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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Couple quick notes on the Sunday slate.
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.
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.
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.