GW-38 was a roller-coaster for teams in the Premier League, with the champions and final relegation spot decided only at the death. But far more importantly in the NMA Fantasy world, the last two Fantrax NMA-11 teams were fighting to win this year’s Blog Cup .
The two teams involved started out the day in first and second places in the NMA-11 league, so despite the apparent randomness of the results in the head-to-head format, clearly there is more correlation with form over the whole season than might have been expected.
So the finalists were last season’s Blog Cup winners and F-11 league winners 183168, who were hoping to make it a second successive double-winning season, against The Motley Crewe, who have been solid performers over the past few seasons but have never threatened to win anything before. I am trying to be objective here, but it is difficult because this is my own team.
This year I mapped each fantasy team to an equivalent real-life team from the various English leagues based on the fantasy teams’ qualifying positions as of week 20. 183168 were already leading the league in GW-20, albeit by only two points at the time, so they were the equivalent of Man City. The Motley Crewe on the other hand was in 14th, which at the time was equivalent to Southampton. While the real Southampton ended up one place lower, I can feel pleased with my team’s performance, clawing myself up to 2nd and closing by more than 100 points on the leader.
The league was a foregone conclusion, 183168 going into GW-38 a huge 84 points clear. But could a one-week upset be on the cards?
The shared players
The unusual thing about this final week was that we knew the lineups for all teams before the transfer deadline was over. This meant that 220 players were available as definite starters, so the pool of players available was both limited and yet equally attractive. Many weeks you find that players from the first game, where the starters were known, are much more heavily picked. But of course there were a lot of in-form players, and it would be expected that the fantasy rosters would share a lot of them. In the end though, only five players were shared. Here are the players, and also their cost to each team:
Shared player details
|Player||Cost: 183168||Cost: The Motley Crewe||Points|
|Player||Cost: 183168||Cost: The Motley Crewe||Points|
|Kevin De Bruyne||17.84||17.89||18|
The five shared players were overall pretty successful, scoring a nice 77 points, with Kane, Son and KDB leading the way. They mostly exceeded their cost; Eriksen, Kane and Son comfortably, and KDB just, but Justin was a bit disappointing, managing only 2.5 points, still fairly close to his cost.
What is a big difference here is the cost of these players to each team. The Motley Crewe paid $11.54 less for the same group of players. Most of this difference came from the heavily discounted Kane. I had gambled on him a few weeks earlier when he had only one game in a single week, and decided to carry on with him since his form has been good. This was one of my best decisions of the season, since my team did well through this period, yet maintained a fairly crucial discount.
But could the discount pay off?
The difference players
For the remaining players I’ll work through them position by position:
183168 Edouard Mendy - cost 13.25, 8.5 points
The Motley Crewe: David Raya Martin - cost 14.05, 1 point
So a good start for 183168 with a slightly cheaper keeper bringing in a 7.5 point advantage.
With hindsight I have no idea why I passed on Mendy, although there was always the concern that a goal against would heavily damage his return - as indeed was the case. Raya conceded a penalty and got a yellow card, on top of two goals conceded and a defeat, so it’s quite fortunate that he ended up scoring positively at all.
183168 Wesley Fofana- cost 1.01, 8.5 points and Kieran Trippier - cost 3.39, 5.5 points
The Motley Crewe: Willy Boly - cost 2.13, 14 points and Kevin Long - cost 1.00, 3 points
The tables turn slightly here, with Boly’s score matching that of Fofana and Trippier combined, leaving a 3 point advantage. I confess to trying several ways of getting Trippier in, all at the expense of Boly, but fortunately stuck with the Wolves defender, who as I hoped accumulated plenty of points from defensive duties, with 12 clearances and two blocked shots.
Still a 4.5 advantage to 183168 at this point, but still a good budget advantage to The Motley Crewe.
Since we shared three players at this position, we had only one differential, but there was quite a difference:
183168 Ryan Sessegnon - cost 3.27, 4.5 points
The Motley Crewe: James Maddison - cost 15.22, 19 points
A lot of the budget difference was blown here, with 183168 hoping that Tottenham’s budget-priced wing back would do well against Norwich while The Motley Crewe went for the in-form Maddison, hoping there was no ‘on the beach’ moment. The result was a big advantage to The Motley Crewe, who now find themselves 14.5 points ahead.
183168 Luis Diaz- cost 4.45, 1 point and Sadio Mane - cost 13.69, 13 points
The Motley Crewe: Gabriel Jesus - cost 10.15, 1.5 points and Jamie Vardy - cost 8.12, 18.5 points
Both teams had one decent pick and one disappointing one here, with the low-priced Diaz surprisingly not scoring well and the more expensive Jesus disappointing greatly despite playing the full 90 minutes of City’s game. Fortunately for The Motley Crewe, Vardy continued his scoring streak and the Leicester/City combination outscored the Liverpool pair by 6 points.
So the final score was:
183168 118 : 134 The Motley Crewe
So the Fantrax EPL NMA-11 Cup winners for 2022 are The Motley Crewe
It’s a bit embarrassing to be writing an article about my own team, but I’ll give myself a pat on the back, and will say that I am extremely proud to have triumphed over such strong opposition, both in the final, and also the earlier rounds, in particular the quarter-final where I barely scraped through thanks to a last-minute points update.
I must congratulate my opponent in the final, 183168 who has been by far the outstanding team for the past two seasons. Can anyone beat them next year?
Thank you also to everyone who has taken part, and especially to those who comment regularly - a lot of the enjoyment for me comes from sharing comments with others, so I encourage you all to comment regularly on Blog articles - it helps us all.
How did you feel about this year’s blog cup competitions? Are there ways you could suggest making it better? Anything you didn’t like? What things did you like and would like to see kept? Please comment below, we’d love to hear from you.