EPL DFS Picks 12/19: Will.I.An
Welcome back to the weekly edition of our Premier League content. As you may have heard, this week’s big news was that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been sacked. The news doesn’t have a ton of fantasy implications, but it does certainly make me feel better about using Chelsea players in GPPs against a very mediocre Sunderland team. There have been reports about Jose Mourinho having issues with his players lately, and if they were fed up with him, there is a chance here for them to all play better this weekend.
Let’s look at all the matches in the big DraftKings slate:
- Manchester United – Norwich City
- Chelsea – Sunderland
- Southampton – Tottenham
- West Brom – Bournemouth
- Everton – Leicester City
- Stoke City – Crystal Palace
- Newcastle – Aston Villa
That’s certainly an interesting set of games. Southampton – Tottenham should be extremely entertaining, Chelsea have the new manager hype, and Everton – Leicester City could be extremely high scoring. Let’s get to some picks.
Cash Game King – David de Gea ($4,500) – de Gea is the most expensive goalkeeper in the slate but that’s not surprising. He faces an extremely bad Norwich side at home and has one of the best defenses in the Premier League. Manchester have really struggled in the past few weeks, but I don’t think Norwich are as good as Bournemouth and returning to Old Trafford should really help the Red Devils. Manchester United also come second in the league in possession, which helps keep games really low scoring and it gives de Gea a better chance at a clean sheet.
GPP Option – Jack Butland ($3,500) – Jack Butland is in extremely nice form at the moment and has earned at least 12 points in three of his last four matches. He faces a mediocre Crystal Palace side at home and should get enough save opportunities to earn fantasy points. There is certainly risk here, as Crystal Palace aren’t horrible, but the cost accounts for that risk and makes Butland a great GPP play.
Goalkeeper Notes: Thibaut Courtois is expensive but certainly worthy of consideration in GPPs. Sunderland are bad and he has every chance at a clean sheet under whoever manages Chelsea this weekend. Goalkeepers from the Everton – Leicester City match should be avoided at all costs, and both sides of the Newcastle – Aston Villa goalkeeper battle is in play in GPPs.
I was excited about a bigger slate this week mainly because I wanted a bigger selection for defenders but it’s once again a crapshoot at the position. There really just isn’t that much great value, and it will not be worth spending up on defenders.
The Cash Play – Cedric Soares ($4,000) – Soares is expensive but there just aren’t any consistent performers at his position. Defenders aren’t great in delivering crosses and Soares does just enough everywhere else to boost his numbers up to a competitive level. Between crosses and tackles won, Soares has reached double digit scores in the past five weeks, so I feel inclined to spend up here a little bit and take the points before looking for punts at the other two defender spots.
Punt Play – Charlie Daniels ($2,600) – Daniels has had a series of tough matchups where he didn’t have the opportunity to go up and send crosses, but a match against West Brom changes that. He is a crossing fullback that will continue to go up when his team has possession and do enough to be both a cash and GPP option. In a slate with a ton of value in midfield and forward, take the salary relief and spend your time researching the guys up top.
Super Punt Play – Leandro Bacuna ($2,800) – Bacuna is more risky than Daniels and isn’t even guaranteed to start. You definitely need to check lineups before you slot him in, but he presents a fine punt if he starts. He has a plus matchup and is sometimes given corner and free-kick duties, which can be quite a value bump. I wouldn’t necessarily use him in cash unless you really need the salary relief, as he’s more of a GPP option.
Defenders Notes: There are a number of great GPP plays here in matches that are expected to be high scoring. Some names to consider are Leighton Baines, Ryan Bertrand, Christian Fuchs, and Eric Dier.
Top Cash Play – Willian ($6,600) – As long as Willian starts, he’s the best play of this slate at the midfield position. He doesn’t bring the same upside that Riyad Mahrez does, but he is $1,700 cheaper and that’s huge. At his price, Willian provides an extremely huge floor with great consistency (double digit scores in past 10 matches), and a different coach shouldn’t change all the ways Willian contributes in. The situation at Chelsea is an interesting one, but I suspect Willian is bound to benefit with this change of scenery. There are reports that Cesc Fabregas has had a falling out with teammates and staff, so if that’s correct, the chances of Willian being extremely involved in the attack increase even more. That also ensures Willian to stay on corner kick and free-kick duty, which is essential for his high floor. There is also a chance Eden Hazard doesn’t play, which would put the ball at Willian’s feet even more and increase his value further. If Hazard does play, he becomes a great GPP option, while Willian remains both cash and GPP viable.
The GPP Stud – Ross Barkley ($6,800) – Barkley recorded an amazing zero points in his last match. That might turn some people off, but he gets a good matchup in an important game and possesses immense upside with his tendency to shoot a lot. He can score goals from distance and Leicester will likely give him those shots all match long. Take advantage of the low ownership and play him in GPPs.
The Value Play – Matt Ritchie ($6,400) – Ritchie has been very good lately after a slow start to the season. He possesses a good floor with corner kick duties and only has one match under nine points in his last ten appearances. He gets a positive matchup against West Brom and I expect him to be as involved as he’s been in the past few weeks. He’s at a good price to just slot in in cash lineups and build around.
Midfielder Notes: Riyad Mahrez is both a cash and GPP consideration with that price, but I would prefer to spend on more mid-range values in cash games such as Ritchie and Willian. Tadic and Mane have really struggled and I wouldn’t consider either in cash, while Mane is my preferred play in GPPs. Christian Eriksen is a sneaky value in GPPs and the matchup gives him cash consideration. Wilfried Zaha has been in good form and is cash viable at just $4,500. Jordan Veretout is still very cheap and has impressed in the past few weeks. He can be considered in cash games.
Romelu Lukaku/Gerard Deulofeu – I really like both guys in this one. Leicester City has given up the most goals of any top 13 team and Everton are really finding their stride. Deulofeu is cheap to be a great cash play even if you want to stack expensive midfield options, and Lukaku is likely the top striker in this slate in a very good matchup, making him cash viable as well. I would certainly prefer Lukaku over Jamie Vardy in cash, mainly due to the home advantage and Leicester’s iffy defense.
The GPP Play – Diego Costa ($6,300) – Costa has been horrific this season and doesn’t look like he’s at 100%, but a matchup against Sunderland and a new coach can do wonders sometimes. The price is too cheap to ignore, and Costa could easily find the back of the net in the best matchup of the season. He’s a bit too risky in cash games, especially since he’s pretty susceptible to fouls and yellow cards, but you can’t ignore him in GPPs. Make sure he’s starting first, then fire him up at will.
Forward Notes: Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane are great GPP plays. They both play in matches that could be very high scoring and I wouldn’t mind either over Lukaku in a GPP. Stacking some of these forwards will be a great GPP play this week, especially if you can find good value in midfield. Arouna Kone is a good punt play in GPPs, while Loic Remy can be both cash and GPP viable if he earns a start over Diego Costa. Bojan is another good play, mainly due to home advantage in a plus matchup.