The Weekend Review

Review of the weekends action.  Who were the busts, and the money makers.

Gameweek 9

Gameweek 9 featured my biggest win, and my best slate to date.  I finished 2nd in the $27 10k GTD Equalizer on Draft Kings for a nice $1,000 prize.  I missed out on first by 2.5 points sadly which would have been $2k.


What Went Right

Roster Building

After having a brutal midweek losing session for the champions league I really drilled down on my roster building for the weekend.  Condensing from my usual 6-7 rosters to 4 with all my strongest plays having better overlap really paid off.  I focused on the teams I was confident about (Swansea, Southampton, West Brom, and Arsenal), and they did not disappoint.  I did get a little lucky with the late Berahino PK putting me into the driver’s seat going into the late game as both rosters he was on he was paired with Sanchez and Bony.  Had he not scored there I would have ended up with another decent weekend, but nothing near as close to what it ended up being.

Knowing When to Stick to my Model and When to Deviate

For the most part I stuck to my model for targeting games with one exception, Arsenal.  Aside from Spurs, and I'll talk about the Sunday slate later, most of the games I targeted went as expected.  The tipping factor on targeting arsenal even though they were listed as even vs sunderland on the road was Mikel Arteta being in the lineup.  Thankfully I'm a huge Arsenal fan and watch all their games so I was well aware of how much better we are with him in the DM role over Flamini.  Since he has joined Arsenal, you can look at his absences greatly correlating with our drops in form in seasons past, especially at the end of the 2011-2012 season.  Offensively he is massive for recycling possession in the oppositions 3rd, and defensively when paired with Flamini we tend to shield our back 4 much better.  

That made me decide to be more bullish on Arsenal picking up Sanchez and Cazorla in multiple lineups, and Gibbs and Welbeck as well in my full Arsenal stack.  The Welbeck and Cazorla picks didn't pan out, but obviously Sanchez had a massive weekend.  The Chilean is Arsenal's best player right now, and a complete freak of nature in the physical sense.  He will continue to have a high floor and ceiling and will definitely continue to feature in my lineups.

Swans Deliver

I was massively on the Bony train at the beginning of the year, but took a couple weeks off when they had some not-so-great fixtures.  I got back on at the right time as he's had 20pt + hauls in two of the last 3 weeks for the major slates.  His partner in crime, Siggy, unfortunately didn't have as great as day only posting a meager sub 10 score.  It is a little deceiving as he had a prime chance early on to score or assist but a great [Read: Skeptical] tackle from behind put him off the ball before he could square or shoot.  

Fabianski who featured along with Forster as GKs for all my lineups also had a great day, notching an amazing save at the death to keep the clean sheet.  As it turned out I would have still been in 2nd if that had gone in, but it was still nice to see my top GK pick post a great score.  

Lastly, I will definitely need to add Montero to my watch list as he was quite lively all night and is likely a better and cheaper option to Routledge and Siggy in the Swans midfield.

Liver PLOP

Fading Liverpool paid off yet again, and I will continue to stick to my plan to avoid them like a possibly Ebola patient until Sturridge returns to health and provides them the cure to their offensive woes.

Balotelli sits atop my model for forwards, but is basically a red herring due to poor shot accuracy and selection.  The team simply does not have the tools they need to perform offensively without Sturridge, and Sterling is simply not enough by himself.  All I have to say is thank god Pool didn't pick up Welbeck or better yet Sanchez, as they would have fit in perfectly. 


What I Got Wrong

West Brom

So even though Brom came through with Brunt and Berahino putting up the points I needed them to, I think it is still correct to put my pick of Brom here.  I didn't fully watch the game, but from what I gather Palace was the better team and was unlucky not to get another penalty (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).  Coupled with a late penalty that Berahino converted I was able to salvage points from this game with all my picks save for Wisdom doing well.  My model had Brom a comfortable favorite in this game so I had a lot of exposure to Brunt / Berahino, and some to Poccognoli.  Thankfully I got bailed out, but I may need to re-evaluate how bullish I am about Brom.

Welbeck

Danny Welbeck has declined a bit since his hot start at Arsenal and doesn't seem to be getting the shot volume that I want my strikers to have.  For the time being I will be focusing on Cazorla/Sanchez for Arsenal and only use Welbeck sparingly. 


Sunday Scribbles

Couple quick notes on the Sunday slate.  

