This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
For detailed odds and stats, check out the Fantasy Premier League: Saturday Cheat Sheet.
11:00 a.m: Southampton v. Burnley
11:00 a.m: Newcastle v. Bournemouth
11:00 a.m: Swansea City v. Brighton
11:00 a.m: Huddersfield v. West Brom
1:30 p.m: West Ham v. Liverpool
If you ever sat down to build your daily fantasy Premier League lineups and thought "I really wish I could do this without having to pick players from Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham," well, it's your lucky day! With those five teams – along with Crystal Palace, Everton and Watford – all playing Sunday, and Stoke City and Leicester City playing in the early match Saturday, we have our first really crappy slate in a while.
Southampton are the biggest favorites at home against Burnley, but their 60.4 percent win probability isn't that high (for reference, there were three favorites on last Saturday's six-game slate with win odds above 75.0 percent, with another coming in at 59.7). Liverpool are the second-biggest favorites (56.4 percent win odds) and have the highest implied goal total, but they still aren't expected to blast West Ham at London Stadium. We'll probably see plenty of Liverpool stacks because it's tough to see many goals from the other games, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of accumulators we can consider.
Feel free to fade the Liverpool forwards in GPPs, but it's really tough to build a cash lineup without at least one of them. Even if you think Liverpool puts up a dud against West Ham, who will be without defenders Pablo Zabaleta (suspension), Jose Fonte (foot) and James Collins (ankle), while Winston Reid is returning from a calf injury and Aaron Cresswell missed last weekend's match with dead leg, it might be tough to even find two non-goal-dependent options who can score more than one fantasy point.
Removing Philippe Coutinho ($11,000), who is out anyway because of a thigh injury, Mohamed Salah ($10,800), Roberto Firmino ($8,600) and Daniel Sturridge ($8,000) leaves us with a long list of goal-dependent forwards who are usually $1,500-$2,500 cheaper when at least one of the top five teams in the table are on the slate. Newcastle's Joselu ($7,000) has the highest anytime goal scoring odds if you look beyond Dwight Gayle ($6,700), who hasn't started a Premier League match since Aug. 20. Joselu has two goals in nine appearances (eight starts) this season and hasn't taken more than two shots in a game since Sept. 16. Oh, and he has a 43.5 percent chance to score according to the bookmakers. If you played Champions League on Tuesday, there were over 25 players with better goal-scoring odds and there were another 20+ on Wednesday. Again, we're not expecting a lot Saturday.
How about Manolo Gabbiadini ($7,800) home against Burnley, Tammy Abraham ($7,300) or Jordan Ayew ($6,600) against Brighton at the Liberty Stadium, Chicharito ($6,300) at home against Liverpool, Jay Rodriguez ($5,600) or Salomon Rondon ($5,200) at Huddersfield, Laurent Depoitre ($5,500) versus West Brom, Joshua King ($5,800), who is questionable with a back injury, or Jermain Defoe at Newcastle? Do you see any viable cash options in this group?
You could try to convince yourself that Nathan Redmond ($6,300) is worth it because Southampton are favored and he occasionally takes corners. Unfortunately, he hasn't started the last two games, hasn't taken more than two shots since Sept. 23 and hasn't sent in more than four crosses in a match all season. If you're trying to go that route, you're probably better off with Johan Berg Gudmundsson ($4,600), who has an assist in each of his last two appearances of at least 45 minutes. He's taken three shots and sent in seven crosses over that span, which included one 90-minute start against Newcastle and a 45-minute stint against West Ham. His price is cheap, but he's also not a volume crosser or shooter.
All of this eventually leads you to Pascal Gross ($7,200), who is now forward eligible after starting in a front-two twice in the last three games (he's usually a central attacking midfielder). Gross certainly looks good on paper because he's been taking set pieces this season and Brighton are playing at Swansea, but it's worth noting that he doesn't have a monopoly of those set pieces, and may actually be losing them altogether. He does have an assist in three straight games, but he's also gone four straight without taking a single shot, while three of his five shots in 10 games this season came Sept. 9 against West Brom.
All of this leads us back to Liverpool, who have all the guys mentioned above as well as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ($6,400), who could take over on corners if a number of lineup decisions go his way. He started in the front three against Maribor in the Champions League, but he's much more a midfielder and could move back there because of injuries or players being rested. Overall, I think you'll see a lot of Liverpool/Gross combinations but anyone who can get creative could be rewarded handsomely.
Saturday's midfield group is jam packed with players we normally see at least $1,000 cheaper, but that doesn't automatically make them bad plays. Matt Ritchie is the one who sticks out the most, as his $9,100 salary is the fourth-highest on the slate and he's failed to reach double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. That, of course, doesn't mean he'll fail to do so again, but choosing Ritchie means you're pricing yourself out of a Liverpool player. It's certainly a viable GPP strategy, and while it's a bit tougher in cash, I don't think it should be ignored. If you want to get some exposure to the Newcastle free kicks but don't want to pay as much, you can try to extract as much as you can out of Jonjo Shelvey ($5,300), while Christian Atsu ($5,700) provides some decent upside, though I don't think as much as Ritchie.
