Starting Eleven: Saturday Premier League Breakdown
Starting Eleven: Saturday Premier League Breakdown

This article is part of our Starting Eleven series.


7:30 a.m: Fulham v. Watford
10:00 a.m: Burnley v. Bournemouth
10:00 a.m: Leicester City v. Huddersfield
10:00 a.m: Crystal Palace v. Newcastle
10:00 a.m: Cardiff City v. Manchester City
10:00 a.m: Manchester United v. Wolverhampton
10:00 a.m: Liverpool v. Southampton
12:30 p.m: Brighton v. Tottenham


The first round of Champions League matches could see key players from Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool rested Saturday. It'll be worth double checking lineups to see whether the likes of Sergio Aguero, Roberto Firmino and Heung-Min Son return to the starting XI or if they've been replaced.

Romelu Lukaku, who is expected to lead the line against Wolverhampton, has scored in three of four starts in the Premier League, though the Wolves backline has conceded just five times. Despite Liverpool and Manchester City having better matchups, Lukaku remains United's best attacking threat.

Sadio Mane is currently the top forward on Starting XI and should be a solid option in a matchup with Southampton. Mohamed Salah has failed to score or provide an assist in his past three matches, including Tuesday's 3-2 UCL win over Paris Saint-Germain, and he generally hasn't looked like the Golden Boot winner from last season. Aside from Mane and Salah, there's a possibility Daniel Sturridge makes the starting XI again with Roberto Firmino coming back from an eye injury.

Sergio Aguero replaced Gabriel Jesus in the second half of Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Lyon in the Champions League and could make a return to the starting XI if he's fit enough. Wholesale changes could be made in the City attack following Tuesday's disappointing loss, which could see Leroy Sane brought into the lineup and Raheem Sterling dropped.

Father Time has yet to catch up to Glenn Murray, as the 34-year-old is still a viable fantasy option. He has four goals in his past four matches, with one of those coming in a win over Manchester United. Murray will need to keep those giant-killing instincts going into a home match against a Tottenham side fatigued from a midweek Champions League match. On the other side of that matchup, Harry Kane has the fourth-best goal-scoring odds on the slate, but he has been held scoreless in his past three.

Andre Schurrle and Aleksandar Mitrovic come into Saturday's home match against Watford as two of the top shot-takers in the Premier League. Schurrle ranks fourth behind Aguero, Salah and Mitrovic, though all 19 of his shots have come in the past three matches, which could be a sign of things to come. Watford have been impressive to start the season, but they proved they're normal in last weekend's loss to Man United.

Last but not least, Wilfried Zaha should always be on your radar given his match-winning abilities. Aside from his fantasy value, his on-ball quality consistently looks out of place on a Crystal Palace side full of players lacking creativity. He has three goals in four games and will have another good chance to improve those numbers against a Newcastle side that has conceded nine goals in their previous four matches.


Paul Pogba put in his best performance of the young season in Wednesday's Champions League triumph over BSC Young Boys, finishing with two goals and an assist. He has yet to hit those heights in the league, as United started the campaign with a couple disappointing results. A home match with Wolverhampton could provide a quality canvas for Pogba to continue Wednesday's emphatic performance.

Sixteen years into his professional career, James Milner is arguably playing at his highest level. He scored 12.40 points in last weekend's win over Tottenham, which was his lowest point total of the season. His floor of double-digit points makes his inclusion in fantasy sides justifiable, especially against Southampton. Georginio Wijnaldum has played every minute for Liverpool this season and is also a worthy consideration, though he lacks the set-piece duties of Milner.

The Manchester City midfield roulette rolls on to Week 6. Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez are all possible starters, but at this point it's tough to predict. The Silvas are the best options when starting, while Riyad Mahrez is an intriguing play if he makes his way into the lineup.

Jamie Vardy's suspension forced Leicester City into relying on James Maddison as their creative outlet in attack, and he filled that role well despite the lack of results, including last weekend's 4-2 loss to Bournemouth when he clawed back a goal via a penalty. His set-piece duties give him a good chance at getting on the scoresheet, and a matchup with Huddersfield could be the right spot for a monster fantasy performance.

It would be fair to put me in the contingent of fantasy players who didn't see Ryan Fraser's virtuoso performance against Leicester City coming. Two goals and an assist were good enough for 28.70 points, and while an away trip to Burnley has traditionally been a tough matchup, Fraser's current form keeps him in consideration.


Christian Kabasele is developing into a mainstay in the Watford defense to start the season. He'll have a tough matchup with Fulham's attack, but it's worth noting he ranks in the top 10 in duels won (39) and interceptions (14) through five matches.

Finally, I get to write about James Tarkowski as a defensive option in a Saturday slate after Burnley had been forced to play on Sunday's to start the season due to Europa League scheduling. He's leads the Premier League in blocks (13) and is second in duels won (49). Burnley's ability to grind out results at Turf Moor is well known, making Tarkowski a practical option.

Benjamin Mendy is expected to miss the trip to Cardiff, which realistically makes Andrew Robertson the best defensive option on the slate. He helped Liverpool open the scoring in Tuesday's win over Paris Saint-Germain and will have no problem keeping his place in a home match with Southampton. The possibility of a clean sheet makes Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold all viable plays.

Finally, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has three performances of 20+ fantasy points, with his only single-digit performance coming when he received a red card in the loss to Liverpool. A matchup with Newcastle awaits.


Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in their past seven Premier League matches at home, while they haven't allowed a goal to Southampton in their previous three meetings. They also haven't lost at Anfield in 23 matches, dating back to January of last season and the Reds have the second-best clean sheet odds. Playing for save numbers is totally reasonable, but I favor Manchester City's Ederson and, more specifically, Liverpool's Alisson for my goalkeeper position due to their probability to keep the clean sheet.

Alternative options in net include David de Gea, who is coming off two clean sheets in his past three matches, facing Wolverhampton at home. Joe Hart leads all Premier goalkeepers in saves and will be hosting a red-hot Bournemouth side. If they can keep the Cherries out of the net, Hart could be in for a big day. Michel Vorm is expected to keep his place in net with Hugo Lloris (thigh) ruled out, but he'll be traveling to Brighton after a short turnaround after Tuesday's Champions League match.

Southampton's Alex McCarthy and Cardiff City's Neil Etheridge are in tough places against Liverpool and Manchester City, respectively, but they have the highest potential for saves, as well as the potential for complete dismantlings.

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. Christopher Owen plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: owenc8888 (DraftKings, FanDuel), RotoCrook (Yahoo!).
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Christopher Owen
Chris covers fantasy soccer for RotoWire. In his free time he enjoys watching Jurgen Klopp celebrate goals on the touchline and beyond.
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