The first week of EPL always brings reflection, both in terms of how you started the fantasy Premier League season and how your favorite actual Premiership team did. As a Los Angeles resident, though, this time around it is much more than that. My thoughts veered a bit away from the Premiership opener, and much closer to home.
Every city has its history, and L.A. is certainly no exception. We have experienced fires, earthquakes, mudslides, riots, the Night Stalker, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the long-ago ever-present billboard for The Room featuring a frightening Tommy Wiseau. But if you have ever read Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter or even watched Quentin Tarantino’s latest epic Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, you know that there may be no more haunting memory in the City of Angels than the long-ago reign of terror spanning across Cielo and Westerly Drives and out to the Spahn Ranch.
Every time one of the Manson family members dies, has a parole hearing, or an anniversary comes up, the bandage is ripped fresh off the wound. Now we’ve just made it through the 50th anniversary of the infamous killing spree perpetrated by the crazed hippie cult. I’m breathing a major sigh of relief that Los Angeles has remained standing, and hopefully you are able to join me in that exultation regarding your fantasy teams after the extended EPL opening weekend.
A lot of your success hinged on whether or not you had the following players:
- Raheem Sterling (Manchester City): hat trick, 20 points in FPL, 31 points in Fantrax
- Harry Kane (Tottenham): brace, 13 points in FPL, 20 points in Fantrax
- Marcus Rashford (Manchester United): brace, 13 points in FPL, 25 points in Fantrax
- Ashley Barnes (Burnley): brace, 13 points in FPL, 24 points in Fantrax
- Mo Salah (Liverpool): goal & assist, 12 points in FPL, 16 points in Fantrax
- Divock Origi (Liverpool): goal & assist, 12 points in FPL, 21 points in Fantrax
- Paul Pogba (Manchester United): two assists, 9 points in FPL, 7 points in Fantrax
- Erik Pieters (Burnley): two assists, clean sheet, 14 points in FPL, 21 points in Fantrax
- Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City): two assists, three fantasy assists, 14 points in FPL, 24 points in Fantrax
- David De Gea (Manchester United): clean sheet victory, 7 saves, 10 points in FPL, 24 points in Fantrax
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal): clean sheet, assist, 12 points in FPL, 14 points in Fantrax
- Lewis Dunk (Brighton): clean sheet, assist, 11 points in FPL, 13 points in Fantrax
Take a look at Sterling’s hat trick highlights, and celebrate or cry:
Official FPL Never Manage Alone “BTB” league top 5
- 廸克 李’s 不好意思 ～ 我射了进去勒 � (112 points)
- Alhassan Sulley’s Kante11 (111 points)
- Tonney Brian’s Tonney_ ABCDE Fc and Sean McNelis’ Real CeReal
- (109 points each)
- Enis Sahinovic’s Obi-Wan-Iwobi, AHMED ADEYINKA ADEWUSI’s Yinkaloo, and Taqiuddin Affendi’s Taqi Troops (108 points each)
If you had Raheem Sterling, you were happy. If you captained him, you were even more joyous. But what if you triple captained him and finished first in the NMA league? Then you were 不好意思 ～ 我射了进去勒 �. Absolute genius, bravo, wonderful, I’m running out of superlatives! Otherwise, Salah chipped in with 12, and four clean sheets plus one assist from the defenders and keeper (Jordan Pickford, Lucas Digne, Seamus Coleman, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Trent Alexander-Arnold) worked very nicely.
Fantrax NMA-11 league top 5:
- Paulys_dreamteam (143 points)
- Pigs F.C. (134 points)
- SUNSEEKER (133 points)
- JFDI (131 points)
- Busby Babes and Teambluebloodedx (130 points each)
63 teams had 100+ points, and congrats to Paulys_dreamteam who led the way with a mammoth score of 143. Pauly was brilliant with his forward selection of Sterling (31), Origi (21) and Kane (20), who combined for 72 points. Pauly rounded out his team very well with Nick Pope (16), Trent Alexander-Arnold (15) and Kevin de Bruyne (12) also in double figures, plus 5+ point efforts from Andrew Robertson, Kyle Walker-Peters, and Oleksandr Zinchenko. The only players who failed to crack that mark were Youri Tielemans and Ross Barkley. Very well done! And since every single player from Pauly’s roster was in my GW1 Fantrax Player Picks article, I’ll take a smidgen of credit.
