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 Marcus Wraight, who chose to have his league’s draft analysed. So Marcus, 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 will go live.
The Drafted Squads
Notable rules: 1) default Fantrax scoring is used, 2) line-ups are locked 1 hour prior to kick-off of the first game of the gameweek, 3) auto-subs are enabled, 4) this league drafted post-gameweek 2 in order to have a 36 game season in which every team played each other four times
Deeney in a Bottle
Draft Position: #1
Draft Grade: D-
Deeney in a bottle perhaps, but this team is going to need far more than three wishes for it to become anything other than whipping boys this season. The D- grade is fitting given that the primary reasons for it are the selections of Dias and Dallas. I honestly thought it was a typo when it was sent through to me. Rounds 4 and 5? Surely it meant 14 and 15? Luke Ayling, Ethan Pinnock, and Joel Matip make up what could be a serviceable defence, but it’s just all too soon; these guys would have been available rounds 13-17, they didn’t need to be taken between the 9th and 12th. Obviously having Bruno Fernandes helps. Or as I like to call him, Fantrax’s Steve Smith (scores better than he looks like he should). The rest of the midfield is fine – decent options taken at okay points (Dallas aside obviously) but what I do like about this draft is the front four. Deeney have backed that the first two weeks will be indicative of the rest of the season with some of these picks…will they be proven right? Personally I think I’d try to shop Danny Ings, Mason Greenwood, or Demarai Gray whilst their value is perhaps at its highest.
Draft Position: #2
Draft Grade: C+
Kevin De Bruyne and Paul Pogba as the first two picks. I mean, you can’t do much better if you’re selecting purely for aesthetic reasons. Two incredible footballers to watch, but is Pogba really a 2nd round/19th overall pick? Deciding what is transient from what is permanent is crucial at all points in fantasy football, but even more so when you’re drafting two weeks into the season as this league is. We’ve seen Pogba put on this show before. On his day he is up there with KDB (and better than Bruno); the problem is, his “day” is about as frequent as a good Arsenal performance. Marcus Rashford may currently be injured but grabbing him in the 11th round is an outrageous piece of business. The Martyrs will be hoping that Michail Antonio can delay his inevitable hamstring injury until the United star is back, otherwise a lot will rest on the want-away Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to help support the revived Said Benrahma in attack. It’s not the worst draft in the world, but more was expected from the reigning champ.
Dele Does Dallas FC
Draft Position: #3
Draft Grade: B+
An unusual approach from Dele Does Dallas as they took just the one midfielder in the first six rounds and then drafted only three forwards in total. A run of five consecutive mids from rounds 7 to 11 should have gone a long way to solving the first of those issues, but the selections of Thiago and Matt Ritchie to do so is like trying to fix a lack of food in the fridge by going to the store and buying lamingtons and vegemite. Fortunately these were sandwiched by the Tottenham duo of Dele Alli and Lucas Moura – guys that look like they could be excellent value in the 7th and 10th rounds, respectively. Speaking of value; Richarlison in the 6th is very nice, and provided neither Mohamed Salah nor Adama Traore pick up a significant injury, this front three shouldn’t need any help alongside it. The drafting of Valentino Livramento – even all the way down in the 16th – is recency bias of the highest order, but fellow defenders Cristian Romero (14th) and Liam Cooper (15th) should prove very good acquisitions before too long.
Draft Position: #4
Draft Grade: C
Fairfield Lemons’ draft is a little like the Australia T20 team: there’s a couple of teams worse but that’s about it. Let’s look at the positives though. The midfield has a helluva floor. James Ward-Prowse, John McGinn, Kalvin Phillips, and Joao Moutinho are solid points-getters and should stop this team getting completely embarrassed akin to a 4-1 series drubbing by Bangladesh. By contrast, the forward four has high upside, with 4th round pick Riyad Mahrez the epitome of that. The rest of the league should actually be ashamed that they let the City man fall this low – particularly with such deep benches. Mahrez may only start 18 games this season but when he puts up 25+ points in half of those, he’ll have more than paid off this cheap price tag. So why just the C grade? Well, even as a Villa fan, John McGinn has been massively overvalued here. He’s an 8th rounder, maybe 7th at best. But the real damage came in rounds 9 and 10. Last season Kyle Walker scored three points or fewer in 10 out of his 22 starts. And when Norwich were last in the Premier League, Max Aarons scored negative points an absurd 12 times! Seriously, that is shocking drafting.
The Plungers Get Messi
Draft Position: #5
Draft Grade: D+
It could be worse, it could be Deeney in a Bottle’s team. Taking Trent Alexander-Arnold as the 5th overall pick is a risk, but one that I’ll let slide. Dominic Calvert-Lewin next is fine too. And I won’t complain too much about Youri Tielemans in the 3rd, except to point out that Allan Saint-Maximin, Jack Harrison, and Harvey Barnes were all taken after the Leicester man. From then on, it gets seriously ropey. I’m struggling to explain how Andreas Christensen gets taken in the 5th round. So far all I can think of is that this manager is a Danish Chelsea fan with a fondness for centre-backs. Either that or it was a forfeit. The defence is an issue – Tyrone Mings, Aymeric Laporte, and Eric Dier fill me with as much confidence as the England bowling attack sans Jimmy Anderson. The midfield is weaker than Bruno Fernandes in a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, with Christian Pulisic the only one helping out Tielemans – and he is at the mercy of the new and arguably more dangerous game of Tuchel Roulette. I’m writing this two years to the day since Ben Stokes’ famous 135 not out at Headingly to beat the Aussies after England needed 73 to win with just 1 wicket remaining…a similar miracle is needed if The Plungers are to avoid The Sacko this season.
