Thursday marks the start of the 4th and final group of ESL Pro League, Group D. The expectation from this group would be that VP and Astralis advance with Liquid, EG, and Fnatic fighting for the 3rd playoff spot and Endpoint as a fairly distant 6th place. However, a lot of these teams haven’t played much lately, so there could be rust or strategy changes that could help or hurt any of them. Lock on Thursday is at 7:00 am EST and the games are:
VP (82% implied win probability) vs Endpoint
Liquid (57%) vs Fnatic
Astralis (79%) vs EG
Sub Risk/Roster Changes
As most of you have probably seen by now, Ethan has left EG to play Valorant. They’ve brought in oBo to replace him. It’s been a few weeks so hopefully this has given them plenty of time to incorporate oBo into the roster. This is speculation on my part but I’d assume he slots into Ethan’s role, which is decent for DFS. The roster on Draftkings is correct.
We’ve already seen Fnatic this year, but for some reason Flusha was added back on to the slate as a 6th player. He will not be playing, don’t play him.
Endpoint’s roster hasn’t changed, but it’s worth noting that Flamez has recently been out sick with Thomas subbing in for him. He appears to be back and better now. He also has had internet troubles recently, causing him to miss matches. I believe he is still in Israel so this could theoretically happen again. There’s nothing really actionable here, as Flamez is supposed to play, but recognize that you’re taking on a tiny bit of extra risk when you play him.
Lastly, Astralis still technically have Bubzkji on their roster as far as I’m aware. He hasn’t played since January 24th, but they’ve also only played Nuke once since then, where Xyp9x did play. When Astralis was subbing they subbed Bubz in for Xyp on Nuke and that was it. Neither Astralis nor EG have been picking Nuke of late, but neither team has played in quite a while either, and EG has of course added oBo to the mix. Bubzkji is definitely unplayable, and Xyp is expensive enough where I’d only use him if MME’ing, the sub risk isn’t worth the price/upside combo in cash/single entry.
There’s a glaring mispricing that is going to really shape this slate. That of course is Naf. He’s been great since Fallen joined the team, showing off his skills as a Rifler. He averages the 6th most fp/r on the slate and Liquid are a (small) favorite. Yet Naf is only $6.4k. Fallen is also super cheap at only $5.4k, although his fantasy numbers have been pretty terrible since joining Liquid.
I expect that that pricing will pull a lot more ownership to Liquid than they otherwise would have with only a 55% implied win probability. This makes Fnatic stacks very interesting for GPPs. Brollan has had a slow start to the year, and won’t project very well in most places, but he Krimz and to a lesser extent Jackinho are all solid GPP options.
With the Liquid value you can also fit plenty of VP and Astralis players.
For Astralis the primary targets for me will be Dupreeh and Device. Dupreeh has actually slightly edged out Device so far this year in fp/r, although I would be surprised if that remains true. It’s actually been glaive coming in at number 3 so far this year, but that’s more a product of Xyp and Magisk struggling that Glaive performing well, as his 3 month fp/r of .53 is very pedestrian. Magisk is worth a look in GPP’s, as his poor stats should keep his ownership down. Astralis has been off for nearly a month, and I trust them probably more than any other team to have corrected their issues in that time frame.
IF they haven’t corrected those issues, that may open the door for EG to at least keep it close enough to put up respectable DFS scores. Rostering oBo in his first game is definitely a big risk, but that risk is slightly lessened by the fact that he’s only $4.2k. Brezhe is priced up to where I’d only want him with EG stacks, but Cerq is also cheap. His 2021 numbers are horrid though, so be careful about using him as a one off.
On the VP side, Yekindar has been dominant in 2021. He’s passed Jame in fp/r over the past 3 months, and is way ahead over the past month (in a limited sample size). Jame is of course still a strong option, he rarely has high deaths and when he puts up big kill numbers he can really pop off. Qikert and Sanji are a bit on the cheap side, although neither is likely to put up huge numbers. Naf is a much higher upside option, but if you’re playing Fnatic Qiker and Sanji are definitely viable.
Lastly, Endpoint are definitely the least regarded team in this group. They have been pretty dominant in the T3 scene lately though, and they are so cheap that they may not even need to win to put up useful fantasy scores. They did lose 16-4, 16-7 when these teams met back in February, but if they could manage to steal a map or even just force an OT they might be worth playing. Crucial has been their best fantasy player so far this year and is only $5.0k, while robin has been a close 3rd and is only $4k. You can really open a lot of salary for the rest of your lineup by playing one or both of them.
Each of the favorites has 2 clear top options at captain. They are of course Elige and Naf from Liquid, Jame and Yekindar from VP, and Device and Dupreeh from Astralis. We should see captain ownership a lot more spread out in this group. If I had to guess I’d expect Device to be highest owned, so I’ll likely look to avoid him a bit, as unlike S1mple from Group C or Zywoo before him, Device is not head and shoulders above the rest of the group in fantasy production.
In Fnatic lineups I also don’t mind Krimz or Brollan. I’m unlikely to go to a captain from EG or Endpoint, even though I don’t mind either team in the flex.
That’s it from me, good luck on Thursday!