The Fantasy Football Scoutcast
Let Mark and Granville sniff out your clean sheets and assist your fantasy football season with a regular serving of stuff and nonsense from the English Premiership. News and analysis is mixed with lively banter between the two bitter mini-league rivals as the pair laugh off a life of mid-table mediocrity.

Low on baubles but big on Christmas hats, the array of headgear in this festive ScoutCast is impressive, at least until you get to Jonty’s flimsy paper effort.

The final episode of 2016 is upon us and it’s a big one as Andy, Granville and the aforementioned Jonty join me to charge headfirst into the final three Gameweeks of the year.

We start by bowing to Andy’s wise man act as he reaps the reward of faith in Ibrahimovic: a gift that we hope will go on giving, as we all belatedly jump on board.

Then we batten down the hatches ahead of Christmas rotation, analyse the 2016 Dream Team and attempt to provide the Fantasy Football’s “secrets of success”. Like we’d know.

Direct download: FFScoutcast_EP209_Baubles.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:31pm UTC

Dare you go 4-4-2 when the crowd go 3-4-3? Perhaps you fancy “going maverick” with a 3-5-2 or even a 4-5-1?

The third option is to “go Granville” and take your hands off the wheel altogether, hoping for the best.

It seems that the latest tactic from my ScoutCast co-host is to induce a bout of amnesia and miss the Gameweek deadline. In doing so, he’s left his captain on Eden Hazard who, as it transpires, is set to miss tonight’s Sunderland trip.

Roberto Firmino, a player widely sold by all ahead of Gameweek 16, is now set to sport Granville’s armband. Surely this ill-fated chain of events can only end one way?

Granville takes time out to talk through his “Ghostship” strategy/tragedy while laying into my 4-5-1 and unshakable faith in John Stones.

Andy and Jonty then chip in as we take on a round of community questions that ask whether we should be selling Liverpool, buying Manchester United and, in a rather exasperated tone, how any of us can justify overlooking Diego Costa.

I respond with a half-hearted argument, which sounds more like a confession of a fatal error. Make your own mind up on that one.

 

Direct download: FFScoutcast_EP208_Shapeshifting.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:50pm UTC

Regrets come hand-in-hand with Fantasy Football – if you get through the season without one, you’re either extremely fortunate or you just don’t care enough. Either way, you’re unlikely to be reading this.

Most of us of come to terms with them, have learnt to ride them out and plough on unscathed but, even I’ve got to admit, Alexis Sanchez’ Gameweek 14 stung a bit.

Thankfully, with Sergio Aguero harbouring his own regrets, the path to sheepishly welcome Sanchez back into the fold is signposted rather clearly.

The Sanchez wounds and the Aguero fall-out dominate this week’s ScoutCast, which also marks a debut for moderator and long-time community member AZ. He steps in with Granville tangled in political red tape to join Jonty, Andy and myself for a lengthy and lively episode.

We gripe about the volatile market, quiver in fear at the idea of the “Titan teams” and, of course, preview the weekend with a scattering of statistics, speculation and pure guesswork.

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP207_Regrets.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:57pm UTC

“All this taking hits, it gets a bit moreish.”

One of my favourite all-time quotes from the ScoutCast arrives in this week’s episode, as Jonty does his best to explain another abject Gamework return.

Struggling with misfortune and misfiring moves, our former resident “dullard” is now resigned to chasing memories from his season – those maverick move successes he can store and take with him for future campaigns.

There’s nothing maverick about my season right now, as I furiously back-peddle on my exit plans and watch Andy and Jonty jump and fall into the no-Aguero abyss without me. Granville tries to talk me over the edge, but I’m not budging.

Elsewhere in this week’s episode, we tackle the Philippe Coutinho injury fall-out head-on, chase our tails on “essential” assets and attempt to settle the Walcott vs Sanchez and Hazard vs Pedro arguments.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP206_Moreish.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:03pm UTC

Turn down the lights and join hands. If we’re actually going to sell a fit Sergio Aguero, we’re doing this together. If we go down, we go down as one.

With 31 goals in 33 Premier League starts, the fear attached to shedding the Manchester City is so great, we all need support before we can commit to packing his bags.

And so, a pact is drawn up in this week’s ScoutCast, as Granville, Jonty, Andy and myself swear to approach the current dilemma unified and as one.

