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#CHNEFL: Coming Home Newcastle tackles a new fantasy game

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In which we thumb our nose at convention.

Mike Stobe

I've always had a love/hate relationship with the Fantasy Premier League game. On one hand, it's a pretty neat concept: you get to make a team of the best eleven players in the league and see how you stack up with other people, who are also trying to make a team of the best eleven players in the league. At the end of the season, you can make an apples-to-apples comparison with anybody else in your league (or the world, really) who stuck it out for all 38 weeks. It works on a global scale.

On the other hand, it's a pretty terrible way to compete and have fun with your friends. "Oh, you're starting Lukaku today? Me, too." "Hm, I guess we'll just root for him together." There's a hilarious amount of overlap from team-to-team, and doing well is all about exploiting the barn door, that period of time in between the end of matches and when prices are adjusted. That's all well and good if you're into it, but also very luck-based, especially when you consider that if you pick any two teams managed by owners that haven't deadbeated 3 weeks into the season, the major difference between them is probably going to be the weekly captain.

So, we did the best thing we knew how to do: We Americanized (with a "zee") the game. We weren't the first ones to do it, but I had to search long and hard for a site that would accommodate our needs. Basically, we did a fantasy football (NFL) snake-style draft. The scoring system is very similar to that of the official game found on premierleague.com, but in this league and in other leagues like it, each player exists on one person's team and one person's team only (or they're not owned by anybody). Each team has 11 starters and 7 bench players, and since our league had 10 teams, that means that over half of the Premier League's regular starters are represented. No longer is knowing 4 or 5 players on each of the Sky Six teams going to cut it.

Oh, and we'll get to trade with each other and everything. It's going to be awesome. I've reproduced the draft results below, with the players listed in the order they were drafted.

