This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Arsenal vs. West Ham United
- 10:00 am: Crystal Palace vs. Watford
- 10:00 am: Sheffield United vs. Norwich City
- 10:00 am: Southampton vs. Newcastle United
- 10:00 am: Wolverhampton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
James Ward-Prowse, SOU v. NEW ($8,200): Given the matchups and player pricing, it seems many fantasy players could prioritize midfielders in cash games (and some GPPs). It's not that we don't have a high-impact forwards, but very few of them have solid floors, so finding value there will allow people to pay up at midfield and defense. The upper-tier of midfield has a number of good options, including West Ham's Robert Snodgrass ($8,000), Wolverhampton's Joao Moutinho ($7,800) and Sheffield United's John Fleck ($7,400), but Ward-Prowse plays for the team with the highest implied total of those options, and he's facing a Newcastle side that's conceded the most crosses, second-most corners, second-most shots assisted, fourth-most shots and second-most shots on goal in the Premier League. If there's one thing to be cognizant of it's where Ward-Prowse plays, as he has been playing right-back recently, which has increased Ryan Bertrand's share of set pieces. With Kyle Walker-Peters ($4,500) expected back from injury, Ward-Prowse could return to the midfield, where he's likely to get a bigger share of those dead-ball opportunities. Given some value opportunities elsewhere, it wouldn't be surprising to see cash lineups with two, if not three, of these midfielders, with Ward-Prowse probably the most popular option since Snodgrass is playing for the biggest underdog (with that said, Arsenal stink), Fleck usually takes fewer corners than teammate Oliver Norwood ($5,500), and Moutinho doesn't do a whole lot in open play.
Ondrej Duda, NOR at SHU ($6,200): Norwich City continue to languish at the bottom of the Premier League table, but that hasn't stopped them from having useful fantasy pieces. Duda has taken on a majority of set pieces from Emiliano Buendia ($7,700), and while Norwich are underdogs away to Sheffield United, Duda's price and production may be too good to pass up. Then again, if you're in his price range and don't trust the Canaries, there are decent pivots such as Valentino Lazaro ($5,900), who had been taking set pieces for Newcastle before he was suspended, or Allan Saint-Maximin ($5,700), who may actually have a higher floor despite no role on corners. Additionally, Norwood continues to use his dead-ball situations to cross for Sheffield United, and there may be people tempted by Arsenal's Mesut Ozil ($5,600) as a potential set-piece taker on the biggest favorite on the slate. We've also seen some very good floor games from Solomon March ($5,400), who has also had a role on set pieces for a Brighton side that seemingly has 14 guys taking corners at any given time. These guys are mostly cash-game options, but if you're looking for more upside, Felipe Anderson ($5,200) and Todd Cantwell ($5,100) are two interesting plays.
Will Hughes, WAT at CRY ($4,200): Only Newcastle have allowed more crosses this season than Crystal Palace, and while Hughes doesn't get many in open play, he's been taking corners recently for Watford, which should help his floor against a Palace team that's conceded the fifth-most in the league this season. Hughes is a defensive midfielder who can also contribute points with tackles won and interceptions, so while he has a decent floor for a player in his price range, his upside is limited. Teammate Roberto Pereyra ($4,400) is the upside play if you think Watford can do some damage against Palace, but Hughes' situation will make him a popular play for cash-game players who need the salary relief. There are actually a few cheaper defenders who might be able to match Hughes' production, though I don't see many people pivoting that way in a utility spot. If you don't want to trust Watford, Southampton's Sofiane Boufal ($4,400) should be a tournament consideration if he starts, though he's highly unlikely to play 90 minutes.
Patrick van Aanholt, CRY v. WAT ($5,500): Months ago I would have scoffed at the idea of paying this much for van Aanholt, but a majority of set pieces puts him firmly in play with Crystal Palace slightly favored at home. We do have to watch out for the potential return of Luka Milivojevic ($6,100, midfielder) to the starting XI because he might regain some of those dead-ball opportunities, but van Aanholt has been solid enough to take the risk, especially since we've seen his upside as recently as two games ago when he dropped 28.5 fantasy points against Newcastle thanks to a goal and clean sheet (not to mention six chances created and eight crosses). Paying up for Matt Ritchie ($5,800) is also a possibility, though it will require Lazaro to be on the bench because he had been taking set pieces when in the lineup. And from above, if Ward-Prowse plays as a right-back again, Ryan Bertrand ($5,600) could be in play against that Newcastle defense that loves to concede crosses.
