This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
For detailed odds and stats, check out the Fantasy Premier League: Wednesday Cheat Sheet.
2:45 p.m: Chelsea v. Bournemouth
2:45 p.m: Southampton v. Brighton
2:45 p.m: Newcastle v. Burnley
2:45 p.m: Everton v. Leicester City
3:00 p.m: Tottenham v. Manchester United
3:00 p.m: Stoke City v. Watford
3:00 p.m: Manchester City v. West Brom
Stop me if you've heard this before: Manchester City are huge favorites and have the highest implied goal total.
Sergio Aguero ($11,400) is coming off a hat trick on seven shots (four on goal) against Newcastle and has the highest anytime goal scorer odds. Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne ($11,300) had an assist, four shots (two on goal), 13 crosses, three tackles won and two fouls drawn in that match, helping him to 26.25 fantasy points. Aguero and De Bruyne will likely be the two most popular players on the slate, with De Bruyne likely higher owned in cash because of his role on set pieces. Raheem Sterling ($10,300) provides access to the Man City attack at a lower price, though if that's all you're looking for then it's probably worth paying down for Bernardo Silva ($7,500), who is expected to start for the injured Leroy Sane ($9,700). Sterling and Silva are mainly GPP plays because they won't produce enough for their prices without a goal or an assist. But again, Man City have by far the highest implied goal total on the slate.
Chelsea are the other big favorites, but they'll be hosting Bournemouth without Alvaro Morata ($9,400), who is out due to injury. That could open up a starting spot for Michy Batshuayi ($6,900), who has had some struggles this season but bagged a brace in last weekend's FA Cup match against Newcastle. He's goal dependent for sure, but that's a pretty attractive price for a player with the highest anytime goal scorer odds after Aguero. Eden Hazard ($10,000) is the more reliable Chelsea attacker, though he's still mainly a GPP pick unless Cesc Fabregas ($7,100, midfielder) doesn't start, as Hazard would likely take over on set pieces because Willian ($10,300) is injured. In fact, Hazard could become one of the most popular cash-game options if Fabregas doesn't start even at his five-figure price. If you want cheaper access to Chelsea in the forward spot, there's always Victor Moses ($5,600), though there doesn't seem to be a real need to use a forward spot on him.
The Tottenham-Manchester United match is likely to be a slugfest, and any time Jose Mourinho battles a top side I tend to stay away. That easily pushes me away from Harry Kane ($11,400), Romelu Lukaku ($9,300), Alexis Sanchez ($8,800), Anthony Martial ($8,700) and Son Heung-Min ($7,600). It's not to say that one (or a few) of them won't produce fantasy points, but I really don't see this being a high-scoring game and taking anyone from it means you're choosing not to take someone from Manchester City or Chelsea, the two dominant favorites on the slate. That obviously creates some GPP upside because they will likely be lower owned, but I'll still probably stay away. Kane is the top option in the game for me, with Alexis second and then everyone else.
Looking at the other games, Johann Berg Gudmundsson ($6,400) jumps out as a strong cash play despite Burnley playing away to Newcastle. The Magpies have allowed only seven goals in their last six Premier League matches, including three to Man City in their last league affair. However, we're not after Gudmundsson because of Burnley's scoring chances, but instead we'll focus on the fact that no team has allowed more crosses than Newcastle over the past six gameweeks, as well as the most corners. Meanwhile, Gudmundsson has a total monopoly over Burnley's set pieces, helping him send in 10 and 12 crosses in his past two games, respectively.
Otherwise it's a pretty mixed bag. Gylfi Sigurdsson ($7,200) is a shell of his former self and I wouldn't target him in cash or GPPs even if Wayne Rooney ($6,400) doesn't start. Theo Walcott ($6,700) is probably my preferred choice from Everton over Cenk Tosun ($5,800), but I still don't think you need Everton exposure. The only person from this game that interests me is Riyad Mahrez ($9,400), and that applies to cash and GPP. The biggest thing holding Mahrez back from being a more attractive option is that he prices you out from having at least one guy from Man City and Chelsea. While he has reached six crosses in back-to-back games, Mahrez very rarely pays off his salary without a goal or an assist, so be weary of that. And, of course, Jamie Vardy ($7,200) is always in play for GPPs.
You usually have to consider Richarlison ($7,000) even if you pass on him most times, as he's taken at least three shots in six of his past eight games. Unfortunately, he hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 19 against West Ham and his last assist was Dec. 12 at Crystal Palace. With the way Watford have been defending recently, allowing nine goals in their last four games, I'd take a long, hard look at Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting ($5,900), who has taken multiple shots in three straight games. The same applies to Mame Diouf ($5,600) because he's taken nine shots, including five on goal, in his last three appearances, two of which were substitute appearances.
The Southampton-Brighton and Newcastle-Burnley matches look way too low scoring for me to think about goal-dependent forwards.
