After a brief break due to final exams, I return to regularly scheduled programming with EPL slate breakdowns. Saturday’s slate is a normal 6-gamer, highlighted by a massive matchup between Tottenham and Manchester City. If Tottenham plays their best soccer, they have the chance of ending Manchester City’s incredible run this season. Tottenham handed City their first loss last season, and in fact they have not lost to City in their last four meetings. Tottenham also ended Chelsea’s 13-game win streak. So, they’ve done it before, can do they it again?
It’s not Harry Kane day. I said I would let you know when Kane was not an elite option, and here’s me letting you know. He faces a MCI team that has given up the least goals in the league, and it would be wise to consider other options instead of paying $12,000 for him.
Alexis Sanchez (Newcastle @ Arsenal, $11,000) – After scoring a goal in 3 straight games to end the month of November, Sanchez has not scored in his last 3 games. However, he still scored 27.75, 28.25, and 26 fantasy points in those games. That’s a big testament to his ability to still be active and involved in the attack, even when he’s not scoring. If he found the net in any of those games, his score jumps up to the high-40s. On Saturday, Sanchez takes on a Newcastle defense that allows 1.75 goals per game on the road. Arsenal also score an average of 2.63 goals per game at home. This is a prime matchup for Sanchez to have a big bounce-back game. Because of the plus matchup here, Arsenal’s other forward Alexandre Lacazette ($9,000) makes a solid play as well.
Gabriel Jesus ($9,500)/Sergio Aguero ($11,500) (Tottenham @ Manchester City) – Chances are only one of these strikers start on Saturday, but there has been no definitive declaration. I have seen reputable sources say Aguero will start, and I have seen reputable source says that Jesus will start. We’ll have to wait until right before lock to find out. Since this is the late game Saturday, starting lineups should be released by 11:45ET. If Sergio Aguero starts, he’ll be a really good option. Aguero has a great history against Tottenham. He has played in 11 games against Tottenham in his career, and he has scored 10 goals in those games. As long as Aguero is fit and on the field, he is always a threat to score. If Gabriel Jesus starts, I am not a fan. After a white-hot start to the EPL season, Jesus has faded mightily.
Pedro (Southampton @ Chelsea, $9,500) – Normal starting forward, Alvaro Morata, was not fit to start Tuesday, and he is in danger of missing the matchup Saturday as well. Pedro got the start for Morata, scoring a total of 29.5 fantasy points against Huddersfield. If Morata cannot start again, Pedro finds himself in a good spot once again. Surprisingly, Southampton have given up fewer goals when playing on the road than when playing at home this season. However, regardless of venue, their defense is not on the same level as Chelsea’s attack. Pedro’s ownership was 32% in the $1 tournament on FD on Tuesday. I expect it to be lower this weekend given other forwards on this slate.
Also like: Richarlson ($10,000)
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (West Ham United @ Stoke City, $8,000) – EMCM has a wonderful matchup this weekend. West Ham has allowed the most goals away from home in the league so far this season (21 in 9 games). He hasn’t been a great goal-scoring threat this season, but this a plus matchup like this, he’s worth a look. Forward teammate Peter Crouch ($7,500) is also a viable punt with this matchup if he starts.
Chicharito (West Ham United @ Stoke City, $7,500) – Chicharito has been out due to injury for about 6 weeks, and it looks like he’ll make his return this weekend. One of the most potent goal-scorers in the world last year, Chicharito did not get off to a great start in England. He’ll face a Stoke defense that allows 1.88 goals per game at home. It is unclear what kind of shape he is in, so there is a real possibility he cannot play the whole 90 minutes. However, Chicharito is one of the better punt options at forward this weekend.
Eden Hazard (Southampton @ Chelsea, $11,000) – This week without Alvaro Morata, Hazard filled in as Chelsea’s point forward. He did a really nice job setting up his teammates in a 3-1 win, but he did not score. If Morata (game-time decision) cannot play again, Hazard will assume a similar role on Saturday, making him an elite play. Even if Morata starts, Hazard will be a popular play this weekend with a plus matchup at home against the Southampton. Another name to watch here is Willian ($9,000). Willian scored a goal and added 2 assists on Tuesday without Morata. If he draws another start, he’ll be a good pivot in the midfield.
Kevin De Bruyne (Tottenham @ Manchester City, $11,000) – Since September, there have only been 3 games where KDB did not record a goal or assist. He’ll look to continue his success against Tottenham this weekend. Tottenham does not have a shutdown defensive midfielder, and their backline is full of average defenders. KDB is averaging 39.81 fantasy points over his last 4 games. Despite his price, KDB is someone you should look to own this weekend. In fact, in a game that should be open and full of action, Raheem Sterling ($9,500), David Silva ($9,500), and Leroy Sane ($8,500) are all worth owning.
