BC’s Fantasy Football Nightmares


Kick Off

Game-Week 18: Blank Game-Week Too Literally Named


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

The long-dreaded blank game-week 18 is upon us and my preparations, if that is not too bold a word, seem to have paid as many dividends as my Topshop shares. With what we must call my judicious use of my transfers, because we don’t want to shatter my confidence to smithereens in the first paragraph, over the last five game-weeks, I’d carefully charted the course towards my Fantasy Premier League team, BC FC, fielding almost a full GW18 XI, an X, in fact — but, of course, three of those players came from Villa, whose GW18 match was cancelled at the very last moment, like a Trumpian impulse to decency.

And two, or I suppose I should say, II, of my remaining VIII were Daniel Podence and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, both now more or less indefinitely out of the game entirely; would that we could say the same of Donald “J for Jihadi” Trump.

Having two transfers this week, though, meant I could swap the Villa keeper for the Newcastle one, Karl Darlow being the best chance within my price range of earning six points from between the sticks; though my own difficulties usually come from between my own ears; like, eg, should I have transferred out the unwell Alex McCarthy instead of the merely un-playing Emiliano Martinez? Who can be sure of such things? (Answer: the Fantasy Premier League managers who occupy the top, not the bottom, million.)

Still, there was good news in GW16/17: BC FC rose two spots, from five to three, the only good uprising of the week. Most of the other team managers in my family & friends mini-league will play their free hit chip to cope this week; however, my strategy — again, a bold word in relation to how I approach FPL, but it may yet qualify as such — was to use free transfers to get to this blank game-week and to save the free hit for next week’s double game-week; I may regret this decision even before the double game-week starts, though, when I’m struggling with the arithmetic involved; I know which players I want, I just can’t figure out, in my head, the permutations required to produce the desired combinations on the field.

Despite the unkindnesses of the Fates and the Premier League fixture setters, I’ve managed to put together a GW18 VII, three of whom have two matches in GW19; I tell myself this is an advantage in playing my free hit chip next week and I agree, but I’m not really sure. (When I lived in London, I used to drive myself half-crazy twice a year, when the clocks sprang forward and fell back, trying to work out whether I’d gained or lost sleep.)

And it’s only just struck me that BC FC’s seven players no matches this week will have two next! It may be that I may even be able to save the free hit chip and play the bench boost — but I can’t tell; I’ve already used up this week’s calculations quota.

At the time of writing, I’ve set Harry Kane as my captain, figuring he’ll do better against Fulham than Bruno Fernandes, my vice-captain, against Burnley; I may switch back-and-forth between them, like Boris Johnson between policies, but, even if I’m properly screwed this week, I may well make it up next.

As, undoubtedly, Donald Trump must be telling himself.

My next advice column/eulogy/apology for BC FC will appear around the GW19 deadline