Think Different: GW3 Retrospect

The Think Different series continues, as I look back on the decision to activate the wild card ahead of GW3. This decision wasn’t a “knee jerk” decision, coming off a green in GW2, I was looking to build on a modest 109 points I had scored the first few weeks, about 21 points lower than expected. This week I just scrapped by scoring 45 points, on a week we saw 43 as the weekly average across the game, while the top 1k averaged 42 points. That’s two consecutive weeks, where the the FPL weekly average has been higher than the top 1k, somewhat uncommon occurrence. That tells you how this season is starting.

When compared to my main team, this wild card activation wasn’t as strong, as I actually lost eight points (45 vs 53) between the two teams. However I can’t judge the success of the wild card on a single game week. Finishing on a green arrow is key and my OR decreased, which is what we all want as FPL managers. This also set me up with personnel I didn’t start the season with and maybe that was the mistake especially knowing I wanted to own Mo Salah, but decided on treble Liverpool defense. Right or wrong, I have expected more from that Reds backline than we have seen. Mistakes, out of position players and miskicked balls have lead to numerous goals. Worrisome? To some point but I know they will come good with 15-17 clean sheets and countless attacking returns.

DEFENSE

Going into the weekend I should have held off on Man City defense knowing they were playing Leicester City. Still I decided on Kyle Walker as a replacement for Trent-Alexander Arnold, who’s  a placeholder for Aymeric Laporte or possibly Ruben Dias on the brink of signing with the Sky Blues. It’s an expensive back line starting Andrew Robertson, who picked up a goal and two bonus points, while Virgil van Dijk blanked. Much like my other team, that’s a weekly average of 6 points for that double, good as a clean sheet. Walker on the back of conceding five goals didn’t score, while Wolves were handed a 4-0 loss against a struggling West Ham team at the London Stadium. I did hold Luca Digne for a second week and was rewarded with a clean sheet.

While I had expected to hold Hugo Lloris all season, I haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Spurs defensively. Then again that can be said about many big teams and their defensive play to start the season. I brought in Emiliano Martinez, who picked up his second CS in two games over Fulham. His next two fixtures are challenging facing Liverpool and Leicester City, as I dial back my expectation of Villa, but it will give FPL managers a better idea as to how far this defense has matured since last season.

MIDFIELD

One of the main reasons behind the wild card, I wanted Salah. Make no bones about it, his omission from my starting XI the first two weeks have been costly. Knowing I wanted to buy in on Man City defense, I felt this was the best course of action, allowing me another viable captain option each week. Salah also got he armband and picked up just 10 points on the back of an assist. It was the lack of points from Kevin De Bruyne, which doesn’t happen often and James Rodriguez.

While KDB and Salah are season keepers there could be some rotation with my third midfielder slot currently occupied by Rodriguez (7.6m). While I think he will be among the top assist leaders this season. It’s something to keep an eye moving forward, we see the Merseyside Derby in GW5, but I like Everton’s schedule post break, which might lead me to hold the Columbian.  It’s possible I could shift formations from a 5-3-2 to a 5-2-3, which would means Rodriguez falls out, replaced by a 4.5 million option and turn my non-playing forward into a 7.7 million or less option.

FORWARD

Confidence is high in both Raul Jimenez, even on the back of his blank against West Ham, rest assured Fulham get the Mexican back on track and make an excellent captain option in GW4. I am also backing Dominic Calvert-Lewin, his been deadly inside the box, 12 attempts, all on target, five goals all in the box. While not as dynamic as Richarlison, he’s on an excellent pace and with the service he continues to get.

OVERALL

Still a bit off the pace compared to where I want to be at 180 points after three weeks. It’s not too late to recover, but will take a stronger defensive effort going forward. Therein lies the problem with a 5-man defense, counting on those clean sheets weekly in order to maximize points. While the game isn’t played on paper, GW4 has some good looking fixtures for my defense; BHA, FUL, AVL and LEE, none of those teams are offensive juggernauts, even though they have been effective finding the back of the net in the early part of this season.

It does appear I will roll my first transfer of the year as we look towards the international break, providing my more options out of the break in case of any injuries suffered. It will also allow me to change formation to a 5-2-3 from a 5-3-2, if necessary.

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