Football Predictions & Betting Tips using Expected Goals

26/07/20 - Premier League - Leicester City vs Manchester United - Pre-Match Thread

Key Facts

Round: 38 of 38
Referee: TBC
Location: Filbert Way, King Power Stadium
Time: 1600BST/UTC+1, 19/07/20
Channels (UK): Sky Sports Main Event
(Out / Unlikely / Suspended )
Leicester:
  1. Soyuncu
  2. Ricardo
  3. Amarety
  4. Maddison
  5. Chilwell
  6. Fuchs
  7. Albrighton
Man United:
  1. Bailey
  2. Tuanzebe
  3. Jones
  4. Shaw

Betting Odds

Accurate as of 0921BST 26/07/20 (Decimal, lower is more likely):
Leicester Win: 3.30
Draw: 3.50
Man United Win: 2.15

Fun Facts

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01/07/2020 - Premier League - Everton vs Leicester City - Match thread.

01/07/2020 - Premier League - Everton vs Leicester City - Match thread.
The Toffees host the Foxes at Goodison Park.
6PM KICK OFF

Coverage:
United Kingdom - Sky Sports Main Event - 6:00pm
Australia - Optus Sport - 3:00am (Thursday)
Brazil - ESPN - 2:00pm
Canada - DAZN - 12:00pm
Egypt - beIN Sport - 7:00pm
Hong Kong - NOW TV/NOW E - 6:00pm
New Zealand - Spark Sport - 5:00am (Thursday)
South Africa - Super Sport - 7:00pm
Thailand - True Sport - 00:00am (Thursday)
United States - NBC Sports GOLD - 1:00pm

Betting Odds (taken at 8:57am 01/07/2020 William Hill)
Everton v Leicester
Home 31/20
Draw 11/5
Away 15/8

Leicester Premier League Form after restart:
D D
Everton Premier League Form after restart:
D W
Form vs Everton Premier League 2019/20:
2 - 1 (Win at home)
Form vs Everton EFL Cup 2019/20:
2 - 2 (Draw away - Victory after penalties)

MATCH FACTS
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19/07/20 - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspurs vs Leicester City - Pre-Match Thread

Key Facts

Round: 37 of 38
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Location: New White Hart Lane, Tottenham
Time: 1600BST/UTC+1, 19/07/20
Channels (UK): Sky Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League (no crowd noises)

Injuries

(Out / Unlikely / Suspended )
Leicester:
  1. Soyuncu
  2. Ricardo
  3. Amarety
  4. Maddison
  5. Chilwell
  6. Fuchs
  7. Albrighton
Spurs:
  1. Dier
  2. Ndombele
  3. Foyth
  4. Dele
  5. Tanganga
  6. Aurier

Betting Odds

Accurate as of 1002BST 19/07/20 (Decimal, lower is more likely):
Leicester Win: 3.20
Draw: 3.40
Spurs Win: 2.25

Fun Facts

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12/07/20 - Premier League - Bournemouth vs Leicester City - Pre-Match Thread

Key Facts

Round: 35 of 38
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Location: Vitality Stadium
Time: 1900BST/UTC+1, 12/07/20
Channels (UK): Sky Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League (no crowd noises), Pick TV (Freeview)

Injuries

(Out / Unlikely / Suspended )
Leicester:
  1. Ricardo
  2. Amarety
  3. Maddison
  4. Chilwell
Bournemouth:
  1. Mepham
  2. Stacey
  3. Francis
  4. Smith
  5. Cook
  6. Daniels
  7. Brooks

Betting Odds

Accurate as of 1814BST 11/07/20 (Decimal, lower is more likely):
Leicester Win: 1.70
Draw: 3.90
Bournemouth Win: 4.75

Fun Facts

submitted by MadlockUK to lcfc [link] [comments]

The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe

The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that. Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti and Erdogan’s Basaksehir are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.

Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM

Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role.
No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club. Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team.
Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005. Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy. The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán (György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.” Let’s leave that there.

Part 2: No stadium left behind

Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power. He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals. In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs – however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed. Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.

Part 3: Small place, big game!

As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately. Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium. Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”, no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena (in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia (medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC). The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás” part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner – the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league.
Orbán – now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country (only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”. To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy) to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”. Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money. But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!

Epilogue: What's in the future?

As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary (Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth. 5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say.
TL,DR
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
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04/07/20 - Premier League - Leicester City vs Crystal Palace - Pre-Match Thread

Key Facts

Round: 33 of 38
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Location: Filbert Way, King Power Stadium
Time: 1500BST/UTC+1, 04/07/20
Channel (UK): Sky Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League (no crowd noises)

Injuries

(Out / Unlikely / Suspended )
Leicester:
  1. Ricardo
  2. Amarety
  3. Maddison
Crystal Palace:
  1. None

Betting Odds

Accurate as of 0845BST 03/07/20 (Decimal, lower is more likely):
Leicester Win: 1.66
Draw: 3.60
Crystal Palace Win: 5.75

Fun Facts

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JoJo's Bizarre Adventure OC Tournament #5: Round 1 Match 12 Alexis and Cybil Vs Admiral Pineapples and Rudolph

