EPL DFS Breakdown via @vdray5 – 8/25/18

Forwards

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (West Ham United @ Arsenal, $11,000) – After two consecutive off games to start the season for Aubameyang, I am making a bold pick that he gets on track this week and scores.  Arsenal have lost both of their games so far (albeit to 2 other big 6 teams) and do not appear to be running on all cylinders yet since Unai Emery took over.  However, I’m thinking that changes this week.  Aubameyang has a plus matchup is this game against West Ham who struggled mightily on defense last season and has already conceded 6 goals in 2 games this year.  Hopefully people overlook him at the top on this slate and he goes low owned making him someone to target in GPPs.

Marko Arnautovic (West Ham United @ Arsenal, $8,500) – I touted Marko Arnautovic for cash games in last week’s article and he came through with a 35.3 FDP game including a goal and 4 chances created.  This week I will be considering him in GPPs.  I am guessing that a lot of people will avoid him this week on the road in what is normally a tough matchup for opposing strikers at Arsenal.  However, Arsenal’s defense has been sloppy so far this season with 2 goals allowed to Manchester City and 3 to Chelsea.  While West Ham United is not the same caliber team as MC/CFC, I’ve yet to see solid defense from Arsenal, so using a talented forward like Arnautovic against them seems like a viable GPP strategy.

Danny Ings (Leicester City @ Southampton, $8,000) – Danny Ings is another cheap forward that could go under the radar again this week.  Ings scored on one of his 6 shots (2 on goal) last weekend against Everton and is in a solid spot to continue his success this season at home against Leicester.  Ings did not see the field regularly last year with Liverpool for obvious reasons, but he seems to have found a nice new home where he can get regular playing time.  Leicester City will be without Jamie Vardy in this game after his red card last week, so I expect them to struggle all around.  Ings could be a main cog in a sneaky Southampton stack.  Charlie Austin ($7,000), who absolutely caught fire last season for a month before a derailing injury, is super cheap this week in a good matchup and should be low owned as well.

Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City @ Huddersfield, $7,500) – There are three things to like about Zohore here this week.  The first is the matchup against Huddersfield who have already given up 9 goals in just 2 games this season.  They did play Manchester City and Chelsea but giving up that many goals already cannot bode well for their confidence.  The second thing to like is that Zohore scored 9 goals with Cardiff last season, so he knows what he’s doing in front of the net.  The final thing I like this week is his price.  It won’t be too often this year that there will be strikers against Huddersfield available at this price.

Midfielders

Mo Salah (Brighton @ Liverpool, $12,500) – I think the only thing you can dislike about Salah this week is his price, but even that’s hard to argue against.  Liverpool gets Brighton at home which is a good enough of a matchup for Sadio Mane ($11,500) to be in play as well.  The two attackers have 4 goals, 1 assist, 11 chances created, and 8 shots on goal between them in the first two games.  I will be having one of the two in all of my lineups.  The trouble is differentiating between them.  My stance is that Salah will be a better play in 50/50s and multipliers while Mane would be preferred for GPPs.  However, they’re both at the point where they’re good plays no matter the format.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (West Ham United @ Arsenal, $9,500) – Mkhitaryan is one of my favorite GPP midfielders on this slate.  He’s coming off a 44.6 FDP game against Chelsea that included a goal, and he’ll have a plus matchup this weekend against West Ham at home.  I noted WHU’s defensive struggles in my writeup on Aubameyang, and the same will stand here for Mkhitaryan as Arsenal’s most dangerous goal-scoring midfielder.  With FanDuel’s pricing, it will be extremely difficult to roster one of Salah/Mane plus Mkhitaryan which will lower Mkhitaryan’s ownership.  Alex Iwobi ($7,500) is an intriguing salary-saving midfielder in a good matchup who’s also coming off a goal last weekend.

James Ward-Prowse (Leicester City @ Southampton, $7,500) – This week I will likely be paying way up at midfield or paying way down because nothing below Mkhitaryan interests me until JWP.  Ward-Prowse did not start in Southampton’s first game but did start and played really well in their second game against Everton.  His best fantasy stats are chances created and assists, especially with his set piece responsibilities, and he will add a goal here and there.  As mentioned, Leicester will be without Vardy on Saturday, so they could revert to sitting very defensively which will give JWP many opportunities to create for himself and his teammates.  I’m expecting him to be low owned and I would only reserve him for GPPs on this slate.