Kyle Walker-Peters, SOU v. NEW ($4,500): Walker-Peters returned from his calf injury last weekend, though he was apparently not ready to start, which is why Ward-Prowse was back there again. However, with another week of training under his belt, the Tottenham-loanee could get back in the first XI, which is perfect timing against the poor Newcastle defense discussed multiple times above. He's not a high-volume crosser by any means, but he certainly does enough overall to justify his price in this matchup. Additionally, Arsenal's Hector Bellerin ($4,600) is worth a look in GPPs since he can create when he gets forward (he doesn't get forward much), and Sheffield United's George Baldock ($4,900) could also be a viable option if you have slightly more salary.
Aaron Cresswell, WHU at ARS ($4,000): The Arsenal defense is hardly one that should be feared, even if West Ham come in as the biggest underdog on the slate. Cresswell has had a role on set pieces recently, one that could be even bigger if Snodgrass doesn't start, which happened just last week. The difficulty with Cresswell is that he doesn't do much outside of crosses, including taking just three shots in his last 12 Premier League games, but the assist upside is always there for a player whipping in passes from the wing.
Nicolas Pepe, ARS v. WHU ($8,900): Pepe is the one expensive forward worth paying up for in cash games, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's a part of the optimal build. His floor has been solid lately because he's taken on some set pieces, and he's a good contributor in open play, helping him to one goal on eight shots (four on target) and three assists on nine chances created in his last three starts in all competitions (one of which was a 120-minute marathon against OIympiacos in the Europa League). With Arsenal the biggest favorite on the slate, and therefore expected to win some corners and free kicks, Pepe could be one of the highest-owned forwards in cash games despite the high price. And while Pepe certainly has GPP upside, fantasy players looking for goals are more likely to focus on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($10,300), though with such a high price, it's certainly viable to move away from Arsenal and look at Danny Ings ($9,100), Raul Jimenez ($9,700) or Diogo Jota ($9,300) instead, with Adama Traore ($8,700) and Ismaila Sarr ($8,500) more suited for cash games in terms of their actual production. That being said, choosing them over Pepe would be surprising. Then again, Traore is dealing with the after-effects of a dislocated shoulder, which could give a start to Pedro Neto ($7,500), who figures to be pretty under-owned despite being the cheapest option in the front three of the second-biggest favorite on the slate.
Billy Sharp, SHU v. NOR ($5,100): Playing at home against Norwich City is reason enough to consider someone like Sharp, who averages a measly 1.36 shots per 90 minutes. However, he's significantly more affordable than teammate Oliver McBurnie ($6,700), who is actually priced efficiently despite looking overpriced since he's in the same range as guys like Wilfried Zaha ($6,800), Troy Deeney ($7,300), Alexandre Lacazette ($7,000) and Neal Maupay ($6,200). Zaha is probably the only one in this group who will be owned in cash games, and even that isn't likely to be that high. Sharp at least provides some salary savings for a player who has similar anytime goal scorer odds than Pepe, Jota and Teemu Pukki ($5,300). Looking at more cash-friendly options, Miguel Almiron ($5,300) had a great floor game last weekend and then bagged a brace in the FA Cup against West Brom this week, so there will surely be people who look his way.
Tim Krul, NOR at SHU ($4,000): Sheffield United's attack is a strong reason to consider Krul, as they scored one or fewer goals in nine of their last 10 Premier League matches. The Norwich City defense is certainly not good, but it's bendable enough that Krul has made 18 saves in his last four games while conceding just four times in that span (he had two clean sheets). If you prefer home goalkeepers, you'll have to pay up a bit, as Vicente Guaita is the cheapest one at $4,800.