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The Drafties: February 2022

The Drafties!

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 February 2022 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)

Despite Brentford’s form taking a greater nosedive than the Russian Ruble, there’s still been some positives for them – one of which is the consistency of Christian Norgaard. Only defender Pontus Jansson has played more minutes for the Bees than the Dane, and only forwards Ivan Toney (8.3) and Bryan Mbeumo (7.6) have generated more non-penalty expected goal involvement. Defensively, too, the midfielder has been excellent, ranking first in the league for tackles won (he has 69; the next best is Allan’s 50) and pressures (he has 537; only four players have over 500). This hasn’t exactly translated to fantastic fantasy numbers, but he’s still been a decent asset in deep leagues. Norgaard won this award in December and, despite a mildly rollercoaster January (he returned 1.5 points away at Southampton then 16 points at home to Manchester United), he has returned to his Steady Eddie ways with a 9, 10, and 15 in matches against Manchester City, Crystal Palace, and Arsenal, respectively.

Honourable Mentions: Paul Pogba, Armando Broja

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: Josh Brownhill (MID; Burnley) vs Brighton & Hove Albion/Tottenham Hotspur

Should the Arshavin award encapsulate double gameweek performances? We’ll find an answer for that one another time because right now we just can’t take this award away from Josh Brownhill. Yes. Josh. Brownhill. With everyone looking to the likes of Dwight McNeil, Wout Weghorst, James Tarkowski, and Maxwel Cornet for DGW-exploitation, it was the little midfielder who stood up and took charge. The unfashionable Burnley workhorse joins the luminaries to have previously held this title – Firmino, Maddison, De Bruyne – after shocking the fantasy world, first by putting up 21 in the away win at Brighton, and then by following it up with the mammoth 27.5 in the home win over Spurs. That 27.5 included FIVE key passes, FIVE interceptions, and, of course, the assist to Ben Mee. To provide a bit of context for the absurdity of this back-to-back performance, in Brownhill’s 61 Premier League appearances prior to the Brighton game, his highest score had been 14 points. FOURTEEN, people.

Honourable Mentions: James Ward-Prowse (vs Tottenham Hotspur), Sadio Mane (vs Leeds United)

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: Marcus Rashford (FWD; Manchester United)

Marcus Rashford makes it four Manchester United winners out of five for the Fall from Grace award, and it’s easy to see why. The England forward – once a key weapon in the arsenal of United managers and fantasy managers alike – has become a bit part player at Old Trafford. Since his much anticipated return from injury back in October, Rashford has started just 9 of United’s 20 games, but more tellingly, only 2 of their last 10. It is this recent isolation from the first eleven that has landed him with February’s Fall from Grace award. Even though he wasn’t producing the fantasy points before this (his points per start was a shockingly low 5.7 heading into the month), there was still the belief that, as part of the starting line-up, he would eventually turn things around. That’s no longer the case. Jadon Sancho has locked down one spot on the wing, whilst on the other, Rangnick seems to be intent on rotating through a never-ending cast of disappointing options. Hence, Rashford’s fantasy value being at an all-time low.

Honourable Mentions: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Joshua King

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: Pascal Gross (MID; Brighton & Hove Albion)

It is unlikely that anyone will ever truly replace the fantasy frustration of the now departed Adama Traore (who, by the way, seems to now be mocking us with his four assists in six games for Barcelona), but recently Brighton’s Pascal Gross has been giving it a proper go. After starting five games on the bounce – games in which he was subbed off between the 59th and 72nd minute in each – he has now been dropped for Brighton’s last two. These last two, it should be noted, were the 3-0 and 2-0 defeats to Burnley and Aston Villa in which Brighton registered a combined xG of just 1.1, so it’s almost inevitable that Gross will return to the eleven imminently. This is a player who, until mid-October, was rocking a points per start of 12.2, but since then has seen his set-piece dominance dwindle, and the point returns follow suit. It’s a rollercoaster ride with Gross – which I believe is part of the terms and conditions of being a Brighton player under Potter – so don’t be surprised to see his name on this award – or the Arshavin award – again before the season is out.

Honourable Mentions: Ollie Watkins, Diogo Jota

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: Josh Brownhill (MID; Burnley)

When the Draft Premier League game eventually takes the world by storm, a famous pub quiz question will be: which player was the first to win two Drafties Awards in the same month? And you, my dear reader, will be able to tell them that it was the man, the myth, the legend – Josh Brownhill. Yes, Josh, make some space in that trophy cabinet (an easy feat I imagine) because the Super Streamer award is joining the Andrey Arshavin award. Fantasy managers who took a punt on the Burnley midfielder were rewarded in February with 72 points at 14.4 a pop. Only Bruno Fernandes, Son Heung-Min, Harry Kane, and Mohamed Salah scored more than that this month, whilst Hassane Kamara’s 62 points were the next most by a streamable (i.e., less than 50% rostered) player. Is this the start of a glorious fantasy existence? Almost certainly not. But fantasy managers everywhere will always remember that Brownhill February.

Honourable Mentions: Craig Dawson, Mohamed Elyounoussi

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)

Pope pips Pickford to the post in this prize after a month which saw him generate 63.25 points and an FP/G of 10.54. Three goalkeepers (the aforementioned Pickford, Alisson, and David Raya) actually had higher FP/G’s than the Burnley man, but Pope’s double gameweeks gave him the nod over his rivals. Even ignoring the DGW, it was an impressive month for the goalkeeper as he withstood the attacking might of Manchester United (7.25 points), Liverpool (4.25), and Tottenham Hotspur (12), whilst also cashing in on the less-reputable attacks of Watford (19 points) and Brighton (15.75). Pope, who was one of only three goalkeepers to make the pre-season Consensus rankings top 150, has steadily improved as the season has gone on, with February seeing him hit double-digit FP/G’s for the third month in a row. He is now the 3rd best keeper in the league on FP/G and 5th best for total fantasy points…catching Jose Sa is probably out of the question, but 2nd spot is certainly up for grabs with a strong end to the season.

Honourable Mentions: Jordan Pickford, David Raya

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: Bruno Fernandes (MID; Manchester United)

Back. On. Top. Yes, there have been a few times this year when we’ve all questioned Bruno’s credibility as the numero uno player in the game – not least when he won back-to-back Fall from Grace awards before Christmas – but the United man is back to his best. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny what he’s done in February. A total haul of 90 points was the most in the league and included big returns of 29 at home to Brighton in gameweek 25 and 24.5 away at Leeds in gameweek 26. Fernandes scored two and assisted one across those two games, but even when he wasn’t directly involved in goals, he was returning to his ghost-point glory days. An 18-pointer in the 1-1 draw with Burnley and a 13-pointer in the 0-0 draw with Watford were built on nine key passes and three shots on target – in fact, he took more shots at goal (19) than Harry Kane, and as many as Mohamed Salah, during the month. Before we get carried away proclaiming the return of the king (or is that KDB?), it should be noted that Manchester United’s February was softer than a cloud eating candyfloss on a cushion. Whether he does this in matches against teams other than Burnley, Leeds, and Watford – like, I don’t know, the upcoming Manchester Derby – will be the real test of his resurgence.

Honourable Mentions: Son Heung-Min, Sadio Mane

TDS Crew’s March 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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