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Season 3, Episode 61 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Tuesday, September 22, Feeling Blue?
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Hello and welcome to Episode 61 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
Let me start off by saying, those FPL managers, Premier League fans and people living in the US are getting screwed by NBC. This is the broadcasting company who carries the Premier League games. In 2017 we could watch EVERY Premier League game across the NBC Sports network. In 2018, we could watch most matches on network TV, as some shifted to a streaming service, but was free. In 2019 we could watch a portion of the games on TV but had to pay to watch all the other games, now behind a subscription service. Now, in 2020 we got cock! Peacock, NBC’s new streaming service, but you’ve got to pay to have access. So in the words of Walt Says Stuff on Twitter. Fuck you!
Now with business out of the way, let’s get started.
I think many FPL managers have come to the same conclusion that the newly promoted teams don’t play ANY defense. Sorry Leeds United, I know you all are excited about Bielsa and your team, returning to the Premier League after 16 years, but your defending against Fulham was atrocious! Now defensive play as bad as that is expected from teams like Fulham and West Brom, but I thought the Whites might bring some cajones and play defense but that’s not the case. As someone eluded to on Twitter, its like the 2019/20 season all over, swap out Leeds for Norwich and Bamford for Pukki.
For a manager like myself who likes to build something that doesn’t represent a cheap ass defense, it’s been a challenge through the first weeks of football. Now there is a reason why I doubled up on Liverpool and will stay that way for the season. This defense is proven. The addition of Thiago Alcantara in midfield for the Reds will only help to solidify that defense. This even after an excellent breakdown by Gabe, FPL LENS last week of how Liverpool failed, committing errors in the defensive formation that lead to players overrunning and being out of position that lead to goals for Leeds. Their luck changed this week at Stamford Bridge, but not without the heroics of Alisson.
Going forward I have no doubt that Liverpool and Man City will top the league in clean sheets again this season. Should I have any doubt? Yet early on, as we have seen in the past, points were massive with an explosion of points in the early games this last week. When was the last time Everton posted 5 goals? Well it was in 2018 in a 5-1 win at Turf Moor when Digne hit for a double, Mina converted early, Siggy with a PK and a Richarlison in injury time.
Brighton posted 3 goals against the Jeykl & Hyde Magpies, while Leicester netted 4 goals. City picking up with 3 goals at Molineux. Through 2 weeks of play we have seen just 9 clean sheets
I’ll get into more numbers and details shortly, but welcome to the show. Let’s crack open our first beer review for the game week.
BEER REVIEW – TBD (03:27)
In honor of holding onto Aleksandr Mitrovic, who hit for the brace against Leeds, it’s time to check out Double Socks & Sandals from Humble Sea Brewing down the coast in Santa Cruz, CA home to the Mystery Spot.
What makes this review even more exciting is the fact that track Brewing Company, out of Manchester UK will land some Humble Sea beers this week! First up is The Wizard of Fog, an 8.5% DDH hop fused DIPA dry hopped and fused with Cita Lupomax, Mosaic cryo, Vic Secret and Wakatu. This DIPA scored a 4.58 on Untappd.
The other Humble Sea beer is a 10.4% DDH TIPA, fused with Citra Lupomax, Citra Incognito, Sabro and Southern Start hops. Scores a 4.3 on Untappd. Both beers to arrive This Thursday, but if you want to taste some of the best hazy, well foggy beer the West Coast has to offer, then you need to get your grubby little hands on these gems. Wish I could say I have had them, but I haven’t.
As for Double Socks and Sandals, this is just the seconds can I’ve had. I’ve drank Socks & Sandals (6.6% foggy IPA with Citra, Centennial, Simcoe and Chinook) and Triple Socks & Sandals (10.4% brewed with the same hops). Double Socks & Sandals falls right in the middle with an 8% ABV and this is the DIPA version of Socks & Sandals that was Humble Sea’s very first foggy IPA since their taproom opened over 3 years ago.
When the haze craze began several years ago, they turned this traditional West Coast IPA into the start of their foggy IPA journey. With the manipulation of the malt bill and the addition of a heavy Citra dry hop it quickly morphed into one of the favorite go-to IPA’s.
Since then it’s they’ve tweaked the recipe many times over the past 4 years and think it’s currently a textbook example of a Humble Sea Foggy IPA. All four varieties of hops (Citra, Simcoe, Centennial, and Chinook) have been lot selected at harvest to represent each variety in its beauty and our preference. From the beautiful floral-citrus of a great Centennial crop, to the extreme tropical fruit of a great Citra crop.
The DIPA version is a bit bolder, described as “warm, fuzzy and comfortable, yet practical. Simple, yellow malt bill made chewier by oats, creating a grand satge for big hop aromas and flavors from some classic ‘C’ hops and Simcoe.
