Three weeks in and we are starting to get a feel for who is who in this league! So what do we know for sure?
- Liverpool are devastating!
- City are very very good but susceptible to the slip!
- Norwich are fun!
- Unai Emery is clueless!
- Who will be the next manager of Watford?
- Will the young players be consistent for Chelsea all season?
- Will United be able to sustain any form with even just a few injuries?
- Will Spurs ever not be so Spursy?
I’ll get into it more in the game-by-game breakdown but, as a reminder, we are only a few games in and we can’t really draw any major conclusions until Christmas time. This is such a long season. Form week-to-week can go up and down so knowing who’s in form and out of form is a key to weekly success. This doesn’t always show up in the stat sheets. That’s what I’m here for.
Let’s get into it by, of course, heading to the desert.
–Southampton +280 2.5 (-115o/-105u)
Man United +110
–Chelsea -290 2.5 (-145o/+115u)
Sheffield United +750
–Crystal Palace +125 2.5 (EVENo/-120u)
Aston Villa +245
–Leicester City -140 3 (+105o/-130u)
–Man City -1200 3.5 (-125o/+105u)
–Newcastle +155 2.5 (+110o/-140u)
–West Ham -115 3 (-130o/+110u)
Norwich City +305
–Burnley +800 3 (+105o/-125u)
Southampton are sitting in a big group of teams on three points for the season but because of goal differential are in 18th place and the relegation zone.I’m starting to wonder if the allure of Hasenhuttle has worn off. Since his initial burst onto the scene, it’s been a steady decline/treading water period. I’m wondering if a tactical shift is in the works should he stick around past Christmas. This matchup in particular is interesting in that both teams will want to pressure the other. I’m not sure why Southampton would be scared of the matchup with Manchester United missing a few starters.
United are 5th by way of their win and draw to start the season. What can only be described as a horrendous loss against Crystal Palace will be felt for the remainder of the season. Three points dropped there. The loss of Luke Shaw at LB likely means we’ll see Ashley Young which is never good. Martial picked up a knock as well. Does Ole look towards the youth? Angel Gomes could be used in place of an ineffective Jesse Lingard. Mason Greenwood could get his first start of the season if Martial misses. United will need fresh legs to continue the pressing style they’ve implemented. Even with injuries, United simply have more talent and are deserved favorites, even on the road. A big United win will get them back on track to reach their goal of top four.
Have Chelsea found their feet under fat Frank Lampard? Norwich are going to give everyone problems and winning a shootout for your first result will give confidence to this young team. Sheffield have set up in a solid defensive block and the creativity of Mason Mount will be a prerequisite to any Chelsea success. Chelsea fans will be relieved to see Tammy Abraham get his goal scoring going after his two goal outburst last weekend. He’ll be needed in the air as well as we are likely to see more crossing than we are used to from a Chelsea team.
Sheffield United, top half of the table …could never be! A win, a loss and a draw to start the season should be seen as a GREAT start. Three goals for with three against. This is the Sheffield way. They’ve scored one goal in each of their three games. No, we haven’t seen them go bonkers yet, but they aren’t really built to do so. Their goal each game will be to be IN the game until the 90th minute. They are conservative by nature and I can see Chelsea getting frustrated in this game.
What a win against United! They looked borderline dead in games one and two and yet pop up with a smash and grab victory on the road. Their road vs home form continues to be one of the biggest oddities in sports today. Back at home but against a relegation contender- will they show out? I get the feeling both teams would be OK with a point. My big question for Palace remains: who is going to score the goals? Ayew took his goal well against United and seems to be the first choice striker. But, let’s be honest, where does he rank next to other starting forwards in the league? Bottom quarter for sure.
Villa are showing themselves to be in the fight to get out of relegation but will face an uphill battle all year. A shock 2-0 win against Everton will have them feeling better about their chances after two straight losses to open the season. Holding court at home is the key but they should see this game at Palace as an opportunity. Villa have scored in each of their three EPL games. McGinn and Grealish are finding their feet in the midfield with Douglas Luiz providing cover behind them. It’s an inexperienced midfield at this level but one that can compete with some teams in the top half for talent. That is where this battle will be won and Milivojevic looked quite old against United.
Leicester top four! Cash your bets. Still early days but they are looking dangerous. One of only four undefeated teams in the league. Tying Wolves and Chelsea aren’t bad results. Beating Sheffield is what they are supposed to do. What do we really know about Leicester at this point? Maddison looks ready for the big leagues. Jamie Vardy is still scoring goals somehow. Soyuncu has slid into Maguire’s spot with relative success. Brendan Rogers is a good manager. They are right where they need to be with a decent set up of fixtures approaching. Bournemouth are there to be had.
Bournemouth stink. They are my least favorite team to handicap. I have no idea what they are going to do from week to week. They have so many players that are the same. One thing we know, Harry Wilson and that left foot are here to stay. What does Harry Wilson do to Ryan Fraser’s value? Hurt it. Fraser hasn’t been as effective from open play either. The tough part with Bournemouth from a DFS perspective is figuring out where you can invest your money. King is on penalties but less involved from open play than Callum Wilson. Wilson is super goal dependent and NOT on penalties. Fraser takes most indirect free kicks and corners but not great from open play. Wilson takes direct free kicks and has open play value AND is typically the cheapest piece. The path of least resistance I guess.
