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.

Overthinking? It’s what we do – don’t dare ask us to stop.

Particularly now that our heads are swimming with thoughts of blank and double Gameweeks. All those variables, all that planning and strategising: we’re in our element.

Once again, thanks to another bout of community questions, Jonty and Andy join me for another ScoutCast dominated by chatter surrounding our tactics and transfers approaching the missing fixtures.

We break off to nominate the new Premier League whipping boys, while we also ponder whether to proclaim Sigurdsson as “essential”, revisit Coleman vs Baines and assess whether the blanks are reason enough to be rid of Alexis Sanchez.

For my money, that’s one decision that requires very little thinking.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP213_Overthinking.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:53pm UTC

And so it begins. This is our time – the period of the season where the hours of planning and strategising lay the foundations for big hauls to come.

Blanks and double Gameweeks are looming, and we’re clearing our heads in preparation to embrace the variables and manoeuvrings they present. We’re not sure if we’re going to be able to fully exploit them, but we’re certain that, should we fail, it won’t be for a lack of planning.

Guided by your questions, it all starts here, in this latest episode of the ScoutCast, where Jonty and Andy join me to pick through the early “known unknowns” and lay down the groundwork.

Elsewhere in the episode, we overcome Jonty's "cow on the line" incident to embark on some formation dancing; considering the shift back to 3-4-3 and, once again, entertaining the idea of a big spend in defence.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP212_Forearmed.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:01pm UTC

It’s quite ironic that, in an episode that focuses on our experience and strategies of mini-league management, my long-term rival on that score goes awol.

Granville is waylaid by “homework” and misses out, but Luke crashes in mid-cast to join Jonty, Andy and myself as we deliver an 80-minute episode which includes our dubious insights on navigating a team to mini-league glory - mind games and all.

Once again guided by your community questions, we take on the Diego Costa fall-out, the rising stock of Spurs on form, and Everton on fixtures, while finding time to wade in on the demise of darling Sergio Aguero under the stewardship of Pep Guardiola.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP_211_Beleaguered.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:44pm UTC

Back for 2017, partially refreshed and braced for the season run-in, the ScoutCast returns to herald a new leader in the Fantasy Football Scout Hall of Fame.

With the legend that is Vile Ronka toppled, Granville, Jonty, Andy and myself start by doffing our cloth caps to the brand new leader Jay Egersdorff.

An advocate of the 3-5-2, Jay provides the springboard for the episode’s big discussion, as we revisit the merits of a formation change to a “power five” midfield, while considering a big spend on a four-man defence.

Your community questions supply the rest of the ammunition, as we chew over rising stars Alli, Giroud and the fading stock of Hazard and Aguero and, against better judgment, we even touch on Nyomgate until Jonty pulls the plug.

Direct download: FFScoutCast_EP210_refresh.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:19pm UTC

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