EPL DFS Breakdown – BOXING DAY! (12/26/17)

Boxing Day is here!  If you’re unsure as to what that means, you’re not alone.  A few years ago I googled it, and learned that the origin of this unusual holiday is from the United Kingdom in the 1830s.  It’s always the day or second day after Christmas, and it was a time where servants received gifts from their employers.  Nowadays, it’s known as a big shopping holiday, and a day where top-tier sports leagues have a full day of matches.  There are 8 EPL games on Tuesday with 7 of them on the main slate.  FanDuel is also offering a late Tuesday-Wednesday slate.  This article will focus on the main slate only.

Target Forwards

Alvaro Morata (Brighton & Hove Albion @ Chelsea, $11,500) – After getting a little dinged up a few weeks ago, Morata should be ready to go on Tuesday.  In Chelsea’s last 3 games, Morata got rested once and came on as a substitute for about 20 minutes the other two games.  Therefore, Morata should be fully rested and is expected to start this game.  Morata has been Chelsea’s best real striker this season, and he’s averaging 27.25 fantasy points per game in his last 3 EPL starts.  Brighton’s defense has been respectable this season.  They’ve only given up more than 2 goals once this year; to Liverpool earlier this month they gave up 5.  However, Chelsea will love to have Morata back in the starting lineup, and he’ll be in a good spot for a goal on Tuesday.

Roberto Firmino (Swansea City @ Liverpool, $10,500) – Firmino is hot.  In his last 2 EPL games he’s gotten both a goal and an assist.  Liverpool has been a goal-scoring machine this season (only Manchester City have score more goals), and as their main forward Firmino is always a threat to score.  Swansea City is in last place right now, but it’s not necessarily because of their defense.  They’ve given up 26 goals 19 games which is a little worse than average.  However, Liverpool have the attacking horses to score multiple goals against any team.  Firmino is a good play this week.

Also like: Wayne Rooney ($9,000), Jamie Vardy ($8,500)

Cheap Forwards

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Stoke City @ Huddersfield Town, $8,000) – Choupo-Moting exploded last game against West Brom for 52 fantasy points.  In addition to his goal and assist in this game, he added 3 clearances and 3 interceptions which is rare for a forward.  EMCM has a similar matchup this week against a Huddersfield defense that have given up the 4th most goals in the league.  An inconsistent striker like EMCM is always risky, but he has a nice matchup and should be able to put together another good game fantasy-wise.

Laurent Depoitre (Stoke City @ Huddersfield Town, $8,000) – After struggling for a while, Depoitre has scored 3 goals in his last 3 games.  Depoitre is the farthest man up the field for Hudderfield, and against a Stoke defense that gives up an average of 2.33 goals per game on the road, he’ll be in a really good position to continue his goal streak.

Target Midfielders

Philippe Coutinho ($11,500) and Mohamed Salah ($11,000) (Swansea City @ Liverpool) – Coutinho and Salah are the main attackers behind Liverpool’s success this season.  Salah shares the league lead in goals with Harry Kane at 15, and Coutinho has 6 goals and 5 assists in his 12 games since injury.  Swansea’s defense is alright, but they will be not match for Liverpool on Tuesday.  It’s not a bad idea to find a value forward and get Coutinho or Salah in the midfield.

Eden Hazard (Brighton & Hove Albion @ Chelsea, $10,000) – Hazard is right up there with Coutinho and Salah as one of the best attacking midfielders in the league this season.  Recently, Hazard has been in a little bit of a slump as far as fantasy goes, but he’s still looked creative on the field.  Chelsea has been without main forward Alvaro Morata, and Hazard was filling in as an unconventional forward.  Morata is expected to start Tuesday, putting Hazard back in his more comfortable attacking midfielder role.  I expect Hazard to be back on his A game this week.

Aaron Mooy (Stoke City @ Huddersfield Town, $9,000) – Mooy has an incredible matchup this weekend playing at home against a Stoke defense that allows the most goals in the league playing on the road (21 in 9 games).  Mooy is a bright young center midfielder for Huddersfield who regularly picks up offensive and defensive stats.  He’s had a little bit of a tough go of it lately, but he’s shown the ability to post some pretty big fantasy performances.  A matchup with Stoke could be just what Mooy needs to put together another big game.  Tom Ince usually lines up as an attacking midfielder for Huddersfield, and will make an intriguing value play at $6,500 on Tuesday.