There are a lot of solid midfielders on the slate, enough so that I don't think any will be significantly owned except Cesc Fabregas ($7,100) in cash games. Given his role on set pieces and how big of a favorite Chelsea are, it's a pretty easy path to get to him. There's a small possibility that Ross Barkley ($6,900) could end up on set pieces, but the risk seems a bit too high to go for it without knowing.
There will probably be plenty who roster David Silva ($8,500) because he's significantly cheaper than De Bruyne and won't have any corners poached by Sane, but I don't see him doing enough without a goal or an assist to pay that much.
One guy who can do it is Stoke's Xherdan Shaqiri ($7,700), who can be very frustrating to roster because of his inconsistent returns. However, Stoke have a very good matchup at home against Watford, and even though Charie Adam ($5,200) has been poaching a few corners, Shaqiri has used that time to take more shots of late.
James Ward-Prowse looks pretty pricey at $7,400, but he's taken at least two shots in three of his last four starts while sending in 25 crosses over that span. He's likely to take all indirect free kicks and corners when he's on the pitch, and he's played 90, 70, 89 and 90 minutes in his last four matches, respectively. The Southampton midfield has a number of players who can produce, but Ward-Prowse is the most reliable of the group.
As you scroll down the list you're going to get to Matt Ritchie and think "wow, Ritchie at only $6,000!? That's great!" before remembering how awful you feel basically every time you roster the Newcastle midfielder. He's scored no more than 10 fantasy points in eight consecutive matches, including half with fewer than six. His salary is low enough where he's going to be really temping, and if you prepare yourself for five or six fantasy points, then you won't be disappointed when he ends up there. Burnley allow more shots and crosses than any other team in the Premier League, so it makes sense. Then again, it might make more sense to pay down for Jonjo Shelvey ($3,600), who could take all corners if manager Rafa Benitez does everyone a favor and keeps Ritchie on the bench.
The Watford situation is a bit cloudy, as Roberto Pereyra ($3,600) shared corners with Ben Watson ($3,000) in their last Premier League match, and it could happen again if Tom Cleverley ($5,500) sits out due to injury and Jose Holebas ($5,000, defender) continues to sit on the bench. Watson plays as a holding midfielder, so Pereyra has a bit more upside in the attack. Unfortunately, none of them could be on corners if Gerard Deulofeu starts in his debut for the club after joining on loan from Barcelona. Deulofeu is not in the player pool yet, so we'll have to wait until next Monday to consider him.
Heading back to the Tottenham-Manchester United match, we have the same issues as the forwards while considering Christian Eriksen ($8,300), Paul Pogba ($7,900), Jesse Lingard ($7,500), Dele Alli ($7,000) and Juan Mata ($6,600). We don't know the corner hierarchy with Manchester United, so there's no guarantee that Lingard or Mata will take them, and Eriksen has been ceding plenty to various players over the past few months. Given his attacking creativity, I'd put Pogba at the head of the list for GPP consideration, with Eriksen after that because even though we used to target him because of his safe crossing floor, he still shoots enough to sometimes find the back of the net.
This feels like a slate to pay down at defender, as I am not expecting a ton of production out of the Spurs-United match, Manchester City's fullbacks, or whoever is playing as a fullback, don't score many fantasy points, and both of Chelsea's regular starters are classified as midfielders.
Cedric Soares ($4,700) is probably the most expensive defender I'll seriously consider. He hasn't been crossing as much lately because there's really no need to when you have Shane Long ($5,500, forward) as your target, and that doesn't really change if newly signed Guido Carrillo (not in the player pool) starts. At that point you're down into the $4,000 range where everyone is pretty equal and it all depends on how much you value correlation to the rest of your team. The Burnley fullbacks are cheap and playing at Newcastle, though the majority of crosses will come from Gudmundsson. Brighton has a number of fullbacks who should be considered, with Bruno costing only $3,000. I don't know what Bruno did to piss off the DraftKings pricing algorithm, but if you can get five points from him then you're pretty happy with the savings.
Daryl Janmaat ($4,900) has been a decent option of late, but I'd rather save $900 and take Marvin Zeegelaar, who contributes in a number of categories that makes him able to produce even if he isn't crossing much (which he doesn't always).
Playing centerback roulette is fine if you're looking to spend down, though that usually means you aren't getting someone on a big favorite. I usually try to pair my punts with my goalkeeper in the hope of landing a clean sheet, but there's no science behind that line of thinking.
Speaking of no science, choosing a goalkeeper on this slate will probably be based on which attackers you're fading. West Brom's Ben Foster ($3,600) probably has the highest save upside, but he also has the highest chance of getting blasted. Asmir Begovic ($3,800) could be a popular play against the team he played for last season ("played for" is a bit generous), especially with Morata and Willian out.
Jack Butland ($4,400) sticks out because Stoke are favored at home and yet the Watford goalkeepers are priced higher. It's an unsophisticated arbitrage play, but we're talking about goalkeepers here, so what do you expect?
Like always, build the lineup you want and fill in the goalkeeper last. If you have money left over for Ederson ($6,400), you may want to go back and adjust your other choices.