Week 4 – 25 Points

And it got worse.

Player Cost % of teams Superhero Status Points
David de Gea 5.5 46.5 8.45 2
John Stones 5.0 31.4 6.28 2
Hector Bellerin 6.5 26.8 4.12 2
Wes Morgan 5.0 24.5 4.90 0
Gareth McAuley 4.7 21.2 4.51 2
Luke Shaw 5.6 25.0 4.46 1
Philippe Coutinho 8.2 30.8 3.76 1
Eden Hazard 10.2 32.3 3.17 1
Alvaro Negredo 6.9 30.5 4.42 2
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.8 60.3 5.11 10
Sergio Aguero 13.0 37.0 2.85
Eldin Jakupovic 4.1 20.5 5.00
Etienne Capoue 4.7 19.3 4.11
Darren Fletcher 4.5 12.3 2.73
N’Golo Kante 5.0 21.1 4.22 2

And I’ve plummeted down the tables. I’m not bottom in any of them, but not far off.

So, let’s make some changes shall we?

Goalies haven’t changed.

My first big decision, and the first time the stats have genuinely upset me. Hector, I’m sorry. You may be fast as anything, but I’m afraid you’re leaving, Kyle Walker is in. I tried my best to prevent this. It’s horrible replacing my own right back, whom I rate above most other right backs in the league, for a Spud. I was tempted to alter my rules so I could have kept Hector by dropping McAuley, but that’s emotion. That has no place in my fantasy system.

My terrible, terribly fantasy system.

The rise of James Collins continues. I am dumbfounded. As you’ll see from the graph below at the beginning of the season, he was wanted by no-one, selected in 0.9% of teams. After I instigated my policy of only tracking the 30 most popular players in each position he fell off the radar.

Until 3 weeks ago that is.


After the international break his stock had risen further, and has continued every week. He is now in 10.1% of teams, making him the 14th most popular defender and given his low price, an FFSS of 2.2 Alexs*.  Based on this rate of growth I confidently predict James Collins to be the most popular defender in two years, being present in 100% of teams by the 23rd Oct 2018. You saw it here first!

So, onto midfield and no real changes to my team. Pogba’s disappearance in the derby last weekend has had him dropped from a large amount of teams. He had been steadily sneaking up to about 15% of teams, reaching a high of 15.7% before the international break. Now he’s only a measly 1.56 Alexs. Even Jermain Defoe has more than that.


In other news Santi Cazorla has finally made it into the top 30 midfielders, with a FFSS of exactly 1 Alex. I’m not saying we’re the same, but…

…technically everyone else is. I don’t decide these numbers!

And up front, Aguero has finally dropped low enough to get dropped. His “brutal” elbow and consequent lack of playing time has given him a score of only 1.8 Alexs. So, who has taken his place I hear you ask. None other than definitely-not-brutal Diego Costa. And so I won’t be accused of being biased, here’s a graph of Aguero’s demise, coupled with the rise of Costa.

slide3So, again I suffer from making too many changes, but hopefully that’ll help dig me out of this hole I’m in. Zlatan stays as captain, and Capoue gets a place in the first 11.

Player Cost % of teams Superhero Status
David de Gea 5.5 46.2 8.40
John Stones 5.0 30.9 6.18
Kyle Walker 5.7 26.2 4.60
Wes Morgan 5.0 23.6 4.72
Luke Shaw 5.6 24.4 4.36
Etienne Capoue 4.8 26.7 5.56
Philippe Coutinho 8.2 28.3 3.45
Eden Hazard 10.3 34.3 3.33
Alvaro Negredo 6.9 30.1 4.36
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.8 63.3 5.36
Diego Costa 9.9 23.7 2.39
Eldin Jakupovic 4.1 21.0 5.12
Gareth McAuley 4.7 23.4 4.98
Darren Fletcher 4.5 11.1 2.47
N’Golo Kante 4.9 19.0 3.88



* If you missed my decision to call the units for the FFSS “Alexs” have a look at last weeks entry.


If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking

We got a paper published the other month. In an attempt to increase science on here, and improve my ability to talk about complicated matters I’m going to do explain it to you dumb-dumbs.*

So, muscles can spit out a bunch of stuff; these are called myokines. When you do exercise your muscle starts spitting out more things. Some of these then move throughout your body and have positive effects elsewhere. This is one of the reasons why exercise is good for you.

In Type 2 Diabetes, your muscle becomes worse. It becomes insulin resistant, and stops taking up glucose after insulin stimulation. Skeletal muscle from Type 2 diabetics is weaker, and less able to function properly. So does Type 2 Diabetes affect the muscle’s ability to spit out all that junk? Does it now spit out nasty things?

Hell yeah it does! Both times.

