EPL DFS Picks 1/13: Easy as One 23
Welcome back to our weekly Premier League content! We have a fantastic slate this week on Wednesday that features a huge DraftKings tournament with a $10k top prize. We look forward to it a little more than the usual slate, and there’s also a very nice set of matches this week. It’s worth noting that this is the hardest slate I have ever played on DraftKings. There are a number of fantastic options at forward, but they’re all expensive, and there is basically no value anywhere. A lot of times, slates like these present an edge to be had, but this one has turned into a bit of a guessing game as to which forwards end up scoring. Unless value emerges when lineups are announced tomorrow, I’d stick to playing GPPs over cash games in this one.
Let’s look at the win chances as calculated from sports book odds (A guide on how to use sports book odds can be found here):
Looking at these odds, we can try to focus on a few matches for our value plays, and it looks like many will come from Chelsea, Swansea, Manchester City, and Tottenham, but let’s not restrict ourselves. A look at some good plays:
The Top Choice – Thibaut Courtois ($4,600) – This pains me to write, but I think Courtois is the top cash game option on Wednesday. He is a great goalkeeper and Chelsea’s defense have turned things around since Guus Hiddink came aboard. In the last four weeks, Chelsea have allowed the second least goal attempts in the box, behind only Manchester United. That’s a great indicator of future success and against a team like West Brom, who average the second least shots per game this season, this should be a game Chelsea dominate, at least defensively.
The GPP Play – Lucasz Fabianski ($4,200) – This will be the match to call this Wednesday. There is an opportunity for what I feel will be fairly low ownership here due to how bad Swansea have been in recent weeks, but they face an even worse Sunderland and the match could provide value. I don’t trust Fabianski enough to play him in cash, but I think he has the opportunity at the top goalkeeper score this week so I’ll own him heavily in GPPs. The reasoning behind is fairly simple, Sunderland are horrible and a clean sheet at home for Fabianski is not out of the question (2nd highest chance behind Courtois according to SkyBet). A clean sheet and a win gets Fabianski into fantastic territory, and a few saves over that could make him a great play.
Goalkeeper Notes: Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster played with the under-21s last week and is getting closer to full fitness. If he starts on Wednesday, he’d be a top GPP play at his price and a secondary cash game target for those who are willing to take on a little bit extra risk. Petr Cech and Hugo Lloris are also great GPP choices.
The Top Play – Branislav Ivanovic ($4,300) – Ivanovic has the best matchup of the expensive defenders and has been better under Guus Hiddink. If we were to spend up on a defender this week, Ivanovic would be it. He faces a great matchup against West Brom, who allow a high number of crosses, and Chelsea being expected to dominate helps his chances of getting involved in the attack. He is a choice in both cash and GPP.
The Reliable Play – Cedric Soares ($4,200) – Cedric is back in contention for a spot with Cuco Martina this week and his price has fallen due to his absence. If he does start as expected, he can be relied upon for a double digit score off of phantom stats that he accumulates every week. Make sure he’s starting, but if he is, he is safe for cash games and an option in GPPs.
The Punt Play – Jose Holebas ($2,400) – On a slate like this one, finding value at the defender position can be very beneficial. There are a lot of midfield and forward options, so in both cash and GPP games, punting one of your defender spots might be a good idea. Holebas should once again earn a start in place of Nathan Ake, who is suspended, and he’s still cheap enough to be worthy of consideration despite his fairly low per-match average.
Defender Notes: With all the big names playing in tough matches, it’s hard to find good options here. Ben Davies is a GPP option if he starts, as is Angel Rangel. Rangel gets his value from being so cheap, while Davies has upside through getting involved in the attack. From the expensive options, Alberto Moreno is the most reliable, but a tough match against Arsenal makes him a mediocre play. Aleksander Kolarov is always a GPP option but is hard to afford in cash this week. With so many expensive forwards this week, playing defenders in GPP is a great way to relieve some salary, so don’t’ be afraid to do it.
The Best Value – Gylfi Sigurdsson ($5,700) – At that price, Gylfi Sigurdsson should be owned in cash games. He faces a very nice matchup against Sunderland, who still haven’t found a way to be good defensively, and he remains on corner-kick duty. Between corner kicks and free-kicks, we expect Gylfi to get to value easily, and any goal or assist would give him a fantastic chance at exceeding value. We see him as the top choice of this slate when building cash rosters. To put things in perspective, Sunderland have allowed the fifth most attempts from set plays and the third most goal attempts from inside the box in the past four weeks, and those numbers increase Gylfi’s chances at a goal or assist drastically.
The Spurs Trio – There are a number of Tottenham midfielders worthy of consideration, depending on who starts. I assume Christian Eriksen will start, and he’ll be an elite GPP option. It’s hard to trust him in cash after the past three weeks, and with guys taking corners away from him at times, but Eriksen possessed incredible upside in a favorable matchup against Leicester City, who have been allowing a high number of chances in the past few weeks. Erik Lamela and Dele Alli are both good cash and GPP options, with Lamela getting a big bump if Eriksen doesn’t start.
The Other Cash game Option – Willian ($7,500) – Willian is finally priced accordingly, but he’s good enough to still be an option and the matchup is great. Willian is bound to be heavily involved in the attack tomorrow with Chelsea missing a number of players, and he is a lock to take corners and free-kicks. Depending on who else starts alongside him, Willian could even be on penalty duty. He is a fairly easy choice when building cash game lineups and a strong tournament option.
Midfielder Notes: For GPPs, where we want to afford some expensive forwards, we can look for value at Chris Brunt and Ben Watson, but it’s hard to trust either on the road against a better team. Stephane Sessegnon is also an option, but don’t expect the kind of production he’s given the past two weeks. Value could present itself once lineups are announces, but it’s as of now, there is almost nothing reliable floating around the cheaper part of the slate, pushing us towards a more balanced approach. On the expensive side, Mesut Ozil, Kevin De Bruyne, and Yaya Toure make great GPP options.
The Top Play – Harry Kane ($7,600) – It might be a smart choice to build cash game lineups around midfielders this week, but when it comes to GPPs, Harry Kane is the top play amongst players above $7,000. He faces Leicester City, who have allowed the second most attempts from the box in the past four weeks. The Foxes are also top three in crosses allowed, which increases both Kane and his midfielders’ value – that’s part of the reason we like the trio of Spurs midfielders.
The Value Play – Chelsea’s starter – This is a tough one, but whoever starts for Chelsea at the striker position will have a good fantasy outlook. Loic Remy has a chance, and he’s cheap enough to be considered for cash. Diego Costa is questionable, but if he happens to start, can also be considered in cash. If not, Chelsea might go with one of their midfielders up top, which would increase their value. Ruben-Loftus-Cheek would be an acceptable cash game target at just $2,700 if he starts in an advanced position. Pedro would also be cash viable if starting up top.
Goalkeeper Notes: This section is going to be dense, so get ready. Sergio Aguero is great, he showed flashed of his old self last week, and he gets a decent matchup at home. He could easily score 3, or 0. Great GPP option, too expensive for cash games. Romelu Lukaku will be massively under owned and is worth a GPP roster spot against a Manchester City defense missing a number of key components. Olivier Giroud has been good but takes a back step to Lukaku and Aguero due to skill alone. If Jamie Vardy doesn’t start, Leicester’s strikers are worth a punt in GPPs as salary relief. Shane Long is a great cash and GPP option if he gets the start, although word out of Southampton is that Graziano Pelle is ready to return, so Long is a long-shot. Marko Arnautovic and Bojan are cheap enough to be considered against a weak Norwich side, and could provide enough salary relief to get others in.