Team: Don't be a Cisse
Owner: TWade88

M

Yaya Touré - MCI

G

Howard, Tim - EVE

F

Lambert, Rickie - LIV

D

Terry, John - CHE

M

Johnson, Adam - SUN

M

Mutch, Jordon - QPR

M

Nolan, Kevin - WHU

F

Negredo, Álvaro - MCI

D

Demichelis, Martín - MCI

D

Distin, Sylvain - EVE

D

Clyne, Nathaniel - SOU

F

Drogba, Didier - CHE

F

Carroll, Andy - WHU

D

Williamson, Michael - NEW

M

Schneiderlin, Morgan - SOU

D

Smalling, Chris - MUN

M

Delph, Fabian - AVL

F

Armstrong, Adam - NEW


Team: L'town Elites
Owner: DRank27

M

Gerrard, Steven - LIV

G

Szczesny, Wojciech - ARS

D

Coleman, Seamus - EVE

F

Rodriguez, Jay - SOU

D

Cahill, Gary - CHE

D

Fonte, Jose - SOU

D

Sagna, Bacary - MCI

M

Puncheon, Jason - CRY

M

Adam, Charlie - STK

M

Sidwell, Steve - STK

F

Arnautovic, Marko - STK

G

Speroni, Julian - CRY

G

Mannone, Vito - SUN

M

Davis, Steven - SOU

M

Osman, Leon - EVE

F

Gouffran, Yoan - NEW

F

Weimann, Andreas - AVL

M

Diamé, Mohamed - WHU


Team: Gary Glitter's U-12's
Owner: Stazza

M

Hazard, Eden - CHE

M

Özil, Mesut - ARS

F

van Persie, Robin - MUN

M

Schürrle, André - CHE

D

Kolarov, Aleksandar - MCI

M

Lamela, Erik - TOT

D

Skrtel, Martin - LIV

F

Jovetic, Stevan - MCI

M

Willian - CHE

G

Begovic, Asmir - STK

D

Walker, Kyle - TOT

D

Sakho, Mamadou - LIV

M

Lennon, Aaron - TOT

F

Diouf, Mame Biram - STK

M

Arteta, Mikel - ARS

F

Odemwingie, Peter - STK

M

Holtby, Lewis - TOT

D

Kaboul, Younes - TOT


Team: Cash Money Ozillionaires
Owner: _trey_

F

Rooney, Wayne - MUN

F

Sánchez, Alexis - ARS

M

Eriksen, Christian - TOT

M

Lallana, Adam - LIV

D

Shaw, Luke - MUN

D

Filipe Luis - CHE

G

Courtois, Thibaut - CHE

D

Lovren, Dejan - LIV

D

Ward, Joel - CRY

M

Snodgrass, Robert - HUL

M

Fernandinho - MCI

F

Pellè, Graziano - SOU

M

Noble, Mark - WHU

F

Markovic, Lazar - LIV

D

Vlaar, Ron - AVL

M

Jedinak, Mile - CRY

M

McCarthy, James - EVE

D

Delaney, Damien - CRY


Team: Ray Hudson's Matadors
Owner: @jaredstimson

F

Giroud, Olivier - ARS

M

Mata, Juan - MUN

D

Ivanovic, Branislav - CHE

G

Cech, Petr - CHE

D

Zabaleta, Pablo - MCI

M

Henderson, Jordan - LIV

M

Cabella, Rémy - NEW

F

Welbeck, Danny - MUN

D

Johnson, Glen - LIV

M

Wilshere, Jack - ARS

D

Besic, Muhamed - EVE

G

Mignolet, Simon - LIV

F

Campbell, Fraizer - CRY

M

Colback, Jack - NEW

F

Gomis, Bafétimbi - SWA

F

Ameobi, Sammy - NEW

M

Can, Emre - LIV

D

Rose, Danny - TOT


Team: Science Against Me
Owner: Robert L. Bishop

F

Sturridge, Daniel - LIV

M

Silva, David - MCI

D

Baines, Leighton - EVE

G

Lloris, Hugo - TOT

M

Navas, Jesús - MCI

M

Walcott, Theo - ARS

D

Vertonghen, Jan - TOT

F

Ings, Danny - BURN

F

Benteke, Christian - AVL

M

Barry, Gareth - EVE

M

Dyer, Nathan - SWA

D

Gibbs, Kieran - ARS

M

Matic, Nemanja - CHE

F

Austin, Charlie - QPR

M

Ince, Tom - HUL

D

Haidara, Massadio - NEW

D

Agger, Daniel - LIV

G

Forster, Fraser - SOU


Team: FutbolFeller
Owner: @FutbolFeller

F

Agüero, Sergio - MCI

M

Coutinho, Philippe - LIV

F

Remy, Loïc - QPR

M

Oscar - CHE

F

Adebayor, Emmanuel - TOT

D

Koscielny, Laurent - ARS

D

Bacuna, Leandro - AVL

M

Sissoko, Moussa - NEW

M

Paulinho - TOT

G

Krul, Tim - NEW

F

Bojan - STK

D

Cameron, Geoff - STK

F

Torres, Fernando - CHE

M

Young, Ashley - MUN

D

Coloccini, Fabricio - NEW

M

Ward-Prowse, James - SOU

M

Rodwell, Jack - SUN

D

Pieters, Erik - STK


Team: Left Back Sub
Owner: Alfie Crow

F

Diego Costa - CHE

F

Bony, Wilfried - SWA

M

Nasri, Samir - MCI

M

Barkley, Ross - EVE

D

Kompany, Vincent - MCI

G

de Gea, David - MUN

M

de Jong, Siem - NEW

M

Shelvey, Jonjo - SWA

D

Azpilicueta, César - CHE

D

Jones, Phil - MUN

D

Davies, Ben - TOT

F

Podolski, Lukas - ARS

F

Ferreyra, Facundo - NEW

G

Boruc, Artur - SOU

D

Janmaat, Daryl - NEW

F

Gayle, Dwight - CRY

M

Livermore, Jake - HUL

M

Ben Arfa, Hatem - NEW


Team: Stop, Drop, and Rolando
Owner: Ryan Carp

M

Fábregas, Francesc - CHE

M

Sterling, Raheem - LIV

F

Dzeko, Edin - MCI

G

Hart, Joe - MCI

D

Mertesacker, Per - ARS

M

Herrera, Ander - MUN

D

Caulker, Steven - QPR

D

Jagielka, Phil - EVE

M

Sigurdsson, Gylfi - SWA

F

Crouch, Peter - STK

D

Davies, Curtis - HUL

F

Emmanuel Rivière - NEW

M

Huddlestone, Tom - HUL

G

Guzan, Brad - AVL

M

Antonio Valencia - MUN

F

Valencia, Enner - WHU

D

Shawcross, Ryan - STK

F

Hernández, Javier - MUN


Team: Folu Tang Clan
Owner: Lavanglish

F

Lukaku, Romelu - EVE

M

Ramsey, Aaron - ARS

M

Mirallas, Kevin - EVE

M

Cazorla, Santiago - ARS

D

Debuchy, Mathieu - ARS

F

Soldado, Roberto - TOT

M

Januzaj, Adnan - MUN

D

Mangala, Eliaquim - MCI

F

Long, Shane - SOU

D

Williams, Ashley - SWA

F

Altidore, Jozy - SUN

M

Sessegnon, Stéphane - WBA

D

Stones, John - EVE

M

Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex - ARS

G

Fabianski, Lukasz - SWA

F

Chamakh, Marouane - CRY

D

Hangeland, Brede - CRY

M

Morrison, Ravel - WHU


Assorted notes:

  • The first Newcastle player taken was Remy Cabella, at the 5th pick of the 7th round. Siem de Jong went just 3 picks later. I was expecting the room to be more homer-rific, and the fact that everybody played it straight means this might just be a tough league.
  • Lavanglish (Folu Tang Clan) claims he's going to win the league because he has no Newcastle players, and he might just do it. I took Massadio Haidara out of some weird sense of obligation (also I was desperate for defenders at that point), but if they're as porous as we think they might be, no amount of assists is going to make up for negative points given for goals allowed.
  • I realized almost immediately after taking Hugo Lloris in the 4th round that that was way too early for a goalkeeper. Thibault Courtois, another keeper I had targeted, went a full 3 rounds later, and the position scarcity is such that I was able to grab an expected starter in the very last round. Taking an available midfielder there (say, André Schürrle or Adam Johnson) would have meant not having to settle for Jesús Navas in the next round, and I still could have had a top-tier shot-stopper. If you play other fantasy sports that are popular in America, this is why you mock draft. I couldn't find a mock PL draft, and so I had to wing it on draft day and ended up paying the price.
  • Papiss Cisse went undrafted. How the mighty have fallen.
Which team looks strongest?