Let’s pop the top on this 16-ounce can.
Double Socks & Sandals pours very foggy with a deep golden body with some orange tint, capped by a finger and a half of rocky slightly off-white head.
The smell….it’s bright with a heavy dose of ripe pineapple, backed by hints of stone fruit and a slight sweet undertone. While not overly bitter, there is a mild dank pine all the way through with some lemon and grapefruit.
Let’s see how it goes down. It’s medium bodied with moderate carbonation and opens with a soft grapefruit and a noticeable light dank pine but doesn’t come off as a hoppy beer. Notes of apricot and peach with some citrus zest makes this a very juicy DIPA.
While I am huge fan of Humble Sea the past year or so, I’ve been turned away from many of their offerings recently, as they like many others have been brewing more beers using Southern Hemisphere hops, which I don’t really favor. Their flavor is a bit off putting and I find myself drain pouring more beer than I am drinking. It’s not just Humble Sea, I’ve even drain poured a Monkish beer recently, as well as a Tree House beer in the past. No beer is safe over my palate.
That said, get in on Humble Sea if you have the opportunity, they are brewing up some excellent beer. Now with our beer poured let’s look back on my GW2 team.
GAMEWEEK 2 STARTING XI REVIEW (07:34)
It was a real struggle for GW2, but felt confident, but not confident enough to roll the FT and send out the same starting XI. Ahead of the game week I brought in Kevin De Bruyne for Kai Havertz. It was a big swing as KDB finished with a goal, assist and 3 bonus for 13. That said, I captained Mo Salah again, but it was Sadio Mane scoring the goals, while Mo had no attacking returns. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang picked up an assist.
Up front I held onto Aleksandr Mitrovic and was rewarded with 12 points. But unlike GW1, Newcastle fell apart and Callum Wilson didn’t have a return, as his playing partner, Allan Saint-Maximin played just 32 minutes before he came off due to injury.
Defensively it was a stronger showing that GW1, as the Liverpool double of van Dijk and TAA picked up 14 points, while Charlie Taylor had an assist. Yet the biggest problem at the back is how bad Southampton is and Alex McCarthy isn’t playing as a 4.5 keeper. He is slowly becoming a liability at the back of this defense.
Just a point or two short of that green arrow, as I finished on 58 points, and dropped to 725k. One thing I am pleased to see my total score of 136 is still well above that target of 60 PPW, currently average 68 points.
I’ve said it in the past and I will reiterate it, consistency is key. It’s great to see a weekly score that breaks the century mark, but more important to limit those bad weeks that fall well short of the week average.
THINK DIFFERENT (09:16)
In past episodes I’ve mentioned the fact I am playing two teams this season in FPL, while I’ve just reviewed my main team, the second features premiums in a 5-man defense, as the strategy going forward this season. While the GW1 blanks threw a wrench into some of those plans it’s been a challenging two weeks with pricy defenders not pulling their weight and scoring their expected points.
The season is still young, and it does take a few weeks for teams to settle in, stop making stupid mistakes and get into that mindset to play a full season. Liverpool looked terrible in GW1. Everton on the back of a strong showing against Spurs in GW1 conceded 3 goals to West Brom in GW2. Luca Digne was a huge transfer in for many FPL managers, myself included, as I dropped Cesar Azpilicueta.
Ask me now, do I still feel a 5-man defense is viable and I will say it is. As long as I hold to the plan and we see the expected points from the premiums, I feel I will have a strong showing with this team, as long as there are good decisions made when transfers are necessary and the chips bring in some additional points. While I didn’t want to transfer any defenders, Azpilicueta was a planned move, as I just couldn’t bring myself to go with Digne from GW1 but was a knee jerk reaction after a 12 point showing bringing him for GW2 as I got what I was due, just a single point. Know I wasn’t the only manager to jump on the Frenchman.
In the early game, it appeared Doherty had picked up an assist on a Harry Kane goal, but that was called back due to offsides. Just 2 points, none this week for the former Wolves wing back. Is his time in a back five coming to an end? I don’t know as I go over the FDR for Spurs, they have a pretty strong run through the beginning of November and GW8, I might just hold him. As I eluded to a moment ago, it was the clean sheet from Liverpool in their 2-0 win, as my treble Reds defense picked up 20 points. Consider that a gift, not from God but Alisson, as he came up with a big PK save after a Thiago foul.
While many were talking negatively about United, much of what they said came true. The Red Devils looked pathetic against Palace. However, those who transferred nonperforming players out after GW1, to new players in GW2, seemed to get what they had coming. Nothing!
