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

Reece James, CHE v. SOU ($5,700): James did not play in Chelsea's last game before the international break, one that saw Ben Chilwell ($6,700) score 36.5 fantasy points thanks, in part, to a goal, an assist and 11 crosses, but the latter is expected to miss out due to a foot injury, which could help James get back into the starting XI. It's worth noting that James could start at left-back instead of his regular right-back spot, as Cesar Azpilicueta ($5,000) could start there, but a role on set pieces for the second-biggest favorite on the slate will be popular, especially with the highest clean sheet odds. The benefit with James is that Chelsea play in the first game, so we'll know if he starting and where, but it seems like plenty of builds will include James in cash games and GPPs, even though he is unlikely to have a monopoly of set pieces.

Riyad Mahrez, MCI v. ARS ($9,000): Mahrez could be popular in his own right, but he figures to be much more so if Kevin De Bruyne ($10,500) in unable to play, or at least start, after dealing with a minor muscular injury while on international duty. While De Bruyne's issue isn't considered serious, there is plenty of talk that he will be rested for this match so he's fully fit for next Wednesday's Champions League game against FC Porto. Mahrez could see an increase in set pieces if De Bruyne doesn't start, and given that Manchester City are the biggest favorite with the highest implied goal total, getting access to their set pieces with goal upside will be a priority for many.

Bruno Fernandes, MUN at NEW ($10,000): Manchester United are favored (despite playing away to Newcastle), and that's usually enough to make Fernandes popular, particularly in cash games. He has a near monopoly of United's set pieces and is on penalties, so he's an excellent floor player with decent goal upside. If there can be a bit of hesitation it's that newly acquired Alex Telles ($5,500, defender) could poach a few dead balls because he was Porto's primary set-piece taker, but it seems more likely that Fernandes would keep those opportunities, at least in the short term. Given how expensive he is, along with Mahrez and/or De Bruyne, finding a few key values will be imperative for those who want the safety of some of the highest-scoring floor players in the Premier League lining up in favorable matchups.

FORWARDS

Sergio Aguero, MCI v. ARS ($5,700): I almost included Aguero in the chalk section because he will be incredibly popular if he starts. He hasn't played yet this season due to injury, but he has been training the past few weeks and has an outside shot of being in the first XI. It's tough to totally build around him because Manchester City play in the second game of the slate, but there should be viable pivots in his game and the next one where it's not crazy to consider him. Not only would he lead the line for the team with the highest implied goal total, but he also has the highest anytime goal scorer odds on the slate. We usually play Aguero because of his incredible upside, though it comes with a questionable floor when he's around $9,500; however, at $5,700, he makes for a very solid cash-game option given his shot volume, even if his minutes could be limited (then again, his main backup, Gabriel Jesus, is out with his own injury).

Marcus Rashford, MUN at NEW ($7,600): I considered writing up Willian ($6,900) because he's Arsenal's set-piece taker and usually much more expensive, but his price was pushed down because of the matchup. Manchester City's defense is ... a work in progress ... but even though they have been allowing goals, they're still not conceding many chances, corners, crosses and shots, which is where Willian thrives. You can play for the Arsenal goal with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($7,000) or Alexandre Lacazette ($7,700) in GPPs, but it's probably better to focus on the other two underdogs because they're more likely to score. Or, stick with the favorites with someone like Rashford, who has been pretty awful to start the season but might get a bit of a boost without Anthony Martial (suspended) taking up space in the middle. Mason Greenwood ($7,100) has actually been the more prolific shooter this season, but Rashford is always capable of putting up a solid game and will likely go overlooked because of the Man City and Chelsea guys (then again, Greenwood may be even more so).

MIDFIELDERS

Jonjo Shelvey, NEW v. MUN ($4,900): Newcastle are home underdogs, but they're facing a Manchester United team that got smoked by Tottenham at Old Trafford and also allowed multiple goals to Crystal Palace and Brighton. Shelvey isn't really a consideration for goal upside, even though he led the team last season, but as their majority set-piece taker who also contributes with shots and some defensive stats, he should surely be considered, especially in cash games. It's possible he loses a few dead-ball opportunities to Ryan Fraser ($6,100), but it's unlikely to be enough where his price is no longer attractive.

Thomas Partey, ARS at MCI ($3,400): There isn't much upside with Thomas despite his ability to rip off a few shots here and there, but he's mostly a decent floor player because of his defensive abilities against a Man City side that's likely to force plenty of defensive action. There aren't many great pay-down options, but you'll probably need at least one if you build a lineup around Fernandes and at least one of the Manchester City guys.

DEFENDERS

Kurt Zouma, CHE v. SOU ($3,400): Despite not being the biggest favorite, Chelsea actually have the highest clean sheet odds. James, or Ben Chilwell ($6,700) if he starts, seem like the only defenders worth paying up for, at least in cash games, because the salary funds are better spent elsewhere. Zouma comes in with two goals in three games this season, an extremely unlikely return, but he's a big presence in the box on set pieces and Chelsea figure to win enough of them Saturday. You can make the argument that paying all the way down for any $2,500 defender is worth it because the difference between them and someone like Zouma, who is already not a traditional cash-game option, is small enough where the $500-$1,000 in salary makes a difference at forward or midfield.

Cesar Azpilicueta, CHE v. SOU ($5,000): Azpilicueta's price is high enough that he's probably only a GPP play, but he is usually pretty valuable when he starts at right-back, which is where he's expected to if Chilwell sits. Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy ($4,200) could be viable since Man City are such big favorites, though his floor isn't great. If you don't want to trust Man City, Man United's Luke Shaw ($4,100) is pretty cheap if he doesn't immediately lose his spot to Alex Telles ($5,500), who is a pretty big wildcard but likely not as attractive with the understanding that Fernandes continues to take nearly all set pieces.

GOALKEEPER

Karl Darlow, NEW v. MUN ($4,100): Darlow is the cheapest home goalkeeper on the slate and facing the favorite with the lowest implied goal total. He has enough save upside to make it worth it, and playing him in the same lineup as Fernandes may not be bad if Fernandes as a huge floor game but doesn't get on the score-sheet.

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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