Duke’s EPL DFS Preview for Saturday morning’s three-match slate…
Switch gears! It’s EPL time. We had one great day and one average day of UCL action. Personally, I won everything on Tuesday (would have been more with Neymar/Mbappe) and lost most on Wednesday.
The four players I mentioned I would start my lineup with did fine. Carrasco, Felix, Choupo-Moting and Ake combined for 59.3 points at $23,800 – good or 2.5x. The rest of my main lu let me down.
My theory that teams would have a real go turned out to be false in some cases with teams like Shakhtar genuinely playing to not advance to UCL KO stages, but make sure they held onto Europa League for dear life.
In hindsight, with the pandemic limiting attendance and absolute gang raping the financial side of the game, money is needed. Another UCL check is great but maybe three Europa League checks are better and it’s definitely better than nothing.
For those that missed it, Ryan Clifford spent a ton of time researching winning lineups for UCL action and came up with the following parameters to follow:
1) Min salary of $49,600
2) At least one 3-man stack (w/ either a D or a G as one of the 3) this was about a 75-80% occurrence
3) At least one 2-man stack in addition to the 3-man. (about 80-85% of winning lineups)
4) Goalie as part of either stack (goalies were stacked with at least one teammate in about 75% of winning lineups
5) Only M or F (or M/F) in FLEX. D was used in flex less than 10% of the time in winning lineups
6) Max 3 per team. Only about 15% of the time is there a stack of 4 or more in winning lineups.
7) Only 2 stacks. (a third stack of 2 or more occurred less than 10% of the time in winning lineups)
That’s an awesome look at some items to highlight if you are hand building a lineup or even moreso, using our optimizer. As a reminder, those requirements are specific to UCL contests only where typically we see more goals and have six games to choose from.
On Saturday, we are back to our three game split slate. Thankfully, it’s three pretty damn good games!
To the desert…
-Newcastle +120 2.5 (+120o/-145u)
West Brom +245
-Man United +340 3 (+105o/-125u)
Man City -135
-Everton +320 3 (-105o/-115u)
Newcastle are the favorites here but have been pretty poor at home. They are conceding 2.2 goals per home match and scoring only 1.2. Their 40% win percentage is slightly ahead of the 37% league average. Their two wins have come over Burnley and Everton. Everyone is beating Burnley. You know who else is getting stomped by everyone? West Brom. It’s not like Newcastle are without big results. They tied Tottenham and Wolves. They beat Everyone. They’ve scored 2+ goals four times already this season. This is a decent side.
West Brom – Not so much. They are scoring just 0.6 goals per game away from home while conceding 2.2. That’s not a recipe for success and they are taking just 0.2 points per game. That is relegation form every single year and that is the most likely outcome this season for West Brom. They stiffened their backs for a little run in November. Back-to-back 1-0 losses to Spurs and United probably had the boys in the locker room feeling like they could compete. They then went out and beat Sheffield! They came crashing back to earth with the 1-5 loss to Crystal Palace, of all teams. They’ve conceded in every single away match thus far, losing three and drawing against Brighton.
This is our lowest total by far but I expect there to be players we can attack.
Man United did the double over City last year and by all accounts was NOT the better team. For all of United’s warts, they do tend to show up in games they are supposed to lose. Enter Man City. Now, even I had to go back and watch some film and look at some stats. My Red Devil colored glasses had me thinking this is a fixture that’s been dominated by United. Man City have won two of the last three competitive matches at Old Trafford and neither of the wins were even close.
United lost 1-3 in the EFL Cup to City behind goals from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahres and an Andreas Periera own goal. They had 57% possession and outshot United 15 to 8. They created four big chances. The game prior was a 0-2 win for City with goals from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane. One of those plays for Bayern and the other rarely plays for City. The team United put out that day isn’t even recognizable. Gone are: Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, Andreas Pereira….. and Jesse Lingard hasn’t played in ages.
Ole is on the ropes after the midweek performance against Red Bull Leipzig and dropping out of the Champions League. Pep and the boys will be riding high, cruising into the KO stages of UCL and getting super star Aguero a few minutes and a goal as he returns from injury. He won’t start this match but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him come off the bench late to make an impact.
Never say never, but City are better at every single facet of this match. Martial has been a killer of City lately but won’t be passed fit for this match. Cavani has performed well but will likely miss this match as well. With young Mason Greenwood leading the line, I think City are clever enough to handle him.
I wish I could say otherwise but I see a very similar scoreline to the last match I discussed — 2-0 City.
How important are fullbacks in modern football? Ask Carlo Ancelotti. Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne were a big part of the defense and attack in Carlo’s system and with them out, it’s been a hodge podge lineup and inconsistent results. After starting the season perfect through four matches, he’s taken only 4 points from his last 6 matches. Even worse, those points came from Fulahm and Burnley. To not take 6 points there is a missed opportunity. Perhaps the best result they’ll get all season happened on matchday one with their 0-1 away win at Tottenham! Everton are struggling to find the back of the net at the moment and have conceded in 10 straight matches with their only clean sheet coming in that first win. They could be in big trouble here.
