DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: New Year's Day EPL Picks
DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: New Year's Day EPL Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EST)

For detailed stats and odds, as well as projected lineups, check out the 

DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: New Year's Day EPL Cheat Sheet

FORWARDS

Sergio Aguero, MCI v. EVE ($9,600): Manchester City are the biggest favorite on the slate and no player has higher anytime goal scorer odds than Aguero, who played only 14 minutes last week because of an early red card and then scored in an 81-minute start Sunday against Sheffield United. The only reason Aguero makes any more sense than other Man City forwards is that he's the most expensive, allowing for the maximum salary flexibility in case he doesn't start (Man City play in the later part of the slate). Raheem Sterling ($9,400) and Gabriel Jesus ($9,300) are quite dependent on making the score-sheet to provide value, which applies to Riyad Mahrez ($9,200) too, even though he has a bit higher of a floor. The cheapest potential Man City forward is Bernardo Silva ($8,400), but even at that price he's pretty goal and assist dependent. Given that any of these guys can make major impacts, it's really tough to rely on just one (or even two) for cash games, and there are very viable builds that actually don't include any Man City attackers, whether midfielders or forwards, which feels nuts when they're the biggest favorite with the highest implied goal total.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, EVE at MCI ($6,500): On the other side of Aguero's game is Sigurdsson, who seems to have reclaimed his monopoly of set pieces for Everton. While that's certainly great news on the surface, one has to wonder how many of those dead-ball opportunities Everton will have as the biggest underdog. Nevertheless, the Man City defense has been very poor this season, enough so that Sigurdsson could pay off his relatively low salary after taking four shots, creating six chances and sending in 38 crosses in the past two games. Paying down for two forwards is certainly viable because of a number of midfielders that should be prioritized, with Newcastle's Miguel Almiron ($5,500), Watford's Ismaila Sarr ($7,000), Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha ($6,100) and West Ham's Michail Antonio ($6,200) each in that conversation.

Jamie Vardy, LEI at NEW ($9,000): Vardy shouldn't be trusted in cash games, but with all of the Manchester City options, not to mention Tottenham's Harry Kane ($8,900) and the Wolves' trio of Raul Jimenez ($8,700), Adama Traore ($8,800) and Diogo Jota ($6,800), we really shouldn't forget about Vardy in GPPs against a Newcastle side that's conceded the second-most shots and shots on goal this season among teams on the slate, as well as the most chances created. Vardy wasn't in the squad at all for their win against West Ham this past weekend, giving him plenty of rest ahead of New Year's Day (then again, he missed out because of the birth of his child, so maybe he's not that rested). Either way, he scored in 10 of his last 13 starts, with two of his goal-less outings coming against Liverpool. Put another way: he has 14 goals on 40 shots (24 on target) in his last 13 Premier League games and has a great shot to extend his great play Wednesday.

MIDFIELDERS

James Maddison, LEI at NEW ($9,700): In addition to allowing the second-most shots and shots on goal, plus the most chances, Newcastle have also allowed the most crosses among teams on the slate, setting up perfectly for Maddison, who put his only shot on target, created two chances, sent in three crosses and drew three fouls (totaling 9.4 fantasy points) in 26 minutes off the bench this past weekend against West Ham. He has a monopoly of set pieces for Leicester, and the only issue with rostering him is that Kevin De Bruyne ($10,900) has a major role on sets for Man City, who are, again, the biggest favorite on the slate with the highest implied goal total. The other potential issue that there are some other excellent midfielders who are a bit cheaper, and the opportunity cost on the midfielder position may be enough to push people away from De Bruyne and Maddison, as crazy as that sounds for cash games.

Emiliano Buendia, NOR v. CRY ($8,100): Buendia spearheads the group of slightly cheaper midfielders who have dominant roles on set pieces and have favorable matchups. Lining up against a Crystal Palace sides that's conceded the third-most crosses among teams on the slate, Buendia is vital to the Norwich attack, one that will need to really get going this week in an effort to work their way out of the relegation zone. De Bruyne is the only player in the league with more chances created this season than Buendia, who set up at least five shots in four of his last five games. He also draws fouls and wins tackles more than he takes shots, but those floor points are perfectly fine in his Wednesday matchup. The other midfielders in his price range who should get plenty of looks are Christian Eriksen ($7,800), James Ward-Prowse ($7,600), Joao Moutinho, ($7,200), Robert Snodgrass ($7,100), Ryan Fraser ($6,900) and Jonjo Shelvey ($6,600), each of whom plays a major role on set pieces for their teams, though Ward-Prowse, Shelvey and Fraser are playing for underdogs.

Luka Milivojevic, CRY at NOR ($5,800): No team on the slate has allowed more goals, assists, shots, shots on goal or tackles won this season than Norwich, who have also conceded the second-most crosses and chances created. Milivojevic has reclaimed his monopoly of set pieces and is a really interesting (somewhat) cheaper option on this slate because of his role and matchup. Again, the opportunity cost is a consideration because rostering Milivojevic means you can't get three of the guys above, but he's certainly helpful in terms of salary while offering plenty of floor (the upside is penalty-dependent). We could get some other cheaper set-piece takers if there's continued lineup rotation, with Manuel Lanzini ($5,200) or Pablo Fornals ($5,600) possibilities for West Ham, while Sean Longstaff ($4,400) or Kenny McLean ($4,300) could take for Newcastle and Norwich, respectively, if Shelvey and Buendia don't start.

DEFENDERS

Diego Rico, BOU at WHU ($5,200): It may not be optimal to build a cash-game lineup that includes paying up for a defender, but if the salary is there then Rico makes plenty of sense because of his attacking upside and small role on set pieces. He will get a majority of the dead-ball opportunities if Fraser doesn't start, though that's unlikely. Nevertheless, the Bournemouth left-back reached 9.3 fantasy points in each of his past two starts and now faces a West Ham side with a new manager that's conceded the second-most assists among teams on the slate.

Aaron Cresswell, WHU v. BOU ($4,500): On the other side of Rico's game is Cresswell, who hasn't had a role on set pieces much this season and isn't likely to have them Wednesday. However, he's been crossing a bit more lately in addition to winning tackles, which obviously helps his floor. Another option in the price range is Jetro Willems ($4,400), though his matchup at home against Leicester City is definitely tougher than Cresswell's. And if Cresswell doesn't start for some reason, Arthur Masuaku ($3,900) provides some good value at his price.

Jan Vertonghen, TOT at SOU ($3,800): Vertonghen is basically playing as a converted fullback, but he crosses enough to justify his price in a plus matchup for Spurs. He still gets most of his fantasy value from defensive stats, and if you're looking for a little more attacking upside then Ryan Bertrand ($3,900) could provide that, as could Max Aarons ($3,900), who sent in 10 crosses just two games ago. Or you could grab a guy who can do both and focus on Watford's Kiko Femenia ($3,800). Needless to say, there are plenty of pay-down options on the slate, which is why paying up for a defender and taking money away from the midfielders and forwards doesn't seem like the best build, at least for cash games.

GOALKEEPER

Martin Dubravka, NEW v. LEI ($4,000): Dubravka is the cheapest home goalkeeper on the slate and comes in with 17 saves in his last three games, a span that saw him score 18.3, 4.3 and 10.3 fantasy points, respectively. The Leicester attack should be back to full strength, which certainly increases his save upside, though he doesn't have good win or clean sheet odds, so we'll need those saves to pay off. Thankfully, playing Maddison and Dubravka can work out if you're only playing Maddison for his floor.

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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