It’s been a hugely entertaining first couple of weeks in the Championship, with just one 0-0 game over the 24 fixtures, which have seen upsets, penalties, reasons to be relieved for some, as well as causes for concern for others.
EFL Championship Fantasy Top Point Scorers
|Hernandez||Leeds||Midfield||£11.5||21||Taylor||Charlton||Forward||£9.5||20||Hutchinson||Sheff Wed||Defender||£4.5||18||Pedersen||Birmingham||Defender||£5.0||17||Gallagher||Preston||Midfield||£7.5||16||van der Hoorn||Swansea||Defender||£5.0||16||Phillips||WBA||Midfield||£8.0||15||Jacobs||Wigan||Midfield||£6.5||15||Bryan||Fulham||Defender||£6.5||14||Lawrence||Derby||Forward||£8.0||14||Grant||Huddersfield||Forward||£10.5||14||Bowen||Hull||Forward||£11.5||14|
Leeds United maestro Pablo Hernandez tops the charts so far with 2 goals, 1 assist and 5 bonus points making up his 21 point total. Charlton forward Lyle Taylor hit the same stats but comes in at 20 points with midfielders gaining an extra point for goals.
Defenders have proved their worth in the game already, with Sheffield Wednesday’s Sam Hutchinson coming in at third place with 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 bonus points and 1 clean sheet making up his 18 points.
In fact, 3 of the top 6 are defenders with Birmingham City’s Kristian Pedersen (1 goal, 1 clean sheet, 3 bonus) coming in 4th and Swansea City’s Mike van der Hoorn (1 goal, 1 clean sheet, 2 bonus) coming in 6th with 17 and 16 points respectively.
They are sandwiched by Preston North End midfielder Paul Gallagher, who racked up 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 clean sheet and 3 bonus for 16 points.
West Bromwich Albion’s Matty Phillips and Wigan Athletic’s Michael Jacobs both sit tied on 15 points with 1 goal, 1 assist and 3 bonus points, both from midfield.
Another defender, this time in Joe Bryan of Fulham, enters the chart with 14 points, earned from 1 assist, 1 clean sheet and 3 bonus points.
Next, all weighing in with 14 points, are popular forwards Tom Lawrence (Derby County) and Karlan Grant (Huddersfield), both with 2 goals and 3 bonus points, and Jarrod Bowen (Hull City) with 1 goal, 1 assist and 3 bonus points.
Key Talking Points
Last season’s Premier League bottom three, Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield, were given no welcoming committee as their return to the Championship was met with defeat for all 3 clubs.
Wigan dispatched of Cardiff, Barnsley saw off Fulham, and last season’s play-off losers Derby County beat Huddersfield. The second games week fared better for all three, with Cardiff and Fulham winning and Huddersfield earning a draw at Queens Park Rangers.
However, the games were not without concern, as only a winning goal deep into stoppage time saw Cardiff claim all 3 points, and Huddersfield’s woes in front of goal continue from last season, with both their goals coming from penalties, so far not scoring any from open play.
On the flip-side, the promoted trio of Luton, Barnsley and Charlton all seem to have instantly adapted to life in the Championship. Luton kicked off the season with a well earned 3-3 draw at Middlesbrough before narrowly seeing defeat against Cardiff. Barnsley caused the biggest upset of the opening weekend with a win at home to Fulham before also tasting defeat in the second game.
Charlton have seen the most successful start of all, winning both their games, scoring 5 goals in the process with an abundance of well-deserved confidence.
Charlton also claim a spot in The Underestimated, being one of only two teams to sit on 6 points, with the other being Sheffield Wednesday, who have seen off Reading and Barnsley.
Both clubs have been roundly tipped to be in the relegation dogfight, yet both sit proudly, and deservedly, at the top of the division.
The Set Piece Specialists
Take a bow Luton Town, whose set-pieces have been a constant threat over both games, with three defenders scoring from set-pieces so far. Midfielder Andrew Shinnie saw his deliveries converted by Martin Cranie and Sonny Bradley against Middlesbrough, and amazingly, Shinnie was an unused substitute against Cardiff, with Jacob Butterfield taking his place in the starting 11.
It was Luke Berry who assisted Matty Pearson, proving that the Hatters are a well-drilled set piece team, whoever is on the field.
Also, Preston North End hit 3 past Wigan, with the first from a corner and the third from a free-kick. Even the middle goal was from a dangerous cross from open play, highlighting their threat. Paul Gallagher and Daniel Johnson, both £7.5, were directly involved, with Gallagher hit a goal and assist, whereas Johnson claimed 2 assists.
The Talismen are the players with that bit of creative magic and threat that can win games with a second of brilliance. Thankfully, it also translates well to Championship Fantasy, and even in the first two gameweeks it is clear to see who these standouts are.
Pablo Hernandez of Leeds has produced several examples of his brilliance over the first two games as he lives up to his hefty price tag. Charlton’s Lyle Taylor sits with the same tally, but with a kinder £9.5 price, as he carries on his fine form from last season.
Jarrod Bowen and Tom Lawrence both claim a place in the top dozen points scorers, as does Karlan Grant, who comes with some caution it must be said, as the Terriers problems in front of goal continue from last season, where they scored just 22 times.
Championship Fantasy Transfer Tips
A noticeable omission from the top points scorers is Fulham’s Aleksander Mitrovic, currently sat on just 10 points, contributing 1 goal and 2 bonus points so far. Fantasy managers are shuffling their team to accommodate Pablo Hernandez instead, switching their attentions from forward to midfield.
Unsurprisingly, defenders are also popular transfer targets, with the likes of Sam Hutchinson, Queens Park Rangers Grant Hall and Charlton Athletic’s Ben Purrington all coming in at £4.5 and scoring already. It is perhaps worth noting that no side has kept 2 clean sheets from the opening 2 games, casting doubt perhaps, on the value of the big hitters at £6.5.
Fantasy Divisions Leaders
Gra’s Team sits on top spot by 1 point, racking up 123 points so far. Captain Hernandez supplied 18 points this gameweek, surely a good shout for captain in gameweeks to come. Goals from Ollie Watkins and Aden Flint and a clean sheet from Ethan Pinnock helped rack up the points for a second week running. With just a 1 point lead and 3 red flagged players, it is set up to be an intriguing third week!