The Giant Fruit & Nut Premier League (@GFANPL) held its draft last weekend. Most mock drafts that have taken place have been for 10 team leagues so there was still an air of uncertainty surrounding which round some players would be taken. The draft took place offline with two managers making their picks via whatsapp and a third allowing his girlfriend to do the same for the first half of it as he had a golf competition (no prizes for guessing which team is his). Overall the teams looked somewhat even by the end of it with the obvious exception. Here is the analysis of our 12 team draft.
Rounds 1 to 2
Pre-draft talk was mainly centered on whether Haifa boss @b_Mack08 was going to go bold and choose Alexis with pick 2 or settle for Lukaku. In the end he opted for Man Utd’s new man and Alexis fell all the way to round 2 with nobody wanting to risk losing their top man before the season even starts
As expected, forwards were taken off the board early with Kane, Lukaku and Jesus going 1,2 & 3. Jesus was perhaps a surprise pick but if he replicates the form he showed in his appearances last season then he could well go even earlier next year. Firmino, Morata and Lacazette were the other forwards to go in round 1.
Nobody was surprised to see the Man Utd obsessed NNF manager take Pogba with pick 6 but his choice of Rooney in round 2 didn’t get much love on Twitter post draft. It seems that there are heavy doubts about whether Man Utd and England’s all-time scorer can return to the heights he once reached.
There were some great options available in round 2 for the managers with late draft picks. I was delighted to be able to get Mane on the turn and Team FTP could have themselves a bargain if Salah can maintains his pre-season form. Pie and Cheesecake Dazzlers both went for a striker heavy strategy, using both early picks on marquee forwards. If Alexis stays at Arsenal then this selection at position 16 will undoubtedly win ‘best draft pick’ award at the end of the season.
The other player to fall significantly from early mocks was Philippe Coutinho who could well be on his way to Barcelona. Again the draft room took a conservative approach until Gilbogo gaffer @Iainsbrother snapped him up with pick 22. A shrewd bit of business in my eyes and certainly shouldn’t have went any later than that.
Best value Pick – Sergio Aguero (@jethro141282)
Ignoring both Alexis and Coutinho’s impacted draft positions due to transfer uncertainty, Sergio Aguero could prove a steal in these rounds. Much has been made of Gabriel Jesus’ introduction to Premier League football and how that will impact Aguero’s playing time but this is a guy who can score Togga points for fun when he’s on his game. To go from being a top 3 draft pick last season to being the 8th picked striker shows tremendous value for Pie.
Biggest reach – Leroy Sane (@mckellar_craig)
Craig’s Team gaffer @mckellar_craig caught out a few people with his first two picks. While Alli could be rewarding at pick 8, Sane in round 2 was the one that raised the most eyebrows. Sane is 40th ranked on the Togga cheatsheet and has additional competition in the form of Bernardo Silva this season. He’s undoubtedly a talented footballer and showed last season that he has reasonable upside with a handful of +15pt gameweeks but you imagine that Craig’s Team might have been able to wait a round to get him
Biggest upside – Alexis Sanchez (@DWils1983)
Getting a player that would normally be drafted number 1 if it wasn’t for the uncertainty about his future as late as 16 could be a game changer. Last season he scored than +200 pts more than Benteke who was the next regular playing forward taken in this year’s draft. I wasn’t brave enough to take him but if the gamble pays off for Cheesecake Dazzlers then it will do so by the bucketload
Rounds 3 to 5
Round 3 started much the same as round 1 with half of the managers going for another forward. By the end of round 3, half of the teams had started with 1 MID, 2 FWDs which is in line with the strategies seen in 10 team leagues.
I was the first to take a defender at pick number 37 with Keiron Trippier. My preference was actually Kolasinac but felt I could wait another round to get him which I did. Milner went shortly after, as did Otamendi, Azpliacueta and Walker all in round 4. By the end of round 5 there were 10 defenders on the board which is perhaps more than were anticipated at this stage.
By the end of round 5 there were no forwards still available from the cheatsheet’s tiers 1-3 which confirmed to an extent why the strategy of taking forwards early is so vital.
Best value pick – Andros Townsend (@Daviemackay)
I originally had Townsend down as a round 3 pick so to see him go at the beginning of round 5 was a bit of a surprise. His average point total last season was tainted slightly by a baron spell when he looked like being sold in the January window. He recovered terrifically though with four +20pt gameweeks in the final 10 weeks of the season, showing the upside he can offer
Biggest reach – Kevin Miralles (@DWils1983)
Gilbogo taking Mahrez is a gamble but could pay off if he ends up at Arsenal (I don’t think anyone believes he’ll be at Leicester come August 11th). I know for certain that the Dazzlers would have liked to have waited longer to get Kevin Miralles who went 57th. There were certainly some better players available at this stage
Biggest Upside – Sead Kolasinac (@spacedpenguin)
I was delighted to get Kolasinac in round 5 and see him as having the potential to score Alonso like points this season. It looks like he will have the left wing back position to himself and, given the likelihood that Wenger will three at the back, he’ll be able to get forward as often as he likes and support the front line. I’ve been very impressed him pre-season and look forward to seeing what sort of Togga points he can contribute.