David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City @ Huddersfield, $6,500) – Hoilett is my big GPP high-risk, high-reward punt on the slate this week.  He gets a great matchup this week against Huddersfield who have already given up 9 goals in 2 games this season.  Hoilett led all of Cardiff City last season with 11 goals total, and the Canadian will look for his first EPL goal since November 2012.  Hoilett has yet to put a shot on goal in 2 games this season which is slightly concerning, but he does collect other peripheral stats like tackles and interceptions.  Hoilett should be super-low owned on this slate, and any player who could score at $6,500 could be worth the risk.

Defenders

Andrew Robertson (Brighton @ Liverpool, $7,000) – My favorite top-priced defender on this slate also happens to be FanDuel’s.  Robertson has played well from a fantasy perspective in both of Liverpool’s games this year averaging 21.2 FDP.  He has an assist and 5 chances created to go along with 4 tackles.  Robertson is an attacking defender who should be able to use his offensive ability in this game at home against a lesser Brighton team.  The fact that he still tracks back on defense and gets defensive peripheral stats only bolsters his already strong floor.  If you have the money to spend and are looking for a player with a 20-point floor, give Robertson a look.

Michael Keane (Everton @ Bournemouth, $6,000) – Keane follows Robertson as one of my top defenders on the slate.  Keane has absolutely stuffed the stat box over the last 2 games.  The attacking-minded defender has definite goal/assist/shot upside at a really decent price this week.  Keane will probably have a floor around 20 FDP this season, but I foresee a game closer to his ceiling this week.  He’s someone to target in all formats, but especially GPPs since he likely will not come with high ownership.  If Kurt Zouma can make his Everton debut this week, he’d be a tremendous value play at only $5,000, but you must confirm he starts before playing him.

Bruno Ecuele Manga (Cardiff City @ Huddersfield, $5,500) – Manga is going to be a name unfamiliar to many people playing this slate, which is why I’ll be targeting him.  He’s coming off a 16.9 and 20.6 FDP games getting most of his points off clearances and tackles.  If he can continue this consistency all season, he’ll quickly become a popular target of mine at this price.  A matchup against Huddersfield will be good for him.  Manga seems like a good player to target in GPPs with his low ownership, but his upside is too limited for someone to like in GPPs.  I’ll be looking at him more in cash games in hopes he produces another 3x game.  Sol Bamba ($5,500) is also in play but has a lower floor in my mind.

Florent Hadergjonaj (Cardiff City @ Huddersfield, $4,500) – Since I spit out my favorite deep punts at forward and midfielder, I figured I would give one defender as well.  All three of my deep punts are in the Cardiff City @ Huddersfield game because, unless all the players fall asleep during the game, stuff as to happen…points will be scored at low prices.  Hadergjonaj’s best fantasy attribute is his ability to send in crosses (which unfortunately do not get you points on FanDuel), but lots of goals and shots come off crosses so those could easily turn into chances created or assists.  Hadergjonaj is listed as a defender, and often plays a lot of defense due to Huddersfield’s lack of talent, but he could easily slide forward as a midfielder.  Cardiff City has struggled with top flight football so far this year, so Huddersfield could be the better team on Saturday.  Hadergjonaj is an intriguing high-risk play in this game if Huddersfield come ready to win.  The realistic best-case scenario here is that Hadergjonaj provides an assist with some other peripherals and a clean sheet bonus.  However, if he doesn’t, at the very least playing him will save you salary to spend elsewhere.

Goalkeepers

Alisson (Brighton @ Liverpool, $5,500) – Alisson is the easy bet for both a clean sheet and a win bonus.  However, saves could be at a minimum here for him.  Brighton did score last week at home against Manchester United which ruined David de Gea’s clean sheet, but I expect Liverpool’s defense to lock them down at home.  Alisson is viable in all formats.

Alex McCarthy (Leicester City @ Southampton, $5,000) – McCarthy is my risky GPP pick this week at GK.  Like I have mentioned above, Jamie Vardy will not be on the field in this game due to his suspension.  In the past, Leicester’s attack has been dismal at times without him.  Additionally, Leicester City tend to play more defensively on the road.  Leicester still has enough quality to challenge McCarthy with shots, so hopefully he can get some save points because there could be big upside if he can get both a win and a clean sheet.

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