Friday, August 28, 2009

EPL Fantasy Draft Review

OK, time for a little fantasy football draft analysis. The fantasy football here would be English football in the English Premier League. It's tough to find a quality EPL fantasy league as all of them are salary cap based, so my friends and I created a league with a traditional American football format. We have 11 teams in the league which is a very good amount. You get points for goals, shutouts, assists, team of the week and negative for goals against and red cards. Each team has 16 players - 11 starters, 5 reserves - so by the end you are dipping into some little known players, but at the same time you don't need Burnley backup defenders or anything like that.
Last year I won the league with a drafted team of ....
Cesc Fabregas
Theo Walcott
Andy Johnson
Aaron Lennon
Gary Neville
Ryan Nelson
Scott Carson
Tom Huddlestone
Leighton Baines
Ben Haim
Steven Pienaar
El -Hadji Douif

And an ending team of
James Beattie
Tim Howard
Curtis Davies
K. Richardson
Sol Campbell
Jonny Evans
Mikel Silvestre

Yeah, so half of my team at the end of the season were players I originally drafted, and I would say other tops teams would have around the same % of original players. Thus, picking up quality players and I'm pretty sure most of my pickups were drafted this year, some in high rounds, is just as important as the draft.
But anyways, we will look at this years draft and criticise some people.

Here is how the draft went

Round 1
1. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) - New edition Carlo stole Stevie G from Worth. Smart pick as Gerrard was the Fantasy LeaguePlayer of the Season last year
2. Fernando Torres (Liverpool)- Best forward in the league?
3. Frank Lampard (Chelsea) - Obvious pick, could've went #1, will have triple digit points again this fantasy season
4. Wayne Rooney (Man U) - This would've been my top pick, especially because I don't pick Liverpool players, but I feel Rooney is due for his huge year.
5. Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea) - Last year's leading goal scorer. Will be solid, but maybe not as dynamic as Rooney, Torres, or Robinho
6. Robin Van Persie (Arsenal) - This manager does not take Chelsea, Man U, Tottenham or Liverpool players, so Arsenal's best player is an obvious choice, probably glad he didn't get a higher pick.
7. Adrei Arshavin (Arsenal) - Took the league by storm last season even though it was only for half the year. Great midfielder pick
8. Emmauel Adebayor (Man City) - Great striker, but a bit of a risk because City has a load of quality stikers.
9. Didier Droga (Chelsea) - slipped this far due to injury problems and possible move to Inter Milan, but could end up the leading goal scorer.
10. Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal) - Injuries and possible move to Barca make him slid this far, but everything Arsenal does goes through him.
11. Robinho (Man City) The steal of the draft last year in the 11th round (cuz he was on Real Madrid). Good pick at the end of the first round. Will start every game, albeit as more of a winger than an out-and-out striker.

Round 2
12. Rio Ferdinand (MAN U)- Surprised to see him go so high. I would've thought Terry or Vidic would be the first defender taken.
13. Berbatov (MAN U) - Huge disappointment last year, but I see him settling in at Man U, especially in the absense of Tevez
14. John Terry (Chelsea) - Strong pick at 14, one of a handful of marque defenders in the league.
15. Ashley Young (Aston Villa) - I love Ashley Young, think he will have an even better year than last, a steal at midfielder.

16. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) - Not a big fan of this pick. I see Agbonlahor getting similar points to Young, but Young is much more valuable due to his midfielder status.
17. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) - One of my favorites, but might be taken a round or so early.
18.Vidic (Man U) - Strong pick, good steal for last season's top scoring defender
19. Peter Cech (Chelsea) - First goalie taken, will get lots of shut-outs, probably more valuable than Van der Sar to to the latter's injury.
20.Patrice Evra (Man U) One of the Big Four defender you can pencil in to start every game. Wouldn't have been my choice, but I can't hate on it.
21. Dirk Kuyt (LIV) - Scored a lot of points last year, and this year his midfield eligibilty makes him even stronger. Watch out.
22. Pepe Reina (LIV) - Perphaps a little high, not sure if Liverpool is as strong desensively as in past years.

