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DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday Premier League Breakdown

Andrew M. Laird

Andrew M. Laird, a four-time FSWA Award finalist, is RotoWire's Senior Soccer Editor and an editor for the site's NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, CBB and DFS content.

For detailed odds and stats, check out the Fantasy Premier League: Saturday Cheat Sheet.

MATCHES (EDT)

10:00 a.m: Burnley v. West Ham
10:00 a.m: Manchester City v. Stoke City
10:00 a.m: Crystal Palace v. Chelsea
10:00 a.m: Tottenham v. Bournemouth
10:00 a.m: Swansea City v. Huddersfield
12:30 p.m: Watford v. Arsenal

FORWARD

Tottenham and Manchester City are by far the biggest favorites as they host Bournemouth and Stoke City, respectively. In addition to the high win odds, they also have the highest implied goal totals. Needless to say, that puts Harry Kane ($11,500) and Gabriel Jesus ($9,500) in play for both cash games and GPPs thanks to Sergio Aguero's likely absence. Kane has scored at least two goals in five of his last six club matches, and he scored against Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier Tuesday. He naturally comes across as a goal-dependent forward, but he took 33 shots over those six club matches while putting 15 of them on goal. Just keeping up that pace, Kane's 5.5 shots, including 2.5 on goal, would give him a solid eight-point floor while also having the highest anytime goal scoring odds on the entire slate. Jesus hasn't been as prolific a shooter, but he has taken multiple shots in every Premier League start this season. His floor is definitely lower than Kane's, but that's understandable for a $2,000 salary difference.

Manchester City's lineup complicates matters a bit more than what Spurs are likely to throw out, as Kevin De Bruyne ($10,400), Leroy Sane ($7,600) and Raheem Sterling ($8,000) are all playable in the forward spot on DraftKings. De Bruyne has by far the highest floor of the bunch, but he also has lower anytime goal scoring odds than Jesus and Sane (he's tied with Sterling). Sane occasionally takes corners, but it's too rare to rely upon as long as De Bruyne and David Silva start. He's also not a regular high-volume shooter or crosser and he has just three goals in seven appearances (three starts) this season. Meanwhile, Sterling also doesn't cross much but he's at least taken 11 shots in his last three starts while scoring four goals in his last four appearances in all competitions. Both players are better suited for GPPs, and playing them in cash is pretty much only justified by saying you want a piece of the Man City attack and don't want to pay up for De Bruyne or Jesus.

After failing to reach double-digit crosses or score a goal in his first seven Premier League and Champions League appearances, De Bruyne has scored in back-to-back club matches while sending in 16 crosses (six and 10, respectively). You're paying up for his floor but you probably need a goal, or at least one assist, to make value.

Chelsea and Arsenal are also solid favorites against Crystal Palace and Watford, respectively, but they are also both away. Alvaro Morata is doubtful because of a hamstring injury, which means we could see Michy Batshuayi ($7,800) start up front for the Blues. Batshuayi has managed to take just two shots (one on goal) in 99 Premier League minutes this season, which included his 59-minute start in the season opener (in fairness, Chelsea went down 10 men early in that one). He found the back of the net during a 90-minute start in a 6-0 win over Qarabag in the Champions League, but otherwise he's looked completely lost. Spearheading the Chelsea attack gives him some upside, but I find it tough to spend that much when I can have Sterling or Sane. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could make the Batshuayi decision even easier if he starts an attacking trio of Eden Hazard ($9,600), Willian ($7,200) and Pedro ($7,100), who all profile more as GPP plays because none are likely to have a majority of set pieces if Cesc Fabregas starts. Hazard looks fully fit after starting the season off slowly while recovering from an ankle injury, but that still does nothing for his potential as a cash play. Willian hasn't started Chelsea's last two matches and is a shell of the dominant fantasy option that we used to know, while Pedro continues to simply be a solid GPP differential who occasionally pays off.

Arsenal will see how Alexis Sanchez ($9,900) looks Friday after failing to help Chile qualify for the World Cup. There was already a question about Alexis' motivation following a failed transfer away from Arsenal this summer, and now that he doesn't have the World Cup to look forward to, it might be tough going for people who takes chances on his fantasy upside. Alexandre Lacazette ($8,800) is probably the safer option in terms of actually starting against Watford, but he remains goal dependent to make value. Sticking with Arsenal, Danny Welbeck ($7,000) is back from injury while Olivier Giroud is also an option after scoring for France on Tuesday. All of them make viable GPP options if you're fading City and Spurs.

The other matches on the slate don't offer much in terms of forwards who make solid cash plays, though it's always dangerous to sleep on Richarlison, whose salary dropped from $6,100 to $6,000 after he scored against Swansea and it remained the same for a match at West Brom despite scoring a goal on seven shots and assisting another in his last appearance. The DraftKings pricing algorithm appears to be keeping it stagnant because of the matchup against Arsenal, but the Gunners will be without one of their starting centerbacks (Shkodran Mustafi) and potentially another (Laurent Koscielny) and a left wingback (Sead Kolasinac). A questionable back line versus a player who thrives on drawing fouls and making an impact on the counter? Sounds good to me. If you really think Watford can score on the counter, then you can't ignore Andre Gray and his $4,400 salary, but be prepared for one or two points if he doesn't score (literally, his fantasy points scored in each game this season are one, two, one, zero, one, 14 and two).

