This article is a breakdown of Sunday’s main EPL slate. If you’re curious about my plays for either the All Day or Sun-Mon slates, check in with me at @vdray5 on Twitter.
Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United @ Newcastle, $12,500) – Alexis Sanchez has now made 2 Premier League starts for Manchester United. One where he only scored 8 fantasy points in a tough matchup at Tottenham, and the other where he scored 49.25 against Huddersfield. Sanchez’s goal was a penalty kick, so he is yet to score with Manchester United in the run of play. I think that changes on Sunday. Newcastle’s defense is giving up an average of 1.4 goals per game this season which isn’t awful. Sanchez’s fantasy value is not at all goal-dependent, but he is capable of some huge fantasy performances when he does score. This week I am predicting a big game from Alexis Sanchez, and he will likely come with some high-ish ownership. He is an elite cash play, as well as a very viable GPP play.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool @ Southampton, $11,000) – As far as top forwards go, I give the nod to Firmino over Sanchez. The $1,500 salary savings is massive for a similar player. Firmino is more goal-dependent than Sanchez, but Liverpool has not seen any shortages of goal-scoring opportunities this season as they’re second to Manchester City in goals scored this season. As Liverpool’s main striker, Firmino is always a threat to score. Southampton concedes an average of 1.36 goals per game even at home, so I expect Liverpool to put multiple in the back of the net. Firmino will likely have a role in that. He’s more of a GPP than a cash play compared to Sanchez, but still definitely worth consideration.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United @ Newcastle, $9,000) – Forwards are very limited on this 2-game slate. Rostering both Sanchez and Firmino is extremely intriguing, but finding the value at other positions will be key. Pairing Sanchez/Firmino with Martial seems more logical and saves you several thousand dollars. Here’s the problem. I’m not all that high on Martial, but anyone outside of these three forwards are completely off my radar. Earlier in January he scored in 3 straight games, so hopefully he can find that form again and get on the scoresheet on Sunday.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool @ Southampton, $10,500) – Salah has not been the same goal-scoring machine he was earlier in the reason, which is understandable having just went through a brutally packed schedule. His price is ~$1,500 less than it was a few weeks ago, which really makes me interested. That price for a player of this caliber with the season he is having is great. He has 6 goals in his last 5 EPL games, so he’s not in a slump either. I think FanDuel’s price here is too low, and in a solid matchup against Southampton, I am ready to expose that.
Emre Can (Liverpool @ Southampton, $8,000) – It feels weird to be writing up Emre Can. It’s not because he’s a bad player by any means, he just isn’t known for his fantasy play. Can is a really good cash play on this slate with upside. He’s been much more relevant fantasy-wise since Coutinho’s move to La Liga. Can is averaging 23.0 fantasy points in his last 8 EPL games. He should get to that average or higher on Sunday. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin ($7,500) will likely be very popular again on this slate. He hasn’t started either of the last two games, but is in line for the start tomorrow. He should be rested and ready to go against Southampton and will be a good cheap option in the midfield.
Oriol Romeu (Liverpool @ Southampton, $8,000) – Romeu, much like Can, is not noted for his big fantasy games. He has just 1 goal and 0 assists on the season, but that’s not how he scores his points. Romeu is a defensive midfield workhorse for Southampton who will be needed early and often against Liverpool. Romeu is top 10 in the league in tackles (7th), interceptions (10th), clearance (5th), and blocked shots (4th). With Liverpool likely pressing for a win and dominating this game from a possession standpoint, Romeu should excel in this matchup doing what he does best with the peripheral stats. Romeu is a nice cash play, but with his limited upside he is not as good of a GPP play.
James Ward-Prowse (Liverpool @ Southampton, $7,500) – James Ward-Prowse has been hot in his last 4 EPL games averaging 31.1 FDP in that span. Although it will not be easy for Ward-Prowse to get to that average on Sunday, he could find himself creating chances against Liverpool’s sometimes-leaky defense. James Ward-Prowse is not on my cash radar, but is in consideration for GPP lineups.
Kenedy (Manchester United @ Newcastle, $6,500) – Newcastle went out and signed Kenedy during the most recent EPL transfer window. Kenedy is a bright young Brazilian who needed to leave Chelsea to get more playing time, which is exactly what he did. He’s started his only 2 games for Newcastle and put up 24.25 and 17.5 FDP in those games. He’s already made an impact on Newcastle’s slouching attack in his first two games, and will look to do the same on Sunday. However, Manchester United will be a tougher matchup than he’s faced. Kenedy’s price is nice on this slate. It’s tough to find someone with his quality for less than 7k.
Mohamed Diame (Manchester United @ Newcaslte, $6,000) – If you can’t find the extra $500 for Kenedy, Diame is a fair deep punt. He’s consistently scored in the upper-teens on FD with an occasional 30+ point performance. He’s in a decent spot this week for 14-18 FDP, but I wouldn’t expect much more.
Due to lack of time I’m just going to list defenders I like for this slate in order of preference, not price.
Ashley Young ($7,000), Virgil van Dijk ($7,000), Antonio Valencia ($6,500), Wesley Hoedt ($6,500), Ciaran Clark ($6,000), Chris Smalling ($5,500), Paul Dummett ($5,500), Phil Jones ($5,000)
Karl Darlow (Manchester United @ Newcastle, $5,500) – Darlow is a GPP lock. On the road against a decent defense, there is a very real possibility Manchester United will struggle to put one in the goal. This would result in a lot of saves for Darlow and a possible clean sheet bonus. However, Manchester United could score multiple times. He’s a risk, high reward play.
David de Gea (Manchester United @ Newcastle, $5,500) – De Gea is probably the safest GK on the slate for the clean sheet bonus, but don’t expect too many saves. If you’re playing in a GPP, just go Darlow for the same price. If you’re playing in cash games, go De Gea.
Loris Karius (Liverpool @ Southampton, $4,500) – I like Karius this weekend to put up a nice score, but his biggest plus is his $1,000 savings compared to De Gea/Darlow. A clean sheet bonus for him looks probable. However, if Southampton can sneak one in and he loses the bonus, I’m not sure he gets enough saves to have a good fantasy day.