EPL DFS Boxing Day Picks
Welcome to our Boxing Day edition of our Premier League content! We have an extremely exciting slate on DraftKings this Saturday with nine matches in a big slate. This is the first time we’ve had this big of a slate since DraftKings implemented their scoring changes and there is a great $20 entry tournament that pays out $50,000, including $10,000 to the winner. I absolutely love this tourney and will have a few entries in it. DraftKings also increased the size of some of their tournaments and it should be an overall great day to play on Saturday. Due to the prevalence of these big tourneys, I’ll focus a bit more than usual on GPP plays this week, but I’ll certainly make sure to note a few cash game plays as well. Let’s get started and look at these winning percentages.
Whew. That’s a big slate. Some great matches there, and some very single-sided affairs. Manchester City at home to Sunderland should be a bloodbath while Liverpool hosting Leicester will certainly provide some great entertainment. Tottenham at home to Norwich also opens up a lot of opportunities, so let’s get to the picks!
Cash Game Plays – Joe Hart and Hugo Lloris – These two goalkeepers have the best matchups and both figure to be very safe. The wins should be almost guaranteed, which is an automatic five point on DraftKings, and the potential clean sheets further increase the value. The upside isn’t great, as neither Sunderland nor Norwich are expected to shoot a lot on the road against good teams, so I really wouldn’t play either of these guys in GPPs, but I think in cash games they are a very safe option if you can fit them in price wise. A note about the lack of upside on Hart, he’s reached double digits once in his past ten matches. I think he has a great chance at double digits today, but probably not much more due to Manchester not giving up a high number of shots.
The Second Best – Thibaut Courtois ($4,000) – Courtois is a bit cheaper but has a number of things going against him. First is that Chelsea have been bad in the back this season, although they looked much better last week after getting rid of Jose Mourinho. Watford are also not as bad as Norwich or Sunderland, so they present some risk there, but they also present opportunity. Assuming Watford get a few shots on goal, Courtois has a very high upside and should be considered in tournaments. I don’t see Watford getting completely shut down from shots and chances, but Chelsea certainly have a chance at a clean sheet and a win. Courtois is in a great spot for a blowup.
Goalkeeper Notes: In GPPs, I wouldn’t focus on Hart and Lloris. I think they’ll both be fairly high owned and I can’t see a huge upside to either one. Artur Boruc has had a few good games lately and could be in store for a big performance against struggling Swansea. He’s a GPP option. Robert Elliot has had three games in double digits but faces a strong Everton side and should be largely avoided. Petr Cech plays away from home in an unideal environment, but he has been incredible and Southampton have struggled, making him a fantastic GPP option. He’s one of the highest upside goalkeepers in the slate. He is also cash viable. Brad Guzan is cheap and has a favorable match at home that could give him plenty of save opportunities. He’s certainly GPP viable.
The Top Play – Alberto Moreno ($4,700) – Alberto Moreno is a crossing machine that finds ways to contribute elsewhere too. He has had at least 3 crosses in every one of his last ten matches and has never had under two tackles won in that time-frame. Liverpool have played a much more attacking style since welcoming Jurgen Klopp as manager, and that fits Moreno’s style perfectly. Aleksandar Kolarov is probably a slightly better choice overall, but I prefer Moreno due to the much lower price-tag. I would consider both in cash games.
The Value Play – Charlie Daniels ($2,900) – I recommended Daniels last week and he rewarded us with a goal. I feel strongly about him again this week as DraftKings has decided not to adjust his price. Daniels has a mainly neutral matchup at home against Crystal Palace, and his 29 tackles and 62 crosses on the season should give you enough confidence in both his floor and upside. Teammate Adam Smith is a bit more expensive but has four straight double-digit performances and holds similar value to Daniels. I wouldn’t mind using both in cash games.
The GPP Punt – Leandro Bacuna ($2,700) – Bacuna doesn’t do enough to be trusted in your cash lineups but as long as he starts, he can be played in GPPs. He often finds himself in advanced positions and crosses a fair amount, while also taking on some free-kick taking duties that increase his upside drastically. He has no goals or assists on the season so far, but a home match against West Ham would be the perfect time for that. Note: West Ham concede the most chances from set pieces, making Bacuna a great GPP play.
Defender Notes: Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal can be considered, but neither is a must play. Branislav Ivanovic is an option for those who like taking risks as he looks a bit better without Jose Mourinho on the sidelines. Eric Dier gets a fantastic matchup and is an option in both GPP and cash, although he’s a bit pricey and GPP is probably a better format for him. Angel Rangel is another punt option at just $2,400 but make sure he starts before you play him, as he’s recovering from an injury.
The Best Value – Christian Eriksen ($6,900) – I believe Eriksen is one of the best value plays in this slate. The Totteham midfielder gets to face Norwich at home and he possesses huge upside in these one-sided affairs. He is on corner-kick duty and free-kick duty, which give him both a great floor and upside. The matchup should see Tottenham score a number of goals, and if that happens, there’s a great chance for Eriksen to be involved. He should be considered a primary target in both cash and GPP matches.