While I did start the season with Fernandes on the bench, he might not be long for my team. He didn’t look good, well he didn’t look like he did at the end of the season, but neither did Man United. It was my captain Aubameyang leading the way with 14 points, while James Rodriguez had a strong showing picking up 12 points.
Another player who finished on 12 points, Aleksandr Mitrovic, unlike many others, I held onto the big Serbian and called his brace on Twitter. Unfortunately, Callum Wilson left managers wanting to dump the chump after Newcastle terrible away to Brighton. He is a planned transfer out ahead of GW3.
For GW2 it was 61 points all out and a green arrow, 108 points on the season for a OR of 2.8 million. Lots of work to do with this team, even a possible wild card.
TOP 1000 MANAGERS (12:51)
While I no longer support those pods and sites behind Patreon, I continue to pay for the services of Fantasy Football Fix. I really love the tools and numbers behind FPL. One number I continually refer to, the top 1000 managers. This is a group I’ve followed since I started subscribing, I consider these managers the “moves and shakers” you need to keep pace with, in order to have a very good season. It’s their ownership numbers that mean more than the top 10k or 100k.
Can’t tell you how many times I came in few points above the weekly average, only to see that dreaded red arrow. Yet every time I post a score at or above the 1k average, it’s continually been a green arrow.
Now I don’t want to get bogged down on ownership numbers, but this is the main number I focus on. Was it any surprise that Mo Salah was owned by 83% of the top 1k ahead of GW2? Nope, not after his hat trick against Leeds in GW1. These ownership number, which at some point in the season could be defined as “template” forming are the basis on which I grade my team moving forward.
GW2 saw three players in the top 1k owned by 50% or more managers including Salah, Vardy (60.3%) and Willian 51.1%. Also note that Vardy and Willian had strong GW1 showings. Not any surprise to see VVD as the top owned defender and one of just 2 Liverpool defenders to pick up attacking points in GW1 and came close to getting his second goal in the Chelsea game. The only 4.5% defender to garner high ownership, James Justin, who at 31.9% owned picked up his first goal and I suspect we could see his ownership continue to include, as well as his price for the first month of the season, while Pereira is sidelined.
It was somewhat surprising to see that a majority of those in the top 1k stayed on Salah as their captain (32.4%) compared to Aubameyang (32.7%), the top pick in all FPL. I stayed Salah myself, figuring with Kepa in goal he was good for two goals. Well it was Mane who finished with those two goals, but Salah did have some good chances. Interesting to see Richarlison, a sneaky captain play coming off a 12-point performance in GW2, just 1.7% of captained in the top 1k.
It will be interesting to see if Richarlison or DCL get double figure numbers for the captain’s armbands in the coming weeks. For me, I have said it a few times, I do believe Salah is going to be my every week Captain. Yeah, its early but I do think he will grab the armband next week as Liverpool host the Gunners.
As I turn my attention to the transfer market its no surprise to see that DCL, Rodriguez and Son are the top targets. I expect their numbers to increase all week long as we head towards GW3. Since GW1, I’ve owned Rodriguez, but am still contemplating how to approach this coming game week. Not sure I like Everton’s trip to Palace, I see this as a vital game for the Toffees. While Palace has won their first two, they do have a solid defense (even with injuries) and played United tough last week.
KDB is slowly seeing more owners, I do think many stayed away for the trip to Wolves, but he continues to be a great option, even at 11.5. What do we think of Wilf Zaha, 354k+ new owners as of this pod on the back of two goals. Palace has a good run and Zaha, now with the addition of Batshuayi has the potential to post double digit goals and assists, for just 7 million. Best thing to see is, his fast start.
Aubameyang has lost the most owners, but that isn’t surprising, as Arsenal hit a difficult stretch and makes it a simple move directly to KDB with money ITB. All the talk about Man Untied and nearly half a million owners have moved off Fernandes or Martial. It just takes a single game and those players will be right back on many FPL managers radar…much like it was for Son and Kane. For managers dropping Egan, Tierney or Doherty most are making the move to Roman Saiss of Wolves, who have a purple patch through GW7.
HIT OR WILDCARD (17:42)
I will be honest I have consider activating the wild card for both my teams ahead of GW3. Now that is not out of character for me, as I’ve done that the last 2 seasons. It’s not the worst idea but as I know I said last year, it’s a bit difficult to judge a season or even a player’s performance on just 2 games. Take Kane or Son, Mitrovic, Digne, Mane, Salah, and Rodriguez. Just a few names of players who performed well in one of the first two weeks. Yet, we are already seeing on Twitter players rushing to hit that button but mainly because of impending price rises of some hot players after the first few weeks of play. Chasing points, is that really a reason to wild card? No, it’s not but is known to happen. Not for me to tell you how to play the game.