Spurs

My model has Spurs as pretty decent favorites over Newcastle, and this game confirmed two things I was a little suspicious of.  Spurs are declining a bit, as well as Newcastle are starting to finally find a good vein of form.  Initially I was going to avoid Spurs altogether defensively, but with Cisse out I decided to go for Lloris/Dier for cash games.  Thankfully it didn't cost me too much as I had Eto'o, but they put on a woeful display combining for I think -.25 points.  Dier clearly is a bit of a trap and Rose is a much better option for Spurs defensively.  Initially I wanted to go with Howard, but ended up on Lloris due to Cisse injury.  Newcastle is starting to look quite good, and I'm really waiting for Cabella to have a huge weekend and will look to be picking him up when he starts in favorable fixtures

The Most Expensive Bus in Existence

Although my model predicted ~5 goals for the Man U v Chelsea match, as soon as I saw Costa was out I suspected it would be a lower scoring match.  Granted, both sides missed some fantastic chances which could have added another goal or two, I still felt like Chelsea played much more defensively than they have with Costa playing.  Whenever Mourinho is on the road, and especially when he is playing a squad that isn't a pushover he tends to play very defensive.   This is something to look out for throughout the season as I suspect Chelsea will often go from beautiful attacking football to suffocating boring bus parking depending on the fixture and Costa's health.

Everton

With McCarthy, Coleman, and Barkley fit again it looks like Everton has turned the corner on their harsh start.  They gave up a poor goal, but in general they look infinitely better defensively than they had at the beginning of the season.  Eto'o, who I have in the top 5 of my model for strikers put on a vintage performance scoring 2 and continuing to prove he was a great pick up to rotate and play with Lukaku.  I definitely will be looking to load up on Everton in the coming weeks for their better fixtures, and Baines will continue to be a mainstay in my lineups until he starts to approach 6.5k.

Angel Di Maria

Di Maria put up over 20 points without a goal or assist.  That's insane, considering it was one of his more mediocre performances.  With Man U continuing to improve on form it may be hard to avoid exposure to Di Maria in cash games when he has such a high floor and ceiling.  


Other Observations

Form, Regression, and Injuries

It is very important to recognize and predict when teams form may improve of decline.  I already explained why I took a gamble on Arsenal with expecting them to improve with Arteta's return.  This is crucial in being able to know when you should jump off bandwagons, or when to start them.  It tends to be a combination of injuries and whether teams are running over or under expectation. 

Look to avoid teams who are over performing who end up with key players injured.  Look to target teams who are under performing and are just getting important players back from injury. 


Gameweek 8

Another game slate in the books, and another nice winning weekend.  I had two lineups in the top 20 of all the big DK contests minus the $200 one. and completely crushed all my contests on StatClash.  Ended up about +500 when all was said and done.  Sadly Cisse missing two sitters cost me a couple hundred dollars.  My total winnings so far since starting Daily Fantasy only a month or so ago is up to about 1.5k with 50% ROI, and 75% winning percentage in Heads Up matches.  If this keeps up at anywhere close to that rate my bankroll will continue to skyrocket and I should be playing the nosebleeds in ~2 months or so.


What Went Right

Southampton

Well, the Saints again have paid back my faith in them, especially Tadic.  Every week so far I've been high on Tadic and had him in multiple lineups, and he finally fulfilled his potential notching a whopping 40+ point haul.  Pelle also had a great game getting 33 points of his own.  Unfortunately extra points were missed because apparently the 4th goal was counted as an own goal.  Thus Bertrand didn't get an assist and Pelle or Tadic (I can't remember who) didn't get credit for the goal.  Not much more to say that I haven't already said about this team, although I think some of their prices may rise and it could be time to start fading them.

Everton's Defense

Even though my model predicted Villa to have to goals it was the one game I went against its predictions.  With Coleman returning, and knowing Everton's poor defensive record had a lot to do with how tough their schedule was, I decided to invest in the Everton defense stack in one of my line ups.  Unfortunately it was the lineup that was paired with Chelsea players and not any of my more successful picks.  Expect Baines to be a must have almost every fixture.  With McCarthy returning soon he will help defensively so Coleman/Baines/Howard stacks when at home will definitely be something I will target.

Aguero

Although Aguero wasn't involved in DK or StatClash games he continues to confirm my feeling that he is the best striker in the league.  Had him in Mondogoal lineups and boy did he deliver!

