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Pure fantasy as selection policy lets me down

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Dan Walker | 11:59 UK time, Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I had a shocking weekend. The show went well and all the family are fine. But it was bordering on cataclysmic as far as my fantasy football fortunes were concerned.

I promised myself this year that I was going to give it the required amount of attention. In the past, I've spent months with injured players or centre-halves who have long since left the country still in my side. Yet despite my change of attitude, I made the usual mistake last week of completely forgetting to make any alterations until the last minute.

I had finished rehearsing for Football Focus by 1120 BST and was chatting to the editor about how well Wayne Rooney was playing. He said he was tempted to stick the striker in his side even though Manchester United were playing Arsenal. The conversation reminded me that I needed to make adjustments to my already ailing team, so I logged on with minutes to spare before the 1130 BST deadline.

My first mistake was to take the captaincy - and the prospect of double points - from Rooney. To compound that error, I then removed him from my team entirely. "It'll be a 1-1 or 0-0 draw at Old Trafford," I thought. Instead, I picked Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

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My second mistake involved Edin Dzeko. Despite telling my mates he was the man to go with, I decided the Manchester City striker was not going to score at Spurs and instead opted to stay with my safe bet - and cheaper option - of Steven Fletcher of Wolves.

All this despite a pre-season chat with Steve McClaren, who assured me that Dzeko, a player he had managed while in charge of Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, would flourish in his second season in English football. "Now he's settled, he'll bang them in," McClaren told me. "You watch." I decided to ignore that sage-like wisdom and wander my own path, flanked by my travelling companions, Mr Belligerence and Major Ineptitude.

These two glaring misses were compounded by the choice of Nani over Ashley Young and the decision to leave Joey Barton in my side even though he couldn't play. There was other general buffoonery when it came to picking players in other positions and I am already miles off the lead in the various BBC leagues. The apathy that normally kicks in during November seems certain to arrive much earlier this year.

On the subject of transfers, the BBC are trying something different on Transfer Deadline Day. I'll be hosting a show on the BBC News Channel alongside Robbie Savage and Martin Keown at 1830 BST and then again at 2230 BST. It will also go out on BBC World for those of you in far-flung corners of the globe. I've been assured there won't be a ticking clock but feel free to tweet me. Not sure if we'll get a deadline day mega-transfer but there are one or two clubs and individuals well worth keeping an eye on.

Saturday's Football Focus should be top drawer as well. It's international week and we'll be joined in the studio by Phil Neville and David James. Phil has already requested Jaffa Cakes for his pre-show snack. Not sure about David but he looks like a Garibaldi man to me. There will be plenty to talk to them about. If you have a specific question you'd like us to ask, stick it below and we'll use the best ones on the show or in Focus Forum.

For those of you who switched on last week to see cars going around a track in Belgium, you'll also be pleased to hear we are back to normal time on Saturday - a 1215 BST kick-off on BBC One. Also, if you're one of these Fantasy Football genii who always hoover up the points, then feel free to hand out the pearls of wisdom to lesser numpties like me.

As ever, if you have a question about the show, ask away. If you'd like to follow the build-up on Twitter, you can find me at


  • Comment number 1.

    I had both in my fantasy team, what a weekend!

  • Comment number 2.

    I transferred Dzeko out of my team on Friday.. the wildcard is about to be deployed even at this early stage! My usual plan of only picking attacking full backs for my defence is paying off again this year.. you still get the points for clean sheets but you can pick up a wee assist or goal here and there...

    I feel the pain though on the late notice front as my work blocks the fantasy football site now and I cant do my lunch time tinkering.

  • Comment number 3.

    I swapped Nani out for Ashley Young, and my god am I glad I did. What a performance. And my back four including Baines and Jagielka served me very well too. Although I was very disappointed that Reina saw fit to concede in injury time, thus preventing me from topping my league. Clumsy Spaniard.

  • Comment number 4.

    Clumsy Carragher was not Reinas fault

  • Comment number 5.

    Must say very glad that Sagna was injured on Sunday, could of been devastating, all those hard won Dzeko points would of been instantly dwindled!

  • Comment number 6.

    I had Dzeko, Young and Rooney. Defo putting Parker in now he's at Spurs.

  • Comment number 7.

    I was in between picking Dzeko or Carroll as my captain last week.... in my infinite wisdom I picked that big donkey Carroll over Dzeko. Still had a good week as far as my private league goes, up to 2nd from 14th can't complain but could've been so much better!

  • Comment number 8.

    Villas Boas likes Mikel. He has played 90 mins in all games so far this season and was going for the absolute bargain price of £5m leading up to GW1. Now if only he can score me some points......

  • Comment number 9.

    Took Dzeko out for Aguero....may prove a good move but not at the moment....Keep the faith!