There you go, I won't bore you with every round. I'll just look at my team and some high and low light picks. Interesting note, only 6 teams were represented in the first 22 picks. and the next 3 rounds would only bring in two more teams (Everton and Fulham). Definitely a top-heavy league.

My Picks
1 (10 overall) Cesc Fabregas
2 (13) Berbatov
3 (32) Gael Clicy - Possible a bit high, but I see him as Arsenal's best defender. I really wanted Ashley Cole here, but he was taken the pick before.
4 (35) Jolean Lescott - Everton at the time, now Man City. Will that matter?
5. (54) Gareth Barry - Not sure about this one.
6. (57) John O'Shea - Quality Man Defender, will get lots of starts
7. (76) Robbie Keane - Got some ridicule for this pick, but at the end of the season I will stand by it.
8. (79) Micah Richards - last starting Man City Defender and looking at the other picks in this round - Deco, Giovanni, Shorey, C. Cole, C. Davies, Yobo, Carrick, Dempsey, Crouch, Nasri - I think I won this round. (Is Micah Richards the English version of me?)
9. (98) Michael Ballack - Good pick up for round 9
10. (101) Stuart Downing - Injured, but will boast the team come December
11. (120) Phil Neville - another Everton defender, most people forget about him
12. (123) Andy Johnson - Only player I have had all three years, got him round 2, round 6, now round 12.
13. (142) - Abu Diaby
14. (145) - Lucas Neill
15. (164) Jussi Jaaskalinen
16. (167) David Silva - didn't catch my Robinho this year

I am not as confident in my team this year as last. The league seems to be much more even as people are more used to it. But, i'm sure it will be spread out eventually. I really like my picks 7-9, but am uncertain about 3-6. I'll again need to steal pickups.

Here are some steals I saw in the draft
Ricardo Carvalho - Taken in mid 5th round, when Alex, his backup, was taking with the 1st pick in the 4th round and the other three starting Chelsea defenders were taking in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
Yakubu - Another 5th round steal, when the last two years he was taken in the second round
Aaron Lennon - Taken mid 7th round. Don't be surprised if this guy is the 5th best midfielder in the league. I should've taken him over Barry.

John Pantsil and Aaron Hughes - Two Fulham defenders, the rest of the starters went in rounds 4, 6 , and 9.
Jonny Evans and Wes Brown - Two Man U defenders taken back to back in the 13th round, both could start regularly
Charles N'Zogbia - nice to get a reliable midfielder in the 15th round

Not So Clever Picks
Rosicky and Eduardo in the 5th round. About two rounds too early for each
Jo - 6th round - 3rd choice striker on a team that plays one striker
Daniel Agger - 7th round - not sure if he will play at all
Danny Murphy - 7th round - a reliable midfielder, but probably could've got him much later
Zhirkov - 7th round - will he play at Chelsea or be another Alexi Smertin/Tiago?
Titus Bramble - 13th round - Hmm, team of the week in the first week, -4 the second week, more like I expected
Daniel Sturridge 14th round - Might as well have picked Tab Ramos

From the looks for peoples teams I see Jesse and Carlo struggling.
I like Dustin's team, but I think his tandem up top of Kevin Davies and Eduardo is too weak.
Despite the high number of Croatians, I really like Nik's team.
Worth should do well again, if only because he puts in much effort. Might be to relient on Liverpool, just like BJ is too relient on Arsenal.
Raubert has a marked improvement on last years team and could challenge if he gets rid of some of his dead weight.
Junkie has a strong squad, but that Alex pick may hurt. Too early to call out the teams to beat. It'll be another fun year!


Daniel said...

Didn't realize that Ancelotti doesn't like Alex. He was the starter last year. Unfair.

Pat said...

Hey Dunc - that draft based EPL league sounds good - where can we join?

Tony Brown said...

Pat, it's just something my friends and I do. We couldn't find a draft based league, so we made our own. We have talked about expanding it and getting a website, maybe down the road.