Speaking of Liverpool, James Milner ($8,100) missed a penalty during Wednesday's match against Maribor but still finished with 16 fantasy points, and he has now scored at least 10 fantasy points in every start this season. He has taken over on nearly all set pieces with Coutinho out, a situation that could certainly happen again Saturday. There's talk of Milner resting since he's nearly 32 years old, but with the way he's playing I am not sure Jurgen Klopp can sit him.
After those two, there are a number of set piece takers for teams who may or may not get a bunch of dead-ball opportunities. Aaron Mooy ($7,200) has taken exactly one shot in six of his last seven starts (and zero last week at Liverpool), and he isn't that big of an open-play crosser. He does win a decent number of tackles, but not enough to warrant this price. Swansea's Tom Carroll ($6,800) has some solid scores in his game log, but he lost every set piece to Sam Clucas ($5,000) last week. Clucas is expected to start as a left wing-back again and would certainly provide more value if he keeps Carroll away from the free kicks.
Robbie Brady ($6,700) dominates the free kicks for Burnley, and he has sent in at least seven crosses in four consecutive games. That being said, Burnley come in as the biggest underdogs on the slate. Southampton aren't a dominant team by any means, but you're asking a lot out of Brady in a less-than-ideal situation. The same could be said about Manuel Lanzini ($6,300) against Liverpool at home.
Ryan Fraser ($5,800) is expected back from injury and could take on the set pieces in place of the injured Junior Stanislas ($7,300). However, Newcastle have been much better defensively than Bournemouth has been in the attack. If you really think the Cherries can be productive, you could give some attention to Marc Pugh ($4,500), but I probably won't look that way.
Finally, we can't ignore the eventual Southampton trap. We've all been there and we're going to be back there again Saturday. James Ward-Prowse ($5,900) got the start last weekend and finished with eight crosses thanks to five corners, (Redmond and Ryan Bertrand each took one as well). If he starts again and is taking set pieces for the biggest favorite on the slate, that price is a gift. If he doesn't, we could see Steven Davis ($5,500) back on corners, though he doesn't do much other than those kicks. You can try all you want to convince yourself that Dusan Tadic ($7,700) is a safe cash play but he looks a heck of a lot like a goal-dependent midfielder to me.
I mentioned before that Pascal Gross seems to be losing set pieces, which is a result of Anthony Knockaert ($5,100) taking them on. Knockaert has started the last three matches, but over the last two he's sent in two more crosses than Gross (12 to 10), taken more corners (4-1) and crossed more free kicks (1-0). It's not a huge margin, but the trend is firmly in Knockaert's favor and you can have him for $2,100 less. Gross fills a forward spot, which is very important on this slate, but be prepared to see many of his free kicks go to Knockaert.
Liverpool's fullbacks are expensive but certainly capable of putting up big games. Alberto Moreno ($6,100) was just called up by Spain after scoring 17 fantasy points against Maribor on Wednesday, and he's reached at least eight fantasy points in nine straight, including more than 11 in four of his last five. You could pay down for Joe Gomez ($5,000) on the other side, but he has taken just one shot all season and has failed to send in a cross in three straight.
The Southampton fullbacks are always cash-lineup friendly, with Cedric Soares ($5,900) firmly ahead of Ryan Bertrand ($5,700 in my book. In fact, this slate offers plenty of realistic cash defenders, though there are a few who seem a little overpriced like DeAndre Yedlin ($5,100) home against Bournemouth and Charlie Daniels ($5,100) on the other side.
Kyle Naughton ($4,800) had a pretty poor game last weekend against Arsenal, but at home against Brighton and possibly lining up as a wing-back is certainly a attractive prospect. The West Brom duo of Allan Nyom ($4,500) and Kieran Gibbs ($4,300) will probably get some attention if they also line up as wing-backs, though I'm more interested in any of the Huddersfield wide options because West Brom have allowed the second-most crosses (and most among teams on the slate) in the Premier League this season. Don't shy away from the Brighton guys either, as Swansea have allowed only seven fewer crosses in total than West Brom.
With not a ton of scoring expected Saturday, it seems there could be plenty of solid values from cheaper goalkeepers. I immediately turn to Burnley's Nick Pope ($3,900), as he has only allowed multiple goals to Manchester City (three) while posting three clean sheets and making 31 saves in his six starts, a total only one player on the slate, Swansea's Lukasz Fabianski ($5,300), has eclipsed all season. Given all the tight matchups, you could literally make a case for any goalkeeper, so build out the rest of your lineup and stick in whoever is left at the right price.