Here at The Draft Society we’ve always said that what makes the draft game different is the community that is has fostered. It’s all love, baby. The support we get from each and every one of you every day of every week is beyond anything we could ever have imagined when we founded back in March of 2021. And whilst we’ll never be able to thank you all enough for this, we hope that we can give a little something back in the best way we know how: the Community Special.
Each week The Inner Geek will write up a personalised article for the league of one lucky winner. It’s your call on the topic. Whether it’s a Draft Analysis, a Trade-Maker Special, a Gameweek Preview, or The Crystal Ball Breakdown, the Inner Geek has you covered. A word of warning, though: no punches will be pulled when the Inner Geek gets to work! This week’s winner is Gaurav Arora, who chose to have his league’s draft analysed. So Gaurav, are you and your rivals ready?
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 personalised article for your own league. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and keep an eye out on Sunday evenings when the advertising post goes live.
The Drafted Squads
Notable rules: i) default Fantrax scoring is used plus shots on post (2 points), penalty kicks drawn (2 points), and GK saves outside the box (3 points), ii) auto-subs are enabled
Draft Position: #1
Draft Grade: A-
Eight rounds before taking a midfielder?! That’s crazy. But sometimes being a little bit different can pay off, and that may well be the case for Proper COYS. Don’t get me wrong, the midfield is still going to be a subject of concern for the manager all-season long – especially if Solly March’s injury persists or his place comes under threat from new arrival Marc Cucurella. It looks like there will need to be a lot of 4-3-3 played, though when your defence and forwards look like that, then maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. The Adama Traore pick in the 5th round isn’t just a steal; it’s an Ocean’s Eleven style heist. The Wolves man currently sits 6th in points scored and that’s without a goal or assist for a Wolves team that will surely improve after a tough (and unlucky) start to the season. Traore would probably be going in the top 10 if leagues were drafting today. Timo Werner in the 7th round may be a little wasteful, but with the club going all-in by spectacularly making Romelu Lukaku the number one overall pick, it also makes a lot of sense. There’s not much I dislike here, though Luke Shaw in the 2nd (and 24th overall) will almost certainly prove to be a couple of rounds too high when all is said and done.
Draft Position: #2
Draft Grade: B
There are a few reaches in here, but the only major issue is probably the taking of Lewis Dunk in the 12th round. The Brighton centre-back is averaging just 4.5 points per game but even if that gets up into the 7’s (as it was in the past two seasons), I’m not sure he warrants drafting at all. Aaron Cresswell and Matt Targett were also taken slightly too high – I can’t see either living up to their standout seasons last year. I’m not sure how well this squad has started, but it definitely looks like it has the potential to improve. For starters, Kevin De Bruyne has been limited to just 10 minutes of action and scored 5.5 points, which by my reckoning, works out at a PP90 just short of 50…seems fairly accurate to be honest. Add to that a Harvey Barnes who will not continue to underperform, the potential returns of Stuart Armstrong and Alexandre Lacazette, and an Oleksandr Zinchenko who may just have seen his starts at left back double this season, and this roster becomes decent (and deep).
Herbert Kornfeld FC
Draft Position: #3
Draft Grade: B+
Mohamed Salah, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Marcus Rashford, Ismaila Sarr, and Ferran Torres…I haven’t seen a better five since Robbie returned to Take That back in 2010. For me, this is the best forward contingent in the league, and it’s been backed up by some decent pieces in a very nice draft by Herbert Kornfeld. The midfield, led by Youri Tielemans, has a nice floor but could struggle to put up big numbers – particularly if Martin Odegaard’s arrival cuts into Emile Smith Rowe’s (6th round pick) playing time. The standout selection is, of course, Ferran Torres down in the 13th round. With Manchester City failing to land an out-and-out forward in the transfer window, they should lean heavily on the young Spaniard – who already has two goals, one assist, and 39.5 fantasy points (12th best amongst forwards this season). Tottenham’s new signing Cristian Romero could also prove excellent value in the 14th round, but a couple of factors have stalled his start at the club. First, is the excellent performances of Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez at the heart of the defence. Spurs are the only side yet to concede a goal this season (though they have given up the 8th most XGA) and Nuno Espirito Santo will be reluctant to change a successful formula. Second, is the confusion over quarantine rules and South Americans on international duty; it’s not inconceivable that he’s limited to just two or three starts over the next 10 or so gameweeks. Long story short: this pickup will end up as a good one, but it could have been paying dividends far earlier. Oh, one last thing: Kieran Tierney in the 7th? Yikes. That’s the only bad pick in the bunch. Good drafting by Herbert Kornfeld.
