RotoWire Partners

DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday FPL 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: Swansea City v. Leicester City
10:00 a.m: Manchester City v. Burnley
10:00 a.m: Newcastle v. Crystal Palace
10:00 a.m: Stoke City v. Bournemouth
10:00 a.m: Huddersfield v. Manchester United
12:30 p.m: Southampton v. West Brom

FORWARD

Stop me if you've heard this before: Manchester City are heavy favorites and stacking as many attacking options might be a good idea. City have looked unstoppable in league play, scoring 24 goals in their last five matches: five v. Liverpool, six at Watford, five v. Crystal Palace, one at Chelsea and seven v. Stoke City. Their total in the last three games (13), which includes the one against Chelsea, is more than all but two teams for the entire season (Manchester United 21 and Tottenham 15).

The difficulty with Manchester City is that pretty much all of their regular attacking players are expensive and any one of them can score at least a brace. Ten players have scored Premier League goals for City this season, with Sergio Aguero ($11,500), Gabriel Jesus ($10,600) and Raheem Sterling ($8,800) leading the team with six each, while Leroy Sane ($8,700) has four and six others have one:



Aguero has not played since suffering a broken rib toward the end of the last international break, though he's been on the bench the last two games. Manager Pep Guardiola says he's fit to play, and it's possible he starts ahead of Jesus, who played 87 minutes against Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday. Or, maybe not. Maybe Aguero isn't ready for 90 minutes and he's on the bench again. Or maybe he does start but it's with Jesus. Unfortunately, you can't plan on a certain lineup because there is no guarantee Guardiola will line his team up like you think he will or should. Aguero and Jesus are definitely the most goal dependent of the City attackers, with Aguero having a higher floor because he's a more prolific shooter. Kevin De Bruyne ($10,400) has an even higher floor because he takes some set pieces, and it certainly doesn't hurt that he has two goals and three assists in his last four games. Choosing between Sane and Sterling is basically a coin flip, though you may not be wrong no matter which way you go. Here are their floor points over the last six games:


To complicate matters, Bernardo Silva ($7,000) could get a start for one of them because of City's congested schedule. Silva doesn't shoot or cross nearly as much as Sane or Sterling, but that's a pretty good price to get a piece of the expected highest-scoring team on the slate.

Speaking of high-scoring, Manchester United are playing at Huddersfield, which would normally mean Romelu Lukaku ($11,100) would get plenty of attention. However, the City attackers could make his ownership much lower, making him a prime GPP option. There's really no consideration for Lukaku in cash, especially since he's only taken two shots in his last two starts, but he scored in six consecutive matches before that. You could go a little cheaper with Marcus Rashford ($8,300), who is questionable after picking up a knock Wednesday against Benfica, or Anthony Martial ($8,100) if he starts for Rashford, but neither are reliable cash plays.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy ($6,900) has the highest anytime goal scorer odds for any non-Manchester player as the Foxes play their first game after manager Craig Shakespeare's sacking. Vardy is your classic goal-dependent GPP forward who provides close to nothing if he doesn't score. If you prefer the home side in this match, Swansea's Tammy Abraham ($6,500) has three goals in his last three starts, including a brace on three shots last weekend at home against Huddersfield. The Swansea attack isn't that strong, and the Leicester defense is decent, so I'll find it tough to roster either forward.

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha ($6,300) had a great return from injury last weekend against Chelsea, scoring a goal on three shots (two on goal) while also creating two chances and winning two tackles. He'll now face off against a Newcastle defense that has only allowed eight goals this season, but they've also committed the second-most fouls among teams on the slate, which works well for a player like Zaha who takes guys on to get toward goal. Joselu ($6,100) is expected to lead the line for Newcastle, but he's not shooting nearly as much as he was earlier in the season and Palace's defense isn't awful.