  • Comment number 10.

    I hate being negative in comments but this blog seems a bit pointless to me, its office banter and should remain as such.

    How about something on the Supporters Direct situation?

  • Comment number 11.

    Had Dzeko, Rooney, Young (C), Dempsey And Aguero in my squad the weekend. Happy Days ;))

  • Comment number 12.

    One slight cheating tactic for your fantasy football: most people will say you don't want to chase players who have had good weeks - however it is a good way of racking up the value of your team (which will help when you want to transfer in and out further down the line).

    All you need to do is make sure you transfer the players in within a couple of days of their good performance and you'll find, once he's your player, that his value will go up 0.1 - 0.3 million in that week - sneaking a bit more value into your team and making sure you get a bit of value in your team. This is best in the first few weeks of the season.

    You only need to do this 5 or so times a year and you've saved yourself money and made your team more valuable.

    Good luck Dan!

  • Comment number 13.

    dan, dont be so fickle and let the major point scorers of one gameweek alter your thinking.. Carry on picking the best line up for each gamweek you think u will succeed and dont just base it on what happened the previous week.. Suarez at home to Bolton was more likely to get points than Dzeko away at Spurs and Rooney at home to Arsenal..Fletcher will score goals this season but is a little overpriced at 6.5 for my liking.
    The only plus side to being fickle is that if just put in players that have already done well, their values might go up.
    Obviously clear out all the injured players and players who have moved abroad! If your team is a mess, prob best to use your wildcard now..U get another one during the january transfer window so chin up and believe that your selections can be strong for the rest of the season! As Fergie says, as long as you are in touching distance by xmas, u shouldnt have anything to worry about! Its a long season.

  • Comment number 14.

    "10. At 16:22 31st Aug 2011, POW - Right in the kisser wrote:

    I hate being negative in comments but this blog seems a bit pointless to me, its office banter and should remain as such."

    Maybe you'd care to look at the top of the page, where it reads "Dan Walkers Blog?"

    It's definitely football related, and, after all, most of us are in footy pools, no?

    It's also a nice change of pace in that the commentary tends not to devolve into pointless "My club is great, everyone else's club sucks" commentary that dominates these discussions...

  • Comment number 15.

    I usually have an average season with fantasy football. Check it out every week, but don`t have the time or energy to do all the homework. I usually don`t chop and change much unless there are injuries, or consistent low points scoring by certain players. I usually come in the top 30-40 % of teams in the overall standings, not great, but not bad.

    One little tip Dan...opt for an attacking formation, say 3-4-3. This way you can score the most points (as it usually is midfielders or attackers who get the most points).

    Question to David James: Does he still play Playstation (or X-box or something), and do his thumbs still hurt? As he has had a long career, who would he say the most difficult player he has played against was, and which other keeper did/does he most admire?

    Question to Phil Neville: Did he and Gary play Subbuteo as kids, and who won the most? Who used to cheat? Did he (Phil) think playing for England was a waste of time?

    Good blog and Tim Vickery are the masters of the BBC blog universe! All the best with your fantasy team, and keep up the good work (and most importantly of all, keep up with the food references).

    Jossy`s Giants

  • Comment number 16.

    One other fantasy tip...always good to use the wildcards after an international break as there will undoubtedly be some injuries to some player.

    Midweek Sportsnight Live Special with Harry Carpenter

  • Comment number 17.


    I don't dispute that its football related, but these blogs provide a much-read platform for journalists to opine on their chosen topics and in my view there are more pressing issues for discussion in the football world than what someone's fantasy league line-up is.

  • Comment number 18.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Well, you've got to love the people who hate the blog so much that they feel the need to read it, then have a good old whinge about it. Personally, if I don't like something, I give it a very wide berth! Some of you never had mothers that said if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all.

    #19 I think your name says everything about your contribution... nuff said.

    I made the mistake of transferring out Dzeko after the first game of the season, despite him scoring a goal, because I didn't believe Mancini would play him in every match at the start of the season. What a mistake to make! Despite that blunder, putting Ashley Young in my team instead of Nani proved to be a wise decision, and Matt Jarvis did well the previous weekend for me too as one of my more bargain bucket players.

    But for the international weekend, it would have been a good chance to bulk up on players of a single club who've transferred to overcome the 2/3 per club limit.

    Benny Hill

  • Comment number 21.

    Just read #19's other contributions on other blogs - you don't appear to have anything good to say about anyone or anything!

    If you hate Football Focus why do you keep boring the rest of us by constantly telling us? We got you the first time... point made.

    Don Quixote

  • Comment number 22.

