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

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EST)

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

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV at CRY ($7,200): Yes, we're starting with defenders this week because two of the best floor players in the Premier League are on the slate and happen to be defenders. No one in the league has scored more floor points than Alexander-Arnold, who not only leads the league in crosses (135), but he's second in shots assisted (42), fourth in corners taken (50) and third in free-kick crosses (11). He now faces a Crystal Palace side that's conceded the fifth-most crosses and chances among teams on the slate, and the potential absence of Mohamed Salah (ankle) could lead to even more dead-ball opportunities for Liverpool, the second-biggest favorite on the slate.

Lucas Digne, EVE v. NOR ($7,400): The most expensive defender on the slate, Digne continues to take a big share of Everton's set pieces and will now do so as the biggest favorite among the six games. The fourth-highest scoring floor player in the league (and third-highest on the slate), Digne trails only Alexander-Arnold in crosses (113) this season, while his 31 chances created are the third-most (second-most on the slate), his 56 corners are also third, and he's crossed 50 of those opportunities (Alexander-Arnold has only crossed 38 of his 50). Digne, who sent in 30 crosses in his last two games and created at least three chances in each of his last four, and Alexander-Arnold have better floors than any midfielder on the slate other than maybe one (we'll address him in a bit), and pairing the two together is likely to be a very popular move in cash games. However, they also make plenty of sense in GPPs if you want to pair them with cheaper goal-scorers, as their floors average more than a goal's worth of points.

Diego Rico, BOU v. WOL ($5,700): Yup, another high-priced defender. Rico's viability soars if Ryan Fraser ($8,000, midfielder) is ruled out after being unable to play for Scotland in their recent Euro 2020 qualifiers because of a knee injury, as he'll likely take a vast majority of Bournemouth's set pieces. Fraser is expected to play, but Rico is still arguably better than any midfielder in his price range, which could also apply to Watford's Jose Holebas ($5,100) if he got all set pieces back. Unfortunately, that's not something we'll know for sure before Saturday's match and it's probably not worth the gamble. If you're looking for cheaper fullbacks, whoever starts for Burnley among Charlie Taylor ($3,500), Erik Pieters ($3,800), Matthew Lowton ($3,400) or Phil Bardsley ($3,400) would be fine for their prices against Watford.

MIDFIELDERS

James Maddison, LEI at BHA ($10,200): Nope, we're not at forwards yet. Alexander-Arnold is the only player on the slate who has scored more floor points than Maddison this season, though the Leicester midfielder also comes in with four goals in his last six Premier League games. Leicester are favored away to Brighton on Saturday, and while the Gulls have been decent defensively at home, Maddison's monopoly of set pieces and consistent attacking will always make him a very strong cash-game consideration with GPP upside. Paying up for Maddison and multiple defenders will make filling out the rest of a lineup a bit tough, but it's really hard to gauge where else you'll actually get consistent points from in order to keep pace with the other high-floor players.

Ryan Fraser, BOU v. WOL ($8,000): Fraser is a cheap alternative to Maddison, though his floor isn't nearly as high, nor as consistent. He will likely be a popular play if Maddison is ruled out or doesn't start (a situation that seems very unlikely), and playing both Maddison and Fraser is almost impossible with higher-priced defenders, as Digne and Alexander-Arnold are much better floor plays who are also cheaper and get clean-sheet points if they post shutouts. Youri Tielemans ($7,500) would also draw ownership if Maddison is ruled out because he usually takes over on set pieces and has a much better matchup than Emiliano Buendia ($7,000), who takes all set pieces for Norwich but is also playing for the biggest underdog on the slate.