The Werner Hoggs
Draft Position: #6
Draft Grade: B-
Last season’s wooden spoonists have had a solid draft and it will take some waivering of the lowest order for them to challenge The Plungers or Deeney in a Bottle for last place again this year. Romelu Lukaku and Emiliano Buendia are solid starts – the former has already hit the ground running and the latter will find his feet this weekend with a 20-pointer vs Brentford. Jack Harrison will also make his mark against Burnley and show why he’s my favourite pick from The Werner Hoggs first half dozen. The middle rounds are a little shaky: James Rodriguez (10th round) needs to stay put, Stuart Armstrong (9th) needs to return to fitness, and Todd Cantwell (8th) needs to become a better footballer. Some of these things are possible. At least Pablo Fornals (7th) is firing and keeping this midfield afloat. Adam Armstrong is a very nice third forward to pluck in the 12th round, and Edinson Cavani in the 14th? That’s a shot to nothing that I’d take every day of the week.
It’s Britney, Klich
Draft Position: #7
Draft Grade: B
The two standout picks for me are Phil Foden in the 5th round and Kelechi Iheanacho in the 14th. Foden was going as high as the 2nd round early in pre-season before his injury was revealed. If he comes back after the international break, as is likely, then this is just an incredible steal here. He’ll need to live up to my billing though because the rest of this midfield is a little too ‘Chris Hemsworth’ for me – it looks great, but performances can vary. A bunch of big names, none of whom convince me. As for Iheanacho, I would have rated this pickup even if It’s Britney, Klich hadn’t drafted Jamie Vardy in the 2nd round. Maybe it becomes a handcuff, maybe it becomes more. Either way, that 14th round pick has been very well spent. Speaking of handcuffs, someone should have told this manager that drafting Serge Aurier and Matt Doherty is going to achieve diddly squat now Japhet Tanganga has established himself as Tottenham's first choice right back. Still, this draft definitely puts the club in contention.
Kings Meadows Kraft Singles
Draft Position: #8
Draft Grade: A-
Ah, finally. We’re getting to the good stuff. Is it a coincidence that in a 10-team league the best three drafts are from those drafting 8th, 9th, and 10th? Not for me. After Bruno and KDB, not a whole lot separated picks 3 to 13, but then the jump to 14 (someone like DCL) is pretty sizeable. Kings Meadows kicked things off with Sadio Mane, and despite scoring 35.5 points from the opening two games, it somehow feels like the Liverpool man is underperforming, or at least, being overshadowed. Mane is one of SIX forwards on this roster, and I like every single one of them (yes, even Wilfried Zaha – as an 11th rounder, why not?!). I think I’d be trading two of these out to strengthen the defence and the midfield. The latter is decent, but Ilkay Gundogan and Anwar El Ghazi could see their game time drop considerably once everyone is fit at Manchester City and Aston Villa, respectively. Luke Shaw and Aaron Cresswell are both defenders that had resurgent years last time out, so I worry that some regression is in order for both of these.
The Beaver Army
Draft Position: #9
Draft Grade: A
Class valedictorian, but that doesn’t mean this draft is without fault. For starters, six defenders, Jeremy? That’s insane. On the plus side, all six are very nice pickups – especially Timothy Castagne and Ben Mee who were grabbed in the 13th and 14th rounds, respectively. I’d be on the phone to Ian Botham straight away to see if he can negotiate a trade with The Plungers for Roberto Firmino. Getting the Liverpool forward would also cover The Beaver Army for when Diogo Jota takes a trip to the bench; without this they’ll be relying on Gabriel Jesus and Josh King, and whilst both were solid selections for where they were taken, neither are going to lead the side to fantasy glory. The midfield is where the magic happens in this side though. Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho in rounds 1 and 2 followed by Allan Saint-Maximin in round 3 is like opening the batting with Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist and then having Michael Bevan walk in at the fall of the first. It’s going to be exciting to watch and in a lot of cases, very, very successful. No wonder this is the only two-time champion in the league.
Draft Position: #10
Draft Grade: B+
Finally we come to Gangsters Allardyce, who have set themselves up nicely to have a run at regaining the title they won back in 2018-19. It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Raphinha taken in the top 8, so to grab him 11th overall is good value. Virgil van Dijk at the bottom of the 3rd may be a little high but following that with Ollie Watkins as the first forward is a huge win. Yes, Danny Ings has looked good so far for Aston Villa, but Watkins is still going to be a regular starter and should still produce wherever he gets put on the pitch. In fact, all four of the forwards selected should prove good value: Ivan Toney in the 8th round was probably 3 rounds lower than what he should have gone, Che Adams in the 9th probably 2 rounds lower, and Nicolas Pepe in the 12th probably 3 rounds lower again. The biggest challenge for Gangsters Allardyce will be finding that fourth midfielder each week, because – spoiler alert – Yves Bissouma, James McArthur, and Moussa Djenepo are not it. And that’s when Jack Grealish starts. When he experiences Pep Roulette this is going to be a major concern. A very solid starting 10 here, but this roster is seriously lacking depth.
So there we have it. Draft analysis of Marcus Wraight’s league courtesy of The Inner Geek. Top marks for The Beaver Army and Kings Meadows Kraft Singles, whilst extra homework is being assigned to Deeney in a Bottle and The Plungers Get Messi. 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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