GOAL! How to have best Premier League fantasy team?
July 25, 2006 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Fantasty Futball: After a couple of years of playing fantasy baseball and fantasy football (American), my pals have decided to level our playing field a little by creating a fantasy league for English Premiership games (mostly in order to give us a vested stake in watching the games, since we're Americans without the loyalties of home squads). Regarding this— What should I know about the English Premier League? Who are the players to watch? Who are the teams to love? Who should I develop irrational hatred for?

Further, if anyone has experience with http://fantasy.premierleague.com, can you give me any tips about building a competitive squad? Who are the players that are over-rated and who is a bargain? What are the best sites to scour for injuries and gossip?
And since the overall goal of this is to have fun, I'd rather have a colorful and unconventional squad than bicker in trades over a few highly covetted players.
Teach me, Europeans, that I might both impress and smite my friends with the best fantasy football team ever!
posted by klangklangston to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
From an American perspective, this might help with teams. ESPN columnist goes through choosing a team to root for. You might want to check out the "emails in support of..." as you can see what actual fans of a particular team think.
posted by true at 2:24 PM on July 25, 2006

Second the Simmons answer. Also found Fantasy EPL, a blog that might prove helpful. From the Yahoo! EPL Fantasy Page, which also led me to these forum boards.

Personally I have a hard time seeing where there's enough quantifiable data in football/soccer to make a good fantasy game, but that's just me.
posted by andifsohow at 2:31 PM on July 25, 2006

I did a Yahoo! fantasy EPL game last year with nine other guys from around Portland. It sucked. Seriously. It made no sense at all. We were so confused. Our moves were arbitrary, as our scoring seemed to be. I'm sure there are other fine fantasy soccer/football alternatives, but the Yahoo! version was just confusing for an American like me.

I follow all my EPL via this Yahoo!UK page. It's not ideal, but it works. (For a couple months last season, the site inexplicably lost links to teams, meaning you had to manually go track down the various pages you wanted instead of simply clicking a team name. That sucked.)

I've had fun learning about the EPL by just picking a team (I chose Everton a few years ago) and then tracking their fortunes (and misfortunes). Don't choose Arsenal or ManU. That's like choosing the Yankees or the Lakers. Choose an underdog!

Another way to learn about the UK game is to pick up a mag called 4-4-2, which is available at some Borders bookstores. (There are other footie mags, but this is my favorite; it's accessible, and features in-depth player profils.)

Lastly, the best way to learn about the game is to watch it. If you have access to Fox Sports World (or whatever it's called nowadays), watch a few games. You'll soon learn to love and hate certain players.
posted by jdroth at 2:49 PM on July 25, 2006

Huh. That Simmons article is good. His #3 team — Newcastle United — is my #2 team. And I like his #1 team — Tottenham — just fine.
posted by jdroth at 2:55 PM on July 25, 2006

Response by poster: Heh. I was leaning toward Newcastle anyway, so that suits me fine.
posted by klangklangston at 3:21 PM on July 25, 2006

Don't choose Arsenal or ManU. That's like choosing the Yankees or the Lakers.

Chelsea is way worse than Arsenal. Rumor has it they bought Shaun Wright Phillips just to keep other teams from getting him.
posted by juv3nal at 3:25 PM on July 25, 2006

Agreed on Chelsea. Their owner is a billionaire who is trying to buy Roberto Carlos from Real Madrid because it is his son's favorite player.

Don't pick Bergkamp for your team.

Walcott from arsenal might be a steal as might Lennon from Tottenham.

If you get points for dives choose Cristiano Ronaldo from ManUre. He's the Louganis of the Prem.

American Convey for just promoted Reading could be bought for a nickel...

Best of luck...
posted by UncleHornHead at 3:47 PM on July 25, 2006

As far as I'm concerned you cannot pick Chelsea, Man U or Arsenal if you want to show that you have heart and aren't just in it because those teams have the most money. I'm a Fulham fan which takes a whole lot of heart. Incidentally, we have quite a few American supporters most likely because we have Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra as regular starters.
posted by ob at 3:56 PM on July 25, 2006

Oh I just read the Simmons article. It's pretty typical of a lot of writing on the premiership, loads on the big teams and the smaller clubs get dismissed out of hand. Actually that brings up a serious point, the premiership is more like a few leagues in one. There are the top three (or four) teams going for the number one spot and then the smaller teams battle it out further down in the placings (to finish in the top 6, below that the top ten, each spot being worth about a million pounds more than the one beneath in terms of the share of TV/advertising revenue.) Often the lower-tier battle is more interesting. Then of course below all that you have the relegation battle, which is normally pretty dramatic. This is all to say that there are many sides to the premiership which someone who is only looking at the top clubs may fail to appreciate.
posted by ob at 4:17 PM on July 25, 2006

and by sides I meant facets, there are exactly twenty sides to the premiership.
posted by ob at 4:18 PM on July 25, 2006

If your looking for a strong table check out the sportsfilter league. We have twenty teams so far but usually field around 35.
posted by poodlemouthe at 4:58 PM on July 25, 2006

Sad to hear of someone's poor experience with Yahoo - check out Fantasy League, it's the one we've done for several years now (our draft is tomorrow, in fact) - you can do a couple of different versions.
posted by jalexei at 7:10 PM on July 25, 2006

Pick Steven Gerrard, and make him your captain.