“届けて, 切なさには名前をつけようか ‘Snow halation!’”
The harpoon lodged itself into the Ocean Soul’s chest following a powerful toss from Pork Soda, the beast desperately trying to hit the tether to destroy it and release the harpoon, to no avail. The Ocean Soul had underestimated its opponents, who were currently singing some sort of song, perhaps a sort of war cry, meant to display their superior strength.
“想いが重なるまで待てずに, 悔しいけど好きって純情”
It had to do something! It released the Calamus Root in store within its mouth, ready to spit it out, before Sayonara Kodoku picked the Ocean Soul up, shut its mouth tight, and tossed it over to Pork Soda. With a thrust of its fingers, the porcine stand pierced the Ocean Soul’s eyes, blinding it.
Then, the two stands rushed at it, sending forwards a barrage of blows, breaking bones, claws, and disorientating it, before getting ready for a finisher. Pork Soda picked the Ocean Soul up by its tail and began spinning around, the rapid movement disorientating the fish and sending it closer and closer to its doom.
No, no! It couldn’t let this be! The Ocean Soul was a hunter, and even if its prey had gotten a leg up on it this time, it wasn’t going to give up! It could barely remain conscious under the pressure as the porcine stand spun it around, its already severe wounds getting exacerbated, but it had to do something!
Just one shot! Just one precise shot and it could use the opportunity to escape, to recover! The porcine stand was spinning it around by its tail, so the Ocean Soul could calculate the stand’s position! It just needed to regain its bearings, focus on getting a shot aimed, and it could use its spit to-
SLAM!
With a brutal impact, the Ocean Soul was slammed into a nearby rock. It felt itself sinking in the water as the two stands approached it, its imminent doom coming closer and closer with every movement they made.
It needed to escape, but it couldn’t bring itself to move. The two stands made their way towards it, floating above the ground as they loomed over the barely conscious beast.
Was this going to be it for the Ocean Soul?
“微熱の中 ためらってもダメだね, 飛び込む勇気に賛成 まもなく start!”
Like hell it was.
Gathering the little remaining energy it had, the Ocean Soul spat out the Calamus Root stored within its mouth, mixed with its saliva. Hitting the ground underneath the two stands, two long spikes quickly sprouted out of it and towards their bodies.
Though Sayonara Kodoku’s tough skin didn’t get pierced, the force of the growing spike sent it flying into the air, incapacitating it, if only for a moment. Meanwhile, Pork Soda wasn’t as lucky as it, the spike piercing through the left side of its body, tearing through its left leg and shoulder. The Ocean Soul couldn’t hear anything from underwater, but it was sure that its user was reeling in pain right about now.
Using the remainder of its energy, the Ocean Soul bolted away, desperately trying to remain conscious as it swam away from what it once considered its prey. It didn’t even look backwards, fearing that doing so would give its opponents the time they needed to finish it off for good. It didn’t even keep track of how far it swam, or for how long its opponents had chased it, or if they had done so at all. Its body was searing in pain, broken bones and wounds all over it.
Eventually, it couldn’t bring itself to swim any further, losing consciousness and sinking down into the ocean, not even the searing pain keeping it awake as it began to rest.
The Ocean Soul had lost, but this wasn’t the end of the beast. Though barely, it had managed to escape this encounter with its life.
The results are in for Match 10. The winner is…
‘Agnes’ Bayley and Prince Cosmo, with a score of 80 to the Ocean Soul’s 60!
Category Winner Point Totals Comments
Popularity Players 25-5 The word of the voterbase was clear: the vast majority felt that the Ocean Soul was handily defeated by the players.
Quality Players 23-22 Reasoning
JoJolity Ocean Soul 22-23 Reasoning
Conduct Tie 10-10
“AAAAGH! GODDAMIT, STUPID FUCKING FISH!!” Agnes screamed in pain while clutching his leg, body strewn onto the nearest island, carried by Sayonara Kodoku. “IT STABBED THROUGH MY GODDAMN LEG!! FROM THE FOOT, TO MY WAIST, TO MY FUCKING SHOULDER! AAARGH, DAMMIT, WHERE’S JENNY WHEN YOU NEED HER!!”
“You should be happy we got away with our lives. The Ocean Soul isn’t going to come finish us off any time soon after what we did to it.”
“OH, REAL RICH COMING FROM THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GET STABBED IN THE FUCKING LEG BY THAT MONSTER. DO YOU WANT ME TO STAB YOU AS WELL SO YOU CAN SEE HOW IT FEELS?!” Agnes started rummaging around his surroundings with his right hand, searching for a sharp object to use for his “demonstration”.
“Frankly, you deserve it. Don’t forget that you are the cause for this all. Were it not for your foolishness, Webb would still be alive, and this would not have happened to you.” Cosmo chided.
“PFFF- WHATEVER!” In between his heavy breathing and pained cries, Agnes let out an audible sigh. “Fffffuck this, I’m gonna check my phone to see if there’s any connection here so that we can get the hell out of this place ASAP!” Agnes picked up his phone and pulled it up, taking a look at it.
“That will not be necessary. There is no connection here anyways, and I am certain that a helicopter has been sent out to retrieve us, or at the very least ascertain what might have happened to-” “Shut up, I’m getting a message from Cairo. ‘Don’t worry, Agnes, we have sent your location over to Vitus, and help should arrive in about fifteen minutes.’” Agnes looked at his phone in confusion. “Vitus? Who’s that asshole?”
“Vitus is the man who sent the helicopters out. The one which you indirectly crashed. Nonetheless, let me see that - I have a hard time believing that your phone is capable of picking up a signal when we’re so far away from any cellular towers.”
“And why should I care about what you believe, huh? Here, take a look for yourself!” Agnes shoved the phone in front of Cosmo's face, the dog looking intently at it and seeing… nothing beyond a simple homescreen. “What is this supposed to be. This is your phone’s home screen, and though that horrendous chimera at its center is an affront to anything and everything I believe in, there is no notification here. Could it be that you are perhaps hallucinating from the pain?”
“Wh- you can’t see it?! Don’t fuck with me!” Looking at the dog’s deadpan expression, Agnes could tell that that wasn’t the case. He looked over at the phone, spotting it right there, as clear as day - a notification for an sms from Cairo themselves, containing what he read out loud! “Fuck you, I’m not hallucinating! If anything, you are!”
Cosmo was about to retort, when he spotted something over the distance - a sailboat. It was old and decrepit, seemingly having gone through significant damage and yet still remaining intact, somehow. It clearly didn’t belong to Vitus, and likely wasn’t Cairo’s either. On the boat, he saw a silhouette of a haggard man, but the distance meant that he couldn’t exactly tell exactly what he looked like.
“Someone is coming.”
It wouldn’t be much longer before Agnes and Cosmo were able to get back onland, learn what terrible things they’d missed, even if they still had a wait and a talk ahead of them. Left to nurse grievous wounds, this seaborne menace has seen this chapter of aggression momentarily closed, but further inland, the waters of a laundromat are being braved by a time traveler and a woman in chains.
Scenario:
Sound’s Garden Eastern Strip - A Golden Limousine
The evening was beginning to set in, the lights of the islands of the area beginning to flash on and dot the sky as two women rode through the city, looking out through the windows as they relaxed in luxury. Cybil Antoine was one to travel in style, and now, with a companion in tow, was no exception.
“A strip that absolutely comes alive at night… Makes me feel almost nostalgic for Vegas,” her redheaded travel companion mused as she looked out, “speakin’ of which… you ever play anything like that, Cyby? Cards, slots, so on. We could try Heartache Casino, maybe, if we have time sometime… I bet you’d just have to throw your name around to get up on its higher floors.”
“It’s Cybil,” the wealthy woman emphasized, with an exhaustion begotten by this having been far from the first time, “or Miss Antoine… Either way, I am not a ‘Cyby.’ Get it right next time, alright?”
“Right, yeah, I know you’ve told me… I’m just a nicknamer by heart. Cross my heart, though! It won’t happen again!” Alexis Williams seemed… As serious as she could get about something like that, as curiously carefree, even devil-may-care, as the performer could get.
“Commit it to memory, then. Despite how much a fool you can act, I’m sure you know how much I had to pull to get you onto this stage.”
“Believe me, I do appreciate it!” Alexis answered, focus now turned away from the topic of gambling and onto that. “Putting on a show at one of the biggest stages in Los Fortuna, bigger than anything I’ve done before… I know our group has had some bad luck lately, with Bucket causing that trouble down at the fish market, and how down on herself Leo has been since that dumb show she said she got roped into, but we’re still the freakin’ Judecca Highrollers, right? I want to show the world that, and from their box, I want to show the rest of our team that we’ve got no better option than to face it all with a grin.”
“How very like you,” Cybil answered, neutral in her tone, careful not to betray the affection in such a statement as she pondered their current status, where they would be playing.
Alexis wouldn’t be headlining, unfortunately, though admittedly, her act wasn’t the sort of thing that did that anyway. Rather, a certain piece of immensely beloved local talent, a rocking performer who went by TD/MD, would be having her play immediately before her at the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater, just a drive over a rapidly approaching bridge away. Cybil had been a little annoyed that one of her statues had been overshadowed by a plane crashing near it, not to mention had a desire to spread further the local influence of their team, and so she had arranged with the heads of the entertainment industry of Los Fortuna to see to it that her personal favorite performer among the allies and associates she’d made was onstage at the best possible place for a person wanting to be noticed.
She curled her lips at a cell phone which found its way to its hand, then, narrowing her eyes at its screen. “No word back from your backing band… Where are they? How inconsiderate not to send word on this, especially at how that Mr. Sins recommended them so glowingly.”
“I’m sure they’ll show,” Alexis answered, “and if not… We can make do, can’t we?”
“Of course,” Cybil answered, only to have her eye finally drawn back out the window by the sight of a vehicle which had pulled into the lane directly next to theirs as their limousine crossed the bridge.
Another golden limousine was directly next to them now, this one almost pointedly bigger, longer, more decked out in jewelry, and it seemed to be headed exactly the same way. Cybil, rather than confused or alarmed at the coincidence, simply thought aloud, “that would probably be Mr. Sins… Speak of the devil.”
“Amazing how quickly his casino recovered from nearly burning down…” Alexis mused aloud. “I heard that one of the people who trashed it sent him to the hospital, too.”
“An overreaction I’m certain, from what I know about the man. Absolutely terrified of a little pain, a little elbow grease… I’m not one to gossip, but I can’t help but wonder how a man like him even managed to become so prominent, so consistently successful.”
“Right,” Alexis answered, smirking and putting her finger up to her lips, “I won’t spread that around, then. I know how to schmooze with that type if the need arises.”
Los Fortuna Canals - The SS Sledge Sister
Admiral Pineapples was more comfortable on his own boat, but as far as the fleet of the Masters of Funky Action went, there was no real reason to send out more than one boat for this right now.
“Man, I can’t believe nobody else is ridin’ with me,” his companion, Rudolf Pavlova, said after downing an entire bottle of water in a single gulp, on the tail end of an hourlong keytar solo. “The rest of the Masters better at least make it to the Alexander! It’d really bum me out harder than when Wrenn shot me down if none a’them made it!”
Sorry, but I’m really more the headlining type! Playing second-fiddle to a man in a speedo opening for some local star sounds fun and all, but, I’d totally just overshadow them, I bet! So I should really probably stay out of it! That sentence, clear in its passive-aggressive scathingness, had put Wrenn Aflight’s declining of this gig pretty succinctly. As the man more or less everybody on the team could tolerate, listen to, and generally have a good time with, Admiral had been tasked with asking the other star performer of the team to join Rudolf on the gig he’d accepted opening up for locally beloved rock star and all-around idol TD/MD.
Not wanting to break Rudolf’s heart, he more or less told him the short version, ‘he couldn’t make it,’ and then volunteered his own services for the younger man. “You won’t be out there with none of your allies, though, Nureyev! For I, Admiral Pineapples, will aid you in coordinating every moment of your work! This will be one of the worthiest usages of my tactical mind in a long time, I’m sure!”
“I hope you’ve gotten those hour-long solos out of your system now, Nureyev,” Pineapples warned with an amused, lax tone, “you’re only going to have thirty minutes onstage before the headliner has to get ready, and there’ll be trouble if you bleed into that.”
“I know, I know,” Rudolf answered, casually, as he slipped into an open-chested bathrobe mainly meant to function as the legal requirement of public decency until it was time to perform, “I’m not one to step on anyone’s toes, let alone the star of the show. Live and let live, yeah?”
“I’m curious, though, and you never told me…” The Admiral asked, cracking open a beverage of his own and taking a sip, “how did you manage to get such a part as this in the first place?”
“Oh, that’s simple!” Rudolf said, the thought to answer having simply not occurred to him.
A few weeks ago - A beach in the Waterfront District.
“Alright! Thank you, Los Fortuna! I’m here all day, and all night, and all tomorrow too, baby! Party never stops!” Rudolf had just finished the latest of his performances to a small crowd of beachgoers, shredding through the end of his one-man keytar rendition of 2112 and transitioning into a truly epic medley of the extended Family Guy, American Dad, and Cleveland Show OPs.
As the crowd dispersed, a corporate suit-looking type of guy, bronze-skinned with neatly-groomed hair, remained, eyeing his keytar curiously and smiling artificially. “That was an excellent show, Mr… Pavlova, I think it was? You have such an undeniable energy about you that I can see when I lay eyes upon you… You’ve star material.”
“Am I being poached?” Rudolf asked, tilting his head, “‘cuz I assure you, I am a free agent! Not about to be scooped up by some label and forced to chill out the party churnin’ out music I don’t feel in my soul.”
“Nothing so abrupt, no… I’m a Manager, representing TD/MD. You can call me Thutmose. Anyway, she has a concert approaching rapidly, and we’re struggling and scrambling to find local, new talent and performers to open for her. We’ve managed to secure a lot of artists already, but the most important spot… Playing right before her… That, still, we have a particular need for, and I think you would serve it perfectly.”
“So I accepted!” In the present day, Rudolf finished, “why not, yeah? I can spread the party to tens of thousands at one of the biggest venues in town!”
“Scouted on the street, hm… That’s awfully lucky.” Something about this struck Admiral as odd, but he supposed it was all the more reason it was good he was backing his friend and ally up. He had a strong hunch there was more to it than appeared.
Rudolf’s party yacht would disembark soon, ported on the central-most island of the places which made up Sound’s Garden, and the party would make their way forward from there.
Sound’s Garden West Side - Outside the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater
At the same time, a self-important first step was taken out of a pair of golden limousines, one a heel clacking first out of it and a short, stocky woman in pinstripe emerging, the other dress shoes leading up to a tall, lean man in a gold and yellow tux, grinning and running a hand through his slicked-back hair.
Cybil Antoine hadn’t had the “pleasure” of a personal conversation with Tigran Sins before, but had happened to overhear some of him during her meeting with that Thutmose man, and then and there, she had known everything about him, and knew that she had already had the displeasure of knowing dozens of men like him.
Still, though, one needed to be cordial in times like this, so as Alexis came out behind her, and a very strongly built-looking, mean-looking man with brown hair and a nice vest, attached to the lapel of which was a Heartache Casino brooch (a bouncer? A bodyguard?) stood by Tigran waiting to see what he wanted or what he did, she approached the man who dared to try and be more golden than her Stand. “Mr. Sins, I believe… I believe we’ve crossed paths, briefly, but we didn’t really have a chance to speak.”
The man tensed a bit, only to relax slightly again when he saw that Cybil intended only to speak. “Cybil Antoine, right? I’ve heard you’ve been making a hell of a lot of waves around town lately, so I must say I’m excited to meet you too.” He looked back past her, towards Alexis standing and stretching outside of her team’s limo. “Would that be your star you’ve got going on? Certainly she’s got charm.”