We may get an opportunity for a cheaper forward who takes set pieces if Jese ($5,600) takes them for Stoke in place of Xherdan Shaqiri, who is doubtful because of an ankle injury. Even if Shaqiri sits, Jese isn't guaranteed the set pieces, he just happened to take two corners in Stoke's match against Arsenal early in the season after Shaqiri left injured. No other player has taken a corner for Stoke this season and Jese has only sent in two crosses since then, though it's not that surprising since he plays centrally anyway. If you're looking for more upside, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting ($6,200) took 24 shots in six games before being blanked by Manchester City last weekend.

Looking for more set pieces, Nathan Redmond ($5,700) took a few corners for Southampton last week but guessing who is going to take them on a game-to-game basis is a futile exercise. Staying on brand, you could give a look to Demarai Gray ($5,100) if he starts for caretaker manager Michael Appleton. Nacer Chadli ($4,900) took a corner last week, though several regular players were not in the lineup, and he feels like a real desperation play.

There are a number of GPP fliers in the other games but none jump out as being better than the others. Joshua King ($5,700) could certainly find the back of the net at Stoke, as could Jermain Defoe ($5,200), but who is rostering either of those guys and feeling great about it? The same could be said about the West Brom duo of Salomon Rondon ($4,800) and Jay Rodriguez ($5,100).

MIDFIELDER

Anyone considering a Manchester City stack will be looking at David Silva ($8,200), the only one of their attacking group who doesn't have forward eligibility. People will continue to argue that Silva and De Bruyne are basically the same when you consider their prices, which is frankly nuts because Silva just isn't the producer overall that De Bruyne has been. Silva had seven crosses in his last four games combined, and while he's taken eight shots in the last two league matches (including a goal), that's not going to be his game if Aguero and Jesus start up front (and even if they don't, it's an unlikely streak to continue). Silva does lead the league in assists (six), one more than De Bruyne, but assist chasing is even tougher than goal chasing. And if you want to make the argument that Silva is just more involved overall, De Bruyne leads the league in secondary assists with four (no other player has more than one) and he's created one more chance than Silva in Premier League play.

The United midfield is a tough one to crack. Just when you start getting comfortable rostering Henrikh Mkhitaryan ($8,500), Juan Mata ($6,500) has a big-enough game that you start looking his way. We look for who is taking set pieces because it helps with crosses (and, theoretically, assists or goals if they are direct free kicks), but Mata has had more than five crosses (3.75 fantasy points) once this season (Aug. 19 at Swansea) while Mkhitaryan has only done it twice (Sept. 9 at Stoke and Sept. 17 v. Everton). Martial starting could make him the better open-play crosser, and United's fullbacks could also play the role depending on who starts. Overall, the United midfield doesn't seem like a great place for cash plays, with Mkhitaryan having the GPP upside.

Newcastle's Matt Ritchie has a decent matchup at home against Crystal Palace, though his $8,100 price is a bit high since Jonjo Shelvey ($4,500) will split the corners with him. Nevertheless, Ritchie has taken nine shots (two on goal), created nine chances and sent in 34 crosses in his last four games, including a four-shot, 10-cross game last weekend against Southampton. On the other side, Yohan Cabaye ($4,100) scored nine points last weekend playing against Chelsea, and it could have been more had a goal not been ruled out. Cabaye has been splitting corners with Andros Townsend, who has a safer crossing floor but also costs nearly $2,000 more. Another possibility is Ruben Loftus-Cheek ($3,500), who could make his way back into the starting XI after recovering from injury and missing last week's match against Chelsea due to the terms of his loan agreement. If you're someone who gets really excited about how many fouls Richarlison has been drawing this season, Loftus-Cheek averages 0.51 more per 90 minutes, albeit in much less playing time.

