BC’s Fantasy Football Nightmares


Kick Off

Ten Out of Ten

An advice column for the bottom seven million Fantasy Premier League managers

By BC Pires

After scoring 45 points in game-week one, 40 in GW2 and the grand total of 29 in GW3, you could forgive me for thinking I really had to do better in GW4, if only by the law of averages.

I’m happy, or at least less depressed, to say I did: for the first time, I did better than the average score of 48 with what is, for me, a towering 52. No irony.

A lot of this relative success stemmed from my wise decision to follow the advice of most fantasy tips websites and put Alex McCarthy in goal ahead of Nick Pope, whom I’d paid so much for, and really wanted to play, to try to get what I told myself was value for money. McCarthy brought me nine points instead of Pope’s measly one.

The Southampton goalie was one of three of my players to almost get to double figures, the other two being Roman Saiss (8) and Kai Havertz (6 — which really isn’t all that close to double figures, but you have to squeeze what you can out of your men in a terrible situation, and I comfort myself with the thought that Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer were squeezing their players and wringing their own hands even more than me).

My captain, Dom Cal-Lew, did get to a score of 12 by virtue of his captaincy.

It appears, though. that everyone else in football fantasy world didn’t do much better than me and very many people did worse. My overall score of 166 points — 52 of which, I remind you, came this week — saw me leap from 6,170, 592nd place all the way to an overall rank this game-week of 2,810,174.

I may yet break that magic three million glass ceiling.

Of course, I may revert to form and to below the 7M mark in GW5.

My best performance of the season wasn’t enough to lift me out of the cellar position, though: I remain ten out of ten in one mini-league and eight out of eight in the other. (You may ask why I don’t join other mini-leagues to broaden my experience; I reply that the bottom has the same breadth, whether you’re at eight or 6,170,592.)

Still, I’m in with a chance of getting off the ocean floor this week, since there are now only five points between me and the team at number nine, Steez FC — managed by my hip hop-loving 20-year-old son, who clearly inherited his fantasy managerial skills from me, and not his mother, whose Most Handsome XI — selected on exactly the basis that it sounds like — is fourth.

There are now only 70 points between me and my wife’s nephew, whose 236 points have him at the top of our family & friends league; which is like saying there are only four years between now and the next chance of replacing Boris Johnson as prime minister.

In my other league, where I cannot rely on the kindness of my extended family (which might more properly be called relative incompetence), my 52 points constituted the third-lowest score. The top team in that league scored 80, for a total of 298, 132 more than — and almost as much as — my 166.

But I feel good about game-week five.

I made two transfers, switching the injured KDB for the very much in form Son, and the so far lacklustre Raul Jimenez (16 points) for the so far incandescent Harry Kane (44 points).

I could have brought Kane in my selling the even more lacker-lustre Timo Werner (11 points), whom I’ve captained twice, and the man mainly responsible (after me) for my poor fantasy performance since GW1 — but I keep thinking that, every week he doesn’t shine surely increases his chances of sparkling the next; which, of course, is the same approach of every man in a shabby raincoat you see feeding coins into a one-armed bandit. In an opulent casino. Made opulent by shabby raincoat’s determination to stick with his plan.

But maybe this week is the first time my stopped clock of Timo will be right twice a day.

The most important decision every fantasy manager makes each week is the captaincy and I have four players who may do well: Calvert-Lewin, depending on which Liverpool turns up; the old Timo may just chime against Southampton; and Son and Kane both ought to scintillate against West Ham, who are not West Brom, but who may, with luck, go south. Even if Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen continue in the form they’re in, with no Spurs defenders, I ought not to be hurt too badly; which is probably what Rod Stewart and Jennifer Aniston say, going into every marriage.

Without looking at the advice websites, who are likely to pull me away from my own hunch, I’m going with the old ‘Arry. He’s been such a delight to watch, I feel I owe him.

Kind of like how the man in the shabby raincoat pulling the handle of the slot machine owes the casino.

My next advice column/suicide-note-in-instalments will appear the day before the GW6 deadline.