West Ham

The only away team I backed this weekend and they put up some good points against Burnley.  Sakho continues to make a case for the best mid priced forward, and Downing as a mid priced mid fielder.

Arsenal Offense

It wasn't a great outing for the Gunners, but their offense still produced some points.  Cazorla, Sanchez, and Welbeck all had double digit hauls.  Welbeck did worry a bit as he didn't have great production before his goal.  I'd definitely recommend avoiding him for cash games and using Sanchez instead as a rule of thumb, but for GPPs he will be great as he is capable of multi goal hauls if he gets good service.  Cazorla is going to continue to be a must have as long as Ozil is out.  With Arsenal's favorable run of fixtures I expect him to have a big week sooner or later.

Newcastle

A shut out and a win for Newcastle was pretty nice.  Unfortunately Cisse missed two sitters, which is massively unlucky.  It may have been a favorable fixture, so I'm not completely ready to ride the Newcastle bandwagon, but as they improve they will definitely warrant consideration in future weeks.


What Went Wrong

Lineup Brain Farts

Hangovers are bad.  I somehow put Costa and Mane in lineups even after reading all the team sheets in the morning.  No more drinking heavily for me on nights before game days.

Willian/Remy

I'm hesitant to include this here since it will be a little results oriented.  Both players rate well in my model but had poor performances.  I faded Chelsea for the most part, but these two hurt what could have been my best lineup as it had a full Everton defensive stack.  Had I swapped out Fabregas/Willian/Remy for Cork, Tadic, and Pelle, I would have won all the monies.  I think it was still a good decision to include them and in a game where Chelsea scores two and neither of them contributed it is simply a bit unlucky.


Observations

Predictive Model

My shot and conversion regression model had an amazing weekend getting very close to almost all the scores.  It basically nailed 4/7 almost exactly, and predicted a comfortable Southampton win as well.  I may start including some sports betting as the season goes to get more mileage out of it.

Also, my player prediction model again continues to shine.  There weren't any glaringly obvious value picks, but it did identify some great differentials in Cork and Obertan who performed well.

Fading Bandwagons

It is extremely important to identify when to jump off bandwagon players and teams.  Although Chelsea won 2-1, they didn't put up the performance most people were expected.  I actually wanted Costa to start so I could have faded him knowing he would be widely owned.

Also I was able to identify avoiding Sunderland at all costs, which is something other people might not have done after their 3-1 win last week vs Stoke in addition to their multiple clean sheets this season.

Building Lineups Before Gametime

I went into this gameweek with a plan to only build my cash lineup beforehand and to build my GPP lineups when rosters went live.  Even with my hangover I felt it helped greatly and I didn't have a single lineup score below 100, as well as notched my highest scoring lineup to date (170, previously 156).

Gameweek 7

This post is actually going to be a bit shorter than usual since I'm planning to add another blog with more macro strategic topics.  Because of this a lot of the content that would be in this post will go in that one, and I will be keeping strictly to player/team related items in this post.


What I Got Right

Swansea Offense

Absolutely nailed the production of Bony, and he probably ran poorly to only get 20 pts as he could have easily had a hat trick in the game against Newcastle.  Siggy also performed well as I had expected, and if you went with Routledge instead as a budget option you were rewarded with a good return due to his goal.

Mahrez

So my value pick of the week for the 3rd straight slate has absolutely crushed.  Mahrez for only 3k had a massive 30+ point haul and I saw it coming a mile away.  I really hope many of you listened to this advice and picked him up.  I've also completely nailed the Mane pick last week, and Calhanoglu in the midweek (Leaving out Aubamayang because EVERYONE was on to that).  Unfortunately I didn't get as much exposure to Mahrez as I should have because I was worried Cambiasso might start.  Come game time having to completely re-arrange lineups when you end up with 1.5k+ extra to spend is a headache, so because of this I'll be adopting a new approach to lineup building permanently.  More on that in my Macro strategy blog.

Pool Offense... Kind Of

Pool's offensive wasn't completely sluggish, but for having an O/U of 3 goals and the highest odds of winning they struggled to eek out a 2-1 victory over a mediocre Brom team.  Sterling had his second abject performance of the week and is starting to look a bit overworked.  Balotelli was benched so I would continue to avoid pool until Sturridge gets back for the time being.   They are poor at keeping clean sheets even at home so that makes their defensive options not very appealing either.

