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Genie's Corner: International Break

Welcome to Genie's Corner for the International Break! Here, I, (DraftGenie), will be providing you with my thoughts on all things draft! Each segment of Genie's Corner will focus on something specific and relevant to current events in the Draft Fantasy EPL world. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know I tend to take a bold and differential approach to the draft game, which has led to many fantasy titles. In these articles I will be giving you my unique insights, bold takes, sage advice, and much more throughout the season.

Genie's Corner

Check out this weekly dive into the mind of our mercurial Fantrax EPL manager and analyst Draft Genie! Each week he provides his thoughts on strategies, players to watch, trades to push for, and much more!

Streaming/Trading Defenders

Streaming defenders is a common occurrence in leagues, especially with managers choosing to not draft elite defenders, or wait to draft any until the late rounds. It is a tricky task to get it right, but I will give a few tips and tricks that might be able to help improve your streaming record and hopefully win you a league title. Trading is my favourite part of this game and while I'm not always jumping at the chance to trade for defenders, it could prove to be key to a title challenge.

What to Look For in Streamers

The most obvious answer to this is matchups. You want to target defenders that will play against teams that don't score many goals. Stating the obvious - avoid defenders who will play against: Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United, and depending on the team Brentford. Targeting teams who haven't scored more than 1 goal in their last 2-3 matches is usually where I first start to look - Aston Villa are a great example having only scored more than 1 goal all season. At worst here you will lose 2 points - but the chance of a clean sheet is significantly increased given Villa's struggles in front of goal. Our very own Ghost Point Tracker is another great place to look. Surprisingly you will see a decent amount of defenders available on the waiver wire who average over 7 ghost points a game (usually what I look for). Some interesting names that pop up to me are - Justin, Tete, Kristensen, and Salisu all who will be available in most leagues. Now combine the thinking of streaming vs. teams that haven't scored more than a goal in recent games, and defenders averaging 7 ghost points or higher you can probably find yourself sifting through 7-10 defenders depending on the league.

The final and probably most crucial step is choosing a defender on a team that hasn't been letting in a plethora of goals each game. For example Leicester City have been so leaky at the back with them being the worst defence in the league. Despite good matchups I'm not sure I would start anyone vs. Nottingham unless either Rodgers was sacked or Ward was dropped. You want to look for defences who are keeping things nice and compact at the back and trying to win games 1-0 or 2-1. Nottingham Forest also do not fit this mould. Everton is one of the teams that comes to mind here with Patterson/Mykolenko being fine streaming options in certain weeks. Wolves defenders in decent matchups are also worth a look - specifically Semedo, Ait-Nouri and Jonny.

Trading for Defenders

I'm never fully against trading for defenders, but I am against giving up your top 2 attackers for defenders. Let's say you roster Kane and Maddison - I wouldn't consider giving up either in any sort of deal for a defender even the elite ones like Reece, Trent, Cancelo and Dalot. That is probably my "golden" rule. If you are a team that is constantly needing to stream defenders you should have yourself 4-6 solid attackers, and a few more upside/startable ones on your bench for week to week rotation. That is where I would start offering the more rotation type assets for your attack for a DEF2 type player. Let's say for example you roster Almiron but he is currently your MID3/4 in a 3-4-3 formation. On the bench you have Onana/Kovacic to rotate based on matchups with Almiron. That would be where I start trying to offer a package of Almiron + Onana/Kovacic for a DEF2 or higher end DEF3 (a bit better than streamer level). Some targets that come to mind are players such as: Thiago Silva, Dias, Fofana, and Romero. I'm not saying these are definitely going to be accepted a lot will depend on team needs. Which leads into my next point - targeting managers who are lacking attacking depth. There is definitely at least 2 managers in this department, and those should be the first ones you approach. If you are keen on trading in a DEF1 - you will need to up your offer but again I wouldn't chase down the elite ones to lose my top 2 attacking assets. What you could do is play the "long game". Trade in a DEF2 with the above advice then package that DEF2 with your 3rd or 4th best attacker (as long as that's not in the range of Willock - that offer might just insult the other manager) - and look to make a deal in that framework. Thiago Silva + Gray/Gordon/Gundogan in an offer for Reece James isn't a bad starting point, and you got there by giving up some of your less key players.

