Thursday, 30 July 2009

1 Game For Fulham...

Bobby Zamora inspired Fulham to a 3-0 away win vs FK Vetra, meaning they are pretty much (barring a monumental collapse in the 2nd leg) through to the next stage of the Europa League. This means their midweek fixture against Blackburn scheduled for 18th August is almost certain to be cancelled. This would leave us with just 12 teams with 2 games in Week 1 .

Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Wigan, Sunderland, Portsmouth, Stoke, Hull, Birmingham, Wolverhampton & Burnley.

I will be picking my Week 1 team from these 12.

P.S. A goal, an assist and a penalty won by Zamora, all in a single game? That's more than he did throughout the whole of last season! Could he be a player to keep an eye on this year...?

No, probably not.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Useful Resources

There are a couple of websites I simply couldn't do without when picking my Yahoo Fantasy Football team.

Premier League Suspension List - Extremely handy to check out who's been a naughty boy and therefore missing a few games:

Physio Room - Another essential site for all fantasy football managers, detailing each Premier League team's current injury situation and how long each player is expected to be out for:

Monday, 27 July 2009

Rule Change & Scoring

The offical blog has revealed that Yahoo have made one rule change for this season...and it's a very welcome one:

Goalkeepers and defenders are now eligible for a clean sheet if they play 75 or more minutes, instead of the full 90.

The rule from last season where you lost your clean sheet if your defender was subbed in the 89th minute was was hated by everyone, so it's a definite improvement.

Additionally, I often find from discussions with fellow managers in my private league that many of them don't actually know the exact scoring system for Yahoo. I've posted this below as a point of reference (click on the image for larger version):

One final note - it seems Jeremy Spitzberg & Neal Thurman who ran the offical blog have left Yahoo. I'd like to thank them both - I always enjoyed reading & they were the inspiration for this blog. Best of luck guys.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Early Picks - Week 1

Okay, so with 3 weeks still to go, a bunch of new signing still to come, and some existing players still to be added (the disappearing Dirk Kurt & Tim Cahill), it's very early to be picking a team...however, I have done just that. While I'm not going to reveal my exact team (it's going to change anyway) I have listed a few players on my mind at this early stage.

It's worth noting how I pick my players. I reckon that if you can be hitting an average of 90-100 points per round of fixtures (double that in 2-game weeks) you've got a pretty good chance of finishing in the Top 500. You have £100 million to spend, so I look at a player's price and decide if I think they will "return their value"... a player who costs me £6 million should really earn me 6 points. If all my players return their value, I'm looking at 100 points. It doesn't always work out exactly, but it's an effective way to approach the game each week.

e.g. For Week 1...
Didier Drogba has a market value of 10.68. He is playing 2 games, so the question I ask myself is: Do I think he will get around 21 points (2 x 10.68 = 21.36) for the week? If I do (which I do) then he will be considered.

However, if I look at Steven Gerrard, he has a market value of 20.45 & is also playing 2 games, so do I think he'll score 40 points (2 x 20.45 = 40.90) for the week? Despite the fact he is a great player, it's a big ask with an away fixture against Tottenham first up, so it's possible he is a bit too expensive for Week 1.

I hope that makes sense - I'm sure a lot of you do the same thing.

I also try to pick 1 player each week who I feel very few other teams will have. A good example in the past has been my unlikely hero, Danny Higginbotham, who scored twice for me on the 2 occasions I picked him in the 07/08 season. Sunderland had home games on both occasions & I'd noticed he was getting forward for corners in previous games I'd seen on TV. I got lucky the 2 weeks I picked him, but a lot of the successful players take risks & get lucky. I'd encourage anyone playing the game this season to make 1 "hunch" pick each week - it's very satisfying when it works!

Anyway, bare in mind I am only interested in players who I feel will definitely have 2 games in Week 1. The teams involved in 2 games (assuming Fulham reach the next stage of the Europa League) are Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Wigan, Sunderland, Portsmouth, Stoke, Hull, Birmingham, Wolverhampton & Burnley.

So based on that...

Rooney, Drogba, Torres, Berbatov, Defoe, Owen, Anelka, Rodellega, Doyle, Ebanks Blake.

From these the dream team is clearly Rooney, Torres, Drogba given the match-ups, but it's impossible to afford all 3 without gutting the rest of your team. Rooney is the premium pick ahead of Torres in my opinion, while Drogba is great value.

