Like Harry Kane’s transfer to Manchester City; it’s better late than never. After a slight delay, the Community Special article dedicated to Fantrax Iceland’s league has finally arrived. I’m expecting big things from this bunch. They’ve been going strong for seven years now. Back in 2014 they were making do with post it notes and sticky tape at Oskar’s house; now they’re living it up at Iceland’s finest Airbnb drafting from a kitted-out conference room. In another seven years they may even find a place that fills the pool with water. (This, by the way, is the way to draft. Incredible work gentlemen).
Whilst this article will aim to provide a few laughs, some ammo for the group chat, and maybe even a little advice and guidance for the Patrick Vieira managers of this league, it should also contain a few useful thoughts for everyone else out there. And if not, well, you can always enter next time to try and get a personalized article for your own league. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and keep an eye out on Sunday evenings when the advertising post will go live.
So without further ado, Fantrax Iceland, here is your Draft Analysis…
Here at The Draft Society we love giving back to the Fantasy EPL Community. We love interacting with you on Twitter and throughout our website, and we also love giving back in the only way we know how: the Community Specials as per the fantastic @the_innergeek! Keep an eye out for our calls for entrants to these personalized articles over on our Twitter feed: @Draft_Society.
The Drafted Squads
Draft Position: #1
Draft Grade: D
Who said you can’t go wrong with the first pick? Stefán is here to show you all otherwise. Bruno Fernandes is fine – though I’m still backing the ‘not-so-injured’ Kevin De Bruyne to finish number 1, even after Bruno’s massive haul on Saturday. James Ward Prowse (2nd round) and Harvey Barnes (3rd) are also adequate selections, falling pretty much where I’d expect them to go. But from then on it’s a car crash that even Max Verstappen would have to take the blame for. Ricardo Pereira and Ismaila Sarr had good opening weeks, but both are taken too high here. Likewise Hakim Ziyech, who was likely to be a peripheral figure at Chelsea even before his injury. Enock Mwepu – Brighton’s defensive midfielder – is possibly the most questionable pick in the whole draft, though bad luck would also now throw Pedro Neto’s (6th round) name into the mix after reports recently circulated stating that he could be out for the season. Of the Tottenham trio taken from rounds 12-14, it says something that I actually like Hugo Lloris the best here. Serge Aurier doesn’t so much as have his foot out the door, as have his whole leg, torso, and head, whilst Steven Bergwijn is quite simply a bad footballer. John McGinn in the 11th is great value though.
Draft Position: #2
Draft Grade: A-
Second best draft in the league this one; not a single bad pick amongst the lot. You could maybe question whether Patrick Bamford, Dele Alli, and Nelson Semedo were taken too high, but we’re talking probably by one round at best here – these are fine margins that Matti shouldn’t lose sleep over. Really liked the 8th (Che Adams) and 9th (Cesar Azpilicueta) picks here – that is very good value for two players that should be solid, if not spectacular, points scorers. The best pick, however, was the Pablo Fornals one in round 13. Even before his 19.5 points in gameweek 1, I had him down as a 9th rounder. If you were drafting today, he’d probably be taken in the 8th. We’re not going to get too reactionary to the first week though. Paul Pogba hasn’t suddenly become a top 20 asset, so taking him here in the 4th is still probably about right.
Draft Position: #3
Draft Grade: B+
A very solid draft by A&S and I love this front four. Yes, Marcus Rashford was a tad premature being taken in the 5th, but let’s not forget the United man was the 8th highest scoring forward last season, so when he does return from injury, he’s going to do the business. It’s possible he might not be needed to be honest. At minimum, he could be used as trade bait. Mohamed Salah has already taken the lead in the debate as to whether he or teammate Sadio Mane would be the better pick, whilst Callum Wilson (by the way – one of the steals of the draft down in the 9th round) also opened his account for the season. There’s a slight worry that Kelechi Iheanacho was relegated to the substitute’s bench on Saturday, but I’m still backing him to have a big impact for Leicester this year. Taking Tammy Abraham in the 14th hasn’t worked out, but that’s why those lower round flyer picks are what they are. More concerning was the Thiago selection in the 7th…that was far too high.
