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

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EST)

For detailed stats and odds, as well as expected lineups, check out the

DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday EPL Cheat Sheet

FORWARDS

Mohamed Salah, LIV at NOR ($11,500): Salah is the most important player on the slate. With only two games to choose from, spending 23 percent of the salary cap on a single player obviously has big ramifications on the rest of your lineup. Liverpool are big favorites away to Norwich, who sit last in the Premier League while allowing the second-most goals, second-most assists, fourth-most shots, second-most shots on goal, fourth-most chances created and third-most crosses this season. The only thing keeping the Canaries from being bigger underdogs is that they're playing at home, though they allowed multiple goals in all but three of their 12 home games. There is probably only one player on the slate worth paying up for, and if fantasy players generally think the other guys are all the same, paying down to fit Salah in will become a popular strategy. Salah's floor isn't nearly high enough to justify his price, but he comes in with five goals on 25 shots (10 on target) and two assists on 15 chances created in his last six games while Liverpool have a decent team goal total, and he has the highest anytime goal scorer odds. The potential return of Sadio Mane ($10,200) from a hamstring injury could lower Salah's ownership in GPPs, but it's hardly going to lower it in cash games. Roberto Firmino ($9,900) is also a complement for tournaments, though if you really think Liverpool destroy Norwich City then stacking him with Salah isn't crazy. Otherwise, fantasy players could try to save money with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ($8,000) if he starts for Mane, but he's completely dependent on a goal or assist to make value, even at his reduced price in relation to his forward teammates, a situation that also applies to Divock Origi ($9,000) and Takumi Minamino ($8,500) if one of them gets the call.

Dwight McNeil, BUR at SOU ($6,900): There was a run of matches toward the end of December and beginning of January where it looked like McNeil might not be a cash-game option anymore, but that seems to have gone out the window after scoring more than 10.0 floor points in back-to-back matches, which came away to Manchester United and home to Arsenal. He continues to share set pieces with midfielder Ashley Westwood ($5,100), but he does enough in open play, including defensive work, that he becomes very viable on the slate, especially because he is forward eligible. Chris Wood ($6,400) and Jay Rodriguez ($5,600) have more goal upside, though it's not like Burnley are expected to score loads at St. Mary's. Instead, tournament players will probably be better off focusing on Southampton's Danny Ings ($7,800), who had 10 goals on 34 shots (17 on target) over 11 starts before failing to find the back of the net in his last start, which came against Liverpool at Anfield (understandable despite the revenge game). Ings actually has the fourth-highest anytime goal scorer odds on the slate, and it could be the second-highest among starters of Mane and Origi are on the bench. It's certainly better than trying to get something out of Shane Long ($5,900) or Nathan Redmond ($5,800), whose floors really aren't high enough for cash games no matter how many times you go back to the Redmond well.

Teemu Pukki, NOR v. LIV ($5,500): Pukki is the big GPP wildcard on the slate. Despite facing a Liverpool team that comes in with nine clean sheets in their last 10 Premier League matches, Ings is the only non-Liverpool player with better anytime goal scorer odds. That doesn't actually mean much on a two-game slate, especially since Norwich City are big home underdogs, but Pukki can still be active, as he comes in with two goals on 12 shots (five on goal) and four chances created in his last three games, and he scored against Liverpool in the opening match of the season. There seems to be little reason to play Pukki because of all the negatives, but if enough people are going to fade him then taking a shot in GPPs probably isn't a bad idea if somehow Norwich find the back of the net.

MIDFIELDERS

James Ward-Prowse, SOU vs. BUR ($7,400): If Salah is the most important player on the slate then Ward-Prowse is the most important midfielder. His spot in the starting XI isn't a given since he's battling a knee injury (he got a severe cut on it that apparently exposed part of the bone), but he returned to training this week and the team is hopeful he'll be able to play. He takes a significant number of Southampton's set pieces, and while they are unlikely to win as many as Liverpool in their match, Ward-Prowse could be very busy if he starts. He really doesn't take many shots, but his crosses allow him to create chances, and he supplies enough tackles won to make his floor one of the highest on the slate. Playing both Salah and Ward-Prowse is doable given some scattered value plays, though it seems more likely fantasy players will choose one. If anything, Salah's ownership will go up if Ward-Prowse isn't in the starting lineup.

Ondrej Duda, NOR v. LIV ($6,200): Duda's realistic viability is dependent on whether Emiliano Buendia ($7,200) starts. If the latter is on the bench, the former should have control of Norwich City's set pieces. Will they win many? Probably not. But Norwich aren't a team that just sits back when they can attack, and Duda's well-rounded contributions should allow him to make enough of an impact for his price, especially with so few solid floor midfielders on the slate. Buendia isn't a bad play if he starts, though he's firmly behind Ward-Prowse (if he starts) because of the tough matchup.

Stuart Armstrong, SOU vs. BUR ($4,800): Armstrong's viability at his price is an indictment on this slate, as he's not a great floor player, though he does have two goals in his last three starts. His price range also includes Ashley Westwood ($5,100), who shares Burnley's set pieces with McNeil, but his open-play production is pretty weak, and he's an away underdog. Armstrong likely won't have any role on set pieces, even if Ward-Prowse doesn't start, but a home match against Burnley is a worthwhile time to use him, even in cash games. Teammate Moussa Djenepo ($5,200) isn't a bad play either, and he could even be a more popular pay-down option if he plays in a more advanced role. The matchup is really what makes us focus on guys from Southampton and, to a lesser extent, Burnley, as Norwich City's Todd Cantwell ($4,900) and even Kenny McLean ($3,800) can't be expected to do a whole lot against Liverpool. Then again, if you need the salary help, McLean isn't an awful play.

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV at NOR ($8,200): Alexander-Arnold is likely to be the most popular player in cash games because he takes a majority of set pieces for a big favorite. His salary is quite high for a defender, but given his role for the first-place team in the league against the last-place team, he'd probably be an easy play as a $9,500 midfielder. Throw in the fact that Liverpool have solid clean sheet odds, which would give Alexander-Arnold three more fantasy points, and anyone who fades him will be left wondering why they did it when there are so few players worth targeting among the four teams on the slate.

Ryan Bertrand, SOU vs. BUR ($4,400): Bertrand could be the second-most popular player on the slate if Ward-Prowse doesn't start because he'll be expected to take set pieces for Southampton. He's not a volume crosser in open play, but the dead-ball opportunities will put him in prime spots to send in crosses, create chances and possibly get on the score-sheet. Teammate Kyle Walker-Peters ($4,800), who is on loan from Tottenham, could get some attention too, though Bertrand's price makes him more attractive.

Erik Pieters, BUR at SOU ($3,000): With both Charlie Taylor ($4,500) and Matthew Lowton ($4,200) questionable because of injuries, we could get starts from Phil Bardsley ($3,500) and Pieters, who seem pretty underpriced despite a decent matchup. Southampton may be favored, but it's not like we're talking about an elite team this season. Either way, Pieters and Bardsley provide significant cost savings, especially for those who want to play Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Ward-Prowse.

GOALKEEPER

Nick Pope, BUR at SOU ($4,100): If you don't want to pay up for Alisson Becker ($5,900), Pope seems like the viable pay-down option as he lines up as an underdog in a game with a fairly low goal total. Given the price difference, I just can't see how anyone can justify paying for Alex McCarthy ($5,500), especially when he's so close to Alisson. Tim Krul ($3,700) likely has the highest save upside, but he's also the one most likely to finish below zero.

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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