Cross Bots 

This is going to be the term I use to refer to people who are just nailed on to get you 10 or so points just from crosses, corners, and set pieces.  Milner is the perfect example of this.   He took almost all the corners City had and had most of the attacking play down his side as well.  It will be imperative to identify this player on every team and target them for games where they will largely be on the front foot vs lesser opposition.  It is such a reliable source of points that it can't be ignored, and offers a pretty good chance of assists as well.  Unfortunately whatever stats company DK uses and deflections or own goals don't count for assists so they can eat a dick for costing me points for the second straight week (Gibbs vs Villa, Vardy vs Burnley).

Kolarov

Kolarov is a special case similar to Baines as he gets a lot of set piece duty and unlike Everton, City can actually defend.  Any game Kolarov starts he is basically a must have as they tend to funnel attacking play down his side and he has some set piece and corner duty.    Zabaletta largely suffered because of this and saw almost no attacking action.


What I Got Wrong

Swansea/Leicester Defense

I can't complain much about the Swans as I even stated I was waiting for a week to jump on Newcastle's offense, but it looks like it came a little early and the cats outta the bag on Cisse.  Pretty unfortunate as now people will bandwagon him.  I really wanted to wait for a home game to pick him and Cabella together because I was still a bit worried about fitness.  Oh well, pretty unlucky for the Swans not to hold onto the win which ultimately cost me 11 points in half my lineups with Fabianski/Taylor stack.  Same thing goes for Leicester which ultimately cost me 13 pts in every lineup besides one as I had a ton of exposure to both of these teams defense.  Ultimately though I think it was more poor luck than anything as both were fairly decent favorites to win, and Burnley needed a stoppage time free kick to equalize.  The worst part is that their poor performance snowballed into me trying to get Fancy Play Syndrome and going full YOLO to try and make up points with contrarian picks.  That decision ended up making it a big losing weekend instead of a break even or slight winning weekend.

Luxury Midfielders... Kind of

All the midfielders I advised avoiding because of price ended up having great games and weekends.  Di Maria had a monster haul, and had a lot of point consistency due to his set piece duties.  One important thing is that this may be an anomaly on set pieces due to Rooney being out.  With Rooney in the lineup I don't see Di Maria getting that sort of exposure so I will probably continue to fade him, especially in tougher matchups.  Hazard/Fabregas both had good games, with Hazard having his best performance of the year.  With that said, I'm still not convinced that luxury midfielders are the way to go, unless they are nailed on for set piece and corner duty as that will net about 10 pts a game at the least in good matchups.


Observations

Man U Defense

Man United has one of the highest cross totals in the league right now, so their defenders, specifically Rafael, and Shaw to a lesser extent will warrant serious consideration in favorable fixtures in the future.  In addition to this David De Gea is a complete sicko and probably one of the best shot stoppers in the world, so if Man U gets their defensive troubles behind they could offer some big point hauls.

Home Team Best For Value

Another week of confirmation of how valuable home field advantage is.  The best value will be found on the slight home favorites from less popular mid table sites.  You should be looking to have these sort of players in your lineups to compliment the popular plays when the top sides have easy home fixtures.  The other thing is to target teams who may appear to be on poor form but are running below expectation and playing at home, or on the flip side targeting home sides up against teams that are running above expectation.  This goes doubly so in Europe when people have even less info on the non-popular team (Malmo for example in the midweek slate).


I'll be delving deeper into some team selection and late swapping concepts in my other blog that will deal with over all strategy instead of week to week specifics.  Expect one or two blogs in the interlull (AKA the worst time of the year, which happens way too often).  For those of you who don't know the interlull is the two week break for pointless international friendlies, where one of your teams most important players will inevitably get injured.  

Anyways, even though I had a bad week I was able to give you guys some great potential picks so I hope someone was able to cash in on the Mahrez suggestion fully.





Gameweek 6

Had a pretty good overall weekend as my cash lineup did very well coming in at 109 points, and cashed in half my entries in the $27 including a top 20 roster with 119 pts.  I profited around $240 dollars so it was a nice haul


What Went Right

Southampton

Again the Saints delivered with Bertrand, Tadic, and Pelle having pretty good point hauls.  The real hero of the Saints however was the last minute value pick of Sadio Mane!  I had my eye on him when I saw he was going to be in the projected lineup, and at a 3k price he was a must have.  He more than delivered pulling in over 6 times the points per dollar making him one of the MVPs of the weekend.  Sadly Forster being unable to keep a clean sheet hurt a little bit, but wasn't a huge loss.