He is peaches. He is cream.....
posted by gergtreble at 7:58 PM on July 25, 2006

Response by poster: I had Gerrard as captain (skipper?) and already had Walcott.

This is how things look now:
footie boss

Numbers under are how much they cost.

Any real dogs in there? Too much weight on stars? Decent side?
posted by klangklangston at 8:48 PM on July 25, 2006

I wouldn't be too sure about Gary Speed. He's getting quite old and though he played most games last season, I don't know if he'll feature as much in the forthcoming one. Chimbonda's a good buy for that price - he'll play every time he's fit, scores a few goals, and is often rated pretty highly by the pundits after the game (I think he might've been Wigan's player of the season last year).
posted by uk_giffo at 10:20 PM on July 25, 2006

Benayoun ran circles around Liverpool in the FA Cup Final and as a Liverpool fan I was very impressed. Or speaking of Liverpool, perhaps Bellamy? I think Andy Johnson might do well this season too. Harewood had a monster season last year. Teams to hate? Manure and Chelski, definitely :)
posted by philad at 10:53 PM on July 25, 2006

Walcott is unlikely to get enough pitch time to be worthy. He didn't play at all last year, and while Arsenal have some needs to address on the back line and even at midfield, they have a lot of talent up front (Henry, Reyes, even van Persie).

BTW, SpoFi has an EPL league starting up. Good luck.
posted by terrapin at 8:35 AM on July 26, 2006

I'm in the Spofi league too, and it's my first time, so if you join, you can be guaranteed of finishing ahead of me at least.
posted by chicobangs at 10:35 AM on July 26, 2006

At a cost of 8.5, Walcott is a pure waste of money as he will likely be playing in Arsenals reserves or on loan in the Championship as part of a deal for Curtis Davies. Seen him play at St Marys a few times last year. He is quick with a hard shot, runs the diagonals well, but Championship defenders figured him out last season. Wait a year or two and then put him in your team.

Spend the price on someone like Keane or Bent, if you can afford the extre 0.5, who will be regulars for their team and score a lot more goals.
posted by walrus at 11:50 AM on July 26, 2006

About that extra 0.5 points: consider switching Friedel for Niemi. Your reserve goalie won't play a lot and you get one free transfer anyway.
posted by walrus at 11:57 AM on July 26, 2006

Response by poster: Cool. Swapped Friedel for Niemi, Walcott for Keane, and am thinking Speed for O'Shea now that I've got the extra points to spend.
posted by klangklangston at 12:24 PM on July 26, 2006

I think O'Neil from Portsmouth might get more games than O'Shea this season for the same price and with a similar performance level last season, but it depends on whether Manchester United sign anyone for their midfield. You've got until 19th August to make your decision on that one, so maybe wait and see what transpires.
posted by walrus at 12:35 PM on July 26, 2006

I'm probably too late to this thread for you to notice klangklangston, but I only just saw it on SpoFi.

I'd say you have too much money spent on subs. There are bargains to be picked up from the promoted teams who you can use as bench-sitters. Possibles would be Tonge and Sommeil at Sheff U; Murty, Sonko, Little and Shorey at Reading and DeMerit and Doyley at Watford. The money saved can be spent improving your first 11.

Both O'Shea and Neville were listed as defenders last year, which meant they got extra points for clean sheets. Now they are listed as midfielders which means they'll miss out on those points. That's the main reason they look like such bargains.
posted by squealy at 11:02 AM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: I ditched Keane, O'Shea, Neville and Morrisson Keane's injured, Morrison's playing for Leeds, and Neville and O'Shea both seemed like less a bargain after Squealy pointed out their position shifts.

Now I've got:
1: Lehmann AR 2 2 6 6.0 6
2: Chimbonda WI 0 0 5.5 5.5 5.5
3: Taylor PO 5 5 5.5 5.5 5.5 MC (A)
4: Ben Haim BW 6 6 5 5.0 5 FU (A)
5: Terry CH 0 0 8 8.0 8 MI (A)
6: Gerrard (C) LI 7 7 10.5 10.5 10.5
7: Tonge SU 2 2 4.5 4.5 4.5 TH (A)
8: Benayoun WH 5 5 7.5 7.5 7.5 WA (A)
9: McCann AV 2 2 6 6.0 6 RE (H)
10: Henry AR 2 2 14 14.0 14
11: Bent D CA 6 6 9 9.0 9 MU (H)
12: Niemi FU 0 0 4 4.0 4 BW (H)
13: Sommeil SU 0 0 3.5 3.5 3.5 TH (A)
14: McCulloch WI 7 7 5.5 5.5 5.5
15: Christie

And am well at the top of my league (by about 16 points), as well as topping the SpoFi league (by a single point). I've got some 0 minute men, and I would have been better off with McCullough starting than with Henry, but overall I'm pretty pleased. Thanks AskMe! Any more advice?
posted by klangklangston at 2:54 PM on August 19, 2006

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