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Season 2, Episode 44 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Tuesday, June 30, FPL is Go!
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Hello and welcome to Episode 44 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
It’s been 2 weeks since the last episode and we are now 10 days away from the start of the season, as Liverpool host Norwich City.
Many are jumping on the AlwaysCaptainSalah bandwagon as their GW1 captain.
Can’t say I am surprised, a newly promoted team that was quite porous last season on defense and potentially no Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino to start.
Many are already looking for an early season hat trick for Salah, starting the season off right.
For me, I am still without the Egyptian king to start the season, but we will get into that a bit later in the show.
Twitter is a live and breathing beast, but you gotta sort through a lot of shit to get the nuggets of information that could help you as your wade through BS and RMTs toward Friday kick off, next week.
By now, you have a good idea how you are going to start the season, who your premiums are, possibly even have a set formation to kick off with.
That said, there are still questions to be answered, especially is it relates to new talent in the Premier League or those budget players who could bust out this season.
I do want to quickly promote the FPL Roundtable that got started two weeks ago, which was hosted on the Pitch & Pint Podcast.
Casey, Gabe and I were very pleased with the response to the pod and live stream, so thank you.
We continue to have some distribution issues with Libsyn, so if you missed it, episode 4 was released last Thursday and is relevant up to the start of the season.
You can find a link in the show notes – http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/10664381
Give the account a follow @FPLRoundtable on Twitter, “where the extremes of stupidity and genius meet.”
Now with business out of the way, let’s get started.
The 2019/20 FPL season marks the second year of the Pitch & Pint Podcast.
I had a great time last year writing, producing and hosting the show, so much I’ve decided to bring it back for this upcoming season.
It could be a bit more challenging, as the FPL Roundtable will take some of my time, but with Casey, Gabe and Garf, I feel confident both shows are doable.
For me, it’s my 7th season participating, and I am coming off my best finish of 31k.
Not new to fantasy games, been playing fantasy NFL since 1983, when NOTHING was internet based!
It was paper, pencils and newspapers to calculate scores. It was kind of awesome.
With any luck I will participate in my 36th season playing fantasy NFL football, but the love of the game was lost years ago.
It’s only because of the childhood friends involved I remain active in the league.
That is interesting, as last season, maybe not the best or worst for some, the #FPLBeerClub made the entire season worth it.
Doesn’t matter if your team did well or your triple captain didn’t return.
The friendships and trading of beer has really taken off and it’s made the group more than just FPL related.
Aside from the lads to Leeds, there have been meet ups on the east and west coast of the US and we’ve seen a few meet ups in the UK and Ireland.
Up next Scotland!
It’s my hope, I will have the opportunity to catch a flight across the pond with my 50-pound suitcase filled with beer in hopes of a few meet ups in and around London.
October is the intended target. More on that as it gets closer.
I agree with a few others, who’ve mentioned it. The game was released too early.
I think I spoke of this in a previous episode as well, when I called it “incomplete” as FPL are still adding players to the mix.
The game could have been released this week and still provided mangers plenty of time to discuss and tinker ahead of GW1.
That said, my team has unchanged for the last 3 weeks, as I am still “defensively red and offensively blue.”
I will talk about this later in the show.
One topic that seems to be always up for debate, that first wild card.
WHEN TO WILD CARD (04:04)
Now when it comes to MY planning and I emphasis MY planning, I will lay out plans and possible moves for the first four weeks.
Those potential moves only take into consideration the fixture difficulty ratings.
If there is a player who passes the eye test and in form, my plan could change.
A perfect example, Gerard Deulofeu, Watford’s first four games include: BHA/eve/WHU/new.
They have the best attacking fixtures for that period.
Starting GW5, they end up with the third worst fixtures for the next 4 weeks; ARS/mci/wol/SHU.
Deulofeu is already planned to be move, Burnley shoot to the top of the FDR, but I could also consider players from Villa or West Ham as options.
There is worth in this sort of planning, if you don’t get locked into a plan and not consider your options.
Last year, I was so locked into my chip strategy that I activated the second wild card, when I should have adjusted my plan based on how my starting XI was playing.
It was the lone decision that ruined my season, but still a finish if 31k was considered a great year in my opinion, but it could have been so much better.
As for the wild card, I have no set time to use it.
I’ve broken the first 12 weeks of the Premier League season down into 4-week blocks, with the international breaks separating those sets of games.
Last season, I started with 67 and 66 points. Over the course of 38 weeks, I would take average all day long and finish with a score of 2565 points and probably come close to winning FPL!
