In game-week 12 I put my squad up against PPQ’s in NMA’s first-ever head-to-head Rate My Team competition. After the final tally was counted, our readers preferred PPQ’s team over mine by a 50% margin. That wasn’t a difficult pill for me to swallow; PPQ is a good fantasy manager and there is no shame in losing to someone of his caliber.
More embarrassing, however, was the fact that my squad received the same number of votes as the “Neither” category. That is a special kind of humiliation.
But how did things actually play out? Did I exact sweet revenge on my doubters by defeating PPQ despite their lack of confidence in my squad?
Here are GW 12’s results for each of us:
Team David Brian
At first glance it appears I’ve emerged the winner, my 64 points besting PPQ’s 61. But there’s more to the story: Bonus points from today have not been applied yet. We both had James Justin, so his expected bonus of 2 is a wash. But PPQ captained Kane for an expected 3 x 2, while I captained Vardy for an expected 1 x 2. The result? A likely 69-68 victory for PPQ — he pipped me by a single stinking point!
And voters for “Neither” who selected 80-point teams are laughing at both of us. Anybody? Please share in the comments below if you voted so and then bested both of us!
So this week I’m going to protect my delicate feelings and return to our conventional RMT format: no competition, no opponent, just Team David Brian. Hey, you can’t lose if you don’t play, right?
As we head into the festive period, I want a squad that will offer me substantial bench cover; the upcoming stretch is notoriously rife with rotation and injury due to fixture density. Diogo Jota suffered a knee injury in the Champions League, so he is sidelined for six to eight weeks, rendering him useless to me just when I (and Jurgen Klopp) need him the most. And although Dale Stephens is building match fitness after recovering from injury, I can’t be sure how soon he’ll be ready to start, or if he’ll even be first-choice when that happens. So they both must go out.
Fortunately, I rolled over my free transfer from GW-12, and so I can now make a double move that will allow me to upgrade both of my lost players without absorbing a hit. Adding the pitiful £0.1 I had in the bank to the £11.1 generated by the sale of Jota and Stephens gives me exactly enough to buy James Ward-Prowse and Tomas Soucek.
Soucek has a season total two points higher than Jota’s but costing £2.0 less. He has amassed 19 points over just the last three games, and he has netted in three of his last five. He seems to be heating up just as the Hammers enter a favorable run of fixtures (Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton, Everton, West Bromwich Albion and Burnley).
JWP is the #6 midfielder in FPL, and like Soucek he has also collected 19 points over his last three games. His performances have elevated Southampton to number four in the league table (Saints are fourth???). The Saints don’t have the best upcoming fixtures, but they’ve lost only one game in their last ten, and with JWP’s set-piece ability (arguably the best in the Prem), he can produce against anyone, especially now that Ings is back to get on the end of his service.
And crucially, both of these men have played every minute of every league match this season. As nailed-on starters in their respective starting-XIs, we can expect their risk of rotation to be relatively low. That is a critical consideration as we enter the congested festive period, when the increased risks of rest and injury make viable bench cover paramount. By bringing these two men into my side, I’ll have 14 real-life starters, with Nknounkou my single bit of budget-stretching bench fodder.
Here’s how I will likely line up for GW 13:
Those transfers have been finalized, so the only thing that might change between now and our TUESDAY deadline is which of my squad I’ll start and where I’ll place the armband.
I’ll close by extending my congratulations to PPQ, a most worthy and honorable opponent. While I suspect he will be humble in victory (especially in the face of so many “Neither” votes who undoubtedly beat both of us), I am sure that certain readers (I’m looking at you, Ken) will be unable to refrain from mocking me in my defeat. To them I say, “Give me a break, I still finished in second place!”
How did GW 12 work out for you? What moves are you making ahead of GW 13? Are you happy with your bench cover as we head into the congested festive period? And what do you think about my GW-13 squad — please rate my team!