The Dawg Pound: EPL Week That Was/Week to Come (1.0)
Hey there sports fans! So by the time this blog goes up, every EPL team will have played 2 matches. I am hoping to give some insight into the EPL season and it’s DFS implications at least semi-regularly, but in this case we’ll look at the TWO weeks that were, and the weekend to come. Keep in mind that Statclash offers EPL games every weekend, and Draftkings is rumored to be offering them as well in the (hopefully near) future. Statclash is also running Champion’s League games – but that’s info for another blog, another day. For this first foray into this format (alliteration points!), I’m going to keep it simple and break down every club’s performance thus far, alphabetically. Please bear in mind that although I’d have loved to have watched every game, I have not. The following is all my opinion, based on box scores and some game-viewing. If I get something wrong, feel free to (politely, hopefully) correct me in the comments section:
Arsenal: 2-1 Home win against Crystal Palace. 2-2 Draw at Everton. Have looked a little unsettled at times, but may be because they have so many World Cup players just getting fit. Snatched the Win and their Draw towards the end of their respective matches, which may give them a confidence boost, BUT the Champion’s League mid-week games may leave some players fatigued. Keep an eye on who is getting rest versus who isn’t, few if any players are fully fit this early in the season! DFS buzz: Aaron Ramsey has gotten off to a scorching start, just like he did last year before injuries. Alexis Sanchez has not quite lived up to his price on Statclash, but he does have an Assist thus far, and is still getting used to the team and tactics after a solid World Cup run. Week 3 info: @ Leicester City – should be a comfortable win, and nearly all of the Arsenal squad would make sense for cash games.
Aston Villa: 1-0 Win at Stoke City. 0-0 Draw at home versus Newcastle. Aston Villa struggled last year with a very young and inexperienced squad. They’ve gone for a fair amount of more experience for this campaign, and they’ll probably be happy with 4 points from the first 2 matches. DFS buzz: They’ve held 2 clean sheets so far, so GK Brad Guzan has been very much in play for all formats, as well as all of their defenders (Senderos, Vlaar, Hutton, and Cissokho). Cissokho and Hutton both had 5 crosses in their first match, a sign that they’ve been involved in the attack, and assists could be forthcoming. Week 3 info: Home against Hull. Hull lost one of their key attacking threats from the end of last season in Shane Long this transfer window, so the Villans will try to keep their clean sheet streak going.
Burnley: 3-1 loss at home to Chelsea. 1-0 loss @ Swansea. It’s going to be a long season for Burnley. If the first match was available on SC, I would have been touting every Chelsea defender, and Burnley would have disappointed those who took my advice with their goal. They still will have plenty of chances to be a DFS factor though. DFS buzz: They’ve played a title contender and a top-half-of-the-table contender thus far, and haven’t looked completely out of their depth. Danny Ings is a name to remember for when they get a matchup against the weaker teams. Week 3 info: Home against Man U. Man U has struggled thus far in the season, but I still wouldn’t recommend any Burnley options against the 2012-2013 champions.
Chelsea: 3-1 win @ Burnley. 2-0 win home versus Leicester City. Other than giving up a goal to Burnley, the likely title-contenders have pretty much done what most will have expected. DFS buzz: Summer signing Diego Costa has 2 goals in 2 games, and Branislav Ivanovic has been a very useful player at both ends for Statclash purposes. Week 3 info: Away versus Everton. All of Chelseas attackers are in play, but I think there are better matchups to chase a clean-sheet.
Crystal Palace: 2-1 loss @ Arsenal. 3-1 loss versus West Ham at home. Crystal Palace are in disarray at the moment, as last year’s miracle-working-manager Tony Pulis, quit just prior to the beginning of this campaign. They’ll be disappointed that they lost out on a point to a stoppage-time goal versus Arsenal, but the 3-1 loss may be a scary sign of things to come if they don’t figure out their managerial situation. DFS buzz: Julian Speroni was one of the more underrated goalkeepers last season, but I’ll be avoiding most CP players until the squad shows more consistency. Week 3 info: Away versus Newcastle. Like I said, I’ll be avoiding them for now.
