Fantasy Sports – Premier League Week 5

Week 4 was another trainwreck, about the only thing I got right was de Gea in goal. Besides that Salah was the highest score in my lineup (bench or starting) that scored higher than 2 points. Win some, lose some — hopefully more scoring (goals and points) this week.
Legend: (*) – starting XI, ⇐ – incoming (transfer), ⇒ – outgoing (transfer), ¤ – Captain.
Goalkeepers:

  • *David de Gea (Week 4 points: 6) – I was really torn on this luck this week. de Gea is in my “play unless you have really good reason” pile. I’m not going to lie though, I looked hard for reasons to come off him. Ultimately I decided to stick with him and despite how it looks, there’s logic. First, much to my surprise the bookies have Manchester United as sizable favorites AWAY which seems insane. Especially since this Watford just beat Tottenham, a team that made United look like part-timers. The huge difference in the line makes me think there’s something going on, I initially thought it could be a mistake — but it’s consistent across the board, the best line I found for Watford is +285. Most have Manchester United in the -110 to -120 range, given their season, my first thoughts were “homers” but this isn’t a fan boy — this is a billion (if not trillion dollar betting industry). Second, pairing the fact that United are big favorites with the fact that the O/U is basically at evens means one of two things, saves or wild misses. Couple that with the expectations I’m seeing of United projected to score 2, it doesn’t leave much for the Watford attackers. A couple more components play in but I think it’s more appropriate to have them under Lössl.
  • Jonas Lössl (Week 4 points: 2) – By now I’m sure most of you know I’m high on Lössl just not really his team. A couple things are throwing me off this play. First, although the margin is relatively small (I’m seeing Huddersfield at +210 and Palace at +140) this is a bigger deal here. Palace are coming TO Huddersfield and most bookies have a “home team” factor of some magnitude built into their bets (this is also why Man United being a big favorite is so strange). This means that even with the home advantage there’s still a marginal separation between the teams. Secondly, let’s call the elephant in the room what is — Huddersfield have been so porous I’m pretty sure you could fit many small countries in to the back of the net. Third, scoring goals has been much harder to come by for Huddersfield than for Palace. That, plus them being tied for worst in the league goal differential makes me really nervous about a Lössl play this week. 

Defenders:

  • *Schindler (Week 4 points: 2) – Huddersfield like to move the ball into dangerous positions with crosses (6th) and  long balls (3rd) and Crystal Palace is tied for 1st in most crosses allowed and 4th in long balls allowed. In addition, Crystal Palace has allowed the most (tied with a few others) counterattack goals at 2. I expect Schindler or Mee to be involved in the counterattack opportunities. There should also be ample opportunity for blocks/interceptions as Crystal Palace is averaging 94% of their shots from beyond the 6 yard box. And I think this sets up as a good opportunity for a set piece goal where Huddersfield have scored the majority of their goals and Crystal Palace tends to keep opponents away from shots inside the 6 (98% of shots allowed are from further out) but this is not a huge concern because 96% of Huddersfield’s shots come from outside that space anyways.
  • *Monreal (Week 4 points: 0) – Despite the fact that Arsenal has conceded more goals than Newcastle this season, they are big favorites. I think that Monreal should play a part in this and Newcastle shoots a huge proportion (~91%) from outside the 6 yard box, meaning there should be ample opportunity to make blocks, interceptions, or to win challenges. They also shoot from outside of either box (6- or 18- yard) about 36% of the time which should provide even more opportunities. Newcastle are also yielding a ton of crosses (tied for 3rd most allowed), and traditionally this is where Monreal has been fantastic, either setting up the cross or making it himself.
  • *Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Week 4 points: 0) – After his suspension, Wan-Bissaka didn’t have quite the comeback I expected. However, I still think he is one of the best players on this team (even if he’s young) and I honestly don’t know how long before Crystal Palace gets “an offer they can’t refuse”. Palace are moderate favorites in their game, and I think that most of the action will come from crosses, and Wan-Bissaka might be the single best target for that reason.
  • *Fredericks (Week 4 points: 1) – Fredericks was a great asset off the wing for Fulham last season and although he hasn’t really found the same vein of form, I like this opportunity for him. Both teams fit in the middle with shot percentages from inside the 6- and 18- yard box, and West Ham doesn’t spend much time in the opponent’s half (26%) on average — meaning that a lot of their threat (if they have any) will come from quick changes of possession, likely out of the back. I also think that Pelligrini will need to field his absolute strongest team, because I think that Everton is a winnable game and that he is getting to the point where he needs a win to save his job. I think they go all out, and I think Fredericks is a great asset for balls coming in from crosses.
  • Lovren (Week 4 points: 0) – Lovren’s date of return keeps getting pushed back, and it’s starting to make me believe there’s something greater at play. At minimum he’s not recovering quickly and I try not to straight gamble when it’s possible. As a result, I’ve opted to use my one transfer this week to move him out an bring in Benjamin Mendy, I just can’t afford to keep a player that is an automatic zero. There’s a possibility that once he’s fit I’ll reconsider, but as of now, I don’t really have a choice.
  • ⇐ *Benjamin Mendy (Week 4 points: 5) – Manchester City comes in as absolutely massive favorites for this game and with good reason. I don’t expect Mendy to score a ridiculous number of points, but he’s been very involved in the game when he’s been on the pitch and I really want to get a piece of the City pie. He’s a reasonable way to do that seems to have a reasonable floor and a high ceiling.