We took muscle from people with and without diabetes and grew muscle cells in the lab. (You know those guys who grew a burger in the lab? Ted and Bob basically invented that technique!) We found out that muscle cells from Type 2 diabetics secretes more nasty proteins, and that a lot of these nasty proteins are high in the blood of the same folks. A lot of these myokines are pro-inflammatory, which you can imagine are usually the bad guys.

We then treated the cells with some pro- and anti-inflammatory things, to see if that would effect the muscle in different ways. Muscle cells from Type 2 diabetics responded more abruptly to pro-inflammatory stimuli (palmitate and LPS) suggesting that these cells are “primed” by the disease. Another difference was seen with anti-inflammatory stimuli. Using the diabetic medicine pioglitazone diabetic muscle secretes less nasty junk, but oleate, a anti-inflammatory dietary lipid, had a diminished affect.

Take that chumps obsessed with “natural” things over medications, you bags of dummies.

So what does this all of this do? Well we looked at the effect on muscle itself. This called an “autocrine*” effect. So we looked at the two functions of muscle; glucose uptake, with and without insulin; and oxidation of fatty acids. Both of these are diminished in Type 2 Diabetic muscle. Whilst there was no real difference in glucose uptake (apart from pioglitazone increasing it all), the fatty acid oxidation was increased by palmitate and pioglitazone treatment. This is a bit strange as they have opposite effects on myokine secretion.

Now for potentially some more confusing science.

Muscle cells from Type 2 diabetics have higher levels of pro-inflammatory proteins than muscle cells from non-diabetics. When you stick pro-inflammatory stimuli on Type 2 diabetic muscle the cells are already maxed out, whereas muscle from non-diabetics suddenly have increased pro-inflammatory signalling. Conversely, anti-inflammatory stimuli have no effect on the non-diabetic cells as they are already sorted, but muscle from Type 2 diabetics responds properly and the pro-inflammatory signalling is decreased.

So, what have we learnt?

Muscle cells from Type 2 diabetics secretes a whole bunch of nasty things.
Diabetes medication may lower this secretion.
Possibly because they are maxed out on pro-inflammatory pathways.
However, the myokines may not contribute effectively to muscle function.

Does that all make sense? I bet you’re wondering if these myokines have other effects aren’t you? Well they do, and when my next paper gets accepted they’ll do even more.

Today’s quote is from Haruki Murakami

* Or you know, people who don’t care about myokines.

**”auto” for self and “crine” for erm… well I think it’s taken from endocrinology and the endocrine system, basically meaning the spitting out of things, which in turn have an effect. Jeez this is going terribly.

Week 3 – 34 Points

Oh, the pride before the fall.

Player Cost % of teams Superhero Status Points
David de Gea 5.5 46.7 8.49 6
John Stones 5.0 35.1 7.02 1
Hector Bellerin 6.5 27.5 4.23 2
Wes Morgan 5.0 23.5 4.70 8
Kyle Walker 5.6 24.0 4.29 1
Luke Shaw 5.6 23.7 4.23 6
Philippe Coutinho 8.2 31.6 3.85 2
Riyad Mahrez 9.5 27 2.84 0
Alvaro Negredo 6.7 25.6 3.82 2
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.7 55.7 4.76 4
Sergio Aguero 13.1 53.1 4.05 2
Eldin Jakupovic 4.0 18.8 4.70
Etienne Capoue 4.6 13.9 3.02
Darren Fletcher 4.5 13.6 3.02
N’Golo Kante 5.0 22.9 4.58

A terrible week for me, capped off by the fact that my midfielder on the bench did better than those on the pitch. Damn you algorithm!

It’s international week now, so there’s a bit of a lull.

I’ve been tracking the changes, over the last couple of weeks. Alexis Sanchez, Eric Bailly and Eden Hazard are streaking up. Aguero is plummeting, probably due to his ban. But everything is finally looking somewhat consistent. I’ve played my wildcard, and took a 4 point hit last week, so that’s all good for me.

Goalkeepers stay the same. Claudio Bravo is picked by surprisingly few team (0.5% as of writing).

Juan Carlos Paredas has been taken off the game, strange that hey? Not that he’s in my team, but his FFSS was consistently near the top. Spurs’ defenders continue to stagnate and Gareth McAuley has stormed up. So sorry Kylie, you’ve been replaced. Arsenal new boy Shkodran Mustafi has been selected by 0.3% of teams, similar to unfortunate benchwarmer Matthieu Debuchy. Bearing in mind that Hector is Arsenal’s first choice right back and the second most chosen defender (26.8% of teams) it seems even stranger.

Midfielder stay fairly similar. As I said before Hazard has snuck up on me, and has actually replaced Mahrez, with a FFSS of 3.17, compared to Mahrez’s 2.44.  Poor old Mahrez is now below Ross Barkley. Looks like I’m starting this week 4 points down again…

As I mentioned above Aguero’s stock is decreasing. Still he’s ahead of Vardy in 4th place buy a full…unit? I don’t know, do I need to add a unit to my FFSS? Can I call them an Alex? I do love the idea of stating Jamie Vardy is a full Alex below Aguero;  Romelu Lukaku and Wayne Rooney are less than one Alex; together all of Arsenal’s signing this year are only 1.39 Alexes, with Xhaka being slightly worse than Alex.

