4 weeks ago
Nevermind721 – one of the best FanTeam DFS players of all time – previews GW7 of the English Premier League. The budget for FanTeam's Weekly €50K Monster is 100 mln. this time, let's find out who makes the cut and who doesn't.
Leeds impressed all of us last year. With Bielsa's attacking brand of football, their offense delivered a historical season for a promoted team (62 goals), making the likes of Bamford, Raphinha, Harrison and Dallas household names in fantasy football circles. They might be a popular pick this week, sporting the second-best odds to score 3+ goals.
This season, however, they have not yet really hit their stride. They managed to score over 1.5xG only once so far. They especially struggled in creating big chances, with only Norwich (5), Southampton (6) and Tottenham (6) achieving fewer than Leeds United's 7.
Particularly the injury of talismanic striker Bamford seems to hamper the offense. Without him, a clear scorer is missing, also muddling the situation from a fantasy perspective. Goal scoring opportunities without Bamford are very scattered throughout the team. Against West Ham (GW6) for example, Leeds managed 15 shots. No single player had more than 3 of those (Raphinha, Dallas, Rodrigo).
The situation was similar against Newcastle United (GW5). Here, out of 21 shots, the 5 shots of Mateusz "How do you write his first name again because he really isn't a name you need often in fantasy" Klich led the team. So even if Leeds scores two or three goals this weekend, there is a distinct probability that nobody has a hand in more than one of those. Considering their hefty price tag (Raphinha 11.9m, Rodrigo 11.1m), the risk might outweigh the reward.
Thus, I'd rather take the next teams in terms of >2.5 goal odds. Goal probability might be a bit lower, but if West Ham scores three, you just know that Antonio will be involved.
As regularly in this category, it does not only revolve around the defense of a particular team but at least same part around the offense of the opponent. I can imagine that Aston Villa's relatively low clean sheet probability of ~20% might be a bit skewed by name recognition. Kane! Son! Problem is, Tottenham's offense has been bad so far. Like, really really bad. This is one of the situations where underlying stats are backing exactly what you see on the pitch. A clueless team failing to create anything.
So far, they rank...
Howard, how do we like Tottenham's offense so far?
To mock them a bit more, here's a fun list of players with equal or higher xG (90) than both Kane and Son per understat.com: Mee, Djenepo, Gibson, Godfrey, Elyounoussi.
Of course, sample size is very small. And Espirito Santo took over the team under difficult conditions. Key players like Kane and Son arrived late due to international duties and molding the team to his philosophy and tactics will take a bit. They will surely improve at some point. And it might even make sense to fire up some Son / Kane captain stacks in case they get out of their hole already this week.
But if not, Aston Villa's defense seems like a nice contrarian punt. They have been middle-of-the-pack so far this season, but kept surprise clean sheets against Everton and at Old Trafford. If they make this a "clean sheet hattrick", players like Targett (5.5m) at the same time will be incredible "bang for the buck" and also, with their cheap price points, act as enablers for the rest of your team.
Last time I had Chris Wood in this category and frankly, I think he's a good pick again this week. But for the sake of variety, I also want to bang the drum for Raul Jiménez (11.2m). After Chelsea, there is a group with several team with similar odds for >2.5 goals, consisting of Leeds, West Ham, Wolverhampton, Burnley and Tottenham. Whilst Leeds (best odds), West Ham (recency) and Tottenham (name recognition) will surely draw significant ownership, the Wolves might be a bit overlooked due to their statistical underperformance so far. More on this on the "Eye Opener" section below, where stats will be... eye opening!
Jiménez encorporates this underachievement so far. With only one goal and zero assists, he has been pretty invisible for fantasy football so far. The underlying stats however paint a different picture. Based on expected metrics, he already should have two goals and one assist. On top, amongst all strikers, he ranks top 5 for touches in the box, shots, shots in the box and big chances. These healthy underlying stats show that he's involved and active. Often, regression in terms of scoring follows. I like to be ahead of the curve in such cases. Picking him in a gameweek where he might be a bit overlooked seems like a decent "semi-differential" play.
Leeds' defense will also be a fade for me this week. Somehow, they ended up with the fifth-best clean sheet odds on the slate (>30%). I understand where this is coming from (Watford being one of the worst attacking teams in the league), but one really needs to consider how terrible Leeds' defending has been so far. If Tottenham is the "they have been surprisingly bad on offense" team, Leeds is the equivalent on the other side of the ball:
Across the six gameweeks so far, there has been no opponent scoring less than 1.3 expected goals against Leeds. Similar to Bamford, they also had to stomach injuries to key players like Llorente (might be back this week) and Ayling (will be out). Moreover, new left back Junior Firpo has his main strengths in going forward, less in defending. Automatisms in this make-shift defense still seem to be missing.
Thus, I'd rather hunt clean sheets with similarly priced teams (e.g., Burnley) and trust in Sarr (7.4m) to maintain his great form against this worse-than-expected defense.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your next "where did this 4:0 suddenly come from"-team. The Wolverhampton Wanderers:
Depending on the source you use, they have been somewhere between underachieving massively to underachieving MASSIVELY. So far, they run 4.9 goals below expectation at fbref.com/Statsbomb (see chart), 6.1 goals at Understat and 7.1 goals at Opta. Some of that surely is attributable to bad finishing (looking at you, Adama!), but statistical underperformance of that degree is not sustainable. I want to be there when regression hits. Maybe it will already be this week.
Enjoy the Monster and Good Luck!
Koalified fantasy sports enthusiast from Germany. Loves Fanteam almost as much as a good Weizenbier. Being a strategy manager by profession, he aims to translate these skills into Daily Fantasy Sports. After being one of the biggest winners in the early days of European DFS, he is aspiring to get back on top, with current net profits of over 60,000 Euros.