Everton: 2-2 draw @ Leicester City. 2-2 draw versus Arsenal at home. They’ve lost a one-goal lead and a two-goal lead in successive weeks, so Everton definitely have some work to do. The offense looks alright though, even without young attacking-midfielder Ross Barkley, who is set to miss several weeks. DFS buzz: Seamus Coleman is my favorite kind of DFS defender, capable of pitching in for a clean-sheet but also of bombing down the right hand side of the pitch for a goal or assist. Week 3 info: Home versus Chelsea. There’s definitely better matchups to look to exploit for cash games.
Hull City: 1-0 victory away versus QPR. 1-1 home draw to Stoke. Hull played a man down for the majority of their last match versus Stoke and still outplayed their opponents (full disclosure: basing this on several recaps, was not able to watch live), so in my opinion they’ve had a fairly optimistic and bright start to their season. DFS buzz: Nikica Jelavic scored in the Stoke match, and is a solid all-around striking option for Hull and for DFS purposes. Week 3 info: away versus Aston Villa. The AV match will be their FIFTH in FIFTEEN games due to their Europa League participation, so barring some serious squad rotation, I will be inclined to look elsewhere for now.
Leicester City: 2-2 draw home to Everton. 2-0 loss @ Chelsea. Leicester have shown that they won’t be complete pushovers as EPL-newcomers this year. DFS buzz: Newcomer Jose Ulloa has already opened his goal-scoring account and winger Riyad Mahrez had 8 crosses/corner kicks last match. Both will be lesser-known and lesser-owned options this year. Week 3 info: Home versus Arsenal. Won’t be touching any of them this week though against a strong Arsenal squad.
Liverpool: 2-1 home win versus Southampton. Currently playing Man City. I got this blog done earlier than planned, so I’ll be skipping the Liverpool-Man City match that will be going on during or shortly before this is published. Liverpool lost Luis Suarez and signed Mario Balotelli, so there’s still all kinds of crazy to be found on the squad. All attackers are options, and Dejan Lovren may help solidify what was a leaky defense at times last year. DFS buzz: Balotelli is an enigma, but Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling are exciting attackers just as capable of huge DFS points. Week 3 info: @ Spurs. All attackers are options, but I think Spurs will get on the board as well, so I’d avoid their defenders.
Manchester City: 2-0 victory @ Newcastle. Currently playing Liverpool. Defending champs. World class players at every position. Not much more need to be said. DFS buzz: As I alluded to, they have plenty of world-class strikers. Whoever is leading the line in a given match is worth consideration. Yaya Toure and David Silva are strong plays at midfield as well. Week 3 info: Home versus Stoke. Just about every starter is in play!
Manchester United: 2-1 loss versus Swansea at home. 1-1 draw @ Sunderland. Manchester United have been arguably the league’s biggest disappointment, but there’s a good chance that reinforcements will be brought in before the end of the summer transfer window, and/or that manager Louis Van Gaal may change his 3-4-1-2 formation which has looked natural to many of his players. Injuries have also played a part thus far. DFS buzz: The attacking triumvirate of Rooney, Mata, and RVP are just about always solid cash game options, barring injury. Week 3 info: Away versus Burnley. I think at least 2 of that attacking trio get on the score-sheet this weekend and Man U will begin to find their form (no matter which formation they end up in).
Newcastle United: 2-0 home loss to Man City. 0-0 draw @ Aston Villa. The results speak for themselves. They’ll need to start scoring some goals before we give them serious consideration for DFS purposes. DFS buzz: New-signing Remy Cabella has apparently been a rare bright-spot for the squad’s attack thus far. It’s only a matter of time before he puts up an assist or a goal. Week 3 info: Home versus Crystal Palace. Defenders and Cabella are in-play, but I think there are safer options otherwise.
