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

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EDT)

For detailed stats and odds, check out the DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday EPL Cheat Sheet.

FORWARDS

Mohamed Salah, LIV v. LEI ($11,000): I'll start by saying I don't think I'll play Salah in cash games Saturday, and there's a reasonable argument that he's not great for GPPs either. Liverpool are the biggest favorite on the slate and Salah has the highest anytime goal scorer odds, but his floor isn't that high for a player at his price, and he's facing a tough Leicester side that's been very solid defensively, allowing one or zero goals in every Premier League match this season, which included games against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Manchester United at Old Trafford and Tottenham at the King Power Stadium. Salah is going to be highly owned because he always is, but I think this is a very reasonable week to fade him, even after he scored two goals against RB Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday. Speaking of Wednesday, Liverpool won 4-3, and their defense continues to look shaky enough where Leicester City's Jamie Vardy ($6,100) is absolutely in consideration for tournaments, especially at such a low price for his goal-scoring pedigree. Of course, if you think Liverpool roll, Sadio Mane ($10,200) and Roberto Firmino ($9,300) shouldn't be ignored and will likely be lower owned than Salah.

Wilfried Zaha, CRY at WHU ($7,400): Crystal Palace come in after a 2-0 victory over Norwich City, a match that was only their second all season that included them scoring more than one goal, with the other coming away to Manchester United on Aug. 24. Otherwise, their attack has been quite weak, but Zaha's still been able to produce, scoring at least 10.8 floor points in three straight games thanks to a combination of shots, chances created, crosses, fouls drawn and tackles. He has no role on set pieces, and the matchup away to West Ham isn't ideal, but at least they've conceded the fourth-most shots, third-most shots on goal and third-most chances among teams on the slate. Consideration of Zaha should also have people looking at Richarlison ($8,000), who scores fantasy points in a similar way and faces a Burnley side that concedes roughly the same number of shots and chances per game. Of course, Richarlison consideration brings up Gylfi Sigurdsson ($8,200), who has scored at least 14.8 floor points in three of his last four games, though he's struggled away from home this season. Sigurdsson's shared role on set pieces makes him a target in cash games, and he's crossing more than he was at the beginning of the season, so if he burned you in those first few weeks, it might be time to re-consider a player who has created more chances than all but Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Dwight McNeil, BUR v. EVE ($6,200): Burnley are slight home underdogs to Everton, who have been strong defensively this season, but it's tough to ignore McNeil at this price given his role on set pieces. Burnley aren't usually favored anyway, but that hasn't stopped McNeil from scoring at least 6.8 fantasy points in every start this season, including four times with at least 9.8. He doesn't shoot enough to warrant reasonable goal optimism, and that makes him more of a floor play than a ceiling one. There are plenty of goal-dependent GPP options on the slate, including teammates Ashley Barnes ($6,300) and Chris Wood ($5,600), in addition to Teemu Pukki ($8,500), Sebastien Haller ($7,800) and Wesley Moraes ($5,300), and they could all play important roles for those who fade the Liverpool attackers.

MIDFIELDERS

Emiliano Buendia, NOR v. AVL ($7,600): No team on the slate has conceded more shots than Aston Villa, while only one has allowed more crosses and chances. That fits perfectly for Buendia, who has taken every free kick for Norwich this season, helping him to at least five crosses in four of his last six games, and he's created at least three chances in five of seven. This match could actually have a ton of peripheral points in it, as Norwich have conceded the same number of shots as Villa while allowing more crosses and more chances. That means both John McGinn ($7,700) and Jack Grealish ($7,900) should be in consideration, with the latter having a bigger role on set pieces, though the former has actually been the better overall fantasy-point scorer. We did see Conor Hourihane ($6,100) get back in the starting XI last week and reclaim his dominant role on set pieces, helping him to 10.9 fantasy points, but he's not regularly as much of an attacker as McGinn and Grealish.

