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

The Chalk

Bruno Fernandes, MUN v. BOU ($11,000): Fernandes is the most expensive player on the slate, but he also has the highest floor and potentially the highest ceiling. There was some concern about playing time earlier this week against Brighton because he had played 120 minutes in an FA Cup match last weekend, but Fernandes started against the Gulls and promptly put up 33.4 fantasy points thanks to two goals on four shots while adding four crosses, one shot assisted and three tackles won in 64 minutes. We obviously don't know if the plan all along was to sub him out after that time, but United were dominating the match, so taking him out was easy. As the primary set-piece taker for a big favorite with a high implied goal total, Fernandes is an easy play, especially against a side that's allowed the third-most shots, fourth-most corners and fifth-most crosses in the Premier League this season.

James Maddison, LEI v. CRY ($10,100): It feels a bit odd to think that two five-figure players could both be chalky, but we have a small slate and they are two of the best floor players in the league. In fact, since Fernandes' Man United debut, only Trent Alexander-Arnold has scored more floor points than Fernandes, and only Alexander-Arnold, Fernandes and Jack Grealish have scored more than Maddison. Crystal Palace are better defensively than Bournemouth in terms of goal conceded (35 for Palace versus 54 for Bournemouth), but the former has allowed the third-most crosses and fifth-most corners in the Premier League this season, which sets up perfectly for Maddison. With few dominant floor players at forward or defender, the Fernandes/Maddison combination figure to be overwhelmingly popular in cash games, and both have plenty of upside for GPPs as well. One thing to note is that Maddison is questionable with a hip injury that kept him out of last weekend's FA Cup match, and made him play off the bench earlier this week, so 90 minutes may be asking too much if he starts.

FORWARDS

Andros Townsend, CRY at LEI ($4,500): This is where it starts to get ugly, as paying up for Fernandes and Maddison obviously doesn't leave a ton of salary for the remaining roster spots. Townsend's role on set pieces is long gone, and he's not even a great volume crosser these days, but his low price against a somewhat-struggling Leicester City puts him in consideration, especially since he could be the cheapest starting forward (then again, he may not even start.). Teammates Jordan Ayew ($7,200) and Wilfried Zaha ($6,700) are definitely the better plays from Palace, but their salaries are high enough where you have to do some significant roster construction changes to fit them in, and their matchup really isn't one that should be built around. Meanwhjile, Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld ($3,500) is actually the cheapest forward on the slate and even took two set pieces in Bournemouth's last game, but as such a huge underdog against Manchester United, the $1,000 increase to Townsend is probably worth it, if Danjuma even starts again. 

Jamie Vardy, LEI v. CRY ($7,400): The Manchester United forwards are obviously the best options on this slate, which is why Anthony Martial ($9,400), Marcus Rashford ($9,100) and Mason Greenwood ($8,300) are the three-most expensive players at the position. Pairing any of them with Fernandes certainly makes sense, and we're likely to see plenty of Manchester United stacks in GPPs simply because they are expected to smash Bournemouth. And if there are people who try to include Maddison with their United stacks, that leaves few people targeting Vardy, the current league-leader in goals scored. Granted, Vardy has been downright awful, with only two goals in his last 11 Premier League games, both of which came off the bench against Aston Villa in the last match before the league shut down. Nevertheless, he's still the most likely goal scorer for Leicester City (only Martial, Rashford, Odion Ighalo and Greenwood have better anytime goal scorer odds), and he's certainly capable of putting up a multi-goal effort, which would go a long way in GPPs if the United goals are more spread out.

MIDFIELDERS

Paul Pogba, MUN v. BOU ($5,600): Pogba is always more of a GPP play than a cash one, but you could make the argument his lower salary makes him viable in cash games because of how many goals Manchester United are expected to score. He has no role on set pieces, but he's always capable of taking a few shots and setting up chances, so it's not like he's totally goal dependent to make value. Those who really prefer floor points in any situation are likely to consider Luka Milivojevic ($6,100) if he starts because he's been taking a few set pieces for Crystal Palace, though exposure to their set pieces is probably better off elsewhere (we'll get to that guy later), unless James McCarthy ($4,100) makes his way back into the starting XI, in which case he could be popular because of his low price, and he has an easier matchup than Bournemouth's David Brooks ($4,300).

Junior Stanislas, BOU at MUN ($3,200): The matchup is as bad as it comes, but Stanislas' salary almost makes that a non-factor given he's likely to take some set pieces if he starts. Granted, you have to consider that Bournemouth probably won't win many, but he's a solid open-play attacker at a price of a defensive midfielder (he's coincidentally the same price as teammate Philip Billing). Crystal Palace's Max Meyer ($3,100) could be an option if he starts, but ultimately there isn't a whole lot on this slate in terms of impact midfielders beyond Fernandes and Maddison, so prioritizing the position by paying up for others doesn't seem optimal. Things obviously change significantly if Fernandes and/or Maddison don't start, with Marc Albrighton ($6,500) the most likely beneficiary if Maddison sits again, while we may be forced to consider Juan Mata ($5,400) if it appears he's the likeliest set-piece taker for Manchester United. Albrighton is also not guaranteed to start if Maddison sits, so we could get another opportunity with Youri Tielemans ($5,000), who would be a steal if he had a monopoly of set pieces for Leicester.

DEFENDERS

Patrick van Aanholt, CRY at LEI ($5,700): van Aanholt has had a major role on set pieces for Palace, and while he looks very expensive as the second-highest priced defender while playing for a big underdog, his matchup isn't as bad as what Bournemouth face, and there is a dearth of solid defenders on the slate anyway. You could make a case for Ben Chilwell ($6,400) if Maddison doesn't start, especially because he'll get clean sheet points that Albrighton isn't eligible for if they shut out Crystal Palace, but paying up for both spots really handcuffs you at forward. And, of course, Aaron Wan-Bissaka ($5,400) showed us earlier this week that he's capable of getting on the score-sheet, and with Manchester United such big favorites, he could certainly be part of a stack there.

Adam Smith, BOU at MU ($3,100): Smith continues to be priced like a center-back, which is somewhat understandable since he's not a great attacking option anyway. However, he's still managed to score at least 7.0 fantasy points in each of the past two games, neither of which included a clean sheet. He could be the cheapest starting fullback on the slate, though if Lloyd Kelly ($2,500) gets the call again ahead of Jack Stacey ($3,400) then he would be the guy. Every defender except the three at the top seem to be relatively the same in terms of actual median projected fantasy points, so saving salary at the position is likely to be popular, especially since people will be looking for help when they use 42.2 percent of their cap on two players (Fernandes and Maddison).

GOALKEEPER

Vicente Guaita, CRY at LEI ($3,900): Guaita is the obvious pay-down option since his matchup against Leicester City is much easier than what Aaron Ramsdale ($3,600) will face against Manchester United. You could make the argument that Ramsdale has higher save upside, as only Manchester City have forced more saves this season than Manchester United, but he's much more likely to get lit up. That being said, short slates usually include paying up for a goalkeeper because there are fewer opportunities to make up for any missed-out-on points, so spending $5,900 for at least 10 fantasy points from David de Gea or $5,500 for Kasper Schmeichel could be popular.

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 an eight-time FSWA award finalist, including twice for Football Writer of the Year.
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