Now looking at it from a team perspective, take my 6th Goal team I was al ready to move Aubameyang this week, then Tierney doesn’t play and Saint-Maximin comes off the pitch with a muscle injury. Add to that the fact I don’t like Newcastle’s upcoming fixtures and want to add Man City defense. Oh and don’t fucking get me started on that shit show that is Southampton. Fucking frauds of FPL!I hope they are relegated. Why I decided to draft in McCarthy and KWP, yes I know he picked up an assist, on the back of conceding 5 goals. Wasn’t Leicester who dropped 9 against them last season?
I have a team full of problems that I didn’t anticipate. Ahead of the season, there were some players I had considered and were in my team at one point. The Son and Kane double were in my team, until I was talked out of them by a Spurs fan. I also had Richarlison and DCL, each at different times. But before GW1 I dropped all of them and ran out a team I thought was competitive.
I hate giving points away when it comes to adding a second or third player during a game week, knowing I need to score more than 4 points to make the hit viable. Weighing my options and watching those players who are potentially rising again this week, I might hold off until later in the week to decide on how I want to approach GW3. I was hoping to get through 4 weeks before activating the first wild card. It’s a case of want versus need. Then again isn’t that usually the case? I don’t’ want to be too heavy handed and drop those players who might not have performed well in one of the first two weeks, but its difficult to ignore the musings and numbers when we see players rising in ownership and price.
BUILDING ON VAPM (X17:42)
Been looking over players, their performances over two weeks and team FDRs through GW8. Just yesterday I started building a small spreadsheet using VAPM. I know, not everyone wants to rely on metrics to make decisions, but I’ve decided to use this during the season more, in order to see just how my players are performing.
You can refer to my 6-part series I wrote ahead of the season called Think Different. It discusses how I approached the season, the key metric, VAPM, as well as why I am going 5 at the back with my second team.
Last year I built a chart that shows how many points players at each starting price point need to score over 3, 4 and 5 games, as these are typical timeframe I look at when planning transfers.
The chart uses price, price per match (PPM), price per match per million (PPMM) and finally VAPM. For example, any 4.5 million player needs to score 11 points over 3 games, 15 points over 4 games and 18 points over 5 games to meet or exceed that baseline VAPM number of 0.35. That continues to be my target for all players I own.
Just two games in, there is no point to attempt calculating VAPM. It does allow me to look at a player like Aubameyang, he’s scored 7 and 5 points over two games for a total of 12 points. Priced at 12, he needs to score 19 over 3 games and 25 over four games. So he’s just 7 points off his 3 game VAPM. Do you hold him or sell him? FDR tells us ARS is away to Liverpool and home to Sheffield United. Beyond those next two, I don’t like the next 5 games. Even though he will most likely achieve his 3 and 4 game VAPM, I feel there are strong options out there. I don’t have many players returning a positive VAPM after just 2 weeks. Salah is +27, van Dijk is +1, while Mitrovic TAA are even.
Look ahead to the upcoming fixtures through GW8, I’ve got my eye on Wolves, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Burnley/Everton.
With all the transfer activity and how they have played the first few weeks MANY are moving on Everton assets. For me, I only started with Rodriguez and for the next few weeks have decided not to bring in DCL or Richarlison, but both are players I will consider. Fulham, the only player to consider, Mitro. The Cottagers NEED his forward on the pitch in order to score. Too bad he can’t play defense. Palace, some good fixtures, maybe not the next 2 weeks, EVE/che but starting in GW5 I love their run through GW13. Some cheap defensive assets and as Roy Hodgson stress defense. Might be underpriced but return some good points. Wolves, take your pick, a defender in Saiss, Boly or even their new boy, Marcal when hit. The midfield, its Podence at 5.5 playing a very advanced roll or another million gets you Traore. Obviously up front at 8.5 is Jimenez.
Liverpool and Man City are a given this season barring injury, I have no desire to move off these players. I consider them keystone players to my FPL team. Pick 2-3 from each team and stay on them.
Two weeks behind us and we still haven’t seen the best at what the Premier League has to offer. The transfer window is still open for another few weeks and I am sure we will continue to see movement for some teams. Just saw the Mendy deal finalized by Chelsea, while Bale and Reguilon are now in the FPL game for Spurs.
After a small red in GW2 I feel confident my starting XI will turn things around. It’s just too early, being Tuesday to activate the wild card. It is something I am considering and would not be out of character if I did start chopping up my team after just two games.
Let’s not forget we can always get expert information from Twitter about what to do with your team, like this gem:
“One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is bringing in De Bruyne. He plays for a team who will score goals and he’s the penalty taker. One to consider, especially if you own Aubameyang who players Liverpool next.
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That’s it for Episode 61, thanks for listening.
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