By Patrick Gibson
The sun has risen on the latest Premier League season. Fans everywhere are full of hope as their summer signings are clearly better than anything their rivals managed to get up to. Of course, they aren’t hoping to win the league, as the machine of Manchester City continues to lord over the rest of the Barclays. Instead, fans worldwide took their various streaming services of choice to watch as much of the first match week as possible with the hopes of this being the year they finally win at FPL. This season marks the second running of the Capital City Supporters’ fantasy league. With improved prizes and a much larger player base, the competition has turned up a level, at least until week 3, when 60% of the competitors stop paying attention like they always do.
Who Won the Week?
Speaking of paying attention, one way to take an early lead and claim a stranglehold is to use the wildcards that inevitably will go unused by the player base at large. This strategy helped contribute to our leader from week 1, Thomas Stockting on 99 points. By playing his bench boost, he may have only accrued an extra 9 points, but the selection of 3 of the 5 highest-scoring players for the week served as the extra boost to claim the crown following the first match day. He was in a tight race with two other players that manage to accrue over 90 points, Scott Easterbrook, who was the most successful of the three players who chose to triple captain Erling Haaland this week, and Joel Azzano, who managed 23 points from his bench boost to skyrocket from a would-be tie in 24th without it.
The problem with the overwhelming amount of talent that features for Manchester City is that only 11 can see the pitch at any given time. Other than Haaland, and even really him in some cases, picking any one of Manchester City’s players comes with the risk of squad rotation on a given week, something that we’ll call Pep Roulette. We’ll spare those who started any number of Man City defenders that didn’t see the pitch against Burnley, as either injuries or transfer business were the reasons for players’ exclusions and not simply squad rotation. In the midfield, though, it was a rough day for the four managers in the league that spent the 7.5 million of their budgets on Jack Grealish, as he didn’t see the pitch in City’s trouncing. One can only hope that these managers had the foresight not to abandon their bench and be able to make up for lost points, especially when James Maddison had a 9-point effort for Spurs at the same price.
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While we should look on in awe at the managers that have risen to the top of the league, it wouldn’t be a fantasy league if we didn’t take a shot at those scratching and clawing for the wooden spoon. Of course, we want to thank these incredible individuals who have chosen to donate their hard-earned money to allow CCSG to continue producing the gameday experience that is beyond all others in the Canadian Premier League. This week’s “Thank You for Your Donation!” team of the week belongs to CCSG’s very own Marco. I’ll put this down to being the victim of a bad set of randomization options, as the team's total value falls below 90 million, and the bench has players that certainly should have been starting ahead of several of his XI. Perhaps his entry fee will go towards a fancy new mask for Section W’s luchador, “Lucho Capital”.
Weird Observation of the Week
Coming into the season, you’d have been right to assume that captaining Erling Haaland would be necessary to contend in any non-draft fantasy league. That he came out and was joint first in fantasy scoring after his performance against Burnley only further serves this narrative. That said, 13 of the 74 competitors in our league thought to fight conventional wisdom and make the bold choice to captain other players. For most, it didn’t work out, as the 7 lowest scoring players neither captained nor featured Haaland in their starting squads, some leaving him out entirely. However, 3 players managed to find success in alternative captain choices. The player known only as “Fuego Flaves” was the most surprising of the three, managing to place 4th for the week with an impressive selection and a useful 9-point bench boost with Bukayo Saka as their captain. Also choosing Saka was Felix Hoppe, who placed just outside the top ten also captaining Saka. The most out-there pick came from Christian Chubak, who made the much-ridiculed decision to have Jarred Bowen bear the armband, only to shock everyone by scoring 9 points and leading Christian’s side to a respectable upper mid-table finish. You must find your advantages where you can, and while technically Haaland was the best choice for a captain this week, it’s not the be-all and end-all not to have him chosen as such.
If you aren’t in contention for an FPL title at the end of the season, the best time to be at the top is after week 1. When the group chat is still at its most active, and more of your fellow competitors are subject to your ridicule for making roster decisions that see them only 1 point behind you because of a time-wasting yellow card in the 99th minute. Next week will see panic transfer decisions, some of which have already been made in hopes of avoiding the value spike of certain players, aplenty as players look to recover from a subpar first week. To paraphrase the immortal words of Antonio Conte “One regular week of FPL, that’s all I ask for.”
Having joined CCSG in 2022, Patrick started his footie career playing at the age of 4 and began watching the pros around the same time. While the first pro team he supported was Manchester United, as soon as Atlético Ottawa came to town, he was immediately on board. His wealth of footie knowledge has been a constant asset, along with his role as caretaker for Atléti Wikipedia pages.