Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 2
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 2. Some of you are waxing poetic after having nailed all of your picks going into GW1. Those people who did well, and who told us how well they were going to do ahead of time, are usually the most verbose on Monday mornings. Well I scored a 35 on GW1. And at the moment, I feel like being anything but verbose about anything related to FPL. But I did sign a huge extension here at this site in the off-season, so I guess I’ll do what I have to do. Now the terms of my contract weren’t monetary, but the contract does state that I’m free to disparage all things MLS in our group chats whenever I’ve had a few drinks. They humour me and let me ramble, and I feel better afterwards.
Of course the optics for this site probably don’t benefit from having their lead off writer score a 35 in the opening round, so I’ll need to pick my game up considerably here. Like I’ve said several times before, it’s best that I stick more to Fixtures as opposed to the Tips and Capos. Picking games is (relatively) easy, but picking specific players within those games will be the death of me someday.
So to those of you who picked correctly, congratulations on a good start to the year. For those of you who chose poorly, myself included, just remember that it’s a long season – and taking a negative hit to ‘fix’ our teams this early is not an ideal strategy.
But we’re not exactly ‘ideal’ fantasy players sometimes, are we? If you hit that -4 button, I won’t tell.
At least I can stand by my picks last round. The teams from Manchester did well (and are featured here again as a result), but those were easy layups. Chelsea… well what can I say? I didn’t think that two red cards and a loss were on the table, so they’ve been omitted from my list until they learn how to act like champion footballers again. So let’s see if I can go three for three this week in a bit of a redemption battle. My team may be shot, but the article can still be good. Right?
The Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW2-11
Top 3 Best Bets
#1) Manchester United – SWA (A), LEI (H), STO (A)
You never quite know exactly how a team is going to perform after a big offseason. Will the additions immediately create chemistry within the team? Or have the departed players carried all of the chemistry with them? It’s all very mysterious when it’s just questions that linger in the ether prior to seeing the team play a real match for the first time. And suffice to say, United have answered all questions, and in resounding fashion.
It’s not just that United won 4-0 in their home opener – it’s that they looked good doing it, too. And ‘looking good’ doesn’t translate into fantasy points, but it can be a precursor to better things to come. Lukaku looked like he was loving every minute of playing for the big club, and his play with Rashford and Pogba and Mkhitaryan was so seamless that it looked like they could’ve doubled their score had they chosen to do so. Statistically, United dominated on nearly every level, but it was their attitude and understanding on the pitch that really came through for me. This team isn’t going to win every game this year, but they’ll be one of the few that have the ability to do win every time they step on the pitch.
Looking at their upcoming opposition, I don’t think there’s much to worry about here for folks that have invested heavily in United. Swansea looked like they’re going to be outmanned in every match they play this season, so their home field advantage really doesn’t even come into play here. Leicester looked like they’ve found a bit of scoring rhythm to start the year, but if they conceded 4 goals against a semi-depleted Arsenal squad, they’re going to have a real problem holding off a fully fit United side. And lastly, Stoke didn’t impress at all in their opener. Given how lethargic their attack looked for extended periods of play, I don’t think anybody is thinking that they have a chance against an even bigger club in their current state.
#2) Manchester City – EVE (H), BOU (A), LIV (H)
Lost in the shuffle of monster scores this past weekend is where City somehow ended up in the ‘meh’ category. But let’s not write them off too soon here, they performed as expected and nabbed an easy 2-0 victory over Brighton. People might be upset that they didn’t put the screws to Brighton and run up the score – but they had a 78% to 22% possession advantage over Brighton, and their final score shows that they were smart enough to exercise some restraint early in the season in a spot where they could afford to do so. Could they have pulled out all the stops and put another goal or two on the board? I imagine had they wanted to, they could’ve rivalled United’s scoreline – but really, what would’ve been the point?
The fact of the matter is that City looked like they were working on a couple of things still, but they were in no way under threat of losing the game – nor were they likely to lose their clean sheet. So kudos to the manager and the players for being smart early on and doing just what was needed to keep their risk down. Fantasy players like myself, namely those who captained Jesus, might’ve liked them to be a bit more selfish in the moment – but looking at this team long term, there isn’t much to worry about with them not meeting expectations this year.
