All matches have the results of my predictive model for shots and goals next to the respective teams. Due to small sample size there may be some outliers so keep that in mind. For every match I’ll briefly go over any caveats related to my models predictions then review the best options (if any) from each team. All player pricing comes from our partners at StatClash and can be found in parenthesis next to each players name.
Note – Home teams on the left in all caps.
ARSENAL (Exp Shots – 20.2, Exp Goals – 1.66) vs Hull City (Exp Shots – 6.85, Goals – 1.44)
My model rates this match way closer than odds or people would imagine it to be. Much of that is because Arsenal has a fairly high concede rate even at home, while Hull is a little below the league average in their concede rate on the road. With Arsenal’s injury crisis and possible rotation for players coming back from international duty, it has some makings of a possible trap game.
Up front Welbeck (22.25) is the highest rated forward in my model for Arsenal sitting just outside the top 20. If you plan on picking a luxury forward the choice will likely be between him and Costa. As it stands Costa would be the clear choice unless you are able to fit 2 luxury forwards into your lineup. There is a chance Campbell (14.5) or Podolski(15.5) gets a start on the left wing, in which case they could make great options for a GPP lineup. This is especially true for Podolski as he had great production last year when he actually saw game time. The only problem is he can sometimes go missing from the game and rarely plays a full 90.
In the midfield arsenal offer a wealth of mid priced options who are all rated highly. Sanchez (21), should he get the start, is a good option for a luxury midfielder, but I think there are better luxury midfielder options available. Chamberlain (16) offers a good differential that will not be widely owned and is very likely to play the full 90. The last viable option from Arsenal’s midfield, and by far the best, is Cazorla (17). With Ozil out injured Cazorla will have the bulk load of corner and free kick duty making him a good candidate for solid production. He’s already ranked in the top 15 midfielders and it’s likely he will be a must have player.
On defense your only options will be Gibbs(16)/Bellerin(16) and neither seems to be that great of an choice. However, if you decide you want to go with an Arsenal stack they will save you a dollar over some of the premium defenders from Soton/Everton/Chelsea. In goal Szczesny(23.25) is basically a middle of the pack goal keeper and has suffered some due to Arsenal’s poor conversion rate costing him precious win bonus points. Given the pricing, there are better stack options defensively especially because I think a lot of people will pile on Arsenal the defensive stack due to odds showing them as huge favorites.
It’s unlikely Hull will keep a clean sheet, or have a high likelihood to produce multiple goals, so I wouldn’t recommend picking up any of their players. With how many good cheap options from more favorable games there are it just isn’t worth investing with Hull. If you are feeling masochistic and want a contrarian differential, Hernandez(18) is Hull’s highest ranked player in my model, but at that price there are better options.
EVERTON (Exp Shots – 15.7, Exp Goals – 1.79) vs Aston Villa (Exp Shots – 6.6, Exp Goals – 2.16)
The obvious thing that jumps out is Villa’s expected goals being so high. This is a bit skewed due to the toughness of Everton’s home games and their concede rate of over %30. I wouldn’t put too much weight into it due to the small sample size, but they may not be the best option for a clean sheet.
Everton’s offensive players all rate very highly with Lukaku (21.5) being in the top 15 forwards in my model, but also the 3rd highest priced forward. The ideal situation would be if Eto’o(15) were to start, which is a possibility, due to Lukaku returning from international duty with a reported slight knock. Eto’o offers a great differential and is bargain priced, so for GPPs he will be a must play if starting.
In the midfield Naismith(16.75) is really the best option you have for Everton and is decently priced. If you are going for an Everton stack he will pair well with Lukaku or Eto’o. I don’t think McGeady or Pienaar have too much value in them compared to options elsewhere.
The real value from Everton comes from their defensive options. Coleman(17) and Baines(17) both rank in the top ten for defenders, and there is a decent change despite what my model indicates that Everton may get a shutout. Villas low shot volume will make it tough for them to score, so as long as Everton doesn’t make bad defensive errors of course. They are likely must haves for this weekend because of this in addition to their raw output. On the offensive side, Baines becomes an absolute must have due to his set piece and penalty duty. In goal Howard(22.75) ranks absolute last in my model so it may not be a good idea to pick him up when other goalies are priced similarly.