Fantrax NMA-17 league top 5 (of 83):
- Voetbal FC (159)
- Team Paulys_dreamteam (156)
- Team Rockdelux (150)
- Team SimonC (146)
- Liverlona and Sir Boy United FC (145 each)
More than half the teams broke 100 points, showing the power of throwing a few extra darts at the fantasy scoreboard. The best blogger (whose team name I recognize) was Jeff’s Alehouse WAGs in 12th with 136. Since all of our Fantrax leagues earn points the same way, the top teams were loaded with the usual suspects.
I had 60 points in Official FPL. I rank 3,391,275 out of 5,815,231 in the world. Blurg.
- Mo Salah as captain, which netted me 24 points.
- Decent (5-8 point) performances from Burnley’s Nick Pope, Everton’s Lucas Digne, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson.
- I dropped Harry Kane from my original team, downgrading to Jamie Vardy in order to assemble what I figured was a more well-rounded team; Kane of course had a brace, while Vardy did nil and my upgrades elsewhere proved worthless.
- Supposedly upgrading from Virgil van Dijk to Andrew Robertson with the extra 0.5m I had at the end, and losing out on VvD’s goal.
- I also had Oleksandr Zinchenko in my team before dropping him at the last minute. Of course he had a clean sheet!
- Worried that Paul Pogba may not start given his uncertain commitment to the team, I dropped him for Ryan Fraser; while Pogba had two assists, Fraser did nothing and picked up a yellow card on top of that.
- I had Martin Kelly as my first bench player; Kelly had 6 points which was better than eight of the players in my XI, including two of my three defenders.
- Expecting a bounty from the VAR addition, I stocked up on Salah, Siggy, Mili, King and Vardy in Official, but I didn’t get a single PK from any of them.
My team returned 90 points in Fantrax 11, ranking 88th (tied) among 146 teams (Again, blurg). Paulys_dreamteam was an example of listening to my good picks; unfortunately, all too often I was an example instead of listening to my bad picks.
- I listened to my good advice and went with Harry Kane (20 points), Nick Pope (16 points), Trent Alexander-Arnold (15 points), Kevin de Bruyne (12 points), and Oleksandar Zinchenko (8 points) who all returned nice value.
- I dropped Youri Tielemans from my 1st draft team, and he only scored 1 point.
- I recommended defender Seamus Coleman, who scored 17 points, but didn’t include him in my team. It was the same story with Martin Kelly, who returned 11.
- I dropped defender Kyle Walker-Peters from my first draft team, and he scored 9 points. After rearranging my team, I had a little extra money, so I splurged for Maya Yoshida, who didn’t play.
- Another defender, Joe Gomez, did play, but barely did any better than Yoshida with just 1 point.
- I dropped Mo Salah from my first draft team. Did I instead go with my recommendation of Divock Origi? Of course not! Why not instead listen to my horrible recommendation and double up with Bournemouth forwards — Joshua King and Callum Wilson — who combined for 7 points despite the seemingly very favorable home match-up.
If you did well in the first week and are standing on top of the world, hearty congratulations! If things were tough and you’re feeling more like Atlas, it’s a long season, folks. Plenty of time to rally and get back in the thick of it!
Did your teams flourish or disappoint in the opening weekend? Do you plan on changing your strategy ahead of Week 2, or are you feeling good about things going forward? Are you stuck having to drop Alisson following his injury, or do you have another move in mind? And how tempting is his replacement, Adrian ($3.80 in Fantrax)? Share your thoughts in the comments below!