DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday EPL Picks
DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday EPL Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

For detailed odds and stats, check out the Fantasy Premier League: Saturday Cheat Sheet.

MATCHES (EDT)

10:00 a.m: Bournemouth v. Leicester City
10:00 a.m: Chelsea v. Cardiff City
10:00 a.m: Huddersfield v. Crystal Palace
10:00 a.m: Manchester City v. Fulham
10:00 a.m: Newcastle v. Arsenal
12:30 p.m: Watford v. Manchester United

Eden Hazard, CHE v. CAR ($10,500): Hazard and Sergio Aguero ($10,600) are the two most expensive players on the slate, with Chelsea and Manchester City overwhelming favorites at home against Cardiff and Fulham, respectively. Hazard is the more traditional cash-game play of the two, especially if Willian ($8,800) doesn't start, though Aguero gets plenty of consideration because of his shot volume and very strong anytime goal scorer odds. While Hazard has scored in both of his Premier League starts (and had an assist in each appearance off the bench), he's still managing to draw fouls at a high rate, send in a few crosses and take a few shots each game. Rostering Aguero in cash is a pure upside play or to block, as his floor isn't reliably high because he doesn't cross at all and doesn't draw nearly the fouls Hazard does. Aguero's goal odds are very high (roughly 73 percent), but Hazard's (around 64 percent) are still strong and his floor is consistently higher and more reliable. Pairing the two isn't out of the question too, especially with not many midfielders to pay up for, but it just requires a little more creativity in the other positions.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple, as Chelsea and Manchester City have other players who are in consideration for both cash games and GPPs. For Chelsea, Willian is a reasonable pivot from Hazard because of his role on set pieces, while Riyad Mahrez ($9,000) has a similar role for Man City, though he has more competition for corners depending on who else is in the starting XI. GPP players should also consider guys like Gabriel Jesus ($8,700), Raheem Sterling ($9,600), Alvaro Morata ($7,500) and Pedro ($8,200) if they start given their team's overwhelming implied goal total and their own individual goal-scoring odds.

Romelu Lukaku, MUN at WAT ($9,400): The plethora of forward options from Chelsea and Manchester City opens up a big opportunity to roster Lukaku and/or Alexis Sanchez ($9,200) against Watford with lower ownership in GPPs. In addition to Chelsea and Manchester City, Arsenal boast an attacking duo of Alexandre Lacazette ($8,500) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($8,100), who have very good anytime goal scorer odds and could be more popular than the Manchester United pair because they are cheaper. Man United manager Jose Mourinho does a great job of limiting the fantasy prospects of many players, but the depressed ownership for Lukaku and Alexis, who still have great odds of finding the back of the net, shouldn't be ignored in tournaments.

Jordan Ayew, CRY at HUD ($5,900): Ayew is expected to get another start this week, this time alongside Wilfried Zaha ($8,300) instead of Christian Benteke ($5,800), and while he doesn't have great upside for GPPs, he's not a crazy cash-game consideration for those who don't want to spend up at both forward spots. Ayew's floor is based on all-around production, something we saw consistently last season when he averaged 2.08 shots, including 0.66 on goal, 1.42 crosses, 1.89 tackles won and 2.74 fouls drawn per 90 minutes, equating to 8.43 fantasy points (you can reduce it to 7.44 because of his 1.99 fouls committed). That's a pretty good average return while playing for a Swansea City side that ended up being relegated, but we saw similar production in his first start before the international break, finishing with three shots, two crosses, one tackle won, two fouls drawn and three interceptions. I still think the optimal build includes two high-priced forwards, and there are defenders in Ayew's price range who are safer, but he has to be in the cash-game discussion for those looking to save at forward. Teammate Andros Townsend ($6,300) could get some attention too, but it's worth noting that he doesn't have a majority of set pieces and won't have Benteke to cross to near goal.

MIDFIELDERS

Philip Billing, HUD v. CRY ($3,900): Billing has been a very consistent source of fantasy points this season, scoring 11.50, 3.75 (at Man City), 7.50 and 10.25 floor points in four games, respectively, with his last match boosted to 21.25 points because of a goal. Given those returns, it's surprising his salary is this low in a home match, even if Huddersfield are technically underdogs. You don't need much to justify his price, and Billing has shown multple times this season that he's very capable of doing it. However, teammate Aaron Mooy ($5,500) has also been really good, with his role on set pieces and ability to win tackles helping him to score at least 8.25 points in all three games he's started, with none including a goal or an assist.

Billing isn't the only midfielder in his price range worth considering, with Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi ($3,400) providing some decent returns thanks to two shots in each start while also winning eight tackles over that span. It's worth noting that Ndidi is a yellow card waiting to happen because he commits a decent number of fouls (two in each game) – in fact, he had one in the match before the international break – but his low salary and matchup against Bournemouth present opportunities. Speaking of opportunity, Manchester United's Fred ($3,700) surprisingly took set pieces in his last start, and he'd present arguably the best value on the slate if he gets that again. Unfortunately, he didn't start in the last game before the international break, and 10 different players have taken set pieces for Manchester United this season, so there's no guarantee he gets any corners even if he starts. Oh, and he plays in the late game and the only viable pivots are defensive midfielders or centerbacks, if you use him in the utility spot.

