Weekend EPL is back!…but there’s still only two games on the main slate. Due to a handful of midweek EPL games and FA Cup semifinals this weekend, there are only 2 EPL games being played on Saturday. We also have a slate that locks much earlier than normal at 7:30am ET, so get your lines right now and make sure to set an alarm to ensure your players are starting. Since the slate is small, I will continue breaking down the slate in the same team-by-team manner I have been.
Liverpool is the only team in the top half of the table on this slate. This, combined with the fact that many Liverpool players have been popular this season, will result in much chalk here. The attacking trio of Roberto Firmino ($12,000), Mo Salah ($13,000), and Sadio Mane ($10,500) have been incredible in front of the goal all season, and they will be the same on Saturday against last-place West Bromwich Albion. I like Liverpool to score multiple goals in this game, and stacking them is a strong cash strategy. James Milner ($8,000) is another good way to get Liverpool exposure as he provides some salary relief off the other 3 in what is still a good matchup. If you’re going to stack Liverpool midfielders and forwards, paying up for their top defenders is going to be impossible. However, Trent Alexander-Arnold ($5,500) is still cheap even after his 35.75 FDP performance last weekend. When considering price, he is my top Liverpool defender. Loris Karius ($5,000) is in a prime spot for a clean sheet as WBA only average 0.79 goals scored per game this season. That’s tied for last with Huddersfield. Don’t expect Karius to make a lot of saves, however. He’s my top cash GK, but is a strong GPP play as well with his price.
West Bromwich Albion
Neither of West Brom’s two main forwards have been good all year. Jay Rodriguez ($7,500) is only averaging 13.2 FDP in his 33 appearances this season, but he has scored in his last 2 games. Salomon Rondon ($7,000) has an even lower FDP-per game average at 12.4. However, he is averaging 24.1 FDP per game in his last 5 EPL games. Now, don’t let these stats get to you. In my opinion, Rodriguez and Rondon are only options because of the nature of this slate. There are only 2 games, and they are the two lowest-priced forwards expected to start. I will most likely be rostering one of them as a punt, just to make my construction work. I lean Rondon over Rodriguez. West Brom’s highest-priced midfielder is Jake Livermore ($6,500). If that isn’t indicative of WBA’s fantasy value, then I don’t know what is. The only one of their midfielders I am considering this week is Chris Brunt ($6,500). Both top defenders for West Brom are on my radar on this slate. Ahmed Hegazi ($6,500) and Craig Dawson ($6,000) are both in solid spots this weekend, and both have been consistent from a fantasy standpoint this season. Hegazi has more upside, but he’ll cost you $500 more. I expect Ben Foster ($5,500) to have some decent ownership this weekend, but I am avoiding. People will want to chase saves points, but I could see Liverpool getting an early lead and relax as they wait for Tuesday’s UCL semifinal first leg against Roma.
Currently, there are no players categorized as forwards on FanDuel expected to start for Crystal Palace. Both Christian Benteke ($7,500) and Alexander Sorloth ($7,000) have been fighting injuries recently, and it remains uncertain when they will return. In their absence, Wilfried Zaha ($9,500) has been stepping in. In his two games acting as a forward he has scored 39 and 56.5 FDP. I have touted Zaha all season, and I will again this weekend. If Benteke and Sorloth sit again, Zaha will be a popular option and a lock in cash games. He’ll get a slight bump down if Benteke/Sorloth start, but he would still be worth playing. Luka Milivojevic ($9,000) has been on a tear lately with 4 straight 30+ FDP games. He’ll be in another good spot this weekend, and is a great pivot off Liverpool. I am not a huge fan of the Crystal Palace defenders this weekend, but I won’t say they are not options. On a two gamer, you could justify playing almost anyone. James Tompkins ($6,500) is in the middle of a nice DFS run, but he’ll be hard to play at his price. Joel Ward ($5,000) returned from injury and put up 17 FDP last weekend. He’s the cheapest defender expected to start so he will be popular in hopes of him going 3x again.
As popular as Troy Deeney ($8,000) will be, that is much more because of the slate and his price, than his talent. I’d rather punt with someone else and save some money. Will Hughes ($8,000) is a better play for the same price. He’s a step down from anyone priced above him, but still a solid play if you need to save the salary. I’m avoiding pretty much everyone else here due to their severe lack of consistency as a group. Chances are someone will score for them, but if it’s not Deeney or Hughes, it’s nearly impossible to predict. Craig Cathcart ($5,000) made his return to the Watford’s starting side last weekend with a nice 17 FDP game. Much like Joel Ward for CP, he’ll have high-ish ownership as the lowest price defender with a chance to go 3x.
Those are my slate notes for now. If we get noteworthy news between now and lock, you’ll be able to keep up with it on my Twitter feed @vdray5.