Holy October! I don’t know about you guys, but time is literally flying the older I get. I’m not looking forward to the next vacation. Or event. Or month. Or weekend. Or big game. It’s day to day. It’s minute to minute. Everything is a big deal now.
Here is my week so far:
Monday I completely blanked in soccer and NFL DFS. For the first time in forever, I didn’t “win” a single dollar on DK. Weird chalk hitting ceiling games when they are at best floor plays. Late pivots working but chalk outperforming the pivots. I could barely go to sleep just thinking about how it all went wrong.
Tuesday it was confirmed my dog tore his ACL and needs a $5k surgery. The poor guy is 5 years old. OF COURSE we’ll get him fixed up. We also had movers in our old house from 12-5 and we were there until nearly 7:30 packing up the rest of our crap and cleaning the house for our closing on Wednesday.
We arrived at my parents house around 8:30pm. They tried their damndest but just couldn’t keep our daughter awake for us to see her before she went down for the night. It was the first time I hadn’t kissed her goodnight since she was born a little over 7 months ago, just before the brunt of COVID really hit the country.
Wednesday we completed a walk through of our new house, closed the sale of our old house, closed on the purchase of our new house and immediately drove to the new place to meet the same movers from Tuesday. It was a 12 hour + day of nothing but stress but there was no way we were missing her bedtime two nights in a row! We saw the little peanut who greeted us with a smile on her face and snot on her nose/lips. She has a fever! 101.8!! The flu shot she got on Monday was starting to give her a hard time apparently.
We were able to get her calmed down, cooled off and snuggled up with Jerry. Jerry is her giraffe binky she’s had since she was born. Throughout the days and weeks and months it’s been fun to watch her love for Jerry grow. She’s always liked him, don’t get me wrong, but she’s growing up. She’s learning how to use her hands, then her individual digits to hold him and now she’s rolling all over the damn place to find Jerry, pick him up and shove him in her mouth. It’s a crack up, genuinely.
Why do I tell you all of this? Two reasons.
1: I was starting to feel sorry for myself at some point on Wednesday. It’s easy to do. We have a lot going on. The dog, the house(s) and the baby were all in tenuous situations. It’s stress on top of stress!
2: I have the best job in the world. (for me)
You know why I’ve kissed my daughter before bed every night of her life until Tuesday? Do you know why I’ve seen my daughter’s progression with her pacifier? Because I’m home every night. You know why I’m home every night? It’s not because of COVID. Sure, that’s a piece of it but that’s not the reason. I used to travel all the time in my previous profession. Sure, I made an assload of money but I was rich on paper, not in life.
My wife told me to chase my dreams and fulfill that passion. It took a lot of work on my end but 100% it’s because of you guys that I’m able to do this. I truly do appreciate the support, the hours in the chat room and all of the DMs I get from you guys. When my daughter puts on her little Man United bib I think about you guys.
So as I got home Wednesday night and sat down to crack a beer the thought creeped into my head — it’s been a hell of a week, month, year — just throw together an article together and click submit.
Let me say this with my entire heart – I will never do that. I haven’t yet and I don’t plan on starting now. So while time seems to keep speeding up with every passing day, it’s time to slow down and kick Saturday’s ass. Who’s coming with me?
To the desert…
- Everton -135 | 2.5 (-115o/-105u)
- Brighton +385
- DRAW +265
- Leeds United +650 | 3.5 (-115o/-105u)
- Man City -315
- DRAW +450
Can we get a standing ovation for Carlo Ancelotti?? The man has implemented exactly what Everton needed: a back bone. This isn’t defend and hoof it football. He stabilized a sinking ship last season. He rebuilt his midfield this summer. He phased out the losers in the group. He’s 3-0 with 2 away wins. How much more can you ask of him? If you are looking for a black mark on his record you could look towards the 3 goals conceded in his last 2 matches but then you see the 3.5 goals for in those matches as well and go – alright then, keep that up.
James Rodriguez is a mercurial play maker requiring attention from the defense. Calvert-Lewin can’t stop scoring goals. Pickford is still a schizophrenic mess but serviceable in goal. This team has some pieces to make a move. They have the 4th most shots in the league with 42.
They’ve sent in the 5th most crosses with 58. They put up some DK points.
Contrast all the positivity to Brighton’s season. Frankly, it wasn’t looking good after the 14th of September. Brighton were hammered at home by a Chelsea team that didn’t even look good. You looked across the pitch and couldn’t quite figure out why they would have more success than what they had last season. They then rattle off a comprehensive 3-0 win against Newcastle. They follow that up by completely outplaying Manchester United at home but falling victim to a late penalty shout LITERALLY after the whistle and lose 3-2 in the most dramatic fashion.
