I had intended to write this article before the season got underway, but delayed it due to the issues the site has experienced which I’ll address first. As everyone who’s got a league running will know there were some issues with live scoring, squads and transfers during gameweek one. Not an ideal start to the season, and certainly dampened week one enthusiasm. As frustrating as it was I must applaud the efforts RealFF made to right the ship and ensure everyone’s happy going forward. The site fee refunds were a very generous touch, and I know from messages that they worked round the clock to fix the problems. I think one thing we’ll see from RealFF that outshines the competition this year is the comms, there were constant updates on progress and a very sensible final communication to explain both the fix and the resultant delay in waivers. I know the RealFF team are committed to evolving this site into the number one draft proposition, and I’m confident this is a minor hiccup on a long and successful path going forward.
Now everything’s fixed and most of us have at least three points in the bag, onto the present.
Or almost the present, because I’d like to take you back to my drafts. I’m participating in three RealFF leagues this season and had very different draft experiences in each one:
‘Bags league’ – Live auction format, £100m budget:
Draft rating pre-gw1: B-
Draft rating after gw2: B
Results: Win, Win
League position: 1st
This is my home town league. We had a marathon 5 1/2hr draft the Saturday before season kickoff. Ironic that what I’d say was the worst of my three drafts has culminated in two wins so far.
Guaita - £0m
Pope - £0m
Van Dijk - £23m
Gomez - £6m
Matip - £0m
Keane - £0m
Duffy - £0m
Anderson - £13m
Maddison - £9m
Foden - £3m
Keita - £0m
Boufal - £7m (remaining money used up, in essence £0m)
Firmino - £26m
Richarlison - £11m
Jesus - £2m
Went into this draft determined to not overspend on forwards given just how many there are in RealFF this year, and to save at least one forward spot for the later rounds. This was blown out the water when I’d bought Firmino and Richarlison within the first hour. Sometimes you go in with a plan, and come out wondering where the plan went. A low point was accidentally bidding £7m for Richarlison, then following it up with an £11m bid myself! The league was laughing, I was not. No excuses, I thought I’d heard a £10m bid which didn’t happen.
"Sometimes you go in with a plan, and come out wondering where the plan went"
The overspending on forwards culminated in a weak midfield, with only Maddison and Felipe Anderson likely to be long term holds. The gamble on Foden and Boufal getting game time doesn’t seem to be panning out. The brightest spot from this team thus far is how good Gabriel Jesus has looked, and how annoyed Pep got with Aguero against Spurs. Seriously hopeful that Jesus sees enough game time to make him an absolute bargain at just £2m.
BFFA Premier League – Online draft:
Draft rating pre-gw1: A-
Draft rating after gw2: A-
Results: Loss, Win
League position: 5th
BFFA is a 5-division behemoth of a fantasy league. Being in the top division inevitably meant a high calibre draft, especially given half the entrants either write about football or own a fantasy site! I was very happy with how the draft went. Having tenth pick allowed me to set up a strong midfield with Sigurdsson and Maddison, with plenty of decent forwards left when it came to my mid-round picks. The defence is a little light but have all started, which is the main thing. Defence can easily be strengthened on the waiver wire in the coming weeks.
I’d say a win and a loss thus far is a fair reflection of my side’s performance. Injuries to both Alisson and Keita are a big blow, Keita won’t be staying in my squad much longer. Both Siggy and Jota have been surprisingly points shy in the first two weeks.
But then there’s Pukki. Norwich’s flying Finn single handedly won me gameweek 2, and has quickly established himself as a late round pick to savour. Hopefully he can continue his fine fettle, my midfield big guns can join in, and we should see a decent run of results for this side.
"Norwich’s flying Finn single handedly won me gameweek 2, and has quickly established himself as a late round pick to savour"
FIG (Football Index Guide) League – Online draft:
Draft rating pre-gw1: A
Draft rating after gw2: B-
Results: Loss, Win
League position: 7th
Ok, time for a bit of cross promotion. Football Index is becoming a bit of a phenomenon, certainly worth checking out if you have any interest in trading or just making money from football knowledge in general. RealFF have been sponsoring the Football Index Guide podcast in recent weeks, and we thought it’d be fun to set up a RealFF league with some of the biggest Football Index twitter accounts.
It’s a real mix of fantasy experience ranging from elite FPL players to complete novices, but every manager has great football knowledge stemming from their Football Index obsession. This shone through in a really tough draft where not many mistakes were made. Although said elite FPL player did pick the ‘wrong Duffy’ in a later round and got saddled with Mark Duffy of Sheffield United instead of the Brighton defender. Mark Duffy then promptly exited the club, and presumably soon our manager’s squad, and can now be found plying his trade in Stoke!
Overall I feel I did a good job in the draft. As with my BFFA team it’s a little light in defence, which can be easily rectified. I was staggered to get Aguero at pick 8 in the first round, then happy to snaffle Sigurdsson and Pulisic in rounds two and three. On paper it looks a very strong squad.
However going into gameweek three I have numerous concerns. Charlie Taylor is back from injury but may not get straight back into a strong Burnley side. Aguero is annoying Mr Guardiola, not a good idea with Jesus waiting in the wings. Pulisic looks a little lightweight for the Premier League. Almiron is on a terrible Newcastle team and can’t do it all on his own. If there were a literal Crystal Palace I think Zaha would be smashing it up, playing with a permanent scowl on his face. Foden is welded to the bench. Time for some waiver magic methinks!
"If there were a literal Crystal Palace I think Zaha would be smashing it up"
Overall relatively happy with how I drafted, but the auction could have gone better. I’ll do the odd update on my leagues as the season progresses, but will move into player evaluation and strategy next week. The first three weeks of Premier League will certainly have given us plenty of food for thought.
Good luck in GW3!
Follow me @realffgaffer on twitter