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

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EDT)

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FORWARDS

Mohamed Salah, LIV v. ARS ($11,000): Similar to last Saturday, Salah is the most expensive player on the slate for the second-biggest favorite, though this time they have the highest implied goal total. I don't want to put too much emphasis on previous matches, but last year's game at Anfield was a goal-fest, with Arsenal scoring the opener in the 11th minute, only for Liverpool to storm back by scoring five unanswered goals, including a hat trick (the last goal was a penalty) by Roberto Firmino ($8,400), one goal and one assist from Salah and one goal from Sadio Mane ($10,600). That doesn't mean Saturday's match is going to be another high-scoring affair, though it does have the highest game total by a decent margin, and not just because Liverpool are going to crush. Salah has taken on a bigger share of corners this season, which has taken opportunities away from Trent Alexander-Arnold ($6,600, defender) and/or James Milner ($6,900, midfielder), though he's still not crossing enough on a consistent basis to make that the safe part of his floor. Instead, he'll take shots and create chances, but at this price you're paying for at least a goal. Going slightly down for Mane doesn't seem to make a lot of sense in cash games because he'll be much lower owned but with a similar production profile (and no set pieces), though that gives him a little more GPP appeal. Firmino is much cheaper and may be more popular in tournaments because of it, and it doesn't hurt that he's made the scoresheet in back-to-back games. The other side of this match shouldn't be ignored, especially if you agree with the oddsmakers that there should be goals on both sides (-186 for both teams to score on DraftKings Sportsbook versus +143 for one or none). In that case, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($8,700) and Alexandre Lacazette ($7,900) have the best goal odds for Arsenal, though don't forget they're the second-biggest underdog on the slate. Ultimately, Salah looks likely to be the highest-owned forward in cash games because of familiarity, though there are paths to build without him.

Anthony Martial, MU v. CRY ($8,800): The $1,500 salary difference between Martial and Marcus Rashford is a bit puzzling, if only because their fantasy production is fairly close and they're both playing for the biggest favorite on the slate. Rashford scored a brace in the Premier League opener and then assisted on Martial's goal in Monday's match against Wolves, the latter's second goal of the season. Neither player does enough in open play to justify their prices on floor alone, though Rashford's role on penalties does give him a slight boost (one of his two goals against Chelsea was from the penalty spot and Paul Pogba missed from there against Wolves, presumably giving Rashford the next opportunity). With two players who are dependent on getting on the scoresheet to make value, and not much separating their anytime goal scorer odds, what's the value in spending $1,500 more? Ownership in cash games is one possibility, as well as Rashford's small role on corners and free kicks, but United have used a number of players on set pieces, so it's not like he's going to have double-digit opportunities. There is also a small possibility that Mason Greenwood ($6,900) starts, but you have to be weary of playing time (he's made two substitute appearances this season for a total of five minutes), and you're paying a decent price for an unknown floor with likely no set pieces.

