This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. AFC Bournemouth
- 10:00 am: Burnley vs. Cardiff City
- 10:00 am: Fulham vs. Everton
- 10:00 am: Southampton vs. Wolverhampton
- 12:30 pm: Manchester United vs. West Ham United
For detailed odds and stats, check out the DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday EPL Cheat Sheet.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, EVE at FUL ($9,400): Everton are away favorites against already-relegated Fulham, and while Sigurdsson doesn't have a monopoly of set pieces, he continues to provide a strong floor with good goal upside. His 5.40 crosses per 90 minutes are lower than any of his previous few seasons, but he's winning more tackles and drawing more fouls, not to mention scoring more goals. There are a number of cash-friendly forwards, but it's tough to argue that any are as reliable as Sigurdsson, and he has an excellent matchup to boot. And sticking with Everton, due to a number of viable forwards on the slate, Richarlison ($8,400) could be pretty under-owned in tournaments despite facing the worst defense in the Premier League.
Dwight McNeil, BUR v. CAR ($8,600): It's a tough pill to swallow paying this much for McNeil, but a home match against Cardiff and a continued share of set pieces makes him very viable. There could certainly be a high number of cash lineups with both Sigurdsson and McNeil, or possibly Sigurdsson and McNeil's teammate Johann Berg Gudmundsson ($8,500) if he starts. McNeil does more in open play than Gudmundsson, making him the more viable one if both are in the starting XI. Paying up for two of these guys will make it very difficult to roster anyone from Manchester United, who played Barcelona on Wednesday in the Champions League and travel to Spain for the second leg next week, a situation that could cause some lineup rotation and/or minutes limits. It also doesn't help that they're in the late game. For GPPs, Raul Jimenez ($8,900) has a solid matchup against Southampton, while the Burnley duo of Ashley Barnes ($8,800) and Chris Wood ($7,700) get the same plum matchup as McNeil, facing a Cardiff side that seems well on its way to relegation. I also wouldn't hesitate at rostering the Bournemouth forwards, with Callum Wilson ($7,500) always more owned than Joshua King ($6,800) because he's better.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh, BHA v. BOU ($5,300): There are a number of viable cheap forwards for cash games, and rostering one of them makes it much easier to pay up for at least one high-priced midfielder, and most likely two. Jahanbakhsh doesn't have a role on set pieces, but his shot floor and occasional crosses put him in the conversation. The same applies to Southampton's Nathan Redmond ($5,700), and if you prefer a little more set-piece exposure, Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon ($5,700) could be that guy. There's also a possibility that Junior Hoilett ($5,800) gets the start for Cardiff, and he's shown plenty of times this season that his well-rounded production can work for cash games. Ultimately you're deciding whether paying down at one forward spot is worth it for two higher-priced midfielders, but given the full context of the slate, I'm not sure it's optimal. Turning to less expensive GPP options, Glenn Murray ($5,600) seems pretty cheap for a striker on a home favorite who is on penalties, while Aleksandar Mitrovic ($6,500) is no stranger to finding the back of the net when no one is looking, though the under-the-radar play I prefer more is Danny Ings ($5,800) at home against Wolves.
Ryan Fraser, BOU at BHA ($8,300): The midfielder everyone will be paying up for in cash games is Fraser, whose monopoly of set pieces for Bournemouth has helped him score at least 8.0 fantasy points in seven of his last nine starts, with his two shortcomings when he played Arsenal away and Manchester City at home. He is not a high-volume shooter, but his crosses and fouls drawn give him a solid floor, and it doesn't hurt that he created multiple chances in each of his last four games. Yes, there are other expensive midfielders worth considering, but none of them are as safe as Fraser.
James Ward-Prowse, SOU v. WOL ($8,100): Ward-Prowse headlines the other top midfield options, as his dominant role on Southampton's set pieces has helped him to more than 8.0 fantasy points in four of his last five, a run that included three straight games with a goal. The matchup at Wolves isn't the easiest, but it's worth recognizing he scored a goal and sent in 11 crosses against Manchester United at Old Trafford and scored again the following week against Tottenham. Paying up for both Fraser and Ward-Prowse likely means you're only rostering one high-priced forward, so the decision will come down to which side you trust more. The other midfielders who need consideration in this range are Anthony Knockaert ($8,000), who really only makes sense at this price if Pascal Gross ($8,200, midfielder/forward) and Solly March ($6,000) don't start, and Victor Camarasa ($7,800), who seems to have a dominant role of set pieces for Cardiff City, who are the worst non-relegated team in the Premier League. Or, you could ignore all of those guys and roster Ashley Westwood ($7,300), though you're probably better off just withdrawing from cash games if you're heading down that road.
