Random Rambles...

I’m working on a Q&A with the new owners of RealFF, which’ll bring you detail about how RealFF will be set up for the upcoming season. The guys are really busy getting everything running smoothly for drafts at the mo, so we’ll hopefully get the Q&A out within the next week. 

In the meantime here’s a bit of a mixed bag, just my general thoughts on how things are shaping up. Although football is only a month away we’ve seen a lack of big transfers so far, and teams are only now jetting away on pre-season tours. About the only thing we can be certain of at this point is Paul Pogba thinks he’s bigger than his club, and rumours of swap deals for Bale, Isco etc will turn out to be click bait nonsense. Given the lack of info so far to help shape our 2019/20 plans here’s just a few initial pointers I’m considering for my drafts:

About the only thing we can be certain of at this point is Paul Pogba thinks he’s bigger than his club.

Position dictates the number one draft pick– I can’t see past Salah or Sterling for the number one pick overall, barring Messi joining the league. They’re that good. Which one to go for completely depends on their position. The extra points that can be generated from midfield, likely to be a point per goal and a point for a clean sheet, makes a massive difference when considered over a whole season. If say Salah is a midfielder and Sterling a forward then he’s the number one pick, absolute no brainer for me. If they’re both the same position then it really is a coin flip. I’d probably go Sterling as I believe he has more potential to improve on previous returns, but it’s reaaallllllyyyyy close.

Follow VAR and you’ll go far– It’s going to be fascinating to see how VAR impacts the league. The World Cup saw a slew of penalties, whereas European leagues who’ve adopted it haven’t seen anywhere near the same level of impact. My feeling is especially over the early part of the season penalties are going to be everywhere. The Premier League is by far the most physical of the big European leagues. There’s not a single corner without shirt tugging, wrestling and blocked runs. Referees might be happy to turn a blind eye, but far more often we’ll find ‘computer says yes’ to a spot kick. Hulking centre backs like Duffy and Maguire might know VAR is in play and plan to clean their acts up, but they’re fighting against a lifetime of physicality and competitive instinct. I’m expecting the penalty takers to benefit greatly during the first half of the season, so get ‘em drafted and reap the rewards.

My feeling is especially over the early part of the season penalties are going to be everywhere.

No Zaha = No Milivojevic – this may slightly contradict my previous point, but despite being a penalty taker Milivojevic’s draft appeal looks likely to disappear. Simply put if Zaha leaves so do most of Milly’s attacking returns. The amount of free kicks and penalties Zaha creates with his dancing feet is staggering. Without him Palace look pretty limp going forward, combine that with a defensive manager and Milly doesn’t look all that exciting. If Zaha stays then Milly could be a top 15 midfielder, if he leaves Milly could legitimately go undrafted, the relationship is that strong.

Keepers is 1, 2, the rest – Liverpool have Alisson, Man City have Ederson. Difficult to split the two in my draft rankings, but more interestingly difficult to pick number three. More than any other position I believe these two to be far and away the best goalkeeper picks. Both on teams expecting to race for the title again, with solid and largely unchanging defences. The edge might go to Ederson if City can add a world class centre back to partner Laporte, if they go with dodgy John Stones again then I’d favour Alisson. I’d happily stretch for either in an early round of drafts, if I don’t get either then my keepers won’t be getting drafted before round ten at the earliest. In an auction league they’re the only two worth paying anywhere near 10% of your budget for. 

Online drafts over FPL, live drafts over everything – My main two RealFF leagues are very different. The BFFA league I play in has five divisions and managers from all over the world. I’ll study and prepare for this league’s draft, I’ll work my ass off to win the thing and enjoy doing so throughout the season, but the online draft itself is just a fun hour or so. In a global league like BFFA the joy is in the season itself, not necessarily the draft. My other league though, the one I talked about in last week’s article, is truly (pardon mon Francais) the sh*t. We do an offline auction draft every year, and it’s probably the day I look forward to more than any other. Getting together with ten mates, bidding on 150 players over 4-6 hours, riling each other, scheming, plotting, consoling and cajoling, it’s sooooo much fun. If you love Fantasy Football and only play FPL or do online drafts I can’t tell you how much you’re missing out. 

All those twitter accounts with FPL’add clever or random word here’ as their handle who only play that game, they’re missing out. They spend so much time analysing fixtures, ownership percentages etc, just to try and sneak into a largely irrelevant ‘top 10k rank’. Compare that to beating your real life friends, playing on their personalities and biases to trade them out of a superstar. The sheer joy of a last minute goal from your captain crushing their week, laughing and needling all the way through the season. Seriously, get 8-12 like minded mates together and I swear you’ll do it every year. 

All those twitter accounts with FPL(add clever or random word here) as their handle who only play that game, they’re missing out.

Any questions or comment please interact with me via @realffgaffer on twitter. I’d love to hear from potential users of RealFF – what do you want to know about the site and what articles could help you decide to ‘go draft'???

Gaffer