If you're like me, you put off thinking seriously about your fantasy football team until Thursday afternoon, when the reality that yes, the Premiership season was actually returning after what felt like a four-week break, became patently undeniable. If you're like me, you then spent a lot of time trying to figure out if Sigurrdson and Cisse would maintain their late season form from last year and then a few more minutes trying to gauge what the Community Shield augered and then finally a few seconds ignoring a voice telling you to avoid players who featured heavily at Euro 2012. If you're like me, you racked up 29 points. Let's hope you're not like me.
Barring a technical meltdown like last year that gives everyone a bonus wildcard, there's nine months left to get it right. It was an incredible Saturday for fantasy despite Chelsea, City and United all having the afternoon off. Here are the players who roused and repelled fantasy owners from the weekend weekend that was (with the glaring omission of United v Everton tonight and Chelsea v Reading during the week which surely will shake up the Dream Team scoring):
Michu: Anybody expecting Swansea to become a brittle Allardycian unit sans their Antrim man were in for a shock. Swansea thrashed QPR, Vorm and Williams proved they're still incredible value, while Michu, scorer of 15 goals last season with Vallecano, marks his Premier League debut with two goals and 18 bleeding points. Hats off to managers who saw that coming. FYI - Nathan Dyer, who also scored two yesterday, scored of 16 points last week, may be better value in midfield at £5.5 million.
Petric: Fantasy owners were robbed of one their most reliable midfielder scoring options in Clint Dempsey for the first weekend of fantasy. He hoovered up most of Fulham's fantasy points last season, but into that void stepped Croat Mladen Petric. He hasn't scored for Croatia since 2010 but perhaps he will be reborn at Craven Cottage if Dempsey gets his wish to walk. He scored 16 last week and is pretty decent value at £6.0.
Hazard: 10 points and two assists, though everyone who had Torres as a captain is still wondering why he didn't send the Spainard through in second minute instead of Ivanovic. Ligue 1 arrivals, especially those in Arsenal strips like Chamakh, Gervinho and Giroud tend to be fantasy black holes so it's nice to see Hazard buck that trend.
Ivanovic: Not a bad start to the season for the perennial best-value defender at Stamford Bridge: a well-taken goal and a clean sheet.
Kevin Nolan: Welcome back to the Premier League, buddy! 10 big ones. (Can he play for Ireland? Have we had this discussion)
Silva: Why did I pick him again? I was thinking he might easily replicate his brilliant early-season form last year, but no chance. Missed penalty. Missed second-half sitter. Definitely dropped.
Everyone at Wigan: Di Santo, Caldwell, Al Habsi, Moses: what about last April and May. You're all dead to me.
Everyone at Liverpool: How bad our things are for Liverpool in both real and fantasy terms? Dyer, Petric and Michu outscored the entire Liverpool side on Sunday.
Man City's defense: I saw that Southampton at home fixture to start the season and saw 5-0. Not to be (thanks Jack Rodwell). Choosing Hart, Kompany and Lescott would have screwed you.
Giroud: Fair enough, he only played 27 minutes, but that missed sitter burned both himself AND Cazorla who'd done all the hard work creating the goal chance. (On the flip side, Jenkinson at £4.5 is a brilliant acquisition.)
WTF performance of the week: Shane Long who had an assist and a missed penalty in 67 minutes. A strange day's work.
Top 5 at the Balls.ie League
The Kew Tours Stephen Ussher 77
Frangos Freaks David Kivlehan 74
yer sick.. Ian O Driscoll 73
Fall Stars Kevin Hilliard 70
Danology Bryan O'Boyle 69