If you didn’t watch the match you wouldn’t know that this was very much a game Brighton deserved to win. Sure, United were on top for periods of the match but the last 30 minutes were all Brighton. Graham Potter made some key adjustments that worked and Brighton equalized in the 90th minute through Solly March. You have to play until the final whistle; and in this case even beyond.
What is tough to quantify is how Brighton deal with the United result psychologically. Do they take the positive of playing a Champions League team off the park to close out the game or cry to their mommy about a harsh late penalty? That should have been a springboard to really give Everton a hard time here but I just don’t see them playing that well 3 games in a row after how they finished.
I have Everton winning this game with both teams possibly scoring.
How fun are Leeds? Honestly? I have more fun watching them outside of anyone not called Man City, Liverpool and Man United (homer pick) which is saying something. After opening the season with back-to-back 4-3 thrillers they won a pragmatic battle with Sheffield United 1-0 at the death through a Patrick Bamford goal to make it 2 wins from 3. That’s not form that keeps you up, that’s form that puts you in the top half. Granted it’s a small sample size and we’ve now seen both the exciting and disciplined approach from this team but Bielsa has something cooking with these boys.
Leeds have the 4th most goals (8) and are tied for the league lead with 5 assists. Nearly 60% of their shots have hit the target. That’s second in the league behind only Leicester. They are 7th in crosses. They are in the top half of the league in chances created and interceptions. It’s thunder and lightning all over the field. They certainly don’t play scared but I can’t wait for this matchup because now City have some tape on these fellas.
The Liverpool team seemed to look around in bemusement by the tactical display from Leeds. That game could have been 8-6. It was a blast but I’d be shocked if Bielsa took a similar approach here. The element of surprise was extremely valuable in that first match of the season.
For all of their quality, Liverpool are a direct team who takes extreme chances at defense to poor numbers forward. Bielsa basically said bring it on because I’m going to leave players high and you better defend 1v1 for your life because we are looking to counter you every chance we get. Man City have the ability to not only dominate a game but dictate the pace and play while doing so.
The haters and losers, of which there are many, will look at the City loss as proof that Pep might have overstayed his welcome. That his football doesn’t work. That teams have caught onto his style of play. My friend, Leicester, was ruthless. They scored 5 goals on 7 shots. They created 4 big chances and finished every single one. James Maddison came on to put a cherry on top of an already brilliant performance and oh by the way — Leicester took and scored 3 penalties in the match. Pump the breaks on the ‘City are dead’ bandwagon.
As far as I’m concerned, this was an outlier performance in game 2 of a new system without a recognizable forward in the team. If there is a worry, and there might be, it’s that both Jesus and Aguero are out injured. Delap is a young boy who’s trying to make his way but he can’t lead the line of a team challenging for a title.
Raheem Sterling is forced to move central and Foden is forced left. As good as these players can be at times, changes do cause a disruption to their DFS production. Sterling only touched the ball 47 times in the match and only managed 1 shot.
KDB only touched the ball 81 times with 2 shots off target and no goals or assists.
Foden was absolutely lost over on the left wing and will need to either be moved to the central attacking midfield position in this new 4-2-3-1 (forcing KDB to change positions in the process), moved back to the right wing where he’s had great success or played coming up and in off the left side as part of a 3 man midfield. Where he might end up, is on the bench. Ferran Torres was purchased on big money and has featured already this season.
Ultimately I see both teams scoring in this match and this match featuring 3 or more goals. I’ll say this, while I’m likely not putting a bet in the bet pack, we’ll know 5 minutes in how this game will flow. Both games will see goals but this one has talent on both sides of the pitch.
Man City win in a thrilling contest.
Mahrez – MCI – $9.8k
Will he make this right wing role his for the year? Sterling will likely need to fill at the forward position again so that’s one less winger to deal with. Mahrez has been fantastic early with a goal and an assist against Leicester behind 4 crosses and 3 shots assisted. With the way Leeds have played so far, those numbers look like a floor. #1 forward on the board for me.
Calvert-Lewin – EVE – $8.1k
He just earned his first call up to the England national team and it’s well deserved. He’s started the season like a ball of fire and gets a plus matchup against a Brighton team that’s conceding goals. The price is high for his production last year but looks like a bargain if he can maintain his form. GPP only. .
Costa – LEE – $5.4k
Considering everyone will be falling over themselves to shove KDB in cash, Costa should carry quite a bit of ownership considering the salary savings he offers. I’m doing it. You probably should too.