    But no.14 armamentarium stultorum, My club is great, and everyone else's club does suck.

    anyway, for fantasy footy, and i post this here every year, pick defensive partners, example
    chris samba 5.5 mill, salgado 4.5 mill, 1 mill saved and so far more points, hangeland 6.5 mil, hughes 5 mil, same points,
    huth 6 mil shawcross 5 mil, more points

    sgt peppers lonely hearts club band leader

  • Comment number 23.

    Scary how I had the exact same problem in this article. Suarez was captain, rooney was not expected to score... Also, I had Torres as my captain last week, and he was pathetically subbed off on 50 minutes giving me nothing to double at all! Fantasy Football is stressful!

  • Comment number 24.

    No Rooney in my team, but did have Dzeko and Young in there, who made it a high scoring weekend. Szczesny in goal though... and left the captaincy to Ashley Cole which was a bit of a schoolboy error.

  • Comment number 25.

    @ 20 & 21
    I'm a licence fee payer; I'm entitled to give my opinion on the BBC's output.

  • Comment number 26.

    #25 as am I. I don't like Eastenders and could easily cope if it wasn't on, but it doesn't mean I blight any forum about the soaps on the BBC website saying how rubbish I think it is, etc. I just don't watch it.

    Colonel Sanders

  • Comment number 27.

    Don't judge me.

    I once made a cake then threw it away.

    I thought I was blind then realised I hadn't finished putting my jumper on.

    I went for a run and was chased by three cats and a toaster.

    I once wrestled a crocodile, I didn't know why, but as I grappled with that beast, as I squeezed it's neck, as it lashed out with it's tail, I realised, I realised why,

    I loved that crocodile. And deep down I knew it loved me,

    And that's why one of us could no longer be.

    I'm still here.

    Now, now you may judge me.


  • Comment number 28.

    @Eric Morecambe - What I'm trying to say is, I would prefer to see more blog posts on history, lower league grassroots football, finance, culture etc. rather than what passes for water cooler chat in my office.

    This isn't a personal dig at Mr. Walker - I do enjoy reading most of your blogs, Dan - but just a suggestion for future blog topics.

  • Comment number 29.

    I feel for you. I decided it was Torres's time to come good against Norwich and made him my captain instead of Rooney, while swapping Dzeko for Anelka...

    Giving up now

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    I feel your pain Dan, I make the same mistakes each year!

  • Comment number 32.

    @10 and krapp365. Leave it out! As my mum used to say if you got nothing nice to say then say nothing at all. Most of us love a place to banter about the old fantasy footy and since 606 is no longer then I was made up to see this blog!

    Someone should set up a bbc/606 fantasy footy league! I would join but am too lazy to set it up and tout for membership.....

    Also why do some people put film star names at end of comments please?

    So close to bringing in dzeko and mata for torres and sinclair but kept the faith with nando no goals. SOoo gutted as i watched him bang in 4 and mata score on debut. Rooney hatrick helped ease my pain but have given up on torres now so bet u life he scores 5 this weekend!!

    Marlon Brando (even tho i dont know why i like to join in!)

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm in a league with my mates, and once you've picked your team are allowed no transfers till January. One of my strikers is Jermaine Beckford. But I don't want anyone's pity........

    Russ Abbott

  • Comment number 34.

    fantasy football sucks...i really do hate it, I am blessed with horrific managerial decisions. I feel your pain dan, i think the only reasonable solution is to not touch my team for a few months......Which is where i make my point as a friend registered a team...didn't touch it until xmas and found he was top within a group of 20 of us in our mini league. He had Drogba as captain all that time and did not change. As the season went on he changed every few weeks after xmas and found himself in 5th spot at the end of the season! So without saying anymore there is a lesson there somewhere!!

  • Comment number 35.


    David James is a big chap, I'd have him down as a hobnob kind of guy. If you really want to impress you could always go for the ultimate hardcore buscuit -> the chocolate hobnob. Looking forward to Focus on Saturday, should be a good 'un.

    Good luck with the fantasy football. I never have the patience to put the time/effort into those things, and it seems like you suffer from the same malaise.

    Captain Red Beard

  • Comment number 36.

    Dan, I did exactly the same!! Brought in Suarez for RVP this week, was really smug, thought it was a cracking move - put him as el capitan as part of my front 3 with Dzeko and Rooney, then he bottles it!! I also did the Nani over Young mare as well!!

    I always think I assemble good teams then bottle my choices with captains/subs. e.g. i've got wes brown and danny simpson, last week had wes on the bench got like 9 points, simpson had 2 or something, i've alternated between them for all 3 gameweeks and each time chosen the one with the least points!! I've done all right but problem with fantasy is you always think what if...

  • Comment number 37.

