Last year, I fizzled out in my attempts to keep up with Premier League fantasy football (perhaps this had something to do with my focus being on American fantasy football for a living). We used the premierleague.com site to manage everything, and I have to say I was impressed by its interface and player valuations.
This season, we attempted a switch to ESPN, which has basically an identical scoring system, but it was clear that 1) the system had plenty of bugs (like every transfer completely mangled your starting lineup at unrelated positions), and 2) their player valuations were not as sharp as premierleague.com's. Imagine that. I intend to keep up with my ESPN team because I think it'll be fairly easy, but our money league has moved.
Also, thanks to rowinio, you can compete with any and all pandgoalies in the league Versus Rowinio by entering 674350-265271 as the league code. You can have one team in several leagues, so sign up before tomorrow and let's duke it out with our favorite Pandagoal fantasy expert.
So what kind of roster did I (more of the fantasy intermediate) manage to field in the EPL site? Well, for starters, they don't just let you pick any 15 players as at ESPN. You've got to have 2 keepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders, and 3 strikers. The formation's up to you, but that's the roster.
Last time, I wrote about the absurdly easy schedule Chelsea faces to open the season. Combine that with watching them fight dirty with Man U in the Community Shield and you have the recipe for a team that's going to shut out a lot of opponents. Because of that, I went with Cech in goal, even though he was a little shaky against the Red Devils. Backing him up is Sorensen, who gets a ton of saves, finished in the top 10 last season, was was only £4m.
Did I mention the Chelsea schedule? Maybe that's why I have Carvalho and Cole leading my defenders, players who have offensive roles and will still clean up on clean sheets. Stephen Warnock will be starting with them, and on my bench will be Michael Turner and Bolton's Samuel Ricketts.
To the midfield! Arshavin's a must. Also, Dirk Kuyt was awesome last year. He looked great for Liverpool in the preseason, even captaining the team when Gerrard wasn't on the pitch. And he punched in the goal against England this week. I think he's going to have his best season ever, and I want that to collect some points for it. Also, why is Phil Neville only £5m? He's in, along with Lucas Leiva (also too much value). On the bench we'll sit Chris Eagles. If Burney has a star, it's him.
Up front, I remain intrigued by Ebanks-Blake from Wolves, but I played stingy in the above squad, so I can make it rain on Wayne Rooney. Next to him are Eduardo and the absurdly cheap Peter Crouch at £7.5m. The fact that I'll pick up fantasy points when Crouch heads one in against Liverpool on Sunday should reduce my tears by approximately half.
So the lineup:
If the Blue bleed in the back, so will I, but what are the odds of that? Feel free to use that as locker room material, Hull, Sunderland, Fulham, Burley and Stoke.