Draft Position: #4
Draft Grade: B
Social media may have gotten a little over-excited (hard to believe, I know) with the performance of Japhet Tanganga on Sunday, but from a fantasy perspective, it’s hard to downplay how significant this is to Matt Doherty owners. There was always a risk in drafting the defender, and it looks like that risk is going to be realised – which means that 6th round pick spent on him is horribly expensive. Manchester United’s impressive display in attack (even without Jadon Sancho starting) also hurts the selection of Edinson Cavani in the 7th, but there’s still a lot to like here. Jamie Vardy and Richarlison got off to flyers to make their selections seem very astute, whilst the pair of Armstrong’s taken in rounds 8 (Adam) and 10 (Stuart) should prove excellent value, even if they do play for a disappointing Southampton side. FYI; I’ve assumed the Rob Holding pick in round 16 was a joke.
Draft Position: #5
Draft Grade: D+
If ever you needed proof that the pressure of the Draft can do crazy things to people, look no further than Frikki’s draft. There’s more chance of Akranes winning the Pepsi-deild karla than there is of Frikki achieving fantasy glory this season. In fairness, the draft has been bookended nicely, with Romelu Lukaku in the 1st round and Jorginho in the 15th round. Unfortunately, all the books in between are of the Mr. Men variety as opposed to the works of William Shakespeare. Wilfried Zaha being taken in the 3rd round may be the biggest blunder, but it has competition from Emile Smith Rowe (5th round), Ruben Dias (8th), Daniel Podence (9th), Junior Firpo (10th), and Ben White (12th). Unless the trading and waivering is a huge improvement, the best that Frikki can hope for this season is that they beat Stefán to 11th place.
Sjonni (class valedictorian)
Draft Position: #6
Draft Grade: A*
Take a bow Sjonni. Like The Verve’s Urban Hymns album, this is just hit after hit after hit. The forward-forward-defender start is not one that I – or many at The Draft Society – would have recommended, but it’s been played out excellently and Sjonni has still managed to end up with a midfield quartet with possibly the highest floor I’ve ever seen. Tomas Soucek, Youri Tielemans, Solly March, and Wilfred Ndidi will keep this side in every matchup they play this season, meaning that a couple of goals or clean sheets are all that’s needed to put a daunting total up on the board. I have to mention the Liam Cooper pick in the final round…this man is an 8th-9th rounder…how he fell all the way to the 16th is unbelievable. If Tariq Lamptey returns with the same promise as before his injury, and Christian Benteke can become a guaranteed starter, then this squad is absolutely frightening. Let’s finish by bringing Sjonni back down to earth after all that praise: Alisson in the 10th? And Donny van de Beek at all? Damn. Those two are so bad they make some of Stefán’s picks look good!
Draft Position: #7
Draft Grade: B+
Some may question taking the Manchester City version of Jack Grealish with the 7th overall pick, but I’m okay with it. Sure, I’d have opted for Raphinha or Mason Mount myself, but taking Jack here isn’t going to kill you. I actually really like the strategy by Jóns. Four of the first six are midfielders and then the lower rounds have a few wildcards in there (Naby Keita, Joel Matip, Willian, Christos Tzolis). Personally I don’t see any of these paying off, but I get the logic. Overall, though, this is a draft that will put this team in contention. The early picks are crucial, and I don’t think Jóns put a foot wrong until that Keita pick in the 10th round – which is an excellent effort. I’m not sure how James Tarkowski has fallen to them in the 9th (after much inferior defenders Sergio Reguilon, Doherty, and Nelson Semedo were taken) but it has worked out perfectly for Jóns. If Bertrand Traore, Matip, and Ryan Bertrand can get more starts than expected (i.e. double-figures) then this will end up as an A- draft at the very least.
