!]
- McBain’s Bane (88 pts)
- Stbom (86 pts)
- Team Addibsune (85 pts)
- Team yan7181 (85 pts)
[TYF] Ragasaki stood alone on the winner’s podium, head and shoulders above the crowd as the only team to crack 100. That was fueled by big performances from Sadio Mane (25 points), Jack Grealish (21 pts), Tammy Abraham (14 pts), Trent Alexander-Arnold (12 pts), and Mason Mount (11 pts). Very, very well done!
My team was a dumpster fire at 49 points, which saw me slip down to tie for #11 in the league for the season. Like many others, I was stocked up on the likes of Aguero, Kane, Pukki, McGinn and Kevin de Bruyne which hurt, as did my more speculative play of Christian Eriksen. After two straight disappointing weeks in Fantrax for me (I had a mediocre 77 points in Week 7), it looks like it may be time to shake things up!
Fantrax NMA-17 Top 3 in GW8
- Team saxo (124)
- Alisson Wonderland (119)
- Alehouse WAGs (118)
The alt Fantrax leagues are somewhat smaller than NMA-11, so competition is not as crowded (67 teams earned points in NMA-17 this week). That means the higher scores here really underscore the power of scoring your best at each position. When an Aguero goes bust, he can be ignored in favor of Haller at +9.
Fantrax NMA-Sub Top 3 in GW8
- Alehouse WAGs (97)
- KMFC (93)
- Curious Jorginho (89)
Even smaller than NMA-17 (only 37 teams) and not as forgiving, the NMA-Sub league only bails out DnP’s. Poor performing starters still drag a team down, so the top scores are all below 100. Alehouse WAGs (Jeff again) nicked the top spot (from Ken M) on the strength of Mason Mount’s +11 filling in for Phil Foden’s DnP about 7 hours after the last match ended. Jeff learned that switcheroo trick from editing our MLS fantasy articles here at NMA!
Note to NMA-Sub managers: Even after the “substitution”, Foden still appeared in a starting spot in the Alehouse roster, rendering it technically illegal (though the score still counted). Apparently this type of scoring in Fantrax has some wrinkles that need to be ironed out. Be sure to check your lineup after each week to repair any violations caused by auto-subs!
How did you do in Week 8, and how is your season going so far? Please share your fantastic exploits and sob stories in the comments, and let us know your thoughts in advance of Week 9 as the EPL goes on international break!