Gameweek 8: Differentials

Gameweek 8's Fantasy Premier League Dream Team

Some people are good at Fantasy Premier League: they listen to podcasts, read analysis, remember to trade people right away when they get suspended before they lose value, and understand how bonus points are awarded. Me, I set my team on Friday night—exhausted from work, often slightly drunk, after twenty minutes of wild research, and fueled by irrational notions. It is a largely futile exercise. The internet is full of different approaches to trying hard and being good at FPL. But what does it look like to try and still be bad at it?

The effort of deciding to lose four points was so emotionally exhausting that I have spent no minutes thinking about FPL since the end of Week 7. This morning I finally looked at the previous gameweek’s final points and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had won my head-to-head—no thanks to Captain Agüero. A tidy four points from him for just plain ol’ playing for 90 minutes. Glad I wasted all that cortisol on him. So no points lost, really. Is that why it costs the seemingly-random four points to use an extra transfer? Oh! Have I just figured out something that everyone else who plays FPL knows?

So, it worked out. But I can’t take that stress again. I’m a free-transfer-only gal. I’m a cheap date. And this week I have to dump City’s defender Bacary Sagna, because he is injured. I like it when the game is this easy.

I have a little money in the bank from my transfer adventure last week, so I can trade up. For whom? On points, the top contenders are all Arsenal and Southampton defenders. Southampton is a team that I have never understood. Are they good? I never know. They are striped. That’s all.

Arsenal, though—I know they are good—or at least that they spend a lot of money. I’ll take one of those. My choices are Hector Bellerín or Laurent Koscielny. They are both good right now. Both prone to better-than-clean-sheet points every few weeks. Which do I want? Time to comb Wikipedia for more info. See what the facial hair situation is.

Bellerín was born in 1995, Kosicelny in 1985. I was born in 1985. Koscielny it is. 31 is a hard year. You’ve gotten a sense for what you want to do with your life, just at the same time you realize you might not be able to do it. He needs all the support he can get. I also, it seems, feel better always having one defender on the squad whose name I can’t pronounce.

Who to start is usually easy, but after an international break, I know I should be careful. Some of them are tired, and some have a lot of other important games to play soon, I am sure. But who? And why? This requires understanding the way that football managers think, and they are a group of reticent men who think it is okay to wear a sweatshirt with nice slacks. I can’t begin to understand how they think. Instead, I will just assume that everyone will probably play. I’d rather be definitely wrong about one or two players than potentially wrong about all of them.

I still have most of my defensive eggs in the West Brom basket. Good thinking I don’t have two Spurs midfiel—shit. Okay. I’ll keep captaining Agüero because smart people in my league did the same last week and he will catch fire at some point in the next few gameweeks and I’ll be dipped if it’ll be after I give up on him. I saw someone tweet about differentials this week, which I think is the opposite of captaining Agüero. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s what it looks like when everyone else in your league captains for differentials, and your loyalty makes him the true differential? I should probably look up what differential means.

Current rankings:
Classic League: 18 (of 19)
Head-to-Head League: 13 (of 20)
Liverpool: 382002
USA: 129599

Final squad:

Week 8 Squad

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Stephanie walked down the aisle to "You'll Never Walk Alone." She is good at some things. But not fantasy sports.