That before we add chips and captains to the mix.
My point, I got sucked in when I saw my OR at 970k and felt my team wasn’t performing.
That GW2 Aguero hat trick in City’s 6-1 thrashing told me, “you need a premium forward!”
That triggered the wild card, especially looking at City’s fixtures over a 4-week span: wol/NEW/FUL/car.
And over that 4-week run, Aguero scored just 1 goal.
This season, I have no plans for the wild card, it will be played when I feel it needs to be played.
Obviously, the international breaks, if I don’t go into them, rolling a FT will possibly be the best opportunities to activate.
I’ve heard other managers making claims to hold it until the Christmas period.
The choice is yours alone. Don’t force your hand, don’t wait too long.
Hopefully there will be a situation that presents itself as “the right time.”
Sadly, the second wild card is usually used in conjunction with doubles and blanks.
I might buck that trend this year, as it failed miserably on my last season.
But that is a topic for later in the year when we start discussing strategy for when to play it.
Let’s not get too deep into the FPL discussion before we pour our beer of the week.
BEER REVIEW – TBD (06:51)
This week it’s a new West Coast hazy that is inspired by the NEIPA.
Revision Brewing Company opened its doors in March, 2017 in Sparks, Nevada about a 10-minute drive east from Reno.
Revision Brewing Company is known for brewing mouth-watering prominently hop-forward beers by the award-winning brew master Jeremy Warren and head brewer Jeb Taylor.
Revision Brewing Company’s brewmaster and CEO hails from Knee Deep Brewing Company out of Auburn, CA, a company that he originally founded out of his garage in Sparks, Nevada.
In July of 2015, Jeremy Warren (Founder and former Brewmaster of Knee-Deep Brewing Company) decided to sell his shares of Knee Deep Brewing to his business partner and set out to start Revision Brewing Company where he could have total creative freedom.
Warren is known for his world-class IPA’s, 2x IPAs and 3x IPAs and after only a year of opening the doors at Revision Brewing Company, the brewery took a gold medal win for Revision IPA in the American India Pale Ale Category and DIPA won the silver medal in the Imperial India Pale Ale category at the 2018 World Beer Cup awards.
Jeremy saw Knee Deep’s growth from a startup in his garage to a national production facility, however, he wasn’t able to pursue the diverse beer portfolio that he had originally set out to brew when he first founded Knee Deep Brewing Company.
In July of 2015, Jeremy decided to part ways from Knee Deep Brewing to start Revision Brewing Company, where he could carry out his original vision.
Today it’s Reno As Fuck! Thanks to my work wife, who was in Reno last week and had the opportunity to visit Revision.
Described on the Revision website as an 8.4% “Imperial NE-Style IPA with Simcoe, Mosaic and Citra hops.
Embracing the no-holds-barred, pure, dirty, clean, crass culture of the greatest place in the world, this beer reflects the city it was born in.
It’s real, down-to-earth and unfiltered. You don’t buy this beer, you earn this beer.”
Now lets pour this 16 oz can….
Reno As Fuck pours a hazy, golden straw yellow with a healthy, soapy like 2-finger head with low retention and some spotty lacing.
The smell is bright and juicy with a big stone fruit and passion fruit along with citrusy grapefruit and orange with a hint of pineapple and an underlying pine dankness.
Let’s see how it goes down…
Nice…smooth over the palette with a nice juiciness up front. There is more intensity in the flavor than the nose, as fresh tropical and citrus fruits flow.
Pineapple, papaya, mango and some passion fruit are present, as the finish is just slightly bitter.
Excellent beer, then again out west that is what Revision Brewing is known for.
Now with our beer poured, let’s continue.
THOUGHT PROCESS (09:38)
When I initially began planning my starting XI, I did so with no limitations on players or formations.
Unlike previous seasons, where I was looking too far ahead and planning for the season, when I should have been planning for a smaller period, I ran into big problems.
Even last year, the premise of planning in blocks of time seemed to get lost on me when I burned my first wild card after just 2 weeks.
This season I have followed in similar footsteps, as I’ve broke up the first 12 weeks of the season with the international breaks, giving me more manageable periods of time to plan for.
You can’t plan for the unknown, such as injuries or suspension, even players falling out of form. You must take these as contingencies and know the best laid plan could quickly go astray.
Holding that in mind I started building one team to fit each formation.
As planning moved forward, I started to ignore some of the formations, such as a 5-man defense and the single forward options.
Now this is odd, as in years past I have been a big proponent of five at the back.