Felipe Anderson, WHU v. CRY ($8,100): The West Ham set-piece situation might get a little cloudy this week if Manuel Lanzini ($7,100) returns to the starting XI and Pablo Fornals ($6,500) also keeps a spot, but if you're considering the Hammers then why not target the guy scoring the most fantasy points? Anderson has an assist in back-to-back Premier League matches, which has helped him score at least 13.4 fantasy points in five straight games, a span that saw him take 12 shots, including five on target, create 11 chances, send in 10 crosses, win 14 tackles and draw seven fouls. A matchup against Crystal Palace is surely one he should succeed in, and his spot in the lineup is secure enough that we shouldn't have to worry that he's playing in the late game. If you're hesitant on that for some reason, Leicester City's James Maddison ($7,200) is almost always a good play and should be underowned because people are scared of Liverpool.

John Fleck, SHU at WAT ($4,600): Oliver Norwood has been the more consistent fantasy scorer, but you also have to pay $1,100 more for him, and on a slate with other midfielders, and some forwards, worth paying up for, that salary separation makes a difference. Fleck still has a role on set pieces, which is fairly important since he's not a high-volume crosser, but he's been creating enough chances to keep him as a reasonable pay-down option. If $4,600 is still too much, Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi ($3,700) has won more tackles than all but three players on the slate, and he figures to get plenty of defensive opportunities playing away to Liverpool. And if you're too worried about Liverpool, Aston Villa's Marvelous Nakamba ($3,500) has won multiple tackles in three straight games and created three chances last week against Burnley, while Sheffield United's John Lundstram ($3,500) has scored at least 6.9 fantasy points in two straight.

DEFENDERS

Lucas Digne, EVE at BUR ($7,000): Digne's price is almost out of hand, but we're not there yet with his matchup against Burnley. Given the production we've seen from Digne this season, including double-digit fantasy points in every game until last weekend's 8.3 against Manchester City, there's a reasonable argument that he's as valuable as any midfielder on this slate from a floor perspective. He's taken multiple shots or created multiple chances in every game except the season opener, and his 55 crosses this season are the second-most in the Premier League. The league leader? Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold ($6,800), the second-most expensive defender on the slate. Admittedly, I think Alexander-Arnold is just as good as Digne this week, though there are enough quality midfielders where playing both of them is tough unless you pay way down at forward. If there's a nit to pick it's that Alexander-Arnold doesn't shoot that much, and he hasn't sent in more than eight crosses in any of his last four starts, a span that also saw him create only four chances after creating 21 in the first five games. I am bullish on Leicester this weekend, which is why paying $200 more for Digne in a much easier matchup seems more viable.

Daryl Janmaat, WAT v. SHU ($4,000): Watford have been pretty horrible of late, but a lot of that has to do with the fact they've played Arsenal, Man City (away) and Wolves (away), teams that are well ahead of Sheffield United in nearly every way. Janmaat hasn't been attacking that much recently (can you blame him?), but he'll now face a Sheffield United side that's conceded the third-most crosses among teams on the slate. It's not a ton to go on, but Janmaat seems pretty similar to Jose Holebas ($5,200) at this point. I realize that's surprising to hear since Holebas regained some set pieces last weekend, but it's tough to pay that much for a player who does so little outside of corners if he doesn't have a monopoly. If Janmaat isn't attractive enough in this price range, Leicester City's Ben Chilwell isn't a bad pivot for $200 more, even if he has a significantly tougher matchup, and the same can be said for his teammate Ricardo Pereira ($4,500).

Sam Byram, NOR v. AVL ($3,700): Byram has scored more than 5.00 fantasy points in two straight games, and while that's not an overwhelming amount, it's certainly decent for his salary. Saving salary will be needed for those who pay up for Salah, and while there are plenty of center-backs at cheaper prices, Byram at least provides some hope for crosses.

GOALKEEPER

Kasper Schmeichel, LEI at LIV ($3,800): Would you be willing to pay less than $4,000 for a goalkeeper who hasn't allowed multiple goals in a game this season and faces the team that's forced the fourth-most saves among teams on the slate? Well, here you go. Those making the choice to fade Liverpool have an easy goalkeeper selection given how well Leicester City have played defensively this season, and with Liverpool's leaky defense and the Foxes' sneaky attack, don't completely rule out a win bonus.

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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