Draft Position: #8
Draft Grade: C+
I know I’ve said that the lower rounds of the draft are of much less importance, and I know I’ve said that it’s fine – even advisable – to throw a few Hail Mary’s at this point, but come on Orri, at least keep the ball in bounds. Taking Chris Wood in the 10th round was like that shot of tequila you have with your friends in a club at 2am. It was the pinnacle of the night and everything from then onwards is downhill. The next day Orri is waking up blurry eyed and confused as they look at the mess of the picks from the 11th round to the 16th. Ben Godfrey, Lewis Dunk, Kurt Zouma, and Kyle Walker could legitimately have more negative point gameweeks than double-digit point gameweeks. It’s a good thing the first half was relatively strong. Lucas Moura has always been the sort of player that just needed the starts to make him a good fantasy asset…perhaps Nuno Espirito Santo will finally give him that. Grabbing him in the 8th could be a steal.
Draft Position: #9
Draft Grade: B-
Not a bad draft from Erlings, but you get the sense that they suffered from a bout of trigger finger. Lots of these names are taken a round or two too early: Luke Shaw (2nd round), Bukayo Saka (3rd), Trincao (6th), Joe Willock (7th), Nathan Redmond (8th), Gabriel Martinelli (9th). These are decent players that should prove valuable, but also ones that could have probably been acquired later on with a little more patience. Going big in defence is not a strategy that I condone, but Erlings has got a good bunch here, including Ben Mee in the 13th round which is an incredible get. It would be very tempting to try and shift one of Shaw, Joao Cancelo, or Reece James to try and bring in a better forward. That said, if Alexandre Lacazette stays at Arsenal then selecting him in the 12th round will be one of the picks of the draft.
Draft Position: #10
Draft Grade: B-
Amazing stuff from Einar managing to get Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andros Townsend, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the first 9 rounds. Wait, what was that? You’re saying it’s not 2018 anymore? Damn. Sorry about that. These three picks are dubious at best. In fact, the Auba one is more than dubious. There’s four reasons why Auba is not 4th round pick: 1) his numbers have declined each of the last three seasons, to the point where his FP/G was an inexcusable 8.0 last season, 2) he clearly wants to leave the club, 3) even if he does stay, he plays for Arsenal, and 4) he plays for Arsenal*. I also don’t like the taking of Kai Havertz with the 15th overall pick but I do like backing this up by grabbing Christian Pulisic in the 5th. It still wouldn’t be surprising to see both on the bench from time to time, but when one starts then Einar has an attacking asset from what could be a formidable Chelsea side. Michail Antonio in the 3rd, Ferran Torres in the 10th and Stuart Dallas in the 13th are nice pickups; overall this is a decent, mid-table draft.
*This isn’t a typo – it’s just that playing for Arsenal warrants twice the usual derision.
Draft Position: #11
Draft Grade: C
A passable grade for Marteinn but it could have been so much better after what was a very solid start to the draft. Seeing Mason Mount fall to the 11th pick must have been a brilliant sight, and then following this with James Maddison, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino, Pascal Gross, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka? That’s a six that you can potentially build a championship winning team around. Potentially being the key word here, because the additions of Patson Daka in the 7th round, John Stones in the 9th, and Ibrahima Konate in the 10th were not what was required. Bernardo Silva and Jesse Lingard are gambles, whilst the Marcos Alonso punt is going to be great…every three or four gameweeks. The less said about the final four picks the better.
Draft Position: #12
Draft Grade: B+
Finally we have the draft of Valtýr. Like with Marteinn, they must have been ecstatic to see Raphinha fall to them all the way down in 12th. Taking Jadon Sancho next was also a wise move, though I think they could do with a bit more help in midfield than James Rodriguez (7th round), Johann Gudmundsson (13th), and Mathias Jensen (14th). Trading out Antonio Rudiger, Timothy Castagne, or Matt Targett – all decent pickups between the 9th and 11th rounds – might help here. I thought Mason Greenwood was being undervalued even before his 19-pointer in gameweek 1, but now it seems that the 6th round pick could be a very smart selection. If Diogo Jota and Timo Werner were to somehow start 20 games each, then this forward line can do some damage. Not sure if the squad is deep enough to mount a title challenge, but there are definitely pieces here.