My God is Champions League action fun BUT we are back to our bread and butter with an interesting five-game slate that DOES include the 12:30 afternoon hammer game. For me, this was a wise decision on DK’s part. Allow me to explain.
I don’t love that we have to late swap and watch our lineups until 2:30 on a Saturday but frankly no one does. This can create an edge, even if it’s only slight one, over our competition. And honestly, the 10am games aren’t really anything to write home about outside of the one SUPER game between Liverpool and Leicester.
A quick reminder for those who don’t follow this as closely as I do: Champions League and Europa League action took place today and gives Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, City, United and Arsenal an extra game on their legs. For Saturday, this directly affects Liverpool who went through a war with Salburg on Wednesday. In saying that..
Let’s head to the desert…
-Burnley +180 2.5 (+110o/-130u)
-Liverpool -220 3 (+105o/-125u)
-Norwich +135 3 (-115o/-105u)
Aston Villa +185
-Watford +115 2.5 (-105o/-115u)
Sheffield Utd +250
-West Ham -105 2.5 (-125o/+105u)
Crystal Palace +275
Everton look like shit. Let’s just call it like we see it. The new boys aren’t integrating quickly enough. The old boys aren’t playing to the level they did last year. This was a team with such high hopes after the summer window. There was talk of top four by some idiots! (not me). Three losses in a row and four of five have them tumbling down the table. They’ve only picked up one point from a possible nine on the road. Losses to Bournemouth and Aston Villa won’t be inspiring us to trust their away performances. Couple that with Burnley’s home form and style of play and I hate this matchup for Everton.
Burnley took an L to Liverpool at home but everyone does. Wins over Southampton and Norwich have them holding court at home where they do most of their damage. Last season they only averaged 0.89 pts/game away from home. The home form was better at 1.21 pts/game. The goals were up, too (1.26 H to 1.11 A). The goals conceded were down. Look, you get the point. Burnley are looking down at Everton in the table and I don’t see them losing this game.
This is by far and away the game of the weekend. Leicester look every bit a top 4 team. Are they better than United? Yes. Are they better than Arsenal? Probably. Are they better than Chelsea? Looks that way. Are they better than Arsenal? We’ll see. Are they better than Tottenham? uhhh, yes.
Here’s the big question: are they better than Liverpool? No.
Liverpool are coming off a grueling Champions League battle with Salzburg and that is my only hesitation with rostering the biggest favorites on the board. If this was against Watford or Villa I’d be fine but this Leicester team is quality.
Grab pieces, not all in. Frankly, plays from both sides are fine. If Salzburg can bag 3, surely Leicester can bulge the old onion bag.
The shine might be off Norwich at the moment but this is a winnable matchup. Villa haven’t picked up a point away from home this year and aren’t exactly in sparkling form themselves. The worrying thing for Norwich is the lack of goals. Scoreless in three of their last four and the game squeezed in the middle was an inexplicable WIN over Man City with a three goal outburst. None of Norwich makes sense. Pukki was and is a deadly striker, but as much as I bag on expected goals, he’s way over his skis through the first six games. He has six goals with an xG of 2.85. That’s not sustainable through a whole season and we are seeing the regression now. BUT, at times Norwich play some gorgeous football and are certainly capable. Norwich won both games last season in the Championship against Villa 2-1
Damn, Daniel. This game is ugly. Super ugly. Girl who’s had too much to drink and eating chicken nuggets with mascara running down her face after her BF broke up with her ugly. BUT, perhaps we can find a silver lining.
Watford have been shut out in two straight and conceded 10 goals. They’ve had better runs. However, both games were on the road and will be back at home for the first time since their 2-2 comeback against Arsenal. I’m worried about this attack. Their lineup against Wolves was encouraging with Welbeck/Deulofeu and Sarr getting the start. Those three need time to gel but pose the biggest threat. Can they break down an organized Sheffield United who only gave up one to Liverpool? That’s a whole other question.
Sheffield are the surprise of the year for me, but before we crown their asses, know this: two of the last three goals Sheffield has scored, spanning the course of four games, were own goals. So my main concern remains, how do they score? Mousset has been the most dangerous man for me in the attack but routinely starts on the bench. Whatever they are doing, it’s working. They are comfortably out of the relegation zone and sitting in 12th at the moment. Watford are bottom dwellers but a point away from home at this stage will be well and good in Sheffield’s mind. Potential snooze fest here.
Just look at this form for both teams:
Short of City and Liverpool, you won’t see many greener images. West Ham are undefeated in six with Palace winning three of their last five games and a draw thrown in for good measure. I don’t know if it’s another year under Hodgson or what but this Palace team is in a much better place than they were last season. They still aren’t beating down the goal every game but with Wilf Zaha in the team you are going to win some penalties and Milivojevic has been spot on from the spot! Of course, Mili is suspended this week so he’s out!
West Ham have scored at least two goals in four of their last five and look very dangerous going forward. The inverted wingers (Anderson/Yarmalenko), the target forward (Haller), the true #10 (Lanzini/Fornals) have led to a potent attack. The back line has been solid enough and had a three match stretch with clean sheets. At the moment you’d have to say West Ham are ahead of the teams that they are supposed to be competing with. The Hammers will be pushing for three points. CP will be happy with a draw here.
- Pukki – NOR – $8.5k
We are a long way off from his seven shot, three goal performance against Newcastle but Norwich have the second highest implied goal total and Pukki has the majority of their goals. This isn’t rocket science. I’m unimpressed by the center back pairing of Villa so Pukki will find himself open for multiple chances. If he bags one, we are fine.
- Salah – LIV – $11k
If they hadn’t played midweek he’d be far and away the #1 player on the slate but they did and we are in the stage of the season where fixture congestion can be an issue. Mo Salah almost sheepishly scored two goals on Wednesday. He has that kind of ability. The price is so high I get the fade quite honestly.
- Yarmalenko – WH – $7.1k
Give the man his props, it was a nasty injury he suffered last year and I wasn’t sure how he’d bounce back. He looks healthy and that left foot is as lethal as ever. Goals in three of his last four games. Yes, please.
- Vardy – LEI – $6.1k
Look what Salzburg just did to this defense. Vardy will be licking his lips and Klopp said as much himself in his press conference. Liverpool have been good defensively so I’m not looking to Vardy for cash but GPP for sure paired with Schmeichel.
- Haller – WH – $7.8k
GPP only. Doesn’t get as many chances as I’d like but he’s a true #9 and finishes what he gets. GPP only.
- Gudmundsson – BUR – $6.5k
This is a great spot to reintroduce JBG into the team and for $6.5k he’s in my cash consideration. McNeil is starting to drop off in form and one particularly good left foot could spark this attack. Cash and GPP.
- Wood – BUR – $5.6k
Barnes caught my eye with his price, but on form and price alone, Chris Wood is worth your time. Everton have been vulnerable at the back. The two forwards will cause havoc for the Leicester back line. Yerry Mina’s game is purely strength based and Wood is stronger. Like the matchup.
- Mousset – SHU – $4.6k
I mentioned it above but he’s been the most dangerous player in their attack for me. Callum Robinson is even less expensive and the likely starter, but should they flip roles, I’ll take my stabs with Mousset in GPP.
- Buendia – NOR – $7.6k
Perhaps lacks the upside of other candidates but this is my #1 cash Midfielder. The worrying piece is that he hasn’t put in back-to-back good performances since August but this is a prime spot. Good floor. Decent ceiling.
- Tielemans – LEI – $5.4k
The word I have is that Maddison is fit to play. If so, Tielemans gets knocked down a few pegs because he would lose all set piece equity. If Maddison doesn’t play, I’m all in Tielemans. Floor, upside the whole nine yards.