“Hi, right in front of you,” Alexis answered, teasingly passive-aggressively waving, “yeah, I’m going up before TD/MD.”
“She’s a very important star around here, you know… So you’d better put on a show that leaves them wanting for more of the best.” Tigran’s attendant spoke, then, sounding dead serious as he looked them over. “A lot of people have come here just for this, just for her sake… It is completely imperative you keep that in mind.”
Tigran simply nodded, concurring, “couldn’t have said it better myself, Fox.”
Shortly after that, the pairs went their separate ways, shifting through VIP areas of the area of the main structure of the amphitheater, series of comfortably shielded stadium halls that it was.
“Still no sign of the band… Still no word from them either. I’m cross now.”
Alexis, then, stopped in her trail, looking at a schedule which had been printed out and emblazoned upon a green room wall. “Uh, Cybil, you’re gonna wanna take a look at this.”
“Hm?” Cybil raised an eyebrow, turning to face what her partner was pointing at, and then glared again. “Who the hell is Nureyev, and why are they listed at the same time as you?”
“There’s gotta be some kinda mixup or somethin’, man… I know about this ‘Alexis Williams’ it talks about, and hear she’s a Vegas Performer, damn fine one at that who can really strut her stuff. But we ain’t in Vegas at all, so what gives?” Rudolf himself was gesturing at a printout version of much the same piece of programming, he and Admiral Pineapples having wandered much the same series of halls.
“Hrm…” Admiral, now, took a look at the sheet himself, combing over the names before Rudolf on the list and speaking names aloud. “‘Arancini,’ ‘Tenacious-er E,’ ‘Guy and the Fieris’ Heavy Metal Barbershop Quarter,’ all as scheduled… What the hell? Yeah. We’re the only acts double-booked like this, and you say you don’t know this woman personally?”
“Not in the slightest,” Rudolf said, “never laid personal eyes upon her! So maybe there’s a typo, yeah… I know! We could track down Thutmose! But, uh… Where the hell’s Thutmose right now?”
A distorted voice shout-whispered, “I heard that he was visiting TD/MD’s green room.”
“Huh? Oh, thanks!” Rudolf accepted that advice uncritically, beginning to make his way, but Pineapples looked, at least, in the direction it came from, seeing then flashes of a short-looking person in a maroon turban, face bandaged but mouth section bulging with something hidden underneath, and a pair of aviator goggles, as well as a tunic, trousers, and many bulky scarves adorned in the forms of climbing stick figures.
Looking at the man, Pineapples couldn’t help but feel suspicious, but hell, there was a lot shady going on here. “Yes, thank you, Mister… Who am I thanking?”
“No,” the figure answered dismissively, “think little of it… I’m just another interested party watching the show. If there’s confusion, then, I want to see it resolved fast! If you’ll excuse me, though, I need to make my way to my box…”
“Strange man…” Pineapples shook his head, not wanting to leave Rudolf alone to deal with this strange situation. He knew from hearsay and rumor that there were some truly dangerous things lurking in the bowels of Sound’s Garden, and Rudolf, more heart than head, was bound to be barreling into it.
Sound’s Garden - The largest and nicest green room in the halls of the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater.
Metra Doria sat before a makeup chair as assistants fussed and fussed with her hair, her face, her clothes, occasionally being met with polite thanks, compliments, or idle chit-chat, representing a sort of familiarity the team had had with the pale, short-dark-haired girl with a single blue streak through her front left locks. She stared at her own dressed-up eyes in the mirror, one silver, one blue and at once black-striped through the iris. As she sat here, initially clad pretty casually and low-key, she was Metra, but as the outfit she had selected was put together, she would become TD/MD.
She was being cordial before now, but all of the small talk had ended as soon as her manager came into the scene, knocking, being invited to come in, and then doing so.
“How’s the show going, Thutmose? I wish I could see Guy and the Fieris do their thing, but… Makeup, I swear.”
“There’s… People insisting upon speaking, Metra. They’re performers, the ones before you, and they seem annoyed. I tried to shoo them away and tell them to work it out, but that only incensed the old-timers with them, and now they want to speak to you. I tried telling them it was a waste of your time, but-”
“This close to going on?” Metra narrowed her eyes at the reflected form of her manager. Always, it was one thing after another with this guy. Though most of the time, one might assume there was something not worth it going on here, she knew Thutmose well enough to know there might be problems. She sighed, shutting her eyes now. “It had better be important… Let ‘em in.”
And like that, a quartet of two twenty-somethings, a middle-aged woman, and an old man barreled in through the door at once, all talking over one another and expressing confusion with the other’s very existence and presence. It was making the half-prepared girl more uncomfortable than sitting in a chair for awhile just to get ready for a show often did, so she raised her voice, calmly but authoritatively, literally seeming to drown out their babbling in the process. “Quiet down, alright?! One at a time.”
There was a little more whispering among the four, then, and it was the pinstripe-suited woman who stepped forward among them to speak the crowd’s mind. “TD/MD, I presume… This ‘Thutmose’ man, he has made a grave mistake in the scheduling. My associate Alexis here, and this half-nude man carrying a keytar around, they have not met before today, and they certainly did not intend to collaborate before you. Your manager has refused to listen to reason about this, so we are taking the matter straight past him to you… Resolve it at once, and we can be on our way.”
“What?” Metra, facing them all, blinked, shaking her head and glaring at Thutmose. “Again? How does this keep happening? You overbook acts right before me, and it’s such a disaster I’ve started to need to allot extra time to cleanup guys after those sets… It was bad enough before, but it’s seriously getting out of hand, man. I can’t keep dealing with you if you treat everyone else you deal with like this. You’re done working with me. We’re through.”
“B-but… But Metra..!” Thutmose was flabbergasted, looking almost terrified at the prospect. “Please, be reasonable..! I need this job, understand? I’ve got gambling debts, and-”
“Whoa whoa whoa,” the keytarist (Rudolf, or Nureyev, according to the program) interjected then, “let’s not ruin a man’s life over me and Lexy here, yeah? I looked into the history of this place, the Alexander Dickinson… Named after a big dead deal Philanthropist, so basically a dude from the 90's who gave his all to culture in this city, funded all kinds’a stuff! Would a man like that want a man to be fired in his own memorial stadium?”
The logic seemed to confuse nearly everyone there, not least of all Metra, whose response, after a moment, was, “Huh? You… Are you saying it doesn’t bother you?”
“He’s saying that!” Thutmose pleaded. “I am certain he’s saying that!”
“I don’t mind, either…” The redheaded Alexis said next, nodding and looking around at nothing in particular. “Yeah, I think we can work with that… The band he set us up with bailed on us anyway, right? So… Music might help, and it’s not like the things we do step on each other’s toes, yeah? So whatever, I’m sure we’ll still leave a bigger impression.”
Cybil, then, pursed her lips. “If it doesn’t make a difference to you, then, and we’re all on the same page… But still, this is so very inconvenient.”
“Agreed…” Pineapples looked to Thutmose. “Be more responsible in the future, aye? I think even if you keep your job right now, you’re gonna be on thin ice for now. And give up on gambling, if it’s sunken you this far.”
Metra nodded. “Agreed. I can’t guarantee I won’t start looking for a new manager, but… You’ve been good to me, at least. Clean up your act.” Then, she looked over the quartet. “I’m seriously sorry about this… You say you had backup, but they’re not showing up now? I, uh… I don’t know what happened to whoever those were, or why they fell through, but I have something I can do to help both of your shows exist at once: six of the best stagehands I've got.”
At that, the star snapped her fingers, and from the shadowy corners of the room emerged two trios, three men in a pose one well-versed on incidents in the early 20th century Roman Colosseum might compare to Awakening One’s Masters appearing before the Masters of Funky Action, three women in turn also sliding in before the Judecca Highrollers in perfect sync, stepping in with the coordination one might associate with, as a weird example, teenage mobsters jazzed about a dude being sent to the ninth circle of hell.
All six were muscular, clad in black sleeveless shirts, leather gloves, pants, boots, and bandannas over their heads, and all around, they gave off auras of immense reliability.
“Harry, Mark, and John, and Thorn, Dusk, and Luna… I kid you not, these guys can basically do anything and everything you ask of them. If they didn’t much prefer supporting other people to being in the limelight themselves, they would be as big as I am. Treat them well, they’ll learn fast, and they’ll be invaluable to making your bits work. But, uh… I’d hurry it up. Guy and the Fieris probably only have a couple more encores in them, and then you’ll have fifteen to set up. I wish you all luck..!”
Metra Doria had been a bit of a miracle for the grateful performers and put-off older supporters, who had in turn both begun to explain their intended strategies and how those might change to their crew members, who understood alarmingly fast.
“Man…” Rudolf whistled in relief, chuckling. “What a scare that was… But you, Lexy? You’re alright, actually.”
“Thanks,” Alexis answered in turn, still trying to figure this guy out, “you don’t seem bad yourself… I almost kinda feel bad that we’re gonna totally eclipse you out there.”
“Y’think so, huh?” Rudolf answered with a grin, pointing forward with a friendly competitiveness. “Well, the party don’t get drowned out by a damn thing! I’m gonna get all these good people pumped as hell, and they’ll be cheerin’ for me even when that Metra chick goes on!”
“Ooh, I’m starting to feel a bit competitive…” Alexis answered, good-naturedly chuckling and folding her arms. “Wanna see who gets the crowd more pumped? Loser, uh… Buys the winner overpriced concert t-shirts. These things need stakes, right? Heh…”
At the somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggestion, Rudolf nodded. “Sure, yeah! That, and the pride of bein’ one of the best in the city! May the best team win!”
OPEN THE GAME!
Location: The Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater, one of the biggest outdoor venues in the entirety of the Metropolitan area, in the buildup to TD/MD’s headlining act, wherein both of your teams have had a performer set to open for her. The place is packed at a capacity of tens of thousands of people.
The stage is a competently designed semicircle which is roughly 30 meters across for length and maximum width, with plenty of room all over and the various necessary fixtures upheld off the ground. It is raised up about 2 meters off the ground. Its back half is partially covered by the overhanging roof of the backstage area a dozen meters above.
The backstage area spreads out about 10 meters from both sides and the back of the stage, being somewhat indoorsy and absolutely full of things one could expect an excellent stage production to have, including, of course, sturdy rafters which lead up to the ceiling area overtop the stage. Both sides have had time to arrange for some extra things to be brought in.
Goal: With a leadup of fifteen minutes before acts, and a half an hour where both of your performers are onstage at once, you have a show to put on, and that is not getting ruined by this overbooking. So, with Rudolf and Alexis up on stage, and Pineapples and Cybil each operating their abilities and managing a three-person stage crew, outperform your opponents!
Given the vastly different skill-sets of the competitors, the goal is to execute on your vision better than your opponent executes on theirs. You will be judged and voted on the following criteria, in decreasing priority:
  • Feasibility - Whether your performance is actually within the bounds of what your Stand and Stats would imply.
  • Skill Use - A close second in relevance; how well you integrate your User Skills and Stats into your performance. While your Skills will help in completing this objective, they do not provide an automatic advantage by merely existing and must be woven into your strats, as per usual. Even the best of artists can have abysmal live performances.
  • Stand Use - Similar to the above, and similarly important. How cool, creative, and well-integrated is your Stand use. Put another way, wow the judges, voters, and viewers at home! This is more or less just the same as before.
  • Environment Use - How well you use and integrate the auditorium - its features, its backstage, its stage, and the hearts and passions of its occupants - into your performance.
  • Efficiency - How much quality footage you obtain and how well you use your time. This does not mean that setup for more complex performances is automatically penalized, but do try to minimize ‘deadtime’ and maximize the amount you perform.
Additional Information: There is a huge simp for TD/MD in the audience of the match, and he is connected enough that he will have both of you successfully and canonically killed if you ruin the show before the headliner can go on; therefore, murdering your opponents or audience members (“the ol’ Abraham Lincoln Tech” as they say in the biz) on an audience member is a loss condition. Not at all a moral thing for the record.
Stage Crew members for the respective teams (Harry, Mark, and John on the MFAs, Thorn, Dusk, and Luna on the Highrollers, if you care about their names) have 4s in strength, agility, endurance, Stagehand, and Backup; pretty much, anything their associated team asks them to do, they’ll be able to do, at minimum, competently. Though they won’t, like, murder for you. Generally you can use them for moving props on/off stage, extra bodies or on-stage back up performers, speaker and soundboard control, and/or on-stage camera crew as well as managing any other stage controls. Pretty much everything save for pyronetics and lighting is in their purview.
There are also dedicated lighting guys, totally neutral in your squabbles, who are going to do an entirely too good job adjusting their focus and making things work exactly as is needed so attention is on the stars of the show. They will also be coordinated with a third party camera crew that will be streaming the live feed onto screens for the audience. These feeds can be replaced or split screened with your own crew’s footage, but otherwise they will generally be in control of what is shown on-screen.
Players can be assumed to already have well-rehearsed their plans of action, the in-universe basis for the modified plans of the match, and have knowledge about every aspect of the stage, even if parts of their initial plan obviously need to be modified to account for new challengers also occupying stage space. If something performance related isn’t insanely, “years of training to do competently required” level hard, but would still require some practice ahead of time, they have had it to, at absolute max, somewhere between a 2 and a 3. Players, don’t overly-game this, though; the ‘stars’ of your performances should be the sheeted unique abilities of you, your skills, and your Stands.
All stands can be seen on camera and on the live feed for the audience's viewing pleasure.
Team Combatant JoJolity
Judecca Highrollers Alexis Williams “This one is for the guy who keeps yelling from the Balcony, and it’s called ‘We Hate You, Please Die.’” Gymnastics is a sport of rhythm and pace, this performance should be no different for keeping your momentum. Make as seamless transitions as you can between the acts of your performance!
Judecca Highrollers Cybil Antoine “Prepare to have your minds obliterated by… The boys! And Crash!” You have a whole crew of people working for you here, no need to do any heavy lifting by yourself. This is their job after all, better put them to work since that’s what they are here for. Make the most use out of your stage hands in your performance!
Masters of Funky Action Rudolf "Nureyev" Pavlova “What is with this band? They’ve… changed. Have you noticed they don’t have instruments? Where’s all this amazing noise coming from?” Keeping the audience’s attention for a full 30 minutes should be a piece of cake for the world’s greatest dancer, you can keep the party rocking even between your different acts. Make as seamless transitions as you can between the acts of your performance!
Masters of Funky Action Admiral Pineapples “You and your fireballs and your demon hipster chicks / you’re talking the talk and it’s pretty slick / You think you’re so great, but you’re missing the point / You gotta have friendship and courage and whatever!” You’re all in this show together, you and your crew of stage hand. Everybody should be contributing here, no man left behind. Make the most use out of your stage hands in your performance!
Link to the Official Player Spreadsheet
Link to Match Schedule
As always, if you would like to interact with the tournament community and be among the first to get updates for the tournament, please feel free to PM a member of our Judge staff for an invite to our Official Discord Server!
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Common Sports Betting Mistakes

