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

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EST)

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DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday EPL Cheat Sheet

Wait, TAA is almost $10,000?

Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV at WAT ($9,200): The pricing on this slate is absolutely ridiculous, but that actually doesn't really apply to Alexander-Arnold. The third-most expensive player, Alexander-Arnold finally seems to be priced efficiently for the first time all season. Taking a majority of set pieces for the eventual Premier League title winners has helped him to a league-best 288 crosses (his 10.94 per 90 also also the most), and his 73 chances created are the second-most in the league, and most among players on Saturday's slate. Liverpool are now just four wins away from clinching the title, so there seems to be little reason for a let-down spot here, even with an FA Cup match against Chelsea on Tuesday. There could be an ever-so-slight doubt about Alexander-Arnold starting Saturday, which complicates things because Liverpool are playing in the late match, but he's still likely to be highly owned enough that everyone will have to scramble if he's not in the starting XI. Nevertheless, he's the best floor player on the slate and still has excellent upside (it's mostly because of assists rather than goals), so while the price seems insanely high for a defender, we'd pay it if he was a midfielder this entire time and in Saturday's situation.

FORWARDS

Michail Antonio, WHU v. SOU ($6,900): I began with Alexander-Arnold because I think he's worth prioritizing on this slate, one that I've already mentioned has really tough pricing. It's not that the upper-tier guys like Mohamed Salah ($11,100) and Sadio Mane ($10,300) are overpriced, but fading the goal-dependent guys on the team with the highest implied goal total doesn't necessarily get you a whole lot, both in cash game and GPPs. Exhibit A is Dwight McNeil ($8,700), who is coming off a massive game against Bournemouth when he had 32.3 fantasy points that included one goal and one assist. McNeil has a role on set pieces, so it's not completely out of the question that he could create three chances and pick up an assist, but we also can't ignore that the goal, his second of the season, was his first since Oct. 26, and the assist his first since Nov. 9, moving him to five on the campaign. Burnley were home favorites last week against Bournemouth when McNeil was $7,200, but his score-sheet appearances now pushed him $1,500 higher and yet Burnely are away underdogs this week against Newcastle, who have allowed only 12 goals at home this season, a total bested by only Liverpool (11). Theoretically, McNeil's floor is what makes him valuable, but are you really going to spend $100 more on McNeil than Danny Ings or $500 more than Tammy Abraham, who both lead the lines for favored teams?

The difficulty is that there really aren't many good floor forwards on the slate, so paying down for at least one, and likely two, in cash games could be a popular strategy, especially with solid midfielders to consider (and Alexander-Arnold). Antonio is the first forward I thought was truly viable in cash games because of his solid floor and price, and while West Ham are underdogs, they are still at home and in need of points, as they currently sit in the relegation zone. Antonio has no role on set pieces, but he still crosses a decent amount and takes enough shots and draws enough fouls that he's viable for his floor. To further extenuate the ridiculous pricing, West Ham's previous starting striker Sebastien Haller is $5,700 but his presumed replacement, who came up from the Championship in January, Jarrod Bowen, is $7,800. I'll admit, one other forward in the price range I considered was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ($7,400), but his spot in the starting XI isn't guaranteed after coming off the bench in each of their last two games, and Liverpool playing in the late game only gives you the Watford guys if you need to pivot, and you'll be leaving valuable salary on the table.

Gerard Deulofeu, WAT v. LIV ($5,800): The William Smallbone ($3,900) days might be over despite a decent performance last weekend, so the cheapest possible starting forward could be Dwight Gayle at $4,600. That's about it in terms of viability, and his spot in the first XI isn't a sure thing given that he's started just two of 10 appearances this season. Otherwise, we could try to get something out of Joshua King ($4,700) at home against Chelsea after he had 8.5 fantasy points at Burnley last week without a goal or assist. Gayle's teammate Joelinton ($4,900) is also in this range, but his floor isn't even that great for the price. The only reason we could see some rotation is that Newcastle have an FA Cup match Tuesday against West Brom, and manager Steve Bruce has made it clear that he's prioritizing that competition despite currently sitting 19th in the table (does he know that winning the FA Cup won't avoid relegation?).

We may get an unexpected start out of Johann Berg Gudmundsson ($5,100), which would make him a very popular cash play because he usually shares corners when he's on, but again, he's unlikely to start. And if you want to go back to the well for Miguel Almiron ($5,200), just know that he scored fewer than 4.5 fantasy points in three of his last four games. Then again, his lone home match in that span was 9.1 against Norwich. It's thin, but so is the whole position.

That brings us to Deulofeu, who has a terrible matchup as the biggest underdog. Playing against Liverpool is never going to inspire confidence of a huge game, but Deulofeu has had some solid games against good teams, including 9.2 fantasy points at Anfield back in December. His price for his floor is the reason he should be considered, especially when you look at the guys above him on the salary list, pretty much all of whom are very goal dependent and mostly unlikely to score a goal.