There are some alternatives in a cheaper bracket, such as Rodellega, who finished the season strongly and has decent fixtures for Wigan, whilst Berbatov & Owen are affordable, but who will start both game? Defoe will always rack up points with the number of shots he takes, and real outsiders are Wolves' Ebanks Blake or Kevin Doyle, who both only needs 2 shots on target in each of their 2 games to return their value for the week. Doyle has Premier League goals & experience, so could be a good dark horse. You also have Ricardo Fuller & Fraizer Campbell (who costs under 5) as cheap options, but I doubt I'll be considering them.

At the moment my front 3 will come from these 10 players, but of course a few new signings will be arriving before the season kicks off and with new forwards always added around the price of 6.37, there could still be some bargains to come. My top pick at the moment is Drogba - he offers the best value for money vs fixtures & potential points return. He'll be in my team if the team news says he's fit.

Lampard, Gerrard, Valencia, Malouda, Zhirkov, Lennon, Jordi Gomez, Sebastian Larsson, Kightly, Lawrence

Outside of my Strikers I will always try to pick players who take freekicks, corners &/or penalties. You must do this if you want to be successful - players who take set pieces will always put up points, even if they're on the losing team

My dream midfield would include Lampard, Gerrard & Valencia but again it's not really possible as it would cost me over 50% of my budget. I think it's going to come down to a choice between Lampard & Gerrard, I'm leaning towards Frank because he's a bit cheaper and has better fixtures. Valencia is also a great pick.

After that it comes down to players who are likely to attack & take set pieces. From an attacking point of view, Lennon & Malouda will both be flying but are a touch expensive. Jordi Gomez will probably feature for me as he has a great left foot as witnessed for Swansea and I believe he'll take alot of Wigan's corners & freekicks (and is very cheap). We know from previous seasons that Larsson does the same for Birmingham and is another great option. Lawrence does the same for Stoke but they don't have great fixtures (@ L'Pool) & Zhirkov, while cheap, still doesnt have a work permit so may not be match-fit for the new season (and will have to overtake Malouda).

Kightly is an interesting one; an attacking winger for Wolves and having seen many of their games last season he is a player I'm really excited about seeing step up a level. He's cheap and could be a decent "hunch" pick for Week 1. Finally, if you want to fill a space to save some £££, good ol' Aaron Mokoena has been shifted into midfield & can be snapped for under 1.5 units, although he's likely to get more game time for Portsmouth, so expect plenty of yellow cards.

My top pick: Lampard is a no-brainer in my opinion - buy buy buy!

Bosingwa, Evra, Painsil, Ricketts, Givet, Hreidarsson, Wilkinson, Queuedrue

Anyone who played last season will know that Bosingwa and Paintsil were a Godsend, especially if you'd picked them up in Week 1 for around 5 units each and kept them for the whole season. This year they both start more expensive, but are both still good options, as is Evra.

However, I never spend too much on my defence unless I have spare money left over, so i'll be keeping it cheap & simple, probably avoiding Evra & Bosingwa, with Givet or Wilkinson likely to be slotted in at under £5 million...and I'm keeping an eye on Sam Ricketts, Hull's attacking fullback who I believe is on his way to Portsmouth to replace Glen Johnson, and costs just 5.85. There's really not a lot of choice defensively, so I'm hoping some more cheap options might show up as transfers happen in the next 3 weeks.

My top pick/s: Sam Ricketts, if he moves to Pompey*, and MAYBE Evra if I have money left over!

* He has now moved to Bolton, who have 1 he's no longer someone i'll consider, perhaps looking at Herman Hreidarsson instead.

Kirkland, Van Der Sar, Cech,

Not too much to talk about here. I almost always go for the cheapest keeper who isn't likely to get trounced 4-0. My pick is likely to be Chris Kirkland as he's good value and has decent fixtures...but if you find yourself with loads of money left over you could be greedy and go for Van Der Sar or Cech. One note of caution - avoid Paul Robinson like the plague, no matter how cheap. He has cost me so many negative points over the past 2 seasons because he only seems to make 1 save a game and often concedes 2 or 3.

My top pick: Kirkland

That's it - they'll be another post on player picks nearer kick off! Please feel free to comment on this post / post your team up for me to rate.


Remember you can join my blog league which already has 30 members:-
Group ID#: 223
Password: yahoo

Friday, 17 July 2009

Week 1 Fixtures

Straight away it looks like Week 1 is going to be a double week for the majority of teams, as shown by the Official Barclaycard Premier League Website.

Initially, all teams were due to play 2 games. However, the qualifying rounds for the Champions League & Europa League teams fall in the first week, so 3 of the fixtures originally scheduled for 18th/19th August have been cancelled.

The teams affected are Arsenal, Bolton, West Ham, Aston Villa, Manchester City & Everton. These 6 teams DO NOT have a double week, so I would avoid picking players from any of these teams for Week 1.

