The fourth week of the League Championship Series bucked many of the trends established so far this season.
Each of the top three teams in both leagues suffered at least one loss, mitigating the big fantasy performances that have become the norm over the opening games.
Fantasy superstars LMQ put together a completely lackluster week—and it was against one of the easiest fantasy schedules. Alliance had similar results, dropping a match to a typical fantasy point pinata Gambit Gaming before narrowly surviving against Fnatic.
Last week we said to rely on the schedule as a predictor for fantasy performance – and this week kicked that assertion in the face. The question is to figure out why.
Some quick stats for your perusal:
– Europe is still the highest scoring league, and beat North America by about 0.7 PPG (Points Per Game) in week four. The season totals? Europeans score on average 15.39 PPG, while North Americans put up 14.53 PPG.
– Winning and losing is, as always, the biggest fantasy decider. Players on winning teams average 20.68 PPG, while losing players only put up 9.23 PPG.
That’s one reason why fantasy performances were down this week. Most of the teams in the league went 1-1, leading to fewer top end performances. This week, the league put up 0.7 PPG less per player than the season average.
– Supports (12.33 PPG) nearly out-scored top laners (12.53 PPG) this week. For the season, the numbers are close: 13.21 PPG for top against 12.43 PPG for supports. The current metagame has not been kind to the “other” solo lane.
Infographic by LoLStats
So what happened this week? Looking through the lens of schedule, a lot of seemingly surprising results were actually predictable. Team SoloMid and Millenium both had huge fantasy weeks, and both teams now rank in the top three for overall team scoring. But they also both had the two easiest schedules in the week.
LMQ disappointed while facing Evil Geniuses and Curse Gaming, two bottom-tier North American teams. But in fantasy, Evil Geniueses and Curse are actually tough nuts to crack compared to their records. LMQ’s schedule was only the ninth-best in the week, so it’s not a huge surprise they were kept off their league-leading pace.
There was one big outlier: Fnatic.
Facing off against SK Gaming and Alliance was the toughest schedule of the week, but Fnatic absolutely obliterated SK Gaming.
– Fnatic is still an elite team and their carry players, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño, are the superstars we thought they were. It just took them a while to get there, in part because their team has struggled. Rekkles is now the second-ranked fantasy player in the game with 21.88 PPG, and tops at the ADC position. Fnatic’s mid laner, xPeke, is eighth overall with 19.97 PPG, and fifth in his position. Depending on the size of your league that makes him a must-start, whether at mid lane or in the flex position.
– Fnatic is now the second highest scoring team so far this season, putting up 88.88 PPG. They’re also stingy – they only allow 59.49 PPG, second in Europe behind Alliance (54.69 Points Per Game Allowed) and third in the entire LCS (behind Dignitas’ otherworldly 44.53 PPGA).
Those numbers bode well for Fnatic’s future: despite their 5-5 record, they indicate a team that’s played like the second best team in Europe, which their week four results support.
– At Wembley this weekend, expect Fnatic to continue their solid fantasy play. They are up against Gambit Gaming (100.12 PPGA) and Millenium (70.84 PPGA). While both those teams have posted solid results recently, they’re still prone to giving up big point totals. Fnatic should feast on them this week.
– Speaking of Millenium, this season’s dark horse continues to confound. Millenium is now the top scoring team in fantasy with 93.27 PPG, and it’s not even close. That number is 5 PPG ahead of second place Fnatic.
Adrian “Kerp” Wetekam is once again the top fantasy player in the LCS after putting up 57.63 points in week four. His 23.51 PPG vaulted him ahead of LMQ’s Yu “XiaoWeiXiao” Xian, whose awful week dropped him from the top spot with 24.47 PPG through last week down to his current number of 21.12 PPG.
Jungler Markus “KottenX” Tingvall, a popular sleeper pick in the preseason, is also the top player at his position with 18.51 PPG.
Millenium’s playstyle seems to drag teams into high-kill affairs. They give up a fair bit of points – 70.84 PPGA – but they make sure they take more than they can give.