Burnley's Chris Wood has taken multiple shots in back-to-back matches and has the same goal-scoring odds as Pedro and Willian, but he's also failed to find the back of the net in each of his last three. He's more likely to score than Gray and has twice the floor, which sounds really good until you realize the best floor he provides is four points. On the other side, Chicharito ($6,800) seems like a long-shot to start after returning from international duty late, so West Ham will likely rely on Andy Carroll (5,900) to lead the attack. Burnley have been strong enough defensively this season, and particularly last season at home, that relying on a Carroll goal may be asking too much.

Tammy Abraham ($6,100) is likely to lead the line for Swansea at home against Huddersfield, but that game is competing with the Burnley-West Ham match for the lowest total, so it's tough to see much upside. If you want to get crazy and target some cheap underdog forwards, Wilfried Zaha ($5,500) is returning from injury and facing a Chelsea squad that has allowed a goal in back-to-back matches after three consecutive clean sheets. Meanwhile, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting ($5,000) has taken 24 shots (six on goal) while scoring two goals and assisting another in his run of six starts for Stoke. Unfortunately, he's facing off against a Man City side that has allowed the fewest shots in the Premier League this season. If you prefer a dart throw against a lesser opponent, Laurent Depoitre ($4,400) is likely to start up front for Huddersfield at Swansea and he's created five chances in the last three games, one more than the number of shots he's taken over that span.

Oh, and there's always the Jermain Defoe ($4,600) revenge game against Spurs.

MIDFIELDER

Christian Eriksen is the most expensive midfield-only eligible player, and he's scored double-digit fantasy points in nine of his last 10 games in all competitions, including four World Cup qualifiers. Double-digit points sounds nice, but for $10,500 you're going to need more than 10. He continues to share corners with Ben Davies and he even sees Kane poach a few free kicks when they are in shooting range. On the plus side, Eriksen isn't wont for shooting, as only Kane, Choupo-Moting and Richarlison have taken more among players on the slate (Aguero and Morata are also ahead of Eriksen but aren't expected to play). Additionally, only two players in the Premier League have sent in more crosses. Eriksen's shot and cross combination is what separates him (and makes him expensive), as the next highest shooter among players with at least 25 crosses this season is Arsenal's Granit Xhaka ($4,500), who has taken 16 shots and sent in 29 crosses. Eriksen does have the benefit of playing for a team expected to win and score goals, but that's a big price to pay for possibly 10 fantasy points. And if you're considering Eriksen, you probably get tempted by Dele Alli ($8,200), who continues to be a pretty poor cash play and needs a goal, something he's done twice this season (and not once in his last five), to really make value.

Another player on a heavy favorite who will split set pieces is Man City's David Silva ($7,900), who has scored at least 10 fantasy points in four straight club matches, including twice with more than 20. Unfortunately, he's pretty assist dependent, as he doesn't usually cross a lot and it's more likely he takes zero shots than five. De Bruyne, Sane and Sterling have multi-position eligibility, something Silva does not offer, and while he's always a piece of some kind of Man City build up to a goal, he doesn't always get the assist or even a secondary one (a stat not counted by DraftKings anyway for Premier League contests).

Arsenal may get Mesut Ozil ($8,300) back from injury, but he hasn't had more than three crosses in a game this season while also putting just one of his nine shots on goal. Xhaka will probably be more productive on a per-dollar basis, but his actual point total probably won't be enough to seriously consider him at his price. Chelsea present an interesting dilemma, as Cesc Fabregas ($6,900) could start and be on all corners and indirect free kicks but do nothing in open play because he'll be used further back while partnering with Tiemoue Bakayoko ($3,700), who himself will be focusing more on the defensive side of the field in place of the injured N'Golo Kante ($3,300). There's a possibility that Danny Drinkwater ($3,400) could make his Chelsea debut after being out with a calf injury, though getting a start right away is unlikely.

There are a number of set piece takers from the non-elite clubs who at least need to be considered, including Huddersfield's Aaron Mooy ($7,100), Burnley's Robbie Brady ($6,800), Stoke's Xherdan Shaqiri ($6,600), Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas ($6,400), West Ham's Manuel Lanzini ($5,600) and Swansea's Tom Carroll ($5,200). Mooy was in Australia for international play, and the long travel back to England could push him to the bench, which moves Tom Ince ($4,900) onto set pieces. Shaqiri and Stanislas are playing against the two biggest favorites, so while they may get all of the set pieces, it could be three combined. Mooy's price is awfully high for Huddersfield playing away (even against Swansea), and Lanzini isn't much of a crosser in open play and he hasn't even started a match this season for injury-related reasons. Brady probably has the best matchup of the bunch, but if Burnley get ahead early then they'll probably sit back and defend, which offers little fantasy upside because Brady won't be attacking as much.