QPR: 1-0 home loss versus Hull City. 4-0 loss @ Tottenham. QPR has looked like a team to target so far, perhaps the Brandon Maurer of soccer DFS so far (target to stack against, for those that aren’t MLB fans). They are one of several squads to be trying out a 3-man defense this campaign, with adverse effects so far. DFS buzz: Joey Barton has been firing in crosses, and Loic Remy is too talented not to get on the scoresheet soon, even with QPR’s defensive and midfield troubles. Week 3 info: Home versus Sunderland. SAFC has looked mostly good early on, so outside of the aforementioned Barton & Remy, I’ll be passing.
Southampton: 2-1 loss @ Liverpool. 0-0 home draw versus West Brom. Southampton are still working to iron out their side after a summer transfer window pillaging by bigger squads. DFS buzz: New signing Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle will be the names to remember once their squad gets comfortable. Week 3 info: Away versus West Ham. Tricky matchup, but their attackers are an option.
Stoke City: 1-0 home loss versus Aston Villa. 1-1 draw versus Hull City. Stoke had an impressive preseason, but it hasn’t carried over to the real games yet. DFS buzz: Bojan Krkic and Mame Diouf will have growing pains, but should pop up on the score-sheet eventually. Their defense is often their strength. Week 3 info: Away versus Man City. Avoid them unless you want to be super contrarian versus last year’s champs.
Sunderland: 2-2 draw @ West Brom. 1-1 home draw versus Man U. It may seem counter-intuitive to most American sports fans, but Sunderland should be pretty happy with their 2 ties so far. DFS buzz: Seb Larsson looks to be the creative option at the moment, and gets the guaranteed points of corner kicks (and several crosses so far). Week 3 info: Away versus QPR. Given how porous QPR’s defense has looked early-on, most SAFC attackers are an option.
Swansea : 2-1 win @ Man U. 1-0 home win versus Burnley. Swansea have been one of the bigger surprises in the early stages of the 2013-2014 EPL campaign and have attractive DFS targets on both sides of the squad. DFS buzz: Wilfried Bony fired home 25 goals in 48 appearance in his first season in the Premier League. He’s a safe bet for a similar tally this year. Week 3 info: Home versus West Brom. Just about all of Swans are in play in this very winnable match.
Spurs: 1-0 victory
West Ham. 4-0 win QPR. Tottenham looked great in their last match. After several players had disappointing first seasons in the Prem, many have started this campaign brightly. DFS buzz: Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen are two examples of players that had underwhelming seasons last year. Both should be solid cash game options throughout. Week 3 info: Home versus Liverpool. Their defense has looked solid so far as well, but should be put to the test against Liverpool. Attacking options are in play.
West Brom: 2-2 home draw versus Sunderland. 0-0 draw at Southampton. 2 points isn’t a bad haul thus far, but I personally think WBA will be in the relegation mix this season. DFS buzz: Saido Berahino fired in 2 goals in their opening match, and newcomer Brown Ideye should be an option once he gets used to the EPL. Week 3 info: at Swansea. I’m not getting my hopes up due to Swansea’s bright start, but some West Brom attackers may be useful contrarian options.
West Ham: 1-0 home loss versus Spurs. 3-1 victory @ Crystal Palace. Injuries to attacking stars Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll have set West Ham back so far, but a rash of new signings may be able to bail them out. DFS buzz: Mauro Zarate is one such new-signing. And fresh off a name-making World Cup campaign, Enner Valencia could play his way into DFS ownership. Week 3 info: Home versus Southampton. I think there’s safer targets, at least for cash games.
If you managed to read this far, congratulations. Sorry for being long-winded but maybe it helped make up for the lack of info last week.
Important note: Pay attention to which squads have Europa League, Champion’s League, AND Capital One Cup games this week. It’s early in the season and fatigue will play an important part! Given the choice between 2 similar players, I’ll be choosing the one that is better rested.