How can I explain it?
Awards you and I created,
I’m glad that you all made it!
Here at The Draft Society we have, however, decided to emulate the great Michael Scott by creating The Drafties – a monthly awards article to honour (and shame!) the fantasy players who have been carrying our teams to glory (or dragging them down into the abyss). We have seven awards and at the end of each month we will convene at DTS HQ and argue over who deserves the credit/discredit of receiving each.
So without further ado, here are the winners of the April Drafties – the final ones for the 2021-22 season!
The Drafties will be coming at you each and every month! Comment below with your predictions for next month!
The “Steady Eddie” Award
The Steady Eddie award goes to the player who has been a model of consistency throughout the month.
Winner: John McGinn (MID; Aston Villa)
We have a back-to-back winner and it’s super John McGinn! The Villa midfielder is only the second player after Jose Sa to have scooped consecutive awards (Sa doing so for Top Shot-Stopper in November and December). His 13-9-6.5-10.5-April wasn’t quite as consistent as his 10.5-9-9.5-9-March – but it was still mighty impressive. He has continued his all-action displays with seven key passes, nine successful dribbles, and eight tackles won during the month – the only thing this man can’t do, it seems, is score or assist! According to FBRef, he is in the 83rd percentile for expected assists, 72nd percentile for progressive passes, and 84th percentile for tackles; demonstrating just how well-rounded his game is. His 9.84 FP/G is good for 15th best in the league amongst midfielders (minimum 10 starts) and as a key cog in the Aston Villa side, his fantasy stock come draft day should see a considerable increase after what has been a very good season.
Honourable Mentions: Ruben Loftus-Cheek, James Tarkowski
The “Andrey Arshavin” Award
The Andrey Arshavin award goes to the best individual gameweek performance of the month (in honour of when Arshavin scored 4 goals against Liverpool back in 2009).
Winner: Gabriel Jesus (FWD; Manchester City) vs Watford
He scored 62 points. What else is there to say? To put that number in context, that same weekend, all 11 West Ham players scored 55.75 points combined in their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea. All 11 Everton players scored 35.75 combined in their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool. It meant that, at the time, 22.5% of the City forward’s points for the season came in that one game – and we were at gameweek 34, people. The career of Gabriel Jesus has not taken off the way that many expected when he first arrived in England – 20 goals (in just 2,318 minutes) at age 20 had many expecting him to take Aguero’s throne as City’s leading front man, but injuries have seemingly had a big impact. Rumours of a move to Arsenal in the summer are rife (though, in fairness, the bookies have him odds on to stay at City – even with Haaland’s imminent arrival) and if a transfer were to materialise, it would be interesting to see how far up those draft boards he shoots.
Honourable Mentions: Richarlison (vs Burnley), Heung-Min Son (vs Leicester City)
The “Fall from Grace” Award
The Fall from Grace award goes to the player who has seen their fantasy value drop the most during the month.
Winner: Jarrod Bowen (MID; West Ham United)
May has started nicely for Bowen, but that doesn’t detract from what was a very poor month by his now high standards. The Jarrod Bowen of most of this season would have expected to feast upon the fixtures of Everton, Brentford, and Burnley – and he started off doing just that with a 20.5 pointer against Frank Lampard’s side. But then came a 2.5 in the loss to the Bees and a 4 in the draw to the revitalised Clarets. In those two games he played the full 90 minutes each time and managed just one shot on target and two key passes – not what you’d expect from a player ranked 7th and 26th in the league, respectively, for those two categories. The cherry on the April disappointment came as he was rested against Chelsea, only to come on for 16 minutes, get dispossessed twice, and finish with -1. He was a guaranteed first rounder a month ago…now? Well, if any more Haaland-esque players come in, I’m not so sure.
Honourable Mentions: Gabriel Martinelli, Bruno Fernandes
The “Most Frustrating” Award
The Most Frustrating award goes to the player who has been most frustrating from a fantasy perspective. This may be due to a number of reasons including underwhelming performances, regularly being rested/dropped, coming close to hauling but not quite doing so, etc.
