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The Drafties: March 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 March 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: John McGinn (MID; Aston Villa)

Six months in and we might just have seen the Steady Eddiest of all Steady Eddies. Aston Villa’s John McGinn: take a bow. A 10.5 on March 5th was followed up with a 9, 9.5, and 9. That is some elite level consistency right there. McGinn is a top class player – widely underrated – and has gone from living in the shadow of Jack Grealish to living in the shadow of Philippe Coutinho – a position that I imagine the Scot is not all too concerned about. He has it all and his stats from March are a good example of that. His six key passes bookend the month (four against Southampton and two against Arsenal) whilst six tackles won were wedged in the middle (three apiece against Leeds and West Ham). Throw in three shots on target, five interceptions, four successful dribbles, and a couple of aerials and you have yourself one of the most well-rounded midfielders in the league. There’s a reason the Villa man is ranked above the likes of Tomas Soucek, Paul Pogba, and Jack Harrison in our latest Consensus Ranks.

Honourable Mentions: Joseph Willock, Dan Burn

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 Manchester United

Who said De Bruyne was finished? Since mid-December, no player has a higher FP/G than the King at 19.92 and only Harry Kane has scored more than his 259 points (in 294 more minutes). The pinnacle of his season to date came in the big Manchester derby on March 6th where his two goals and one assist in 79 minutes decimated a horrible United side. Those big events don’t tell the whole story though. An 88% pass completion rate for a player in his role is absurd, whilst the fact that 34% of his carries were progressive ones goes to show that he is always looking to hurt the opposition at every opportunity. The 44 fantasy points could have been far more had City not taken their foot off the gas in the second half. De Bruyne is back to his key-pass collecting old self, with the five that he accumulated in that game, making it 27 in the nine league games played this calendar year, whilst he also had four shots on target. Minute-for-minute, he’s a better fantasy asset than Mohamed Salah…but we knew that at the start of the season.

Honourable Mentions: Cristiano Ronaldo (vs Tottenham Hotspur), Matthew Cash (vs Southampton and 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: Michail Antonio (FWD; West Ham United)

This one was discussed at TDS HQ until the early hours of the morning (though, to be fair, given that our writers span four time zones, that could mean anything). At first it looked like West Ham’s Antonio was nailed on for it, then DraftLad weighed in with a strong campaign for Liverpool’s Diogo Jota instead. Antonio, he argued, has been fading all year – particularly since January – so for the month of March, was his decline even that great? It was a very valid point. In the end, we stayed with the Hammer (Jota did score 11.5 points in just 55 minutes against Arsenal on March 16th, it should be noted), but it was a close call. Yes, Antonio’s fall from grace may have been going on for a while now – he’s now ranked at #52 in our Consensus Rankings after starting the Pre-Season at #18 – but March was a particularly bad month for the Jamaican international. A mere 13.5 points were scored from three starts, and whilst the matchups weren’t the easiest (Liverpool and Tottenham away, Aston Villa at home), for a player rostered in 100% of leagues the return was inexcusable.

Honourable Mentions: Diogo Jota, Youri Tielemans

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: Cristiano Ronaldo (FWD; Manchester United)

The fact that Cristiano Ronaldo was in contention for the Andrey Arshavin award this month should say it all about his current frustration status. Misses the Manchester City game; scores 39 points in the Tottenham game. All or nothing quite literally. Like Antonio, this award may also be reflecting a bit more of a season-long trend – with those two March games simply exemplifying them. Ronaldo has the fifth highest standard deviation for fantasy points in the league (minimum 10 starts) and the uncertainty as to whether he’s going to get a <3 point return (nine occasions this season) or a >15 point return (also nine occasions this season) must be exasperating for managers. The omission from the lineup against City was reported to be due to the reoccurrence of a hip injury that kept him out of two matches back in January…and yet six days later he was scoring three goals from five shots in the victory over Tottenham. Ronaldo then appeared in both World Cup qualifying matches for Portugal before missing United’s last matchup, the 1-1 draw with Leicester on April 2nd, because of the flu. It’s been an odd season.

Honourable Mentions: Mason Mount, Michael Keane

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: Cucho Hernandez (FWD; Watford)

The currently 15(!!)% rostered Cucho Hernandez was the 22nd highest scoring player in March, racking up 47 points in total. Actually, he technically totalled 51 points, but the 26 against Arsenal and 25 against Southampton were offset by a -4 against Wolves in which pretty much the only thing he managed to do all game was score an own goal. The 22 year-old Colombian scored three times (in the correct net) and assisted once during the month, taking his tally for the season to five and two, respectively. To put it into context Hernandez’s fantasy production, the next highest points earned by a player rostered in less than 20% of leagues was the 32.75 points earned by Calum Chambers and then the 30.25 points earned by Daniel Amartey. If you want a forward who’s rostered in so few leagues, you have to look as far down as Jean-Philippe Mateta, who brought in just 23.5 points. Despite Watford’s struggles, Hernandez is finally starting to showcase some of the potential that made him a sneaky sleeper pick during the preseason. Better late than never as they say.

Honourable Mentions: Caglar Soyuncu, Jonny

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: Alisson (GK; Liverpool)

Alisson is having himself a phenomenal 2022 on the fantasy front. His 133 points is 17.5 more than Jose Sa in second, despite playing three fewer games, and the only other goalkeeper even remotely close to his 13.3 FP/G during that time is Brentford’s David Raya who has a 10.9. Three of Alisson’s four highest scores in 2022 came during March, with the 18.5 against West Ham followed by a 17 against Brighton, and a 15.25 against Arsenal. These scores, not surprisingly, have been built on the back of clean sheets in each game and it is notable that eight players actually made more saves than the nine saves that the Liverpool man accrued during the month. As is always the case when evaluating goalkeepers, it is important to consider the defence in front of him and the system played by the manager. Alisson may have only conceded 18 goals this season (tied for fewest in the league amongst regular starters) but his expected numbers are actually only fifth best, trailing David de Gea, Jose Sa, Alvaro Fernandez, and Martin Dubravka*.

*as measured by the metric of ‘Post-Shot Expected Goals minus Goals Allowed per 90’

Honourable Mentions: Kasper Schmeichel, Vicente Guaita

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: Harry Kane (FWD; Tottenham Hotspur)

The only unanimous selection of the month was in the Simply Elite category as that man Harry Kane dominated the votes to earn his first award of the season. It should come as no surprise after returns of 26.5 (vs Everton), 11.5 (vs Manchester United), 19.5 (vs Brighton), and 32 (vs West Ham). For anyone who watched those games (as well as the 11 he scored in his most recent outing against Newcastle), I think they will agree that these numbers are very much on the low side of what they could, or should, have been. Kane has been in majestic form as of late; pulling the strings in a Tottenham side that has now found themselves in the Champions League spots. He is a danger from pretty much every spot on the pitch – just take a look at his season heatmap here - and I don’t think it’s hyperbole to suggest that his mid-range passing has become of the KDB-TAA-ilk. Right now Harry Kane is scoring goals, making goals, and playing 90 minutes every single game – what more could you ask for from a Simply Elite player?

Honourable Mentions: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kai Havertz

TDS Crew’s April 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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