I bet that won’t get annoying…

Iheanacho is sneaking in with a FFSS of 0.25, only the 29th most popular striker. Zlatan stays as captain with 60.3% and De Gea vice-captain with 46.5%. Apparently the fantasy football folks have picked my team for this weekend. Stupidly (because of the stupid system I set up) Aguero still makes my starting 11.

Player Cost % of teams Superhero Status
David de Gea 5.5 46.5 8.45
John Stones 5.0 31.4 6.28
Hector Bellerin 6.5 26.8 4.12
Wes Morgan 5.0 24.5 4.90
Gareth McAuley 4.7 21.2 4.51
Luke Shaw 5.6 25.0 4.46
Philippe Coutinho 8.2 30.8 3.76
Eden Hazard 10.2 32.3 3.17
Alvaro Negredo 6.9 30.5 4.42
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 11.8 60.3 5.11
Sergio Aguero 13.0 37.0 2.85
Eldin Jakupovic 4.1 20.5 5.00
Etienne Capoue 4.7 19.3 4.11
Darren Fletcher 4.5 12.3 2.73
N’Golo Kante 5.0 21.1 4.22


Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction

I don’t live a hard life. My problems can be loosely summed up as “first world”, or specifically as “where shall I keep all my basses? (especially as one doesn’t have a headstock and I can’t hang it on the wall.)”

So, believe me I don’t mean it lightly when I say stopping biting my nails is the hardest thing I have ever done!

I received a PhD with no corrections, I’ve spent entire nights in the lab, I’ve moved half way across the world by myself, and been mugged at gun point. But all of that was more fun than stopping myself chewing on myself.

It bloody sucks!

I’m getting married in 3 months, and I’ve been told that people like to take photos of your hand for some dumb reason. Also, “[t]here aren’t many habits that hold a worse reputation than nail biting.” Rude hey?

Although, it does mention that nail biters may be healthier. The other week “I F***ing Love Science” shared an article from the journal Pediatrics, suggesting that kids who bite their nails and suck their thumbs have fewer allergies. As a kid I did both of those things, and have managed to kick one of them habits. Probably later than I care to admit…

This report looked at the “hygiene hypothesis” that exposing yourself to a bag of nasties as child improved your immune system in the long run. Specifically by preventing your body from going into overdrive, and causing allergic reactions. Basically that is all your body does when suffering an allergic reaction. At some point your body has decided it hates something, so from now on whenever you interact with this thing you react like a jerk and kick off.

So, what did this report find? Well a third of kiddywinks bite their nail or suck their thumbs, and more girls than boys do both. And more interestingly, that doing this has no effect on the rate of asthma or hayfever. I get hayfever, but not asthma (despite an overzealous doctor deciding I did for about a fortnight.), so it’s no surprise to me that biting my nails doesn’t effect that.

However, biting nails can stop “atopic sensitization.” So what’s atopic sensitization I hear you scream into the abyss. Roughly it’s a hypersensitization in response to skin-prick tests, commonly resulting in eczema or similar skin ailments. You’ve probably seen on TV when House or some other doctor pricks patients’ with various allergens to see what the person is allergic to. In this study they used house dust mite, grass, cat, dog, horse, kapok, wool and a bunch of fungi.

Although they haven’t really examined individual allergens they showed that only 38% of those with an “oral habit” (their words not mine) showed atopic sensitization compared to nearly half of those with no habit. Interestingly, the results are somewhat additive. 49% of kids with no oral habits have atopic sensitization, whilst 40% of those with one habit do. If you suck your thumb and bite your nails only 31% of folks have atopic sensitization.

So, what does this suggest in reality? Can I use this as an excuse to keep biting my nails?

Well, no. Kind of. The study is really short. Also, it showed that biting your nails before the age of 13 can offer long term protection, so I guess I can stop doing it now. Also, I have eczema and an allergic to cats, so thanks a lot shoving-dirty-fingers-in-my-mouth you’ve done nothing for me!

There’s also some evidence that biting nails is a form of OCD, where you become hyper-aware of your appearance. Although it is linked to skin biting and trichotillomania (pulling your hair out) so it’s clearly not improving your appearance. And considering my version of “dressing up” is just sticking a checkered shirt over whatever band T shirt I have on, I don’t think I can use that excuse either.

Also, there’s this Buzzfeed article full of hyperbole to scare you off.

And my fiancée will probably beat me up if I ruin her wedding photos. So left hand I will leave you alone!


Today’s quote is from William S. Burrough.
I am in no way claiming that giving up heroin is as hard as me stopping biting my nails…