There’s no denying the quality of players back there, especially the Liverpool lads and Aymeric Laporte, Luca Digne and some Chelsea assets.
Much like Marcus Alonso a few years ago, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold start the season as 7 million defenders on the back of 42 clean sheets, 25 assists and one goal.
However, based on ownership, it’s Virgil van Dijk and Robertson as the top defenders with Alexander-Arnold behind Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
For me, 5 at the back quickly went out the door, as big at the back will require you to cut corners elsewhere in your squad.
A quick look of midfielders between 5-6 million doesn’t yield many quality options.
I am sure at some will point, the new United player, Daniel James at 6.0 could be a consideration, but he’s unproven at this level to start the season.
There is Dani Ceballos, coming into an Arensal midfield that has not been consistent. At 5.5, he could be that diamond in the rough, but its going to depend on how Unai Emery plays him.
No real surprise to see Leander Dendoncker heavily owned at 4.5 million, mainly as bench fodder, but he’s played an advanced role in the preseason friendlies for Wolves, now owned by 12.8% of FPL managers.
There are a few other names that look interesting, Abdoulaye Doucoure, 6 million, consistent the last 2 season, totaling 12 goals and 11 assists, but usually flies under the FPL radar.
There’s his playing partner, Maxi Pereyra, 6.0, started off in form and scoring last season, but lost his confidence and scoring touch, also didn’t play all that well on the road.
Mark Noble, on pens with 5 goals and 5 assists, but will need to see if his minutes increase, as he played nearly 2300 minutes last season.
There has been some discussion on Chelsea’s Jorginho playing an advanced role for manager, Frank Lampard.
Reportedly on pens as well at 5.0. I guess you could do worse, but at best, he’s a wait and see, he will log the minutes.
Twitter gives FPL managers a very small cross section of what is really going on in the fantasy game.
Looking at the premium forwards, they all fall behind Raul Ji-menez, who’s nicely priced at 7.5 million.
My concern, like that of many other non-Wolves supporters, how will he get on now that Wolves are involved in Europa League play?
We saw what it did to Burnley last year and Wolves aren’t particularly a deep bench team.
Something I have eluded to in past episodes, citing the Watford comeback from 2-0 down in the FA Cup semifinals to win in extra time, 3-2.
So, Ji-menez, while priced right, might not be the best decision up front. It’s difficult to ignore the price and the 35.2% ownership.
Harry Kane at 11.0 seems to have grabbed the most attention as the premium forward of choice.
Maybe it was that goal from the center circle last week that sold more managers on Kane knocking past his August curse and any injuries he might have struggled with last season.
Then there is Sergio Aguero, at 12 million he’s the most expensive of the bunch but could potentially miss or see limited minutes since he participated with Argentina in the Copa Americana.
He’s been back since July 2 when Argentina was bounced 2-0 by Brazil, the eventual winners.
That is PURE speculation and there have been some unsubstantiated rumors circulating on Twitter of Sterling playing through the middle.
Finally, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang priced with Kane at 11 million coming off 22 goals last season.
The Gooners have two good fixtures to start the season, new/BUR but many are gun shy with just a 17.7% ownership ahead of the season.
However, those numbers might increase, depending on the injury sustained by Alexandre Lacazette, who limped off in a friendly 2-1 defeat to Lyon.
So where does that leave me?
BUILDING ON DEFENSE (14:33)
Much like last season, I do like to spend, maybe overspend on defensive assets.
It did me well last year as I posted 84 clean sheets on the season!
I start with the same two defenders I ended the season with in Robertson and van Dijk.
At one time I also had Laporte and Alonso in my starting XI but have since moved off both players.
Chelsea will be a “wait and see” as they open away to United followed by home to Leicester.
IF there is a need to go into the City defense, I will look in the direction of Oleksandr Zinchenko at 5.5, as a short-term player.
He’s a million less than Laporte and recorded 3 assists, tied with Laporte in nearly 2000 less minutes.
It’s possible he could have quite a bit of freedom down the flank, much like Ben Mendy, to get forward and get into the attack.
As I say with defenders, their primary points are clean sheets. Any attacking returns I pick up are an extra bonus.
We can’t, but we do, buy defenders based on their attacking stats.
One reason I think the ownership numbers are a bit skewed.
That’s how players like Matt Doherty and Digne came into prominence last season.
Neither Wolves or Everton were very defensive minded.
In defense of the Toffees, they picked up 8 clean sheets in the final 11 games of the season to finish with 14!
The question I asked, “which defenses do I want to back for clean sheets?”
