Starting Eleven: Boxing Day Premier League Breakdown
Starting Eleven: Boxing Day Premier League Breakdown

This article is part of our Starting Eleven series.

MATCHES (EST)

7:30 a.m: Fulham v. Wolverhampton
10:00 a.m: Burnley v. Everton
10:00 a.m: Crystal Palace v. Cardiff City
10:00 a.m: Leicester v. Manchester City
10:00 a.m: Liverpool v. Newcastle
10:00 a.m: Manchester United v. Huddersfield
10:00 a.m: Tottenham v. Bournemouth
12:15 p.m: Brighton v. Arsenal
2:30 p.m: Watford v. Chelsea

FORWARDS

With all but two teams playing on Boxing Day, the slate is loaded. Chelsea are away to Watford, but Eden Hazard will again be one of the top forwards because he has one of the best floors. He's scored at least 19.9 fantasy points in his last five starts, and even though he didn't make the score sheet in the loss to Leicester, he still had a successful fantasy outing. He does a little bit of everything, with fouls drawn and passes completed being two of the main components that most forwards usually don't benefit from. There are a few others to consider, with Mohamed Salah undoubtedly at the top of that list. He may not have the same floor as Hazard, but he's involved in the majority of Liverpool's goals. Newcastle are playing better of late, but that may not matter at Anfield. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also stands out against a Burnley side that continues to allow tons of opportunities, conceding 86 shots and 68 chances in the last five gameweeks, both the worst rates in the league. Alexandre Lacazette may draw another start, but there's no reason to roster him above Aubameyang or some of the other top choices.

Maybe the most intriguing team is Manchester United after they dropped five goals on Cardiff over the weekend. They're in another great spot against Huddersfield and any of their trio up front could be considered, though this depends on what happens with Romelu Lukaku. Marcus Rashford has been most in form of the bunch, and he was one of the few United players who produced something against Liverpool, reaching 12.6 points. That floor adds to upside, with 11 shots and four chances created in his last three starts. Anthony Martial is in the same boat as others like Sadio Mane, with floors too low to consider compared to teammates.

Harry Kane has some of the best odds to score but managed just 7.5 fantasy points in the recent win against Burnley, including an assist. His low floor makes him harder to use, but the chance for a brace is always there, especially after scoring a hat trick in this same spot last season on Boxing Day, not to mention the brace he bagged Sunday against Everton. Manchester City are coming off a weird loss and face a Leicester team that just beat Chelsea, so it won't be easy trusting any of their studs. It may be worth it to go after someone like Wilfried Zaha against Cardiff or Richarlison at Burnley. Even Aleksandar Mitrovic and Raul Jimenez can be considered in the opening match of the day.

MIDFIELDERS

It's the usual bunch in the midfield, with it being a wise strategy to focus on defensive players. Lucas Torreira should return to the starting XI at Brighton after he managed 8.60 fantasy points in only 31 minutes against Burnley ,while Granit Xhaka is in the level just below him with a floor near 15 points in the right matchup mostly due to defensive stats and completed passes.

Ander Herrera continued his nice run for Man United, and he has scored at least 20.0 fantasy points in four of his last five matches. He may not score again, but he's been active enough in central midfield, similar to Xhaka, to warrant fantasy attention no matter the matchup. If you really want to bank on the Red Devils, it took only a few minutes for Paul Pogba to return to form, while Jesse Lingard also looked revived in the attack. Lingard played up front in a 4-3-3, so his chances of making the score sheet are better than most midfielders.

Not many others have the same floor or same upside as those players. Fernandinho is always good for around 15 fantasy points, but he doesn't have the upside of Pogba or Lingard. Philip Billing has turned it up again with at least 18.0 fantasy points in his last three starts, and the same goes for Abdoulaye Doucoure and Luka Milivojevic. For defensive midfielders, it usually doesn't matter what the matchup is because they'll produce defensive stats either way. As for the likes of Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurdsson, the floor isn't there, but both have great matchups and could easily make the score sheet.

DEFENDERS AND GOALKEEPERS

Virgil van Dijk should again be in most rosters, with close to 70 completed passes a good bet in addition to shots. The most surprising thing about van Dijk is that he had at least two shots in five of his last six starts, and that's why he's reached 17.0 fantasy points in six of his last seven. There aren't many other defenders with the same floor, though David Luiz and Fabian Schar have been close. Luiz is in the same mold as van Dijk in that he completes a lot of passes to go with defensive stats, but he usually gets at least one shot. Schar has been most useful because he's racking up multiple tackles and interceptions each match in addition to completed passes.

Those three may have the best floors, but full-backs often have more upside since they do a little more attacking. Cesar Azpilicueta fits that mold, while others like Matt Doherty and Lucas Digne can be considered because of their excellent matchups. Both Doherty and Digne are active in the attack, and against Fulham and Burnley, respectively, there will be tons of opportunities.

If you prefer more safety in central defenders, Sokratis Papastathopoulos has put together a couple good outings, with 33 fantasy points in his last two starts, while Calum Chambers has at least 16 fantasy points in three of his last four starts as a defensive midfielder.

At goalkeeper, Alisson makes the most sense because in addition to getting wins and clean sheets, he's also forced to make more saves than other big favorites, and that's why he's had double-digit fantasy points in six of his last seven outings. Others like Hugo Lloris and Bernd Leno have the matchup, but aren't as consistent in making saves. The sneaky option could be Vicente Guaita (v. Cardiff), who not only just won at Man City but had 11.70 fantasy points in his last home match.

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. Adam Zdroik plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: zdroik, DraftKings: rotozdroik, Yahoo: StreakMaster.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate. 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year.
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