1) Not Shopping Around

Different bookmakers offer their players different odds and whilst more often than not, these will only be slightly different, even a fraction of a difference can make have a large effect on a high wager.
If one betting site is offering odds for a match at 1/4 whilst another has them at 1/3, it may not seem like much of a difference. With a £10 wager we’re talking about a difference of a measly 80p. With a £100 wager that quickly rises to £8 or a better yet, a whole 8% change.
It is crucial to look at the odds that different bookmakers have on the same bets to make sure you get the highest possible winnings for your selections. There is nothing which says that you cannot even have multiple accounts with different bookies.
There is not one company which has the best odds in the business (even though they all seem to claim that they do) so shop around and see which ones work best for you.

2) Bankroll Management

Pay attention because Bankroll Management is probably the most important point in this whole list.
We cannot stress enough that you should only ever bet with money that you can afford to lose. Countless people constantly pull money out of their savings accounts and bet it away without considering how much it is costing them, only to realise what they have done when it is too late.
You can avoid making this mistake by putting some money aside in a separate account and only using this to place your bets. That way, even if everything goes south and you lose it all, it won’t make a massive dent in your finances.

3) Having Unrealistic Expectations

As we mentioned in the beginning of this common betting mistakes article, sports betting is primarily based on chance. You can spend hours researching and trying to formulate the perfect bet, but it the end, nothing is for sure and things can go either way.
Do not make the mistake of starting your betting journey with unrealistic expectations where you convince yourself that this is going to be your lucky break or that from here on out you are going to make a lot of easy money.
This way of thinking is dangerous and could result in you putting a lot of pressure on yourself to keep winning which in turn might lead to you increasing the amounts that you are wagering. Additionally, having unrealistic expectations tends to go hand in hand with an overall unenjoyable betting experience – which nobody wants.
Be realistic with your expectations, set goals that are achievable, play in moderation, and most importantly, enjoy the thrill that sports betting has to offer.

4) Placing Too Many Wagers

Another mistake we come across very often is when people who follow different sports think that they will be betting experts on all these sports.
The product of this tends to be a resultant betting slip that looks like a cocktail of all sorts of sports and markets mixed together which, from what we’ve seen, hardly ever does well. Whilst it is not uncommon to have a large interest in multiple sports, more often than not, there will always be that one sport which you know and love better than the rest.
Since all sports are different and each one comes with its own unique betting options, we think it is wiser to stick to the one sport that you know best.

5) Always Backing Your Team

You’ve been supporting them for as long as you can remember, and you plan your weekends around their fixtures – but it is important to keep in mind that virtually all teams go through a rough patch at some point throughout the season.
This is especially valid to lower level teams. If your favourite team is experiencing a losing streak, as optimistic as you are that the only way is up, avoid using your money to support your emotions. Passion can well and truly cloud judgement. You don’t have to bet against your team but avoid that market altogether until things start to change.
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Some obscure facts for liverpool fans,Whats you thoughts?

The first ever game shown on Match of the Day was Liverpool vs Arsenal in August 1964. Liverpool also featured in the first-ever game televised in colour when they took on West Ham in November 1969.
Kenny Dalglish was the first ever player-manager in professional English football(div 1). Not a bad appointment: during his five-year stint the club as player manager won the league three times and the FA Cup twice.
Anfield was named after the Irish town of Annefield in Wexford, by the then Irish mayor of Liverpool who bought the land where the stadium now sits. The Kop is named after the Spion Kop, a hill in South Africa where many local soldiers died in the Boer War.
At its peak, the Kop could hold 30,000 spectators – all standing. Today it holds just under 12,500 seated.
The famous ‘THIS IS ANFIELD’ sign was erected by Bill Shankly to instil fear in the opposition players. Current Liverpool players are forbidden to touch the sign by coach Jurgen Klopp until the club wins a trophy. They can now !
A 1915 fixture between Liverpool and Manchester United was rigged for United to win 2-0. 4 Liverpool and 4 Manchester players were banned for life when the betting scandal was uncovered.
One of Liverpool’s least successful transfers was that of Danish keeper Michael stamsgaard He somehow managed to dislocate his shoulder while setting up an ironing board and was never able to play a game for the club as a result.
Xavi Alonso held the record for longest Premier League goal by an outfield player (63 yards against Newcastle) until former Red Charlie Adam popped one in from 66 yards when playing for Stoke against Chelsea.
Liverpool has been involved in numerous English record transfers: Keegan to Hamburg for £500K; Rush to Juventus for £3.2M; Collymore from Forest for £8.5M and most recently Coutinho to Barcelona for £105M.
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How to Get Updated with the Latest Soccer Match Schedule?

Soccer is one of the most entraining sports in the world. As per a survey, more than four out of ten people in the world are soccer fans. It is also known as football around the world except in the US. It was noted that the last world cup Russia 2018 was viewed by more than 4 billion people across the globe. Soccer is a cheap game to play and you don’t need to spend too much on buying different gears as in case of other games like tennis, cricket and so on. It is also interesting to know that there has been increasing participation of female athletes in soccer at school, university, and semiprofessional levels over the last few decades.
FIFA organizes official soccer tournaments in many different playing styles such as FIFA World Cup (official men 11 vs 11 tournaments), Indoor Soccer or Futsal World Cup (5 vs 5 tournaments), Beach Soccer World Cup (5 vs 5 soccer played in sand), as well as other informal Street soccer and freestyle tournaments. There is thousands of website that allow people to watch live soccer from any corner of the world. They keep on updating the minute details such as Today's soccer match, soccer Schedule, tonight's soccer schedule, today's ball schedule and so on.
They allow soccer fans to get the latest live football scores, results & fixtures from across the world, including the Premier League.
Many good sites cover major leagues as well as lower divisions for most of the popular soccer countries. Soccer live scores soccer Schedule, tonight's soccer schedule, and results, cups and tournaments are also provided with goal scorers, soccer halftime results, red cards, goal alerts and soccer live score information.
There are also some sites that organize soccer betting where people earn money through soccer betting and can even challenge soccer fans across the world through a betting system.
One can simply get a soccer score within few clicks such as European soccer, live South American soccer, live North American football scores, live Asian soccer scores, African soccer results (e.g. CAF Champions League), Australian football leagues scores, junior & youth soccer scores and so on. With mobile apps, people can also download an app and stay updated with everything happening in the soccer game all across the globe.
Watch Now at www.hasilskor.live
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Week 15 Matchup Strategy Guide - Part 3 (DFAroto)

Part 3 of 3

Part 1 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/week-15-matchup-strategy-guide-part-1

Part 2 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/week-15-matchup-strategy-guide-part-2

GLOSSARY

DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average): calculates a team's success based on the down-and-distance of each play during the season, then calculates how much more or less successful each team is compared to the league average.
DVOA Pass/Run Defense Rank: Team’s NFL rank in DVOA pass or run defense so far this season. #1 means best DEF against the pass/run, #32 means worst DEF against the pass/run.
Weighted DEFENSE: is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season.
ATS = Against the spread
DVOA from https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef/2019

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (-6.5)

Jaguars ATS: 5-8-0 Raiders ATS: 6-7-0
Projected Team Totals: Jaguars 19.5 Raiders 26

Jaguars

Opp (OAK) Pass DVOA: #31
Opp (OAK) Run DVOA: #27
Opp (OAK) Weighted DEF: #31
Injuries to Watch DEF (OAK): LB Marquel Lee (Q) LB Kyle Wilber (Q) CB Daryl Worley (Q) S Erik Harris (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (JAX): WR DJ Chark (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): D.J. Chark (20%) Leonard Fournette (19%) Dede Westbrook (17%) Chris Conley (14%) Seth DeValve (11%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Leonard Fournette (77%, 18, 6) Ryquell Armstead (23%, 2, 2)

QB/WTE Breakdown

The Jags got blasted at home against the Chargers last week, and Gardner Minshew (2QB stream) did little to instill confidence that he is an upgrade over Nick Foles. While last week was a struggle, Minshew gets an extremely vulnerable Raiders secondary this time around. Oakland has the 31st ranked pass defense by DVOA, and has given up the 2nd most FPPG to QBs on the season. While it would be unwise to trust the rookie signal caller in a 1QB league, he makes for a possible streamer in 2QB or superflex leagues, and should be considered a mid-range QB2 with some upside in Sunday’s matchup. The loss of one of his top weapons does downgrade his outlook slightly, however..
DJ Chark has been ruled out for Week 15 with an ankle injury, leaving the Jags without their most explosive offensive playmaker. That should provide Dede Westbrook (upgrade) with an opportunity to see a high volume of targets against this leaky Raiders secondary. Oakland has allowed the 13th most FPPG to WRs, but their 31st ranked pass DVOA portrays a team that is quite vulnerable through the air. Chris Conley (upgrade) should also see a bump in usage, but he has been extremely boom or bust this season, and is reliant on big plays. Consider Westbrook a borderline WR2 under the circumstances, while Conley can be viewed as risk-reward WR3/4, just know his floor is extremely low. Keelan Cole will step into 3-WR sets with Chark on the sidelines, but he isn’t a realistic fantasy option at this point. None of the Jags TEs have been able to stand out after dealing with so many injuries, but Nick O’Leary did snag a TD last week. O’Leary is a hail mary TE2, although he does have a favorable matchup against a defense ceding the 4th most FPPG to TEs.
RB Breakdown
The running game didn’t have any more success than the passing game against the Chargers, as Leonard Fournette (auto-start) was held to 63 total scoreless yards. The Raiders are less vulnerable to the run than the pass, but have given up the 9th most FPPG to RBs, so Fournette remains a volume based RB1. He’s especially valuable in PPR leagues, as he is consistently among the RB target leaders each week. Ryquell Armstead (stash) is the clear handcuff to Fournette, so roster him if you want to have insurance through the playoffs.

