This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Crystal Palace vs. Southampton
- 12:30 pm: Liverpool vs. Leeds United
- 3:00 pm: West Ham United vs. Newcastle United
Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV v. LEE ($8,000): Alexander-Arnold takes a majority of set pieces for the biggest favorite on the slate with the highest implied goal total. He's an excellent open-play creator as well, and really the only hesitation is that he hasn't played or trained much during the pre-season, and there's actually a possibility he doesn't even start because of that. If that's the case, Neco Williams ($4,900) could step in for him, but it really should just push up the popularity of Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson ($7,100), who shared set pieces toward the end of last season and is likely to remain an elite attacking winger in this one.
Mohamed Salah, LIV v. LEE ($10,300): Salah is the most expensive player on the slate, but he's also in the attack for the team with the highest implied goal total and no player has higher anytime goal-scorer odds. Salah has a small role on set pieces, and while that helps his floor, you really need him to get on the score-sheet to justify the price. He is likely to be popular in cash games and GPPs, with teammate Sadio Mane ($9,500) drafted by fewer people in both contest types, though he'll be more popular in GPPs since he has the second-highest anytime goal scorer odds. There's also the possibility of going with Roberto Firmino ($7,800), who xG believers should love after he scored nine goals last season despite a 16.69 xG, according to understat.
Jarrod Bowen, WHU v. NEW ($8,300): Bowen has a sizable role on set pieces for a home favorite, and he provides a solid floor thanks to shots and crosses. There's a possibility that some people side with teammate Michail Antonio ($8,500) even though he doesn't have a role on corners or free kicks, but he is still a solid attacker who supplements his shots, chances created and crosses with fouls drawn.
Eberechi Eze, CRY v. SOU ($6,200): There are a lot of combinations available for the Crystal Palace lineup, so we luck out a bit that they play in the first game of the slate. Eze is new to the team this summer but was an excellent floor scorer last season for Queens Park Rangers, mostly because he took corners. There is no guarantee he takes corners against Southampton, but he could have a path if certain guys don't start (mostly Luka Milivojevic, James McCarthy and/or Andros Townsend). Wilfried Zaha ($6,700) provides a solid floor from shots and fouls drawn, and he's certainly a consideration in a close game for Crystal Palace, more so than Jordan Ayew ($6,800) despite the latter occasionally putting up big floor games himself.
James Ward-Prowse, SOU at CRY ($9,200): Ward-Prowse is the most expensive midfield-only eligible player, which isn't overly surprising with his basic monopoly of set pieces and penalties for a favored side. Southampton aren't big favorites away to Crystal Palace, who allowed the fourth-most crosses in the Premier League last season and haven't made many changes on defense (in fact, due to injuries they may be worse), but it's a solid-enough matchup for Ward-Prowse to be a consideration. The problem is that despite having the second-highest floor on the slate (trailing only Alexander-Arnold), you're really having to pay for it, and you're basically choosing him over a Liverpool attacker in a game they're expected to dominate. Pairing Salah and Ward-Prowse is an option, but you're depending on a number of value plays opening up, which isn't an easy game to play with staggered start times for the three games.
Allan Saint-Maximin, NEW at WHU ($6,500): The Newcastle set-piece situation is going to be pretty sloppy this season due to the addition of Ryan Fraser ($7,700), who will compete with Matt Ritchie ($7,600) and Jonjo Shelvey ($6,000) for free kicks. Fraser is apparently not fit enough to start Saturday, but Ritchie and Shelvey each come in with knocks that have them questionable to play. If only one of them is in, theoretically they'll get those dead-ball opportunities, or you could ignore that situation and go with Saint-Maximin, who has a better open-play floor than anyone else on the team. Saint-Maximin's floor is from shots, chances created and fouls drawn, all of which he should be able to get against West Ham despite being an away underdog. The other benefit is that he's the most likely to start and this match is the latest one on the slate.
Max Meyer, CRY v. SOU ($3,000): Meyer is hardly guaranteed to start, but he's gotten a decent number of minutes during the preseason and could be rewarded with a start in the Premier League opener. We'll know if he's in right away because he's in the first game of the slate, and his low salary will certainly make it easier to pay up at other positions that have more elite plays.
From a floor perspective, it just makes the most sense to pay up for Alexander-Arnold and/or Robertson and down for Mitchell. For GPPs, you can pay down for a center-back to correlate with any set-piece taker you might have, but I just can't find a reasonable path to paying for any of the other full-backs on the slate with the expectation their floors will be high enough that it's worth not just using that extra salary elsewhere.
Alisson Becker, LIV v. LEE ($5,900): You can make a reasonable case for any goalkeeper on the slate, literally from top to bottom. There is value to make Alisson work, especially if you use him as a pivot away from Salah knowing he should get the win and clean sheet, but obviously one goal allowed will ruin that. If you don't want anyone from this game, Karl Darlow ($4,400) seems reasonable as the cheaper option in the game with the lowest total on the slate.