Way back in August 2022 I set some goals for the my 2022-23 fantasy season ahead. Lets see if I achieved them.
Goal 1 - Achieve my highest ever global ranking.
My highest ever finish was 31,979th back in the 2019-20 season. With almost 11.5 million players playing in 2022-23 (or at least creating an FPL squad), it wouldn't be easy to better that position.
By GW-34, I sat in 15,751st place with a huge smile on my face. Yet coming into the final game week, I had dropped back to 32,846th and a frown appeared. I still had two free transfers to play with, and before team news arrived it was Arsenal duo Gabriel Jesus and Leandro Trossard who were my planned moves. When Arteta commented that Trossard was a doubt I wobbled a little. Then thoughts that Eddie Nketiah may get a run out broke me and I changed the plan. Play it safe I kept telling myself, ensure your picks start in a week when many players may not.
So Saturday morning came, and by then I had broken my choice down to Mo Salah/Ollie Watkins or Harry Kane/James Maddison. I had tipped Aston Villa to beat Brighton, and I loved Watkins against that high defensive line, while Mo seemed the only certain starter against a poor Southampton team, and he needed a single goal to hit 20 for the season.
The results were not good. First up the Arsenal duo provided a goal plus three assists. Kane on his own scored two and assisted once. Salah/Watkins scored once, assisted once. My altered plan left me in 37,693 place, only my 3rd highest finish ever.
Ladies and gentlemen, I blew it.
Goal 2 - Win the Donegal Super League.
This league is a small private mini-league where mighty Sonic Leopard dominates in the same way Pep’s City side does. In the previous four seasons, Sonic’s global end positions were 25,069, 1285, 4008 and 30,826.
Simply put, Sonic is the proven better FPL player, but coming into the final GW-38, I lead the league by a single FPL point. Sonic bought and captained Kane, and I didn’t. On top of that, I captained Marcus Rashford for his blank. My game-week total of 45 points was dwarfed by his 68. Sonic is still the better FPL player again, but I’m closing on him.
Ladies and gentlemen I blew it.
Goal 3 - Finish in the top 100 in the Never Manage Alone League
Despite the disastrous final week, I ended GW-38 in 59th place.
A special bravo to Rita Mennasa whose Greenyarder side won the league and finished at 2,709th place globally. Rita has played four seasons before with a previous top finish being 372,119th, so that’s a fantastic improvement and should inspire all of us to what next season could bring.
Goal 4 - Win the NMA authors league
There was infighting, strops, uncivilised words and needless drama, but come GW-38 I sat on top of this pile. I await David’s new contract offer over the summer.
Goal 1 - A top 10 finish and make a challenge to win the title back
My season was defined by one
erling early move as I did not buy Man City’s new forward at his pre-season price. Thus I went without Erling Haaland many weeks of the season, and I paid full retail in those weeks when I had him. I would love to claim I discovered data to support the move — some angle of strategy or other.
Truthfully though, I simply lacked due diligence. Coming into the opening game week, I felt the trip to West Ham was a tough one for Haaland and the Citizens themselves. In addition, I suspected that as with many Pep new signings, he may take a while to adjust to the very specific demands the Pep’s systems require. A watch-and-see GW-1 approach seemed sensible. 90 minutes and a brace later, the opening week told us all we needed to know about how the season would unfold for the league’s new superstar.
What I failed to do was to pick up Haaland on the barn door before his spectacular price increase. Thanks to Fantrax’s volatile early-season pricing algorithm, he shot up from $7 to over $15. I’m a stubborn man but also came to the conclusion I couldn’t give every other Fantrax player an $8 transfer budget advantage for the remaining 37 weeks. My choice, with plenty of worry, was to select Haaland when I felt his match-ups were too advantageous, going without him when his fixture difficulty increased.
It was a fraught gamble, but I still ended the season in 3rd place. Really it ended up a missed opportunity as I lead the league for a number of weeks. Not having Haaland wasn't an issue as long as I caught his big hauls — and bar the monster against Man United in early October, I caught the rest.
The error that cost me wasn’t Haaland, it was being slow to act on the evidence available for this season’s scoring matrix. James Tarkowski finished the 4th highest point-producing player, Ben Mee the 6th, Ethan Pinnock the 8th, Fabian Schar the 9th and Gabriel 12th. It took me way too long to spot the pattern that developed with central defenders who dominate aerially. By the time I did, they were priced too high.
Goal achieved, but it doesn’t feel like a win.
In general, I have a tenancy to do well at one game more than the other, but this season I had my best season as whole when combining FPL and Fantrax. The Halland mistake in Fantrax was a howler, but I adjusted to it and played well with the circumstances I gave myself.
Looking back, my biggest disappointment was that I was in control of all my FPL goals coming into GW-38, and I led in Fantrax for multiple weeks. When I consider my end positions, I have a Mikel Arteta/Arsenal feeling about the season. I have a sense of failing to follow through on the chances I made for myself.
How did you do in 2022-23? Did you achieve your goals? What are the main talking points of your season? Please let us know in the comments.