Nathan Redmond, SOU at BHA ($6,100): The forward pricing on this slate is really tough, enough so that you're going to look at Redmond's and think "that's not that bad" even though he has zero role on set pieces, has not sent in a cross in two games and still hasn't gotten on the scoresheet. A match against Liverpool last week was tough, though his 5.30 fantasy points were more than the 4.50 he scored away to Burnley the week before. If you don't pay up for Liverpool and Manchester United guys, finding a second forward will not be easy. Brighton's Pascal Gross ($7,500) could be an option after he sent in five crosses in each of the first two games, one that included five shots assisted against West Ham, but even his salary isn't all that low for cash games. There are plenty of viable GPP forwards like Jamie Vardy ($7,800) or Ayoze Perez ($7,700) playing away to Sheffield United, or even Gross' teammate Neal Maupay ($6,600) if he starts over Glenn Murray ($5,800), but how excited are you really getting about those guys? You can convince yourself that the Wilfried Zaha ($7,300) revenge game is worth pursuing, but you have to think he probably likes Manchester United more than Crystal Palace at this point after they stopped him from transferring this summer. West Ham's Sebastien Haller ($6,700) might be fit to start against a fairly weak Watford team, or we could get another start from Chicharito ($6,500) after he scored last week. Speaking of Watford, they are playing a West Ham side that hasn't been much better, which surely would have put Troy Deeney ($6,500) on the map if not for a knee injury that has ruled him out. As crazy as it sounds, I think people could have considered Deeney in cash games given the matchup, one that had given him the fifth-highest anytime goal scorer odds among expected starters on the slate, trailing only Salah, Mane, Rashford and Firmino. It certainly would have looked better than paying $7,200 for Gerard Deulofeu, who has had no role on set pieces and has taken one shot in two games (124 total minutes). However, we could get a start for Isaac Success ($4,500), who had a few scattered decent starts last season, and at least he's cheap. Then again, we'll probably get either Andre Gray ($6,300) or Danny Welbeck ($6,200), neither of whom are that reasonable for cash games. Oh, and there's also Ismaila Sarr ($5,900), who is just recovered from injury but averaged 1.74 shots, 1.26 chances created and 3.16 fouls drawn per 90 minutes last season in Ligue 1 for Rennes. You could also go lower for the Southampton forwards, with Danny Ings ($5,600) checking in higher than Che Adams ($4,900) even though the latter has more than three-times the touches in the box this season (I know, it's only two games). Adams has at least taken multiple shots in both games this season, which helped him to 5.60 fantasy points against Liverpool last week. There's a possibility he's the cheapest starting forward, and while Southampton are playing away, Brighton are the lowest favorite on the slate.

MIDFIELDERS

James Maddison, LEI at SHU ($9,600): Maddison has the highest floor of any player on the slate thanks to his monopoly of set pieces for a favored side, even one playing away. Leicester have been pretty poor this season, scoring just one goal in their first two matches, though games against Wolves and Chelsea (at Stamford Bridge) are significantly tougher than Sheffield United, even if the newly promoted side is firm defensively. Maddison comes in with 18.6 and 17.4 fantasy points in his two games, respectively, with an assist against Chelsea his only appearance on the scoresheet. He crosses most of his corners, and Leicester have been winning plenty, and he's able to be accurate enough to get some shots assisted from his opportunities. Paying up for two forwards and Maddison really handicaps the rest of a fantasy roster, but if you're really focusing on floor then there's no better place to look.

Roberto Pereyra, WAT v. WHU ($4,200): Is $4,200 a reasonable price for an attacking midfielder on a favored side who leads his team in shots and touches in the box, as well as being second in fouls drawn? Watford players are somewhat under-priced despite being the third-biggest favorite on the slate, and Pereyra is the only player on the team not named Jose Holebas ($5,000, defender) to take a free kick (Pereyra has two free-kick shots and one not-crossed corner). His low salary is really the biggest draw because it allows you to spend up at some other positions, but we've seen at times that Pereyra has solid upside.

Dani Ceballos, ARS at LIV ($5,500): Ceballos was brilliant in last weekend's win over Burnley picking up two assists on three chances created while also adding three shots (one on goal), five crosses, three fouls drawn and two tackles won. Granted, playing Burnley at home is a lot different than playing Liverpool at Anfield, but Ceballos' price definitely helps in that regard. Playing in the late game doesn't do us any favors because Arsenal manager Unai Emery has a lot of midfield options, including Mesut Ozil ($5,200) and Granit Xhaka ($5,800) who could take set pieces, so making sure you have a pivot available is definitely advised. There are other decent cash-game options higher up the salary scale, including Manchester United's Daniel James ($6,900), Southampton's James Ward-Prowse ($6,600), Sheffield United's Oliver Norwood ($6,500) and West Ham's Robert Snodgrass ($6,500) or Felipe Anderson ($6,700), but paying that level is really only available if you don't have two high-priced forwards. Sheffield United may also turn to Luke Freeman ($6,200), who took a few set pieces last week and is a good open-play fantasy scorer, but that price seems a little nuts, unfortunately. I'd lock him into my cash-game lineup at $4,200 but not over $6K. We also can't ignore that Aaron Mooy ($5,800) has already taken a few set pieces for Brighton, and his introduction into the starting lineup only complicates what they'll do on corners.

