Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 3
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 3. Today I was treated to a nearly full solar eclipse in my neck of the woods. It was eerie – and that’s putting it lightly. When I walked around outside, it felt like I had sunglasses on due to the lack of light. Streetlamps started turning on all around, but the streets were all empty. The temperature dropped considerably for about twenty minutes. Birds stopped flying and all went to ground in the field where I stood, watching the moon completely block out the sun.
It was humbling in a way. Seeing such a cosmic event reminds you of how we don’t really control anything in this universe. We’re all just passengers on this rock spinning through space – and we’re all subject to the whims of fates that we can’t see.
And such a realization makes you think of things a bit differently. Life isn’t about how much you can control or influence, it’s about doing the best with what you have for as long as you have it. And that knowledge prompts you to try to do just that. Maybe I need to speak to the kids a bit more, really ask them what they think of themselves and their future place in this world. Maybe I need to be a bit more patient when the wife tells me the same stories a second time through. Would it kill me to hold her hand and look into her eyes when she speaks to me?
And while I’m at it, I need to admit to myself that I’m a writer – but I’m not often a doer. I can write for days about anything, but you’d be hardpressed to find me actually doing the things I write about. For the second week in a row now, I’ve had an absolute sham of a fantasy team. I write about fantasy, I tell you all what I think you should do…but I don’t actually do the things I advise. And in that way I’m a bit of a fraud, aren’t I? But I’ve seen the light, folks! Actually, I’ve seen the world without light, but it all works the same I think. I’m a writer, not a philosopher – what do I know? I just feel I’m now motivated to do better.
So after my rather emotional day today, I have this on my agenda:
Hug the kids, talk to them, teach them a secret handshake
Listen to the wife, continue to nod and smile even when I stop listening
Today has been a good day. I think I have a purpose now going forward. First I just need to write this article, and then I’ll read it and do what it says.
The Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW3-11
Top 3 Best Bets
#1) Manchester United – LEI (H), STO (A), EVE (H)
Didn’t I tell you that writing Fixtures was easy? I mean, with the results we’ve had thus far, this first entry here pretty much selects itself. And I don’t even have to worry about telling you whether you’re better off picking up Pogba or Mkhitaryan in your midfield – nor do I have to worry about telling you whether you’re better off using one of your roster slots for a United defender or keeper. Lukaku for captaincy? That’s somebody else’s job to sway you one way or another. All I have to do is state the obvious – you should have Man United coverage in your team at this moment.
Full disclosure: I have zero Man United coverage in my team and I have suffered greatly at the hands of my enemies. Don’t be me. Be better.
Looking at their schedule here, there isn’t much that should give you pause if you’re planning on running the maximum allotment of United players in your squad – especially when you consider that this team has now turned in back to back 4-0 performances. Leicester might seem to be a team to worry about given their recent offensive uptick, but you have to remember that they opened against Arsenal on the road and conceded 4 goals – so you have to assume that United will be well suited to accommodate Leicester’s need to defer to bigger clubs. As for Stoke, they’ve seen both of their games end 1-0 this year, once in their favor and once to their detriment; either way, Stoke will have to find a way to score more than 0.5 goals per game if they ever hope to best a team like Man United. Everton put up a stubborn resistance away at City tinght but if we’re being honeest they shouldn’t pose much danger playing away in that spot no matter what they did against the baby blues.
#2) Tottenham – BUR (H), EVE (A), SWA (H)
We all know that the Spurs’ faithful are already fretting about the (lack of) production from Harry Kane. And they’re frustrated that they allowed a depleted Chelsea side a victory on their home grounds. But that Chelsea game was always going to be a 50/50 toss up in my mind, so don’t put too much stock into it. The real key for picking Spurs here stems from their first victory, a 2-0 win over Newcastle. When you’re this early in the season, the big clubs will face each other and produce some varied results; the form may be lacking in certain areas, injuries from the summer still linger, and on and on it goes. But what you really want to see is if the big clubs still possess the ability to run through the lesser sides en route to challenging the stronger competition. And I think that Spurs definitely have that ability – and this schedule is going to set up quite nicely for them in that respect.
