I orignally thought that the USMNT missing the World Cup was going to make me mad, but now that I am a few days removed from it, it may have actually set me free. I will now enjoy the World Cup in 2018. I will watch it with the fervor and joy of all participating nations’ fans. I will pick a side in every match. I will never worry about how my side stacks up against the big boys, because quite frankly, we don’t. The USA may one day soon have the talent to compete – side note and shoutout to Christian Pulisic, homie now has 7 goals and 6 assists in 11 WCQ matches, INSANE! and a shame he won’t have the chance to play in as many World Cups as humanly possible – but sometimes it takes an event like what just transpired to get the best out of the collective. Next time around, the desire and urgency to improve throughout the World Cup Qualifying process must be there. If not, the right combination of coach and captain better be in place to deliver an even stronger kick in the nuts.

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The thing that is the puzzler for strategy in FPL that is unlike the other fantasy worlds is the international break and navigating them.  American Football, Baseball, Hockey and Basketball have All-Star breaks and that is about it.  The beautiful game magnifies that and says “We are going to break completely, go play for other teams, run the risk of injury and possibly create a huge ginormous run-on sentence.”  All that is true except for some of it.  The Int’l break is not something to take lightly and with its conclusion on Wednesday of this week, the injury and fitness woes will be abounding.  We are already nervously pressing buttons with heavyweight fantasy options like Romelu Lukaku, now over-owned N’Golo Kante is on the mend joining Alvaro Morata as blue Blue’s.  The best advice is to make transfers for today or at least wait til Friday when the news of who is wha and when are frothed from the mouths of the respective team’s skippers.  For giggles, like every Tuesday here are my early strikes at the transfer market in the FPL for Week 8…

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Away: Manchester City (1) – Home: Chelsea (0)

The marquee match played at Stamford Bridge on Saturday felt like an away game for Chelsea, as Man City came out relentless from the start pressuring up top and pushing Chelsea back. Chelsea never looked comfortable playing out of the back, and Man City dominated early and often. Alvaro Morata picked up a hamstring injury in the 34th minute, and was replaced by Willian who saw little opportunity to attack alongside Eden Hazard.

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Rankings are fun to do in general.  Add in the flavor of this week’s fixtures and you have yourself some fantasy gumbo.  I get that the City/Chelsea fixture is the premium this week but don’t let that steer you clear of playing top options.  Yes, they will steal value from each other, but that is more from the defensive side of the ball.  It is full bore on the offensive end and that is where we invest our fantasy goodies.  we want goals and i think this slate will have plenty.  The Leicester/Bournemouth match will be fun to watch as both teams are taking on a mini Liverpool defensive minded approach and will have the way with each other.  So if you are waiting to make your transfers now that the UCL is over by all means use my rankings as a guide to FPL futility.  Enjoy the week and good luck.  Cheers!

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Away: Bournemouth (1) – Home: Niasse (2)

Oumar Niasse doubled the Toffees goal total on the season with his 35 minutes of heroics, saving Everton from embarrissing defeat to Bournemouth. Niasse bagged his brace after coming in as a sub for the battered and bloodied Wayne Rooney, scoring his first goal with 13 minutes to go in the 2nd half. The game winner was the ultimate scrappy goal, as he corralled his own blocked header from 6 yards out and buried it home past Begovic. His efforts gave Everton their first two goals in the Premier League since August 21st, when their other top goal scorer on the season, Wayne Rooney, scored his 2nd on the season and remains on 2 in now 497 minutes.

While it would be something special for a magical 5.0m forward to emerge like a phoenix from the ruins that Lukaku left bare at Goodison Park, especially in a season currently defined by the plethora of marquee, expensive forward options, there is nothing here to make me truly believe we are witnessing the first roots of fantasy glory. Nobody knows, nay, not even Niasse, if he is suddenly going to supplant Wayne Rooney or Calvert-Lewin up top in the Toffee’s attack. What I do know, however, is that performances like his on Saturday are what make the Premier League worth watching. This is a player that Ronald Koeman (clearly not a football savant) had played a grand total of 0 matches prior to the weekend’s game. Rather than play a single minute during the first half of last season – playing time is slim pickings behind Lukaku – he was loaned last January to Hull City, where in 19 appearances and 1213 minutes under Marco Silva (definitely possibly a football savant), he scored 5 goals and made 1 assist, averaging just over 60 minutes a match. Koeman has never wanted to play him, but was forced to put him on for a clearly tired, ailing, aging and ineffective Rooney in a match that Everton did not really deserve to win.

