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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: Tottenham v. Stoke City
10:00 a.m: Huddersfield v. Brighton
10:00 a.m: Crystal Palace v. Bournemouth
10:00 a.m: Swansea v. West Brom
10:00 a.m: Burnley v. Watford
12:30 p.m: Newcastle v. Leicester City

FORWARDS

Harry Kane ($12,400) is the most expensive player on the slate by $2,100 and still figures to be one of the most popular selections in cash games and GPPs. Tottenham are the only big favorites on the slate and Kane is their best attacker, averaging 5.92 shots, including 2.07 on goal, per 90 minutes this season in Premier League play. He has taken at least five shots in 10 of 14 league starts, putting multiple shots on goal in 10 as well. A seven-point floor is unusually high for a goal-dependent forward, but it's also why Kane is so expensive. And, with Spurs being the biggest favorite with the highest implied goal total, Kane has by far the best anytime goal scorer odds. Fading him opens up a ton of salary to spend elsewhere, and there are multiple forward-eligible set-piece takers available, so it's not like you need Kane to fill one of the two forward spots. His price requires a goal to make value, but with not a lot of scoring expected, it may be worth biting the bullet.

Andros Townsend ($8,500) begins the discussion about the forward-eligible set piece takers, though his role could be decreased if Yohan Cabaye ($7,700, midfielder) starts after missing last weekend's game with a knock. Townsend sent in a season-high 11 crosses in that match while also taking two shots, helping him reach at least eight fantasy points for the ninth time in his last 10 games. Eight fantasy points for $8,500 probably isn't going to get it done though, and Cabaye's return will only eat into his corners. Nevertheless, Bournemouth have allowed the fourth-most corners and fifth-most crosses among teams on the slate, presumably giving Townsend some hope. However, it'll be his non-crossing stats that help him make value (we know the crosses will be there), but he's unfortunately only taken two shots, won one tackle and drawn one foul in the last three games combined.

You can't say a whole lot more for Pascal Gross ($7,600), who is at least $900 cheaper. Gross doesn't cross as much in open play, but he does take a few more shots. Speaking of not crossing much in open play, Riyad Mahrez ($7,300) will get some consideration after scoring 13 and 12 fantasy points in his last two matches, respectively, though the former was thanks to a goal against Spurs. Mahrez has sent in 49 crosses his season, but 21 have come from corners and 11 from free kicks, leaving him with just 17 in open play over his 15 appearances (14 starts). If you really want a piece of the Leicester attack, it seems more useful to focus on Demarai Gray ($6,300), who sends in more open play crosses and took four shots in last week's match against Burnley (in fairness, Mahrez did too after taking two in his previous three matches combined).

The cheaper forward everyone is likely to consider is Burnley's Johann Berg Gudmundsson ($6,500) with the expectation that he takes over free kicks from Robbie Brady ($8,700), who has been ruled out for the rest of the season because of the knee injury he suffered last weekend against Leicester. Gudmundsson has taken corners before, but he is certainly not guaranteed to take them over. Brady has taken 67 of Burnley's 72 corners this season, including five in 31 minutes last weekend, while Gudmundsson and Steven Defour ($3,300, midfielder) have each taken two. Scott Arfield ($4,300, midfielder) is expected to start in Brady's place, and he took the one other corner this season.

Otherwise we're left with a ton of goal-dependent forwards not named Harry Kane. Teammates Son Heung-Min ($9,000) and Erik Lamela ($8,200) will be looked at if they start, but with no guarantee of set pieces, they're just another forward who needs a goal to make value. Richarlison ($9,300) could garner some attention against a Burnley side that's allowed the most shots in the Premier League this season, but they've also committed the third-fewest fouls among teams on the slate, something the Watford attacker needs to help make value.

There just isn't much scoring expected Saturday, so while you could go after Callum Wilson ($6,700) or Joshua King ($6,400) playing at Crystal Palace or Christian Benteke ($6,000) on the other side, are you really getting that much more than paying down for Chris Wood ($5,700) at home against Watford or Tammy Abraham ($5,700) home against West Brom?

MIDFIELDERS

Christian Eriksen ($10,300) seems ripe for fading, which has to have those who focus more on GPPs interested. Eriksen has logged a ton of minutes this season and his fantasy production is simply not up to par for what we expect from a midfielder in his price range. Teammate Dele Alli ($9,100) falls into a similar category except people accept he's a goal or assist-dependent player. Eriksen's monopoly of set pieces is long gone, and without them it's just tough to see him doing enough in open play to justify that price.

With Brady ruled out, Cabaye and Matt Ritchie ($7,900) start to look a little better, especially if you're fading Kane. Cabaye's floor is seemingly affected because of Townsend, but his defensive contributions help make up that gap. I'd argue Townsend is more affected by Cabaye than vice versa. Ritchie's matchup looks really enticing, as Leicester have allowed the most crosses this season, including the third-most corners among team on the slate. Jonjo Shelvey ($4,500) could eat into Ritchie's corners a little bit, but he also hasn't started the past two games.