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV v. ARS ($6,600): Similar to Salah, Alexander-Arnold is the most expensive player at his position, but a role on set pieces for a big favorite will certainly contribute to that. He also crosses quite a bit in open play, so he's not fully dependent on set pieces, and the Arsenal defense is hardly one that should cause hesitation like Tottenham did for the Manchester City stackers last week. Those paying up for two forwards will probably find a way to grab Alexander-Arnold instead of Maddison in a midfield spot, though their floors are comparatively the same as their prices (i.e. Maddison's floor is higher but so is his salary). Andrew Robertson ($5,400) has also been a solid option, though a total lack of set pieces hurts his floor. If you don't want to pay up for a defender in this game, Leicester City's Ricardo Pereira ($5,700) has reached double-digit fantasy points in both starts this season without a goal or assist, and he should be able to move up in the attack against Sheffield United. In fact, I think you could make an argument that Pereira is a better option than some of the midfielders in the price range because of his clean sheet potential. Spending up will also have you considering Watford's Jose Holebas ($5,000) because of his big role on set pieces for a favored side, and while he comes in with 15 crosses (including eight crosses from nine corners), he's failed to take a single shot or draw a single foul (in fact, he's committed five of them), and he's only created one chance. In fact, it wouldn't be crazy to look at Kiko Femenia ($4,400) if you really wanted a Watford defender, as he has two chances created, six crosses, four tackles won and seven touches in the box in two games, whereas Holebas has zero touches in the box during that span.

Luke Shaw, MUN v. CRY ($4,800): Shaw occasionally has a role on corners for Man United, including the two he took against Wolves on Monday, though his fantasy production continues to be pretty inconsistent. He will never be a high-volume crosser, and his better fantasy games end up being because of his defensive work, but a home match against Crystal Palace could allow him to get more involved up the pitch. He's similar enough in price to Holebas that people could go in that direction, and GPP players could be giving long looks to John Lundstram ($4,900), who has been lining up as an attacking midfielder and even scored a goal last week against Crystal Palace after finishing with 7.20 points in Sheffield United's opening match against Bournemouth. Despite the decent floor, he still seems more suited for GPPs since Holebas' price is so close. And speaking of GPPs, Virgil van Dijk ($4,000) looks cheap given he's a huge target for Liverpool on set pieces and is playing a side that isn't great at defending them.

Ryan Bertrand, SOU at BHA ($4,200): Following the theme of Southampton players being a bit under-priced, Bertrand and Yan Valery ($4,000) are solid cash-game options given their respective salaries. They've basically flip-flopped fantasy scores over the first two games, and most people end up choosing Bertrand because he takes a few scattered corners. The Brighton defense has been pretty good at home over the past year, but they should still allow Bertrand and Valery to move up the wings at times. Thankfully, their salaries are low enough that they should be worth the risk instead of paying up for Martin Montoya ($4,700) on the other side.

GOALKEEPER

Dean Henderson, SHU v. LEI ($4,400): Henderson is the cheapest expected starting home goalkeeper and is facing a Leicester side that has scored just one goal in two games and could ramp up the desperation with some ill-advised shots that become easy saves. I'd be weary of rostering Bernd Leno ($3,900) over Vicente Guaita ($3,700) given the respective attacks they are facing, but there will always be people who roster the cheapest goalkeeper because the variance can certainly pay off if it falls your way, even against your attackers. Otherwise, Angus Gunn ($4,300) doesn't seem like a bad play, even away, since the Brighton attack is hardly an elite unit.

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Head of DFS Content and Senior Soccer Editor. He is a seven-time FSWA award finalist, including twice for the Football Writer of the Year Award.
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