Co-comissioner Our Man at the Valley is here with the latest from the Backpost Fantasy League, including a tight top of the table clash, some former Charlton stars making good, and a painful Derby day for Team Backpost. Take it away OMATV:
The match of the week, at least for me, was between my team, DisgruntledNumpties and Sleeping Giant, run by none other than the blogger/editor/soccer connoisseur extraordinaire who cranks out this website, among his other literary pursuits.
Sleeping Giant has been pretty dormant this year, as one might expect from a first-year participant coming to grips with the nuances of the EPL Pool. And while I haven’t performed up to my usual standards this year (top 2% or so in the Pool in each of the last two seasons), I’ve traditionally been a slow starter, and this is typically the time of the season when I get a good grasp on who I should include in my lineup and start racking up the points. Still, we were both coming off good weeks prior to the international break (81 points for me; 68 for the Giant; season’s highs for each of us).
The Giant and I go way back, to the days of the mighty Cahill Towne, and have watched and played a lot of soccer together. So, while you might think I’d have had this week circled on my calendar, I didn’t even realize I was playing the Giant until Old27M pointed it out in last week’s preview. (I really only pay attention to matchups with teams above me in the table.) (Ouch—Ed.).
Granted, in some ways it’s like Man U playing a cup match against their neighbors Oldham Athletic, or the Yankees playing the Newark Bears; an annoyance for the big fish in the pond and one of the few important matches in the small fish’s season (Double ouch—Ed.).
I had played my Wildcard just before the international break, so I was pretty content with my squad and decided to hold my transfer over for another week.
Looking at the Giant’s pre-transfer lineup, I felt confident of winning. On Friday afternoon, I was already adding 3 points to my total and figuring out how many teams I’d pass on my way up the table. The Giant’s team looked good, but too many of his players were up against good teams. Five were playing in Man City–Newcastle, and four were slated to play in Chelsea–Liverpool. I figured I was safe unless he played his Wildcard. (Saving it for the big spring climb up the table—Ed.)
As it turns out, the matchup wasn’t much of a battle. (Excellent use of understatement—Ed.)
Arsenal’s Robin van Persie was my captain, and he scored twice in the early Saturday game and picked up 3 bonus points, giving me a 26-point cushion to work with. Though Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi’s clean sheet lasted for all of 60 seconds, Jon Walters, my Stoke City midfielder in striker’s clothing, scored a few minutes later. Jack Rodwell was mysteriously absent from Everton–Wolves, but that allowed me to claim Sunderland defender Wes Brown’s clean-sheet points.
To be fair, the Giant’s squad was beset by injuries and my favorite NBA statistic, “DNP – Coach’s Decision.” The Giant brought in Fulham striker Bobby Zamora in place of injured Newcastle forward Leon Best. Man City’s Edin Dzeko was on the bench, and he was the Giants’ captain and big scorer in the previous Gameweek. The Giant might have benefitted from Dzeko not playing at all, rather than the 10-minute cameo he did make, since that gave Luis Suarez double points, but the Uruguayan had a relatively quiet day during Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Chelsea. Final score, 60–30 for DisgruntledNumpties. (“The scoreboard doesn’t lie.”—Charlie Sheen)
As for the rest of the EPL, Newcastle finally lost. Chelsea continued to struggle. Man U scraped past Swansea, and Man City continued to look like the cream of the crop. Also, there were goals from QPR’s Luke Young and West Brom’s Jerome Thomas, and an outstanding display from Tottenham’s Scott Parker. It all made this Charlton fan quite wistful. Oh, for the Halcyon afternoons at the Valley watching those three perform!
Team of the Week and Unlucky Loser
First-place Coloradokeeper played his Wildcard and held off third-place Herk City, 78–52. Interestingly, Herk City paid a 4-point penalty to make an additional transfer (Wes Brown’s clean sheet netting Herk City +2 on the move). It really was a matchup worthy of the top of the table. Coloradokeeper’s 78 points made him the Team of the Week, and Herk City was our Unlucky Loser as his 52 points would have beaten 30 other competitors. Coloradokeeper maintains the league’s only unbeaten record and faces my co-commissioner, Old27M, this week.
Elsewhere in the BPFL, Stemmy woke up from an early season slumber, made his first transfers of the season and gave second-place Ahmad Haziq Hashim a run for the money, eventually prevailing after a couple of automatic substitutions lifted him to a 52–50 win.
At the foot of the table, YourAdHere notched his second win of the season, beating struggling Abe’s Army 49–42.
Thanks, OMATV. Good luck this weekend, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to all Statesiders.