The Drafties: January 2022
How can I explain it?
Awards you and I created,
I’m glad that you all made it!
Okay, enough ripping from The Office.
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 January 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: Joshua King (FWD; Watford)
Following in the footsteps of Dwight McNeil, Rico Henry, and Christian Norgaard is Watford’s Joshua King, who becomes the first forward to win the Steady Eddie award. Scores of 7, 9.5, and 10 are indeed the consistent returns required to win in this one, and King solidified his reliable status by adding another 9.5 in his first matchup of February against Burnley. Remarkably, King has now played 90 minutes in 13 consecutive Premier League matches and whilst he’s had just the one goal involvement in the last 8 of those (an assist in the 4-1 loss to West Ham), he’s averaged a respectable – and Steady Eddie-like – 9 points per game during that span. Despite the solid fantasy returns of late, King may find his starting spot under threat, with Emmanuel Dennis returning from suspension, Ismaila Sarr fit again and back from AFCON, and young Joao Pedro hitting form.
Honourable Mentions: Demarai Gray, Marc Cucurella
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: Jack Harrison (MID; Leeds United) vs West Ham United
Jack Harrison was the unanimous pick for the Andrey Arshavin award after his first career hat-trick gave Leeds a crucial 3-2 win over West Ham in gameweek 22. It was a welcome return to significance for fantasy managers who had persevered with a midfielder that was ranked #104 in the latest Consensus Rankings…a mighty fall from the pre-season heights of #25. It came on the back of a 21-pointer at home to Burnley and was then followed by a 12-pointer in the 1-0 loss to Newcastle, so it could be that Harrison has turned the corner for the season, and we may be about to see the best of a player whose debut season in the Premier League last year saw him finish with the 7th highest WAR according to our good friends at OverThinking Football.
Honourable Mentions: Anthony Gordon (vs Brighton & Hove Albion), Joshua Sargent (vs Watford)
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: Raheem Sterling (FWD; Manchester City)
Starting all three games but scoring just the 12 points combined, Raheem Sterling has earned himself the Fall from Grace award for January. A December that saw him average a ridiculous 22.7 FP/G was always going to be unsustainable, but even DT and Ryan – who both had Sterling down to win this award in their predictions last month – would probably be surprised by the extent of the fall in fantasy production from the forward. Manchester City did, admittedly, have a tough month fixture wise, facing Arsenal, Chelsea, and Southampton, but usually for their players it’s a case of whether or not they get the start, rather than whether or not they will produce. Sterling got the starts, but somehow not the points.
Honourable Mentions: Michael Keane, Emmanuel Dennis
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: Adama Traore (FWD; formerly of Wolverhampton Wanderers)
The January award for Most Frustrating was probably the most disputed one amongst the TDS writers this month, but it is fitting that Adama Traore edged out his rivals for the crown. Adama’s peregrinations from his arrival at Aston Villa to his departure for Barcelona have caused more fantasy exasperation throughout the years than perhaps any other player. The wing-back turned midfielder turned forward was a ghost point God but was never able to combine that with the clinical nature in front of goal that separates the top-tier assets from truly superstar levels of fantasy worship. The exodus of the now former Wolves man will ease the headache of those who were rostering him, but I doubt this is the last we see of the Spaniard. This has Newcastle 2023-24 signing written all over it…and I for one will be there waiting to welcome him back into my team with open arms.
Honourable Mentions: Emile Smith Rowe, Pascal Gross
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: Anthony Gordon (FWD; Everton)
January was a tough month for Everton. Three straight defeats (including one to Norwich), the sale of one of their best players, and the sacking of Rafa Benitez would leave you forgiven for thinking that none of the players have come through it smelling of roses. But one has: young Anthony Gordon. The “forward” scored 47 points during January – 15.5 more than Everton’s second best asset Demarai Gray and 25.5 more than Abdoulaye Doucoure in third – despite starting only two matches. In fact, his 47 was tied for the 11th most in the league – with the names above a who’s who of fantasy elite. The 20-year old is still only rostered in 22% of leagues, and with Frank Lampard showing his faith in him by granting him a starting berth in the FA Cup at the weekend – at the expense of Andros Townsend – this number should surely rise fast. A great month for Gordon, and perhaps a sign of things to come.
Honourable Mentions: Alexis Mac Allister, Joao Pedro
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: David de Gea (GK; Manchester United)
Jose Sa’s reign as the Top Shot-Stopper comes to an end after a phenomenal month for Manchester United’s David de Gea. Sa, who had a great month himself, could not quite compete with the United’s now undisputed number one who made an extraordinary 22 saves during the month – five more than Brentford’s Fernandez in second, and twice as many as third placed Lloris, Sa, and Sanchez. De Gea has been improving on the fantasy scene for some time now and has risen to third highest in total fantasy points, behind only Sa and Ramsdale. Scores of 9, 10.25, 16.25, and 13.25 show the consistency of his performances and with United currently sporting the 6th worst XGA in the league, this is another one in which the January form may last a little longer.
Honourable Mentions: Jose Sa, Martin Dubravka
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: Emiliano Buendia (MID; Aston Villa)
Newcomers to the game may have been surprised to see Emiliano Buendia ranked #12 in our Preseason Consensus Rankings. This was a guy who was playing in the second tier of English football the previous season and had the added uncertainty of signing for a new (mid-table at best) club during the summer. Four and a half months later those doubters had increased, with Buendia the 138th highest scoring player in the league, behind the likes of Conor Coady, Oriol Romeu, and Grant Hanley. But those who stayed faithful have since been rewarded. An assist in the defeat to Brentford kicked off the revival with 19 points, then 18.5 ghost points were accumulated in the draw with Manchester United, before a match-winning (and 21 point accruing) performance against Everton sealed his return to prominence. Yes, three players scored more points during the month than the Villa man, but two of them (Bowen and Fernandes) did so with one extra game played, and the other was a little less consistent (the Arshavin-winning Harrison). Whether he really does get back to producing at a 1st round level remains to be seen, but in January, Emiliano Buendia was simply elite.
Honourable Mentions: Bruno Fernandes, Jarrod Bowen
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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