Let’s see if we can actually go through with it.

Aguero and the Harry Kane alternative dominate much of this week’s discussion.

However, we still find time to sample your Gameweeks in “Rough with the Smooth” and tackle some of your other topics raised, including Gylfi Sigurdsson’s rising star, looming rotation risks, while also offering our views on how struggling managers can find motivation for the rest of the season.

The four of us can certainly offer a wealth of experience on that particular subject.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP205_Pact.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:42pm UTC

Frustrated by the international hiatus and with Granville tied up in political red tape, Jonty and Andy tag along as we go hunting to rediscover our Fantasy Football mojo.

Andy dons his Zlatan mask in celebration of a belated brace, as we talk flags - for far too long - tackling the lively break "Hazard controversy" head on.

Premium strikers, price drop bargains, Christmas shopping and the baby imminent table all earn oxygen, as we desperately attempt to brush away the ring-rust and look ahead to Gameweek 12.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP204_Flagging.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:19pm UTC

 

 

We can't quite call it a comeback but it's progress.

Jonty's radical solution to help solve his nosediving season was to throw off the shackles of his traditional dullard ways and start taking transfer hits.

It's working, a 74-point Gameweek is enough to get him back and track and edging towards unlikely respectability. Like a phoenix, dusting himself down and now pondering a rise from the ashes.

Personally, I'm not sure what's more puzzling, Jonty's struggles this season or Andy's determination to cling to Zlatan Ibrahimovic like some muscular, ponytailed comfort blanket. At least Granville was wise enough to get rid after the Swede failed him yet again.

In this latest ScoutCast, we tackle Jonty's reversal of fortune and Andy and Granville's Zltatan woes, before embarking on another round of questions from you, the community.

The Gundoganwagon, Valencia replacements and looming doubts over the Arsenal teamsheet dominate the chatter.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP203_Phoenix.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55pm UTC

Hands up, this ScoutCast is a bit chaotic. 

Signed off work and delirious with man flu, we had to coax Granville to keep him from his sick bed. Fortunately, the fact he had a decent Gameweek helped persuade him. 


However, he did insist on an early kick-off, with no pre-match warm-up. So Jonty and I were ill-prepared and it also meant that, head frazzled by a Lemsip overdose, Granville forgot to lock his children in the cupboard before we started. 


Imagine the horror when they wandered in to hear Granville gloating about Yannick Bolasie.


Of course, you don’t have to imagine – you can join Jonty and myself as we risk contracting Granville’s affliction in order to talk about Fantasy Football for an hour. 


Steered by another round of community questions, we also dip into Stoke assets, the captaincy, attacking defenders and, inevitably, with his transfers out stats climbing quicker than Granville’s temperature, we discuss Aguero’s fading star.

 

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP202_Delirious.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:45pm UTC

The cruel mistress that is Fantasy Premier League.

Jonty has fallen a victim: paying the penalty for a few ill-judged decisions, compounded by a huge slice of bad luck as both Christian Benteke and his captain Sergio Aguero missed spot-kicks in a single Gameweek.

He just can’t buy a break right now, which makes it all the more impressive that Jonty should brave another ScoutCast and risk a bruising hour in my company, along with Andy and Granville.

We’re sure to conduct a full post-mortem on Jonty’s miserable plight, before delving into similar tales from the community in “Rough with the Smooth”.

Then it’s on to your questions as we consign Hull City to whipping boy status, pry into Pep’s potentially failing relationship with Aguero and dare to cast doubt on the Joe Allen bandwagon.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP201_Penalty.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:08pm UTC

So we made it to the double century.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve managed to get this far. It’s even more difficult to believe that folk are still listening.

Episode 200, is, quite fittingly, a rather memorable event.

It’s marked by two extraordinary stories, as Jason Puncheon takes residence in my home and an award-winning legend of British comedy respectfully puts me in my place.

Hearing is believing.

Around that brand of nonsense, we do our best to focus on the job at hand, as we address another bout of your community questions.

Once again we revisit the subject of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with Jonty and Andy still clinging to the fading Swede.

Spurs and Arsenal assets, Payet vs Antonio and the stat to rule them all also get discussed, before we indulge ourselves with a trip down memory lane, recalling our favourite ScoutCast moments.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP200_Milestone.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:14pm UTC