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The Roker Report Fantasy League - Week #8

Missed penalties, 'Red Monday', clean sheets and contrasting fortunes for the Roker Report writers - welcome to the Roker Report Fantasy League!

Manchester City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Leaders & High Scorers

In times of inconsistency and uncertainty, it’s comforting to know that you can rely on Stu Howarth’s Mackem Boys to be top of the league. They have a sixteen point lead over Nakhon Ratchasima, managed by Adam Woodward, as goals from Diego Costa, Theo Walcott and Charlie Austin made a big contribution to Stu’s weekly total of 52 points.

This is the lowest we’ve had to go down the league to find our highest scorer of the week, Mathew Middlemiss & TEAM G.O.A.T in 137th place. Mathew earned 74 points this week and will have been purring at having Theo Walcott as his captain. Diego Costa and Romelu Lukaku up front and David De Gea and Younes Kaboul at the back brought in goals and clean sheets. The only regret Mathew may have is picking Paddy McNair ahead of Dejan Lovren as McNair scored nothing but Lovren scored a solid 7.

Down The Bottom & Low Scorers

After climbing off the bottom last week, Andy Scott’s Moyes In The Hood are propping up the table once again. There was some decent points earned through Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez but the rest of Andy’s team failed to make an impact. Etienne Capoue was his next highest scorer with 3 points, the rest of his side just bringing back 1’s and 2’s. It could be difficult for Moyes In The Hood to get off the bottom any time soon with the team above, Neale Bulbeck’s Fireballs, eleven points ahead them.

Yet again, I have to include a Roker Reporter in this section. Carl Purvis, hang your head in shame. Crystal Phallus fell 88 places this week as they scored a measly 17 points. Apart from Etienne Capoue and Michail Antonio, none of Carl’s lads scored above 2 points with good players having bad weekends. Carl was one of many to fall foul to Sergio Aguero’s -2 score, while the rest of his forward line (Zlatan and Troy Deeney) failed to compensate. A big score will be required next week to bounce back from this.

The Roker Report Team

Jim Holmes has been milking his glorious run of form for all it’s worth and who can blame him. Giroud - Sandstorm are now in 7th place! That’s right, one of the writers has finally broken into the top 10. Wearing the captains armband, Diego Costa got things off to a good start for Jim in the early kick off, while assists for Alexis Sanchez and Yannick Bolasie kept things ticking over in the 3 o’clocks. Red Monday gave more joy to Jim, with David De Gea’s fine display rounding off a fine week. It’s not just Jim who is impressing at the moment though - Michael Lough’s FlyOnTheWingsOfLove are now in the top 50. Last week's highest scorer, Micky is now in 45th position after a good week all over the pitch. Lukaku wearing the armband, Dele Alli in scoring midfield, Nemanja Matic assisting and De Gea & Gary Cahill not conceding. Keep up the good work lads, you’re making us look good!

The rest of us are all outside the top 100, James Henchard’s Blackended Roar Mass featuring next in 112th. Never put faith in Sunderland when it comes to this James, even if it is Jermain Defoe you’re making your captain. Still, a solid week for BRM though, they scored 43 points with Austin & Walcott’s brace’s making up over half of those.

Making a decent climb of 33 places this week is Dan Parker’s 50 Shades Of O’Shea, whose 44 points were mainly gained through defensive solidity. Joel Matip and Thibaut Courtois scored 7 and 6 respectively which was needed as none of Dan’s three strikers found the net. The midfield did the business though, Mesut Ozil and Eden Hazard grabbing a goal each. Look four places and one point behind Dan and you’ll see Tom Atkinson’s Sunlun, another team that built from the back. Tom was one of the 3.4% of players to have Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels, who got a goal and an assist in the Cherries 6-1 rout over Hull. That scored 13 points alone and another 9 were taken by Nathaniel Clyne after Liverpool kept Manchester United at bay. If only the forward’s had done the same for Tom, this would have been a great week but out of all of his midfielders and strikers only Eden Hazard bagged a goal.

It wasn’t a good week for my lads Champagne Papy Bodji as I could only muster 33 points, 6 below the average and I’m clinging on to a place in the top 200 in 193rd. I was another Aguero sufferer but Hazard and Costa restored some pride to the ranks with their goals. West Brom and Spurs playing out a 1-1 draw was no good to me either, as it meant neither Gareth McAuley or Kyle Walker kept a clean sheet.

That leaves us with our three basement dwellers, two teams that have been down there all season and one in free fall. Simon Fenton’s Team Simon are 282nd and seem to be putting some distances between themselves and the bottom but if weekly totals of 23 keep coming in, it won’t be long before they’re back down there. Maybe transfer out Harry Kane since he’s injured, Simon? It was a good week for Gav and Ice Cream Kone though as they scored well with 48 points despite Aguero’s troubles. Goals from Hazard and Ozil got things off and running while Manchester United’s clean sheet meant Eric Bailly and David de Gea scored high. They sit in 289th place.

I said Karl Maguire was in free fall last week and now he’s bottom of the writers and 298th! If only Lukaku had been made captain of Steel Panthers then Karl might have stemmed the tide, as the Everton striker was his only player to earn any real points of note. It wasn’t to be though and Karl faces a tough task if he wants to restore his team to a more respectable position.

Who To Pick This Week

It’s getting to the stage of the season where you want to have players in your team who are playing the side out of form, near the bottom and looking hopeless. It’s a shame that team is Sunderland but that’s where we find ourselves. Despite West Ham’s struggles, you’d expect them to get a goal or two against our sorry defence. Manuel Lanzini got his first of the season against Crystal Palace this past week, so he’ll be in a confident mood this Saturday. The fact that he’s only been selected by 0.2% of players means you have the chance to earn points where others aren’t and his fee is a competitive one at £6.4M.

Another team in a similar situation to ourselves are our neighbours just down the A19 - Middlesbrough, who also travel to the capital on Saturday. Taking on an Arsenal side who just went level on points with Manchester City, this will be a tough afternoon for Aitor Karanka’s men. Theo Walcott will be one that a lot of players have their eye on after two goals this weekend, especially given his relatively cheap price at £7.8M but he has been selected by a fairly high amount of people at 13.7%. So if you want to try and be clever and look elsewhere in Arsenal’s team, Santi Cazorla is a touch cheaper at £7.5M and has only been chosen by 5.8%.

If you need to reinforce things at the back then this weekend would be a good one to choose an Everton defender. Everton have conceded the lowest amount of goals this season and Ronald Koeman takes his charges to Burnley, the leagues joint lowest scorers (no prizes for guessing who the other team is). Most of the regular Toffee’s stoppers hover around the same price tag with both Phil Jagielka & Ashley Williams priced at £5.1M. If you have a little more to spare and fancy a flying full back who might also grab an assist, then you can pick up Seamus Coleman for £5.5M.