Gameweek 1 in GAFFR Championship has come and gone. If we know fantasy managers like we think we do, we know there will be panic transfers flying around left, right and centre. Our best advice is to stay calm.
We spent all preseason assessing the ‘big guns’ and they didn’t deliver but we don’t call them ‘big guns’ for nothing. They will come good. We just need a few weeks to assess good and bad form. Here’s a few things we took from Gameweek 1 that will assist our decisions for Gameweek 2 and beyond.
Despite having 57% possession against a very strong West Brom team, Bournemouth struggled with balls into their box. Travers (5.0m) in goal is the main problem. He didn’t fill anybody with confidence when flapping for balls in the air. Kelly (6.0m) and Zemura (5.0m) both lack the ability to head the ball away, best typified by the goal scored by Dara O’Shea (6.0). This could be a huge problem when facing more physical sides that like to go long or put the ball in the box. West Brom are obviously a good side on the attack, but Bournemouth will need to show greater improvement defensively, which probably starts with a new man in goal.
We know just saying “xG” will make a lot of people roll their eyes, but Blackburn’s xG of 4 against Swansea in Gameweek 1 was monstrous. It should be mentioned that this does include a penalty that was well dispatched by Chile’s finest, Ben Brereton Diaz (8.0m), but it also shows that their attack could be something to watch going forward.
This all happened without Adam Armstrong as well, with Sam Gallagher (7.0m) right, Brereton Diaz left and the real surprise of Tyrhys Dolan (6.0m) playing through the middle. It worked really well against Swansea, who admittedly had only had their new manager Russell Martin for about six days, and they could be really good GAFFR assets going forward.
The promoted sides experienced very mixed results in the opening weekend. The standout positive result was Hull beating Preston 4-1 away from home. The real class of the team looked to be the much hyped Keane Lewis-Potter (6.5m), who could be a really strong performer going forward for Hull and GAFFR managers alike. Josh Magennis (6.1m) looked good leading the line, with the other much discussed player, Mallik Wilks (6.5m), much less involved. It remains to be seen how much this continues for Hull, but it was a great start to life back in the Championship.
At the other end of the spectrum was the rude awakening Peterborough received at Kenilworth Road, losing 3-0 against Luton. The man who took most of the headlines in this game was Luton summer signing Fred Onyedinma (5.6m), who pocketed a goal and two assists. Many GAFFR managers will have been pleased to see one of those assists go onto the head of Elijah Adebayo (6.1m) and will be hoping that is a sign of things to come! From the Peterborough side of things, they will surely be worried after this game. They didn’t make much of a dent in the Luton defence throughout. Jonson Clarke-Harris (6.0m) didn’t look up to speed yet, presenting GAFFR managers with a very interesting dilemma on Peterborough’s main man.
In the middle of these two were Blackpool, who managed to grab a late point in added time against Bristol City. Bristol City had edged the game, leading through Chris Martin (6.5m)’s goal, so will be disappointed to have conceded a 93rd minute equaliser to Shayne Lavery (5.1m). This first showing from Blackpool suggested that they are going to make life difficult for opponents in the Championship, it just remains to be seen whether they can pick up enough points along the way. Of note for managers is that anticipated 4.0 hero Demetri Mitchell (4.0m) was unavailable, but Reece James (4.0m) (not that one) was a 4.0 defender playing in midfield for Blackpool at the weekend, so a new hero may have emerged.
Probably the biggest result here was Stoke getting a 3-2 win against Reading. For Gaffr managers, this game will also probably have decided whether you had a good gameweek or not, with the two main returners in this being Nick Powell (8.0m) and John Swift (6.5m), each with multiple returns in that one. Also of particular note were the two assists for Stoke wing back Tommy Smith (5.0m).
QPR and Millwall played out a 1-1 draw in their meeting, with Millwall’s main man Jed Wallace (10.0m) opening the scoring before a fantastic goal from QPR defender Rob Dickie (5.0m) earned them a point. Ilias Chair (7.5m) missed out with illness for this game, so it will be interesting to see who misses out for him to come back in.
Cardiff and Barnsley also opened up with a 1-1 draw. Marlon Pack (4.6m) opened the scoring from a Ryan Giles (4.6m) corner, before Toby Sibbick (4.6m) found himself marauding up the pitch and finishing well enough to make you briefly forget that he is a centre back. Kieffer Moore (10.0m) and Sean Morrison (6.0m) didn’t start for Cardiff in this game, but did get significant minutes in the Carabao Cup in midweek.
Middlesbrough managed to nick a point away at Fulham for a good start to their season. Marc Bola (5.5m) got the goal after Harry Wilson (9.5m) had got the opener for Fulham.
Finally, any playoff hopes for Forest got off to a rocky start with a 2-1 defeat to Coventry at the Ricoh Arena. Forest took the lead through Lyle Taylor (7.0m) after brilliant play from Brennan Johnson (5.6m). Coventry equalised through Viktor Gyokeres (5.6m) before winning it in added time through captain, and potential 4.1 hero, Kyle McFadzean (4.1m).
Obviously there is some concern around some of the big names who blanked or were no shows in Gameweek 1. These include Aleksandar Mitrovic (11.0m), Kieffer Moore (10.0m), Karlan Grant (9.5m), David McGoldrick (9.0m), Lys Mousset (8.0m), Charlie Austin (9.0m) and Grady Diangana (9.0m).
The key thing here is that it is just one week. Anyone thinking of getting rid of Mitrovic should bear in mind that he is one of the best captaincy options against Huddersfield this week. Moore got 90 minutes in the cup in midweek. Austin was playing against one of the best defensive sides in the league. Grant and Diangana have Luton this weekend.
The only concern here would be Sheffield United. McGoldrick basically played left mid, while Mousset picked up a hamstring injury that will rule him out for 4-6 weeks. The main advice would still be to keep your transfers in your pockets where possible.
In terms of captaincy, the best options this week look to be: Wilson/Mitrovic vs Huddersfield, Collins/Moore vs Blackpool, Grant/Robinson/Townsend vs Luton, Nick Powell vs Birmingham, or even John Swift vs Preston.
Enjoy Gameweek 2, we’ll see you again for Sunday’s pod and back here next week!