Last seasons top 1k Telegraph Fantasy Football overall finisher Stephen Troop reviews November and looks at what December has in store for us and his teams
telegraph fantasy football pundit Stephen Troop reviews November and looks forward to December
Hi all. This is the fourth instalment in my monthly series of articles covering Telegraph Fantasy Football. I will give an overview of my team’s performances to date and reflect on the last few game weeks. I will then look ahead to the next month and outline current plans and players on my watch/transfer list. Please leave feedback in the comments after so I can improve these going forward.
As mentioned in my previous article I have 5 season long teams. However 1, after a poor start, I have left for a later a manager of the month attempt so I have excluded this. Their scores/current ranks are as follows alongside their rank at the end of October
So my previous top placed team has dropped a fair few places with a slight drop for my previous second highest. The other two have seen slight improvements and all 4 teams are very close in terms of total points which shows how volatile rank still is. I’ve also been knocked off top spot in my mini league, albeit slightly. My drop overall in my top team is down to:
A) A poor Jones in transfer before the international break (thinking Utd would grind a 0-0 against Chelsea and England wouldn’t play Jones with his injury risk). I have only just transferred him back out.
B) City’s lack of clean sheets in Nov and the one they did get was when Otamendi was suspended.
C) Spurs dip in form, particularly Eriksen
D) Sane’s dip in form compared to Sterling’s rise. Sane also has 4 YC’s and 1 away from suspension. De Bruyne also keeps punishing me.
E) Jesus lack of starts (only started in away games in the last few)
I feel a lot of managers will have had similar issues and so I’m not panicking with the rank drop. I have plenty of transfers left but have issues I’m not sure how I’m going to resolve yet.
October Review – The winners
Largely gone under the radar but their assets have been performing well. Sanchez has 3 goals and 2 KC’s in his last 3 games following a single point against City. He is looking focused in games and is a big differential now. Ramsey has 5 KC’s in his last 4 and is now the 4th highest scoring midfielder in the game. £4.2m looks like a bargain once the Utd fixture on Saturday is out of the way. I think A lot of managers abandoned their defenders after a poor October but have been punished. 3 out of 4 clean sheets in November and Kolasinac is now top of the defender standings.
The bargain of the season has continued his form, scoring 7 goals in November. Such is his form, I suspect every active manager now has him in so I’m not longer getting the gains I was at the start of the season. Constantly getting into good positions and getting good chances. Liverpool have good fixtures still so I don’t see this form dipping.
His KC’s have dropped in November to just 1 however has scored in 3 of the games in November to keep his points tally ticking away nicely. The only City midfielder not to be rotated and guaranteed KC’s through the season. I have still yet to bring him back into most of my teams.
I highlighted his as a one to watch last month and gained a further 2 goals and 1 KC in November to add to a further 2 KC’s in the match before that. A big differential however comes at a fairly hefty £5.1m price tag making it hard to fit him in. Leicester seem to be playing well again under Puel.
Got to give a mention to Burnley whose fantastic season continues. Clean sheets have dried up a little but that was to be expected (although were unlucky not to shut Arsenal out). I still think they will keep clean sheets making their defenders good value. Other than defence their attack doesn’t have much to offer.
October Review – The losers
1 clean sheet in November, with injuries to Jones and Bailly seemingly having an effect. Good news for most managers as it means the high ranked teams with United blocks have been brought down. With no news on when those 2 will return it is worth avoiding them for now, especially with Arsenal and City up next.
The master of KC points has yet to get a single goal or KC in his last 6 games and his form is really worrying. Did miss a sitter against Leicester and whilst his underlying chances created and shooting stats aren’t what they used to be, fixtures are good but the lure of other midfielders makes it difficult to keep him.
His goal drought continued in November and his average position and shooting stats are terrible. With Arsenal and City next I am sure many alongside me did the swap for Morata on Wednesday night for the extra fixtures (and good ones at that). Plenty of good opportunities in the future to reverse that transfer as Utd play after Chelsea a number of times.
Making their third appearance in the losers section after an awful November, last game excluded. Knocked out the Europa in embarrassing fashion, as well as conceding 8 in 3 games before getting a much-needed result against West Ham during the week. It will be interesting to see how Big Sam improves the defence as I will be monitoring them and may bring in some defensive cover in the second half of the season.
Not of big concern to fantasy managers (unless you’ve gambled on Abraham) but Swansea failed to score in November and registered just 1 clean sheet which is a big concern for them.
November Preview – Ones to watch
After Luis and Conte seemingly have fallen out the £2.7m Chelsea defender has started the last few games which means he could be a steal going into a great run of fixtures. He made it into a couple of my teams on Wednesday night where I still had Jones and was rewarded with the clean sheet. I suspect this will have been a common move among eagle eyed managers.
Has looked dangerous, although his underlying stats aren’t as good as I was expecting. Entered a run of great fixtures into the new year. Was rested mid-week which was a disappointment as I planned to swap Eriksen for him but should be fresh to getting some big points.
Liverpool have good fixtures and doubling up on Liverpool attacking assets could reward you. Scored in his last game against Stoke and always has the ability to score well when fit. There is a case for Coutinho too but my preference is Mane.
Has made a lot of errors in his time at Liverpool and their defence in general is often criticised but Liverpool’s have been keeping clean sheets at home generally this season and kept one away at Stoke mid-week. With favourable fixtures Moreno could offer value. He seems assured of starts and carries an attacking threat. It’s whether you believe these clean sheets will continue. Gomez is cheaper but I’m unsure of his security of starts when others return from injury.
December Plans for my teams
I had planned to bring in Chelsea assets (both defensive and attacking) and Morata and Christensen came in on Wednesday. As I mentioned before, I wanted to do Eriksen>Hazard but Hazard was benched. Chelsea are the early fixture in the next 2 weeks and I’m not sure I want to do that swap now before Spurs play Watford at home. Watford’s defence has a number of injuries and looks vulnerable. I may bring De Bruyne back on Sunday instead but am torn. This does make it difficult to get Hazard in but I feel I need to get him into at least 1 team.
The December scheduling means there is a lot of games in a short time (more so than normal) so rotation is inevitable. Players in teams will be rested and I think it’s easiest to take it on the chin and not panic transfer.
I want to get rid of Forster as Southampton have tough fixtures and didn’t keep as many clean sheets as I hoped over their favourable run. Yet to decide who I want to bring in yet though so there will be no rush to do this.
I will also monitor City’s defence as without some clean sheets in December there will be plenty of options to move Otamendi on. My aim was to have 25 transfers left by January and this looks very achievable.
Good luck to everyone
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