There was just two teams, Liverpool and City, but they are anything but equal.
Sure, City was a single CS off that of Pool, but as a unit, I feel Liverpool was a much stronger defense on the pitch.
Part of that was due to the fact City usually dominated possession, which limited scoring opportunities.
However, City did get lazy at time, giving up an odd goal to weaker opposition and ruining that “guaranteed 6 points.”
I also feel it’s easier to get in behind City with their wide men playing in that advanced role.
For me, Liverpool is where I am sewing my defensive seeds.
Now the real question becomes do Robertson and Trent duplicate their attacking returns from last season?
Even if they don’t you still have to give this Liverpool trio a leg up on all other defenders to start the season.
Defensively, I think this Liverpool team could challenge Chelsea’s record of 24 clean sheets. City too for that matter.
When looking at the BEST opportunity for a clean sheet beyond these two teams, the rest look very average.
I think Chelsea could be a potential gem and wouldn’t hesitate to move to Cesar Azpilicueta or David Luiz, both at 6.0 million.
Still a big fan of Marcos Alonso, even though Chelsea fan have seen enough and feel Emerson is the player to start.
We will have to see how Lampard approaches the season, but we do have some time, as I won’t be buying into Chelsea for at least 2 weeks, which could give us a better read on how they will play defensive.
Still they secured 16 clean sheets last season. They are not a team to count out.
Everton, 14 cleans but can they be counted on to duplicate that?
I don’t think they can, 8 out of their last 11 games were cleans, excellent work, but that isn’t a trademark for a Marco Silva team.
But there we see Digne owned by nearly 28% of managers.
Digne isn’t in my thoughts to start the season, even with what appears to be a great run to start the season.
The loss of Idrissa Gana Gueye to PSG could set the Everton defense back.
So, to start this season, I am not going 5-at-the-back, which has the appearance of being “popular.”
Iam planning on treble Liverpool.
Risky? Sure, probably just as much as a 5-man defense.
Looking at Pool, they open with NOR/sou/ARS/bur in their first four. You can even toss in NEW in GW5.
That could potentially be 4 CS to start the season.
I will reassess the situation after the first 4 game weeks when we hit the international break
Right now, I don’t have much faith in many other defenses if not Liverpool or City.
Just getting started on the Pitch & Pint Podcast. Time to break for a few minutes, sip my beer and talk some beer news.
BEER NEWS (17:48)
Not sure to what length I’ve talked about the FPL Beer Club, it’s something I do regularly on the podcast.
Rest assured you have seen the hashtag tossed around Twitter and many FPL threads or have seen postings from @FPLBeerClub.
It’s used extensively when the beer is flowing, which is, well, every day!
“Go big or go home” is how FPL_Loon’s tweet read in July 2017 when he posted an image of some 650ml bottles with the tag #FPLBeerClub.
It wasn’t until January 2018 that FPL Chef revived the tag and the #FPLBeerClub was born.
It’s not exclusive, open to anyone and all.
Those involved in the weekly threads all share one thing in common, aside from football. Beer.
From generic to batch to home and craft, if you can tap it or pour it from a can, bottle or growler, we will indulge in it.
Our beer hauls are cornerstone to the #FPLBeerClub.
Members show off their recent purchases, what they favor to drink over the weekend, weekday or just how well stocked their refrigerator is (#fridgeporn).
Chef is known for his Cannonballs. While I opt for the mini fridge porn.
Hell we even have a #DavePour named for Dave From Burley.
For us it’s all about what you are drinking now.
To support the #FPLBeerClub, the Untappd app has become a cornerstone for some, sharing images and reviews of what they are drinking.
Another aspect of the #FPLBeerClub has been the trading and sharing of beer, as well as meet ups.
Not the easiest thing to do when shipping across the Pond its fucking expensive.
However, as they say, where there is a will, there is a way.
Thankfully, we have enlisted the trust of a “mule.”
That’s right the FPL Beer Mule, who has made it to London and Dublin and will soon hit Edinburgh!
I am sure I Paul @The_PaulAitken can’t wait!
@FPL_Jay and his missus were recently in the UK and there were meet ups and beer trade happening.
Some of the UK lads get together and train to Leeds, for a long day of drinking. Epic, by the sounds of it.
Here in the US, Richard, RTY9A and Dave, Fantasy X-Factor have been the most active, flying coast to coast and getting together to share some good beer.
For me, I’ve received beer from the lads in UK, thanks in part to FPL Fly for getting that hooked up, as well as from Dublin, thanks to The Dude Abides.
