This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Arsenal vs. Sheffield United
- 10:00 am: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Aston Villa
- 10:00 am: Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace
- 10:00 am: Norwich City vs. AFC Bournemouth
- 10:00 am: Southampton vs. Wolverhampton
- 10:00 am: West Ham United vs. Everton
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Riyad Mahrez, MCI v. CRY ($10,500): Manchester City are huge favorites at home against Crystal Palace, who they defeated 2-0 in London earlier this season. Not only are Man City heavily favored, but there really aren't any other overwhelming ones, with City -1115 on DraftKings Sportsbook while the next-highest are Brighton (-150) at home against Aston Villa and Arsenal (-121) at home against Sheffield United. It's honestly tough to make the case for any single Man City forward because you're playing any of them for goals and/or assists, even in cash games despite none of them having floors high enough to justify their prices. Mahrez does have a small role on set pieces, but again, he realistically isn't going to reach 12-15 floor points. Then again, he's been really active on the score-sheet, scoring three goals on 20 shots (seven on target) and assisting three others on 11 chances created in his last four games when he's played more than 45 minutes. His teammates have also been in strong form, with Sergio Aguero ($10,700) bagging four goals on nine shots (six on target) in his last two starts, while Gabriel Jesus ($9,700) has seven goals on 23 shots (15 on target) and two assists on seven chances created in his last five. They've certainly been more productive than Raheem Sterling ($10,000), who has curiously played just one minute in the past two Premier League games, though he's always capable of exploding too. I guess I should also mention Bernardo Silva ($8,200), though he doesn't get on the score-sheet nearly as much as his fellow forwards, so the decent price difference is fully warranted.
Wilfried Zaha, CRY at MCI ($5,100): Don't get me wrong, Crystal Palace are huge underdogs and there's little optimism for a ceiling game for Zaha, but given that a lot of his attacking points don't necessarily come from his side having lots of possession, and Zaha could be a valuable piece for those trying to get at least one Manchester City forward and midfielder. We should acknowledge that Man City has just two clean sheets in their past 15 Premier League or Champions League matches, but let's no go overboard thinking Zaha will break through, even though he's the type of player who can cause havoc against any side. He gets his fantasy points through shots, crosses, fouls drawn and tackles won, and given Man City's defensive issues, making value on a fairly low salary shouldn't be overly difficult, even if Crystal Palace figure to have minimal possession.
Adama Traore, WOL at SOU ($7,600): I was going to write up Gylfi Sigurdsson ($7,500), but a return to sharing set pieces with Lucas Digne ($6,200) is obviously a situation worth monitoring, as Sigurdsson wasn't nearly as successful and reliable when he didn't have a monopoly of set pieces for Everton. There will still be people who play him, though his floor is much closer to Traore's if he isn't on all dead balls. If you still want exposure to set pieces, Leandro Trossard ($6,800) could be that guy, though the return of midfielder Aaron Mooy ($7,400) could cloud that situation too. If anything, these guys at least make Pascal Gross ($8,500) look comically over-priced, even in a great matchup against Aston Villa, with Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe ($8,100) certainly more exciting in terms of floor and ceiling.
Editor's note: Sigurdsson was ruled out for Saturday's match after this article was submitted.
Kevin De Bruyne, MCI v. CRY ($11,000): De Bruyne is the most expensive player on the slate, but when you are the highest-scoring player on DraftKings this season and taking set pieces for a -1115 favorite, that's going to happen. The only reason not to play two Manchester City forwards is because you're likely pricing yourself out of De Bruyne, who is usually played because of his high floor (no one has scored more floor points this season), but he also has three goals on 16 shots (eight on target) and five assists on 16 chances created in his last six starts. Despite the high price, De Bruyne figures to be one of the highest-owned players in cash games, and he certainly won't be under-owned in tournaments.
