The top five teams in the world were:
1. The Mr. Men: 2573
2. FC Soccer Mullet: 2429
3. Ronnies Rangers: 2422
4. (tie) The Magpies: 2410
The manager for The Mr. Men ran away with the title; however, he and many fantasy managers this season used a tactic that while permissible was not in the spirit of the game. He played all of Segment 2 with QPR defender Gary Borrowdale who was loaned out to League 2 Barnet and never played a Premier League game. That kind of maneuver will likely be blocked next season. Borrowdale was also on FC Soccer Mullet’s roster at the end of the season while Ronnies Rangers carried inactive QPR’s Michael Harriman. The roster for a|jXv- included Norwich City’s George Francomb even though Francomb was on loan to Hibernian.
When good sportsmanship prevails, the keys to fantasy success are selecting the right captain for each week, adjusting rosters to reflect peak player performance, making decisions with your head rather than your heart, and the judicious use of transfers. Factors that are out of a fantasy manager’s control include the bounce of the ball, injuries, and Premier League manager’s selection decisions.
The rosters at the beginning of the season and the final week show how the leading managers adjusted their lineups to come out on top.
1. The Mr. Men’s lineup for Week 1: Hart, Richards, Terry, Riise, Silva, Downing, Moses, Lampard, Captain Rooney, and Holt. His bench: Kenny, Warnock, Enrique, and O’Hara. (67 points)
Mr. Men’s lineup for Week 38: Lindegaard, Kompany, Walker, Borrowdale, Pienaar, VdV, Silva, Ramires, Rooney, Captain vP, and Tevez. His bench: Mignolet, Evans, Jagielka, and Sessegnon. (53 points) Zero remaining transfers and 1.2 million left in budget.
2. FC Soccer Mullet’s opening week roster: Given, Cole, Richards, Lescott, Dempsey, Captain Silva, Nani, Lampard, Rooney, vP, and Carroll. His bench: Krul, Enrique, Morris, and Taarabt. (70 points)
FC Soccer Mullet ended Week 38 with this roster: Given, Walker, Vermaelen, Alcaraz, Evans, VdV, Bale, Valencia, Captain Tevez, vP, and Rooney. His bench: Mignolet, Borrowdale, Miyaichi, and Dempsey. (43 points) Zero transfers remaining and 1.4 million left in budget.
3. Ronnies Rangers began the season guided by heart instead of head, as there was an attachment to the da Silva twins. The Week 1 roster: Hart, Hangeland, Fabio, Huth, Vidic, Downing, Dempsey, Captain Adam, Lampard, Silva, and Dzeko. The bench: Krul, Rafael, Dobbie, and Holt. (60 points)
Ronnies Rangers Week 38 roster: Vorm, Onouoha, Vermaelen, Gary Cahill, Pienaar, Captain Fellaini, Sigurdsson, Bale, Rooney, vP, and Tevez. (50 points) Zero transfers left and 1.8 million remaining in budget.
4 (tie). The Magpies Week 1: Friedel, Coloccini, Samba (never was with the team), Skrtel, Kuyt, Dempsey, Ashley Young, Captain Lamps, Aguero, Bent. Bench: Kenny, Shawcross, Cabaye, and Ba. (41 points)
The Magpies Week 38: Friedel, Vermaelen, Walker, Jones, VdV, Sigurdsson, Yaya, Valencia, vP, Captain Rooney, and Papiss Cisse. Bench: Sorenson, Williamson, Stam, and Ben Arfa. (56 points) Zero transfers left and 100,000 remaining in the budget.
-a|Xv Week 1: Cech, Vidic, Lescott, Enrique, Salgado, Nani, Silva, Walcott, Nasri, Suarez, and Captain Rooney. Bench: Sorensen, O’Shea, Mikel, Kalou. (54 points)
-a|Xv Week 38: Krul, Kompany, Walker, Vermaelean, Moses, VdV, Valencia, Pienaar, Captain Rooney, P. Cisse, and Tevez. Bench: Mignolet, Francomb (out of the league), Gary Cahill, and Dempsey. (50 points) Zero transfers left and 1 million left in budget.
Note: Sir John’s Lads posted 2183 points. While the finish was in the 99th percentile of managers it was a mediocre performance as reflected in worldwide position 1351.
The sneaky way of circumventing fair play aside, we can see that the top managers relied on many of the same players. All five managers had Rooney in the final week. Four had Van Persie, VdV, and Tevez.
When the season began, Rooney was on four of the top five teams, but Van Persie was on only one.
Silva was on four top five teams to start the season but on only one in Week 38.
January transfer Papiss Cisse ended up on two top five teams at the end.
Perhaps the key to success or failure for most fantasy managers this season came during weeks when players had double games. The most notable example came in Week 36 for managers who slipped the armband on Rafael Van der Vaart. He returned 44 double points in two matches.
Clint Dempsey, Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Sergio Aguero, Joe Hart, and Tim Krul were probably among the most consistent fantasy players for the season, while Papiss Cisse made the biggest immediate impact.
Disappointments included Kuyt, N’Zogbia, Carroll, Torres, Adam, Tim Cahill, Bale, Nani, Modric, Balotelli, Tevez (for his snit and going AWOL), Nasri, and Suarez (for his long suspension).
Sir John will continue to push for a system that allows fantasy budgets to increase or decrease based on player values throughout the season. Roster selection for the 2012-2013 fantasy season begins in early August and we kick off another great time of fun on Saturday, August 18.