This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Sheffield United vs. Crystal Palace
- 12:30 pm: Manchester City vs. Chelsea
- 3:15 pm: Liverpool vs. Southampton
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Diogo Jota, LIV v. SOU ($17): Liverpool are miles ahead of any other team on this slate in terms of implied goal total, so you have to start with them. I've been backing Jota since he returned from injury, partly because he's cheaper than Mohamed Salah ($23) and Sadio Mane ($19) but also because his upside has been higher. Salah is most likely to score, but his floor has hit double digits once in his last 11 league starts. Jota had multiple shots on target in four of his last five league appearances and maybe benefited the most from the week off, as he's been getting worked into the ground since getting back on the pitch. He wasn't in the original starting XI for the match against Man United, but that could change with a week of training. Mane may be my last pick because even when he scores, he hasn't surpassed 30 fantasy points since January. Roberto Firmino ($16) has oddly had the highest floor of the four over the last two league matches, which may be why he was going to start over Jota against Man United. The problem with Firmino is that he's on another cold streak and hasn't hit the back of the net since Jan. 28. Given the odds, it makes sense to use a couple Liverpool forwards and then maybe throw in Trent Alexander-Arnold. There is some worry that Liverpool lost the first meeting against Southampton, but they dominated with 17 shots and 12 chances created. It's hard to see them finishing with just one shot on target again from those 17 shots.
Ferran Torres, MCI v. CHE ($16): Liverpool are the first team to back since nothing stands out from the other two matches. Sure, it's Manchester City, but this is one of their lower implied totals of the season, partly because they were held scoreless last meeting in the FA Cup. Also, everything depends on who starts, as Pep Guardiola is doing almost full rotations when there is Champions League midweek. If it's the same lineup as the Crystal Palace match, Torres may be the best option since he took the majority of the set pieces and finished with two shots and four chances created along with a goal. Gabriel Jesus ($19) and Sergio Aguero ($18) are in play because they're most likely to score, but in what's expected to be a defensive match, guessing between two forwards to hit the back of the net is risky, especially in cash games. Of course, none of this will matter if guys like Kevin De Bruyne ($22), Phil Foden ($17) and Riyad Mahrez ($21) start again. I'm not sure anyone else is worth a look unless you want to bank on defensive stats from Rodri ($10). If City's top trio gets the call again, I'd put Mahrez above anyone else because of his form, while De Bruyne is always in play and Foden is just as lethal as the other two. Still, I'd put the Liverpool players ahead of them because they'll get more opportunities.
Wilfried Zaha, CRY at SHU ($17): Zaha has a bit of a groin issue, but no one knows what it means because he felt it before the last match and ended up going a full 90. He's more of a tournament play without much of a floor, though facing Sheffield United is a bit different than Palace's last three matches, which were against Man City, Leicester and Chelsea. He's managed one shot in that period, but he's tied for a career-high with 10 goals in 24 starts this season, and I'd rather take him than Christian Benteke ($18) because he's a better overall player and also on penalties. Sheffield United are prone to allowing multiple goals, as seen in the first meeting, a 2-0 Palace win, and that's enough to consider Zaha or anyone else on the team. Sure, it comes with risk because it's Crystal Palace, but a Zaha brace wouldn't be the most surprising thing to happen this weekend if it did.
James Ward-Prowse, SOU at LIV ($15): Ward-Prowse is on penalties and that's probably the biggest thing in his favor on a slate that doesn't present much. This matchup has the highest implied goal total, and while most of that is because of Liverpool, Southampton have shown they can score against everyone, bagging goals against Leicester, Tottenham and Man City in recent matches. They may not get a ton of opportunities, but neither will Chelsea, the other team to back on this slate that I've yet to mention. Ward-Prowse takes almost every set piece for Southampton while providing defensive stats, which means he should hit 10 fantasy points no matter how the match goes. As for anyone else on Southampton, it's a shot in the dark if you want to project who will score for them. Che Adams ($15) and Nathan Redmond ($10) started up front last match, but I'm not sure what that means.
You could look at Mason Mount ($17), Christian Pulisic ($16) or anyone on Chelsea, but that seems like a waste of money. Man City aren't invincible and anyone could score, and even though Chelsea won the prior meeting in the FA Cup, they managed just five shots and three corners. Either way, I prefer not to bet against Man City.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV v. SOU ($15): I usually don't spend up at defender, but it only makes sense this week unless you roster three Liverpool forwards. Alexander-Arnold doesn't always has a huge floor, but he has the most upside, making the score-sheet in three of his last four starts and creating multiple chances almost every match because of his role on set pieces. There's a chance he fails to hit 10 fantasy points, but with a clean sheet in play in addition to score-sheet possibility, I think he's worth the money. I'm not sure anyone else is worth paying up for, but if you can, a stack of Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson ($14) isn't a bad idea if those two are in the attacking third all match.
Jack Stephens, SOU at LIV ($7): The defenders with the highest floors Saturday may be the Southampton center-backs, Jannik Vestergaard ($11) and Jan Bednarek ($13). Stephens is more likely to be at left-back, but he's still cheap and should sit back most of the match. Otherwise, the other defenders in this range are from Crystal Palace, who may not get a ton of defensive work against Sheffield United.
Vicente Guaita, CRY at SHU ($11): It makes sense to use Alisson Becker ($14) if you have the money because he has the best odds to win and secure a clean sheet. However, he would likely take you off one of the Liverpool forwards or Alexander-Arnold. I'd rather take a side in one of the more defensive matches. Edouard Mendy ($8) is an option, but I'd rather go against the worst team in the league. Even then, I'm not sure Guaita is that much better of an option than Aaron Ramsdale ($9), who consistently makes more saves.