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How the ESPN Fantasy Soccer tier system works

Each week, you’ll select a Tier 1 and Tier 2 forward; a Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 midfielder; and a Tier 1 and Tier 2 defender, in addition to your goalkeeper. The best players available obviously will be in Tier 1. Tiers 2 and 3 will feature less heralded players, mostly from teams that are not championship contenders, testing your knowledge of the entire league.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Makes sense, right? But remember, you’ll want to pick a new team of players every week — taking advantage of lopsided-looking matchups, for instance. When Manchester City plays Huddersfield Town, for example, you’ll probably want to stock up on City players.

But it’ll also be important to take a close look at the tiers each week, because there will be changes. Players could move up or down a tier, depending on their current form. Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri might have been a Tier 3 midfielder at the start of the season, since he plays for a newly promoted side. But Seri already has a goal and an assist, and is sixth in the league in passes completed, so he’s a Tier 2 midfielder this week.6

Players could change positions, too. West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic had generally played as a midfielder prior to last season, but he then was shifted to center forward over the course of the campaign. He’s playing at center forward again this season, so he’s a Tier 2 forward this week, rather than being listed among the midfielders.

As you’ll see, the tiers aren’t exhaustive — there are nine Tier 1 forwards available for selection in the Premier League this week, for instance. There will be more players available in the lower tiers, but not that many more. We want to give you plenty of options, but not overwhelm you.

And some players will be added or dropped from the game altogether due to injury, form, etc. Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be out for at least a couple more months, but once he’s back, you can bet he’ll be a Tier 1 midfielder every week for the rest of the season, as long as he’s healthy.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

So, don’t forget to check your team, and the list of players in each tier, before every round of games begins. Because the tiers can be adjusted any given week, and that could really impact your results. Your team from the previous week will roll over automatically, but if one of your players changes tiers or drops out of the game altogether, you’ll be left with a blank spot and earn no points at that position.

Why goals and assists aren’t everything in ESPN Fantasy Soccer

The first weekend of fixtures since ESPN Fantasy Soccer launched is quickly approaching! Since our game allows you to pick new players each week, strategy is going to be very important. You can’t just study up for a draft at the start of the season, like with fantasy NFL, and ride that team all year long. You’ll probably get left in the dust.

We’ll all be learning about this game together, as the season unfolds. But certain lessons can be learned from studying the numbers from last season, nike nfl jerseys cheap china as if ESPN Fantasy Soccer had launched one year ago. And one of those lessons is, don’t just focus on goals and assists!5

It sounds simple, I know. But there will be a temptation to concentrate on those two categories when making your selections each week. And that’s natural. They offer the biggest rewards — 10 and 5 points, respectively — and they’re the easiest to spot, too.

But they’re also pretty hard to come by. Only nine Premier League players scored more than 12 goals last year, in a 38-game season. Think about that. Every other player in the league, at best, averaged less than a goal every three games.

And that number was only slightly higher in Spain. Thirteen La Liga players scored more than 12 goals last year, also in a 38-game season. And two of those players finished with exactly 13.

Assists are even less common than goals. Only nine Premier League players finished in double-digits in assists last season, and seven of those nine finished with 10 or 11. Kevin De Bruyne was the league leader with 16, and that’s just half the number of goals scored by Mohamed Salah.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Only four La Liga players finished in double-digits in assists. Lionel Messi was tied for the league lead with 12, which is nearly a third of the number of goals he scored, 34.

Alvin Kamara somehow finds another gear to start Year 2

Sean Payton insisted this offseason that he didn’t want to simply double Alvin Kamara’s workload and overload the New Orleans Saints running back during Mark Ingram’s four-game suspension.

But then two things happened in Sunday’s 48-40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints wound up having to play catch-up in a game that turned into a track meet. And, well, Kamara was so dynamic every time he touched the ball that it was impossible not to keep feeding him.

Kamara wound up with eight carries for 29 yards, nine catches for 112 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion while playing a career-high 52 snaps.cheap nfl nike jersey

It’s also worth noting that all four of Kamara’s scores came inside the 10-yard line (a 5-yard run, a 1-yard run, a 7-yard reception and the two-point run). So it’s not as if he was replaced by a “short-yardage” back to ease the pounding.

Let’s be honest. As dazzling as Kamara was during his NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign last season, it seemed as if it would be nearly impossible for him to sustain his production level in Year 2.5

No player in NFL history had ever matched Kamara’s 7.7 yards per offensive touch with at least 200 touches in a season. And now defenses know more about him — and he’ll be even more of a focal point in these first four weeks during Ingram’s suspension.