Rodriguez – EVE – $8.3k
If he were a touch cheaper he’d be much higher on the list but he’s a great play regardless. He’s created 10 great chances behind 13 crosses in just 3 games. He’s yet to play the full 90 and was pulled off in the 78th minute against West Brom after a goal and assist. I expect his production to mimic what we saw in the match against Tottenham. More shots than crosses and with his price and other options that surprisingly has me considering James in GPP more than cash.
Bamford – LEE – $6k
This isn’t even a sneaky play but I’m calling him my sneaky value at the F position. Helder Costa will carry more ownership in cash but in GPP I’ll have far more Bamford. City’s defense has been so poor that Pep went out and spent another $80 million on a center back. Dias doesn’t likely slot in straight away so Bamford has a chance to score for the 4th game in a row at a discount.
Delap – MCI – $4.6k
There is a small chance he starts at F. If he does, he’s an obvious punt play but I wanted to mention him.
MIDFIELDERS (there are several players listed at F that can fill M slots as well)
De Bruyne – MCI – $11.1k
You’ll never go broke playing Kevin De Bruyne. This is a smash spot for him regardless of how Leeds decide to defend City. Leicester were special on the counter and ended up making City pay on essentially every chance they created. Leeds will need to have a similar match but we saw what Liverpool did to that high press. KDBs passing range will be on full display and multiple assists are not out of the question.
Torres – MCI – $7.2k
I mentioned Delap but I have this as the young player to enter the side in place of Phil Foden who looks lost off the left wing. Torres was an impact sub putting in 4 crosses with 1 shot and 1 shot assisted as City were trying to claw back late. We see that Pep is oddly loyal to his new signings and while he’s blooded Torres in 2 substitute appearances, this could be the time to release him to the masses.
Phillips – LEE – $5.5k
I guess we are just playing Kalvin Phillips until he screws us over. It’s so wild to me to see a CDM take set pieces and impact the game but he’s perfect for the system. He touches every defensive category in addition to his role on sets but has only 1 shot in 3 games. Much more interesting in cash than GPP.
Lamptey – BHA – $5.3k
He’s our new Kolasinac but a better version. What do I mean by that? He’s always in the attacking third. He always seems to be beating players and popping up in good attacking areas. Then you look at his stats and 1 cross and 1 shot. It’s like, dude you are doing the hard part getting to those good areas. DO SOMETHING WITH IT. It’s going to come together but this isn’t the spot. He’ll be in my GPP pool but not a main play.
Alioska – LEE – $3.9k
Jack Harrison is ineligible to play against his parent club and Bielsa will likely slot in this man to fill his boots. The role is more important than the player and while he likely won’t pick up the CS bonus in this match, the position is fantastic for filling out a roster. He’ll likely be popular and for good reason. By the way he scored in their 1-1 draw in the EFL cup back in mid-August.
Digne – EVE – $6.6k
He’s a bit like KDB. Even if he under performs he’s so highly owned that it doesn’t kill your roster. That’s how it went against Crystal Palace where he only scored 8.8 points but I still cashed everywhere because he was 75% owned. This is a spot in cash where I don’t want to get too cute and I’ll likely plug him and Alioska in. (Coleman is fine in an EVE stack with Pickford. I’m not playing a player who picked up an assist on his lone cross of the game for $4.6k solo — sorry)
Dallas – LEE – $4.1k
He’s a player who’s been moved around the pitch some but usually trots out at LB. Let’s wait to see how team news shakes out before making our final decision. He was much more effective in their last match against Sheffield when deployed more in the middle of the park.
Mendy – MCI – $4.4k
Robertson found far more success than TAA against Leeds and while Mendy is a shell of his former self after the knee surgery, the price is right to take a chance on a situation that could work in our favor.
GOALKEEPERS – This position sucks on this slate. Play whoever fits and doesn’t play against your attackers.
Meslier – LEE – $3.8k
Sure he conceded 4 against Liverpool but it could have been much more and the 3 saves made up for it a touch. He’s a decent shot stopper but we are very unlikely to get the clean sheet and even more unlikely to get the win. The bonus points are out the window but the price is nice for the rest of the build.
Ryan – BHA – $4k
Mat Ryan is one of those players who you think has a great game and then you look and he has 2 points because Brighton conceded 1 goal on 2 shots and drew 1-1. That could very well happen here again but I don’t want to pay up on this slate at this position.
Ederson – I love that his logs are trash and the matchup is tough. I’m not going to roster him but I trust Ederson more than Pickford, especially when he should have less ownership and better win odds.