August 13 EPL DFS Picks: One Last Weekend in the (Sout)hampton’s
SOCCER STARTS TOMORROW! WHEW!
I had to get that out. I haven’t been this pumped for soccer in a while, and with DraftKings having yet another format, it’s a great time to get back into it. I honestly believe the game took a turn for the better this summer when DraftKings decreased roster sizes to eight players and made some minor scoring changes. With the new roster sizes, it’s much easier to construct a roster, and it gives the average player a better chance at cashing.
It also increases a bit more variance into the field, which I believe is a good thing at this stage of daily fantasy soccer. The game is still new enough to where it needs to attract a wide array of people, and variance gives the inexperienced player a better chance to cash. I’m hoping this will increase player engagement and get more people interested.
Let’s cover the scoring briefly:
- Goal = +10 PTs
- Assist = +6 PTs
- Shot = +1 PTs
- Shot on Goal = +1 PTs
- Crosses = +0.75 PTs (via corner kick, open play, and set pieces)
- Fouls Drawn = +1 PTs
- Fouls Conceded = -0.5 PTs
- Tackle Won = +1 PTs
- Pass Intercepted (D,M,F) = +0.5 PTs
- Yellow Card = -1.5 PTs
- Red Card = -3 PTs
- Penalty Kick Miss = -5 PTs
- Saves (GK) = +2 PTs
- Goal Conceded (GK) = -2 PTs
- Clean Sheet (GK) = +5 PTs
- Clean Sheet (D) = +3 PTs
- Win (GK) = +5 PTs
- Penalty Kick Save (GK) = +3 PTs
The biggest change is that crosses are now 0.75 points. The biggest scoring category decreases in importance by 25%, but will still be a major player in finding values. The DraftKings slate is a big one for opening weekend, and I’m hoping it will fill so we can continue enjoying some bigger prizes.
My biggest advice for this season is to get creative. There are some really fun plays to start off the season, especially with three new teams in the Premier League, and there will be great value plays from these clubs that surprise everyone. In GPPs, don’t be afraid to take shots.
The other big news of the summer is that FanDuel launched its product in the UK. For those of you based on the island, feel free to check it out! The FanDuel scoring is quite different than what we’re used to, offering points for chances created, successful passes, and the points awarded for a shot on target are 33% of those awarded for a goal (that’s a lot, shots count for a significant amount). To put it in perspective, a shot on target is 5 points, while an assist is 7, which doesn’t really bode well for midfielders. It will be an interesting game, and one we likely won’t be covering for now, but our plays here will often overlap as great plays on FanDuel as well.
Let’s get to discussing some actual week one plays!
The Cash Play – Fraser Forster (5,400) – Forster is the second most expensive option this week, with the top being one of the Manchester City goalkeepers. I prefer Forster over the City choice because Manchester City might not start a single center-back. They’ve been playing midfielders and full-backs in the middle of the defense all pre-season with a number of injuries, and I can’t trust them to keep a clean sheet. Forster, on the other hand, has a solid defense in front of him that will have the support of a defensive midfielder that’s respectable. Forster is capable of keeping a clean sheet and earning a win, and I trust him in cash games.
The GPP Option – Tom Heaton ($4,900) – Burnley are a newcomer, which doesn’t bode well for them, but they face a Swansea team that won’t have anything going for them in attack. Playing at home, Burnley’s clean sheet chances are good enough to consider Heaton in GPPs. Outside of him, Steve Mandanda might be a low-owned goalkeeper with a huge upside.
The Top Choice – Leighton Baines ($5,500) – Baines is back to his normal self and despite getting up there in age, he still has a lot to offer. He gets up in attack and contributes a high enough number of crosses to be relevant. He faces a tough matchup in Tottenham, but he’s the preferred choice over the top options. Outside of him, Cedric Soares is the top choice if he starts, although there is some doubt there with everyone’s fitness at Southampton.
Cheaper Solution – Matthew Lowton ($3,500) – Lowton has Premier League experience and should be starting for newly promoted Burnley. He played fairly well for Aston Villa and comes at a price low-enough to be considered in cash games. With Burnley having fair clean sheet chances, it gives me a bit of extra value that pushes him into cash territory.
The Top Choice – Kevin De Bruyne ($9,300) – De Bruyne is expected to start versus Sunderland and is the second most expensive midfielder. He faces the biggest mismatch on the slate and the only downside is a slight risk of him coming off the bench since he is in the late game, but the positives there are that we can use David Silva if we really need to. De Bruyne is too good to fade in this match, and if people somehow fade him due to being worries he may not start, they’ll regret it. Dusan Tadic is the next step down.
Value Play – Nathan Redmond ($5,300) – Nathan Redmond is my favorite play of this slate. Southampton have switched to a diamond formation, meaning they’ll start two strikers in Shane Long and……Nathan Redmond. The young winger is being converted to a striker and his speed will be a great compliment to Shane Long’s skill-set. The two have connected extremely well with midfielder Dusan Tadic, and all three carry great fantasy value in the upcoming week. Despite playing as a forward, Redmond will likely drift out wide in the diamond system and send crosses in against Watford – who gave up the most crosses last season. He is a fantastic cash and GPP play. Stewart Downing is the next best thing at this price range.
Extra Cheap Value Play – David Jones ($3,400) – This could be a huge cash play, or a bit of a disappointment. Jones was on corner-kick duty and was a great contributor from open play as well last season, but that was in the championship. With a few new signings, Burnley could shift corner-kick duties away from him. Various experts expect Michael Kightly, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, or David Jones to be on corner kicks, however it’s worth noting David Jones was the one taking them most frequently in pre-season. I can’t vouch for either one of the three, but all present interesting GPP options.
The Top Choice – Sergio Aguero (10,600) – It’s very risky to play the most expensive forward on the slate in cash, but with so many value play across all positions and a matchup against Sunderland, it’s hard not to. Aguero is a scoring machine capable of a hat-trick any time he comes on, and he’s worth the price by far. He is the top GPP play and a solid cash option if you like playing slightly risky.
The Cheaper Cash Option – Connor Wickham (5,400) – This is a bit safer in cash. Wickham is about half of Aguero’s price, and his upside is also fantastic. Facing a West Brom team at home, Wickham will have his chances at glory. His floor is low, but it’s hard to find a striker with a high floor unless he’s on corner-kick duty. Use Wickham as a building block in cash games.
GPP Plays – Andre Gray was absolutely fantastic in pre-season and last season. Versus the decimated Swansea team, his upside is incredible. Shane Long as two-goal upside at home against Watford. If Charlie Austin starts in place of either Long or Redmond by any chance, he will be a great GPP play. Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku are almost always GPP options due to the nature of their ability to score in any match, but I don’t love them this week at this price and matchup. Have some exposure there, but don’t go overboard.
Good luck in week one everyone!