So what did Kamara do in Sunday’s season opener? He averaged 8.3 yards per offensive touch.

Kamara busted loose for gains of 35, 23 and 18 yards on first-half receptions, showing off his uncanny ability to make defenders miss in the open field.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Last season, Kamara described that ability as going into “Matrix mode.” If possible, he said he can read the field and opposing defenses even better now.

“It’s Year 2, so it’s one of those things where I’m so much smarter than I was last year,” Kamara said. “So it’s a lot of things that I didn’t feel last year as far as coverage or the feel of a play, like the ins and outs of a play that I know now that’s just helping me be that much faster.”

Why Ryan Howard is investing in the gambling space

Standing on the outside, looking back in at baseball, former MLB slugger Ryan Howard sometimes wonders how much money was bet on him and his team’s performances or what Las Vegas had the over/under on his home runs for a season set at during in his prime.

For a century, staying away from gambling has always been one of baseball’s cardinal rules, so Howard didn’t think much about the odds during his 13-year career.cheap nfl nike jerseys china6

“All the fantasy managers, I guess, kind of let me know how I was doing later on,” Howard told ESPN in a recent phone interview. “It was funny. You’d always have a random person coming up, saying, ‘Ryan, thanks, bro. You helped me with my fantasy team.'”

Howard, who announced his retirement from baseball in September, is now a partner SeventySix Capital, a venture capital firm targeting opportunities in the growing legal sports betting market in the U.S. SeventySix Capital recently invested in the Vegas Stats & Information Network, a sports betting media outlet featuring hall-of-fame broadcaster Brent Musburger and a studio located in middle of a Las Vegas casino.nfl nike jersey cheap

Howard and SeventySix Capital partner Wayne Kimmel spoke with ESPN about entering the sports betting and what next as more and more states elect to offer legal sports betting.

Yankees feel sense of urgency with wild-card lead down to 1 game

While away from home over the past 10 days, the Yankees went 4-5, dropping their series to the Athletics and the Twins. The series loss at Oakland might have been the most costly, as it helped the A’s creep closer in the American League wild-card chase — a race the Yankees had led by 4½ games the day before they arrived in Northern California.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“I haven’t looked,” Yankees reliever David Robertson said late Wednesday, when asked about the wild-card standings. “I know we’re close. That’s about it.”

Thanks to the Yankees’ loss in a near-no-hitter and Oakland’s blowout win at Baltimore on Wednesday, the A’s have tightened the race for the top wild-card spot to one game.5

That might be easier said than done, considering how the Yankees have played lately.

Since Sept. 1, the Yankees are 5-6. They have collectively hit .194 with 67 hits and 95 strikeouts and a .641 OPS within those 11 games. Their pitchers have a combined 4.21 ERA and have allowed 93 hits in that same stretch.

Slugger Giancarlo Stanton has factored heavily into that rough offensive showing, amassing just four hits in the 10 games he has played. Batting .105 (4-for-38) with two RBIs, Stanton is homerless in that stretch, and he has an OPS of just .370. Boone and Stanton contend his timing is just a little off, but he’s close, as they believe his at-bats are showing signs of improvement.

As poor as all of those numbers have been, they are about par for the course, given the way the Yankees have competed over roughly the past six weeks.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Since right fielder Aaron Judge went on the disabled list July 27, the Yankees have gone 25-20. Their hitters have a collective .235 batting average with 360 strikeouts in those 45 games. Their pitchers have a 4.31 ERA during that stretch.

“We’ve kind of been going through it a little bit lately,” Yankees first baseman Greg Bird said. “That’s just the way it is sometimes, and if we’re going to get where we want to go, you’ve got to be able to bounce back from these things.

Breanna Stewart plays like the MVP she is in Storm’s Game 2 win

Breanna Stewart already has an extensive trophy collection at age 24: four NCAA titles at UConn, the WNBA’s Rookie of the Year award and this season’s MVP honor. So there was absolutely nothing unexpected about her performance in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday in a 75-73 Storm victory. Nor about what she did in Friday’s Game 1, an 89-76 Storm win that set the tone for this series.