Stateside I’ve had a few shipments to the east coast and Midwest, hooked up with Richard on a recent trip to San Francisco.
Talk about a great group of guys, all coming together because of FPL and beer.
This is what it’s all about, sadly sometimes FPL becomes secondary. The friendships and beer live on.
I raise my pint glass to the lads in the FPL Beer Club. Cheers fuckers
Now let’s dive, not unlike Marco and Jake, however I am not that artful, back into FPL.
MIDFIELD MADNESS (20:44)
Every season seems to hinge on the success of their midfield.
Last season, my midfield flopped and failed me, I struggled all season long.
Mo Salah was a Egyptian yo-yo, in and out of my starting XI, a player I did start the season with, scored 303 points and was captained 14 times.
This season, he isn’t in my open week plans. Those without Salah have been called out as “f*cking idiots!”
It can be seen a bit crazy or ludicrous to start the season without the Egyptian.
The thought process was simple for me.
City has been the best scoring team the last two seasons and I don’t see them letting off this season as they look to hit the century again in goals scored.
That said, to counter my treble Liverpool defense, it’s treble City attack.
Now, I am not sure how I will finalize it with three midfielders or drop one of those midfielders and opt for Aguero up front.
That was one of those decisions I made last year that hurt to start the season, not owning a premium forward, but knew that when I made some last-minute changes before the Friday night opener.
However MANY managers this year are not interested in the premiums with so many viable options from 6.5 to 8 million.
Based on points from last season: Jimenez, Wilson, King, Jota, Deulofeu, Wood, Murray, Barnes, Deeney, Calvert-Lewin could all be viable options
Toss in the likes of newcomers Pukki, Haller, Adams, Sharp and Wesley.
There appears to be plenty of potential!
Just three options at 9 to 9.5 that include Vardy, I’ll talk more about him in a few minutes, as well as Lacazette and Firmino, who is really the odd man out and a waste of money for a Liverpool asset when you figure many will double up on defenders with a midfielder or double up on Salah and Mane, with a defender.
For me, this is the toughest decision, as I write this piece, I am shuffling players in and out with forwards like Aguero in the mix, partnered with the 6.0 million, Adams.
Not sure we can trust the new man at So’ton, especially with Liverpool and United in the first few weeks.
King, Deulofeu and Jota are the popular 6.5 options, which could be a combination of two with a non-playing 4.5, say Greenwood, Silva or Wickham in the third spot.
Some are also touting Billy Sharp at Shef United.
Aguero now 31 isn’t getting younger but doesn’t appear to be losing his desire and drive to score.
Last year was his fifth consecutive season scoring 20 or more goals for City, adding 11 assists!
The Sky Blues have arguably the best start to the Premier season through GW11, facing only Spurs in GW2.
The starting XI looks stronger with Aguero up front then Sterling in the midfield, partnered with Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.
Still coming off a 106-goal season, I feel it’s imperative to start with three City attackers.
Ideally, Sterling AND Aguero, but that becomes too challenging to balance, much like trying to get both Sterling AND Salah.
Aguero is still the focal point of the City attack, so while 3 midfielders from City is alluring, I will most likely swap Sterling out and start the season with a premium forward in Aguero.
However just yesterday, I put together a starting XI featuring KDB, Sterling and Aguero. I kind of like it.
When we look at forwards, I gotta like what Brendan Rodgers has done with Leicester, turning them into a top 6 contender.
The addition of Ayoze Perez and the loan for Youri Tielemans has solidified that midfield, with Maddison that could rival some of the larger clubs in terms of production.
But, could it be Vardy that benefits?
Many FPL managers look at those budget midfielders and come away drooling with the potential they have.
However, I might avoid all of them and get Vardy.
If nothing else, Vardy will have more chances in front of goal.
At 32, he doesn’t appear to have lost a step, coming off an 18-goal season, but failed to play 3000 minutes.
If he can get to 3000 minutes, then he will score 20+ this season with that midfield behind him.
After weeks of planning we finally look ahead at getting this party started.
Not wanting to be influenced, I haven’t read many pieces promoted on Twitter, but have listened to a few podcasts and swapped ideas with the guys at the FPL Roundtable and the FPLBeerClub.
Still with over a week to go, nothing is set in stone…yet.
At this point, I do want to wish all FPL managers good luck ahead of the season.
May your arrows be green and your points plentiful.
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That’s it for Episode 44, thanks for listening.
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Thanks for listening to The Pitch & Pint Podcast, FPL from inside the six.