City are going to destroy Brighton. Figuring out which three players to roster will be the tough part. The capture method will be popular here. The great news? We’ll know the team news at lock. Thank God.
OK, the Brighton love fest can stop. Maybe we were premature to totally go back on our preseason notion that Brighton are trash. Now, granted, they aren’t trash. They are ok to bad. They are also trying to build out of the back more and play progressive football. Do they have the players for this? Undecided at this point.
How about that for a result for Newcastle?? To beat Tottenham is what many neutrals will say makes this league so competitive. For us trying to handicap and make recommendations it makes it pure hell! I was all in on Tottenham from a DFS perspective and it killed me but this is about Newcastle. How’d they do it? You ever hear of hit and hope in golf? This was the sit and hope. The battle of London. 20% possession and out shot 18-7. All that matters was the 1-0 on the scoreboard at the end of the game. Can they keep it rolling with a home result over Watford? Early indications are that my little sister’s team can beat Watford and I don’t even have a little sister. Seriously, we need to figure out what’s going on with them. Newcastle will be a bit more progressive at home but I still don’t want to invest my money in their attacking pieces until we see more consistency.
Holy balls, Watford. Javi Garcia has to be on the proverbial hotseat. They’ve scored one goal in three games while conceding seven. They haven’t exactly played a murderer’s row of teams either. West Ham, Brighton and Everton are three teams with major question marks but none bigger than the ones facing this Watford squad. Captain Troy Deeney looks to be on the sidelines for a bit and new boy Sarr scored his first goal in Carabao Cup mid-week. Does he keep his place? If I’m Garcia, I’m sticking with what worked, even though it was against weaker competition. This team should be considered solid in most positions but spectacular in none. That is what they are hoping they bought in Sarr. He and Deulofeu could be the difference makers in the attack but both specialize in coming in from wide. A change in tactics is required.
West Ham are so West Ham to start the season. They are Neapolitan ice cream. You don’t like this flavor? Scoop the next. One win, one draw and one loss. They will probably match these numbers all year and finish 10th like last year. What I love? New boy Haller scoring two goals. Yarmalenko getting some minutes on his legs. Lanzini causing problems. Anderson being impactful. What I don’t like? Antonio sidelined again through injury. Not getting the job done against Brighton. This game has fireworks written all over it.
Norwich are so fun, man. Through three games they’ve scored six goals and conceded eight. I wish more teams had this attitude. You look towards a Newcastle or even worse, Wolves, and all you see are teams just holding on for dear life. What a shitty experience as a fan. Norwich have taken the approach that I’d like to see more often. The “I’m going to line up in how we play and put our best effort forward” is a method I’d love my team to employ. How the result shakes out will be determined but damn if we won’t try to play exciting football. Is it naive? Let’s see where they are at the end of the year. I would think a draw seems like the most likely outcome.
Sean Dyche has his boys playing early in the season. No European football has certainly helped their plight in the top half of the league. They beat the pants off Southampton, lost a close game to Arsenal and drew against Wolves. Three pretty decent results. Their toughest test comes this weekend at 12:30 on Saturday. Burnley struggled against the top six last year. They did score in both games against Liverpool which is encouraging.
You guys know by now that I’ve taken a massive stance that Liverpool are going to be champs this year and they’ve showed exactly why through three games. They are ruthless. Nine goals from three games while returning max points is a decent little start to the schedule. Wins against Norwich and Southampton are to be expected but what a massive result against Arsenal. Granted, Unai Emery was fucking clueless with his tactics and made it easy for Liverpool, but they did their job and put it away. Specifically, Trent Alexander-Arnold had his way, but Mo Salah also tore them up all day with two goals.
GOAL SCORING ODDS
DFS – CLASSIC
- Pukki – NOR – $8.5k
Is Pukki in cash consideration? This man just scores goals for fun and, with one of the highest implied totals on the slate, he seems like the most likely to grab one.
- Sterling – MCI – $10.8k M/F
Five goals from three games is a decent little return. Still under $11k, I think it’s hard to look elsewhere for a spend up. Surely, Aguero would be the option for $1k less. This new Brighton seems to have them pushing forward and trying to play which should create the space necessary for City to exploit them the other way.
- Aguero – MCI – $9.8k
I mentioned in last week’s breakdown that with Jesus nipping on his heels, Aguero would need to score goals. Brighton have three towering center backs so it’s unlikely that City will be playing balls in the air. He’ll need to break the lines and get in behind or, more than likely, be there for the tap in after his teammates do the hard work to get in behind. He has the highest goal scoring odds on the slate, but I have him listed lower than most. In play for cash for sure. Gpp obviously.
- B Silva – MCI – $7.7k M/F
What a luxury City has. This man was the player of the year in the Prem for me last year and started the season on the bench. He’s played the last two over Mahrez and is an absolute baller. Not often on sets and his goal scoring odds are OK, but for his price and ceiling, he’s way up there on my list of ownership for GPP.
