Sunday, August 7, 2011

English fantasy soccer - and not the EPL

It's good to see you again, fantasy football.

No, not the NFL (looking forward to that, too). The other kind of football.

The English season started this week in the lower leagues - the Championship, League 1 and League 2, which are the divisions below the Premier League that commences next weekend. I did my part to celebrate by joining a Championship (second division) fantasy league - Texaco Fantasy Football - for the second straight year.

The terms and conditions say I'm eligible to participate in the contest despite being all the way in the United States. The prizes are great, but I don't know if I can even win them.

Still, here I am, looking forward to seeing what happens. It's a game I enjoy playing.

I think I picked a solid starting XI to start the Championship campaign - GK Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City), D Curtis Davies (Birmingham), Jason Shackell (Derby), Craig Cathcart (Blackpool), Ian Harte (Reading), MF Kevin Nolan (West Ham), John Eustace (Watford), Gary McSheffrey (Coventry), Ryan Tunnicliffe (Peterborough), F Frederic Piquionne (West Ham), Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff).

Nolan is the best player in the division, coming down from Newcastle. Davies seemed on track to be a consistent England international while at Aston Villa before injuries derailed him a bit. Earnshaw is a proven goal scorer playing close to home in Wales.

So will this group net me prizes I may not be able to claim? We'll see, but so far so good. Davies and Shackell both scored goals Sunday, and Schmeichel recorded a shutout.

(Watch Championship managers react to the opening weekend HERE.)

I don't know if I'm bound for Wembley, but I'll give it a go.

- Chris Lillstrung


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