The first week of the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game is in the record books. After agonizing over my fantasy football team selection late last week, I report back with a weird mix of pride and disappointment that the Soccerlen All-Stars finished fourth in their 11 team league with 45 points.
Proud because I know Liverpool, Spurs, Man City, Everton and Villa fans who would gladly trade important body parts to see their team finish fourth. Disappointed because though I was playing on the Practice level with no cash prizes, I was just one place (and one point) outside of the top three, which is where the money is in the higher levels. Congratulations to usareddevil, whose team TheBrohans finished top of the 11 team league with 54 points, but I can’t help thinking the Soccerlens All-Stars could have done better, and for that I blame myself. And Pepe Reina. Here’s what I said about Pepe Reina last Thursday:
A good keeper is a steady source of points. It’s one point for every game started, a second point for playing 60 minutes or more, then four points for every clean sheet. Pepe Reina is a regular starter for Liverpool and doesn’t concede many goals. Do me proud Pepe.
Pepe didn’t do me proud. Pepe did this instead. So what would have been a six point return on my goalkeeping investment (one point for starting, one point for playing more than 60 minutes, four points for clean sheet) became one single point instead, keeping me out of the hallowed top three. Lonely and unlovable. Here’s how the rest of my points were scored:
Pepe Reina: 1
Ashley Cole: 9
Patrice Evra: 6
Jody Craddock: 2
Thomas Vermaelen: 2
Frank Lampard (c): 14
Andrei Arshavin: 2
Steven Gerrard: 1
Wayne Rooney: 5
Carlos Tevez: 2
Bobby Zamora: 1
So there was better news in front of Reina. All my players got a point for starting and a point for playing at least 60 minutes. People who picked Cesc Fabregas can’t say the same. Chelsea’s Ashley Cole delivered nine points thanks to his assist and clean sheet, while Manchester United’s Patrice Evra gave me six points thanks to his clean sheet vs Newcastle. In midfield Frank Lampard scored and got a clean sheet for seven points, which doubles to 14 since he’s my captain. Gerrard lost a point for his yellow card, as did Bobby Zamora, while Wayne Rooney picked up an assist. I’m 99% sure Rooney would have scored vs Newcastle if Alex Ferguson hadn’t subbed him out in the 63rd minute, but such is life as a fantasy football manager.
Didier Drogba. Like a lot of people this weekend, I wish I’d picked Didier Drogba. The Chelsea striker scored a hat-trick vs West Brom which was worth nine points (three for each goal) and also two points for time spent on pitch. If anyone had Drogba as captain they’d have bagged 22 points. I thought maybe he wouldn’t play and so decided not to risk it. I was wrong of course.
Gareth Bale. The Spurs player is listed as a defender, but played as a very attacking left winger on Saturday. He looks to me like he’ll pick up points for goals and assists this season, plus points for any Spurs clean sheets. He’s in my team for next week.
Alex Baptiste. Anyone who picked Alex Baptitse would also have seen a return of 11 points this weekend. The Blackpool got a surprise combo of a goal (worth five points because Baptiste is a defender) and clean sheet (four points) plus two points for time on pitch. The lesson here is twofold:
1. Any player is capable of scoring big points and,
2. Try and pick players who are playing against Wigan.
For next week I’m going to be making a few changes to the Soccerlens All-Stars. I have my doubts about Bobby Zamora and Jody Craddock, and want to find room for Gareth Bale. With the lessons learned this week I think I’m ready to move up from Practice to Silver, and attempt to win some money. The good news is that the points start over each week, and so I can forgive Reina as soon as the next set of games kicks off. This also means that if you’re not already playing you can sign up for the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game now, without worrying about what happened in the first week.