We are not there yet... We are not yet at the point of the season where we can make sound judgments without that little devil atop my left shoulder whom I like to call “Small Sample Size” leading us astray. Understanding that any choice we make regarding whom to pick for our squads, whom to drop or whom to trade is still tainted by all manner of biases — ranging from availability heuristic, recency effect, sunk cost fallacy, and endowment effect — will give us an edge in resisting drastic changes that may look good right now but could torpedo our seasons in the long run. When in doubt, my advice is to take the long view.
For some of us, this nugget of wisdom could keep us from dropping Harry Kane in favor of GW5 hero Laurent Depoitre, or spare us cutting ties with Mesut Ozil in favor of Jordon Ibe. In short, if you want to become a better fantasy manager and are not familiar with any of the cognitive biases I mentioned above, then I urge you (in all caps to illustrate the urgency of my message): GO LEARN ABOUT THEM NOW! This information will give you a managerial edge above and beyond any “hot” player picks I could ever dream of.
(Pardon me while I step down from my soap box; tricky step that one)
Alrighty then! Let’s take a quick tour around today’s slate:
The Early Saturday Game
I dunno. Something just feels off with Spurs this season. There is that whole “Wembley Home” narrative going on, and it is true that Spurs have already dropped more points this season “at home” than they did all of the last campaign. Mauricio Pochettino has also discovered the joys of wild rotation, which has disrupted the flow of one of the more consistent XIs from last season. As for the Hammers, well, they start ugh, Joe Hart, ugh so I can’t back them against the law firm of Kane, Eriksen, Alli & Son.
The Busy Middle Games
Swansea City v Watford
For those of us who just adore highly skilled managerial games of chess, this showdown between two grandmasters is your dream come true. For those of us who just adore highly skilled, star-studded games of fluid futbol, this “showdown” between two pedestrian squads is your nightmare come true.
Manchester City v Crystal Palace
When thinking about this game, only one image comes to mind: Predator (City) manhandling every single one of Schwarzenegger’s special forces team (Eagles) in the South American jungle (Etihad Stadium). And that makes me nervous, because life is never so easily predictable is it? Palace’s roster is full of fun (and famous) players like Andros Townsend, Christian Benteke, Yohan Cabaye, Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon. They can’t be a history-making awful squad for too much longer, can they? I believe regression will take hold soon, and Palace will revert to a level of play more in line with a lower-mid table finish. City will win this game, but I’m not sure it will be the cakewalk we all expect. But still, Predator...
This game could resemble a Michael Myers rampage on Halloween night. The Potters are normally a very solid and underrated squad, but their defense is totally depleted with Geoff Cameron and Ryan Shawcross (both injured) and Kurt Zouma (loan agreement) all out of the game, and Kevin Wimmer carrying a knock and looking at a dreaded “late fitness test” (and any way, he is Kevin Wimmer so, meh). I expect Alvaro Morata to do to the Potters defense what Michael Myers does to the teenagers of Haddonfield, Illinois. This game will not be apt for audiences under the age of 17.
Southampton v Manchester United
For those of us who enjoy fantasy drafts, there is always a team that forgets to draft forwards in the first few rounds, only to try to correct the mistake in the late rounds when pickings get mighty slim. Take a look, there is one of those teams in every league. In real life EPL, that team is Southampton. Who wouldn’t love to wheel out one of Manolo Gabbiadini, Shane Long or Charlie Austin!!!! On the other hand, the Saints defense is so, so good - especially if fantasy god Virgil van Dijk returns to the XI. This one could be a tricky one for United. I wouldn’t be shocked if they eke out a 1-0 victory or if they’re held to a drab nil-nil.
Everton v Bournemouth
If we focus solely on the standings: ma-ah-argh (dang gag reflex!)...
If we focus on our pre-season expectations: this is a good game between two contenders for the 7-8th place finish!
If we focus on what I expect will happen from now to the end of the season: I don’t think these teams are as horrible as they’ve looked, nor as good as we thought at the beginning of the season. I’m very worried about Everton’s lack of pace, and that Bournemouth midfield is full of junk. But both teams may have aces up their sleeves: Dominic Calvert-Lewin looks like a potential game changer for Everton, and Junior Stanislas, if he ever gets healthy, will fix Bournemouth’s nondescript midfield.
Burnley v Huddersfield Town
Finally, the game I really wanted to write about! I fully expect a stronskmvkmskjgkakgmklnkfgnl... (3 minutes pass)...(10 minutes pass)...(4.5 hours pass)...sorry! I fell asleep! Now where were we? Ah yes, Tom Heaton! (reminded Tom Heaton is out for a long, long time with a dislocated shoulder)... Ah yes, Steve Mounie! (reminded Steve Mounie is out for the week with a knock)... Ah screw it! I give up!
The Late Saturday Game
Liverpool is another team with a decimated defense full of possible DNPs. Even when fully fit, Liverpool is a team with a decimated defense because they have very few defenders who are any good at playing professional futbol defense. But the fact that many guys are hurt could prove very disastrous for fans of the team, or very fruitful for holders of Leicester City assets such as Riyad Mahrez and, if healthy and starting, Jamie Vardy. If Liverpool roll out a centreback combo of Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan, and Leicester don’t score 17 goals, consider it a job well done for Klopp’s boys!
And live from your screen, it’s Saturday Chat Liiiiiiiive !!!!
Which fantasy players do you have going today? How do you expect the games to turn out? Do you see any early barn-door candidates? Let us know in the comments below!