Mesut Ozil (Newcastle @ Arsenal, $9,500) – If you’re looking to pivot off Manchester City midfielders, Ozil is the place to go. Like I wrote about for Alexis Sanchez, Newcastle’s defense on the road is pitiful. Ozil should be able to do what he wants in the attacking midfield this weekend. With forwards like Sanchez and Lacazette, Ozil is always a threat to get assists. He’s still 5th in the league in assists even after missing some time earlier this season with an injury. Ozil is in a great spot this weekend.
Also like: Abdoulaye Doucoure ($9,500), Xherdan Shaqiri ($9,000), Christian Eriksen ($9,000)
Son Heung-Min (Tottenham @ Manchester City, $7,500) – Son sees a price decrease this weekend with a difficult matchup against MCI on the road. However, he has looked like Tottenham’s best midfielder (sorry Eriksen and Alli) over the last 3 games. In those 3 games, he has 3 goals, and is averaging 36 fantasy points per game. Manchester City will not be an easy matchup, however Son is someone that can give MCI defenders trouble with his quickness and constant movement.
Also like: Aaron Mooy ($8,000), Johann Berg Gudmundsson ($7,500), Mikel Merino ($7,500), Mame Biram Diouf ($7,500), Manuel Lanzini ($7,500)
If you’re looking to go deep at midfield, Watford has some guys expected to start who are dirt cheap. With 3 of their top 4 midfielders either suspended or hurt, Etienne Capoue ($6,000), Andre Carrillo ($5,500), and Roberto Pereyra ($5,000) are expected to start. They take on a Huddersfield defense that has been poor on the road, giving up 18 goals in 8 games. If you absolutely need to go that cheap, look at one of these three.
Ryan Shawcross (West Ham United @ Stoke City, $7,000) – Stoke City does not have that good of a real-life defense, however their players are useful for fantasy purposes starting with Shawcross. Among all EPL players, Shawcross has the 12th most clearances. He only has less than 5 clearances in a game once this season. In a game against WHU that should be back-and-forth, Shawcross is in a good spot to get a lot of clearances again. He’s also 9th in the league in blocked shots. Additionally, the other capable defender on the team, Kurt Zouma, is out with an injury. Shawcross will have a big workload this weekend.
Ben Mee (Burnley @ Brighton & Hove, $6,500) – I’ve written about Mee before, and his narrative for this weekend is very similar. He’s a defensive hound, and should feast on the weak offense of BHA. He’s still a game-time decision right now so check for lineups. If he can’t go James Tarkowski ($6,500) will be relied on heavily on defense for Burnley.
Zanka (Huddersfield @ Watford, $6,500) – Zanka ranks in the top 10 in the league for 2 important defensive categories; clearances and interceptions. He’s also 19th overall in shots blocked. Zanka has a nice matchup this weekend against Watford. Watford is no slouch on offense, and Zanka will be given many opportunities to rack up more defensive stats. Moreover, Watford is likely to be without 3 of their top 4 midfielders. Zanka should be near the top of the defender list this weekend.
Also like: Christopher Schindler ($7,000), Ryan Shawcross ($7,000), Virgil van Dijk ($6,500), Jan Vertonghen ($6,000), Hector Bellerin ($6,000), Angelo Ogbonna ($6,000)
Kyle Walker (Tottenham @ Manchester City, $5,500) – Kyle Walker is playing against his former team for the first time on Saturday. He will be eager to stick it to his former employers. He also has a decent matchup. It is quite possible that Manchester City controls the majority of the ball for this game, which will allow Walker to get up the outside of the field and join the attack. He’ll also be responsible on defense as well, meaning he’ll have the opportunity to get involved on both ends of the field.
Daryl Janmaat (Huddersfield @ Watford, $5,500) – Janmaat has started 4 EPL games this season, and he is averaging 26.63 in those games. Janmaat has a nice matchup against Huddersfield this weekend. Also, like I’ve mentioned before, Watford is expected to be without 3 midfielders, giving Janmaat a little extra duty offensively. Janmaat will be a popular punt at defender this weekend.
Also like: Laurent Koscielny ($5,500), Shkodran Mustafi ($5,500), Ryan Bertrand ($5,500), Wesley Hoedt ($5,000)
Nick Pope (Burnley @ Brighton & Hove, $5,500) – Pope will most likely be the most popular GK on the slate again. He draws a good matchup against BHA who struggle on offense. He’s been a save monster this season, and he has 5 clean sheets in his last 8 games. If you can afford Pope, get him.
Ederson (Tottenham @ Manchester City, $5,500) – It is rare that I like both top priced GKs on a slate, but I like Ederson and Pope this weekend. As long as Tottenham’s attackers don’t completely disappear on the big stage, Ederson will have the opportunity to make many saves. However, if Tottenham’s attackers show up, it is possible that multiple goals will be scored on him. Ederson has big upside this weekend.
Petr Cech (Newcastle @ Arsenal, $5,000) – Aside from Pope, Cech is the next most likely to get the clean sheet bonus. Arsenal only allow less than 1 goal per game at home, and Newcastle only score less than 1 goal per game on the road. Cech likely won’t see many shots, however.
None of the GKs at $4,500 are recommended, but Jack Butland would be preferred.