Still, when you come up big when the spotlight is the brightest and the stakes are highest, that’s how you build “legend” points. Stewart scored 25, plus had 7 rebounds and 3 assists, as the Storm took a 2-0 lead in the WNBA Finals on Sunday. That followed her 22 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists in the opener.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

If you’re a longtime Seattle fan, it might have made you think about the last time Seattle was in the WNBA Finals — 2010 — and another stellar performance by a Storm MVP post player.6

Of course, Bird referring to her own closing game of the semifinals as “lucky” is self-deprecatingly hilarious. If point guards were more fairly considered for the season MVP award, Bird would also have one by now. But her point about the consistency of Stewart’s success is well taken, because that requires mental toughness and no fear of the moment, as well as pure physical skill.

Stewart has that feeling for being good all the time, but also knowing how to find another gear to really crank it up. Jackson had that, too, and Stewart celebrated the Storm’s previous dynamic duo with Bird’s and Jackson’s names on her sneakers for Sunday’s game.

Bird is still at it, Jackson is cheering on the Storm while watching the series from her home in Australia, and both, no doubt, are proud of Stewart. Other than two missed free throws with 16.9 seconds left — which could have come back to haunt the Storm, but didn’t — Stewart did her MVP best.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“Right from the jump, I just wanted to be really aggressive,” Stewart said. “You knew that this was Game 2, and they were going to come out like a better D.C. team than we saw in Game 1.

After Game 1 offensive outburst, defense carries Storm to 2-0 lead

Seattle Storm coach Dan Hughes wouldn’t have minded if Breanna Stewart had made the two free throws with 16.9 seconds remaining in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals that could have given his team a more comfortable three-point lead. But he found it appropriate that the Storm’s hopes of victory Sunday hinged on stopping the Washington Mystics on a vital possession.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“This is a team that’s grown defensively,” Hughes said postgame. “They have grown. All year, you watched the defensive numbers: better, better, better, better. I thought it was only poetic that some of these most important games are going to come down to a stop.”

Spoiler alert: Seattle got that stop, taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Sue Bird stripped Kristi Toliver from behind — controversially so — and Natasha Howard won the ensuing jump ball, giving the Storm possession. After Alysha Clark split two free throws, the Mystics were left without a timeout and got only a desperation 60-foot attempt from Ariel Atkins at the buzzer, producing the final 75-73 margin.5

This was the kind of game past Storm teams, dependent on outscoring the opposition with efficient offense, would have had a difficult time winning. After Seattle’s offense clicked on all cylinders during a double-digit Game 1 victory on Friday, Washington was able to hold the Storm to 42 percent shooting Sunday, including 6-of-23 accuracy from 3-point range. The Seattle backcourt of Bird and Jewell Loyd shot a combined 8-of-27, missing six 3s apiece.

“We could score. That wasn’t a problem,” said Bird. “We had a problem getting the stops. And when we did get the stops, we had a problem getting the rebound. That’s been the tale of this season. That’s what’s been a part of the turnaround. So in some ways, it’s fitting that we won a game with our defense. Definitely says a lot about our team that we just kind of hung in there. It was a tough, gritty game.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

For one quarter, it looked as though despite adjustments by the Mystics, Game 2 might follow a similar script to Game 1. Behind 11 points in the first seven minutes from MVP Breanna Stewart, the Storm led by nine and looked on their way to another potent offensive outing.

Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot ready to repay Jose Mourinho for faith in him

Diogo Dalot stood in the tunnel at Old Trafford after his first 78 minutes in a Manchester United shirt.

There is an ice pack strapped to his right knee — “precaution,” he says with a smile — having played a game of football for the first time in more than five months.

Since his last appearance — a 2-0 win for Porto over Boavista in March — he has undergone knee surgery, joined United in a £19 million deal and been hailed as “the best young full-back in Europe” by Jose Mourinho.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

It has been a meteoric rise for a 19-year-old who has still only made eight senior appearances. “It has not been easy,” he tells ESPN FC when asked about how life has changed in the last few months.9

“It has felt like a dream. You have to be prepared mentally for these things and I think I have done that. I have prepared for all the challenges I could face and I think I’m ready.

“I have had my friends and my family to help me. They are the reason I have come so far so quickly and the reason why I am here.”

Dalot’s dad and sister were among the family members who flew to Michigan in the summer to watch the preseason game against Liverpool in the Big House even though they knew he would not play, walking around Ann Arbor with “Dalot 20” proudly plastered across their backs.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

He has enlisted friends and relatives to help him settle in Manchester after jetting off to the United States almost immediately after signing with the club in June.

“I like to keep my family close,” he said. “I keep switching from friends, family and cousins so there are a lot of people here to help me. They go everywhere with me.

“It has been good. I’m settled. I like the city and I like the people. The people are nice. I think I’m a nice guy too so hopefully we match!”