Ranks Explained

The Draft Society will soon be publishing our updated Consensus Rest of Season Ranks, and I want to get ahead of the curve to explain some of my ranks that are the furthest from the consensus. As most know I tend to view the draft game a little different than my colleagues, and thus our valuations will different. Below I wanted to discuss a few that stuck out to me and the rest of the team to give my side, and hopefully some insight to anyone needing a more detailed opinion.

Martinelli in the Top 10

As a United fan it pained me to rank Martinelli so close to Bruno, but it was so well deserved. Martinelli has looked electric in the opening part of the season, and is currently the 2nd best midfielder after De Bruyne. Any fear of him being a rotation player has surely been put to bed with this form, and his key role to Arsenal being top of the table. He really has no competition to his spot, with no elite winger purchased and Smith-Rowe being constantly injured and not really a major threat to LW minutes. To make matters even better he currently averages 10.3 ghost points per start, throw in attacking returns and he can easily win you a gameweek - especially since he was probably your 3rd or 4th round pick. He was unlucky not to get returns vs. United and Brentford to add further to the hype. Even with Arsenal's tougher schedule I still expect Martinelli to provide elite MID1 value. I don't see any reason why he will slow down which is my main argument for keeping him in the top 10, he is currently in his breakout year and we have seen all the elite players go through one. You will probably need to hope for two sub par scores in a row to have any hope of trading him in, but if you can trade him involving anyone that wasn't your first round pick I would jump at that chance.

Rashford Over Diaz, Foden, and Saint-Maximin

This may be the most "Genie" one of them all. Yes Rashford is back and I fully believe the hype. He is fitting the counter attack system perfectly and Ten Hag will probably start him every single game he is fit for. He is currently nursing a minor injury but probably will be fine to start the game vs. City. Rashford is a big "form" player, and currently he is in fantastic form. I really do think he has a FWD1 type season, but could offer more boom or bust type value. Think Haaland but less returns, he will have games of 30+ but also games of 1.5. I like that he is looking to prove a lot of people wrong and book his place in the England XI for the World Cup. He will face less rotation than Sancho, Antony, and Martial in my opinion, given the fact Ten Hag has rarely taken him off, and subbing patterns are showing us Sancho is the most likely to rotate. With an increase in confidence, I think Rashford will start to shoot more, which will translate to more SOT and hopefully goals.

I have nothing against the other 3 players and think all will provide incredible value this season, but I do think Rashford trumps them all. Diaz will be more subject to rotation with Jota, Nunez, and Firmino all wanting to start as well, he hasn't quite hit good form, and will also be boom or bust. Foden in his own way will be very goal dependent and also seems prone to early substitutions. There was one outing he couldn't even crack 10 with an assist....yikes, but he will be fine overall. Then we have Saint-Maximin one of the most electric and exciting players in the EPL but is currently injured. Who knows how often this will happen, he has had this happen before 2 seasons ago being in and out with injury, and there is a slight fear in my mind this may happen again. Newcastle may rush him back with their "poor" recent form and that wouldn't be ideal given his previous record.

Joachim Andersen Top 40

Andersen has been one of the surprise fantasy assets this year, and I consider him a very high end DEF2. He has been ghosting for fun with his lowest ghost point tally this season being 6.75 vs. Aston Villa, and an average of 10.3 ghosts/start. After the Chelsea game, Palace go into an incredible run where I think Andersen will take off and cement himself as a top 40 fantasy asset. That might be more short-term thinking, but 5 clean sheets in the next 10 is surely doable, add in his ghost point frenzy and he should easily stay a 9-10 PPM defender, and offer the odd attacking return with his dominance from set pieces. Viera has had a while off to work with this Palace team, and with the core back to full fitness we can finally see them reach the potential we all want them too. They have some of the most underrated players in the EPL, and that should only add to the fire for this team. I do think Guehi and Andersen are top players in reality and now that is finally starting to translate to fantasy points. Crystal Palace not conceding a lot of goals will help this value as well. Take someone like Neco Williams who averages 10.4 ghosts/start, but is over 40 places lower in my rankings since Forest just concede for fun no matter the opponent. Ghosts + Clean sheets + attacking returns is a recipe for DEF1 upside in Andersen.