Chelsea

Chelsea again delivered offensively and defensively with Costa, Courtois, and Ivanovic having great games.  I missed out on the points from Oscar and Willian sadly, but I will address that in the what went wrong section.  I expect most weeks Chelsea players will  be a must have in some capacity, and I'm cringing at the thought of picking them next week in their tie against my beloved arsenal.

Crystal Palace

I missed out on Frazier Campbell however my mid price forward (Sakho) did well so it wasn't a huge loss.  Puncheon and Bolasie both gave respectable point grabs pulling in almost 3x and 2x points per dollar respectively.  One thing I'm noticing is that it is very easy to find mid priced midfielders who get great hauls because cross / shot points are so consistently predictable.  I may switch up my strategy and start avoiding luxury midfielders all together and spend those dollars on luxury striker options

Swansea

I heavily advised people from shying away from picking any of the Swans.  It turns out I was partially right as Fabianski and their outside defenders had decent hauls given the shutout.  Avoiding Bony/Siggy/Dyer proved a good move for anyone that listened.

What Went Wrong

Chelsea

So I'm and idiot and somehow didn't have Willian included in my spread sheets and missed out on a potential huge haul as I had planned on using Schurrle in 3 lineups.  Had I done the smart thing and swapped him with Willian I could of possibly had a massive weekend with 3 lineups in the top 5/10.  I did rightfully identify Oscar as a late value point but instead went with Hazard and Fabregas for my Chelsea midfield choices.  Thankfully my exposure to them was separate and limited to only two lineups.  They were both bad picks and I went against my model picking them as neither is in the top 20 for midfielders.  I went back and added Willian in and he ranked about 15th in my model so I would have definitely went with him had I seen that.  Live and Learn I guess.

Man United

I had a lot of exposure to Di Maria with 3 lineups and also had exposure separately to Rooney/RvP/Falcao.  Rooney had the best haul of the bunch but is an idiot and got red carded.  This brings me back to potentially staying away from luxury midfielders.  Mid priced options can have such decent point hauls that it might not be worth over spending for players who are 8k+ in midfield.

The Centerback Experiment

I wanted to take a punt in one lineup grabbing two super cheap center backs that were playing in games that might be shutouts (Mangala/Koscielny).  Kosc being a good set piece threat and each only being 2k would have only needed about 5-6 points to pay off.  Sadly Mangala had a woeful day, and Kosc only had 3.75 pts, which still is almost 2x and not terrible.  I may still try this again as the extra 2-4k I save can be piled into forward options, and they don't need many points to be successful.  This would only be limited to one lineup of my GPP lineups and not a cash game strategy.

Observations

The Mid Priced Midfielder

It looks like mid priced midfielders may be the way to go and just avoid luxury picks all together.  A mid priced option can just get points too easily to waste extra money on a luxury option.  Most wingers will be able to get 10-12 points fairly easily without even scoring or assisting.  That basically is 2x for any sub 6k midfielder so you are almost freerolling at that point.  This also inclines me to use a midfielder in the flex spot for my cash game lineups since they are about getting more reliable point hauls.

Chelsea and Southampton

It looks like both of these teams are going to continue to be fantasy goldmines.  Costa is basically a must have for almost every game as is Tadic for midfield.

The Late Swap

I expressed this in my basics section on how important it is to watch for lineups before the game.  I unfortunately didn't pick up Caballero as I don't like road defenses, however even though he let in 2 goals his 4 saves more than made up for it.  Sanchez not being in Arsenal's XI also cost me a bit as to late swap I had limited options and ended up having to downgrade Gibbs to Chambers to pick up Welbeck.  Unfortunately Welbeck whiffed his chance and didn't even get a touch on the ball before Chamberlain scored, and Chambers missed a phenomenal volley or they might have been in the what went right section.  Ultimately what I'm trying to say is being able to monitor lineups an hour before game time to make swaps is so unbelievably massive.  You can get great late bargains (most of my twitter late value recommends did fantastic), and you can save yourself from having a player who isn't playing.  Every week I will tweet out lineups and make last minute value recommendations so make sure you follow @soccerdfs or have the homepage of www.soccerdfs.com loaded up.

 

Gameweek 5

This will be my first entry in my gameweek review column.  The main focus will be going over what assumptions I was right about and which I was completely off on.  I will also bring up some observations from the gameweek that will be worth looking into going forward.

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