Villa doesn’t have any top ranked players in my model outside of Hutton on defense. However given the matchup I wouldn’t go near their defense in any capacity. The one player that could prove a good acquisition on their team would be Benteke (14.5) if he gets a start. This is due to his low price and Everton’s propensity to concede goals at a high rate so far.
CRYSTAL PALACE (Exp Shots – 14.1, Exp Goals – 1.24) vs Chelsea (Exp Shots – 10.1, Exp Goals – 3.12)
The one thing that stands out in this match is Chelsea’s high conversion rate. They are scoring at a ~%35 clip on the road this season. Logic dictates that this is largely unsustainable, however this isn’t the first time a Mourinho forward has had a very high scoring rate. This is largely due to his teams producing very good quality chances. Given players coming back from international duty and Costa’s recent workload being so high it could be a good candidate for a regression game. Also I think this will be the other game besides Arsenal that the public will be piling up on players from, making it a decent fade candidate for GPPs since Chelsea are on the road. However, they have the potential to go off against any team, so it will generally be risky trying to fade them.
On offense Costa (24.5) is the highest priced player this week and rightfully so as only 2 players rank higher than him for forwards in my model. One of those forwards happens to be his possible replacement in Remy (15) who like Eto’o becomes a must have if he gets the nod over Costa due to rotation/fitness reasons.
In the midfield Willian (15.5) will likely start over Schurrle and is Chelsea’s highest ranked midfielder so given his price he is another must have starter in my opinion. Your other midfield options are Hazard (19.75) and Fabregas (18.75), of which I prefer Fabregas due to set piece duty and slightly lower price.
On defense Ivanovic (17.25) will be the popular pick, and rightfully so. He has been consistently great offensively this year and Chelsea seems to have shored things up defensively as of late, so he is definitely a reliable option. In goal Courtois(24) will most likely start, however due to his concussion vs Arsenal be on the lookout for Cech(18) to get the nod, in which case he is a must have at his price.
I wouldn’t suggest picking up anyone from palace, especially for cash games. There is one small exception, and that is if you want to take a contrarian defensive stack for GPPs. Speroni (19.75) will likely face a lot of shots and if Chelsea don’t run as hot as they have he could have a huge point haul if CP eeks out a low scoring win or draw. This is extremely high risk, but you can guarantee almost no one will have him on their team. The best defender to pair him with would be Ward (15) if you go this route.
NEWCASTLE (Exp Shots – 31, Exp Goals – 1.65) vs Leicester City (Exp Shots – 7.3, Exp Goals .75)
I was really hoping to get to this game without Cisse having another big game. I’ve been lying in wait for a home game to pile on Newcastle as their stats indicate they’ve been fairly unlucky to have the record they do with as many goals against as they do. On the other hand Leicester has been doing the complete opposite and is performing better than league average for scoring and conceding based on their shot differential. This game is a prime candidate for fortunes to sway to create a lopsided game that a lot of people won’t be expecting.
On offense the cat is out of the bag regarding Cisse(18) as he’s already scored 2 braces in 3 games and the stats back up his production as he is a top 5 rated striker in my model. Although there is some worry that he is just returning from injury, I still believe he is one of the must haves this week. Any forward vs a team that concedes twice to Burnley while at home is going to be a great option.
In the midfield Gouffran(17), Obertan(15.25), and Colback(15) all rate closely and are similarly price. Out of those 3 I like Obertan the best as he will be in an advanced role on the wing and is cheaper than Gouffran. However, if Cabella (16) starts (over Sissoko most likely), he is the best of the bunch and will be the best Newcastle midfielder to pair with Cisse.
Defensively at first glance most people will be inclined to avoid Newcastle since they’ve conceded a lot, while Leicester has been able to score in all of their games except 2. However, my model predicts this game to be the 3rd most likely game to have a shutout, so that leads me to believe there is a ton of value in picking up Newcastle defense for GPPs. Haidara(15.25) is the highest rated defender in my model and is a great value pick if he starts over Dummett (15.25). On the other side you have Janmaat (15.25) who is a top 15 defender as well, who you will want to grab if Haidara doesn’t start. Given how volatile Newcastle have been, picking up only one of the two may not be a bad idea. The big problem is StatClash released their pricing after it was known Krul(21) might not start, so he and Elliot(21) are both priced the same. Had Elliot been similarly priced to Cech, it would have moved him to the top of the list of gk’s I’d want. Sadly his price feels a bit too high given shutout options elsewhere.