    Rooney as captain was as good as I got last weekend. I took a punt with Torres seeing as Chelsea had seemingly easy home games for him to finally flourish with... I think I'll be shifting him for next week, though generally when I do that sort of thing the player starts performing! I've Vorm on the bench all season so far too... why I'm playing Hilario ahead of him I don't know!

    As for my tips: Parker and Adebayor might be one's to watch

  • Comment number 38.

    Ahh this reminds me of good old days of Chris Charles and Robbo's lighthearted blogs where all rivalries were put to the side and banter was to be I miss those!

    I can't explain how frustrated I am at having Aguero instead of Dzeko (had him in Week 1)! Never rated Young but if I'd followed my usual mantra of having set piece Gods in my midfield he'd be straight in...I've no excuse really.

    Tips post transfer window? Arteta, Maloney (on the proviso Wigan actually start him) and Crouchy to rediscover how to score with his head.

    Bob The Builder?

  • Comment number 39.

    Am a bit of a novice at this fantasy football lark, and I feel your pain! It always seems the way that as soon as you take out a player he goes and scores 4 - enter mr Dzeko. But stick with your guns, Suarez is emerging as possibly the best all-round striker in the premier league and he'll come good. Glad to see you don't make the mistakes I do in signing great performers from last season who defenders seem to have got to grips with now e.g. Gareth bale + Andy Carroll.

    Quick question for David James: How did he feel about being dropped by Bristol City the other week?

  • Comment number 40.

    Ok, I have just transferred Suarez in to replace Crouch. I also plan to bring in Young and Cleverley. This is where I am stuck and would appreciate some advice, I can only keep one player from Nani, Modric and Wilshire. Two must go. Who do you think will get the most points?

  • Comment number 41.

    A question for David keepers have a different perspective on how naturally talented or otherwise a striker is? Of those he played against, which striker was the most difficult to get the better of e.g. in a 1 v 1?

  • Comment number 42.

    Well Dan-man,
    I'm a bit out of the loop on the fantasy football discussion. Can't practically keep up the fantasy football from across the pond. Plus I have to work for a living, so I do not have the time....
    David James is a choc. hobnob guy, no doubt about it. Garibaldi are more for your failed rebel type of player. Ok Garibaldi himself was not a failure in what he set out to try to do, but look at Italian politics then and now... I can think of many footballers who fall into this category.

    DAN WHAT WOULD YOU REQUEST FOR YOUR PRE-SHOW SNACK. I'd have you down as a a long thin chocolate coated malted milk biscuit man.

  • Comment number 43.

    Why don't you ask Phil Neville who he will support in Man Utd vs Everton matches after he has retired.

  • Comment number 44.

    Hi Dan,
    question for Jamo:
    where does he keep his England caps? Has he ever worn one? And which hairstyle best suits them?

    Andy Capp

  • Comment number 45.

    Evening all. Sorry i've not been about much
    for comments.

    I'll pop back tomorrow to join in. Krapp365 let me know your beef in a way that doesn't miff the moderators (or someone else just let me know what he said) & I shall try and address it.

    See you soon

    Dr Evil

  • Comment number 46.

    Who is Dr. Evil?
    AND MORE IMPORTANTLY how on earth can a blog about fantasy football and biscuits offend, upset and annoy?
    The blog master told you what HIS blogs was about in the title!! Everything was made clear in advance- so why expect it to be something else (something that you would prefer it to be even though it ain't your blog) and then complain when your preferences are not met?
    Does a guy go to a rugby union game and, buy the ticket knowing it is a rugby union game, and then complain that there are 15 men on the field rather than 13, and they are not handing over possession after the fifth tackle?

    I'm sure that the regular visitors to this blog can be gracious and conciliatory and will respond in such a charitable manner to overdue apologies from the dissatisfied elements.
    Andy Connor, don't you try to be gracious and conciliatory, just stay as you are- we love it.
    Dr Evil's overseas advocate.

  • Comment number 47.

    I have a fantasy league dilemma also. I can make transfers but who to change. It's all so confusing. Also how do I only have 60 points when the leader of the whole league has 200 what does he do to do that. As for andy Connor well your world seems a little weird and wonderful. I wonder what's your view on mongooses

  • Comment number 48.

    Some should give themselves a shake.......

  • Comment number 49.

    I had Rooney as captain with Klasnic up front, midfield of Young,Brunt, Nzogbia and Watson, defense of A Cole, Richards , ward + cahill and shay in goal 103 points, not bad for a liverpool fanatic with no lfc players at fantasy level?

  • Comment number 50.

    Rooney (C), Suarez (A), Long
    A.Young, Nasri, N'Zogbia
    J.Enrique, Cahill, Jones, Woodgate

    Subs: Larsson, De Jong, De Laet, Vorm

    Traded Modric for Nasri, Jagielka for Enrique... Not too shabby though.


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