MIDFIELDERS

James Ward-Prowse, SOU at WHU ($8,100): There are too many viable midfielders on the slate, and while there are a few pay-down options, the impact players for cash games are going to cost you. Robert Snodgrass ($8,800) is the most expensive midfield-only player, and while his role on set pieces for West Ham will always make him a reasonable consideration, getting Ward-Prowse, who is on the favored team despite playing away, for $700 cheaper should be a better use of funds. His position has changed quite a bit recently because of a few Southampton injuries, but he should be back to his central midfield role for this one. Not to be forgotten, Chelsea's Mason Mount ($8,000) has been excellent recently even though he doesn't have a significant share of set pieces, and Chelsea do come in as the second-biggest favorite. Thankfully, we'll know their lineup before lock, as they have to play Liverpool in the FA Cup next week, so we could see some rotation. On the other side of his game is Ryan Fraser ($7,600), who was used off the bench last week but came into that one with double-digit fantasy points in four consecutive home games. He gets his points from shots, chances created, crosses and fouls drawn, which shouldn't be overly tough against Chelsea despite the points separation in the table. Using two of these players in cash games seems like the most likely strategy for many players, and you can even get three of them if you're willing to fade Alexander-Arnold.

Allan Saint-Maximin, NEW v. BUR ($6,500): It feels pretty weird writing about Newcastle so much, especially since we haven't even discussed set pieces yet, but Saint-Maximin is actually their best floor-point scorer on a per-game basis, and he's second in average (overall) fantasy points. He's able to score these points with shots, shots assisted, crosses and fouls drawn, enough so that he's now gone five straight games with at least 8.4 floor points, and he scored a goal in the match just before this run. He isn't on the same level as the group discussed above, but his floor is safe if you're in this range and you don't have to stomach the idea of paying $6,700 for Ashley Westwood, who admittedly scored at least 11.6 fantasy points in three straight games. I also would keep Moussa Djenepo ($6,300) on the radar after he was unstoppable last week against Aston Villa, though that's arguably the worst defense in the league so maybe I should settle down on that one. If anything, the other side of his game is interesting, with Felipe Anderson ($5,700) an attractive GPP option.

Will Hughes, WAT v. LIV ($3,700): I was going to write about Sean Longstaff ($5,100) as a possible cheap source of set pieces, and while he's likely to get more opportunities than Hughes, the $1,400 difference is tough to stomach, especially since Hughes is able to score fantasy points with defensive work as well. Similarly to Deulofeu, the matchup couldn't be much worse, but Hughes' low price could allow you to pay up at both defender spots or one forward, if you can find one up there worth investing in. The bigger problem with Hughes is the opportunity cost, as you can't get three of the big midfielders if you play him because there's no where for him on the roster (literally).

DEFENDERS

Kyle Walker-Peters, SOU at WHU ($4,000): Walker-Peters is expected back from injury this weekend, and lining up as a favorite against West Ham should be enough for people to look his way, especially since he's $1,300 cheaper than left-back Ryan Bertrand, who isn't likely to have many set pieces. There are a few tempting cheaper defenders, with Newcastle's Danny Rose only $3,900, though his early returns haven't been overly encouraging.

Reece James, CHE at BOU ($6,000): A role on set pieces for a favored side will make James viable, even if he's likely to only get a smattering of dead-ball opportunities. If anything, consideration for James should make us look to someone like Emerson Palmieri ($5,200), who could get a start at left-back if Chelsea rotates a bit ahead of next week's clash with Liverpool. Emerson is usually on some corners when he starts, and Chelsea's attack shouldn't have many problems against Bournemouth's fairly weak back line. You could also make the case for Matt Ritchie ($5,500) if he starts because he usually has set pieces when he does, which should give him a better floor than Charlie Taylor ($5,100) despite his matchup against a Newcastle side that's conceded the most crosses this season.

GOALKEEPER

Aaron Ramsdale, BOU v. CHE ($4,100): Ramsdale is the cheapest home goalkeeper on the slate not facing Liverpool, though if that isn't a concern for you then Ben Foster ($3,800) is your guy. Given the gross options at forward, it's theoretically viable to pay far down at both spots in order to pay up at goalkeeper, though you're probably better off using that salary for a better midfielder or defender than ponying up $5,800 for Alisson Becker or $5,500 for Wilfredo Caballero (Alisson is significantly better of the two). Finally, Martin Dubravka ($4,800) and Nick Pope ($4,600) are in the game with the lowest total, but their salaries don't save you a whole lot.

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 Head of DFS Content and Senior Soccer Editor. He is an eight-time FSWA award finalist, including twice for Football Writer of the Year.
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