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We’re once again giving you our loves and hates for each week in a segment called “Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em”.  You should know the drill, but if you don’t, we pick one option from each position.  Pretty cut and dry, and quite simply… basic.  It is more based on my feelings and gut approach for the week’s upcoming and changes from week-to-week.  I look at match-ups and form to formulate my craziness.  It’s like musical chairs, without all the screaming kids and regretful feeling of loss. So sit back, relax, and have a look at who we would start and sit based on match-ups and value. It’s Fantasy Premier League Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em, Week 6 (plus a sleeper/under-owned fella that should be owned and isn’t.)

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Well the “week that was” is a tale of “if and don’t”.  You either invested in, bought in from the beginning of the year and held steady, or your team is dead and you just randomly have Sergio Aguero still on your team.  Better question for those dead teams, why are you hear reading my inspirational words of motivational FPL speaking?  But I digress.  This past week saw the usual Sergio jump up and make a mockery of the Watford defense.  Milk, eggs, bread… Sergio freaking Aguero.  FPL staples to live by.  So if you were on the train earlier and had more trust than the 89% of owners who didn’t own him last week…  He is now close to 20% with over 400,000 transfers in.  Crazy it’s only Tuesday, technically it’s Monday because I have a life to lead, and it takes time for magic to flow out of my fingers.  It’s not really magic, it is more like dried skin, but whatevs.  Transfer Tuesday is about motivation and what jumps out to me for the upcoming week.  So that is what you are going to get.  Transfers, transfers… okay one more transfer.  Quota met.  Cheers!

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Guys.  Guys guys guys.  And maybe one girl reader.  I wrote Tapping your Captain for Week 4 of the Fantasy Premier League season.  I reviewed it.  I uploaded it. And then I realized I was a day late for publishing.  I suffered through a hurricane (native Houstonian here), cancelled flights, and flooded freeways to get back to my one true love, this article.  And yet I couldn’t make it through the dreaded article deadline. There’s something clever to be said about irony here, but I’m not the guy to say it.

With that disclaimer out of the way, we are going to have to go pretty far on the trust factor here to review my picks since they were not made public. But if I was lying, wouldn’t I have made some better choices?  Give me a little credit!

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Now that the Champions League is finished for the week we can jump back on the FPL wagon and take a look at the match-ups that are more pressing in the official game.   Unfortunately rotations are going to be a major factor.  That and the injury to Paul Pogba.  His ownership is too much to look beyond.  My advice for him is this.  If you have owned him from week one then you can bench for the 2 weeks he most likely misses and not lose anything to your accrued team value.  If you only just bought him in the past 2 weeks then you can transfer out and look for some kind of reprieve for fantasy points.  But back to the rotation risks.  All of Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Man City, Man United, Arsenal and Everton are all at risk and the rankings will shy away from a few players that either played full 90’s or that didn’t see the pitch as much.  So be heady and keep your ear to the gossip for who will sit and who will play before making a atransfer this week in a trivial yet pivotal game week 5.  Enjoy the rankings and good luck.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re once again giving you our loves and hates for each week in a segment called “Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em”.  You should know the drill, but if you don’t, we pick one option from each position.  Pretty cut and dry, and quite simply… basic.  It is more based on my feelings and gut approach for the week’s upcoming and changes from week-to-week.  I look at match-ups and form to formulate my craziness.  It’s like musical chairs, without all the screaming kids and regretful feeling of loss. So sit back, relax, and have a look at who we would start and sit based on match-ups and value. It’s Fantasy Premier League Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em, Week 4 (plus a sleeper/under-owned fella that should be owned and isn’t).

Please, blog, may I have some more?