With the game-weeks coming thick and fast, GW-13 is already over, but we still have to tidy up the Blog Cup results from GW-12 last midweek. Forty-eight teams made it to the quarterfinals, and they’ve now been whittled down to 32 for the semifinals in GW-14.
GW-12 featured significant blanks for Arsenal and Man City (#1 & 2 in the table!), so fantasy managers had to make serious decisions over whom to drop, and whether to hold discounts for zeroes. Pretty much everyone kept Haaland, but quite a few teams risked keeping more zeros (although I wonder if some of those were actually a result of the midweek deadline catching managers by surprise). Overall, only seven teams in the whole league (out of more than 250) fielded a full squad of 11 active players.
Scoring for GW-12 was unusual in that the top three fantasy assets for the week were goalkeepers, Allison led the list thanks to his penalty save (which also maintained a clean sheet and a win, so it was worth 17 points!). GW-10 had been the first week where an attacking player had not been the top-scorer for the week. GW-11 had a goalkeeper as the top earner, and this continued in GW-12.
With two keepers again leading the scoring for GW-13 so far (with West Ham v Bournemouth unknown as I write), have we seen a shift in scoring patterns? Is getting the defense right now more important than the attack? In fact, only seven players earned 20+ points, and five of those were keepers (Allison, Henderson, Leno, Raya and Bazunu)!
Nevertheless, overall scoring was relatively low, with the top Fantrax NMA-11 side Team DongRom managing 130 points. Sadly for them, they had already been eliminated in Round 1. Only 18 teams broke the 100-point barrier, so any managers of those teams who were still in the cup have been basking in the sure knowledge that they’re in the semifinals. But those of us further down the list have been sweating on these results:
|Cup position||Team||Round score||Total score|
|Cup position||Team||Round score||Total score|
|11||OGZ Hall Of Fame||109||1414|
|24||Sir Boy United FC||95||1383|
|28||[TyF] Ozdal City||93||98.5|
|31||The Motley Crewe||87.5||1383|
|--- qualification cut-off ---|
|36||Fight to the Last Ukrainian||81||1245|
So the score needed to advance was a mere 85 points, good enough for only 76th in the league as a whole. This is definitely lower than many managers might have expected, and I count myself amongst them, having scraped through in 31st out of 32 advancing!
The top scoring team left in the competition is Whithy Dragons, a team that has been fairly anonymous in the Cup so far with a best finish of 23rd in round 3. This team is hovering around the mid-thirties in the league, but came good in GW-12 thanks to Allison’s monster 27.5 plus good contributions from Kieran Trippier, Darwin Nunez, Ethan Pinnock and Adam Webster — only Mason Mount’s 3 disappointed (along with the planned zero for Haaland).
As expected, Team stallexpress had a good week — this is a rare team without Haaland, so Simon was able to field 11 players this week, and his three strikers (Mitrovic, Salah and Zaha) totaled 42 points between them (already almost halfway to beating the cup cut-off all by themselves). Add in solid performances from the rest, apart from Mount’s 3 and an unusually disappointing 6 from Tarkowski, and his 125.5 total was enough for second place in the Cup rankings.
At the other end of the rankings, several highly-placed teams either just scraped through or were eliminated. Both EPL GALACTICOS and Sparta FC have been in or around the top-ten for most of the season, but both fell agonizingly short, by a half a point and 1.5 points respectively. Both these teams chose to keep Kevin De Bruyne as well as Haaland, apparently sacrificing their short-term Cup prospects for a longer-term payoff in the league standings. This could have been the difference for them. Sparta FC also picked Andy Robertson, who was surprisingly benched and came on for only a 1.5-point cameo towards the end.
My own team demonstrated that perhaps keeping KDB’s discount wasn’t the stupidest thing though — I did drop him and instead picked up Youri Tielemans, thinking that he might get more opportunity with Maddison suspended. Well, he managed to prove himself the equal of KDB... by matching his zero! Somehow, despite also picking Robertson and Mount, I scraped up enough points to survive, but knowing that I could have achieved the same result by keeping KDB’s discount for a zero is painful. To rub salt into the wound, Tielemans did score this weekend against Wolves, but by then of course I’d already dropped him. This is ‘dead to me’ behavior!
The semifinals take place in GW-14, when the 32 survivors will be cut down to the final 20 teams. This is a week that sees Man City play in the early game (at Leicester), so for once we’ll be immune to the frustrations of Pep roulette. Liverpool and Arsenal look to have nice home games, against Leeds and Forest, but can either of them be trusted? It could be an interesting week!
How did you do? Are you safely through? If not, then which players let you down? If you already crashed out of the competition in an earlier round, would you have done better this time? — Perhaps you can claim the ‘I would have passed if I hadn’t lost already’ ribbon along with the highest-scoring team for the week?