Raiders

Opp (JAX) Pass DVOA: #21
Opp (JAX) Run DVOA: #31
Opp (JAX) Weighted DEF: #29
Injuries to Watch DEF (JAX): None
Injuries to Watch OFF (OAK): WR Hunter Renfrow (OUT) OT Trent Brown (Q) RB Josh Jacobs (Q, expected to play) WR Marcell Ateman (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Tyrell Williams vs. A.J. Bouye (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Darren Waller (19%) Hunter Renfrow (18%) Tyrell Williams (14%) Jalen Richard (11%) Zay Jones (10%) DeAndre Washington (8%) Josh Jacobs (7%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: DeAndre Washington (63%, 20, 7) Jalen Richard (38%, 9, 3)
QB/WTE Breakdown
A nightmare second half of the season continued for the Raiders last week in a blowout loss to the Titans, but Derek Carr (2QB only) was able to finish with a serviceable final fantasy line. Carr has gone over 21 points just once this season, so his ceiling is not something to get excited about. The Jags have given up the 11th most FPPG to QBs, so Carr has a reasonable floor, but can’t be viewed as anything more than a mid-range QB2. Leave him on the wire in most leagues.
A battle with plantar fasciitis might help to explain Tyrell Williams’ (drop) extreme dropoff over the second half of the season, but it appears the wideout will continue playing through the pain this week against the Jags. He hasn’t been a worthwhile starting option in quite some time, and the Jags surrender the 13th fewest FPPG to WRs, so consider him a TD or bust WR4, and keep him on your benches outside extremely deep leagues. Darren Waller (volume upgrade) is the real WR1 on this team, and his high weekly target floor makes him an attractive TE option at a position that is so heavily TD-dependent. The Jags have given up the 11th fewest FPPG to TEs, but Waller is too involved to be anything less than a top-6 TE1. Get him fired up this week to ensure you get a stable floor from that spot on your roster. No other Raiders pass catcher has emerged as fantasy relevant, so Waller is likely the only player that should be near a starting lineup this week.
RB Breakdown
Stud rookie RB Josh Jacobs (upgrade if healthy) was unable to play through his shoulder injury last week, leading to a workhorse level role for DeAndre Washington (stash). Jacobs currently plans to play on Sunday, so owners should put Washington on benches, and continue to leave Jalen Richard on the waiver wire. The Jags are an exploitable matchup on the ground - 4th most FPPG to RBs - so if Jacobs is active he needs to be in all lineups as a solid RB2. Washington should remain rostered as a solid handcuff.
Score Prediction: Raiders 21, Jaguars 20

Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals

Browns ATS: 5-7-1 Cardinals ATS: 7-5-1
Projected Team Totals: Browns 25.5 Cardinals 23

Browns

Opp (ARI) Pass DVOA: #29
Opp (ARI) Run DVOA: #13
Opp (ARI) Weighted DEF: #26
Injuries to Watch DEF (ARI): CB Kevin Peterson (Q) LB Joe Walker (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (CLE): C JC Tretter (Q) OT Chris Hubbard (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Odell Beckham vs. Patrick Peterson (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Jarvis Landry (30%) Odell Beckham (23%) Kareem Hunt (17%) Antonio Callaway (12%) David Njoku (12%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Nick Chubb (70%, 16, 1) Kareem Hunt (62%, 11, 3)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Cleveland won the battle of Ohio last week, it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t without drama. Baker Mayfield (upgrade) was inconsistent yet again, throwing for only 192 scoreless yards, with two interceptions. He’s sandwiched two serviceable fantasy outings with three that weren’t over the last five, so a bounce back seems likely. Arizona has proven time and again they can’t guard anyone, ranking 29th in Pass DVOA and 26th in Weighted Defense - ceding 24.5 FPPG to QBs, and 25.4 to WRs. Mayfield becomes an appealing matchup based QB1 this week, consider him a top-10 option.
The Cleveland passing game has been a wasteland all season, with Jarvis Landry (upgrade PPR) being the only solid fantasy asset. Odell Beckham is having the worst season of his career, and is reportedly playing through a sports hernia. His expected shadow matchup with CB Patrick Peterson isn’t imposing, as Peterson has struggled against No. 1 WRs (Rotoworld). A viable fantasy day isn’t out of the question, yet OBJ is far from trustworthy at this point in the season, especially since we know now he’s been playing through injury. That being said, Arizona cedes explosive pass plays (20+yards) at a 12% clip, 3rd worst in the NFL (sharpfootballstats). Consider him a boom-or-bust WR2 in the great on-paper matchup. Landry on the other hand, has vacuumed up at least seven targets in every game over the last five weeks, clearing 10 targets in three out of five. He’s seeing monster usage, and there’s no reason to expect it to slow down. He’s a borderline WR1, and needs to be in all lineups. David Njoku returned last week, splitting time with fellow tight ends Stephen Carlson, and Ricky Seals-Jones. This is a smash spot for the position - ARI hemorrhages 13.1 FPPG to TEs, league worst - but with Njoku popping up on the injury report again with a knee issue, plus the timeshare at tight end, there really isn’t a viable fantasy play here.
RB Breakdown
Like many other backfields in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns are now utilizing a committee, to the dismay of Nick Chubb (upgrade standard) owners everywhere. Fortunately, both Chubb and Kareem Hunt (upgrade PPR) are seeing solid touch counts, and having both on the field at the same time has become a regular occurrence since Hunt became available. Arizona possesses a much better Run DVOA than Pass DVOA, but game-script and scoring opportunities should work in favor of the Cleveland backfield. Arizona plays at the 3rd fastest pace in the NFL, so there should be plenty of opportunities to go around. Consider Chubb an RB1, and Hunt a borderline RB2 play in PPR settings - ARI cedes 19.5 FPPG to the position.

Cardinals

Opp (CLE) Pass DVOA: #13
Opp (CLE) Run DVOA: #25
Opp (CLE) Weighted DEF: #19
Injuries to Watch DEF (CLE): DE Olivier Vernon (OUT) CB Eric Murray (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (ARI): WR Andy Isabella (Q) OL Justin Pugh (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Christian Kirk (24%) Larry Fitzgerald (19%) Kenyan Drake (16%) Pharoh Cooper (11%) KeeSean Johnson (9%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Kenyan Drake (65%, 14, 3) David Johnson (37%, 5, 2)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Cardinals season has taken a downward plunge in recent weeks, and Kyler Murray and company have only managed to score 24 combined points in back-to-back matchups (Rotoworld). Murray has made some downright silly mistakes, and while some of it can be chalked up to being a rookie, some mistakes shouldn’t be seen at the NFL level. His O-line isn’t doing him any favors either, he’s the most-sacked QB of 2019 (teamrankings.com). At home against Cleveland is the easiest matchup he’s seen in recent weeks, but it’s no cakewalk - Cleveland has a sturdy secondary, ranking in the top-half for Pass DVOA - and cedes just 18.2 FPPG to QBs and 20.6 to WRs. Still, Murray has demonstrated a high-floor through multiple tough matchups, and warrants every week QB1 consideration. Just be aware that although he always has boom potential, this week projects more as a floor performance.
Although he’s done little since his Week 10 explosion, Christian Kirk’s (upgrade volume) 8.8 targets per game rank 13th among wideouts this season (Rotoworld). Again, the matchup doesn’t scream boom week, but Cleveland has been inconsistent at best this season, and Kirk’s volume should keep him in the WR3 ranks. Larry Fitzgerald, after turning back the clock in the beginning of the season, has bottomed out over the second half. He shouldn’t be considered anything more than a low-end WR4, so look elsewhere. The auxiliary passing options shouldn't be considered for Arizona.
RB Breakdown
Like the Cleveland backfield, the Arizona backfield is devolving into a two man RBBC. Unlike Cleveland, it’s not bearing fruit in the way of fantasy points for either running back. Kenyan Drake has ceded snaps to David Johnson since the bye week, and at this point neither can be fully trusted. Drake is the preferred option, and the matchup is good on paper, but due to DJ’s involvement, he’s no more than a back-end RB2. DJ is a big-balls dart throw; it can’t be recommended. CLE cedes 18.6 FPPG to RBs.
Score Prediction: Browns 24, Cardinals 21

Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers (-10.5)

Falcons ATS: 5-8-0 49ers ATS: 8-4-1
Projected Team Totals: Falcons 18.75 49ers 29.25

Falcons

Opp (SF) Pass DVOA: #2
Opp (SF) Run DVOA: #9
Opp (SF) Weighted DEF: #2
Injuries to Watch DEF (SF): DE Dee Ford (OUT) DT DJ Jones (OUT) CB Richard Sherman (OUT) S Jaquiski Tartt (OUT) DT Jullian Taylor (OUT) CB K’Waun Williams (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (ATL): OG James Carpenter (OUT) OT Ty Sambrailo (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Julio Jones (22%) Calvin Ridley (20%) Russell Gage (16%) Austin Hooper (16%) Devonta Freeman (11%) Christian Blake (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Devonta Freeman (67%, 21, 4) Brian Hill (19%, 9, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Atlanta’s second half resurgence continued against a rudderless Carolina team last week. Matt Ryan (downgrade) has returned to form of late, posting back-to-back solid fantasy performances. His ankle injury may have been the reason for the mid-season stumble, but either way, against a ferocious 49ers defense and without offensive weapon Calvin Ridley (OUT-IR), just isn’t the time to chase points. While the argument can be made that the San Francisco defense is banged up, they still possess most of the pass rushers that have carried them this season. Atlanta has struggled to keep Ryan upright, he’s been sacked the 5th most in the NFL (teamrankings). He’s no more than a back-end QB2 in a tough matchup - SF gives up just 15 FPPG to QBs and 17.9 to WRs.
Ridley’s injury vacated 20% of the target share to Atlanta’s pass catchers, and Russell Gage is the best bet to assume his snaps and some of his target share. Yet, he still projects as a distant third option to Julio Jones (upgrade volume) and Austin Hooper (upgrade volume). The remaining receivers split snaps evenly last week, and aren’t realistic options in the tough draw. Julio should be peppered with targets san Ridley, and should be treated as an every-week WR1 regardless of matchup. Same goes for Hooper, both should be active in most lineups.
RB Breakdown
Since returning from injury, Devonta Freeman (upgrade volume) has accumulated 20+ touches in two of three games. As long as he’s operating as the clear lead back and receiving the bulk of the touches, he’ll continue to be a floor-play RB2. The matchup is imposing - SF cedes just 12.2 FPPG to RBs - but Freeman’s volume should stabilize his floor, just don’t expect a big day.

49ers

Opp (ATL) Pass DVOA: #26
Opp (ATL) Run DVOA: #16
Opp (ATL) Weighted DEF: #23
Injuries to Watch DEF (ATL): DE Allen Bailey (OUT) CB Isaiah Oliver (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (SF): None
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): George Kittle (23%) Deebo Samuel (20%) Emmanuel Sanders (17%) Kendrick Bourne (12%) Ross Dwelley (12%) Tevin Coleman (8%) Raheem Mostert (5%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Raheem Mostert (60%, 12, 2) Matt Breida (18%, 7, 1) Tevin Coleman (16%, 3, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The 49ers won the game of the year last week, in an exciting shootout on the road against the New Orleans Saints, 48-46. Jimmy Garoppolo (upgrade) showed critics a side of him many thought he didn’t possess, by not just managing the game, but gun slinging his way to victory when facing a deficit. He may be more than an elite game manager, rolling up 349-yards passing, with four touchdowns and an interception. On tap is an exploitable secondary that has been dissected by opposing signal callers routinely - ATL cedes 22.1 FPPG to QBs and 24.3 to WRs - Jimmy G is a very attractive QB1 streaming option in the plus matchup.
The addition of Emmanuel Sanders (upgrade) and Deebo Samuel, with the emergence of Kendrick Bourne, has created an explosive receiving corps for the 49ers. The three have settled in as the fulltime wideouts, clearing up what used to be a mess of a rotation. Sanders and Samuel are both solid fantasy plays against an Atlanta team that boasts a true pass funnel; ranking much higher in Run DVOA than Pass DVOA. Adding to that, CB Desmond Trufant has been placed on IR, creating an even softer matchup. The concern is volume. Positive game-script early could erase the need for passing, so hopefully the injuries to San Francisco’s defense allow Atlanta to stay in the game. Consider Sanders a WR2, and Samuel an upside WR3. Kendrick Bourne is a no more than a DFS dart throw. George Kittle is an every week top-3 option at tight end. Fire him up - ATL cedes 7.5 FPPG to the position.
RB Breakdown
Two camps exist when it comes to the 49ers backfield. There are those that think Raheem Mostert has completed a hostile takeover, and is now the lead back. And there are those that think a Kyle Shanahan offense takes the hot hand approach, and that Matt Breida or Tevin Coleman could be next in-line to have the big week. Kyle Shanahan has stated that Mostert has “earned” his role as the lead ball-carrier, but we’ve seen that talk before from coaches, just look at Ronald Jones. Either way, Mostert has earned every-week RB2 consideration, but be warned, this backfield can change in an instant. Breida and Coleman are much riskier propositions, and can’t be started as more than desperation dart throws. They’ll likely still be involved in some capacity, but it’s not worth betting on.
Score Prediction: 49ers 30, Falcons 17