Kenny McLean, NOR at EVE ($3,800): There is a group of set-piece takers in the $6,000 range that would normally be in consideration, but none of them are close in terms of floors versus the defenders mentioned above. Joao Moutinho ($6,100), Luka Milivojevic ($6,100), Mesut Ozil ($6,000), James Ward-Prowse ($5,900) and James Milner ($5,700) are always considerations when they're favored, and while Moutinho, Ozil and Milner are the only ones playing as favorites in the group, they aren't in a favorable price range for what appears to be the optimal lineup construction (not to mention that Milner is likely to start as a left-back if Andrew Robertson can't play). Paying down for at least one midfielder is probably something a lot of people will need, and McLean could fit the bill despite mostly playing as a defensive midfielder for a Norwich side that's the biggest underdog on the slate. However, he's drawn multiple fouls in six straight games, a span that also saw him mix in some tackles won and shots, the best of which was just before the international break when he scored 13.0 fantasy points thanks, in part, to two shots (both on target), two shots assisted and five crosses. The five crosses were certainly surprising since he came into the match with five all season, but his price is low enough where you don't really need to expect much. In fact, don't expect much, but that's why he's $3,800. Otherwise, you can pay up a little for guys like Wilfred Ndidi ($4,500), Moussa Djenepo ($4,900), Davy Propper ($4,100) or Matteo Guendouzi ($3,900), with Ashley Westwood ($4,700) likely the cheapest exposure to set pieces.

FORWARDS

Nicolas Pepe, ARS v. SOU ($8,400): Pepe has had a role on set pieces when he starts, though getting starts has been an issue of late. He makes for a strong cash-game play if he is in the first XI, even more so if Ozil is on the bench, but paying up for him means you're sacrificing elsewhere. There are a ton of great forward options for GPPs on this slate, including Pepe's teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($9,700), who has the best anytime goal scorer odds, and Alexandre Lacazette ($9,000), Liverpool's group of Sadio Mane ($10,400), Roberto Firmino ($8,600), Divock Origi ($7,900) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ($6,700), not to mention Leicester City's Jamie Vardy ($9,600) and Everton's Richarlison ($9,400) and, I guess, Gylfi Sigurdsson ($9,200). You have to pay up for all of these guys, which means they likely fit more into lineup constructions that want to ignore the high-floor players, but any of them can score a goal (obviously), and some have realistic brace and hat-trick upside.

Dwight McNeil, BUR at WAT ($6,800): McNeil continues to split set pieces with Westwood, but his open-play contributions are strong enough to make him a cash-game target, especially with score-sheet appearances in three of his last four games. Whoever starts among Pascal Gross ($6,600) and Leandro Trossard ($6,500) will probably get some consideration too, though playing away to Watford seems easier than lining up at Leicester, even at home. Additionally, Gerard Deulofeu ($7,600) is interesting because of his recent role on set pieces and being a home favorite. Those guys are much more about floors (though we've seen decent upside from Deulofeu), but there are also goal-scorers in the price range, including Raul Jimenez ($7,700), Callum Wilson ($6,600), Teemu Pukki ($6,300), Troy Deeney ($6,100), Neal Maupay ($5,900) and Ashley Barnes ($5,900), to name a few. The cheaper guys on the list are certainly more helpful for paying up at the other positions, but their goal upside is correspondingly lower.

Steven Alzate, BHA v. LEI ($4,400): It's kind of shocking to consider so many Brighton guys given they're 11th in the table with a negative goal differential and are home underdogs, but here we are. Alzate has been the best floor player among the group based on his lower price, but a consistent combination of shots, chances created, fouls drawn and tackles won always seems to get him to make value, which will be particularly important this week because he fills a cheap forward spot. The expectations can't be that high for a player with just seven shots in seven appearances (six starts) this season, but again, he's cheap and fills a forward spot with a floor comfortably above zero.

GOALKEEPER

Nick Pope, BUR at WAT ($4,500): Vicente Guaita ($3,700) is the cheapest goalkeeper on the slate while also being the cheapest home keeper. Unfortunately, he is also the second-biggest underdog facing the third-highest scoring team in the league. He could be interesting to those who think Liverpool struggle without Salah, but they still have plenty of firepower to blow him up. Meanwhile, the Burnley defense shouldn't be pressured too much by Watford, who are missing a few key attackers, and Pope has a decent track record of making enough saves to counteract any goals allowed.

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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