Huddersfield's Aaron Mooy ($7,100) fits into this conversation as well, even if he loses a few corners to Tom Ince ($5,100). Ince was shooting like there was no tomorrow earlier this season, but he's settled down from that, taking just 12 shots in his past eight games while sending in 15 crosses. Mooy doesn't shoot as much, but he's sent in 53 crosses over that span, including 11 last week at Everton. On the other side of this game is Gross and Anthony Knockaert ($6,000), who followed up his 11-cross outing against Crystal Palace on Nov. 28 by failing to send a single one in against Liverpool last weekend. Knockaert also has more games with no shots than at least one, while Huddersfield have actually allowed the second-fewest shots among teams on the slate.

What if I told you there was a Bournemouth midfielder who had scored at least six fantasy points in four of the past five games, including thrice with at least eight? Would you guess it was Junior Stanislas ($7,000) before remembering he missed time with an injury? Or maybe Ryan Fraser ($5,900) would be stuck in your mind after scoring a goal last week? I'm sure Jordon Ibe ($5,200, forward/midfielder) would come to mind, especially after taking some corners during his starts while Stanislas was out. But no, the answer is Andrew Surman ($3,900), who has taken at least one corner in five consecutive matches while picking up an assist in three of those games. Surman's fantasy production has been quite surprising, especially given that he had one assist in 22 appearances last season, but if you have a sneaky suspicion about Bournemouth doing some damage at Crystal Palace, don't move beyond Surman immediately (take at least two seconds before you do so).

The discussion of Mahrez and Gray above didn't touch on the fact that Marc Albrighton ($6,600) has taken more corners over the past two games, sending in 17 crosses over that span. If there's a crossing player to target from that team it's Albrighton, even if Newcastle don't allow that many per game.

The Swansea-West Brom match will probably be as ugly as expected, and the biggest problem is that it's unclear who will be taking corners or free kicks (if they win any). Matt Phillips ($6,400) is an option for the Baggies, though Sam Field ($4,100), James McClean ($3,900), Chris Brunt ($5,700) or even Kieran Gibbs ($4,200, defender) could take them. On the other side we could see one (or multiple) of either Sam Clucas ($4,200), Tom Carroll ($4,900), Ki Sung-yueng ($3,300) or Renato Sanches ($5,100), with that whole consideration ignoring that Martin Olsson ($4,900, defender) leads the team in crosses.

But don't worry, Tom Cleverley ($4,600) is here to save the day. Given the sometimes ridiculous price increases for players who have taken only a handful of corners, Cleverley's price continues to remain fairly low. Yes, he's $900 more than last week and $1,300 more than the week before, but that's more of a result of DraftKings' dynamic pricing than Cleverley earning his raise. Either way, he's sent in 15 crosses, won four tackles and drawn three fouls in the past two games combined, which isn't huge production (an assist last week helped him to 11 points after scoring 12 the week before), but with how much all the other set-piece takers are priced up, Cleverley looks like a steal (I honestly cannot believe I just wrote that).

DEFENDERS

If you ever had the urge to pay more than $7,000 for a defender on DraftKings, Saturday is your day. Tottenham's Kieran Trippier comes in at a hefty $7,200, with fellow fullback Ben Davies $600 less. Trippier has been the much better fantasy option of late, though my podcast colleague Mike Gottlieb pointed out on our podcast this week that Davies will be attacking on the same side as Mame Diouf as opposed to Trippier who will be up against Erik Pieters, a player who is actually a defender while Diouf fancies himself as a center-forward.

The drop in price is dramatic after Trippier and Davies, as Charlie Daniels is the next highest-priced defender expected to start and he's only $5,200. Daniels is a solid open-play attacker, but if I wanted to get a piece of the Bournemouth back line I'd rather pay down for Simon Francis ($4,100), who may still leave a bad taste in people's mouths after getting sent off a few games ago.

It seems a bit ridiculous to say it, but I think you can make a viable case for any fullback from Huddersfield, Brighton, Swansea, West Brom, Watford and Burnley. In fact, pretty much anyone not on Stoke or Leicester. None of them have *great* attacking fullbacks, but they all have at least one who can do some damage with crosses while not being reliant on set pieces. The Newcastle ones are priced a bit high, even against a Leicester side that's allowed more crosses than anyone else. Leicester still don't use their fullbacks a bunch in the attack, so even the good matchup doesn't make me want to get involved. Huddersfield have actually allowed the fewest crosses among teams on the slate, so maybe I would stay away from the Brighton guys, but there really isn't too much with that.

I didn't mention Crystal Palace above mostly because they are always a trap. Everyone likes Jeffrey Schlupp ($4,200) because he sometimes plays in an attacking position, or Palace have a great matchup or whatever, and it always ends with "well, I wasn't really expecting much for $3,400 anyway" when he has two points and you feel you have to justify the move. Meanwhile, Patrick van Aanholt captains the trap ship and his $5,000 salary this week is hilarious.

GOALKEEPER

Paying up for Hugo Lloris ($5,900) is not the same as paying up for David de Gea. Yes, Lloris has the best win and clean sheet odds, but he's also scored two, seven, zero, minus-two and zero fantasy points in his last five games, respectively. "But he has a great matchup Saturday!" is what you'll say before realizing he had minus-two against Leicester and zero against Watford. It's not that I think he can't get 10 points, and with all the other games basically toss-ups, I understand paying up for Lloris. I just think you might be better off flipping a coin on the other options, particularly the away keepers like Heurelho Gomes ($4,400). And if you think Spurs put up an egg, Jack Butland ($3,700) will be the biggest beneficiary.

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.