DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday EPL Picks
DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday EPL Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

For detailed odds and stats, check out the Fantasy Premier League: Saturday Cheat Sheet.

MATCHES (EST)

10:00 a.m: Arsenal v. Crystal Palace
10:00 a.m: Burnley v. Manchester United
10:00 a.m: Leicester City at Watford
10:00 a.m: Stoke City v. Huddersfield
10:00 a.m: West Ham v. Bournemouth
10:00 a.m: Everton v. West Brom
12:30 p.m: Manchester City v. Newcastle

PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

FORWARDS

Manchester City players look likely to be the chalk forwards this week, as the Citizens are commanding favorites over Newcastle after suffering their first loss of the season last week against Liverpool. The have the highest win odds and implied goals scored, and the only trouble we'll have is figuring out which ones to use. Sergio Aguero ($10,600) has the highest upside (and highest anytime goal scorer odds), and while he is the second-most expensive player in the pool, it's unlikely to push his ownership down, even in cash games. Speaking of cash games, Kevin De Bruyne ($10,800) could be the chalk of the chalk, as he takes most set pieces and isn't afraid to shoot when the opportunity arises. Based on values elsewhere, it's entirely possible to get both without significant sacrifices elsewhere. Raheem Sterling ($9,900) and Leroy Sane ($9,300) finish off the City forward-eligible attackers, with both players being rather goal dependent to make value. But again, they're playing on the biggest favorite that's expected to score multiple goals. Sane's floor will rise if David Silva ($8,500, midfielder) doesn't start, while Sterling takes more shots and draws more fouls. Going with three Man City players is an option, but it's probably cost prohibitive and you'll need them to all combine on three or four goals. Is it possible? Sure.

Manchester United are favorites away to Burnley, who have allowed the most shots and most crosses this season while United have taken the third-most shots and sent in the most crosses among teams on the slate. Because of the Manchester City players, Romelu Lukaku ($9,500) is likely to be not as highly owned in GPPs, and he certainly has as much upside as anyone else. Marcus Rashford ($8,700) and Anthony Martial ($8,600) are possibilities as well, though they're pretty goal dependent since they don't take set pieces and the price difference to Lukaku makes them less appealing.

In terms of the other bigger favorites, Arsenal will host Crystal Palace without Alexis Sanchez ($10,200), which takes the third-most expensive player on the slate out of consideration. Despite his absence, Arsenal are still expected to score more goals than Manchester United, putting Alexandre Lacazette ($7,800) and even Danny Welbeck ($6,200) in consideration. If you think Arsenal can't handle the drama surrounding them, Leicester City present a nice alternative, with Riyad Mahrez ($9,100) $200 less than Sane. Any Leicester talk means we have to consider Shinji Okazaki ($6,400)Jamie Vardy ($6,900), who is a decent GPP play pretty much any week because he can score on anyone (even though he has failed to score in 14 of 22 starts this season).

Johann Berg Gudmundsson ($6,400) has been an effective cash-game option lately, and while the matchup against Manchester United isn't ideal, I don't think it's one that has to be avoided. It's tough to read much into their match on Boxing Day when Gudmundsson only sent in five crosses, won two tackles and drew two fouls because Burnley went ahead in the third minute and led 2-0 at halftime. His goal against Liverpool on Jan. 1 bailed out a fairly poor performance, but Gudmundsson continues to take all set pieces for Burnley and they are at least at home. Also in his range is Bournemouth's Jordon Ibe ($6,200), who has been shooting much more lately, which has at least helped his partial loss of set pieces to Ryan Fraser ($7,100, midfielder). Ibe finally scored his first goal for the club last weekend against Arsenal, but more importantly he's taken 19 shots (eight on goal) and sent in 14 crosses in his last four games, including seven shots and nine crosses at Brighton on New Year's Day. West Ham have been better of late, but they've still allowed the second-most crosses and third-most shots over the last six games (and if you're sitting there thinking "yeah, but who have they played?" the answer to that is Stoke, Newcastle, Bournemouth, West Brom, Tottenham and Huddersfield; not exactly a murderers' row of clubs).

Speaking of West Ham, Marko Arnautovic's price has risen to $8,400, a disappointingly but understandably high price after scoring five goals on 15 shots (seven on goal) and assisting three more on 13 chances created in his last five starts. His cash-game viability is always up for debate, though at that price he's probably best left for GPPs this week against a Bournemouth defense that hasn't posted a clean sheet since Nov. 25 while allowing 15 goals in their last six games.

MIDFIELDERS

David Silva ($8,500) provides the cheapest exposure to the Manchester City attack, but his floor isn't that high without a monopoly of set pieces, and his ceiling isn't nearly as good as the other attackers despite his brace against Swansea on Dec. 13. If you're looking for a little more set-piece security, Mesut Ozil ($7,900) could be that guy if he's able to start in his return from a knee injury. Ozil had been sharing corners with Alexis, and he could presumably take them all with Alexis no longer in the picture. If Ozil doesn't play, the responsibility could fall to Granit Xhaka ($4,500), though he doesn't do a whole lot outside of the corners, give or take a foul committed or two (and a yellow card).

