Galin Dragiev highlights the best EPL Soccer week 9 DFS picks on DraftKings and Fanduel:
Hello everyone. We have some big news. FanDuel has welcomed soccer to its US based product. FanDuel announced soccer in the UK earlier this season and it seems they have decided to introduce it in the US now. However, there seem to be some changes from the UK product. In the US, rosters will consist of only eight players instead of 11, which is something I personally prefer in soccer anyway.
11-man rosters are a bit too complex for the average user, and I think getting that down to eight allows for a bigger interest in the game. As far as scoring goes, from what I can tell, the scoring is rumored to be the same as the UK game but that is not something I’ve seen officially confirmed by FanDuel. The UK scoring is definitely more complex than DraftKings, and it doesn’t include crosses, which throws a wrinkle in the game as crosses are some of most reliable stats on DraftKings. Instead, we’ll have to focus on passes, chances created, shots on target (worth 1/3 the points of a goal), and some interesting defensive stats. We’ll get more into that in the future, but considering FanDuel hasn’t released contests for this week, let’s focus on our DraftKings plays.
The slate is an interesting one. We have a lot of one-sided games. Liverpool is expected to destroy West Brom, and I love targeting them as favorites when they play at home. Arsenal face Middlesbrough, also at home, and considering they just scored six goals in the Champions League, they’ll certainly be worthy of being targeted. The matchup is elite as well. Everton are favored at home to Burnley, but the value there will be interesting as we will likely default to other heavily favored teams. There is also West Ham at home to Sunderland, which presents us with the Payet dilemma. Let’s get to some specific plays.
This week is stacked with offensive talent. There will be a ton of goals and some extremely high scores. To put it in perspective, Arsenal and Liverpool are both at 11/10 (48%) odds to score 3+ goals. On top of that there are studs in Payet and Siggurdson playing at home, and you will have to spend heavily on midfielders/strikers. With that in mind, we’ll need to save money on goalkeepers. I’m guessing some will go with Victor Valdes and Ben Foster, but my guess is that both get blown up. My favorite cheap play this week is:
Tom Heaton ($4,000) – Heaton plays at home and faces Everton. Everton will attack and shoot, but their chances at 3+ goals are much smaller than Liverpool/Arsenal and Heaton has quite a bit of a higher chance at a clean sheet than Foster/Valdes. Heaton is too cheap to ignore, and he is cash playable on this slate.
Others to consider: Kasper Schmeichel, Lukasz Fabianski, Lee Grant, David Marshall
The Top Choice – James Milner ($7,600) – Milner is not 100% set to start because of an injury he recently picked up but he is expected to be fully fit. If he does start, he is a good way to get into Liverpool’s attack. He is technically a defender, making him eligible for clean sheet bonus, but he also joins the attack at will and is on penalty duty. The penalty duty is a huge bonus in GPPs as it increases his upside. Against a team like West Brom that should be defending all game, the chances of a penalty increase, and so does Milner’s value.
Cash Option – Neil Taylor ($3,700) – Neil Taylor missed the beginning of the season through injury but he’s back and is playing at right-back. He gets up the pitch to fire in a few crosses and a potential shot most games and home field advantage should give him a boost in that regard. The floor isn’t huge, but we don’t have any great cheap options in defense this week and we can’t afford to spend up at the position, especially if we are already rostering Milner. Taylor is a good choice for those trying to save money while still getting a decent player. Keep an eye out on starting lineups for last minute value plays.
The Top Choice – Dimitri Payet ($10,400) – I didn’t write up Payet last week because I hated the matchup and loved some values on the rest of the slate and it turned out to be the right call. Payet finished on just 10 points, which is certainly low for his price, and wasn’t able to fully impressed. However, this week is different. Payet returns home and gets Sunderland! Sunderland have been as bad as always and Payet will pull them apart with trickery. Corner kick duty and free-kick duty adds to his floor and upside, and even with Arsenal and Liverpool playing on the slate as heavy favorites, Payet will be a great cash game option.
Cash Play – Robert Snodgrass ($7,400) – Snodgrass in a very similar situation to Payet. A disappointing last week on the road, but returns home for a fantastic matchup against Stoke. Snodgrass is on a variety of set pieces, giving him similar upside as Payet. The difference is that his floor is lower, but so is his price. Snodgrass is the leader on this Hull City team, and he’ll be essential if they want to grab points from his game. At this price, consider him in cash and GPP.
Arsenal – In GPPs, pretty much everyone here is an option. My favorite, from best to worst, depending on if they start:
- Alexis Sanchez
- Theo Walcott
- Mesut Ozil
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
- Santi Cazorla
- Alex Iwobi
I feel like Ozil will have an insane ownership after scoring a hat-trick in Champions League this past week, but he’s not a big goal-scorer and Middlesbrough are not Ludogorets, so I’ll be staying away in GPPs for the most part. In cash games, I’ll likely get exposure from the forward spot with Theo Walcott.
Liverpool – Similarly to Arsenal, there are a ton of options here in GPPs. Coutinho is a star, Firmino can score at will, and Sadio Mane can do a little of everything. Those three would be my main targets from Liverpool assuming they all start, but don’t be afraid to mix in Adam Lallana as well. Lallana can find the back of the net and has a tendency to score when Liverpool play at home. A potential option for cash games is Jordan Henderson, who has had at least six points in all six of last games (two have been for his country). He isn’t very likely to score, but crosses, tackles, and interceptions give him a decent score with the upside of a goal or assist and it gives you greater exposure if Liverpool explode for five or six goals.
Cheap Play – Johann Berg Gudmundsson ($5,400) – Gudmundsson is another player on set piece duty and despite facing Everton, his price is low enough to be considered. There isn’t much to address here outside of crossing and set-pieces, but it’s worth noting Gudmundsson has averaged almost two shots per match in his last five. Use him in either the midfielder or forward slots.
I’ve already covered a few forwards in the midfielder section but I want to bring up a few more.
Daniel Sturridge ($7,000) – Sturridge has been inconsistent this season and hasn’t played the full 90 minutes in a single game. That worries me, and I have zero interest in pursuing him in cash games, but he’s worth a shot in GPPs. At this price, Sturridge has two goal upside, and that’s what you need to do well in GPPs on a slate like this.
Another GPP Play – Borja Baston ($6,600) – Baston scored his first Swansea goal last weekend and it came against Arsenal. The opposition is much easier this week in Watford and Baston has a solid shot at starting. If he gets the start, he is capable of producing a two goal performance, especially since the defense will be focusing on Gylfi Sigurdsson. For a more cash-worthy play, consider Modou Barrow.