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Christmas Fantasy Football update: part 1

We love a bit of Fantasy Premier League. So much so, we made our own CALM FPL League. With all the Christmas fixtures, injuries and suspensions fast approaching – we decided to ask some pals-in-the-know for their top FPL tips.

 

CARL ANKA – WRITER, PRESENTER, MUFC FAN

1. How is your Fantasy Premier League season going so far?

Interesting… I recommend all FPL managers to check out the work of George Osborn (no, not that one, @GeorgeOsborn) and his work on @TheDeepLyingPod, a podcast for fantasy football. Going off his advice, I’ve had some Very Good weekends where I double the average… but I’ve also had some terrible weekends when I overthink and end up with someone like Pedro as my captain. I’ve already played my Wildcard, hoping for a late charge up the table come the end of the season.

2. We’ve got some weird and wonderful team names in the CALM League. How did you arrive at yours?

It was an old University joke that got mildly out of hand. Back in my first year in 2009, I’d often set up a bad football pun for a night out, “It’s going to be a proper Lionel night out./What, Ritchie?/No mate, Messi”. One night someone said we’d be out Hunting for Banterlopes and it’s stuck with me ever since.

While I’m here, I should say my friend @tomvictor is the master of the footballing pun (Tom features in Part 2 of our Fantasy Football update…)

3. Who has been your player of the season so far?

Heh, people who follow me will know I tweet my FPL saviours week to week. Lukaku has normally kept me sweet in the past seasons, but now Salah is my new friend. Which is odd to say as a Manchester United fan. Oh, and Ben Mee and the Burnley back four are amazing for getting clean sheets and costing next to nothing.

4. As we approach the busy festive fixture period, which player are you hanging your hopes on to get points in the bag?

Festive football is where you have to factor in rotation: for that reason I tend to stay away from Manchester City players because it’s so hard to figure out what Pep may do next. When picking your FPL XI, a good basic rule to have is to have 1 defender who’s probably going to get a clean sheet, one midfielder who’ll get an assist and 1 striker who’ll score. Add that all up and, oddly, I’m plumping for Marcos Alonso? He can create, he can shoot and he’ll play a bit through Chelsea’s relatively easy Christmas fixture list. Game on.

5. Christmas can be tough sometimes – aside from FPL what do you normally do to keep spirits high and get through the festive period?

It can be hard to “feel pressure” to have fun and be friendly during Christmas time. All the adverts and television shows are about being cheery and being loved, if you don’t necessarily feel in that headspace at the time, you can feel like an outsider.

My advice is to spend the festive period spending a little time doing “your version of nothing” – it could be re reading a book you enjoy, or watching an episode of the Simpsons for the 34th time. Take the pressure off having the perfect TV advert version of Christmas and just spend 2 hours doing the lazy thing *you* enjoy doing… then see if anyone wants to join you in doing it. Get some mates round for a mass present wrapping thing. Check out if a local volunteer place doesn’t need someone to come in and just sit with someone elderly and play puzzles. You’re never alone as much as you think you are at Christmas. Take some time to enjoy the nothing with friends.

 

RKZ – SINGER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, LIVERPOOL FAN

1. How is your Fantasy Premier League season going so far?

Not bad, but not that great either. I’ve had days of brilliant results, and ones that have *almost* made me want to throw my phone out the window.

2. How did you arrive at your team name?

My team name is relatively boring compared to some belters I’ve seen (Show Me The Mane, anyone?) Mine is called Los RKZ. RKZ (pronounced Ricks) being my stage name, and Los taken from Real Madrid’s Los Galacticos. I created the team when I was in full-blown obsession mode over how incredible that team was (Ronaldo Fenomeno, Beckham, Zidane, Figo, Raul, Roberto Carlos…!) Lack of creativity and time meant that a few years on, the name still remains!

3. Who has been your player of the season so far?

As I expected, Big Mo Salah. Being a staunch Liverpool supporter aside, I was actually a fan of his since his days at Basel. It was gutting to see him head to Chelsea when we were in the market for him, but you just knew one day he’d be at Liverpool. Safe to say, his debut season hasn’t been too bad.

4. As we approach the busy festive fixture period, which player are you hanging your hopes on to get points in the bag?

Salah without doubt. I was tearing my hair out when Klopp took him off against Everton. Even with the quality we have in attack, it just doesn’t work as well when Salah isn’t part of it. Additionally, David de Gea and Pascal Groß have been consistent.

5. Christmas can be tough sometimes – aside from FPL what do you normally do to keep spirits high and get through the festive period?

The wonderful thing about Christmas is the warmth and excitement of being around family and friends. I like to keep myself surrounded with people I care about – nothing else really matters when I’m there. It’s usually the straight-after-Christmas-dip which is usually more difficult. Where I can, I try to do more of what I love and ensure I appreciate those particular moments, and not think about anything before or after that moment. Whether that’s walking to my local coffee shop in the morning, to browsing Twitter, to hanging out with my loved ones, working, or watching Family Guy. Whatever I think will work for me at that present moment in time, really.

 

JONNY SHARPLES – WRITER, CREATOR OF IVICA STROK, NUFC FAN

1. How is your Fantasy Premier League season going so far?

Good question, I have a habit of picking my team and then forgetting to check it and this season was no different. Unsurprisingly, this tactic hasn’t served me well and I currently sit 175th out of 194. I still have Grant Hanley in my side and he left for Norwich City in August.

2.  How did you arrive at your team name?

I wanted a Newcastle United based team name but I don’t have the best imagination or wordplay ability so I had to settle on Dumb & Dummett, which highlights my poor punning. Gayle Force 9, Ritchie Rich, Chicken Atsu Curry… Yeah, awful.

3. Who has been your player of the season so far?

Harry Kane has been my biggest scorer, but to say I picked my team at the start of the season and haven’t checked it since I made a smart choice to get Kevin De Bruyne in early doors. Not that it’s helped at all.

4. As we approach the busy festive fixture period, which player are you hanging your hopes on to get points in the bag?

Certainly not Grant Hanley. I’ll be honest, I think whoever I pin my hopes on, it’s probably too little too late. Perhaps I can aim for the top 100. Or 150. Or 175.

5. Christmas can be tough sometimes – aside from FPL what do you normally do to keep spirits high and get through the festive period?

I watch Muppet Christmas Carol and argue with my family that it’s a better Christmas film than Elf or Die Hard; spend time with friends, share in memories of the year gone by, and try and dress my cats in Christmas costumes.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of CALM’s Christmas Fantasy Football update…

CALM’s free, confidential, and anonymous helpline and webchat are open every day, 5pm – midnight. If you need support, or know someone that might, more information is available here.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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