Sky GW24 – 19th February
As an FPL manager of many years, I decided this time a year ago to give the Sky FF game a go. Playing the game loosely a few years ago (the Leicester season) I managed to easily win a mini league with no idea what my overall rank was or the finer points of the game. Fast forward to the 20-21 season and a few podcasts and group chats later I’m in the thick of it (and doing pretty well somehow).
Monday February 8th. The 2nd Overhaul is open as the Leeds vs Palace fixture kicks off. Sat in 32nd overall I’m excited but cautious (this was meant to be a learning season but is going far better than I could have imagined). First few drafts and it’s a case of covering the captaincies I can see. The further I go into the week the more risks I’m taking. How many Man City players, 3 ,4, 5, 6. I send out a Poll on Friday to see how others are thinking. Over 50% of people chose option 3 (4 or 5). But I have 16 transfers left. How risky can I be. Is Sterling instead of Kane that much of a risk? How about Foden over Grealish? I make both moves, knowing I can adjust in a few games (I’ll thank you later Rob Pick). I check Foden’s points over past weeks. It’s feast of famine. How about Rodri? A more consistent stream of points. I’ll take him instead.
Overhaul team set
Azpi, Vesta, Cancelo, Dias
Gundo, Rodri, Bruno
Sterling, Salah, Bamford
Saturday – Captaincy is between Salah and the City boys. Tough fixtures on paper for both. City’s defense is solid but Spurs have Kane and Son. Liverpool are completely out of kilter but Salah is still firing. I like players with many routes to points. Gundogan fits the fit, I’ll go with him. Salah goal in the early game and the decision isn’t looking great but Leicester respond and score 3 (Harvey Barnes could be tempting at some point). Palace vs Burnley passes me by and Pope owners are rewarded. But the big one is upon us. City vs Spurs and time for my 6 players to shine (or 5 given Dias isn’t starting). Half way through the 1st half and an early penalty for City and to my surprise, my last minute selection Rodri steps up and barely start. Gundo assist, great start. Second half starts and Gundo scores, then scores again (did Ederson just assist that one?). This is going perfectly until the German limps off minutes later but City see out the last 20 minutes with little incident. Rank rise up to 18th, great day.
Knowing most of my team had played on the day before, Sunday was all about holding rank. Vestagaard, Bamford and Bruno as the captain were all I had. With the other 2 failing I felt lucky to get some sort of a haul from Bruno, without his United teammates joining him. Slight rank drop to 21st.
Monday captaincy was covered by Azpiliqueta which was an easy move given he is one of the more nailed Chelsea player. Even with Kepa named in goal, his clean sheet was never really under threat. Surprisingly, passing tiers weren’t met with Newcastle pressing at times and his position drifting towards a traditional right back. Luckily he managed to hit tackle tier 2 and secure 20 points. Having flirted with Soucek for this captaincy, this was a small victory, which saw a small rank rise up to 20th.
Onto the midweek games, and a bonus fixture for my City assets (albeit without hero of the hour Gundogan). Captaincy was a tricky one with the lineups unknown before the 6pm deadline. Many went for the security of Ederson or the potential of Sterling. I pitched somewhere in between and the rested Dias got the armband. With Foden scoring early, my Rodri decision didn’t look as smart (or as lucky) as before. Richarlison’s leveller didn’t help my captaincy decision but with passing tiers a guarantee for Dias, 10 points turned out to be ok in the end with all the main protagonists failing. Rodri and Cancelo also did their bit in hitting passing tiers to leave me on 167 for the week, good enough for a rise in rank up to 16th.
Plans for Gameweek 24
Friday’s fixture can easily be covered by giving Patrick Bamford the armband with no other players in action. With Everton almost a guarantee to concede more than once in most games, Salah is the obvious choice on Saturday. On any day he plays, Bruno Fernandes is often the best captaincy choice with Sunday no exception. This is where I felt Harry Kane wasn’t a must have and I’ll be hoping Raheem Sterling can at least match him. I currently have no players for Monday but my plan is to move Azpi on for Lewis Dunk. Brighton have West Brom in Gameweek 25 with Chelsea facing Manchester United then Liverpool so this seems like a sensible time to move. Dunk is a nice option as he can regularly hit passing tiers, threatens on corners and his team is currently defending very well. Tuesday sees a double gameweek for Leeds and Southampton so captaincy is between Vestagaard and Bamford for me. With neither team defensively minded, Bamford is the easy choice here.
The Dunk move will leave me with 15 transfers left with nearly as many fixtures remaining. Knowing there are more experienced managers (a few former winners and mini league opponents) right behind me in the top 100 I need to be smart with any future moves. At some point I’ll have to trim the number of City assets I have but for now I’m happy to enjoy them.
With March fixtures imminent, more planning is on the horizon. Good luck with Gameweek 24 all.