The season is long, and injuries add up. In fact, they never let up. The season hits peak-hectic after the Ides of December, so in the place of the broken and the old step forward the healthy and the new. A little like shark teeth, a little like shelf-stock inventory—a little like life, really. Oftentimes what’s old is new again, and the new are sometimes healed-up favorites, so you get to see a few familiar faces. Jan Vertonghen, in and out (mostly-out) of the side under late Pochettino, has suddenly come alive again under the sorcerous gaze of Jose Mourinho. Be there devilry afoot? Maybe it’s just a logical managerial decision to reinstate one of the Spurs defensive rocks of the past several years but in a fullback position. Clean sheets haven’t yet become an every-week occurrence, but Vertonghen’s attacking returns have justified his inclusion for both real and fantasy
Trolls live under bridges and in Premier League defenses. Lots of trolls under many bridges (Premier League defenses)—seemingly most of them. No team is immune, not even the main players floated in various Big at the Back strategies early season. Liverpool Celebrity Slump When it comes to clean sheets, even the celebrity Liverpool defenders have disappointed, the number of clean sheets equal to that of Arsenal and Southampton (2) and just one better than Norwich (1). People haven’t been flocking to Arsenal, Southampton or Norwich for clean sheets…or they shouldn’t have been. Dejan Lovren could be available for pickup in a player pool near you, but do you want him for one week, starting this week? For the top of the table clash against the Pep Guardiola Terror Squad? With Joel Matip expected back after the international break, nabbing Lovren would essentially equate to picking him up specifically for the
Some players tantalize with visions of dancing sugar plums and prancing points hauls, but beware--it may be trap. Based on one or two eye-popping results, you come nosing around. They sucker you in: they're available and they just pulled in a major points haul. How can they not continue in this rich vein of form, as evidenced by this rich vein of form. (It's the circular reasoning that really gets you.) And then suddenly they're taking up space in your team, not scoring for your team, from now til infinity and you curse the day you voluntarily stepped right into the trap. For one reason or another they just don’t work out. Actually, it’s really simple why they don’t. They don’t play. Or they only sort of play. Because when they play, they’re great. But they since they don’t play reliably they are reliably not great for the fantasy game. The odd benching, who cares.
Manchester City did not authorize this recent plot line for the movie it consented to star in. Neither would Spurs or Manchester United have expected to get ejected from the studio lot so rudely and brazenly—and easily, really. Owners of Paul Pogba, Christian Eriksen and even Harry Kane may feel aggrieved if they employed a first draft pick for the privilege. Similarly, those who parted with an early pick to snap up Aymeric Laporte, Kyle Walker or Éderson may feel short-changed by not only fewer-than-expected clean sheets but also by more-than-expected multi-goal losses. All these players would still be expected to right the ships in time. Manchester United and Tottenham are all mixed up, disoriented and discombobulated. After some disappointing results, United held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw, while Spurs and Watford rolled snake eyes as well. This means all four teams are theoretically exactly equal—no diff’rence between ‘em—which sort of throws
There is no margin for error in the title race, or rather a working yardstick measurement from last season does exist and the width of that margin was just over 1 cm, which you will admit for a title race is tight enough to drop a letter and respell. Tite. How does this relate to your draft fantasy team, again? Fantasy points mainly come from the top of the table. While there will always be gems in the scrappier, more unsuccessful and less fashionable teams, usually league points correspond to a good ratio of “goals for” to “goals against.” Not to overly drop menacing, mathematical gang signs and all, but the more you have key players in the winning teams that are reaping respectable Premier League points returns, the better your chances of scooping up the once-removed draft fantasy points. No one’s taking anything away from the John McGinns, the
Almost everything changes when you double the sample size. So you can tear up last week's one-week history of nearly everything, because the new data has stomped on it like cleats on a doormat (proceeding to shred it with the studs). Riyad Mahrez’ one game streak of starting matches ended abruptly. Likewise, and related, his orchestrating role in triple assists and double-digit point hauls disappeared. He neither started nor got an attacking return during his 1-point runout on the pitch in GW2. Harry Kane blanked. Mo Salah also blanked. Raheem Sterling scored two fewer goals than the previous week (but he did score and is joint leading scorer this season, on 4 goals). The corrective effect of a second week saw a spreading of the wealth with a new cast of characters, in addition to the regression of many of week one’s heaviest hitters. In GW2, Teemu Pukki became the new hat trick hero and the first Premier
Can players be judged to be wildly over-performing after one week? Without a doubt, at least from the point of view of this armchair critic. What better time and place, really. What's most recent is most real. Even if commentary were forbidden, points hauls from the league’s least-likely naturally trigger disparaging comments by reflex. Opening weekend contains the entirety of the known universe of the new season, which means everything. These results foretell the season ahead. Just derive blanket conclusions based on the sample size of one, take a bold binary stance and it’s easy as you like. Back up ’til you hear glass. Extrapolating from GW1 and populating results forward for 37 game weeks, it’s glaringly apparent that Erik Pieters is the best fantasy defender to ever walk the planet. Two assists and a clean sheet, and that was just week one, except, as stated, that's everything, because it's the known universe of all that
Sunday is draft day in the Wormburner league. With pick 8 of 10, it hardly seems realistic or worthwhile to put Salah, Kane, Sterling, Aubameyang, Agüero, Mané or Eriksen in the queue, except sometimes someone picks someone bizarre and you get one of the sleek models after all. It would be delinquent and wasteful not to do so. Somebody could very conceivably not choose Eriksen, for example, so there's that. Either way, the heavy hitters won’t clutter the queue for long once the draft starts. One could maybe score a top-six or top-seven pick with slot number eight, you never know. Dare to dream. But who comes next in that series, assuming those seven come to pass? Who’s eighth-best? Firmino? Vardy? Rashford? Kevin de Bruyne? It's de Bruyne, isn't it. Or is it Eriksen, because the custom first seven weren't calculated correctly? Is Eriksen even a first-ten pick? When you don’t have conviction on first pick,