LA Rams (-1.5) at Dallas Cowboys

Rams ATS: 9-4-0 Cowboys ATS: 7-6-0
Projected Team Totals: Rams 25.25 Cowboys 23.75

Rams

Opp (DAL) Pass DVOA: #24
Opp (DAL) Run DVOA: #19
Opp (DAL) Weighted DEF: #21
Injuries to Watch DEF (DAL): LB Leighton Vander Esch (OUT) LB Sean Lee (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (LAR): TE Gerald Everett (OUT) OT Rob Havenstein (D)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Robert Woods (30%) Tyler Higbee (19%) Cooper Kupp (16%) Gerald Everett (15%) Josh Reynolds (10%) Todd Gurley (9%) Brandin Cooks (7%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Todd Gurley (80%, 27, 4) Malcolm Brown (20%, 5, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
After his first blow-up week in a long time, Jared Goff (streamer) returned to his mediocre 2019 levels in Week 14’s win over Seattle, at least in terms of fantasy points. The positive is that the Rams offense suddenly looks at least partially back to its old ways, scoring 28 and 34 points the last two weeks, albeit against questionable defenses. This week, Goff will take aim at the Cowboys - 24th ranked pass DVOA but allowing the 13th fewest FPPG to QBs. Dallas got lit up by Mitchell Trubisky last week, and are on a downward trend overall, so this actually sets up as a favorable matchup for Goff. Consider him on the QB1/2 borderline, and ride him if you are thin at QB as he should be able to produce a point total that lands somewhere in between his last two performances.
What started as a year for the record books has turned into a disappointment in a hurry for Cooper Kupp (start). Despite the Rams being without their top TE Gerald Everett (out again this week) the past few weeks, Kupp hasn’t gone over 70-receiving yards since Week 8. He snagged a TD last week to salvage his day, and could be on the verge of a breakout day with the Rams offense starting to hum again. The Cowboys have given up the 8th fewest FPPG to WRs, so this isn’t an ideal matchup, but Kupp should still be viewed on the WR2/3 borderline and be in most lineups this week. The only consistent producer over the last month at WR for the Rams has been Robert Woods (auto-start). Woods has gone over 90-yards in 4 straight games he’s played in, and looks to be Goff’s #1 target at this point in the season. Consider him a borderline WR1 this week. Brandin Cooks (volume downgrade) just hasn’t seen much volume since returning from his multi-week concussion absence, and played about a third of the offensive snaps last week. He can break a big play at any time, but his role is too tough to trust as more than a WR3/4 at this point. If you have the depth, Cooks should likely be on your bench as only a part-time player in a difficult matchup. With Everett out again this week, Tyler Higbee (volume upgrade) will resume his role as the clear pass-catching TE for the Rams. He’s won a lot of matchups for owners the past two weeks, and should continue to thrive as long as Everett is sidelined. The Cowboys have given up the 10th most FPPG to TEs, so there’s no reason to view Higbee as less than an elite TE1 this week.
RB Breakdown
Perhaps part of the reason that the Rams have looked re-energized the last two weeks is the commitment to the run game with Todd Gurley (volume upgrade). The offensive line and entire team are getting healthier, and Gurley is getting the volume necessary for an RB1 valuation. The Cowboys have given up the 16th fewest FPPG to RBs and have the 19th ranked rush defense by DVOA, so the matchup is basically a wash. Consider Gurley on the RB1/2 borderline, and get him locked into your lineup for a game the Rams absolutely have to win to remain in the playoff race. Malcolm Brown makes for a worthwhile handcuff.

Cowboys

Opp (LAR) Pass DVOA: #9
Opp (LAR) Run DVOA: #3
Opp (LAR) Weighted DEF: #6
Injuries to Watch DEF (LAR): None
Injuries to Watch OFF (DAL): None
Key WCB matchups: Amari Cooper vs. Jalen Ramsey (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Michael Gallup (20%) Amari Cooper (19%) Randall Cobb (15%) Jason Witten (15%) Ezekiel Elliott (10%) Blake Jarwin (8%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Ezekiel Elliott (99%, 21, 5)
QB/WTE Breakdown
While the Cowboys have been a huge disappointment overall, they remain firmly in the playoff race due to the antiquated NFL seeding rules, and their QB Dak Prescott (auto-start) has shown he is deserving of a huge contract extension. The Rams have given up the 12th fewest FPPG to QBs, and have the 9th ranked pass DVOA, but Prescott will be needed for a big day if Dallas is to get a win at home. Their solid projected point total, and Dak’s consistent presence as a top-5 QB in fantasy, means that Prescott should be a fixture in fantasy lineups in the second week of fantasy playoffs. He’s a solid QB1.
Amari Cooper (slight downgrade) may not like the term “garbage time”, but it’s hard to argue that’s not the scenario in which he caught his TD pass and salvaged his day against the Bears. Regardless, Cooper was able to produce despite looking less than 100%, and isn’t on the injury report this week. However, he’s likely to face Jalen Ramsey in shadow coverage this week, which is a concern considering just how good Ramsey has been since landing in LA. Cooper has been more effective against shadow coverage this year than in previous years, and his role in the offense combined with his individual talent make him tough to bench. View him as a high-end WR2 that is capable of breaking Ramsey’s coverage, but could also finish with a disappointing 2-30-0 type of day as well. Michael Gallup (upgrade) has been relatively productive over the last month, and he could benefit from Ramsey’s focus on Cooper. The Rams overall cede the 15th fewest FPPG to WRs, so this is a spot for Gallup to potentially come through for owners. Consider him a mid-range WR2 with upside this week in a game the Boys will likely need to throw heavily to win. Randall Cobb has benefitted from the high volume of passing in the Cowboys rough last five games, but will likely see a lot of highly-graded CB Nickell Robey-Coleman in the slot (PFF). Consider Cobb a low-end WR3 whose ceiling isn’t extremely high, but whose floor makes for a useful asset in deeper leagues. Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin have rendered each other relatively unstartable this season, and both should be viewed as low-volume TE2s. Neither is worth starting this week against a Rams squad giving up the 7th fewest FPPG to TEs.
RB Breakdown
The Cowboys were without Tony Pollard last week, but that didn’t serve to change their game plan much as Ezekiel Elliott (auto-start) has been a workhorse all year long. Pollard is expected to return on Sunday, but Zeke will get his 20+ touches again this week regardless. The Rams are stout on the ground - 3rd best DVOA and 10th fewest FPPG to RBs- but Zeke is an easy RB1 due to his volume and talent. Get him locked into your lineup, and keep Pollard rostered as a feel-good insurance policy.
Score Prediction: Rams 21, Cowboys 17

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at LA Chargers

Vikings ATS: 7-6-0 Chargers ATS: 4-7-3
Projected Team Totals: Vikings 24 Chargers 21.5

Vikings

Opp (LAC) Pass DVOA: #20
Opp (LAC) Run DVOA: #23
Opp (LAC) Weighted DEF: #18
Injuries to Watch DEF (LAC): LB Uchenna Nwosu (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (MIN): RB Alexander Mattison (Q) WR Bisi Johnson (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Stefon Diggs vs. Casey Hayward (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Stefon Diggs (20%) Dalvin Cook (15%) Kyle Rudolph (13%) Irv Smith (13%) Bisi Johnson (11%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Dalvin Cook (47%, 20, 2) Alexander Mattison (37%, 16, 2)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Last week was a game that fantasy owners always fear; the home favorite Vikings so outmatched the injury riddled Lions that none of the offensive weapons were needed for a big day to capture the win. Kirk Cousins (low-end QB1) was solid as a game manager, but finished with only 242 yards and 1 TD. This week he’ll likely be in a more competitive game with the Chargers, who have given up the 5th fewest FPPG to QBs. While this should lead to higher volume for Kirk, the matchup concern is a legitimate reason to consider keeping him on the bench. Getting Adam Thielen back from injury should help to establish his floor, but his ceiling isn’t as high considering the Chargers are not often involved in shootouts. Owners can view Cousins as a low-end QB1, and throw him in lineups if they don’t have a safer and higher upside option.
Cousins will have stud receiver Adam Thielen (downgrade) back on the field this week, and that means owners will have a tough decision to make with their lineups. Stefon Diggs (start) is likely to see Casey Hayward in shadow coverage this week, which would leave Thielen with more positive matchups, but Diggs is easier to trust given his body of work throughout the year. The Chargers have given up the 3rd fewest FPPG to WRs this year, giving both receivers a slight downgrade in outlook. Consider Thielen a WR3, and Diggs a WR2. Both have a solid case to be in starting lineups this week, but Diggs is the slightly preferred play. Kyle Rudolph (downgrade) gets a tough potential individual matchup with stud safety Derwin James, and needs to be pushed just outside the TE1 ranks this week. The Chargers have given up the 9th fewest FPPG to TEs, and Rudolph is quite TD-dependent, so consider your options before plugging him in. Irv Smith simply isn’t seeing the volume to be trusted at this point, so he should be viewed as a low-end TE2 in a tough matchup.
RB Breakdown
Fantasy superstar Dalvin Cook (auto-start, upgrade) was subject to the same issue as Cousins, as he saw an uncharacteristic 47% snap share, but still was able to save his line with a few nice runs and a short TD plunge. This week sets up much better for Cook, as the game should be competitive throughout, and the Chargers are more vulnerable to the run than the pass. They’ve given up the 13th most FPPG to RBs and have a bottom-third run DVOA, so get Cook fired up as an elite RB1 once again. Keep Alexander Mattison (stash) rostered as a top-3 handcuff, even if he ends up being ruled out. If Cook were to suffer a setback or pick up a minor injury, Mattison would be an elite RB1 for the fantasy finals assuming he’s healthy.

Chargers

Opp (MIN) Pass DVOA: #11
Opp (MIN) Run DVOA: #7
Opp (MIN) Weighted DEF: #9
Injuries to Watch DEF (MIN): S Jayron Kearse (OUT) CB Xavier Rhodes (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (LAC): None
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Keenan Allen (23%) Hunter Henry (20%) Austin Ekeler (17%) Mike Williams (13%) Melvin Gordon (11%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Austin Ekeler (49%, 12, 5) Melvin Gordon (46%, 17, 5)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Chargers came a bit out of nowhere last week to drop 45 points in their win over the Jags. Philip Rivers (slight downgrade) eclipsed 25 points for the first time this season, and was dealing all game long. He’ll face a stiffer matchup from the Vikings - Minnesota cedes the 11th fewest FPPG to QBs and has the 11th ranked pass DVOA. Consider Rivers a mid-range QB2; his ceiling isn’t extremely high but his weapons should establish his floor as a solid asset in 2QB or superflex leagues.
Still not producing at levels owner are accustomed to, Keenan Allen (start) has at least returned solid value over his past 4 games with good yardage and 2 total TDs. Mike Williams (downgrade PPR) FINALLY scored his first TD of the year, after getting 10 last year, and continues to make impressive contested chunk catches week in and week out. The Vikings have given up the 8th most FPPG to WRs, and Xavier Rhodes is no longer a shutdown shadow corner, so both WRs are worth starting consideration. Consider Allen a WR2, with upside in PPR leagues, and view Williams as a WR3 with an upgrade in standard leagues. The Vikings pass rush is impressive, and the Chargers O-line has struggled to keep Rivers upright against top defensive lines, so having the time to throw downfield might make Allen more productive than Williams this week. Hunter Henry (start) found the end zone last week, and despite some low yardage totals the last month remains a solid TE1 this week. The Vikings have allowed the 14th most FPPG to TEs, so this isn’t a shy-away matchup by any means. Get Henry active unless you have a top-3 alternative, as he might benefit from additional short throws due to Rivers needing to get the ball out quick.
RB Breakdown
Perhaps the most important player to the Chargers this year has been the explosive and dynamic all around back, Austin Ekeler (auto-start). He put up a career-high 213 scrimmage yards in the win last week, which was buoyed by an impressive 84 yard catch and run TD. Melvin Gordon (PPR downgrade) got in on the action by rolling up 84 total yards and a TD, and should continue to handle a slight majority of the carries. Ekeler’s role is slightly more valuable, however, as his looks in the passing game often give him room to make plays in the open field, and give him a higher floor in PPR leagues. Consider Ekeler on the RB1/2 borderline, especially in PPR formats, and Gordon can be viewed as a solid RB2. Both should be in lineups this week, despite the Vikings giving up the 6th fewest FPPG to RBs, but Ekeler is a bit safer as he doesn’t require rushing lanes up the middle or goal-line opportunities to be able to rack up the points.
Score Prediction: Vikings 23, Chargers 16

Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints (-8.5)

Colts ATS: 6-5-2 Saints ATS: 8-5-0
Projected Team Totals: Colts 18.75 Saints 27.25

Colts

Opp (NO) Pass DVOA: #10
Opp (NO) Run DVOA: #10
Opp (NO) Weighted DEF: #7
Injuries to Watch DEF (NO) Friday Report: LB Kiko Alonso (DNP) S Vonn Bell (DNP) CB Patrick Robinson (DNP) DE Cameron Jordan (LP) LB AJ Klein (LP)
Injuries to Watch OFF (IND) Friday Report: WR TY Hilton (LP) OL Le’Raven Clark (DNP)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): T.Y. Hilton (24%) Zach Pascal (20%) Jack Doyle (15%) Parris Campbell (15%) Nyheim Hines (12%) Deon Cain (6%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Nyheim Hines (56%, 8, 5) Marlon Mack (41%, 13, 0) Jordan Wilkins (14%, 1, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
This season has gone south fast for the Colts, dropping five of their last six games, and Jacoby Brissett (downgrade) has been much less effective in the second half of the season. He was able to take advantage of the Buccaneers ridiculously bad secondary last week in a close loss, but will face a stiffer challenge this week. The Saints give up the 10th most FPPG to QBs, but have the 10th best pass DVOA, and Brissett may be without his top WR again this week. Consider him a low-upside QB2, and don’t look his way unless desperate in a 2QB or superflex league.
TY Hilton (injury downgrade) is currently listed as a game time decision for MNF, making him a risky starting proposition due to the fact that most of the alternative options in your lineup will have already played by the time we get final clarity on his status. Unless there is a report stating definitively he will suit up, it’s best to avoid him this week. If you own Zach Pascal (start only if Hilton sits), you could also use him as a pivot option in case Hilton is ruled out before kickoff. If that’s the case, it would leave Pascal in position to soak up another high target total. He’s been extremely productive the past two weeks, and the Saints give up the 3rd most FPPG to WRs, so if he’s the #1 option this week he should be in your lineup. However, it’s hard to bank on this as Hilton likely won’t be declared active or inactive until just before kickoff, so it’s tough to bench more established studs for him during Sunday’s games. Consider Pascal a borderline WR2 if Hilton sits, but he’s no more than a boom-bust WR3/4 if Hilton plays. It’s likely best to avoid this situation entirely if you can, and either player could potentially see Marcus Lattimore in shadow coverage if the Saints decide to go that route as well. With Eric Ebron out for the year, Jack Doyle (upgrade) has shown flashes, but put up a 2-27 dud last week. Brissett likes throwing to his TEs, and Doyle is a great red-zone threat, so with the scarcity of quality options at the position Doyle is a mid-range TE1. The Saints are middle of the pack against TEs, so get him in your lineups this week unless you have a higher floor elite option.
RB Breakdown
Another tough draw is on deck for Marlon Mack (volume upgrade). He played 41% of snaps in his return from injury, receiving only 13 touches. Still, he looked healthy, and was clearly the lead back. The Colts will likely increase his workload moving forward, and he should see closer to 20 touches this week, game-script permitting. New Orleans has only ceded 14.2 FPPG to the position, but Mack’s projected volume keep him in the RB2 ranks. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins are merely afterthoughts in this offense with the return of the Mack, and both can be safely dropped.

Saints

Opp (IND) Pass DVOA: #14
Opp (IND) Run DVOA: #20
Opp (IND) Weighted DEF: #15
Injuries to Watch DEF (IND) Friday Report: CB Kenny Moore (DNP) CB Pierre Desir (LP)
Injuries to Watch OFF (NO) Friday Report: OT Terron Armstead (LP) OL Will Clapp (LP) OG Andrus Peat (DNP)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Michael Thomas (30%) Alvin Kamara (22%) Jared Cook (15%) Ted Ginn (10%) Tre’Quan Smith (6%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 14: Alvin Kamara (76%, 17, 6) Latavius Murray (33%, 9, 3)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Lamar Jackson broke Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback on Thursday Night Football this week, so it would be fitting for Primetime Drew Brees (upgrade) to break the all-time passing touchdown record on Monday Night Football in the same week. Brees is sitting at 537 career touchdown passes, just two shy of Peyton Manning. However, Tom Brady is at 536, so it’s possible that going into MNF, Brees will be chasing both Manning and Brady (NFL.com) Indianapolis has been fading of late, Jameis Winston just posted 456-yards and four touchdowns against a usually solid secondary. Monday feels like it’ll be a special moment for Brees, he’s a top-5 QB option, fire him up.
Michael Thomas (upgrade) is also chasing greatness, going after Marvin Harrison’s single-season reception record of 143. Thomas is just twenty-three catches shy with three weeks left to go (NFL.com). Indy’s zone defense should provide plenty of underneath windows for the stud wideout, he’s an every-week elite WR1. The other wideouts are riskier: neither Ted Ginn or Tre’Quan Smith can be relied upon, and should be treated as boom-or-bust dart throws. Jared Cook has emerged as the No. 3 passing option since Brees returned from injury, vacuuming up a 15% target share in the last six weeks. He’s expected to suit up Monday, after a concussion knocked him out of last week's barn burner. He’s an every week TE1 - IND cedes 7.3 FPPG to the position.
RB Breakdown
It was extremely disappointing to watch the Saints roll up yards and points in the shootout last week, while Alvin Kamara (upgrade) busted on 17 touches. Latavius Murray was given fewer snaps and touches than Kamara, but was able to parlay his limited opportunity into a successful fantasy outing. Unfortunately, that’s just fantasy football sometimes; a plethora of variables exist and many cannot be predicted. Kamara owners that managed to survive the opening round of playoffs, despite his unfortunate bust week, need to renew their faith for this one. Indy cedes just 14.4 FPPG to RBs - but they are bottom-12 in Run DVOA. Additionally, we may be back to a reality in which the Saints score 30 a week in The Big Easy. I’m not betting against the positive game-script the home matchup should provide; Lat “Pulldown” Murray can be considered a viable, albeit slightly unpredictable, flex option as well.
Score Prediction: Saints 35, Colts 20
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Divisional Weekend Matchup Guide (Part 1)

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/divisional-weekend-matchup-guide-part-2

GLOSSARY

DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average): calculates a team's success based on the down-and-distance of each play during the season, then calculates how much more or less successful each team is compared to the league average.
DVOA Pass/Run Defense Rank: Team’s NFL rank in DVOA pass or run defense so far this season. #1 means best DEF against the pass/run, #32 means worst DEF against the pass/run.
Weighted DEFENSE: is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season.
ATS = Against the spread
DVOA from https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef/2019
What’s up fellow fantasy football connoisseurs, hope everyone had a great holiday and New Year. We are going to continue to publish our matchup guide through the playoffs for those that play DFS or fantasy playoff leagues. We will give estimated valuations of players, as well as game flow projections and possible implications of injuries or trends on those involved. Best of luck to all!

DFAroto Playoff Record for Predictions

Moneyline: 2/4
ATS: 3/4

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers (-7)

Vikings ATS: 10-7-0 49ers ATS: 9-6-1
Projected Point Totals: Vikings 18.75 49ers 25.75

Vikings

Opp (SF) Pass DVOA: #2
Opp (SF) Run DVOA: #11
Opp (SF) Weighted DEF: #4
Injuries to Watch DEF (SF): DE Dee Ford (P) DE Kentavius Street (P)
Injuries to Watch OFF (MIN): WR Adam Thielen (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks Reg Season): Stefon Diggs (23%) Adam Thielen (12%) Dalvin Cook (10%) Kyle Rudolph (10%) Irv Smith (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Wild Card Round: Dalvin Cook (78%, 31, 5) Alexander Mattison (18%, 6, 2) Ameer Abdullah (4%, 1, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
How you like me now?! Kirk Cousins (downgrade) got the first big win of his career last week in a shocking upset of the Saints in The Big Easy. On tap is another beastly defense; San Francisco ranks second in Pass DVOA, while also producing the 11th best Run DVOA. Needless to say, it projects as tough sledding for the entire Vikings offense. Mike Zimmer’s game plan will flow through the run game again, capping Cousins upside in the box score. He again projects as a fade for DFS, especially considering the other signal callers available on the slate. The matchup isn’t a good one - SF cedes just 15 FPPG to opposing QBs and just 19.1 to opposing WRs - Plus, the 49ers defense will be bolstered by the return of LB Kwon Alexander and SS Jaquiski Tart. DT Dee Ford was also expected to return, but his status is now a bit murkier as we head into the weekend. All of this is to say, it’s probably best to go a different route at QB.
Stefon Diggs (slight downgrade) busted last week, but if you read our Wild Card article it was to be expected. San Francisco has been second best in the NFL for limiting explosive pass plays (20+ yards), giving them up on just 6% of plays (sharpfootballstats). Considering Diggs role in the Vikings offense as the main downfield threat, he again faces an uphill battle to DFS success. If not for the midweek injury to fellow wideout Adam Theilen (Q), Diggs would be receiving a full downgrade. If Theilen is in anyway limited, however, Diggs could see a volume upgrade that would keep him active in the WR2 conversation. Plus, he’s always just one deep ball away from hitting value. Either way, Diggs is no more than a contrarian play in a tough matchup - according to PFF his matchup disadvantage is set at -5%, he’s expected to see primary coverage from Ahkello Witherspoon (PFF’s No. 72 CB). While that matchup isn’t exactly imposing, considering the 49ers also field the No. 1 ranked CB (Richard Sherman), and the No. 9 (K’Waun Williams); it’s going to be tough for Diggs. The midweek injury to Theilen renders him no more than a dart throw due to volume and playing time concerns. Proceed at your own risk, but again he’s the preferred play to Diggs if active and not limited. Kyle Rudolph hauled in the game winner last week, but outside of that barely managed to produce. He and Irv Smith are no more than touchdown dependent tight end options. The edge again goes to Rudolph due to his nose for the endzone.
RB Breakdown
Dalvin Cook (volume upgrade) handled an amazing 31 touches in the Wild Card Round, parlaying them into 94 yards on the ground with two touchdowns, also adding a 3-36-0 receiving line. San Francisco has been a bit weaker against the run than the pass, so Cook can again be considered a volume based RB1 with a great chance at finding the endzone. His monster volume should alleviate any concerns of the tough matchup - SF cedes just 12.2 FPPG to opposing RBs, giving up an average of 112.6 yards per game on the ground - still, Cook can’t be counted out, and may be under-owned due to the expected negative game-script. Remember, this offense flows through Cook.