Nunez at 44

Honestly other than those 20 minutes vs. Fulham has Nunez done anything of value for Liverpool? I personally don't think so. Firmino has been a much better player than him this season, and Jota is back in the mix. I do think the CF spot is Jota's to lose, Liverpool have really missed his direct pace and aggression towards goal. Nunez may need to bide his time especially after quite a few poor showings, including the ridiculous headbutt that got him a 3 game suspension. When he starts he is still a must start in your fantasy squad, and should offer FWD2 value this season. He is a long way off a FWD1 in my opinion, at least until I see he has properly settled into life in the EPL. Klopp will need to have all of his attackers ticking to have any chance at challenging for the title or any cup for that matter, and Nunez is no exception. I expect the starting CF to be very much form-based between Bobby, Nunez, and Jota, but right now I think Nunez is third in that pecking order. It will be interesting to see how Klopp uses him, but even in his starts expect him to be subbed around the 70' mark for a change in attack. In my opinion I would try to sell him to a Liverpool fan or someone who is willing to value him as a FWD1.

Harrison Over Bernardo Silva, Ward-Prowse, and Odegaard

Harrison has been in great form to start the season even in regards to ghost points. Him and Aaronson have the set piece monopoly at Leeds, and with Cooper back I expect that to help both their outputs from set-pieces. Harrison is going to be a mainstay in the Leeds XI, and has shown even in a "poor" game in reality he still can produce a floor of 6-7 ghost points without hesitation. When he is having a good game as we have seen he is easily a candidate to get 20+ points. Rodrigo back into the mix at CF should help him, given their fine linkup play in the early part of the season. I expect Rodrigo to be first choice over Bamford, and every time Rodrigo starts Harrison managers should have a smile on their face.

Bernardo, Ward-Prowse, and Odegaard are three "bigger" names in the fantasy world either due to the team they play on or their fantasy history, but I think Harrison is better than them this season. Harrison kind of has the best of each of them - the steady floor of Ward-Prowse, a high scoring attack to feed like Odegaard, and significant attacking upside when his team wins big like Bernardo. While I still have liked what I see from all 3 of these assets and would be happy to roster any of them, I would prefer Harrison to them over the rest of the season. Bernardo Silva has shown to be a little more goal dependent than usual this season, and a prime candidate for an early sub when the game is won (which is more often than not). I am really unsure what to make of Saints attack this year, and for me that hurts Ward-Prowse slightly due to a lower ceiling, despite one of the best floors in the game. Odegaard has been great since his first 2 games of the year, but I still expect him to share sets with Saka and Martinelli, and youngster Viera will be hoping to steal a few EPL starts here and there from him given his recent form.

International Break Advice

Don't Tinker too Much

Given all the recent breaks in EPL action in recent weeks, managers may be getting anxious to make moves, and see changes in their teams. Especially with adding/dropping. I am always up for trades, but don't just make a trade for the sake of it and completely destroy your team just to get a deal done. Personally I'd rather go the 2 weeks without making a single move then make a trade like giving up Maddison for Gordon and Andreas just to get a deal done. The same goes with adds/drops, constantly changing who you pickup is never a good idea. For starters you are just wasting your own time by aimlessly overthinking every move. Secondly, you picked up Player A to hold over the break for a reason, and unless there's a shock return by a player on FA, a big drop, or an injury to Player A just hold him until at least press conferences. Of course some players could always slip through waivers that you forgot about, then by all means make those changes. Too much tinkering is a bad thing in my opinion!

Pickup Injured/Upside Players to Hold

With a 2 week break (nearly a month for some teams), now is the best time to pick up those upside players or injured players with good potential until press conferences or lineups next week. Chelsea assets are the ones everyone will be chasing on the FA pool which is understandable with the change in manager and almost a month to just work within the group. Injured players such as Pinnock and Wilson will also see an increase in their roster %. It is a lot more valuable to hold and gamble on one of these players instead of holding onto Walker-Peters who is easily replaceable by about 12 others defenders on the waiver wire. Additionally, teams may be looking for a shake up after a few poor performances such as Southampton and Wolves. Players like Armstrong, Edozie, Jimenez, Semedo may be good pickups to see if they start in the next gameweek. Pick up the upside/injured guys, and let your team sit in peace until conferences.....unless of course some viable trade options are on the table then by all means have at it.

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