Emiliano Buendia, NOR v. BOU ($8,700): De Bruyne's viability shouldn't make it sound like he's the only midfielder worth considering, as we actually have a number of very viable options for those who don't want to mess around with Manchester City goal/assist roulette in cash games. Buendia feels a bit overpriced because he's not that far off from the Man City attackers, but he's been one of the most consistent floor players in the league, scoring at least 12.4 fantasy points in each of his last seven starts, a span that saw him score zero goals while assisting just three on an impressive 33 chances created. The matchup against Bournemouth should only help Buendia's case, as Norwich are actually favored at home despite still sitting bottom of the table (in fairness, Bournemouth are 19th, six points ahead of last). Buendia headlines a solid group of cash-game midfielders who are all pretty much priced out if you have multiple Manchester City attackers, with Jack Grealish ($8,400), Robert Snodgrass ($7,900), Ryan Fraser ($7,200), James Ward-Prowse ($7,100), Joao Moutinho ($6,700) and Mesut Ozil ($6,400) all worthwhile considerations because of their roles on set pieces, some of whom are even favorites. In fact, you could reasonably get three of them into a cash lineup if you decide to mostly fade Manchester City, which seems to usually be the case on Man City slates anyway.
Kenny McLean, NOR v. BOU ($4,000): McLean represents the Norwich City attacking midfielder you can afford if you play De Bruyne and a Manchester City forward, as you likely won't have the funds available for Buendia or another guy in that range unless you pay down at one of the forward spots, which isn't so easy to do in cash games if you don't trust Zaha. Moving slightly higher than McLean for guys like Anwar El Ghazi ($5,700), Manuel Lanzini ($5,600), Conor Hourihane ($5,300) or Oliver Norwood ($5,000) is a tough proposition if you have so much salary tied up with the Manchester City guys, so you're likely looking for at least one midfielder in McLean's price range. He's certainly a fine play, though he's obviously not nearly as reliable as Buendia, which is why he's less than half the price. Southampton's Stuart Armstrong ($4,600) has been playing better of late and is at home Saturday, though playing against Wolves won't be a walk in the park. Otherwise, there are plenty of holding midfielders who can occasionally do something, such as Lucas Torreira ($4,200), Davy Propper ($4,100), Granit Xhaka ($3,500), Max Meyer ($3,400) and Philip Billing ($3,400), but their upsides are all quite limited. Then again, if you can get 40 points from Aguero and Billing, are you complaining that the latter only contributed two of the 40?
Diego Rico, BOU at NOR ($5,000): Lucas Digne ($6,200) is inching his way back into consideration after sharing set pieces again last weekend, but it's tough to pony up that much salary, particularly on this slate, without more than a single-game sample of whether he's going to continue that role or not. Teammate Djibril Sidibe ($5,500) has been the better open-play attacker among the Everton full-backs, and his small price decrease makes him more reasonable as a play. Then again, Rico is probably better than both against a Norwich that has conceded the second-most crosses among teams on the slate. Rico's salary is a bit high for those paying up for Man City attackers, but it's worth recognizing another type of player you're giving up to buy into a Man City onslaught.
Matt Doherty, WOL at SOU ($4,000): Wolves are very slight away underdogs against Southampton, who have allowed the fourth-most crosses, fifth-most chances and fourth-most tackles won among teams on the slate. Doherty's teammate Jonny ($4,100) is only slightly more expensive, and while their floors are pretty similar, it's worth the slight salary savings from Doherty because his floor includes more shots, which provides more potential upside than any other stat. It's surprising how cheap the full-backs are in the this game, not because they are overly aggressive fantasy scorers, but they're usually pretty reliable and often priced decently higher.
Ryan Bertrand, SOU v. WOL ($3,800): And speaking of cheap full-backs in the Southampton v. Wolverhampton match, Bertrand is expected to be the cheapest one, which is not something we see often, though Cedric Soares ($4,300) has been the better fantasy scorer of late. Bertrand's price and position make him a viable option for those looking to spend down, especially when we have center-backs priced similarly or higher. I also don't think taking a risk on the Arsenal fullbacks is bad, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles ($4,000) and Hector Bellerin ($3,700) offering some potential upside if Arsenal can attack Sheffield United regularly.
Pepe Reina, AVL at BHA ($4,100): Filling in for the injured Tom Heaton (knee), Reina is expected to make his Villa debut against a Brighton side that's scored multiple goals just once in their past five Premier League matches. Then again, the Villa defense has been awful this season, conceding multiple goals in 14 of 22 league matches, including seven of their past nine. If anything, the save upside should be there for Reina, who is the cheapest expected starting goalkeeper not facing Manchester City. Then again, don't be surprised if Vicente Guaita ($3,600) is decently owned because he's so much cheaper, with the hope in rostering him simply that he makes enough saves to counter the goals he allows.