Rounds 6 to 10
The most striking thing about round 6 was that this was when the first of the newly promoted players were taken when NNF picked up Knockaert. This could be an inspired choice given his 15 goals and 8 assists in the championship as well as his role in set pieces. Other players taken from promoted sides in these rounds included Aaron Mooy, Tom Ince, Pascal Gross, Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Steve Mounie
There were also an abundance of new signings in these rounds with Jay Rodriguez, Pablo Zabaleta, Nathan Ake, Michael Keane, Tammy Abraham, Sandro Ramirez, Will Hughes, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Danilo all being taken. Essentially 1 in 5 players taken in the middle rounds were either new faces or had found now clubs. Everyone loves a bet on the unknown.
There were some conversations around where Giroud and Walcott would be drafted this year but I don’t think many would have guessed it would have been as early as round 6. I was hoping to handcuff Lacazette with one of them in the late rounds so was a little disappointed with this development
Best value – Danilo (@cgbarracas)
There will likely be some disagreement with this choice but I firmly believe that Danilo will be utilized as more than just a backup full-back this year. When asked why he left Real Madrid he claimed it was to have ‘more options’ and increase his playing time. He chose City over Chelsea because they offered him that and will likely have sought assurances about his number of minutes. The fact he can operate across the defensive line or in central midfield for a top 4 club means he probably deserves a higher draft position than 114
Biggest upside – Sandro Ramirez (@cgbarracas)
I had pin pointed Sandro as who I wanted as my 3rd forward and hoped I could steal him a round later than he went. Everton look as if they will be a bigger threat going forward this season despite losing Lukaku to Man Utd. Sandro’s preseason performances have been promising and considering Klaasen went in round 4, Sandro could very well be the bargain of this round.
Biggest reach – Aaron Mooy (@spacedpenguin)
While I would suggest that Janmaat is a worse pick, I’ll take the hit for this one. It’s probably no coincidence that I made this pick around the time of my 4th pint as there was little rationale for it. I doubt anyone would have been looking at Mooy, a deep lying playmaker with excellent passing stats but little end product, until the last 5 rounds and essentially this cost me the opportunity of picking up Sandro
Rounds 11 to 16
A few sensible gambles were taken in the later rounds. Iheanacho was taken prior to his Leicester move and could be a shrewd signing in round 11 while Matic was signed in the midst of some breaking news that he was going to Manchester United. Batashuyi will likely make way for Morata after a few weeks but should offer some value in the first month
Goalkeepers generally went in round 16 with a couple of exceptions. Tom Heaton went at the end of 14 and Lloris in the middle of 15.
Best value – Junior Stanislas (@robjock23)
Stanislas was perhaps overlooked due to him losing his place to Ryan Fraser for much of the latter part of last season. In reality though his playing time was restricted due to niggling groin injury concerns. He has since had surgery and should be fit in time for gameweek 1. He managed eight +15pt gameweeks last season, including a 46pt game against Hul. For a 14th round pick, this is level of contribution is hard to find.
Biggest upside – Luke Shaw / Tommy Smith (@mckellar_craig/@@Daviemackay)
Luke Shaw has a lot to do to win over Jose Mourinho it seems but if he does then his Togga point contributions should be comparable to the top tier of defenders. He is currently recovering from injury (again) but is expected to return in September. As long as Jose doesn’t find a replacement before the end of the transfer window then we could see Shaw back in first team action after the international break
I also really like Tommy Smith as the last pick of the draft. His 10 assists for Huddersfield last season might be difficult to replicate in the Premier League but if you put into perspective that he was responsible for creating 18% of his team’s goals last year then you realise how reliant they are on him getting forward. In hindsight I wish I’d taken him in the previous round.
Biggest reach – M’Baye Niang (dwhitelaw8)
The later rounds saw some bizarre choices, particularly from Ronald Ross Rovers manager @dwhitelaw8 who had now finished his game of golf and was had retained control of his picks from his girlfriend. Perhaps he should take a back seat and let her take over the day-to-day duties going forward as signing AC Milan striker M’Baye Niang and long term casualty Santi Cazorla were the worst picks of the draft never mind these rounds.
Going into our third season, it looks like there are some strong sides this year and at first glance there should be some competition for first place. If the gambles on Alexis and Coutinho pay off then Cheesecake Dazzlers and Gilbogo will certainly look like favourites. Pie’s front line of Morata and Aguero also looks formidable and with an early waiver could bring in another top midfielder to bolster the side further. The two strikers early option with a late draft pick certainly looks viable.
I’ll be bringing some updates on the transactions from the league via blog and twitter (@spacedpenguin/@GFANPL) throughout the course of the season. Feel free to reach out to any of the managers for tips or advice (or to just give @hassata85 more abuse for his Rooney pick).