The Perils of Second Season Syndrome for Fantasy Football Managers


Here’s Steve with his article on the perils of second season syndrome for fantasy football managers with some examples from the past.

The Perils of Second Season Syndrome for Fantasy Football Managers

The dreaded curse of second season syndrome is a very real affliction in the Premier League that repeats itself time and time again. Second season syndrome manifests itself in the league’s leading players from the season before and turns them into impotent shadows of their former selves. Many fantasy football managers have fallen foul of the knock-on effect and suffered the collateral damage that comes with the much feared second season syndrome.

Every club and their fans have seen one of their players go through it and been gobsmacked in the change of fortunes for their once star players who now can’t even take a throw-in without giving possession away. There have been more acute cases than others in the past and who can forget Swansea City’s Michu and his dramatic fall from grace.

The Swans thought they uncovered the next Rivaldo after Michu’s first season at the Liberty Stadium but soon found that they may have overpaid when they bought Michu for £2m from Rayo Vallecano. Michu was electric in his first season scoring 22 goals in all competitions only to suffer from severe second season syndrome the next season by only finding the net twice.

It was all downhill from there for the Spaniard and he retired in 2017 at 31 years old after battling injury. Roque Santa Cruz suffered a similar fate after netting 23 goals in 47 appearances for Blackburn Rovers during his first season in 2007 but that was followed up by only four goals the season afterwards.

Over 90% of fantasy football managers would have had those two in their sides only to fall off the pace and down the leaderboards as they continued to misfire. With that in mind, who could potentially contract second season syndrome in the 2018/2019 season?

There’s only one place to start and everyone is thinking it, could the unheard of happen and Mo Salah go down with the sickness? It is highly unlikely that Salah will, given that he’s not in his late twenties or early thirties. Salah also isn’t in the position where he has had a relatively low profile before a club has decided to take a punt on him towards the back end of his career. The Egyptian forward is young and not yet in the prime of his career which makes him an unlikely candidate.

That’s not to say he will repeat his heroics and win the Golden Boot like he did last season despite being the second-favourite at 5/1 in Premier League betting to do so. Those sort of achievements can be considered landmark and even if someone like Harry Kane beats him to it won’t mean he’s suffered from a dip in form.

Ederson was Guardiola’s contingency plan after Claudio Bravo spectacularly fell apart in his debut season in the Premier League. Ederson did well last season but his audacious playing out from the back and decision making makes him the perfect candidate for second season syndrome during City’s 2018/2019 campaign.

Wolves fan will be hoping their talismanic player Ruben Neves is able to repeat his heroics this year. Neves swept the board at Wolves end of season awards after inspiring the Championship outfit to promotion, however, the danger is Neves battles to make the step up to the Premier League and suffers massively contrasting fate to the season before.

All of the new and outstanding players from last season will be monitored extremely closely during the new campaign to see if they are the real deal or just a flash in the pan.

Fantasy football managers will have to be astute in their selections and possibly even be bold by leaving out players who set the league on fire last year. Many campaigns are won and lost because of second season syndrome and it will undoubtedly return to the Premier League again this year.

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