EPL DFS Picks 12/12: Trained in the Art of Zarate
Welcome back to our weekly Premier League content! We’ve got a short five-game slate this weekend with some mediocre games on the schedule so we’ll have to dig deep for value. There’s a lot of injuries here, which presents some value and some traps. Let’s take a look at the slate’s winning percentages as calculated from sportsbook odds:
The biggest game of the slate is likely Manchester City – Swansea, where Manchester have a big advantage as both the much better team and with home field advantage. There will be a lot of plays there. Sunderland host Watford, who have been much better, so it will be an interesting to see how that match develops. Bournemouth face the defensive Manchester United in what should be an extremely low scoring match, so I won’t blame you if you target defenders there. Let’s get to some plays.
The Top Option – Joe Hart ($4,300) – Manchester City have not been very good in defense lately, mainly due to Vincent Kompany’s absence, so it’s a little concerning using Hart, but he is in a great spot at home and the sports books give him a great chance at a win-to-win, much higher than Manchester United’s David de Gea. As far as health goes, Hart featured in the Champions League in midweek and seems to be 100% going forward. His price does hurt quite a bit, but with the values that we’ll talk about later, he can certainly be afforded.
GPP Option – Adrian ($4000) – Those that focus on watching the game logs won’t love the West Ham stropper, but Adrian has been quite unlucky in the past several weeks. His only clean sheet in the past nine games came last week against Manchester United, where he was only able to register one save. That left him with just seven points, but the truth is that West Ham’s attack has been hit by a number of injuries and they’ll have to focus on defense going forward. Adrian is very good at his position, and he can keep the Hammers in a match by himself. The Hammers have allowed the fourth most goal attempts from the box in the past four weeks, and that could mean a good number of save opportunities for Adrian, so I really like him in GPPs. This could obviously get ugly as well, so I wouldn’t consider Adrian in cash, but I think he’s a great GPP option that will be extremely low owned.
Top Value Play – Patrick Van Aanholt ($2,900) – This is way too cheap for the defender. He’s been very good in fantasy lately despite his four point performance against Arsenal, which we can safely ignore as an outlier. Arsenal control possession and prevent defenders from pushing up, while almost never allowing the opposition to get a clean sheet. The price is still very low, and van Aanholt should be in both cash and GPP lineups this weekend. Deandre Yedlin is also an option from Sunderland.
The mid-level – Aaron Cresswell ($4,200) – Cresswell is closer to top tier than mid-level as he comes as the second highest priced defender in the slate, which shows you the lack of defensive options here. Cresswell gets home field advantage, can deliver crosses, and has assist potential in a plus matchup. He can be considered in cash and GPPs.
The Cash Play – Aleksandar Kolarov (5,600) – The Manchester City defender is an option here due to a fantastic matchup and the fact he’s playing at home. I hate spending so much on a defender, but with the lack of other options, Kolarov is certainly in play here and is a primary cash target. He is averaging almost nine crosses per match in his last four, and in a slate this small, you almost have to take the guaranteed points and move along, especially in cash.
Top Option – Manchester City Duo – Kevin De Bruyne has had two mediocre weeks in a row but his floor is still really good due to his corner kick duties and overall high participation in Manchester City’s attack. He is priced very highly, but his upside and ownership is too big to ignore in cash games, as not having him could absolutely kill you any given week. A slow slate with good forward values will mean De Bruyne will be highly used in cash, and you should find a way to fit him in. David Silva played well in midweek, and the game log watchers will be put off by the horrible performances against Stoke City and Southampton (He played 15 minutes in one of those games and just over 60 in the other). Assuming Silva starts, he should be a primary cash target at $5,800.
GPP Option – Xherdan Shaqiri ($4,600) – Shaqiri was everything Stoke City expected him to be last week for the first time since they acquired him. The speedy midfielder has 54 crosses and 20 shots on the season, so he’s certainly been active in attack, but he hasn’t been very good until last week. The matchup away at West Ham is largely neutral, but that doesn’t mean Shaqiri can’t once again be good this week. If Winston Reid is out as expected, Shaqiri will have an opportunity to make a difference, and he can be used in GPPs at his fairly low price. I would not trust him in cash, as he isn’t likely to meet value without a goal or assist.
Midfielder Notes: There isn’t a ton to like at the midfielder position this week, so I think we’ll see an extremely high ownership in De Bruyne and Silva. Although they’re both great cash game plays, I think both can be faded in GPPs as differentiating yourself there will be highly important. Many will stack them with Bony, but lineups where you only feature one or two Manchester City players will be key this week. Yohan Cabaye, Sadio Mane, Wilfried Zaha, and Jason Puncheon can be considered as differentials.
Top Choice – Wilfried Bony ($5,200) – With Sergio Aguero likely out this weekend, Bony should get the start at striker. He has an extremely good matchup and is a completely monster when he starts in his high-scoring offense. He had a goal and two assists in the Champions League in midweek and Swansea are a much inferior squad. He’ll be extremely high owned in cash and with good purpose, you just simply have to have him. Raheem Sterling has really improved his finishing as the season has progressed and that showed in midweek with two goals. He is a fantastic GPP option and can be considered in cash as well.
The Value Play – Mauro Zarate ($4,100) – Zarate, Victor Moses, and Manuel Lanzini were splitting corner-kick duties in the past few weeks but with the other two injured, Zarate should take the majority of them this week. He’ll most likely start, and he can provide a spark and meet value without scoring a goal. If he continues playing like he has in the past two weeks (a total of 10 shots and 11 crosses), he’ll be at value at halftime at his price. Another huge plus for Zarate is that Stoke have conceded the second most chances from set-pieces, and he’s on set-piece duty while the team deals with injuries. He is a must-own in cash and a great option in GPPs.
In the Best Spot – Odion Ighalo ($6,200) – Ighalo has been incredible this season and I talked about his statistics in depth last week. This time around, he gets Sunderland. Sunderland have conceded the second most goal attempts in the box this season, while plays right into Ighalo’s strength of getting touches inside the box. He is still somehow only $6,200 and with that price, he is an option in both cash and GPP games. I envision myself playing all three of Bony, Zarate, and Ighalo in cash this week. It’s also worthy to note that Troy Deeney is on a great streak and comes at $5,300, making him a great GPP option and worthy of consideration in cash.