Ozil is actually in the middle of a pack of midfielders who could be on set pieces but could also lose a good chunk to other players. Manuel Lanzini ($8,000) has taken free kicks of late, but he loses most corners (and a few more free kicks) to Aaron Cresswell ($4,600, defender), and the same could be said about Xherdan Shaqiri ($7,800) and Charlie Adam ($4,800). Shaqiri's price seems a tad high on this slate, though home against Huddersfield is a prime opportunity. If Shaqiri doesn't start and Adam does, he'll be a really popular cash-game play. The last player in this group is Marc Albrighton ($7,400), who hasn't been taking as many corners of late but is still a strong open-play crosser. Leicester are favored in this one, but if they happen to fall behind early, we could see a double-digit cross game from Albrighton.

Paying up at midfield for GPPs puts Paul Pogba ($8,300) and Jesse Lingard ($7,700) under the spotlight, with the former picking up two assists in each of his past two matches while also taking six shots and creating nine chances. Lingard is definitely the more inconsistent of the two, and with the way Burnley allow shots, Pogba shouldn't totally be ruled out for cash games. That being said, Juan Mata ($6,600) is the more attractive cash option from Manchester United, as he's taken a majority of corners and set pieces recently while also taking multiple shots in three straight starts.

Given the expensive attackers who are worth targeting, scrolling down to some cheaper midfield options could be very beneficial. Given my lack of enthusiasm for Arsenal, I wouldn't hesitate much on rostering Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye ($4,800), especially with Andros Townsend ($6,200) still out with injury. Cabaye doesn't shoot much, but his combination of crosses, tackles and interceptions gives him a decent floor, particularly at this price.

Paying up for Aaron Mooy ($6,300) doesn't seem nearly as justified when you can grab newly acquired Alex Pritchard at $5,200. There's no guarantee Pritchard starts, but he took three corners (and crossed them all - good lad!), put his only shot on goal and drew a foul in 25 minutes during last weekend's match against West Ham. Huddersfield were losing for most of the match, which certainly helped his attacking stats, but he was a solid attacker for Norwich City before his move to Huddersfield, averaging 4.9 shots (2.1 on goal), 2.8 crosses and 1.9 fouls drawn per 90 minutes. The play is not without risk, as Huddersfield have really struggled of late and they're playing away, but Stoke haven't been much better and certainly don't need to be avoided.

The cheapest player I have my eye on is Roberto Pereyra ($3,000) of Watford, who could take over on most, or maybe all, set pieces if Tom Cleverley ($5,300) and Jose Holebas ($5,100, defender) don't start. Cleverley suffered a hamstring injury during last weekend's match and hasn't trained this week (he'll have a fitness test Friday to decide if he can play), while Holebas lost his starting spot to Marvin Zeegelaar ($3,600, defender). Pereyra took three corners last week after Cleverley went out, and his low salary certainly helps open things up elsewhere. He's not a big stat filler, but he could take a shot or two and combined with any crossed corners, there should be enough value.

DEFENDERS

Manchester City defenders are rarely worth their high salaries, and if you're dead set on getting someone from the back line, you're probably best off with centerback Nicolas Otamendi ($4,800) over whoever they start at fullback. That being said, I still don't think it's worth paying for him.

Manchester United fullbacks are another story, with Ashley Young ($6,200) back from suspension and likely to start at left-back. I prefer him over Antonio Valencia ($5,300), who scored a wonderful goal last weekend but also hasn't sent in more than five crosses in a match since Sept. 9, including seven straight with fewer than five.

West Ham's Aaron Cresswell ($4,600) continues to take a majority of corners for the club, though he also continues to play as a centerback, which limits his open-play crosses (as does the absence of Andy Carroll). If you're looking for more open-play value, Daryl Janmaat ($4,600) is coming off a great game, scoring 16.5 fantasy points thanks to three shots (two on goal), 10 crosses, three tackles won and three interceptions. However, there is more value lower on the salary scale; unfortunately, all of the players are pretty similar. Jonjoe Kenny ($4,100), Scott Malone ($4,000), Craig Dawson ($3,800), Simon Francis ($3,800) if he lines up as a fullback, Pablo Zabaleta ($3,800) and Marvin Zeegelaar ($3,600) are all worthy of consideration. None jump out as great plays, but their floors are decent enough for their prices and they allow you to pay up in the more important positions.

GOALKEEPER

If you're stacking Man City then you probably want to stay away from Karl Darlow ($3,600). He has decent upside because Man City put a bunch of shots on goal, but they also score on a lot of those shots and the win is highly unlikely. Burnley's Nick Pope ($4,000) is likely to be a popular play because any roster with Man City players probably doesn't have any from Manchester United. Pope only scored 0.5 points against United back on Boxing Day, but he's at least at home this time around.

Adrian ($4,900) is the cheapest home goalkeeper that isn't Pope, and he's made 17 saves in the past four games. He has zero clean sheets in that span, though he won two of those games and West Ham are expected to beat Bournemouth.

If you're set on paying up for a goalkeeper, I always side David de Gea ($5,700) thanks to his save upside and United's likely win.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Andrew M. Laird plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kingmorland, DraftKings: andrewmlaird, Yahoo: Lairdinho, TheSix: Lairdinho.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Senior Soccer Editor and a fantasy football contributor. He is also a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Football Writer of the Year Award.
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