Let’s start with Burnley. Their first result, a 3-2 win away to Chelsea, just shows the power a red card can have in the course of a game. Had Cahill not been sent off 14’ into that match, Burnley probably don’t produce the score they ended up with. And let’s not forget, Burnley still conceded a goal when Chelsea went down to nine men. Point being, let’s not get too carried away in thinking that they’ll pose much of a challenge to Spurs here just because they got lucky once. This same Burnley side did lose 0-1 to WBA this past week, so expect them to stay closer to that form in this upcoming round. Next, I feel like all I do is slam Everton and their schedule lately – so let’s just skip them here. Looking to Swansea, you’ll see they’re the best of the five teams that have yet to score this year – but that’s just because they managed a nil-nil draw to kick things off. Even if the Swans find a way to score between now and the time they play Spurs, it won’t generate enough good form to carry them into a winning position.
#3) Manchester City – BOU (A), LIV (H), WAT (A)
To summarize what I wrote about City last week: they did just enough to beat Brighton handily in their opener. They didn’t try to stretch the score. They didn’t try to ‘force feed’ goals across the front line to boost stats. They simply turned in a very succinct 2-0 victory on the road against a lesser opponent. And it was a smart play, in my mind, to conduct themselves in that manner.
Onto their upcoming competition, Bournemouth are a bit of a mess right now. They’ve yet to score this year, and they’ve lost to Watford and WBA to start their campaign. Now I guess they could be forgiven if they’d lost to bigger clubs – but the fact that they aren’t competing with clubs closer to their level is only going to spell doom when they come up against City next round. Liverpool bounced back with a shutout win this past weekend after conceding 3 goals to Watford in their opener. But if Liverpool can only manage to sneak just a single goal past Crystal Palace, you have to wonder if they really have enough firepower to dispatch the bigger clubs. Lastly, Watford also had themselves a rebound this past weekend in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth. But it’s Bournemouth, folks. Let’s not get carried away with thinking they’re generating any real momentum here with that win.
All in all, even if City did stumble today against Everton, I don’t see too much of a problem for them going forward.
Teams to Avoid
#1) Everton – CHE (A), TOT (H), MUN (A)
Ok, so Everton secured a bit of a result against City today to close out GW2. But does that generate a bit of momentum for them? Maybe. Does all of that momentum propel them through this schedule unscathed? Not likely. I think most Evertonians would be thrilled with 3 or 4 points from this run – but nobody is banking on a 9 point haul here. Although, if you liked to play futures bets, I’m sure you could find a fantastic price on that outcome. But outside of daydreaming about what that kind of payoff could mean for your current living situation, there still isn’t much that Everton can do for you in the spot that they’re in. Wait on them until this run of awful games is clear.
#2) Leicester – MUN (A), CHE (H), HUD (A)
I guess a person could look at that Huddersfield game as a bit of a reprieve for the Foxes – but the grind they’re going to have to go through to get there doesn’t make that fixture worth stretching for. Leicester gave a good account of themselves in this last round, but they’re going to have to do better against the bigger clubs to make them worth buying. Conceding 4 goals to Arsenal like they did (and a depleted Arsenal squad at that) just isn’t going to cut it.
#3) Burnley – TOT (A), CRY (H), LIV (A)
As I said earlier in the article, Burnley made the most of the red card decision against Chelsea in their first win of the year. And fair play to them for doing so. When your opponent goes down to nine men, you’d surely hope that you’d secure a victory. But outside of getting a bit of help from the referees, I don’t see how Burnley navigates the two road games here in this series. Both Tottenham and Liverpool will be looking to use Burnley as a springboard of sorts for themselves – and I can’t see how Burnley will have any option other than just letting those sides have their way with them.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 3
The League Codes for FF247 for the 2017/18 season are as follows: