14/15 Fantasy Premier League: Week 2 Recap

giroud3months

F*ck.

It certainly does not bode well for the year ahead when your only natural centre-forward gets injured in the second match of the season.

While Giroud (@_OlivierGiroud_) was in obvious pain after blocking a Sylvain Distin (@sylvaind15tin) clearance, I don’t think anyone was fearing the worst.

And yet, the latest reports are saying Giroud will not play again in 2014 after suffering a fracture to his ankle.

After all the talk of Shad Forsythe arguably being our signing of the summer, he is certain to be a busy man with the likes of Mikel Arteta (@m8arteta), Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs (@KieranGibbs), Theo Walcott (@theowalcott), Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry), Abou Diaby (@AbouVDIABY), David Ospina (@D_Ospina1), and now Giroud all requiring a substantial amount of time on the treatment table.

After the most positive start to a transfer window in quite some time for Arsenal (@Arsenal), we are back to asking ourselves those all-too-familiar questions about the quality of our reinforcements and the overall depth of our squad.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

News pertaining to the severity of Giroud‘s injury won’t come until after today’s Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) fixture versus Besiktas (@Besiktas).

Speaking of Besiktas, who do we play up top today?

The most natural choice would seem to be new marquee signing, Alexis Sánchez (@Alexis_Sanchez), although if his start leading the line against Everton (@Everton) over the weekend told us anything, it’s that the £35m man still needs time to acclimate himself within a Premier League (@premierleague) side, as well as a role differing from his natural “out-wide” position.

Speaking of acclimation, the same can be said for the newly recalled Joel Campbell (@joel_campbell12). Despite a terrific World Cup performance, no one expected the 22-year old to walk into the squad as a number one attacking option.

Podolski (@Podolski10) – who only a few days ago looked all but certain to be leaving the Emirates - will not be going anywhere now, though he is another example of a player who has looked clumsy when forced into a target man role.

Once again, Gooners are left looking towards Mr. Arsène Wenger to see if he has any tricks left up his sleeve.

It’s no surprise to see many outlets reporting that Arsenal are unlikely to sign a new striker – that seems to be par for the course in North London.

For whatever reason, the striker position hasn’t appeared to be a priority area in the mind of the manager for several years now.

Of course, that hasn’t prevented the press linking us with everyone from Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao (@FALCAO) to Loïc Rémy and Danny Welbeck.

In all honesty, they each appear to be unlikely targets for various reasons, although Twitter was ablaze last night with a rumour that PSG (@PSG_inside) had accepted an Arsenal bid for Cavani

cavaniarsenal

 

To make matters worse, we will be without Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) today after receiving two very harsh / ridiculous yellow cards during the first leg in Turkey.

I can’t predict what the XI will look like but I imagine that Sanchez will feature up top once again.

Wenger seems to have faith that this will work in the short and long term so all we can do is put faith in the manager and his continued insistence upon Playing the Right Way ™.

Onto the fantasy!

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OFFICIAL

1415fplwk2

Overall Points: 109

Global: 404,543 (Last week: 834,302)
Fans of Arsenal: 25,442 (Last week: 47,847)
Canada: 3,984 (Last week: 7,542)

Private League I: 3/9 (10 points out of 1st)
Private League II: 3/13 (9 points out of 1st)
Private League III: 1/3 (28 points clear)

*     *     *     *     *

YAHOO!

1415yplwk2

Total Points: 197

Global: ???
Fans of Arsenal: ???

Private League I: 2 / 6 (21 pts out of 1st)

*     *     *     *     *

I would have had a much better week if I hadn’t entirely neglected a few key Manchester City (@MCFC) players.

In the Yahoo! format, I benched 21 points between Jack Rodwell (@JackRodwell) and Aaron Cresswell (@Aaron_Cresswell).

That’s the second week in a row that Rodwell put up points while sitting on the bench. I’m going to have to seriously consider getting him into the side now that he is likely to earn a ton of playing time under Gus Poyet.

In the official game, I jumped more than 400k places. Have to thank my back line for keeping me in it!

Good signs to be taken but still plenty of work to be done!

See you next week!

And #COYG!!

How did you make out in Gameweek 2???

14/15 Fantasy Premier League: Week 1 Recap

 

eplkits1415

Here we are back again for another season of Premier League (@premierleague) football.

Of course, this also means we have kicked off the annual fantasy festivities.

And, as usual, we start the year off with a host of complaints regarding the latest (annual?) Yahoo! overhaul.

As stated in my previous post, prior to the start of the season, there were a lot “fixes” applied to the Yahoo! format that players were looking forward to: scaling the squad budget back to £100m from £150m, removing the captain’s armband, points reintroduced for winning corners, etc.

However, now that we are through the first week, I have a few questions:

  • Why are some player prices still absurdly high? The last time Yahoo! used a £100m squad budget, they had yet to incorporate a substitutes bench into their fantasy game. With a required 15 player selections per game week, it is a bit ridiculous to see the likes of Rooney (@WayneRooney) and Sturridge (@D_Sturridge) hovering somewhere around £20m after the first week.
  • Why am I unable to view the squads of other players I am directly competing against?
  • Has the global game been removed entirely? I want to know my global rank!

Speaking of global ranks, early in the morning prior to the kickoff for Sunday’s games, Yahoo! glitched out and opened a three-hour window where the prices of a few new additions to the Premier League – including Alexis Sánchez (@Alexis_Sanchez), Diego Costa, and Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) – all dropped to £5m, providing a huge boost to those who were up early and lucky enough to catch it.

Not sure how Yahoo! plans to fix that one but what an utter disaster. If I’m being honest, disaster has become a bit of a Yahoo! specialty of late. They seem to have problems with every one of their games, albeit none as glaring as the ones we suffer playing fantasy football year after year (no handegg).

EDIT: Yahoo! has addressed almost all of my concerns with this blog post. They’ve also created a fix for the pricing errors. Check it out before the start of week 2 or you’ll miss out!!

On the other hand, the official Premier League fantasy game continues to run like a well-oiled machine.

It is, after all, the game that has set the standard, as well as being the model that has turned the Yahoo! game into a total clusterfuck due to poor imitation.

Saying all of that, I definitely didn’t have a great opening week. First week of the season is always the toughest, if you ask me.

Let’s take a look.

*     *     *     *     *

OFFICIAL

1415fplwk1

Overall Points: 53

Global: 834,302
Fans of Arsenal: 47,847
Canada: 7,542

Private League I: 2/9 (6 points out of 1st)
Private League II: 7/13 (10 points out of 1st)
Private League IIITBD in week 2

*     *     *     *     *

YAHOO!

1415y!plwk1

Total Points: 88

Global: ???
Fans of Arsenal: ???

Private League I: 3 / 6 (21 pts out of 1st)

*     *     *     *     *

Not in terrible shape but still work to be done.

It’s definitely going to be a lot more difficult in the Yahoo! game this year – last season was a relative breeze – and the official game gets tougher with each year as the game continues to grow worldwide.

Now: onto the important stuff…

londonisred

keepcalmcoyg

 

Never forget…

How did you make out in Gameweek 1???

Sign-Ups for 2014/15 Premier League Fantasy are Now Open

afcfpl

Me, year after year, minus the goatee.

After a terrific World Cup – certainly the best in many years – we are roughly a month out from the start of the 2014/15 Premier League (@premierleague) campaign!

We all know what that means: it is time to sign up for the fantasy season!

The official and the Yahoo! games are now both officially open for business.

Most fans of the Yahoo! game should be pleased to see that some of their tweaks from last year (read: rip-offs from the official game) have either been scaled back or removed completely.

Gone are the captaincies and the absurdly inflated £150M budgets.

Team budgets have reverted back to a respectable £100M, though this will pose something of a challenge as the substitutes bench will remain this season.

We will also see the reintroduction of the single point earned for winning a corner.

Another significant change that I hear is taking place is that new players who arrive at the PL mid-season will be introduced with proper starting values.

In the past, mid-season squad additions would enter the Yahoo! fantasy somewhere around the £6.7 mark, regardless of their pedigree.

This year, it sounds like introductory prices will better reflect the real-life caliber of the player.

As for the official game, well, that format has set the standard and it remains tried and true yet again this year with no significant changes.