The Cash Game Play – Willian ($7,000) – I feel like I’m recommending similar players every week, but DraftKings isn’t adjusting their pricing fast enough and I’m doing my best to take advantage. Willian is extremely consistent and has had less than 17 fantasy points once in his last ten matches, where he still provided a return of 14 points. Chelsea are using him in free-kicks and corner kicks and although the pricing is finally slow going up, Willian remains a primary cash game target. Teammate Oscar can be a good GPP option at a lower price.
The Value Play – Jordan Veretout ($3,500) – Another case where pricing hasn’t adjusted quick enough. Veretout has been on corner-kick duty for a few weeks now and has 21 corner kicks over the past four matches. Those are easy points at a really cheap price, and his goal and assist upside make him both cash and GPP viable. There are a lot of great forwards in play this week, so Veretout becomes an almost essential cash game play in order to afford the big guys. To add to his value, it’s worth noting that West Ham has conceded the most chances from set pieces in the past four weeks, making his corner-kick duties worth a bit more than usual.
The Mid-Range Play – Gylfi Sigurdsson ($5,600) – Sigurdsson is at a great price after a very slow start to the season but he has played a bit better as of late. He’s on corner kicks now, much like the other players I’ve mentioned so far, and it’s hard to understate the importance of that in the new DraftKings scoring. Sigurdsson leads the league in corners in the past four weeks, and that alone has turned his fantasy value around. Sigurdsson faces up against a West Brom side that has conceded the highest number of goal attempts in the past four matches, which bodes well for Sigurdsson, who loves to shoot from distance. I prefer to play Sigurdsson in GPPs, but he is certainly worthy of consideration in cash games.
The Other Value Play – Dele Alli (4,300) – Alli has been a breakout star for Tottenham this season and I have been thoroughly impressed with his play. He can do a lot of different things to contribute to the fantasy sheet, including winning fouls, tackles, and interceptions. He also finds a way to get at least a couple of shots up each match and his goals and assist give him a great upside. He has only failed to reach a double digit fantasy score in one match of his last six, and that was against Arsenal. The lack of crossing makes me nervous to play Alli in cash, but in GPPs, there are few better options at this price range.
Midfielder Notes: There’s a ton of GPP value in the Manchester City midfield. Kevin de Bruyne, Yaya Toure, and David Silva are all GPP options, and great ones at that. Facing Sunderland could see them net four goals in the first half, and there could be a ton of value there. Don’t fade in GPPs. None of them have been consistent enough for me to play them in cash games when all the other values are present. Matt Ritchie is a fine cash game option if you need someone in that price range, while Ross Barkley is another GPP option. Mesut Ozil and Riyad Mahrez have reached astronomical prices and I don’t think they’re great plays this week in a slate with a ton of great forwards. Mahrez hasn’t reached value in his past two matches at his current price, even though he’s had three goals and an assist in that time-frame. He needs another hat-trick game to reach value, and that isn’t likely to happen. There is very little upside in GPPs and the price makes cash game roster construction close to impossible with him, so I can’t recommend him despite how good he is. Michail Antonio is another punt option if he starts and can be considered in both GPP and cash.
Manchester City Starter – Everyone expect Sergio Aguero to start for Manchester City, but I have my doubts. I think City might rest him in a very easy match against Sunderland so they can start him in their clash with Leicester City on Monday and that would make Wilfred Bony a starter and a fantasy must-play. Truth is, Sunderland are horrible and whoever starts at striker for Manchester City will get at least 60 minutes of great opportunity. Bony would be a must-play in cash, while Aguero will be more of a GPP option due to his high price. Raheem Sterling is a fantastic GPP option if he starts.
The GPP Option – Romelu Lukaku – ($8,100) – I really just can’t recommend Romelu Lukaku in cash. He’s too expensive for what he provides, and hasn’t met value in four out of his last six games at his current price. I think his matchup is nice enough to where he should be considered in GPPs, but he definitely shouldn’t be played in cash games and there are better GPP plays as well. I’d recommend a 20% exposure to Lukaku in GPPs.
The Better GPP Option – Harry Kane ($7,400) – Kane is quite cheaper than Lukaku and should be much lower owned. He has the better matchup and plays at home. There is a ton of upside here, and Kane’s game logs are a bit ugly, which will hopefully drive everyone away. To put the matchup in perspective, Norwich have allowed the fifth most goals in the league this season. Fire up Kane at will.
The Value Play – Mauro Zarate ($4,800) – Zarate is one of West Ham’s only attacking options and he reached double digits last game despite only playing 60 minutes. He’s on corner-kick duty and his price is cheap enough to where he can reach value even if he plays just 60 minutes again. I would feel comfortable using him in both GPP and cash.
Forward Notes: There are a number of GPP options here. Diego Costa, Olivier Giroud, Pedro, Odion Ighalo, and Divock Origi are all options if they start. Origi can be considered in cash games if he is in the starting lineup. Similarly, if Benteke starts, he can be considered in GPPs due to the good matchup. Jordan Ayew has played much better in recent weeks and is also a very good GPP option at just $4,200. The forward spots are often where GPPs are won, so don’t be afraid to mix and match a number of choices here.
Good luck everyone!