Fergie’s Fantasy: You’re No Man City…

Drogba was the runaway points leader in Week One

You aren’t stupid; you just do stupid things.  Words voiced by my mother over the years are ringing true once again.

After all, how did I miss him, hiding in plain sight? Golden boot winner Didier Drogba was not on my fantasy team. And how was I punished? By watching him almost single-handedly dismantle West Brom, scoring three goals in the process. I left him out off my squad because I was worried he hadn’t fully recovered from his injury. But that does nothing to soothe the sting.

Pepe ponders his lost fantasy points

Instead I put my money on Cesc Fabregas. That’s right: the apparently non-match fit star midfielder who didn’t play. Oh the humanity. I feel deep, deep, regret — like how Pepe Reina must feel when he punted the ball back into his own net last week, or how Tim Howard must have felt when he dropped the ball in the box, leading to a goal and a loss for Everton. (Oh dear, did I just poke fun at both Liverpool area teams in one sentence?)

Anyway, Week 1 in Fantasy Football is like a friendly match except that it counts. You try some things out: some work, some don’t. Don’t worry about it too much because you’ve got Week 2 to straighten things out. Some of us will be tempted to make drastic changes, which brings us to the point of this week’s column: Don’t spend points on unnecessary transfers. Either play the wild card and change your whole team, or just make the one free transfer you are allowed.

You aren’t Man City. A billionaire owner is not going to swoop in and allow you to buy almost anybody you want. You not only have a salary cap to work under, you also have strict transfer rules to abide by. In the official Premier League pool, you can only make one transfer a week for free. The second transfer costs 4 points. If you don’t make a transfer in any given week, you bank it, meaning you can make two transfers on any week following. But you can never make more than two transfers in one week without playing your wild card.

Now four points doesn’t sound like much. But I assure you, it is. If you make ten extra transfers per season, that’s 40 points over the course of the year. Those 40 lost points would likely take you out of contention for winning any competitive pool. Plus, the player you would be transferring out would have got two points just for playing 60 minutes. To make the transfer worthwhile, the incoming player must score, get an assist, or keep a clean sheet to make it worth your while.

So if you need to make more than one change this week, just play your wild card. this will allow you to change your entire team. You can do this twice in a season. Once at any time, and once during the January transfer window which is a new feature of this year’s pool.

So make one transfer, and sit tight with the rest of your guys. You picked them for a reason. And if Marlon Harewood can score two goals and an assist in one game, then surely lightning can strike for any of your players on any given week.

Fergie’s Five – Five players you should consider for your fantasy squad…

Didier Drogba – Yes, he’s expensive. But did I mention he is last year’s Golden Boot winner and this year’s leading scorer after Week One? If you can afford him, make him your captain as Chelsea is on the road this week against woeful Wigan.

Florent Malouda – if you can’t afford Drogba, take a look at Malouda in the midfield. He finished last year on a tear and appears to continuing his fine form this season, looking strong in Week One.

Marlon Harewood?!? Seriously?!?

Marlon Harewood – Okay, so I just made fun of him, and will he score two goals and an assist in another game all season? Maybe not. But at the low price of 4.5, he is a bargain basement starting forward who was the surprise of the opening weekend.

Gareth Bale – He didn’t have a big week, points wise. But it looks like Bale will play a bigger role this season for Tottenham and will be taking his fair share of free kicks and corners. His reasonable price and lots of upside make him worth a look.

Joe Hart – The stunning saves he made against Tottenham will likely be enough to keep Shay Given on the bench. He’s making a case to be England’s #1, so you may want to make him your starter as well. This is a long term pick though, as he’ll be in tough to get a clean sheet this weekend with Man City up against Liverpool.

And one more chance for…

It was only one week, but Robin Van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor, Steven Gerrard, Tim Cahill and yes, Cesc Fabregas all need to do much more to be worth their prices. Give them another chance, but look to transfer if they don’t start scoring by Week 4.

Scott Ferguson

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