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Thank you to Tim Miller (@millertimp) for submitting the below Community Submission. This article has been subject to minor edits to the formatting, but the written content remains almost untouched.
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Community Submission: What We Learned from Gameweek 3
That was the whole tweet. It was all I could get out as the whistle blew to end one of the most entertaining first halves of a game I can remember watching. Very few matches between top-of-the-table teams such as Chelsea and Liverpool ever live up to the hype and anticipation. The sequence before halftime that led to Reece James being sent off and Mo Salah converting a penalty to tie the game is one that will be dissected all week, I’m sure, and sparked a lively discussion in my own home league’s text thread. Whether you agree or disagree with whatever call was made, the emphasis both teams put on getting forward and creating chances made for a very entertaining match. The return leg at Stamford Bridge on New Year’s Day promises to be must-watch television.
Each week this space will look quickly at some notable takeaways from the previous gameweek and provide some instant reactions and thoughts for going forward. With three weeks under our belts, we have some more workable data and with the international break here, we have two weeks to agonize over slow starts and overthink unexpected hot starts.
The Gunners are enduring their worst start in the EPL ever. Failing to score in three straight while surrendering nine goals is deplorable. The showing this week against City was particularly unbearable to watch. Arsenal fans now are scrolling further down the table than they have ever done before to find their team wallowing in 20th position. For any fantasy manager who has Arsenal players rostered, my heart goes out to you (I thought I had a steal getting Auba in the seventh round). In the current Fantrax FPTS rankings, the highest Arsenal player is Emile Smith-Rowe, coming in at 125 overall with 18 FPTS. So the question comes naturally, what to do with Arsenal players?
I enjoy overreacting (within reason) to early season returns as much as anyone. However, in this case, patience is a virtue that will win out. While it is tempting to sell Aubameyang and my Gameweek 2 pickup, Odegaard, for pennies on the dollar, I choose to hold fast. In fact, all Arsenal players can be seen as fantastic buy low candidates. Coming out of the international break, Arsenal face NOR, bur, TOT, bha, and CRY. They could easily find their form against fellow bottom dwellers Norwich and put on a run of quality matches that yield great returns for patient fantasy managers. I’m willing to take that chance and possibly bring in some rest-of-season targets such as Tierney or Saka without having to give away the core of my team.
Elliot has had two consecutive starts and full 90s for a Liverpool side that is pushing to get back into the top three of the table again. That speaks volumes to the trust that Jurgen Klopp has for the diminutive teenager. Okay, 5’7” is not THAT small. Nor is the impact that Harvey has on matches. While he has yet to crack double digits in FPTS (9.5 in GW2 and 4.5 in GW3), Elliot passes the eye test with flying colors. He is also contributing to fantasy stat lines with four Key Passes, four Shots, three Interceptions, and two Aerial wins in his two starts combined. A reliable attacking midfield player in the potent Liverpool offense is a commodity to covet. Not to mention that Liverpool have favorable matchups coming in four of their next five matches. Still available in 60% of leagues, expect to see his name on waiver articles this week and that rostered percentage to climb. For managers looking for MID upside, Elliot is poised for his breakthrough any week now.
Sticking with the theme of teenagers, Mason Greenwood continues to impress for Manchester United. Goals in the first three games to start the season have him flying high and managers who took a chance on him this year loving the ride. Taking a deeper look reveals what could be troubling for those managers. A forward’s main job is to score and Greenwood is producing in that way (and making it look quite easy at times), but in Draft EPL, we always want to look at underlying numbers and the United teen is very goal dependent for fantasy relevance. Averaging only 7.8 ghost points in the first two weeks and only adding eight ghost points this week, it is time to cash in on Greenwood’s strong start.
More importantly, there is an enormous elephant in the room in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo to United that puts Greenwood’s usage in doubt going forward. Minutes in that United attack may be hard to come by, especially when Marcus Rashford is also fit. It is a fantastic problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and a potential headache for fantasy managers. If there are forward starved teams in your league, shipping Greenwood off during the international break could be a fortuitous move.
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