BC’s Fantasy Football Nightmares


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GW26: Double or Quits


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

For another week and against increasingly mounting odds, my Fantasy Premier League team, BC FC, has, like Boris Johnson, somehow managed to cling on to the top spot in our ten-team family & friends mini-league; and I didn’t even use a Latin phrase or an FPL chip.

My most serious threat in the mini-league comes from my wife’s Most Handsome XI, for whom getting up to second was down to replacing Tammy Abraham with Jamie Vardy two game-weeks ago. (She has apparently forgiven Vardy for the spouse whose inherently annoying nature had hitherto precluded his selection; doubtless a lesson learned at home.)

Her brother’s Toss the Salah (whose intention, in defiance of the team name, is to retain the Egyptian until GW38) is a clear 20 points below BC FC and constitutes the major threat to BC FC, since his team is drawn from the full Premier League player roster, not just the ones deemed sufficiently handsome from week-to-week.

To make matters worse, it is a double game-week.

Capable FPL managers look forward to double game-weeks with heightened excitement but, for me, it’s the anguish that intensifies. The endless permutations & combinations of players, form & fixtures that intrigue so many are simply mind-boggling to someone who took four attempts to pass O’Level maths (even if I did eventually get a B).

After several days worrying over whether I should play my wild card, triple captain, free hit or bench boost chips — I have, unaccountably, held on to all, despite using my first wild card in GW3 — I eventually narrowed the field down to two. The free hit, I decided firmly, I will play in blank GW29. The wild card will be the ace up my sleeve; unless I've played it already and forgot; sadly, a real possibility.

With only hours to go to deadline, I’m still unsure whether to play my bench boost or my triple captain.

Or neither.

If it’s been advantageous to hold on to them until now, won’t it become increasingly more so the longer I hold out? The part of my mind that necessitated four shots at O'Level maths thinks that I should ideally save all for the last week.

With only five teams out of the top ten left in the remaining 12 weeks, it may be possible for City to get more favourable double fixtures, so there may be a better week to triple-captain someone, but such calculations require more than a B in O’Level maths.

And God and the Premier League alone know whether I’ll have as strong a bench as I could have this week (taking a couple of four-point hits). j

But I could field a full XI with two fixtures without a transfer and, to get a full squad with two games would cost me either 12 points or my free hit or wildcard; and it didn’t seem sensible to use either of those chips when I started with only four players, including my goalie, with only one game.

What held me back from using the bench boost was not having a full squad with two games each; what held me back from going brave was cowardice.

As so often in my life before, excitement won out.

I can’t quite believe it myself but, yes, I took a 12-point hit and now have a full squad with two games each.

I told myself I’m back to the eight-point lead I had over my brother-in-law two weeks ago; even if it means my wife’s Most Handsome XI will start the double game-week four points above me. (There’s a joke in here to be made about letting one’s wife get on top but I’ve used up my courage quota for even a double game-week already by transferring Patrick Bamford out for Ollie Watkins.)

So. Here we go again.

There are three reasons I could never go on the great American quiz show Jeopardy: 1. I’m pretty much always there anyway; 2. I’m not clever enough; and 3. If I got the daily double, there is no way I’d ever be able to do anything but make it a true one.

Now I’ve got to go put on Exile on Main Street and listen closely to Tumblin’ Dice.

And, if after all this, I forget to click on “Bench Boost”…