This article is part of our Starting Eleven series.
9:05 a.m: Arsenal v. Southampton
9:05 a.m: Manchester United v. Liverpool
This is another Sunday slate that mirrors how it's been in recent weeks, with one big favorite and the other matchup a toss up. The favorite is Arsenal, and that means Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will be the most targeted forwards with the best odds to score. Aubameyang has more upside because he usually gets better looks on net, but Lacazette often has a higher floor because he's involved a little more, which leads to more fouls drawn and defensive stats. Southampton could easily score, but there's little reason to trust either forward with Danny Ings still injured.
According to the odds, Liverpool are the slight favorite at Old Trafford, but that's a hard number to back. Sadio Mane has been a little more viable in recent matches, and even if he doesn't score, he has had a decent floor with 17 shots in his last five starts in all competitions. There's little reason to use Roberto Firmino since he's getting the fewest opportunities of the Liverpool attackers. The big question falls on Mohamed Salah, as he has the best upside of the bunch, but when he doesn't score his floor is often troubling, failing to surpass 7.40 fantasy points in recent matches against West Ham and Leicester. If you prefer the home underdog, Marcus Rashford had multiple shots on goal in his last eight league starts and will likely end with a higher floor than the Liverpool players. However, I probably wouldn't touch Anthony Martial since he's usually a good sub candidate and dealing with a groin injury.
The matchup isn't great, but Paul Pogba should still be in every lineup after scoring at least 19.50 fantasy points in each of the last nine matches. Even when he barely did anything in the attack against Leicester, he still completed 60 passes, which pushed his floor close to 20 points. With the over/under for this match pushing three goals, one would think that Pogba is involved even if Liverpool win 3-0. Otherwise, you're looking at a bunch of defensive midfielders in this match. Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic are always good for at least 10 fantasy points, though Herrera has slightly more upside with seven shots and two chances created in his last two starts (UCL included). For Liverpool, Fabinho has been the safest simply because he's more consistent at completing passes than Georginio Wijnaldum, who is a little all over the place with just 71 passes completed in his last two starts.
For the Gunners, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the upside play since he actually makes the score sheet. Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi haven't had great floors in the last month, but if you trust the matchup, they should both hit at least 10 fantasy points with the help of completed passes. The Southampton midfielders may end up as better options since they're asked to do a little more. Even when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg doesn't complete passes, he usually racks up defensive stats, while James Ward-Prowse is on corners and also supplies defensive numbers.
DEFENDERS AND GOALKEEPERS
Laurent Koscielny may be the only reasonable defender to back on the biggest favorite since he has the safest floor, scoring at least 10 fantasy points in all seven starts this season. He had 85 completed passes at Southampton in December and could be near that total again. It's hard to trust any of the Southampton guys because while they may make a lot of defensive stats, they won't have much possession, keeping all of their floors below 10 points.
And while most of the Liverpool defenders have been fairly easy to trust, their floors all take a hit in a difficult situation. Virgil van Dijk has had a great floor with at least 100 completed passes in four of his last five starts, yet that's not something to rely on against the Red Devils. Trent Alexander-Arnold is the upside pick since he's on corners, but he may have the worst floor of the bunch. Oddly, Luke Shaw may be the safest of the United defenders since he's not only good for 50 passes every match, but he also gets forward and supplies a few defensive stats. Otherwise, Phil Jones is next due to completed passes, averaging more than 50 per match.
Bernd Leno is the way to go at goalkeeper since he has the best odds to win and get a clean sheet. While he doesn't have many clean sheets, he's often had a good floor because of save opportunities. David de Gea isn't far behind mostly because he's had numerous matches in which he's been pounded with shots and that could happen against Liverpool.