Saturday, 15 August 2009
Aston Villa v Wigan, 15:00
Blackburn v Man City, 15:00
Bolton v Sunderland, 15:00
Chelsea v Hull, 12:45
Everton v Arsenal, 17:30
Portsmouth v Fulham, 15:00
Stoke v Burnley, 15:00
Wolverhampton v West Ham, 15:00

Sunday, 16 August 2009
Man Utd v Birmingham, 13:30
Tottenham v Liverpool, 16:00

Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Fulham v Blackburn, 19:45 * (see UPDATE below)
Sunderland v Chelsea, 19:45
Wigan v Wolverhampton, 19:45

Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Birmingham v Portsmouth, 19:45
Burnley v Man Utd, 19:45
Hull v Tottenham, 20:00
Liverpool v Stoke, 20:00

Remember you can join my blog league:-
Group ID#: 223
Password: yahoo

* UPDATE 18/07:- Just realised that if Fulham get past the Europa League qualifying round (which they should do vs either FK Vetra of Lithuania or HJK Helsinki of Finland), their 2nd fixture vs Blackburn would also be cancelled. That would leave only 12 teams playing 2 games in Week 1.

Join My Blog League!

Yahoo Fantasy Football 09/10 season is open for business, so get your team registered! Yahoo don't seem to have made many (any?) obvious changes, cosmetically or to the scoring system, but I will keep any eye out.

Once you have registered your team, please feel free to join the league I have set up for readers of this blog, the YFF ASSISTANT BLOG 09/10 LEAGUE. The details to register are below:-

Group ID#: 223
Password: yahoo

We currently have 54 team in the league - not sure what the limit is (last year it was 50 for private leagues, obviously it's been increased) but if it reaches it's maximum please let me know & i'll happily create a 2nd league.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Game Start Date?

Just been checking my ancient emails and it seems Yahoo Fantasy Football started back up on 10th July for the 2008-09 season, so it could well be back for 09/10 any day now. Looking at the Homepage it appears the game will be sponsored by William Hill this year (I'm sure it wasn't last year?).

As soon as the game opens I'll be wading through the inevitable functional/cosmetic/scoring changes Yahoo implement each year to improve the game. Then it really starts - analysing players, values, fixtures & I'll start listing my (very early) "possible" player picks for Week 1...can't wait!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Not Wanted

Craig Bellamy to Tottenham? Thanks but no thanks. There are some players that I would never like to see play for my club & Bellamy falls just a short distance behind Joey Barton & El Hadji Diouf.

Now surplus to requirements with Santa Cruz & Robinho ahead of him & Tevez on the way, he is talented without a doubt but he is also a nasty piece of work and I am absolutely certain that Harry Redknapp can find us a better player if he decides to offload Bent or Pavlyuchenko (or both).

If he were to join Spurs I am sure that (were he to remain fit) he would offer an excellent fantasy football option with his ability to get behind defences leading to plenty of SOTs, assists & goals...but I just don't want him at White Hart Lane & I imagine the majority of Spurs fans would feel the same.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Terry To City Makes No Sense

Not particularly fantasy football related, but as pre-season starts for most clubs & the transfer window hots up I'll be adding a few posts with my views on some potential rumours & confirmed moves.

It's become clear over the past 10 days that Manchester City's next target is Chelsea & England Captain John Terry. Rumours suggest a fee of £35 million will be required, and a weekly wage of £200k.

In my opinion, crazy money for any central defender, but crazier still considering Terry is not even in the top 10 centre backs in world football. If I was the man making the decisions at Chelsea I would happily let Terry go for £35 million & if I was the making the decisions at City I would look elsewhere. It seems more a statement by the money men at City (after the Kaka embarrassment) that they can go out & buy the England Captain, but if they took a step back I believe they could capture a better player for less money and less wages.

Ricardo Carvalho leaps to mind as a player who would probably jump at the chance and I feel he is better all round defender - he's quicker & has a better positional sense. He's less of a goal threat, but then you don't buy a centre back for goals. Chelsea would be far more willing to let Carvalho go, so it makes more sense to me. But hey, when you've got money to burn and you want to signal your intent to world football, maybe it doesn't need to make complete sense.

Just a side note - my favourite rumour of the day is Luis Figo to Tottenham. As a Spurs fan, it's a move I'd love to have seen 5 years ago, but didn't he retire at the end of last season? It's likely to be media rubbish, but if it were to come true and he came to England for one final flurish as a left winger he could prove an interesting fantasy option - despite the fact he enters his 37th year in November.