Juan Mata, MU v. WHU ($3,900): Full disclosure: I absolutely abhor rostering Mata in cash games and GPPs. I rarely do it because he's never cheap enough for his total lack of open-play value, and it seems the only time he succeeds is when I have a bunch of head-to-head opponents who jammed him in because he could be taking set pieces for Manchester United. That being said, it might be Mata time! (cringe) Rostering him isn't a slam dunk because Man United are in the late game and he may not even start, but with Ashley Young and Luke Shaw both suspended, and a bunch of rotation expected because of their upcoming match against Barcelona in Spain, Mata could have a monopoly of set pieces for the biggest favorite on the slate with the highest implied goal total for less than $4,000. Even though he makes more sense in cash games than GPPs, his floor is disgustingly low and you're really just playing him for his two assists off set pieces with the hope that maybe one of his crosses takes a weird bounce and falls into the back of the net. If you roster Mata and he somehow isn't in the starting XI, you can always pivot to West Ham's Mark Noble ($3,900), who is their designated penalty taker, but it's a real leap of faith to expect much out of him. If you don't want to rely on Mata, there are a number of defensive midfielders who can produce a handful of points to make them just valuable enough to roster, with Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson ($3,600) sticking out to me because he was shooting a little more while still winning tackles and drawing fouls before coming up short in each of the past two games, which came at home against Chelsea and at Man City. If you're a set-piece lover, Jean Michael Seri ($4,100) could get a start, and you certainly can't sleep on Burnley if Robbie Brady ($4,000) forces his way into the starting lineup.
Lucas Digne, EVE at FUL ($6,400): There is no more reliable cash-game play on the slate than Digne, who shares set pieces with Sigurdsson but does enough in open play to warrant rostering on his own, and it doesn't hurt that he also gets a clean sheet bonus if Everton shut out Fulham. Just like with Fraser, cash game lineups will mostly have Digne in them, and given how well he performs, it's tough to argue that paying down at both defender spots in order to grab a midfielder at Digne's price is worth it. In fact, it's not. Just plug Digne in and move onto the next spot.
Joe Bryan, FUL v. EVE ($5,100): The Southampton fullbacks – Ryan Bertrand ($5,500) and Yan Valery ($5,300) – are in decent spots at home against Wolves, but Bryan has been a great fantasy scorer of late, hitting for at least 6.75 in five of his last six matches, with zero goals, zero assists and zero clean sheets. A combination of shots, crosses, tackles won and interceptions has helped give him a solid floor, and while Fulham are home underdogs Saturday, they have no reason to sit back and let Everton do whatever they want. The consideration for paying up for two defenders comes down to whether you think the non-Digne option is better than a midfielder in the price range, and based on the available players, it seems they will be. If Bryan and the Southampton duo are too much, whoever starts on the wings for Wolverhampton should be solid enough, with Matt Doherty surprisingly cheap at $4,000.
Matthew Lowton, BUR v. CAR ($3,700): Lowton's playing time has been minimal of late, but he regained his starting spot last week and comes in $1,300 cheaper than fellow Burnley fullback Charlie Taylor. The floor isn't that high, but Lowton can send in a few crosses and win enough tackles to make his low salary worth it. Rostering Lowton, or at least one cheap defender, means you're possibly paying up for three midfielders, or at least three who are more than $5,000, and it seems the defenders in that range are better than the midfielders, while guys like Mata and Gunnarsson and Brady are more reliable that the defenders in their price range.
Rui Patricio, WOL at SOU ($4,600): I see the argument for rostering Lukasz Fabianski ($3,800) against a Manchester United attack that could be heavily rotated, and if you need the money then I'm all for it. Patricio is the cheaper goalkeeper in the match with the lowest implied goal total, and his last three games are the perfect example of why goalkeeper is so annoying to prepare for: 8.0 away to Chelsea, minus-3.0 away to Burnley and 9.0 at home to Manchester United. It's really tough to make a strong case for any goalkeeper on the slate, but Patricio seems to be at a price point that still allows you to use the salary space elsewhere.