James Maddison, LEI at BOU ($7,300): Maddison has been one of the most consistent floor players this season, scoring at least 6.00 fantasy points (not including goals and assists) in all four games. His matchup against Bournemouth is hardly one to turn away from, but the biggest difficulty is actually his salary for those who spend up at both forward spots and at least one defender. Choosing Maddison also likely takes you off guys like David Silva ($7,500) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ($7,800), who are actually favored in their games, but he's shown to be more consistent than them this season because of his stronger role on set pieces. Given the price range he's probably more useable in GPPs, but on the surface his floor is ideal for cash games. For those looking to get different Leicester exposure (and not in the form of Ndidi), Rachid Ghezzal ($5,300) is an interesting option, especially since he took a few corners in their last game. He's a solid well-rounded player who averaged 2.62 shots, 4.79 crosses and 2.26 tackles won per 90 minutes for Monaco last season, and similar returns with regular playing time for Leicester isn't out of the question; we just haven't seen it yet.

Kenedy, NEW v. ARS ($4,800): There are safer plays in Kenedy's price range, including Luka Milivojevic ($5,200), David Brooks ($4,400) and maybe even Jean Michael Seri ($5,000) and David Hoilett ($5,000) despite their terrible matchups, and while I probably don't have a place for Kenedy in my cash lineup, I think he's a reasonable consideration. Newcastle are home underdogs to Arsenal, just like they were when they hosted Tottenham in the season opener, a game in which Kenedy had one shot, two crosses, one tackle won, six interceptions and five fouls drawn for 11.50 fantasy points. He followed that match up with a disappointing 5.00 at Cardiff City, one that could have been an explosive score had he not had a penalty saved. A return home after a struggle against Man City (can't fault him there) presents Kenedy with a decent matchup against an Arsenal side that's committed the third-most fouls among teams on the slate. We've seen fouls drawn to be a fairly unreliable stat, but would you mind rostering a guy for those when he's facing a team with Granit Xhaka ($4,300) in their midfield? Speaking of Xhaka, you could always try to get some value out of him on the other side of this game because he might be on set pieces, but you'll spend the entire time hoping they come and then watch him go two-footed into Kenedy and get sent off.

DEFENDERS

Diego Rico, BOU v. LEI ($5,400): With Ryan Fraser ($7,900, midfielder) expected to miss out, Rico could have a majority of set pieces for a Bournemouth side favored at home against Leicester. There are a number of very good high-priced defenders on the slate, and I can't fault anyone for rostering Benjamin Mendy ($7,100) and/or Marcos Alonso ($6,500), but the $1,000+ discount and set pieces are enough to sway me toward the Bournemouth left-back, who had 8.50 fantasy points at Chelsea in his lone start thanks to one shots, six crosses, two tackles and three interceptions.

Chris Lowe, HUD v. CRY ($4,000): Lowe is another possible defender with set-piece duty, though he is a solid enough open-play crosser that he warrants consideration at this price, even with Huddersfield a home underdog. Given that he'll potentially be one of the cheapest starting fullbacks, Lowe could be popular in cash games for those not wanting to pay up at both spots, and if he isn't in the starting XI, I'd expect most people to simply pivot to Florent Hadergjonaj ($3,800), who is a solid open-play crosser but doesn't really do much else.

Jose Holebas, WAT v. MUN ($5,600): I'm just going to stick with the set-piece-taking fullbacks, with Holebas' matchup against Manchester United not ideal but also not worthy of ignoring. While he only finished with four crosses against Tottenham before the international break, Holebas made up for it with a pair of assists, his third and fourth of the season. His price is pretty high for an underdog, but his near monopoly of set pieces and Manchester United's ability to dud in any game makes him viable. If you prefer to focus on the favorite in this game, you could pay $100 more for Ashley Young, who is expected to start in place of the injured Luke Shaw ($5,500).

GOALKEEPER

Ben Foster, WAT v. MUN ($4,300): Foster is the cheapest home goalkeeper on the slate, and he could be a popular option for those who don't want to pay up for the very high win and clean sheet odds of Kepa Arrizabalaga ($6,000) or Ederson ($5,900). With few people likely playing Alexis or Lukaku in cash games, Foster makes sense as the one responsible for keeping them out.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Andrew M. Laird plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kingmorland, DraftKings: andrewmlaird, Yahoo: Lairdinho.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Senior Soccer Editor and a fantasy football contributor. He is a seven-time FSWA finalist, including twice for the Football Writer of the Year Award.
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