I’ve actually been a pretty big on Leicester this season, but their stats show they are due for some regression, and already experienced some last week conceding two to a woeful Burnley team.
On offense I much prefer Vardy(15.75) to Ulloa (17) due to price and production both being in his favor. Also keep in mind Ulloa will be a more popular pick so going against him when the stats point to Vardy being better make Vardy an even sounder choice.
In midfield last week I had Mahrez(18.5) of my value pick of the week and boy did he deliver. He is still ranked as one of the best midfielders so his updated price isn’t as discouraging as it might seem. If you decide you want to invest in Leicester players he is definitely one of the best options next to Vardy. Trailing him in the rankings, but not by too much is Cambiasso (15.75) who offers cheaper entry into the Leicester midfield if you are strapped for salary $.
On defense I recommend avoiding Leicester altogether since Newcastle will likely get a lot of chances and they have only kept one clean sheet on the road.
BURNLEY (Exp Shots – 7.8, Exp Goals – .43) vs West Ham (Exp Shots – 14.9, Exp Goals – 1.8)
I typically avoid road teams, but Burnley has been pretty woeful offensively, and West Ham has only been held scoreless in one match. This is likely going to be a match that people won’t have as much exposure to since West Ham isn’t a publicly popular team.
Out of their front 2, Sakho(17.5), although more expensive, is rated higher than his strike partner Valencia (16.75). Sakho’s production has been great so far this season and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon, so he is definitely a great mid price pickup that I don’t think many people will have.
In the midfield Downing (19) has been experiencing a renaissance in his role behind the strikers. He also has a ton of corner and set piece duty pushing him near the top of the list of available midfielders. On the flanks Amalfitano(15) and Noble (16) offer cheaper options in the midfield if price is an issue. Of the two I think Amalfitano is a better goal threat, but Noble could get a share of the set pieces/corners.
On Defense Cresswell (16.5) rates decently and you will want to stack him along with Adrian (23) if you decide to target this game for a defensive stack. Since my model has Burnley as the 2nd least likely team to score it makes for a very strong option.
I think people may target Burnley’s defense due to their previous clean sheets, but I think that could be a mistake as West Ham has been scoring consistently and at a reasonable rate. Given the expected shot differential it just seems like a good idea to avoid Burnley all together. If you do want to pick up Burnley players, Jutkiewicz (16.25) is your best option up front while Tripper (15) and Heaton(20) would be your defensive stack options.
SOUTHAMPTON (Exp Shots – 13.7, Exp Goals – 1.5) vs Sunderland (Exp Shots – 9.9, Goals – .19)
Southampton rates extremely high in most metrics so their place in the top 4 isn’t as surprising as it might seem. Sunderland in the meantime has had a tough time scoring away from home. That makes this game the most likely for a shutout and win in my model.
Most people will gravitate to Pelle (19.75) as the their pick from Southampton’s front line, however Mane (16) offers a cheaper option, and statistically rates better, albeit a smaller sample size. Southampton will likely be on the front foot most of the game so neither is a bad option.
In midfield Tadic(20.5) has been one of my favorite midfielders all season, and given his set piece and corner duty he is hard to ignore. He hasn’t gotten on the score sheet yet so he may get over looked by the general public. The lesser known option would be Cork (14.75) but he seems unlikely to start.
On defense I absolutely love Bertrand (17) and Clyne (17) coupled with Forster(23.25) for a defensive stack if you aren’t picking up Coleman/Baines/Ivanovic. They both attack and get forward well, and look the most likely combo to get a shutout and win.
I generally like Sunderland as a differential pick, but in this case they are on the road vs a defensively stout team. Given their fairly low shot count, and low goal expectancy it is a good idea to try avoiding them altogether. If for whatever reason you decide to go in on Sunderland Fletcher (16) and Giaccherini(14.5) are the best options with GIaccherini being very high rated.
Max “mrquickfoot” Turner (AKA “PoopDollar” AKA “PoopDollarz”) is an established DFS Soccer player on many DFS platforms. In addition to writing for LuDawgs, he is also the owner of www.soccerdfs.com, a leading soccer DFS content site.