Álvaro Morata (Crystal Palace @ Chelsea, $11,000) – Morata is the only forward on this slate who has a 5-digit price tag. This, and the fact that he plays for a popular team, will combine to give him a fairly high ownership this weekend. He’s been out of form lately and has not scored in his last 5 EPL starts. However, I predict Morata will get off the snide and score this weekend against a bottom three team. He’s a good play but not a great one. I would be all over Pedro ($9,500) and/or Olivier Giroud ($8,000) if Chelsea decide to rest Morata ahead of their massive UCL clash with Barcelona next week.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City @ West Bromwich Albion, $9,500) – Vardy, although he’s not having the season I’m sure he would like to have, remains a solid GPP option this weekend. Leicester travel to West Brom this weekend to take on an imploding last-place team. Vardy does not do well at peripheral stats and is a goal-dependent fantasy player, but he is in a good matchup to get a goal. On a slate with limited good options at forward, Vardy is in GPP consideration.
Marko Arnautovic (Burnley @ West Ham United, $9,500) – Arnautovic is the same price as Vardy this week, and I deem him to be a safer play for those in cash contests. There is GPP upside with Arnautovic, but he is useful from a peripheral stat standpoint giving him a higher floor. Not beating around the bush, Burnley is not a good matchup for opposing strikers. This will likely lower his ownership, making him even more enticing for GPPs. Arnautovic could pair well with Morata if you want to find other punts.
Ashley Barnes (Burnley @ West Ham United, $8,000) – Barnes has scored in both of his last 2 games for Burnley, and makes a solid GPP punt on this slate in a plus matchup against WHU. At this point in the season it is well known that lacks serious attacking ability, but West Ham have given up the most goals in the EPL so far. Barnes’s fantasy value has been limited for most of this season, but he is worthy of rostering if you need a cheap forward this weekend.
Wayne Rooney (Brighton @ Everton, $7,500) – Rooney is really only on my radar for 2 reasons this week: a good matchup and a cheap price. This season, Brighton have given up an average of 2.0 goals per game when playing on the road as they will on Saturday. Rooney’s return to Everton has not been successful for him this season, but the veteran could find himself in position to score in this game making him justifiable for GPPs if you need a cheap forward.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City @ West Bromwich Albion, $10,500) – Earlier this week, Mahrez said he is finally putting the failed Manchester City move behind him. His play over the last 2 games suggests that this might actually be true. Last weekend he scored a goal and dropped 47 FDP against Bournemouth. Like I mentioned above for Vardy, West Brom is falling apart right now as they face a return to the Championship for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. Mahrez was one of the best midfielders in the EPL before the winter transfer window, and it looks like he could return to that status in the second half of the season. I expect a lot of people to be on Eden Hazard, and Mahrez would be the best pivot.
Willian (Crystal Palace @ Chelsea, $10,000) – Willian’s game logs are extremely deceptive due to his inconsistent spot in the starting XI. When Willian does start, he usually performs well. Since the calendar turned to 2018, he’s already put up 3 different 40+ fantasy point performances in just 5 starts. A matchup at home against Crystal Palace is a good one for Willian. Taking price into account, I prefer the $2,500 savings with Willian compared to Hazard.
Everton Trio – A grouping of 3 Everton midfielders sit next on my list. Theo Walcott ($9,000), Gylfi Sigurdsson ($9,000), and Idrissa Gueye ($8,500) are all on my radar this weekend. All three of these players will benefit from a plus matchup at home against Brighton. The trio do well at collecting peripheral stats and they can also provide goals/assists. By order of preference: Walcott, Gueye, Sigurdsson.
N’Golo Kanté (Crystal Palace @ Chelsea, $8,500) – Kanté has been a cash game monster this season. His ability to get all kinds of peripheral stats is great. Over his 25 games this season, he is averaging nearly 20 FDP, and I think that is a fair floor for him this weekend. Crystal Palace should be able to provide enough resistance to keep him busy in this game, but there will be times of Chelsea dominance where he can move up the field.
Pascal Groß (Brighton @ Everton, $8,500) – Over his last 4 games, Groß is averaging 31.6 FDP which is a great output from a sub-9,000 midfielder. A matchup on the road at Goodison Park is neither good nor bad. Everton have been a decent home team this season, but they have also been faulty at times. Feel free to ride his hot hand in GPPs this weekend.
Marc Albrighton (Leicester City @ West Bromwich Albion, $7,500) – There are a ton of value midfielders available on this slate, but very few of them are enticing. Out of all the defenders priced under $8,000, Albrighton is my favorite. His fantasy game has been consistent all season, and he has a good matchup in this game. I’m more of a fan of paying down at either forward or defender on this slate so you can afford some better midfielders.
Mohamed Diamé (Southampton @ Newcastle, $6,500) – I have been riding Diamé for salary relief for weeks, and if I put him in a lineup this weekend, that will be the reason. Over his last 10 EPL starts, he is averaging 20.8 FDP. I will gladly take that from a 6.5k player every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
A lot of the top-priced defenders on this slate are not justifiable given price and matchups as well. This is perfect for myself, and other DFS players, who almost 100% of the time punt at defender. Normally I would write 2-3 of them up for those who have the salary or want to play them, but today I’ll just list some of my favorites for 6k and up.
Marcos Alonso ($8,000)
Lewis Dunk ($7,000)
Ahmed Hegazi ($6,500)
Cuco Martina ($6,500)
Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace @ Chelsea, $5,500) – Over his last 5 EPL games, van Aanholt is averaging 22 FDP. He collects a lot of defensive stats and should have many opportunities to do that against Chelsea on Saturday. His price is about $500 more than I would like, but he is still viable.
Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace @ Chelsea, $5,000) – Schlupp has totaled over 15 FDP in 6 out of his last 7 EPL games, which is a fair expectation for a $5,000 punt defender. He eclipsed 22 FDP in 3 of those games, so he has shown upside. Schlupp has a nice matchup with Chelsea. Aaron Wan-Bissaka ($5,000) has played well in his first two starts with CP’s first team. He totaled 23 FDP in his Premier League debut, and 25 in his next game against Manchester United last weekend. Assuming he gets another start, AWB is a really nice punt.
Nick Pope (Burnley @ West Ham United, $5,000) – Pope is the safest GK on the slate in my opinion. Burnley is giving up less than 1 goal per game (even in road games), and should be up to the task on Saturday as they continue their hunt to play in Europe next season.
Jordan Pickford (Brighton @ Everton, $5,000) – Pickford takes on a Brighton team that have only scored 7 goals in 14 road games this season. Pickford is definitely in line for a clean sheet bonus, but the number of save he’ll make probably will not be high.
Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace @ Chelsea, $5,000) – There are not many GKs with high save upside on this slate, but Hennessey is as close as we can get. If Chelsea’s attack come out firing, Hennessey will have to make a lot of saves, but that is no guarantee. Chelsea could just as much score 1 goal (taking the CS away) and not make Hennessey make many saves.