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 December 2021 Drafties…
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: Christian Norgaard (MID; Brentford)
They don’t come much more consistent than Christian Norgaard’s December. 7.5, 7, 11.5, and 10. And just for good measure, he ended November with a 9 and started January with a 9. Lovely stuff from the Brentford man, but fantasy managers will be forgiven for wanting the occasional goal involvement. That’s happened just twice all season – once on the opening day against Arsenal when he found the net himself, and then in gameweek 10 when he assisted a late Ghoddos consolation away at Burnley. Even with these, Norgaard still only racked up 16 and 14 points, though. Outside of Ivan Toney and the rapidly declining Ethan Pinnock, Brentford’s roster has started to offer little fantasy value, so whilst Norgaard’s consistency is creditable it’s not exactly screaming out for a free agent pick up or trade. (Side note: where his consistency and ‘nailed-on-90’ status may be useful is in any upcoming DGW’s that Brentford have: 15 points should be snapped up straightaway).
Honourable Mentions: Maximilian Kilman, Manuel Lanzini
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: Kevin De Bruyne (MID; Manchester City) vs Leeds United
November 17th: TDS Consensus ranks come out and Genie shocks the world with his #21 ranking of the Fantrax God that is KDB. December 14th: KDB returns to the starting lineup for the first time since those rankings come out and drops 38 points. I’m not saying the two events are connected, but when the brilliant Belgian scored his second of that game, I’m sure he briefly lifted up his shirt to reveal a “Top 5 ROS or else” message underneath. Yes, Leeds were (are?) awful, but that was one hell of a performance, and one hell of a statement from the man many have written off in fantasy. It was vintage KDB. We’ll finish with a word from Totti: “I was ridiculed for trading away Mané for a COVID-ridden KDB in my home league at the end of November. He scored more against Leeds than Mané scored in the entire month of December! It's truly KDB's world and we are just living in it.” Well said.
Honourable Mentions: Riyad Mahrez vs Leeds United, Conor Gallagher vs Everton
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: Bruno Fernandes (MID; Manchester United)
For the second month running, Bruno Fernandes has taken home the ‘Fall from Grace’ award – if he does it next month we may have to let him keep the trophy. There are some serious issues at Manchester United right now, but “what is going on with Bruno” may just be number one on the causes for concern list. Save for the 21.5 pointer he laid on Arsenal at the start of December, the midfielder has gone 2, 2, 2, 4.5, 6, 4, DNP, 5.5 since the start of November. But this is a December only vote, so let’s focus there. United faced Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Newcastle United, and Burnley in this month – not exactly the Murderers’ Row of Fantrax. In fact, most managers would have probably been expecting at least 60 points to be accrued by their superstar. He scored 14.5. Victor Lindelof scored more in only 60% of the minutes. The much-maligned Harry Maguire scored double that amount. Alex Telles – rostered in just 42% of leagues – scored almost four times as many. I said in last months article that they were worrying times for Bruno rosterers…now the concern must be in overdrive.
Honourable Mentions: Ethan Pinnock, Declan Rice
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: Jack Grealish (MID; Manchester City)
As a big Jack fan, this pains me to write, but it’s fully deserved. The most expensive signing in Premier League history started the month on the bench, but then returned 10 points in 67 minutes against Watford – frustrating in itself that he was brought off so early. A disappointing 4.5 against Wolves followed, before a very nice showing of 21 points in that game against Leeds. That matchup may have been a double-edged sword for managers as it led to the infamous nightclub outing, which has seen Grealish firmly in the doghouse since then. Left watching on from the sidelines as Manchester City piled ten goals past Newcastle United and Leicester City, it must have been agony for all fantasy managers imagining what might have been. After starting 9 of City’s opening 10 league games, Jack has now missed out in 7 of the last 11 – frustrating indeed.
Honourable Mentions: Sadio Mane, Raul Jimenez
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: Fred (MID; Manchester United)
Only 34 players scored more points than Fred in December, and all of them were rostered in at least 70% of leagues (compared to Fred’s measly 42% - and that’s now, not what it was back on December 1st). The midfielder seems to be one of the few players to have thrived since Ole left, even scoring in Rangnick’s first game in charge – the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. That game (where he scored 16.5 points) actually came on the back of a 24-pointer that he put up against Arsenal and was then followed by a solid 9.5-pointer against Norwich. Even his lowest scoring start of the month – the 7 points against Newcastle – is slightly misleading as he was brought off at half-time. But the purple patch may already be over, as the Brazilian has found himself on the bench in back-to-back games now. Still, at least he can look back on his TDS “Super Streamer” Award for the month of December – it’s probably the only thing he will win this season.
Honourable Mentions: Gabriel Martinelli, Davinson Sanchez
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: Jose Sa (GK; Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Jose Sa’s incredible season keeps on rolling as he produces a December that was even better than the November that won him this award last time out. 63 points for the month was not the highest produced by a goalkeeper (Ederson had 63.25) but the Wolves shot-stopper did so in two fewer games, giving him an incredible 12.6 FP/G. What’s more, Sa has achieved this through what should have been a brutal schedule, with games against Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea (and on January 3rd, Manchester United too). Three clean sheets and two goals conceded in that December stretch is beyond what any fantasy manager (and Bruno Lage) could have imagined. For the season, Sa is now just shy of 200 points and has a league-high FP/G of 10.4 – numbers nobody would have predicted back in August (and this is why you don’t draft goalkeepers!).
Honourable Mentions: David de Gea, Ederson
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: Son Heung-Min (FWD; Tottenham Hotspur)
For the first time this season, the Simply Elite award was a close one, with Son, Mount, and Sterling all making strong cases for the title. In the end, however, it was the now-injured Tottenham man who won out, thanks largely to his consistency during the month. As the Chaps said: “Son scored 15 points or more in all 6 of his starts during December, rising up to the 6th overall scorer so far this season. He was elite during December and has solidified himself inside the top 5 Fantrax assets for me”. Now the Chaps technically have him at #7 in our latest Consensus ranks (which you can check out here) but they were bang on about his consistency. Scores of 17.5, 26.5, 15.5, 21, and 22.5 are absolutely elite numbers and the fact that he’s as nailed on as they get in this league (something that can’t be said for the likes of Mount and Sterling) is a dream for fantasy managers. They will be hoping that his absence from the team is a short one.
Honourable Mentions: Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling
TDS Crew’s January Predictions
Before we leave you, we thought it might be a bit of fun to make some predictions for next month. So here they are:
Do you agree with our selections? How many from your fantasy teams have been honoured/dishonoured? And what are your own predictions for next month? Let us know by commenting below or getting in touch on Twitter!
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