Draft Position: #4
Draft Grade: B
The alarm bells are immediately ringing when you end up with a roster made up of just three midfielders, but fortunately Bruno Fernandes and Allan Saint-Maximin make up two of them. Bruno, by the way, is still going to be VERY good. Some people are going on like CR7’s return will mean Bruno loses his fantasy value. This isn’t Space Jam – the Monstars are not sucking out his talent. Bruno owners; you’ll be fine. I’d be more concerned for Lingardium Leviosa that there is zero backup for when Rodri gets rested, or Saint-Max gets injured. It’s quite a hit and miss draft here. Michail Antonio (4th round), Raul Jimenez (9th), Said Benrahma (13th), and Adam Armstrong (16th) I like a lot. Edinson Cavani (5th), Emiliano Martinez (7th), Matt Doherty (11th), Thiago Silva (15th), and Benjamin Mendy (17th) I don’t like. There’s a pattern there for the eagle-eyed readers. This roster lacks depth in both defence and midfield and tries to make up for it with five solid forwards. Me thinks a trade is in order.
Magnum Thunder FC
Draft Position: #5
Draft Grade: C+
Every draft analysis I carry out, there’s always one team that seems to get bored towards the end of the draft and just picks any old name for the final few rounds. Yes, they are less important, but no, you shouldn’t just throw them away! Gylfi Sigurdsson, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Danny Rose, and Kyle Walker-Peters…is the manager a Spurs fan with a fondness for old players? £10 says they score less than 300 points between them this season. Even Anwar El-Ghazi in the 13th round will end up underperforming once all of Villa’s midfield are fit and he’s left on the outside looking in. Amazingly, these aren’t even the worst picks. Jordan Pickford was taken in the 10th round! I seriously hope that Magnum Thunder had a gun to their head and was forced to make this pick, because otherwise there’s really no excuse for that. This league has gone with 17-man rosters and out of them all, I like just two picks: Pascal Gross in the 7th round and Che Adams in the 12th. That’s why this is a C+ draft.
Kai Po Che!
Draft Position: #6
Draft Grade: C
Well, there’s no prizes for guessing where this one went wrong. Ruben Dias in the 3rd, Alisson in the 4th, and James Rodriguez in the 5th…Kai Po Che would have been better off dumping the 250+ names of Premier League players in a hat and blindly pulling them out one by one. In fairness, after the self-sabotage, it’s a decent job of resurrection – save for the Ben White 10th round pick. The midfield could end up being very tidy with Raphinha (absolutely criminal that he was not a 1st round pick, by the way), Jack Harrison, Jarrod Bowen, Declan Rice, and Lucas Moura making a very nice five. Even Eberechi Eze – in a league that has a six-man bench – is a great pickup in round 15. Sergio Reguilon has again had a great start to the season – Kai Po Che will be hoping he continues it this time out otherwise this defence could be damaging to the side’s hopes of avoiding the wooden spoon. And a helluva lot also rests on Heung-Min Son and Callum Wilson up top – if these two miss any amount of game time then it’ll be tough going for the club.
Draft Position: #7
Draft Grade: D+
To paraphrase a scene from Moneyball: there are good teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s 50 feet of crap. And then there’s Klopptoberfest. It starts in round 1. I love Jack Grealish, and he’s going to score huge points – but he might only start 20-25 games. I’d have much rather had Mason Mount, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sadio Mane, or Raphinha with this pick. Fortunately, when Grealish does get rested, Klopptoberfest can call on a midfield of James Maddison (currently doing his best Aubameyang impression), Bertrand Traore (Aston Villa backup), Ilkay Gundogan (more City rotation risk), N’Golo Kante and Joao Moutinho (decent floor, low ceiling), and Miguel Almiron (low floor, low ceiling). Thankfully the forward line has…Gabriel Jesus? The Brazilian, taken in the 12th round, is the only good value pick in this draft, and he’ll need to continue his fine form if he’s to salvage this forward line. Roberto FIrmino – the 3rd round pick – currently has an FP/G of 7.2, whilst Wilfried Zaha – taken in the 7th – has an FP/G of 3.2. Fourth choice forward Joshua Sargent will probably score as many goals this season as the guy taken in the 13th round. Perhaps the worst pick of all, though, is Kasper Schmeichel, who was selected in the 8th (!!) round. If I hadn’t already fallen of my chair when Kai Po Che took Ruben Dias then I definitely would have done here.