– This week Millenium is up against Fnatic (59.49 PPGA) and ROCCAT (76.93 PPGA). Both teams are on the upswing, so be careful with starting your Millenium players.
– Team SoloMid was the other big winner this week, taking advantage of their game against Complexity to boost already solid numbers in their win against Cloud9. Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg is the third ranked mid laner this season now with 20.61 PPG. Marcus “Dyrus” Hill finally had a big week, boosting him to number two overall in the top. Maurice “Amazing” Stuckenschneider’s 17.07 PPG is good enough to make him the second overall jungler. And Nicolas “Gleeb” Haddad made good on the promise of his big superweek, now the third-ranked support with 15.41 PPG.
– The only SoloMid player disappointing is Jason “WildTurtle” Tran, whose 18.77 PPG is seventh out of all ADC. That’s solid and makes him a top level flex, but that’s hardly worth the first round pick most fantasy owners had to invest in him.
– This week Team SoloMid looked more like the squad of last year: dominant individual players capable of making big plays around the map. They didn’t let the champion select phase get in the way of showing off their individual talent. But they also took advantage of an easy schedule with Complexity on the docket. Next week, they’ve got the worst fantasy schedule in the league: Dignitas (44.53 PPGA) and Evil Geniuses (69.41 PPGA). No team has managed to put up big numbers against Dignitas, even in the games the league leaders have lost. Be careful starting Team SoloMid after their big weeks if you have better options, but Fnatic did show that a tough schedule isn’t everything.
– The biggest enigma of the year is Cloud9.
Cloud9 is only scoring 73.12 PPG so far this season. That’s 11th in the league, only ranking them higher than this season’s whipping boys Evil Geniuses, Curse Gaming, Gambit Gaming, ROCCAT, and Complexity.
Even more surprising: They’re now at 79.52 PPGA. That number means they’ve allowed the fifth most fantasy points of any team in the league. This coming from a squad you expect to be dominant, in control of every phase of the game.
If you invested heavily in Cloud9 entering the season, there’s nothing you can do but throw your hands up and pray.
This week they’ve got an average matchup: they’re up against Curse Gaming (73.75 PPGA) and LMQ (72.61 PPGA).
– Supa Hot Crew threw away a golden chance to boost themselves into a tie for second in the league last week by going 0-2 with a relatively easy schedule. Their fantasy results suffered, too, with sleeper mid laner Marcin “SELFIE” Wolski falling in the standings.
Despite the poor showing, Supa Hot Crew has a good chance to put up numbers in London. SELFIE and company face off against Copenhagen Wolves (109.44 PPGA) and SK Gaming (62.59 PPGA). Wolves give up huge fantasy points even when they win, while the last time the Hot Crew battled SK the game went fifty minutes for a high scoring affair.
Supa Hot Crew’s support Bram “WeWillFailer” de Winter will be missing this week, but the Wolves matchup is too hard to pass up.
– Alliance had a down week after dominating the fantasy rankings through week three. This week they should boost themselves back near the top, thanks to a match against Copenhagen Wolves. They also face SK Gaming, and any points accrued in that game are just icing on the cake.
– The only fantasy point pinata in the North American region is Complexity (112.37 PPGA). Evil Geniuses and Dignitas will have the chance to pad their numbers against them this week. Neither of those teams are posting huge fantasy numbers overall, but if you own one of their players or need a fill-in off waivers and someone like Johnny “Altec” Ru or Shin “Helios” Dong-Jin is available, don’t be afraid to put them in.
– Other schedules to be aware of are Cloud9, LMQ, and Counter Logic Gaming. All of these teams have tough matchups this week, with LMQ taking on the other two teams. It’s quite possible one of these squads can put up huge fantasy numbers this week, a la Fnatic in week three, but don’t bet the house with these guys.
The third week of the fantasy season was a wild one, bucking some established trends. The tale of the two defending champions took opposite turns this week: Fnatic showed they still should be feared as one of Europe’s top teams, but Cloud9 looked as lackluster as ever.
Next week the tables could turn and the Cloud9 of old could emerge from their season-long haze, but all signs point to continued fantasy despair for their owners.
Good luck out there!