Tom Carroll's $5,400 salary is only $200 more than last week despite an 18-point performance that included an assist. Swansea are slight underdogs at home to Leicester, which is probably why it hasn't moved much. Nevertheless, he's sent in 27 crosses in his last three games and now faces a team that has allowed 191 crosses in eight games this season, joining West Brom (199), Burnley (198) and Swansea (196) as the only teams on the slate to allow more than 170. Additionally, Leicester have allowed the second-most shots and chances created among Saturday's group of clubs. If the foul-drawing talk above has you intrigued, Renato Sanches' average of 4.05 per 90 minutes is the second-most in the Premier League after he drew six in his last appearances while also sending in five crosses.

As mentioned above, trying to figure out who is going to take corners and set pieces for Southampton is a tough exercise, which makes the fantasy floors of Steven Davis ($4,700), Dusan Tadic ($7,100), Sofiane Boufal ($4,400) and James Ward-Prowse ($5,600) very cloudy. I'd comfortably fade all of those guys, and probably Redmond too, but if I had to take a Southampton midfielder it would probably be Mario Lemina ($3,900), who has scored at least nine fantasy points in three of his last four league matches thanks to a combination of shots, fouls drawn, tackles won and interceptions.

The West Brom midfield is similarly frustrating, making it tough to consider Chris Brunt ($5,300) or Matt Phillips ($5,800). Even James McClean ($3,500) has taken corners recently, which makes me want the other guys less instead of wanting McClean.

Bournemouth seem pretty set on having Junior Stanislas ($6,700) take corners, though Jordon Ibe ($4,300 and forward eligible) is always lurking. Playing at Stoke isn't the worst matchup, but Stanislas' price is too high for the expected level of production.

DEFENDER

Manchester United's fullbacks could be popular because of their match against Huddersfield, and the same can be said about City's. Fabian Delph ($4,700) is now defender eligible, and he provides a decent non-crossing floor, especially with the clean sheet a good possibility. Kyle Walker's $5,400 salary requires an assist to make value because he's not a high-volume crosser. If crossing is what you're looking for (and if it's not, why not?), Cedric Soares ($5,500) is in a good spot against a West Brom side that's allowed the most crosses in the Premier League this season, though you'll have to pay for it. You could save a little money by going with teammate Ryan Bertrand ($5,100) but I don't think it's worth it.

Charlie Daniels ($5,000) isn't cheap either, but he scored at least 10 fantasy points in three consecutive matches before struggling against Tottenham last time out (and there's no shame in that for a defender). There are a bunch of fullbacks in the $4,500-range who could perform well, but I'm not sure any will really separate themselves from the pack. Swansea's Martin Olsson ($4,600) had 13 crosses in two matches before the last international break, while Kyle Naughton ($4,500) has scored eight fantasy points in back-to-back matches.

Saving a little money with Crystal Palace's Patrick van Aanholt ($4,100) could be worthwhile against Newcastle. He almost always is a trap when he plays well and gets priced up to $5,000, but at this lower level I'd certainly consider him. They don't have a big center forward to send crosses in toward, but van Aanholt doesn't always care who he's crossing to, just that he's crossing (and that's all we care about too). Staying in the lower tier, Kieran Gibbs ($3,900) has been a decent provider from the wing, and it could continue if Rondon leads the line, though it's certainly possible West Brom just sit back while trying to get a point on the road (which could help Cedric and Bertrand more).

Any lower and you're basically searching for centerback goals. I could give you a list of guys who could score, but it's just a guessing game. If I had to take one, give me Virgil van Dijk ($3,500), as West Brom have allowed the most shots to centerbacks this season.

GOALKEEPER

Manchester City are likely to create the most save opportunities, which puts Nick Pope ($3,600) in consideration. The only problem is that he could make five saves and still allow more goals. If you're only looking for cheap options, I would probably start with Crystal Palace's Wayne Hennessey ($4,200) playing at Newcastle or West Brom's Ben Foster ($4,000) at Southampton. I don't expect either player to get lit up and the save upside is there. It's worth noting that both come in questionable to play, so make sure you check lineups in case someone else is between the sticks.
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.