A group of lower-priced midfielders offer potential values, though their upsides are limited because they're not really attacking players. Manchester City are big favorites, which means we might be able to get some value out of Fernandinho ($3,400), who has taken two shots in five of seven Premier League matches, and he's won nine tackles in his last three in all competitions. With City expected to have significant possession against Stoke, and with the Potters unlikely to threaten much, Fernandinho could have shooting opportunities. Another cheap City midfielder is Fabian Delph ($3,100), who has actually lined up as a left-back in the past two. Unfortunately, he's still listed as a midfielder, so we won't get any clean sheet bonus, but he's won seven tackles and intercepted seven passes during his run of starts. It's not huge production, but his salary is low enough that making value shouldn't be too difficult.

Sticking with the favored sides, Harry Winks ($3,200) and Moussa Sissoko ($3,700) are cheap enough dart throws, though you're really only taking them because they are cheap and playing for a heavily favored side. Neither one is likely to score and they don't cross enough in open play to make much of an impact. However, Spurs should have plenty of the ball, so theoretically some opportunities could come up.

This level of player isn't totally devoid of set-piece takers, as Yohan Cabaye ($3,500) has been taking corners for Palace recently. That being said, a match against Manchester City at the Etihad doesn't seem to lend itself to a plethora of chances. And if you want to get really nuts, you could always pay $3,800 for two points (maybe) out of Jack Wilshere, who may find his way back into the starting XI if Ozil sits.

DEFENDER

Kane led the forwards, Eriksen the midfielders and now we turn to Ben Davies ($6,000) to start the defender discussion. Davies has been sharing corners with Eriksen, and while he had an excellent start to the season, he's only sent in 13 crosses while taking four shots and creating four chances in his last three starts. His goal and assist against Huddersfield before the international break kind of masked how little he had been doing otherwise, though a home match against Bournemouth is certainly an opportunity to break out. You could theoretically save a few bucks by going with Serge Aurier ($5,600), who has 18 crosses in his last three appearances, but that's a big price for no set pieces.

Spending up at defender will lead you to West Ham's Aaron Cresswell ($5,700), who leads the Premier League in crosses this season and has 21 more than the next highest player over the last four gameweeks. Cresswell has been taking almost all of West Ham's corners, something that may not necessarily continue if Lanzini makes his way back into the starting XI. Nevertheless, Cresswell still crosses quite a bit in open play, and he'll be facing a Burnley side that has allowed the most crosses in the league this season, including the fourth-most in open play (and most among teams on the slate).

Paying up for Man City right-back Kyle Walker ($5,400) doesn't seem worth it, as he's taken only one shot this entire season and hasn't sent in more than three crosses in any appearance. The same pretty much applies to Danilo ($5,200), who likely only gets the start if Delph does not.

The next tier of defenders includes Watford's Jose Holebas, who probably isn't worth $4,800 against Arsenal despite taking set pieces. Moving down the list will lead you to players like Stephen Ward ($4,500), who provides a decent combination of crosses and tackles though little upside. Swansea's Kyle Naughton ($4,400) is an interesting option, as he has had at least six combined crosses and tackles won in three of his last four games. No, it's not a ton, but add in a possible three-point clean sheet bonus (they're playing Huddersfield, after all), and it's not so bad for the price.

After that you're pretty much playing centerback roulette. There's a possibility that David Luiz ($3,800) could slot into Kante's spot, which moves him farther up the pitch though still not in ideal shooting range. Any of the centerbacks from Manchester City and Tottenham have a good shot at a clean sheet, and no centerback has taken more shots this season than Nicolas Otamendi ($3,800), though six of his nine came in the first three matches.

GOALKEEPER

Ederson ($6,000) and Hugo Lloris ($5,900) are the most expensive options because they have the best win and clean sheet odds. Unfortunately, they also play for the two sides that have allowed the fewest shots on goal (13) this season, so their save upside is fairly limited (they've combined for two games with more than two saves and nine with one or zero this season in all competitions).

Burnley's Nick Pope ($4,800) made 14 saves in his last three games, but a home match against West Ham, who have just 24 shots on goal this season, isn't likely to lead to a big save opportunity. Going all the way down to Wayne Hennessey ($3,900) or Asmir Begovic ($3,700) is playing with fire, though it's certainly possible one puts up a big score. If I had to guess, it would be Begovic since Spurs have struggled to score at Wembley this season.

I could probably say something about every goalkeeper, but let's be honest, no one knows what's going to happen. Lloris could finish with three points because he loses the clean sheet to a penalty while making no saves and Joe Hart could save two penalties in a 1-0 West Ham win. I've found myself landing quite a bit on Watford's Heurelho Gomes ($4,000) while building lineups, but that's more because I had $4,000 left in salary than actually targeting him. Arsenal haven't been that great in the attack, and with Alexis and Ozil possibly not starting, you could see why Gomes could make sense.

Then again, it's a goalkeeper; nothing makes sense.

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: Andrew Laird, TheSix: Lairdinho.