By Patrick Gibson
We’ve reached the end of August, and as everyone would’ve rightly assumed, Man City is at the top of the table with 9 points from 9. The other 19 positions on the table are a fair bit muddied, to say the least. A West Ham side that everyone assumed would be relegation fodder following the sale of Declan Rice has stormed out of the gates with wins against Chelsea and Brighton in the last two weeks to position them in second. Meanwhile, in fantasy, Rodri has proven to be the most valuable player of the season so far, accumulating the joint most amount of points while only having an initial valuation of 5.5m. In our corner of the fantasy world, contenders and pretenders are beginning to sort themselves out from the rest of the pack, and yours truly laments a subpar week that saw Bread Devils FC drop from 9th to joint 20th.
Who Won the Week?
While the last two weeks saw the dominant performers take hold of the top spot, our week 3 champion looked to recover from a remarkably slow start. Boehly’s Ballers, managed by Matthew Hum, had placed in the bottom third of the standings in both of the first two gameweeks. With the renaissance of Chelsea in their tie against Luton, Matthew’s side has shot back up into the top half of the table. The 72-point performance was boosted by a sublime transfer decision to take out Newcastle’s Elliot Anderson for Aston Villa’s Moussa Diaby, which was well worth the 4-point deduction to his overall score. Important contributions from Malo Gusto and Destiny Udogie helped to offset the 0-point performance from his third defender, Kieran Trippier. While Matt rises up the table, special mention goes to Craig Johnston for another solid game week, as his 70-point game week has him holding the top spot at the end of August as the first to crack 200 overall points in the season.
Given the handful of injuries that Man City has been afflicted with at the start of this season and the decisions to be made regarding transfers, Pep fielded a relatively predictable line-up against Sheffield United that did not spur much angst among fantasy owners this week. The frustration at Erling Haaland missing his penalty was felt by essentially everyone in the league, as all but 6 players had him in their lineup, and only 6 of those with him in their line-up did not feature him as captain this week. Though the Norwegian remains the second-highest scorer for City this season, the other constant in Rodri continues to be a boon for certain owners. With his price continuing to skyrocket, now might be the time to cash in on the defensive midfielder if you have the funds.
The other intriguing aspect of Pep Roulette will be the potential signings coming in over the next few days. With rumours abounding about Nunes coming over from Wolves and the completed signing of Doku from Stade Rennais in France, there’s plenty of room for more decisions to be made in the Man City line-up. Won’t Pep think of our mental health when making these choices?
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It brings me no joy to report on this particular development, but, at least in fantasy, our very own Billy Goodtimes is going through some Billy Sadtimes. With 5 outfield players scoring 1 point or fewer this week, CF Ballou Tabla only managed a paltry 24-point performance. Admittedly, a weak bench has contributed to selection issues for Billy as Folarin Balogun looks to be off to Monaco and would otherwise be featured behind Eddie Nketiah and a healthy Gabriel Jesus up top for Arsenal. In addition to that choice, Mason Mount is now injured and wasn’t bringing much to Man United in the first place, and Philippe Coutinho’s only managed 27 minutes through the first three games in a Villa team where he’ll struggle to get minutes. The Salah/Haaland pairing should do enough most weeks to avoid seeing him in this position again, but it’s really hard to overcome three-point scorers in any game week. May we all take our tarps off and say “Thank You For Your Donation” in honour of Billy’s performance this week.
Weird Observation of the Week
After having last week off due to Kenilworth Road still needing to complete certain construction challenges, Luton headed to Stamford Bridge for their second game of the season. The game was a big boon to owners of Chelsea players who had suffered mightily through the first two games of the season, particularly those with Raheem Sterling on their team, who managed the single highest-scoring performance of the season with 19 points. In week 1, Luton also allowed a number of Brighton players to have really successful fantasy performances, though none quite to the same level as Sterling or Gusto this past Friday. This begs the question, is Luton the team to be taking chances against with your lineups? Going into the season, there was speculation about the newly promoted teams and how likely it would be for their games to get out of hand. Many expected Sheffield to produce those sorts of results, but a gritty 2-1 loss to Man City on Sunday showed that maybe they won’t be an absolute sieve against the bigger clubs this season. That Luton has yet to play at home this season likely limits the amount we can truly take from their performances, but if you haven’t triple-captained Haaland yet, it might be best to see if this Luton trend continues.
With the registration/transfer deadlines coming on Friday, there’ll be plenty of speculation about how any last-minute changes will affect the fantasy landscape. There is not as much speculation on their effects on actual results, but that analysis is for the people who are paid to look into it. For now, I’m just hoping that United signs a left-back so that I don’t have to see Diogo Dalot try and mark Bukayo Saka next week. That feels like a recipe for disaster, one you might want to try and take advantage of.
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.