Midfielders:

  • *Mo Salah (Week 4 points: 2 [4 if captain]) – I was a little torn about starting Salah and Kane as they are facing off in what is anticipated to be a low scoring match. Hopefully I’m wrong and Salah and Kane both throw a hat trick into the realm of possibility but I ultimately decided that Salah is just too involved in the offense to be excluded even on a potentially “rough” week. His floor from spearheading the offense is normally really high (ignore last week) because of the peripherals he adds.
  • *Pogba (Week 4 points: 1) – Much of the analysis for this play is consistent with the de Gea play. However, as I note in that, Manchester United are heavy favorites and are expected to win this game by several goals, so I want some Pogba because he is one of the few consistent pieces in the Manchester United midfield. I think he has some serious upside if they can get their ducks back in order.
  • Fred (Week 4 points: 0) – Fred has been in and out of this line up, and while he’s been great for a good portion of the time while he’s been on the pitch, but he’s too inconsistently present. Especially with the Champions League game upcoming, I think there will be some rotation in the side and I expect Fred to be in the Champions League.
  • Jack Wilshere (Week 4 points: 3) – I still think West Ham side should be performing better, but until I see something that inspires confidence — it’s hard to want to go all in on the bottom team in the league. Knowing my luck Wilshere will go into beastmode and will West Ham to a win, but I think the likelihood of a brilliant performance with his level of involvement this season is unlikely.
  • James Milner (Week 4 points: 4) – I don’t have any real issue with Milner, this is totally about the opponent. I’m hesitant to stack too much on the outcomes of this match, but I’m definitely going to hang on to him for next week! He should thrive against Southampton.

Forwards:

  • *Harry Kane (Week 4 points: 2) – Kane has a similar sort of role as Salah, he’s a little more goal dependent but Heung-Min Son and Eriksen have been disappointing, and Dele Alli comes off of a disappointing England showing.  I think Kane is most likely to score for this side from open play and so I’m going to give it a shot. I also think that Salah and Kane are probably likely to be lower owned this week than normal because of the matchup. So, if they do go off, I’ll be in a good spot.
  • *Marko Arnautovic (Week 4 points: 2) – Arnautovic has been one of a few bright spots for the West Ham side. He’s also the single biggest threat for long-range shots (except maybe for Siggurdson from set pieces) and I think that at the very least he’s got the chance to rack up a bunch of points from shots, shots on target, and hopefully a goal (or more).
  • *Joshua King (Week 4 points: 2) – I think the Cherries have a nice chance taking a win here, and I think it’s mostly likely coming from King. He’s been hit or miss this season, but last season he basically ran the point for Bournemouth. I think he’s likely to get more involved as the season goes on.

Conclusion:
Week 1 score: 38 Points 2018-2019 Fantasy Premier Week 1: Recap
Week 2 score: 43 Points 2018-2019 Fantasy Premier Week 2: Recap
Week 3 score: 74 Points 2018-2019 Fantasy Premier Week 3: Recap
Week 4 score: 26 Points 2018-2019 Fantasy Premier Week 4: Recap
Last Updated: September 12, 2018
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