EPL DFS Picks 1/2: The Wizard of Ozil
Happy New Year! Hopefully everyone had a great time celebrating the New Year last night. I’m not someone that’s big on resolutions, but I do like winning at daily fantasy soccer, so let’s get right to this slate.
Some very interesting matches, including an extremely one-sided Arsenal match and Manchester City visiting the impressive Watford. Manchester United have an extremely high win percentage, but the sports book like them to bounce back and there might be some defensive value there.
The Cash Play – Petr Cech ($4,500) – There are enough value plays in this slate for us to be able to just spend up on Petr Cech and forget about the goalkeeper position. Cech has a great matchup, a 76% chance to win, and has been one of the best goalkeepers this season. Pay up for him and forget about it.
The GPP Play – Jack Butland ($3,500) – Butland has been inconsistent lately, putting up scores of -1, 22, -2, 23, 18, 2 in the past six matches. He’s not anyone I’d trust in cash, but his ceiling is huge and he gets a favorable matchup against West Brom. If Stoke can keep a clean sheet, Butland will be set up for a huge fantasy day. At that price, he is a primary GPP target.
Goalkeeper Notes: Sportsbooks are giving the Sunderland – Aston Villa match a 60% chance of being Under 2.5 goals, making both Brad Guzan and Vito Mannone GPP options. Sunderland have problems in the back but Aston Villa are missing Jordan Ayew and that will hurt their otherwise horrible attack. David de Gea faces Swansea and has a good chance at a clean sheet and a win, making him a GPP target. Kasper Schmeichel will have save opportunities and could turn out with a huge day if he can keep a clean sheet.
The Top Play – Aleksandar Kolarov ($5,400) – Kolarov is going on the road this week but Watford concede corners at an extremely high rate from both sides of the pitch and Kolarov should be able to cross at will. He’ll usually add a few other stats to bump up his floor and is safe for cash games, even at a ridiculously high price. I wouldn’t prioritize him in cash, but he is certainly an option.
The Value Play – Cuco Martina ($2,400) – Martina’s price hasn’t gone up a lot and he has put up enough points in the last two matches to make him worth an option at that price. It’s worth noting that Martina made a horrible mistake last week on the first West Ham goal and was taken out immediately after, so it’s worth checking if he starts. His replacement, Maya Yoshida, made a mistake on the second West Ham goal, and Cedric is still out injured, so I am hoping Martina gets the nod again.
The Punt Play – Jose Holebas ($2,000) – Finding a starting fullback at this price is great, and Holebas has a good shot at starting for the suspended Nathan Ake. Manchester City are a horrific matchup for Holebas, but he doesn’t need much to get to value. I generally shoot for 150 points on DraftKings, which is safe to cash in both 50/50s and GPPs and gives some room for error, and Holebas would need six points to meet value. Even if he doesn’t meet that, you’re not losing a lot, and his price makes roster construction much easier with plays like Mesut Ozil and Kevin de Bruyne available at around $8,000. Holebas earns cash consideration if starting.
Defenders Notes: Hector Bellerin has a great matchup against a Newcastle team that gives up a ton of crosses. Arsenal should control the game, allowing Bellerin to move up and get involved in the attack. He is cash and GPP viable. Christian Fuchs is in a similar boat, and a little cheaper. He’s an option if you need someone at that price range. Patrick Van Aanholt gets a great matchup and can be considered in cash games.
The Top Play – Mesut Ozil ($8,500) – This is a tough one for me to swallow at this price but Ozil has been too good recently. He is better at home and the matchup here is ideal. The concern is that Ozil needs 25.5 points to reach value and he is only averaging 15.7 on the season, but the matchup and form should account for that difference. There is certainly risk with this play, as Ozil isn’t likely to get anywhere near 25.5 points without a goal or an assist, and goals and assists are extremely unpredictable. When it comes to GPPs, Ozil is by far the best choice at the position, but the risk is there in cash games and you need to decide whether you want to play aggressively and take Ozil in cash, or play conservatively with a more balanced approach.
The Value Play – Jordan Veretout ($4,300) – This is getting boring talking about Veretout. He’s underpriced and has a sweet matchup. Rudy Gestede starting would add extra value as Gestede could slot in one of Veretout’s crosses for a score. A Rudy/Veretout stack should be in play in GPPs, and Veretout is an easy cash game play at under $6,000 as long as he continues to start and take corners.
The Mid-Range Value – Xherdan Shaqiri ($5,400) – This feels like chasing points, but Shaqiri has been fantastic in the past four weeks. He has reached 18 points in 3 of his last four matches and was only stunned by Manchester United. Stoke have been playing better and Shaqiri is finally being what Stoke brought him in to be. He does a little of everything, maintaining a fairly high floor, and his goal and assist upside make him a great GPP target.
The Other Value Play – Stephane Sessegnon ($3,500) – Sessegnon started for West Brom last week and was on corner-kick duty. As long as he earns another start, he’ll be a good value play at his price and you’ll be able to afford Ozil with easy by slotting Sessegnon next to him in midfield. He is also a great utility option, especially in cash games. Chris Brunt is another option here.
Midfielder Notes: Kevin De Bruyne is a bit over-priced despite his last three match performances. I don’t love the play away from home at Watford, but he is certainly a GPP target due to his ability to score goals and his corner-kick duties. If enough value plays emerge, he can be considered in cash games, but I would rather roster Ozil. Riyad Mahrez is a GPP only option due to his astronomical price. Matt Ritchie and Junior Stanislas have a solid matchup against Leicester and are option in GPP, with Ritchie also being a secondary cash target.
The Top Play – Olivier Giroud ($7,500) – Giroud has an over 60% chance to score according to SkyBet and that’s good enough to bring him into the cash conversation. Arsenal are the clear favorites in this slate and I don’t mind an Ozil-Giroud stack in cash games. Newcastle are second in the league in goal attempts conceded in the box and fourth in number of headed goal attempts conceded. Both of those bode well for Giroud, who should get enough shots on target to not kill your lineup should he not score. He is the best GPP target at the position. Theo Walcott is much cheaper and an amazing GPP target as well, but he is not in the cash game conversation.
The Value Play – Shane Long ($3,900) – Long should get another start with Graziano Pelle out and he is still cheap enough to be considered in cash. I prefer to spend up on midfielders in cash games, so if you don’t go with the Giroud route, you can likely fit both Ozil and De Bruyne in cash game rosters if you play Long. The matchup for Long is fantastic, and that should make up for his relatively low floor.
The GPP Play – Rudy Gestede ($3,300) – Gestede is one of my favorite GPP targets in this slate. He should earn a start with Jordan Ayew suspended, and he faces a great matchup in Sunderland. Sunderland lead the league in goal attempts conceded in the box and Gestede reach value just by putting up five or six shots with half of them on target. A goal or assist for Gestede automatically puts him above value, and he allows you to fit in a number of other studs in your lineup.
Forward Notes: Sergio Aguero is a great GPP option but he is hard to trust in cash in this matchup, especially with Giroud being available for cheaper. Jamie Vardy faces Bournemouth and is also a fantastic GPP option. An Aguero/Vardy stack would probably be extremely low owned and could be a GPP winning combo if Giroud doesn’t score. Odion Ighalo can also be considered in GPPs due to his likely low ownership, but he isn’t as good of an option as Vardy or Aguero. Dieumerci Mbokani and Fabio Borini are cheap options to consider in GPPs.