- Haller – WH – $7.9k
Anyone for a game stack with Pukki?! Haller took both his goals well last week and will look to continue the hot form. I like West Ham to win. Who’s most likely to score? The big fella.
- Vardy – LEI – $8.1k
Frankly, it’s hard to justify this price. Leicester are favorites, they are at home and Bournemouth are there for the taking, but he’s SO goal dependent. No chance in cash but a way to differentiate in GPPs.
- Sarr – WAT – $5.3k
The dynamic player Watford is missing in their attack. GPP and cheap.
- Muto – NEW – $4.4k
Basically free. Joelinton is questionable and in limited opportunities came in last year and took a couple goals well. Strictly a price play.
- De Bruyne – MCI – $9.9k
For the extra $200, I believe it makes sense to go with KDB over Maddison. Rostering both for cash is completely viable. City’s implied goal total is superior, they are at home and KDB flat out scores more goals than JM. In saying that, I don’t think either score, but both have a floor.
- Maddison – LEI – $9.7k
Stud. Literally sends in a billion crosses per game. Takes direct free kicks. Pairing he and Vardy in GPPs is an expensive but interesting way to start a GPP team. Regardless, Maddison is an unbelievably consistent DFS investment.
- Cantwell – NOR – $4.4k
What in the world is with this pricing? A player with one goal and two assists through three games should be around $7k, regardless of matchup. The total is high (three with juice on over) and Cantwell is always involved in goals. Stud. Cash option as well.
- H Wilson – BOU – $5.8k
Our boy is crushing. Two goals in two games. Both with that gorgeous left foot. The matchup isn’t perfect but Leicester have given up two goals in three games. A good record but it’s not like BOU won’t be able to attack. Bournemouth will have the ball, especially given Leicester’s style of play.
- McGinn – AVL – $6.8k
He’s played three weeks and crushed in three different ways. Week 1 with a goal. Week 2 with floor points galore. Week 3 with fouls drawn and an assist. He’s a fantasy stud.
- Buendia – NOR – $7.4k
A touch expensive, but in the player pool. Ten corners in three games. Ten shots assisted in three games. The trouble? Only four shots. Ceiling might be limited but the floor is there.
- Lanzini – WH – $6.2k
10 shots assisted in his last two games. It’s coming people. Anderson is getting more of the high end stats and Haller is getting the goals but Lanzini is the straw stirring the drink. As a home favorite, I would have loved his price last week to transfer over. $6.2k is still reasonable.
- Barkley – CHE – $6.5k
NOTE — If Barkley starts in place of Mason Mount he would shoot up to 3rd or 4th best M on the slate. He would likely be on sets. He would fill that Mount role as a massive home favorite. Love him.
- Baldock – SHU – $3.8k
This price, man. Eight and six crosses in his last two games. I lined out all the reasons why we need more Sheffield fullback shares and Baldock went out and put up a 20 spot last week. Tough matchup, but super cheap.
- Emerson – CHE – $6.1k
This is not a TAA situation. Emerson is not on set pieces. He isn’t playing a clueless Unai Emery but this is a good matchup for Emerson and he has six, three, and three crosses in his three games thus far. More importantly, he has six shots and six shots assisted in that span. Not a must play, but still a very good play this week.
- Holebas – WAT – $5.4k
Is Hole back? He was a staple in the first half of last season before falling off a clip. 13 crosses and nine crosses in his last two. His low game? Six. Zero shots in three but reminder he does take the odd direct free kick. It’s there. On a slate when we might need to pay down at D, I’m curious to see his ownership.
- Montoya – BHA – $3.7k
Tough tough matchup but under $4k is what we are targeting with pay up everywhere else. If rostering both he and Baldock, you are limiting your ceiling, but the sacrifice is to allow for ceiling elsewhere. It helps us roster the Agueros of the world.
- El Mohamady – AVL – $4.3k
When unleashed, he can whip in a cross. 11, in fact, against Bournemouth. Crystal Palace struggle at home and Villa are trying to be more expansive. Assuming he starts he’s the play I’m targeting in the middle.
- Dubravka – NEW – $4.9k
This is more about Watford than Newcastle. The result against Tottenham is not what we can expect, but if Watford figure this thing out, we are screwed. If the new status quo continues we are looking at 2-3x.
- Heaton – AVL – $4.4k
Crystal Palace at home is a decent spot to target. Heaton is a top GK on an average to below average team. Oddly enough he doesn’t pick up many saves. Use caution here, but he’s a player in my pool.
- Ederson – MCI – $5.9k
Nearly $6k for GK is really hard to justify. Brighton are playing better but are still a bad team. This feels like a 4-0 win for City. A CS and a W without a save is still less than 2x. This is floor if you have $6k left but I like him more than Kepa or Kasper Schmeichel.
- OVER 2.5 SOU/MU (-115) – 1.15x to win 1
- West Ham to Win (-105) – 1.05x to win 1 (sportsbook has this line)
- Aston Villa Draw/No Bet (+140) – .7 to win 1 (Bovada)
Stay tuned for more..