BC’s Fantasy Football Nightmares


Kick Off

The Stress of Success


An advice column for the bottom seven million Fantasy Premier League managers

By BC Pires

Game-Week Six — The Stress of Success

The last time something like this happened was when Sir Don Bradman, still the most prolific scorer in cricket, was out for duck in his last innings, prompting the line, “Well, what do you say in those circumstances?”

BC FC, my Fantasy Premier League team, after returning scores of 45, 40, 29 and 52 in game-weeks one-to-four, turned in 115 points in GW5.

115! The highest score in all of FPL-dom was 136! The very best fantasy manager in the world managed 21 points more than me!

I feel like Donald Trump on election night, four years ago. Whaaaaaat? Me? Look, check those figures again!

It felt really good, until it hit me that success is perhaps the only thing that could shatter the very foundation on which this advice column is laid.

But there you go, my negligible fantasy manager skills have finally been overtaken by the thing I’m really blessed with, the single quality that the most successful fantasy managers also share: sheer blind good luck!

Like perhaps millions of others, I transferred out the injured Kevin De Bruyne and brought in Heung-Min Son last week.

And, because I had a transfer rolled over, I sold Raul Jimenez and brought in — and captained — Harry Kane; Son & Kane gave me 45 points between them.

Now, it wasn’t so much brilliance on my part to bring Kane & Son in as stupidity on the part of anyone who could have done it and chose not to. They’ve been in such good form, they’ve been in danger of spontaneously exploding, just sitting on the bench next to one another, like phosphorus and water.

And, because I kept what had been hitherto blind faith with Timo Werner, I got another 16 from him, the same total Nick Pope returned.

Two of my other players scored six (Dom Cal-Lew, Phil Foden), three scored seven (Lucas Digne, Roman Saiss, Kai Havertz) and one scored nine (Wilfried Zaha).

These are the same wankers who managed 29 points between them in GW3!

But, however you explain their failings for a solid month, BC FC finally got out of cellar position and almost to the top of the stairs, jumping from position ten to position four in one week.

Still, I know better than to push my luck: there are a lot more snakes than ladders on this here game board.

And there’s more luck than skill involved; certainly in our family & friends mini-league.

My wife’s team, eg, the Most Handsome XI, sat in fourth place for the first month, performing better than six other teams — and she selected her squad entirely on the basis of how good-looking she thinks the players are. Her formula worked better than mine until last week. (She brought in James Rodriguez ahead of either Son or Bruno Fernandes in GW5, though she could have afforded both; “But Son has 45 points from four games!” I said; “And a smile like Goofy,” she replied.)

So, now that I am the Pep Guardiola (or at least the Frank Lampard) of FPL until at least after this weekend, I have to make wiser decisions than I have so far, to keep on scaling the dizzying heights of mini-leagues that have as many or eight or ten teams in them. (BC FC did jump +3,085,313 places globally in GW5, but I was so low in GW4 that even a 3M-plus leap takes me only to position number 1,592,312; I’m yet to break that magic 1.5M mark.)

So what fiendishly clever move have I made with this week’s transfer?

I could have exchanged Daniel Podence for Jack Grealish (who was my wife’s transfer-in this week, replacing the apparently considerably less handsome Ayoze Perez). I could have strengthened my bench by looking for someone stronger than Jimmy Dunne.

But, no, I sold Nick Pope, who brought me 16 points in GW5, and brought in Emiliano Martinez.

I tell myself it is the right move, because the savings on Pope brings me closer to affording a midfield or frontline upgrade.

But only time will tell whether I’ll be lucky with Martinez.

Watch Nick Pope save three penalties this weekend.

And Martinez get sent off for pulling Bamford down in the area.

My next advice column/suicide-note-in-instalments will appear before the GW6 deadline.