Dependable Erection

Friday, May 22, 2009

Final week

Last week of the English football season and probably time to give an update as to how the Dependables made out in my first ever attempt at fantasy sports.

I signed up for two separate leagues; one run by the English Premier League itself, the other by the Guardian newspaper. The rules are similar enough - Here's a fixed sum of money to spend on a team of 15 players, you can't have more than 3 players from any one time, you have to have a specific distribution of positions (2 keepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders, 3 strikers), and each week you select 11 players to be active. Again, there are minimum requirements for your active team - 1 keeper, 3 defenders, 3 midfielders, 1 striker - and you can add others to make a starting XI. Points are awarded based on certain specific performance criteria, which differed significantly between the leagues. You can make minimal changes to your team between games - 1 per week in the EPL league, 5 per month in the Guardian league. You can make more in the EPL league, but there's a 4 point per transfer deduction from your total for each one. That option isn't available in the Guardian league.

So, how'd i do?

In the EPL league, not so hot. After a fast start, i faded when my early hot scorers, Bacary Sagna, Arsenal defender, Amir Zaki, Wigan striker, and Roque Santa Cruz, Blackburn Rovers striker, all either got injured or fell out of form, or out of favor with their coaches. Things really went from bad to worse when Michael Arteta, Everton midfielder, went down for the season 5 minutes into the game in which i had just made him my captain. (The EPL league allows you to choose a captain for each game, whose point total is automatically doubled.) Totally disrupted my transfer plans, and i really never recovered.

Going into the final week, my position is about 790,000 out of about 1.9 million players, right around the 41st percentile. Among USA participants, i rank about 25,000 out of 60,000, also the 41st percentile. It's even worse in the local Bull McCabe's league where, barring either a spectacular collapse or even more spectacular performance from relegation bound Middlesborough striker Tuncay, i'll finish 12th out of the 18 participants.

Tough league.

Oh, and that 100 million pounds i started with? My team is now worth about 97 million.

Over at the Guardian, things are quite different.

Somehow, the modified scoring and transfer rules were more suited to my style of play. For starters, my team, and cash on hand, are worth a combined 140 million pounds, which i think puts me in the top 1 or 2% for return on investment. (Player values fluctuate during the season based on some not quite known combination of performance and demand.) As in any market, buying low and selling high is a good thing.

There are about 90,000 players overall in the Guardian league. Right now i'm sitting at 3663 overall, or right about the 96th percentile. For the month of May i'm up around 2300, or 97th percentile. I'm too far behind the leaders to have a chance at the $2000 monthly prize, but i could conceivably end up in the top 1000 with a good week.

Among American players, i rank 60 out of about 1000, or 94th percentile. I guess the Americans who sign up for the Guardian league are a little more knowledgeable than other fans? For May i'm at 34 out of 1000, with a decent chance to finish in the top 10 for the month. I'm doing slightly better among Bolton Wanderers fans (and they'll stay up for another season! Yay!) - 29th out of about 530, or 95th percentile. For the month of May i'm 25th. I've got a decent chance to finish in the top 15, depending again on who plays and who sits, and how well i guess that in advance.

So, even though i'd never seen myself as a fantasy sports guy, i admit to having fun with this, and i'm already looking to next year, when i will totally rule downtown fantasy soccer.



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