EPL DFS Breakdown – 1/3/2018

The English Premier League keep throwing more games at us.  There is one game Wednesday (Chelsea @ Arsenal), and one game Thursday (West Ham United @ Tottenham).  This will be the second game in as many days for both WHU and TOT, so expect to see some players rested.  However, both Chelsea and Arsenal have not played since last weekend.  In a matchup of giants, both teams should roll out their best lineup.  Since there’s only two games, I’m going to do this break down by game instead of by player.

West Ham United @ Tottenham

Harry Kane ($13,000) is the big name to watch in this one as the most expensive player on the slate.  After battling an illness, Kane did not start the game on Tuesday against Swansea City.  However, he did come on in the 68th minute replacing Fernando Llorente at forward.  He did not have much of an impact on the game, but he also was not needed much as Tottenham controlled 67% of the possession en route to a 2-0 win.  The game was also played under brutally wet and windy conditions.  Assuming Kane is back to full health, he is a prime position on Thursday.  West Ham give up 2.18 goals per game on the road, that’s only better than Stoke City.  After a disappointing game fantasy-wise, Kane should return to his incredible goal-scoring form against WHU.

Tottenham’s trio of star midfielders are all viable options on this slate considering their matchup.  Christian Eriksen ($9,000) is in the middle of a nice string of fantasy performances with 28+ in 5 of his last 6 games.  He’s always a threat to get assists and create chances, and he even has 5 goals to his name this season.  After a slight slump, Dele Alli ($8,500) has returned to good form with two straight 40+ fantasy games.  He’s the hot hand in Tottenham’s midfield right now, while Son Heung-Min ($8,000) is in a little bit of a rough patch.  Getting 2 or 3 of these Tottenham attackers looks like a solid stack.

No WHU forwards or attackers are recommended plays.

A full Tottenham stack should include one of their wingbacks Kieran Trippier ($7,500) or Ben Davies ($6,500).  Trippier has been the better of the two this season, and his price shows it, but Davies is still a good play for $1,000 less.  Both players have a plus matchup against a team like West Ham.  They’ll have so much liberty to join the attack, and should both rack up crosses and chances created.  They’ve both proven to be capable of getting assists too with 7 total between the two of them.  Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen will be solid DK plays, since they’re cheaper and should both get clean sheets.

A few other defenders I am warm on tomorrow are in this game.  Angelo Ogbonna ($6,000) leads WHU in interceptions per game this season, and he is also 3rd in clearances on the squad.  In the first meeting between these two teams this season, Ogbonna totaled 21.75 fantasy points and I expect something similar on Thursday.  James Collins ($5,500) and Aaron Cresswell ($5,500) are other names to look at on WHU’s defense.  Collins leads the team with an average of 10 clearances per game, and against Tottenham, will be in a position to get to the average again.  Cresswell is averaging 19.75 fantasy points per game in his last 4 games, and is a safe play on Thursday.  These 3 defenders are mainly good plays on FD, but on DK where there is a clean sheet bonus, stay away from WHU’s defenders.

Hugo Lloris ($5,000) is a solid play at GK on this slate.  WHU’s attacking isn’t awful, so they should be able to generate some shots giving Lloris some points for saves, but not many.  Lloris the best bet for a clean sheet bonus on the slate.  Adrian ($5,000) is not a recommended play.

Chelsea @ Arsenal

While the WHU v. TOT game could get a little one-sided, this game should be much more even.  Chelsea’s defense lately has not given up many goals.  It’s been 3 full games since they’ve conceded a goal, and they’ve only allowed 2 goals in their last 7 EPL games.  Additionally, Chelsea only give up 0.7 goals per game when they’re playing on the road this season.  For these reasons, I am not high on Alexandre Lacazette ($8,500) at all.  Alexis Sanchez ($10,000) is much less goal-dependent, but I am still going to avoid him.  I would much rather pay $1,000 less to get Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata ($9,000), who has looked good in his recent EPL starts.  He’s also very important to Chelsea as their only striker, and a lot of the attack goes through him.  His matchup is not great though, but with only 5 active strikers on the slate, the rational for playing him comes a lot from the fact that I do not like Lacazette or Arnautovic at all.  The move at forward on this slate is to pair Kane with Morata, or use Sanchez if you want to be different.