Winner: Riyad Mahrez (FWD; Manchester City)
How has it taken until April for Riyad Mahrez to win this award – it is pretty much made for him! At the start of every season, the same conversation comes about: where do you take Mahrez in the draft. Minute-for-minute, he’s up there with Kevin De Bruyne in terms of fantasy production (no, seriously, he is – check out his PP90). But there’s the age old problem of game time. In the four seasons since joining from Leicester, he has started 14, 21, 23, and now 13 (so far) games. April epitomised all of this. First up, a tasty fixture against Burnley: benched. Second, a tricky matchup against Liverpool: benched. Third, a very nice game at home to Brighton: one goal, one assist, and 26.5 points. Four and five – Watford and Leeds – bench and bench. Just 123 minutes of league game time during the month – 16 City players played more. To add to the confusion for fantasy managers, he started all four Champions League games against Atletico and Real Madrid, suggesting he’s in Pep’s strongest 11…so with City now only focused on the Premier League, will May see some Mahrez magic?
Honourable Mentions: Gabriel Jesus, Sadio Mane
The “Super Streamer” Award
The Super Streamer award goes to the best performing player of the month who was/is often streamable (i.e., is rostered in less than 50% of leagues).
Winner: Nathan Collins (DEF; Burnley)
Only nine players scored more points than Burnley’s Nathan Collins in April as the 21 year old racked up 75.75 from six outings. The clean sheets against Southampton and Wolves certainly helped things (particularly after conceding four goals to Everton and Norwich at the start of the month) but the 6 foot 4 defender was picking up points left, right, and centre – including via two goals. Whilst those are unlikely to remain a key feature of his game, his clearances and aerial ability should still play nicely from a fantasy perspective. His 21 aerials won during the month puts him in the Grant Hanley-Liam Cooper category of dominance, whilst his 31 clearances were only surpassed by three other players. Ben Mee’s injury could have derailed Burnley’s relegation fight, but Collins has come in and surpassed all expectations – as well as providing a nice little fantasy find. Oh, and a shout out to Brighton’s Danny Welbeck here – grabbing a legitimate forward option (74.5 points at 12.42 FP/G) this late in the season takes some doing.
Honourable Mentions: Danny Welbeck, Oriol Romeu
The “Top Shot-Stopper” Award
The Top Shot-Stopper award goes to the best performing goalkeeper of the month (about time they get some recognition!)
Winner: Nick Pope (GK; Burnley)
Burnley’s Nick Pope came into the season as one of the top three goalkeepers coming off draft boards, and after a slow start, he has finally started living up to his billing. April’s 64 point haul (most in the league) took him up to 261.25 for the season, with only Alisson and Jose Sa ahead of him. The seven games that he had helped matters – as did the 32 shots Burnley gave up (of which he saved 24). If Burnley don’t survive it will be an interesting summer for the goalkeeper. At 30 years old, he’s no longer one of the young ones, and his 99th percentile for average length of goal kicks doesn’t really sit well with the direction that the position is heading in (though that could largely be down to team preferences as opposed to individual inability). Still, being English will surely tempt someone to come in for him, and if they do (or if Burnley stay up, of course), then I’d expect him to be the number 1 goalkeeper on most draft boards. Still in the 12th or 13th round, obviously. But number 1 nevertheless.
Honourable Mentions: Fraser Forster, Tim Krul
The “Simply Elite” Award
The Simply Elite award is, as the name implies, simple: it goes to the best player in our amazing draft fantasy game for that month. The guy who produced at a first round, first pick level.
Winner: Kevin De Bruyne (MID; Manchester City)
We couldn’t go a whole season and not give Kevin De Bruyne the Simply Elite award could we? Where do we even begin with this one. To help narrow down the millions of superlatives and stats that could be laid at his technically perfect feet, we won’t mention anything other than what he did in April. Not even the 20.5 that he dropped on Newcastle on May 8th. Okay, from now then. De Bruyne’s April saw him score 80.5 points in four matches – only teammate Jesus had a better FP/G. Three assists (two against Watford, one against Brighton) and two goals (one against Liverpool, one against Burnley) is an excellent return, but we all know where KDB is King, and that’s in the Key Passes. He amassed fifteen in the month, the same number managed by Jarrod Bowen, Raphinha, Conor Gallagher, Jack Grealish, and Reece James…combined. He is simply the best player in the Premier League. He is Simply Elite.
Honourable Mentions: Bukayo Saka, Heung-Min Son
Do you agree with our selections? How many from your fantasy teams have been honoured/dishonoured? And who would take each crown from the 2021-22 season as a whole? Let us know by commenting below or getting in touch on Twitter!
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