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The Roker Report Fantasy League - Week #1

If you haven't noticed, we've got a fantasy league on the go this season. Every week we'll bring you our recommended picks for the upcoming game-week, lavish praise on the league leaders, belittle those at the bottom and see how our writers are getting along.

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The start of the season means many things. Acceptable pints at 6am, regularity of pies, crushing disappoint and fantasy football.

I know a lot of people are often really enthusiastic about their fantasy teams at the start of the new campaign and then get bored of them by September. Not me though, I take it far too seriously. Spending far too much of my time (well, work time) pondering over conundrums such as "will West Brom grind out enough clean sheets and score off enough corners to make Gareth McAuley a worthwhile acquisition?" So, if you're similarly pathetic, this is the feature for you.

Even if you didn't join our league in time, it's still worth following our weekly updates as we'll be recommending players who we think will benefit your team. If you are in the league though, you'll get featured if you're doing well and even get mention if you're languishing down the bottom. We'll try to be kind though as a few of our writers are involved and, being honest, we'll probably be dwelling in the lower reaches.

So let's get on with it and see what's going on in fantasy land this week.

Good Starts!

Heading into an early lead is Shaun Jackson's Pique Blinders on 76 points. Shaun played a blinder having Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his captain, earning him double points from the enigmatic Swede, while goals from Sergio Aguero, Erik Lamela and Nathan Redmond further aided his cause. Assists from Anthony Martial and Kyle Walker boosted Pique Blinders even further, while Jonny Evans' clean sheet vs. Crystal Palace was a canny bonus.

Just behind Shaun by one point is Full Metal Mackem, managed by Luis Cardona. Luis also benefited from Zlatan, Aguero and Redmond but earned further goalscorer points through Eden Hazard and Riyad Mahrez. A clean sheet and a high amount of saves also earned Luis 10 points from Ben Foster, making it a good all round week for him.

Bad Starts!

The first person to find themselves rock bottom is Daniel Buckle's My Little Kone. Harry Kane was Daniel's highest scorer on four points (doubled from two due to him being his captain) and he wasn't helped by having Patrick van Aanholt giving away a penalty. The fact that a lot of Daniel's players also didn't start hampered him even further, so he'll be hoping the likes of Dimitri Payet and Wahbi Khazri are recalled to their respective XI's this coming weekend.

The Writers

It was not a great start for the Roker Report writers, with only one of us managing to break into the top 100!

Well done to Carl Purvis' tastefully named Crystal Phallus who reached the dizzy heights of 86th. Carl was another one to get the Zlatan effect this week but he'll be kicking himself for leaving Watford's Etienne Capoue on his substitutes bench, as he earned 10 points. Those 10 points could have had him in the top 40, not that I'm rubbing it in.

James Henchard's Blackended Roar Mass find themselves 102nd on 45 points and my team Champagne Papy Bodji trail him by three points in 119th place. Both of us scored highly from Sunderland's down fall, having Sergio Aguero as our captains and James also did well through Anthony Martial. Jack Butland's injury meant I earned nothing from my goalkeeper but I still did well in defense through Gareth McAuley's clean sheet.

In 153rd and 159th place, seperated by only one point, are Dan Parker's 50 Shades Of O'Shea and Michael Lough's FlyOnTheWingsOfLove. Puntastic, lads. Like me and James, Dan scored highly through Aguero but was undone by low scorers in the rest of his team. As for Michael it was a double blow for him as his captain Romelu Lukaku missed out through injury and he left Jermain Defoe on the bench! Ouch. Just above them is the imaginatively named Sunlun, managed by Tom Atkinson, who reside in 140th place. It was all about the midfield for Tom, with his best earners coming through Ross Barkley and Sadio Mané's goals.

But bottom of the writers pile this week are Karl Maguire's Steel Panthers and Simon Fenton's Team Simon who occupy 188th and 196th, respectively. A pattern is emerging with us scoring points through Aguero's 3rd minute penalty, as he was the only player to earn Karl any serious points. He wasn't helped by Alberto Moreno and Patrick van Aanholt though, with both giving away penalties and the former conceding three goals. Simon got his captain selection right with Jermain Defoe, gaining him 16 points, but after that his next highest returns were just 2 points from Harry Kane, Ahmed Musa and Toby Alderweireld.

We need to improve, we know.

Who To Pick This Week

It's hard to ignore the impact of Ibrahimovic and Aguero, who both got off to flying starts. If they're beyond your budget though, our own Jermain Defoe looked as sharp as ever. Defoe will probably be selected by a lot of people in the Roker Report league but has only been selected by 6.2% of players overall, so he could allow you to get the jump on people in other leagues. You'd think he'd get much more chances against Middlesbrough than he did against Manchester City as well, so he could be a steal at £7 million.

If you don't want to pin your striking hopes on a Sunderland player, then Fernando Llorente might be worth taking a look at. Swansea host Hull on Saturday so there's the potential for the home side to grab some goals, especially if Llorente can look as lively as he did against Burnley. The price for him is a reasonable £6.5million and he's been picked by even less people than Defoe, with 3.1% of players fancying him.

In line to make his debut this game week is Paul Pogba, who is still available at a relatively cheap £8.5 million. Pogba was suspended for the opening weekend but is now available for selection, as Manchester United host Southampton on the Friday night kick off. Should he start, he'll be looking to make a big impact after his big money move from Juventus so get him in if you think your midfield needs bolstering.

Enter the code 1743023-485460 at if you want to get involved.

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