- Maddison – LEI – $7.2k
When Maddison does play, he’s my $ midfielder. The do-everything, all-world player will be up for this matchup at Anfield. He picked up 17 pts against Chelsea, 14 against United and 25 against Tottenham. The boy likes the big stage.
- Fornals – WH – $6.5k
His price is slowly creeping up but still not where it should be. He’s taken this position from Lanzini and made it his own. Eight crosses last game! Three shots assisted! We haven’t seen his ceiling yet and this is a good spot to see it.
- Milner – LIV – $6.7k
TAA ran his socks off, and while he’s likely to start, he tends to share set piece responsibilities with Milner when he plays. He hasn’t played much this season so this is more on guessing the 11 Klopp will put out there. This is a great spot for an old head to settle the team down.
- El Ghazi – AVL – $6.8k
We have the right combination of form, price and opponent for this to be pushing for a core GPP play. With a goal or assist in three of his last four,, this price should be pushing $7.8k.
- Grealish – AVL – $7.9k
Right in the same range but slightly lower on my list is Grealish. He’s finding his form and getting forward more as you saw last game with his four shots and five fouls drawn. The floor is there but I’m monitoring his upside with this new found attacking bug.
- Lundstram – SHU – $3.5k
He’s not your typical floor player, hence the price, but in a pinch he’s decent value for the money. He’s gone for 6.9 and 8.4 in his last two, the latter helped by a six pt assist. Not a Core 4 type but in the player pool.
- Sigurdsson – EVE – $8.2k
He’s the exact opposite of Lundstram. I actually want to play Gylfi but not for this price. He’s found his form a bit with 12 and 13 crosses + shots assisted in the last two games but this price is tough to justify on the road when there are other plays in this range.
- Guilbert – AVL – $4.9k
I guess this guy is just going to luck box production every week, huh? That’s probably a bit harsh but his decent performance went to a slate changer with his assist. What I love are the nine and six crosses he’s put in over the last two games. We know Norwich concede. Good opportunity here.
- Digne – EVE – $7k
Still picked up eight points without Everton having the ball against City. That is the caliber of this man. $7k is steep but if you have the salary I’m in for cash and potentially GPP. He has 55 crosses and is averaging 14.1 DK pts. Give me that 2x.
- TAA – LIV – $6.8k
If Milner starts, I’ll be going 100% Digne. If not, it’s close, but I’m still leaning Digne. The lack of value options means the TAA/Digne cash build is tough with their pricing but both are great plays. One happens to be a massive home favorite. It’s razor thin, but I still lean Digne.
- Cresswell – WH – $5.1k
The goal scoring machine! I mentioned him on the podcast and here he is on my list of best D options He’s a hell of a player and West Ham are attacking. He does take direct free kicks from one side of the field so he has some equity there. This pricing feels a touch high but I’m fine rolling with it one more week.
- Chilwell – LEI – $4.2k
My preferred Leicester fullback on the slate. Nine crosses (total) in his last two is encouraging. Zero shots in three of his last four show that the upside is limited. He’ll have a lot of opportunities for tackles and interceptions with how often Liverpool attack down their right side through TAA and Salah.
- Pereira – LEI – $4.5k
He’s been efficient in front of goal but those are bonus points. Realistically, he is a winger playing fullback and we like that he gets forward but more for his crosses than his goal scoring ability. That is partially why he isn’t higher on my list. Only three, two and one crosses in his last three. The floor is scary for me but he gets home more often than not.
- Byrum – NOR – $3.7k
He’s not a points monster but will get you five pts and you can move on with your build. Safer than the CBs in this range.
- Van Dijk – LIV – $4k
He’s looked better next to Matip than Joe Gomez. We like him for his ability in the air on the attacking third of the field. Johnny Evans doesn’t intimidate me if he’s marking VVD. Good opportunity for VVD to get back on the score sheet.
- Schmeichel – LEI – $3.8k
- Henderson – SHU – $4.2k
- Pope – WH – $4.5k