I make fun of him a lot so here is some credit for Fat Frank: good job rotating your side. Seriously, it’s a massive skill to have at this level with this many competitions. Chelsea were happy to get their UCL business overwith as soon as possible which allowed for a heavily rotated side midweek and fresh legs for this contest. They are flying at the moment. They are third in the table behind only Spurs and Liverpool while also advancing to the KO stages of UCL. Give Frank a contract extension. Even scarier for the league is that he’s still working out his best 11. He’s slowly integrating Kai Havertz into the side and the likes of Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi are fighting for playing time.
For those of you who like trends, the home team is typically dominant in these fixtures, winning the last 3 matches. This is also a bit of a revenge game for Ancelotti of sorts who was fired by Chelsea. BUT, I like the away side of things here.
- Sterling – MCI – $7.6k
He’s working his way back into form and comes in with the third best goals scoring odds on the slate at just +100. You get a price break from Mahrez who has a lot of minutes on his legs recently and could be an early sub risk.
- Giroud – CHE – $8k
Can you argue with his form? On the surface this seems crazy but he and Chelsea are scoring goals and winning games. Oddly enough, I’ll have to decide between Giroud and Wilson on some of my lineups but I back both to score.
- Wilson – NEW – $8.8k
Want an all or nothing GPP option. This price is exorbitant but at +140 goal odds, Wilson is the most likely to score from the first game on the slate. The man needs volume. The only game where he scored and took less than 2 shots was the 1-1 draw with Tottenham. West Brom have given up the most shots in the Prem.
- Werner – CHE – $7.8k
I have Werner projected ahead of the likes of Rashford and Jesus so he makes the list here. He’s still on penalties but has been extremely wasteful in front of goal. With Gioroud’s form and their proximity to goal it’s not out of the question to roster both.
- Greenwood – MU – $5.3k
He looked a little lost at forward but might lead the line again in this spot. As a reminder, United play a very counter attacking style that should create even number situations between United forwards and City defenders.
- Almiron – NEW – $4.8k
Great value option for cash with some assist/goal upside. He needs a good run in the team and this is a great spot to get Miggy going.
- De Bruyne – MCI – $10.7k
He missed the fixture at United last season but wrapped up 22 piotns without a goal or assist in the home match between these two on 4 shots, 5 chances created and 18 crosses. As a reminder, they were playing catchup in that match and that is when City tend to cross more than average. This should display the insanely high floor he possesses here.
- Fernandes – MU – $10.3k
We know his upside and saw it in the last 7 days. He has a higher ceiling than KDB. I could argue which of the two you should play. I’ll likely try to fit both in cash and go from there. United have some real issues in defense and will likely be playing catch up here.
- Mount – CHE – $7.1k
The more likely option than playing both is to grab Mount. His floor is off the charts since Frank handed him the set piece responsibility. He does shoot and create enough to consider him for GPP as well but this is mostly a cash option for me or someone to pair with Giroud in GPP.
- Torres – MCI – $6.1k
GOALS! All he does is score. Literally. He doesn’t have a floor to speak of but there he goes grabbing another goal at under $7k midweek.
- Pogba – MU – $4.5k
Let’s see if he starts. If he does, I’ll have some decisions to make. It’s hard to forget his 2 goal performance in this match just a few years ago. He looked great midweek in a cameo off the bench and took his goal really well last weekend.
- Iwobi – EVE – $4.1k
RWB Iwobi is always in consideration if that’s where he starts at this price. Cross upside there.
- James – CHE – $5.5k
Rested midweek and should fly up the right side. Another good pairing with Giroud who’s less than Mount.
- Lewis – NEW – $4.7k
He hasn’t produced in the role to the level I’d expected but Newcastle also aren’t typical in possession of the ball more than their opponents. He should have ample opportunity to get into attacking areas in this match.
- Telles – MU – $6k
Set piece equity and some open play value but they won’t be building up a ton so I’m projected his floor a little lower than usual.
- Zouma – CHE – $3.9k
Yeah I don’t really get this play either but he projects well for me. Nearly a shot per game and does have 4 goals on the season. We know Pickford is a giant pussy in the box so perhaps he can bag another header goal.
Cheap Fullbacks + Surprises
- Henderson/DeGea – MU – $4k/$3.9k
I’m seeing rumors of Henderson starting and while I think City win, the United GK will have more save opportunities and United have won the last 2 EPL matchups. I can’t see United getting absolutely blown out here so it’s a calculated risk.
- Mendy – CHE – $5.3k
The clean sheet monster. Everton form is bad but CHE are away and it’s pricey.
- Darlow – NEW – $5.1k
A nice pivot off Mendy against an opponent far less likely to score in West Brom.