What’s sadder than a grown man with a sports blog? A grown man with a sports blog that also participates in a fantasy sports league. Cue the celibacy…
My nephews convinced me to join their fantasy football league last night. I was given no more than 9 hours to assemble an English Premier League squad…not including time off for sleep.
I’ve never really understood the whole fantasy sports thing. I figured you select a good goalie and then the other 10 are strikers and attacking midfielders. He who scores the most goals gets the most points, right? Though I was also under the impression that you had to do some sort of draft – that you couldn’t have the same players as someone else.
Apparently my assumptions about fantasy sports leagues are not entirely accurate. And, frankly, I take some strange pride in that.
My nephew tried to explain everything to me over the phone, but it was late, and I was impatient, wanting to make my selection so I could finish watching an episode of Louie before calling it a night. Fantasy sports are fine, but I don’t want to break a sweat.
Naturally I didn’t bother reading the rules, either. I’m way too cool for that. Besides, it’s a slippery slope. Next thing you know, I’ll start asking for directions and leaving the toilet seat down.
ESPN’s Premier League fantasy football was semi-intuitive, so I managed to assemble a squad despite myself. However, when creating Total Footblog’s Barnstoneworth United, I operated under the assumption that the players I picked had to be starters or they wouldn’t earn me points.
I also assumed that Fabregas and Nasri would ultimately leave Arsenal, causing an implosion in North London that would make the riots look like a jubilee. As a result, you’ll only find one Arsenal player in my squad (and not a central defender). Let’s face it, with players like Arshavin, Chamakh, and Rosicky, Arsenal have more streaks than Ernest Borgnine’s jammies.
But this isn’t about Arsenal. This about fantasy football. Wait…now even I’m confused. Apparently so is Arsene Wenger.
In goal and on defense, I went with players from clubs capable of keeping the ball out of the net, and opting for defenders who tend to get a few goals and assists over the course of the season. Sadly, I don’t give this aspect of the game the attention it deserves, though I guess I can take comfort in the fact that few others do.
Goalkeepers: Hart (Guzan)
Defenders: Gallas, Ivanovic, Richards, Sagna (Dawson)
If Joe Hart gets hurt, I’m screwed. Brad Guzan was an “economical” choice as my back-up you are given a salary cap, and ESPN assigns weighted salaries to each player). William Gallas was a bit of a gamble as well, but I think I can replace him with Michael Dawson if he fails to produce. Not sure how that works, but we’ll see. Branislav Ivanovic and Bacary Sagna were no brainers, and I think Micah Richards could blossom this season.
On the attack, I was under the impression that players who score goals and deliver assists would earn me the most points. So that’s how I built that end of the squad.
Midfielders: Bale, Dempsey, Milner, Young (Holden)
Strikers: Hernandez, Suarez (Bent)
For the midfield, I went with the low hanging fruit of Gareth Bale. Clint Dempsey racked up the goals last year, making him a hopeful bargain. I also gambled on Ashley Young, who looked promising in preseason and hopefully earned Sir Alex’s confidence. James Milner was a pragmatic pick, as he’s always solid, healthy, and a good bet to deliver assists. I kept Stuart Holden as the sub since I don’t think he’ll get many starts until later in the season.
My strikers were the easiest choices I had – Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Luis “Cheatarito” Suarez. It pains me to have selected Suarez, as longtime readers will know, but in my “fantasy” he’s not as much of a cheating douche as he appeared to be in last summer’s World Cup “reality.” Darren Bent was an economical choice for a sub, but quite the bargain when you consider his potential.
So if I made these quick picks under the correct assumptions, and things go well for Barnstoneworth United, then you will surely be seeing periodic updates about how brilliant I am. Of course if things don’t work out so well, then chances are you might not see anything except a brief footnote at the end of the campaign, talking about what an “interesting” experience it was.
Until then, as my nephews say, “Stay frosty!”