*     *     *     *     *

2014 has been a bit of a tumultuous year for me and due to that, my 13/14 fantasy series fizzled out prematurely.

Seeing as I intend on doing the weekly recaps again this season, I felt it only right to share my previous results.

OFFICIAL

Overall Points: 2197

Global: 300,733
Fans of Arsenal: 13,770
Canada: 2,950

Although I finished the season with my highest ever points total, I was unable to beat my highest ever finish which continues to stand at 270,816th overall.

At one point, I sat inside the top 100,000 and to finish inside of that was my goal for the year.

Looks like I still have some work to do!

*     *     *     *     *

YAHOO!

Total Points: 4325

Global: 2,885
Fans of Arsenal: 638

My goal for the Yahoo! game was to make it within the top 1,000.

I got within it a few times but couldn’t hold on and petered out a bit towards the end of the year.

Overall though, I was still pleased with my performance, especially given the radical changes to the format.

I was mostly satisfied to have finished within the 99th overall percentile for the second consecutive season.

*     *     *     *     *

How about you?

Will you playing fantasy again this season?

Did you follow my recaps from last year?

Any thoughts / suggestions?

Looking forward to another great season of football!

GO GUNNERS!

arsenalpuma

Helmet’s BETTY: 20 Years Ago Today

Limited Edition Blue Jewel Case Version

On this date in 1994, Helmet (@Helmetmusic) would create what would arguably end up as their creative masterpiece.

Whether or not you agree with that statement, it cannot be denied that Betty is by far the bravest and most experimental offering from within their catalogue.

Releasing this album as the follow-up to commercial and critical darling, Meantime, was a straight-up ballsy move.

Perhaps, the degree of confidence the band were operating under at the time is why the album continues to hold up to this day.

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After wrapping up a collaboration with House of Pain (@houseofpain1) for the Judgment Night soundtrack in 1993, Helmet seemed bit by the rap bug.

Drummer John Stanier was already a noted fan of hip-hop music and his familiarity with the genre may have also played a role in selecting producer T-Ray to helm the Betty sessions.

T-Ray would eventually go on to win several Grammy Awards for his production work with Santana and Ozomatli (@ozomatli) but at the time, he was primarily working with the likes of the Soul Assassins crew, cutting a lot of records for the likes of Cypress Hill (@cypresshill) and Funkdoobiest.

Nowadays, T-Ray (legal name Todd Ray) runs a damn freak show that is the subject of its own reality television program. DAFUQ???

But that’s another story…

Not many people are aware that Betty is the album that allowed T-Ray to get his foot in the door of the rock universe.

I guess in a weird way, we can sorta blame Page Hamilton for that shitty Santana / Rob Thomas (@ThisIsRobThomas) song through association.

Given that this was T-Ray‘s first professional foray into rock music, all of his rap hallmarks remain on full display.

The piercing crack of the piccolo-sounding snare, the massive boom of the bass-heavy kick.. it is obvious that Stanier is beating the hell out of his drums on these recordings but it sounds like he’s playing a rap kit from the early 90s (albeit one that doesn’t sound thin as shit).

And his drums really drive this album.

Have a peek at the intro to “I Know” just before it dives into the heaviest thing ever:

Bassist Henry Bogdan, the most unsung (no pun intended) member of the classic Helmet line-up, is also in rare form here, as he seems to be given a lot more freedom to deviate from following the guitar on this record.

He also earned two co-writing credits here, one of them for one of their weirdest songs:

I would also argue that the often buzz-heavy bass tone on Betty is fairly unique, especially for the the genre during the era of the early-to-mid 90s.

Rap music is very bass-and-drum heavy and being rooted in that foundation allowed for other areas of focus to shine as bright as the guitars usually tend to.

Don’t get me wrong – as with all Helmet records, it’s all about the riffs.

But whereas many rock records treat the more percussive instruments as supporting ones, T-Ray managed to spotlight Hamilton, Bogdan, and Stanier as individuals, with each component being no more vital than the other.

Speaking of Hamilton, his jazz training typically comes across by way of odd time signatures and unique bar phrasing on his rock recordings.

But on this record, he introduces an instrumental piece entitled “Beautiful Love” written by Dizzy Gillespie. And then it gets all Helmet-y at the end.