49ers

Opp (MIN) Pass DVOA (Regular Season): #7
Opp (MIN) Run DVOA (Regular Season): #9
Opp (MIN) Weighted DEF: #6
Injuries to Watch DEF (MIN): S Jayron Kearse (D) CB Mackensie Alexander (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (SF): G Mike Person (P)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks Reg Season): George Kittle (31%) Emmanuel Sanders (19%) Deebo Samuel (18%) Kendrick Bourne (9%) Raheem Mostert (8%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 17: Raheem Mostert (54%, 11, 2) Tevin Coleman (30%, 6, 2) Matt Breida (16%, 4, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The 49ers head into Saturday as 7 point home favorites. This is in large part due to their success on defense in 2019, but also because Jimmy Garoppolo (slight downgrade) has proven to be a massive success. The guy is sporting a perfect QBR when throwing the ball 20+ yards between the numbers (Next Gen Stats), plus, he’s been pretty damn good throwing to every other place on the field as well. The Vikings have been very good against imposing signal callers - limiting QBs to just 14.2 FPPG and WRs to 22.4 FPPG - plus, they held Drew Brees to just 208 yards passing in the Wild Card Round. Another thing to consider, Jimmy G is making his first career playoff start, and historical trends show us that quarterbacks generally struggle. Since 2010, teams are 9-17 when starting a first-time quarterback in the playoffs (washingtonpost.com). Still, it feels different with Jimmy G. However, considering that the Vikings were able to get pressure against the Saints, who have a better ranked offensive line according to PFF than the 49ers, and that San Francisco is a run first team, Jimmy G should likely be faded this weekend.
Deebo Samuel (slight upgrade) and Emmanuel Sanders are the only wideouts in this offense with over 10% of the target share, making them the only ones worth considering. Sanders has taken on the role as field stretcher with an aDOT of 12.6 yards, while Samuel has thrived as an underneath play maker with an aDOT of 6.5 yards, while also churning out 201 YAC this year. The Vikings corners are a bit banged up, plus were never an imposing matchup anyway - Trae Waynes (PFF’s No. 27 CB), Mike Hughes (PFF’s No. 101 CB), and Xavier Rhodes (PFF’s No. 141 CB) have all been exploitable, while Mackensie Alexander (PFF’s No. 59) has been announced as out for this weekend. Samuel has the second best matchup advantage for the weekend according to PFF, behind only Tyreek Hill. He’s sitting at a 20% advantage, while Sanders isn’t far behind at 18%. One thing to consider is the explosive pass rate (20+ yards) given up by the Vikings. They only yield them on 7% of plays (sharpfootballstats.com), making Samuel the preferred play as the underneath option. George Kittle (upgrade) has been an absolute stud in 2019, not only is he the No. 1 ranked tight end by PFF, he’s also the highest ranked player in the NFL by PFF. He’s a freaking monster. Still, the Vikings have been very good against opposing tight ends - ceding just 4.8 FPPG to the position, second best. Either way, I’m not willing to bet against Kittle, and considering the other tight ends on the Saturday slate, he should likely be locked into most lineups. The only other to be considered is Mark Andrews (see below), who draws an extremely favorable matchup against the Titans.
RB Breakdown
The 49ers backfield has been a bit of a mess to predict all year, but has shaped up in favor of Raheem Mostert in recent weeks. The emergence of Mostert has relegated Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida to complementary roles, with neither offering much in the way of fantasy value. Minnesota has been average against enemy backs - surrendering 16.5 FPPG to the position - but they have allowed an average of 146.3 rushing yards per game over their last three contests. The Vikings defense played above their season average in terms of rushing yards allowed against the Saints, only giving up 97 yards, but New Orleans only ran the ball a meager 17 times. Mostert is in a good spot to produce considering the expected positive game-script at home, but the concern in a Kyle Shanahan offense is the hot hand approach used by the coaching staff. If Mostert doesn’t get it going early, he could see his touches dwindle in favor of a producing back. Still, he’s the cheapest starting RB on the Saturday slate, and offers the same touchdown upside as the other options. Proceed at your own risk, but Mostert could be a fixture in lineups finishing in the money.
Score Prediction: 49ers 27, Vikings 21

Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)

Titans ATS: 9-7-1 Ravens ATS: 10-6-0
Projected Point Totals: Titans 18.5 Ravens 28

Titans

Opp (BAL) Pass DVOA: #4
Opp (BAL) Run DVOA: #19
Opp (BAL) Weighted DEF: #2
Injuries to Watch DEF (BAL): None
Injuries to Watch OFF (TEN): WR Adam Humphries (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks Reg Season): AJ Brown (26%) Corey Davis (16%) Tajae Sharpe (12%) Adam Humphries (12%) Jonnu Smith (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Wild Card Round: Derrick Henry (81%, 35, 1) Dion Lewis (18%, 3, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Titans passing offense predictably found little success against the shutdown secondary of New England last week, but thanks to strong work in other facets of the game, they are on to the second round. Ryan Tannehill (potential volume upgrade) was a dud in lineups last week, going 8/15 for only 72 yards in the win, despite starting strong on his first drive with multiple completions and a TD throw. As the game wore on, he struggled to find anything downfield and the Titans settled into a ground and pound approach to bleed the clock and pull out a win. The Ravens secondary is unlikely to be much softer on Tannehill this week, as their four main CBs all rank in the top-35 in yards per cover snap as graded by PFF (Rotoworld). The one factor that may work in his favor is a potential shootout forced by the Ravens’ potent offense; if the Titans are facing a big second half deficit they will be less able to lean on their run game. Tannehill isn’t a great play, but makes for a possible dice roll in hopes this turns into a high-scoring and pass-happy affair.
With Tannehill limited by both volume and ineffectiveness, none of the Titans WRs were able to produce last week. That could change if the Ravens force this game into a higher scoring affair - their offense is in another world from the Patriots this season - so there is hope for these pass-catchers this week. While the Ravens secondary is among the best in the NFL, they did rank middle of the pack in FPPG allowed to WRs over the course of the season. Still, they are now ranked by DVOA as the 2nd best defense in the league (based on Weighted DVOA, since weighted DVOA is meant to lower the strength of older games, these ratings do not include Weeks 1-4, and Weeks 5-10 are somewhat discounted), so this will be a tough matchup. The projected negative game flow could play in the Titans WRs favor though; any increase in volume would be welcomed. AJ Brown (slight upgrade) is the safest bet of this group as he was on an extreme hot streak to finish the regular season, and is not the first WR to be shut down by the Pats defense, so prospective owners should try to have a short memory. Expect him to lead the team in targets and/or catches, and he has a solid shot of bouncing back. He makes for a quality Saturday play based on hope for volume and high-scoring conditions. Corey Davis (volume downgrade) is much riskier, as he hasn’t seen the targets to believe he can produce well this week. He’s no more than a low-end dart throw in hopes of a red zone target or two. Jonnu Smith (matchup downgrade) was ineffective last week, and now faces a Baltimore defense that ceded the fewest FPPG to TEs in the regular season. He still has the upside and athleticism to pop off a big play or two, but he is not a trustworthy play. Ultimately, only Brown is worthy of rostering unless you are willing to roll the dice.
RB Breakdown
There is really no other way to describe Derrick Henry’s (upgrade) performance last week other than pure dominance. Yes, he is running behind a strong O-Line, and yes he is in a scheme that plays to his strengths. However, in watching the tape it’s clear that on many of his runs he is creating a large portion of the yards on his own. This season, he was tops in the NFL in yards after contact with 973, and was third in broken tackles at 29 (theringer.com). He continues to run around, past, and through defenders on a weekly basis. Baltimore’s defense did well to limit RBs through the regular season, but that was in part due to their lack of RB receptions allowed, which doesn’t affect Henry as much (Rotoworld). They will do everything they can to limit Henry this week, and potential negative game script may limit his second half touches, but Henry is still a top play for Saturday. He will get 20+ touches, likely see at least one goal line opportunity, and is the only real hope the Titans have of springing the upset. Just be aware there is concern of negative game-flow limiting him slightly. Dion Lewis is not a realistic fantasy option.

Ravens

Opp (TEN) Pass DVOA: #21
Opp (TEN) Run DVOA: #10
Opp (TEN) Weighted DEF: #17
Injuries to Watch DEF (TEN) Wednesday Report: LB Jayon Brown (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (BAL) Wednesday Report: Mark Ingram (Q) Mark Andrews (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Marquise Brown vs. Adoree Jackson (unlikely full shadow, Rotoworld) Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks Reg Season): Mark Andrews (22% Marquise Brown (14%) Jaleel Scott (14%) Seth Roberts (12%) Willie Snead (11%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 16: Mark Ingram (41%, 10, 2) Gus Edwards (41%, 13, 1) Justice Hill (18%, 6, 4)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Ravens head into Divisional Weekend fresh and rested, and Lamar Jackson (upgrade) now gets the opportunity to rack up the first of what should be many playoff wins in his career. The all but certain 2019 NFL MVP last took the field in Week 16 when he orchestrated a win over the Browns to lock up the #1 seed in the NFC. Fantasy owners need no reminder of the ridiculous numbers Jackson put up in the regular season, and there is little reason to expect much of a dropoff on Saturday. The Titans were strong against the pass in the regular season, and looked impressive in holding Tom Brady to 209 yards with no scores and one interception. However, Jackson’s game is as much running as it is passing, and there has been no team that truly slowed him from racking up yards in either area during the regular season. Jackson is the top play at QB for the weekend, and should pay off well for prospective owners that choose to invest in him.
Jackson’s historical rushing production meant that owners were unable to glean much from this passing game. Only Mark Andrews (upgrade) was a consistent fantasy option throughout the year, and he quickly became a top-5 weekly option. Tennessee gave up the 6th most FPPG to TEs through the regular season, so this is a plus matchup for the stud TE. Andrews is a top option for the Saturday slate, or the weekend overall, and should be a staple in lineups that can afford him. After that, things get tricky. Marquise Brown (slight upgrade) proved to be worth owning this season, but he was still a weekly bust candidate if not catching a deep ball or snagging one of Jackson’s five passing TDs on a given week. The Titans were middle of the pack against WRs, and have a below-average pass DVOA, but Brown should see a lot of Adoree Jackson in coverage as well. Jackson has the speed to keep up with Brown in theory, so there’s less of a perceived advantage there. However, if Jackson gets his passing game going, Brown is second only to Andrews in terms of likely production received from said passing. Consider Brown a boom or bust WR3 type this week; he’s an intriguing tournament option to go against the grain. No other Baltimore pass-catcher can realistically be put into a lineup.
RB Breakdown
Thursday’s practice report brought about a limited session for veteran starting RB Mark Ingram (questionable), and there are mixed reports about his potential availability. If he is able to play, Ingram may see slightly reduced snaps, although he has already been only about a 50-60% snap guy in the regular season, but his touch count could be further limited. The matchup with the Titans is somewhat favorable - they had the 19th worst run DVOA but gave up the 13th fewest FPPG to RBs - and the Ravens are huge home favorites, which increases his odds of punching in a TD or two. This gives his outlook a boost, but the injury concern merits close monitoring, and could put him at risk for an in-game aggravation that would tank any lineup. If he is ultimately ruled out prior to kickoff, Gus Edwards (volume upgrade if Ingram sits) and Justice Hill immediately vault into potential solid plays. Edwards would likely see the bulk of the early down work, with Hill mixing in as a change of pace and passing game option. Still, Hill didn’t get much passing involvement in the regular season, and would be virtually impossible to trust unless clear reports emerged stating his expected involvement (unlikely). Edwards would be the much stronger play, and would actually become one of the best value options of the weekend. He would likely see around 15-20 touches and have first shot at goal line opportunities. Keep a close eye on the injury reports, and consider avoiding the situation entirely unless a definitive report about Ingram surfaces in advance of lineups locking.
Score Prediction: Ravens 24, Titans 17
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BTTS / GG/ NG? - Both Teams to Score / Goal Goal - Sports Betting Both teams to score bet 2nd February 2019 Betway Guide: How to Bet Live Betting

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BTTS / GG/ NG? - Both Teams to Score / Goal Goal - Sports Betting

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