Looking at their fixtures coming up, it’s hard to see how Everton will nab a win against this side on the road (though I will certainly be rooting for them to do so). Bournemouth were underwhelming this past weekend against West Brom, so nobody thinks they’re holding anything better than pocket deuces against City’s made hand. And as for Liverpool? They’re a decent enough side when it comes to scoring, but they’ll always be keen to let the opposition score the goal that matters.
#3) Arsenal – STO (A), LIV (A), BOU (H)
This might be a surprise pick to some considering that Arsenal just got done conceding 3 goals to Leicester – but you can’t deny the fact that this team still managed to score 4 goals themselves without some of their key names even in the line-up. Even without Sanchez around, this Arsenal side managed to somehow maintain 70% possession in the match AND still fire 27 shots (10 on goal). Usually a high shot count negates some of that possession, but Arsenal managed to buck that trend. Really, outside of the 3 goals scored on them, they had themselves a stellar game. And I’m not trying to be an Arsenal apologist here, I’m just saying that the only negative against them statistically is the scoreline – and that can be corrected more easily than most other stat categories. Leicester had three shots on goal, and all went in…sounds like there’s a simple fix or two to help that out. But there’s nothing wrong with the offence in Arsenal, so they remain a good pick in my mind. Obviously, Arsenal would rather have Alexis in the line-up going forward, but this team showed that it can still generate some tremendous momentum without him, and that’s encouraging. Granted, I think they’re better with Sanchez (my most obvious observation ever) – but they’ve also just proved that they’re not completely lost without him. That should give them a boost as they move forward.
The games against Stoke and Liverpool are both away, so Arsenal could struggle if they can’t get the keeper to make a save – but I honestly think their offence can help them out in those spots and simply outscore the opposition when called upon. And as for Bournemouth? Well their only positive is that they’re getting some of the harder games on their schedule out of the way early in the season.
Three Teams to Avoid
#1) Everton – MCI (A), CHE (A), TOT (H)
I had Everton leading this list last week and they won via shutout – so I’m not going to ruin the good luck and take them off here now. You all continue to avoid them, and watch how they keep winning. In all seriousness though, this patch of schedule is one of the worst you’ll see any team have to play all year. It’s almost borderline cruelty to have to play City and Chelsea away in back to back matches like that. But it is what it is. Koeman did say in his postgame that he thinks he picked the wrong line-up against Stoke from the start – but chances are, any line-up he picks for this schedule is going to struggle either way.
#2) Stoke – ARS (H), WBA (A), MUN (H)
The good news for Stoke is that they’ll have a pair of home games coming up here in their schedule – the bad news is that both United and Arsenal combined for 8 goals in GW1. There’s really not much to say here except that their only glimmer of hope will have to come against West Brom on the road – but as we’ve just seen, it looks like WBA are going to be keen on sticking to their model of trying to gut out 1-0 wins at home this year. Best just to avoid Stoke for the immediate future.
#3) West Ham – SOU (A), NEW (A), HUD (H)
Were West Ham really that bad, or were United really that good? Either way you look at it, they lost 0-4 on the day, and you can’t take any positives from that score. Now they still have to travel twice more on the road before finally getting a home fixture that looks like it too could pose a challenge. Good rule of thumb is just to avoid a team on such a streak of road games, and that rule holds true here in this spot as well.
One Week Punt
Huddersfield – NEW (H)
If you say that you saw Huddersfield winning 3-0 on the road against Palace this past weekend, then prepare to starve. We don’t feed trolls here. In some respects, Huddersfield were lucky to come away with such a convincing win. They didn’t control the possession, they committed no fewer than 19 fouls and they only generated 8 shots (6 on goal). But sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good – and maybe Huddersfield are just that at the moment. A home game against Newcastle could see them continue to win as long as they get another superb effort in finishing from Mounie – and as long as the fouls aren’t yielding red cards, let them play a physical game and impose their will a bit. You could do worse than this team here in this spot.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 2
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