It’s been a while since my last soccer DFS article. Although I had been providing some free EPL cheat sheets, it feels good to be writing again. On Saturday’s slate, only 1 of the top 6 teams in the current table are in action which should make for some interesting lineups. Let’s just get down to it.
Sergio Aguero (Leicester City @ Manchester City, $13,500) – Talk about chalky. Aguero is the only forward on this slate that is 5 figures on FanDuel. Aguero has 4 goals in his last 3 EPL games, and is in a great spot to continue his recent success on Saturday against Leicester. Leicester concede an average of 1.54 goals per game on the road, and Manchester City continue to score at a crazy rate at home (3.46 goals per game on average). Aguero will be a big threat to score in this game, and is a huge lock in cash and multiplier games despite his price tag. Even in tournaments Aguero is a great play, but there is an argument to fade him which I will get to in the section on midfielders.
Chicharito (Watford @ West Ham United, $9,500) – After a long injury absence and a very rough start to the season, Chicharito looks like he’s finally rounding into form (better late than never I suppose). The West Ham striker has taken advantage of Arnautovic’s injury with 2 goals in his last 3 games. Chicharito’s fantasy value has been dependent on him scoring goals this season because he does not pick up many peripheral stats. Lucky for him, he faces a leaky Watford back line that allows an average of 1.73 goals per game on the season. Normally I would not recommend Chicharito, but he is very much in play this weekend considering the other options at forward.
Glenn Murray (Brighton & Hove Albion @ Stoke City, $9,000) – Much like Chicharito, Murray is in play this weekend only because of who else on the slate. Actually, I lied. Murray also has a bomb matchup. Stoke has been every forwards dream matchup this season. They have allowed a league-high 52 goals so far this season in 26 games (6 more than 2nd worst Huddersfield). Glenn Murray is not a prolific goal-scorer by any means, but he scored in his last 2 games. Riding his hot hand against a defense like Stoke can pay off this weekend.
Troy Deeney (Watford @ West Ham United, $7,000) – I’ll be short and sweet with this one. Deeney has a nice price tag on him this weekend for a matchup against a WHU defense that allows 1.77 goals per game this season. His forward teammate Richarlison ($8,000) has had quite the fall from grace lately, but is still a fair play given his matchup and the lack of star power at the forward position on Saturday.
Manchester City Stack – CHALK ALERT. Much like Sergio Aguero, Manchester City midfielders will be chalky this weekend, but for good reason. They’re all in good spots at home against a Leicester defense that has struggled at times this year. Kevin De Bruyne ($12,000) and Raheem Sterling ($10,000) are great plays on this slate, but there is also some good value here. David Silva ($8,500) looks like he won’t be available and Leroy Sane ($8,500) could be out for a while with an ankle injury. Fernandinho ($8,000) is a solid option. He’s been extremely steady all season fantasy-wise, and he’s not too expensive. Guys like Ilkay Gundogan ($7,500) and Bernardo Silva ($7,500) carry much more risk for only $500 in savings. They both make good GPP plays, but in general, I would be more interested in finding the extra salary for Fernandinho this weekend. If you’re looking to fade Aguero like I mentioned above, you will need to get some MCI exposure here in the midfield. You can also fit in a top-priced defender by fading Aguero, but I’ll touch on that later.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford @ West Ham United, $8,500) – This man does everything for Watford in the midfield. He’s the true definition of a stat-sheet-stuffer in the EPL. In a matchup against a shorthanded and sloppy West Ham team, Doucoure is in a prime spot to continue his impressive season. Over the last 5 EPL games, Doucoure has scored an average of 27.4 fantasy points. He only has 1 goal in that span, so it proves that he is capable of scoring points in all ways. I think Doucoure gets to that 5-game average, and probably even surpasses it, this weekend. Doucoure is a great cash play.
Pascal Groß (Brighton & Hove Albion @ Stoke City, $8,500) – Groß is an interesting name this weekend. He started the season off well, but his fantasy production has been up and down since the beginning of December. Groß has an ideal matchup against Stoke on Saturday. Brighton played WHU in their last game, a similar opponent to Stoke. He tallied a goal, an assist, and 4 chances created on his way to 46.75 FDP. While it is unlikely that he reaches that number again this weekend, he still makes a good GPP play.
Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace @ Everton, $7,500) – With Wilfried Zaha out indefinitely with a knee issue, Cabaye gets a positive bump in CP’s midfield. After being one of the most consistent fantasy players from October through December, Cabaye got hurt and hasn’t been the same since. However, he looked more like his early-season self in Palace’s last game. He created 4 chances and added 2 shots on goal in a 30.75-point fantasy performance. Cabaye is not a goal-scoring midfield, but that should not deter anyone from playing him. Cabaye is the main creator in CP’s midfield, which is a great thing to be in a game against Everton who often struggling to contain opposing midfielders. Cabaye is a nice play this weekend, especially in cash games. Midfield teammate Andros Townsend ($7,000) gets a large bump up with Zaha out, and he finds himself in a great matchup on Saturday making him a great low-priced GPP option.
Two deep punt midfielders that I’m okay with rostering this weekend are in the BHA v. Stoke game. First, is new Stoke midfielder Badou Ndiaye ($6,500) who just transferred from Turkish giant Galatasaray. In his Stoke City debut he got an assist while creating 2 chances and added 3 tackles. He scored 20.5 fantasy points which is good for his price. People around the club were very happy with his debut which is promising. I view Ndiaye as a somewhat risky, but cheap, midfield option who allows you to pay up for studs. The other deep punt midfielder I like in this game is Brighton’s Jose Izquierdo ($6,000). The same idea applies here as with Ndiaye; a risky, but cheap, option who allows you to fit some higher priced players. Both players are strictly GPP plays.
Harry Maguire (Leicester City @ Manchester City, $7,000) – Fitting in an expensive defender like Maguire with Aguero and stud midfielder is going to be impossible. However, if you decide to leave Aguero out, it can be done. Maguire has a plus matchup against Manchester City. Manchester City will dominate ball possession in this game, giving Maguire tons of opportunities for defensive stats. Unlike many defenders, Maguire has the talent to compete with City’s horses. He’s my top option at defender.
Nicolas Otamendi (Leicester City @ Manchester City, $7,000) – Another top defender this weekend is Otamendi. He’s a workhorse on defense for MCI and has also proven to be useful on the attack. Without Mahrez this weekend, my bet is that Leicester struggle mightily to produce anything on offense against City’s stout defense. This will allow Otamendi to be more involved on the attack. Otamendi is a safe cash play, but I also think he boasts some attacking upside making him a good GPP play as well.
Also like: Cuco Martina ($6,500), Daryl Janmaat ($6,000), Danilo ($6,000), Sam Byram ($6,000)
Matthew Lowton (Burnley @ Swansea City, $5,500) – Lowton is the first player I am mentioning from this game. There just isn’t much I like fantasy-wise at all. After missing over a month with an injury, Lowton picked up where he left off with a 21-point game last weekend. Lowton had been producing nice fantasy performances before his injury, and his price is down since then. The matchup isn’t great for Lowton, but for 5.5k he’ll make a safe play this weekend.
Seamus Coleman (Crystal Palace @ Everton, $5,500) – Coleman finally made his debut this season after breaking his leg last year. He scored an underwhelming 12.25 fantasy points, but it’s understandable given his long absence. Coleman is a big attacking presence on defense for Everton, so the upside is there. His price is a littler higher than I would like, but he’s a good mid-priced defender.
Also like: Erik Pieters ($5,500), Moritz Bauer ($5,000)
Ederson (Leicester City @ Manchester City, $5,000) – Ederson has been one of my favorite GKs this season. Manchester City’s attackers have been so good at keeping the ball that opposing teams really have to work hard to produce anything that challenges Ederson. Like I touched on above, Leicester is without their best player Mahrez due to a contract dispute. Leicester will likely struggle on Saturday, making Ederson look like a good bet for the clean sheet bonus. However, they’re good enough to be able to get some shots on goal so Ederson can get some points for saves as well.
Nick Pope (Burnley @ Swansea City, $5,000) – Swansea City have scored the least goals in the EPL up to this point in the season. Burnley have given up the 3rd least goals in the EPL up to this point in the season. See the idea? Swansea likely will not score in this game giving Pope the clean sheet bonus. My only concern is that they’re so bad on offense that Pope won’t get many saves. He’s a cash play with minimal upside unless Swansea brings their A++++ game.