Draft Position: #8
Draft Grade: C
The bad-drafting was clearly contagious, with Haaland Oates carrying on from where Magnum Thunder, Kai Po Che!, and Klopptoberfest left off. Part of the Kai Havertz pre-season hype was the possibility that he may get some time as a forward, so as soon as Lukaku came in, this man should’ve dropped to the 3rd round at the very least – a lot of midfielders taken not long after him are better fantasy assets. The Jesse Lingard risk hasn’t paid off, so a lot will rest on Ruben Neves (FP/G last season of 7.8) and Manchester City castaway Bernardo Silva to help Mason Mount in midfield. The defence has two serviceable players in Aaron Wan-Bissaka (5th round) and Michael Keane (14th), but it’s probably the forwards that will keep this side from finishing bottom. Danny Ings (3rd round) looks to have settled in well at Villa, and I’m backing Leon Bailey to be a ghost-point hero (a poor man’s Adama, perhaps) when he finally gets going there. I wouldn’t give up on Kelechi Iheanacho making his mark too – he started the season slowly last time out before putting up big numbers, and it could easily be the same thing again. And you never know, Neal Maupay (17th round) may just start putting away some of those chances that Brighton always create. If there’s an Arsenal fan in the league I’d definitely look to offload the 5th best forward on this roster in exchange for midfield reinforcement.
A Kiss from a Danny Rose
Draft Position: #9
Draft Grade: B-
Ignoring the blasphemy of associating the great Seal with such a mediocre footballer, we have a workable draft from this manager. I’m not overly sold on Jadon Sancho as 9th overall, or Bukayo Saka in the 3rd round, but they should still contribute nicely and there are a fair few nice picks elsewhere that boost this roster. Paul Pogba (5th round) and Diogo Jota (6th) have had good starts to the season and sit 2nd and 18th, respectively, in their positions for points scored. In fact, alongside Jota, A Kiss from a Danny Rose has the 19th (Chris Wood), 16th (Trincao), and 10th (Jamie Vardy) highest scoring forwards in the league – that’ll play nicely. The midfield is also solid; it never fails to astound me how underrated Wilfred Ndidi is as a fantasy asset – his FP/G the past five seasons is 11.0, 8.0, 9.1, 8.2, and 9.0. That’s reliability that you shouldn’t be able to find in the 14th round. The only thing this roster really lacks is a defence. Ben Chilwell will still end up making 20+ starts for Chelsea, despite the annual Marcos Alonso purple patch, but he and Matthew Cash aren’t enough to help a roster, without a superstar, win a fantasy title.
Show Me Da Mane
Draft Position: #10
Draft Grade: A
I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: this season might have been the one where picking from the turn really pays off. Either that or Show Me Da Mane has just absolutely nailed this draft. With the 10th and 11th overall picks, they took Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane – two guys that were in the top 9 of our consensus ranks last time out. Perhaps even more astounding is the selection of Emiliano Buendia in the 3rd round (30th overall), who we had as 12th in our ranks. To then follow this up with Riyad Mahrez, and Tomas Soucek…well, it’s almost time to crown the champion. The draft wasn’t without fault, of course. Pedro Neto being taken in the 8th might’ve been okay had it not been for his injury setback, but there’s no excuses for Ibrahima Konate in the 11th or Max Aarons in the 16th. These guys might as well hit the bin now in order to try and waive in some of those deadline day signings – Ademola Lookman and Dan James would give this midfield some nice depth and take this club from title favourites to title certainties.
So there we have it. Draft analysis of Gaurav Arora’s league courtesy of The Inner Geek. Top marks for Show Me Da Mane and Proper COYS, whilst extra homework is being assigned to Klopptoberfest, Kai Po Che! And Haaland Oates. If you want a Community Special article written about YOUR league – whether it’s a Gameweek Preview, a Trade-Maker Special, or The Crystal Ball Breakdown – then make sure you follow The Draft Society on Twitter and keep an eye out on Sunday evenings when the advertising post will go live.
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