Eden Hazard ($9,000) is my favorite top-tier midfielder in this game.  Lately, he hasn’t been as impressive from a fantasy-standpoint as he was a month ago, but his price has dropped and he’s now very affordable at 9k for a player of his caliber.  Chelsea’s attack might be at its best when Morata is playing well, but it all runs though Hazard in the midfield.  Cesc Fabregas ($8,000) is also in a nice spot on Wednesday against his former club where he spent 8 seasons.  He’s still whistled when he touches the ball, and he’ll no doubt bring his A game on his old stomping grounds.  N’Golo Kante ($7,500) is the last Chelsea midfielder that I recommend.  He’s the busiest man on the field whenever he plays.  Literally.  Sometimes I watch and wonder to myself how he got the power to be in 2 places at one time.  Against an attacking-heavy team like Arsenal, Kante will be all over the place collecting stats like tackles and interceptions at a high rate.

I am not in love with Arsenal’s midfielders on this slate.  Normally, I am a big Mesut Ozil ($8,500) fan, but he’s having knee issues and might be less than 100% in the game.  He has been hot lately (averaging 39 fantasy points in his last 3 games), but he has a tough matchup.  Granit Xhaka ($7,000) is a great cash play, and should get a big bump if Ozil sits.  Xhaka’s best features are his consistency, and his ability to get all different kinds of stats.  He ranks in the top 40 among all EPL midfielders in every single peripheral stat that gets you points on FD (everything not goals or assists).  As more of a defensive midfielder, Xhaka has a good matchup against Chelsea.  If Ozil site, the biggest bump goes to Jack Wilshere ($7,000).  He will be relied on to create in Arsenal’s midfield without Ozil.  Wilshere is not recommended if Ozil starts though.

My favorite defender in this game is Marcos Alonso ($7,500).  His role with Chelsea is basically to be an extra midfielder, so he is worth the 7.5k if you have it.  He has 22+ fantasy points in 4 of his last 5 EPL games, and should get to that mark again.  He’s also a superb free kick taker, so that’s a plus.  None of Chelsea’s other defenders are that enticing, but if Davide Zappacosta ($5,000) starts, he’ll be a nice option for the price.

Shkodran Mustafi ($6,000) is far and away my favorite Arsenal defender in this game.  He’s been spectacular for Arsenal since returning from injury in the middle of November, except for two duds against Liverpool and Manchester United (both of which he did not play the full game).  He likely won’t have much freedom to get up the field against a team like Chelsea, but he is still Arsenal’s best fantasy defender.  I am not high on Hector Bellerin ($5,500).  His defending has looked poor lately, and he is more of an attacking defender in a tough matchup against Chelsea.  Laurent Koscielny ($6,000) is my second favorite Arsenal defender.  He’s been super consistent this season, and he’s a seasoned veteran who knows how to play in big games.  If Calum Chambers can draw another start on Arsenal’s backline, he’s worth a look so save some money at defender.  The 22-year-old has started 2 consecutive games for Arsenal, and he got 20.25 fantasy points in both of those games.  He will provide some nice value against Chelsea.

My favorite GK on the slate is in this game.  Thibaut Courtois ($5,000) has 4 straight clean sheets, and I think he keeps the streak going.  Chelsea’s defense has been lights out lately, and they’ve been good all year.  Also, facing a team like Arsenal, Courtois should also make a decent number of saves giving him a high floor.  He has huge potential in this game too.  Petr Cech ($5,500) is a solid play as well.  He should make a lot of saves, and Arsenal’s defense has been okay at home.

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