Also like: Paul Pobga ($9,500), Gylfi Sigurdsson ($8,500), Riyad Mahrez ($8,500)

Cheap Midfielders

Juan Mata (Burnley @ Manchester United, $7,500) – Juan Mata finally got back on the scoresheet last game with 2 goals.  After a series of rough games, including a few where he was even left on the bench, Mata has averaged 35.25 fantasy points over his last 3 games.  This matchup is also favorable for a player like Mata.  Manchester United should control the ball for the majority of this game.  Burnley will struggle to hold the ball for extended periods of time.  Mata will be able to focus on creating chances near the goal for MU, where he does his best work.  With his recent success and a positive matchup, Mata is a solid mid-priced midfielder this week.

James Milner (Swansea City @ Liverpool, $7,000) – After James Henderson got hurt during the week versus Arsenal, Milner was the obvious choice to come in the game.  Milner is also the obvious choice to start for Henderson (whose injury looked significant) on Tuesday.  I’ve mentioned that this is a good matchup for Liverpool attacking players that are starting to look matchup-proof.  Milner is a cheaper option in Liverpool’s midfield, and will be a good mid-tier midfielder on Tuesday.

Also like: Andrew Surman ($7,000), Joe Allen ($7,000), Tom Cleverley ($7,000), Marc Albrighton ($6,500)

Deep punt: Roque Mesa ($5,000)

Target Defenders

Marcos Alonso (Brighton & Hove Albion @ Chelsea, $7,500) – I’m just waiting for the day that a defender is priced at $8,000; a couple are getting close.  Alonso is hardly much of a defender for Chelsea, although he technically qualifies as one for fantasy purposes.  On the field, he’s really an extra midfielder for Chelsea.  He’s also been pretty impressive lately, averaging 30.5 fantasy points in his last 3 EPL starts.  It’s pretty tough to find the money to roster a defender for 7.5k, but if you pay down for one midfielder, it can be done.

Harry McGuire (Leicester City @ Watford, $6,500) – Harry McGuire has been huge for Leicester’s defense this season.  He’s been all over the field collecting defensive statistics like interceptions, clearances, and tackles lately.  He also has 4 assists and 2 goals to his name this season.  His opponent Watford, like to do a lot of attacking, but they’ve been sloppy recently.  If Watford’s poor play continues, McGuire will have a good time shutting them down.  Watford is also susceptible to giving up goals.  So a defender with some solid offensive stats like McGuire could be in line for a big game.

Also like: Ben Mee ($7,000), Shane Duffy ($7,000), Daryl Janmaat ($6,500), Ahmed Hegazi ($6,500), Lewis Dunk ($6,500), Kurt Zouma ($6,000)

Cheap Defenders

Cheap defenders are hard to come by.  Cheap defenders that provide good value are even harder to come by.  Here’s a few of the defenders less than 6k that make viable plays on Tuesday:

Zanka ($5,500), Chris Smalling ($5,500), Phil Bardsley ($5,500), Dejan Lovren ($5,000), Davide Zappacosta ($5,000)

Goalkeepers

Nick Pope (Burnley @ Manchester United, $6,000) – Nick Pope continues to rack up the saves for Burnley this season.  Burnley’s defense is very formidable, and part of that is due to Pope’s emergence.  Pope had kept 3 straight clean sheets until Tottenham (actually just Harry Kane) put 3 goals past him on Saturday.  Pope is in another spot to get a ton of saves this week against Manchester United.  He should get enough saves where he doesn’t need a clean sheet to have a good fantasy game.  However, Pope has a couple games this season where he’s had a lot of saves and a clean sheet.

David de Gea (Burnley @ Manchester United, $5,500) – David de Gea is the safest bet for a clean sheet this week, but as always, good bets for clean sheets are not usually in line for a lot of saves.  Manchester United have only conceded 3 goals in 9 home games, and Burnley have only scored 9 goals in 9 road games.  Burnley’s defense struggled against Tottenham, and I expect them to struggle again against Manchester United.

Also like: Thibaut Courtois ($5,000), Simon Mignolet ($4,500)

 

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