A weekend of consistency all round, bringing with it both the good and bad for both Championship and Fantasy managers alike, as the same old problems linger.
We look at the highs and lows of Gameweek 8, as the top hitters hit blanks, while others hit a brace, some teams are punished for not taking their chances while all the stats say they should be, and while a running streak continues at the bottom, there is light, perhaps, at the end of the tunnel…
Top Point Scorers
|Johnson||Preston||Midfield||£7.5||56||Cavaleiro||Fulham||Midfield||£9.0||51||Swift||Reading||Midfield||£6.5||49||van der Hoorn||Swansea||Defender||£5.0||47||Borja||Swansea||Forward||£7.0||47||Woodman||Swansea||Goalkeeper||£5.0||47||Walton||Blackburn||Goalkeeper||£4.5||45||Phillips||WBA||Midfield||£8.0||44||Williams||Blackburn||Defender||£4.5||43||Taylor||Charlton||Forward||£9.5||43|
It was a quiet week for the top point scorers with no goals, assists or bonus points for Daniel Johnson, Ivan Cavaleiro or Borja Gonzalez Tomas, with Blackburn defensive duo Christian Walton and Derrick Williams also not keeping a clean sheet.
Lyle Taylor missed out again due to injury.
Reading midfielder John Swift moved up to third in the table after his second goal of the season and 2 bonus points took him to 49 points for the season.
Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn and ‘keeper Freddie Woodman earned a clean sheet and Woodman 2 bonus points to earn 4th and 6th place in the top 10.
WBA midfielder Matty Phillips hauled 15 points from 2 goals and 3 bonus points to take him to 8th place, the first time he has been in the top 10 all season.
More Frustration for Leeds
Leeds sit top of the Championship on goal difference after 8 games, yet it was the manner of the game that left manager Marcelo Bielsa once again frustrated at full-time, as the West Yorkshire club failed to finish off their chances and superiority in every department.
With over 63% possession and Derby failing to register a shot in the first half, it took an own goal for Leeds to go 1-0 up and an injury-time equaliser for Derby to level the game which should have been put to bed long before.
From a Championship Fantasy perspective, statistically Leeds are doing everything right, having created the most chances throughout the season, Patrick Bamford (£9.5) the player having had the most shots and joint-most on target, but are currently frustrating Fantasy managers as we are faced with the difficult decision of whether to keep faith in their assets or not.
A Similar Story of Frustration
Much like Leeds, Fulham are a club that are doing it all right on paper but not in actuality. The Cottagers have had the most successful passes, most successful passes in the opposition half, most chances created, most shots on target, highest passing percentage, highest average possession and top two players with the most successful passes in defenders Tim Ream (£5.0) and Alfie Mawson (£6.0).
However, they sit only in twelfth place and drawing the last three. Ivan Cavaleiro is the standout performer with 3 goals, 3 assists and 8 bonus points, yet like Leeds, we are faced with the tough dilemma of whether to keep the faith in a team that shows so much yet fails to deliver.
The Unbeaten V The Winless
Going into Game Week 8 West Brom were the only team without a loss so far this season, and they welcomed one of only two teams without a win, Huddersfield Town, to the Hawthorns.
It was the visitors who went in at the break 2-1 up, and deservedly so, as the Cowley Brothers influence is showing through, bringing some much needed confidence and cohesion to the winless Yorkshire side. However, all their previous issues came to surface in the second half, as 3 goals swung it for the home side to romp home 4-2 winners to keep their unbeaten record intact.
Town forward Karlan Grant (£10.5) netted his fifth goal of the season and with a favourable run of fixtures ahead, including Millwall (H), Stoke (A) and Hull (H), to keep him firmly in our thoughts, despite the Terriers disastrous start to the campaign.
Queens Park Rangers
QPR moved up to fifth in the table after a fourth straight win, after seeing off Millwall 2-1. Forward Nahki Wells (£9.5) netted a brace for the second week running to join strike partner Jordan Hugill (£8.5) on 5 for the season.
Running the show in midfield is Eberechi Eze (£8.0) who has 3 goals and 2 assists, and after 8 games they had scored the joint most of goals with 14 along with Preston North End.
However, it is a different story at the back, as the Londoners are yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
Reading sit 20th in the league after their third straight defeat, yet midfielder John Swift proved to be a source of consistency as he netted his second of the season to go alongside his 4 assists to move into the third top points scorer slot.
After failing to register a return in the first 5 games, Blackburn’s Bradley Dack (£11.0) has now netted a goal in each of his late 3 games, with Hull City’s Kamil Grosicki (£9.5) sharing identical stats.
To go one better, the highly unlikely candidate of Wigan defender Cheyenne Dunkley (£4.5) has netted 3 in his last 2 games.
As highlighted, Leeds and Fulham assets are slowly being shipped out in favour of lower priced players who are hitting form. Higher priced players like Pablo Hernandez (£11.5) and Patrick Bamford of Leeds and Aleksander Mitrovic (£12.5) of Fulham are being replaced by Preston’s Daniel Johnson, as well as the mentioned Swift, Dack and Grosicki and Hull teammate Jarred Bowen (£11.5).
League One frontrunner is Lister with 115 points after captain Nahki Wells supplied 24 points. League Two leader is also 3 points clear as Trebus collated 117 thanks to Matty Phillips 15 points, Charlie Mulgrew’s (£6.5) 11 points and 7 from Grosicki.
In League Three and Four Kipper84 leads the way in both, with a total points of 120 as his captaincy choice of Dack brought home 18 points.
Going into Game Week 9 the thoughts of Championship Fantasy managers is firmly on whether to stick or twist with Leeds and Fulham players. Plenty have already made changes, with just as many holding on for now.
Fulham kick off the weekend action on Friday night as they entertain Wigan Athletic, while Leeds travel to Charlton on Saturday at 3pm.