Betty is also notable for being the only Helmet album to employ a wide variety of vocal effects, most notably on “Biscuits for Smut”.

There were a lot of chances taken on this record at a time when the band was being affixed with “next-big-thing” labels and unrealistic expectations from jerk-off record executives like Jimmy Iovine.

Although critics highly praised the effort, it was a commercial flop, with many fans seemingly expecting Meantime II.

When Helmet contributed the Butch Vig produced “Milktoast” (renamed as “Milquetoast” on the Betty pressings) to the Crow soundtrack, it doubled as a teaser single for the forthcoming Betty, due to drop a month after the release of the film.

What resulted was an album created with eyes forward rather than a comfortable attempt at standing still.

Three years later, Helmet would release Aftertaste, an album that was more in line with fans’ expectations.

However, after going so far left on their previous effort, to be constrained by old band tropes proved too much and the band split shortly thereafter.

The band has since reunited with an ever-evolving cast (Hamilton being the only remaining original member) but have yet to produce a work on par with the quality of their 90s output.

Betty has been looked upon much more favourably in hindsight by the Helmet fanbase.

Most likely because they are now able to compare it against the likes of Seeing Eye Dog.

For me, though, it is an album that has stayed in my rotation for two decades now. And I’ve called it my all-time favourite since practically day one.

* Fun fact: the record was mixed by the god, Andy Wallace.

HELMET '94 L-R: Bogdan, Stanier, touring guitarist Rob Echeverria, Hamilton

HELMET ’94
L-R: Bogdan, Stanier, Rob Echeverria, Hamilton

*     *     *     *     *

OtherBetty Videos

Wilma’s Rainbow

Biscuits for Smut 

Crate Diggers: Back on the Map Edition

It's baaaaaaaaaack!

It’s baaaaaaaaaack!

Well, look who it is!

Crate Diggers has returned.. and I have been sleeping!

My bad as it appears that fuse (@fusetv) has taken to posting the full episodes on their own website, with only the teasers being released through their YouTube channel from this point forward.

Given that this development went completely over my head, there are three entries in the series that have dropped since the show went on hiatus.

The unfortunate thing about this is that the free version of WordPress only supports a handful of sites when it comes to video embedding, so from this point forward, I will have to embed the teasers and post a link directing to the episode.

Crate Diggers 2014 gets underway by sitting down with three bona fide underground legends.

Let’s have at it.

*     *     *     *     *

First off, we are privy to a sit down with Chief Xcel (@ChiefXcel), the DJ and producer for the Blackalicious (@blackalicious_) crew.

His collection is so massive, he has now taken to collecting storage units and hiring interns to sort through his crates.

Blackalicious are prepping for the release of their comeback album, Emoni, scheduled to drop very soon.

In my opinion, Nia is one of the best rap albums ever. I would love to hear a return to that sound.

Expectations are high regardless.

To see episode no. 35 in its entirety, click below:
Chief Xcel on Crate Diggers

*     *     *     *     *

In the next episode, Crate Diggers meet up with DJ Qbert (@DJQbert), he of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz and the world famous Rock Steady Crew.

This episode is an entertaining one. In particular, I really dug getting to see his comprehensive picture disc collection.

Qbert has always been a fun dude and it really comes across in this episode.

Enjoy it!

To see episode no. 36 in its entirety, click below:
DJ Qbert on Crate Diggers

*     *     *     *     *

And to conclude, we have the most recent episode with Domino (@hierodomino) of Hieroglyphics (@HieroImperium).

Quite a thoughtful episode, as Domino keeps things old school, speaks upon his pride in the 93 ’til Infinity album, and reveals that the infamous Dante Ross (@DanteRoss) was responsible for his introduction to Del the Funky Homosapien (@DelHIERO).

We also get an impassioned speech pertaining to the value and integrity of vinyl as an audio format.

To see episode no. 37 in its entirety, click below:
Domino on Crate Diggers

*     *     *     *     *

Great start to the new year!

Really looking forward to getting back into the groove of catching a new episode every Wednesday.

To check out the full Crate Diggers playlist, go here.
And follow series creator, Jason Newman on Twitter – @Jasonrnewman