Duke’s EPL DFS Preview for Saturday’s three-match slate…
No midweek games make it feel like it’s been ages since we’ve had a game, but it’s been less than a week, and it’s easy to forget that this is the normal EPL DFS schedule for half the season. Yes, I know there were FA Cup games midweek, but articles for those matches would literally be pointless with all of the rotation and scenarios that can play out. However, don’t fret. We have the Champions League back next week!! One contest is already up in the lobby that has a big $20k prize up top. We are in the round of 16, and there will be two games every T/W through the end of February. These teams are the best of the best….of the best of the best, so I know we are all looking forward to those. As always, we will crush UCL action like we always do.
BUT before we get to that, we need to build the bankroll with some EPL action. Saturday, we have a three-game slate. Sunday, we have another decent slate. Monday, we even have a couple of games, so the content will be flowing over the next week. Manage the bankroll and let’s get it!
To the desert…
EPL DFS GAME THOUGHTS
Let’s kick the morning off with a potential snooze fest! Mateta is a nice addition to the front line and adds a different element to Benteke, but he’s certainly not the answer to push them through to the next level. Leeds were always a horrible matchup for Palace, but Wolves and Newcastle provide a better preview for how this match will go. Palace won both of those matches, scoring two in the first half after conceding early against Newcastle. Eze seems to be taking some of the pressure off of Wilf Zaha. Long term, that’s fantastic, but there is a drop off between the two right now. It does force defenses to focus less in one area, so on the whole, it’s a massive positive.
Recent results have Burnley feeling better about their safety, but Fulham are certainly playing the better football, yet Burnley are getting the better results. Managers get paid for results, so credit to Sean Dyche. Quick Sean Dyche story…and I’m paraphrasing…but apparently, when they were playing Aston Villa, he got into it with John McGinn. McGinn came in a bit late on a challenge, and Dyche had a go at the referee. With no fans, his loud, gravelly voice was plain as day for all to hear. Apparently, McGinn took offense, and the following exchange happened.
McGinn: Shut up
Dyche: Oh, so you’ve been in the Prem for one season thinking you’re a proper big time eh, telling me to shut up
McGinn: You’ve been in the Prem for six seasons, and you’re still wearing the same shit coat, you big prick
The End 😂
Not exactly the analysis you sign up for, but a funny story nonetheless. The key here is getting Barnes and Wood back to their best. Vydra and Jay Rodriguez have been trying to get it done, but Dyche has been rolling them out in games that either A) don’t matter or B) can’t win. This isn’t one of those games, even away from home.
Pep v Jose.
City v Spurs.
Damn, it’s going to be fun.
This match has some serious home/away splits lately. The sample size is far too small to read into. However, here is what to expect. Spurs will take less than 10 shots and probably less than six. Man City will take more than 15 shots and probably more than 20. Man City will have 65% possession or more. Who’s going to win? No idea. Probably Man City.
City continued their nine-match winning streak, running it to 10 after the 4-1 dismantling of Liverpool. Spurs did rush Harry Kane back to play 90 minutes against West Brom, in case you were wondering how desperate Jose was for three points in the game against the worst team in the league.
At the Etihad with the roll City are on, combined with the depth of City’s squad, means it can only be one result…SPURS WIN! Nah, City wins 2-0.
Both teams will score, and Villa will win. Want to hear something weird? Aston Villa haven’t won a Premier League game when their opponent has scored since October 4th. They’ve only won one game this year when they’ve conceded. Of their 10 wins, nine have been shutouts. So, in the nine games where they’ve conceded a goal, they are 1-8-1. So yes, the first sentence was in jest a bit.
Statistically, it would certainly seem that Villa can’t get over the hump when their opponent scores, and we are 21 games into the season, so it’s not something to completely ignore. However, they have the talent to overcome a goal or two. It’s baffling to me that they can’t. Additionally, they only have one 0-0 draw on the season. So, I guess the big question here is, does Brighton score?
Brighton haven’t eclipsed one goal since the Jan 2nd game against Wolves at home. In the six games since, they’ve won three, drew two, and lost one but were shutout in two of those matches. They scored exactly one goal in the remainder. Graham Potter’s possession style of play doesn’t produce as many chances as other styles, and when they do get in good areas, they tend to lack the ability to find the back of the net. In the stretch of games mentioned above, no one had more than a goal.
Dunk – 1 (set piece)
Alzate – 1 (cross right to left deep on back post, headed back across the goal, poor clearance hits Alzate and finds the back of the net)
Trossard – 1 (good build up, cut back pass, slot home)
Maupay – 1 (good build up and slotted pass for a goal)
One goal was lucky but from a good build-up. Two goals were from good build-up. The fourth goal was from a corner won off of….good build-up. What does good build-up mean? Movement off the ball with quick, anticipatory combinations to open space and create chances. They CAN do this. Some teams literally cannot. Burnley, literally, cannot do that. Brighton just do it so infrequently that you can pull your hair out as they pass it around 30 yards from goal with no penetrating attempts.
Will Brighton score? Yes. Villa has one of the best away records in the Prem, but I have both teams scoring and the match finishing in a 1-1 draw.
EPL DFS PLAYS
Sterling – MCI – $9.5k
Rightfully the most expensive player. He’s in the best form and has the highest or one of the highest ceilings on the slate. 20+ points in three straight slates. They are finally back at home, and he should have a good game, but I’ll say this…..I’m not sure I’ll play him cash. That’s one. 2) He’s not a lock for my main GPP. The bust potential is certainly there. Aurier is quite athletic, and while not spectacular defensively, he can give Sterling headaches.
Gross – BHA – $8.4k
Honestly, I wasn’t really buying his positioning within the system and thought he only had floor points available, but he’s providing much more to this attack. At least one shot in each of his last four and double digits in three of four. The matchup is average but not bad, so he’s in play in all formats.
McNeil – BUR – $6.9k
His renewed role on set pieces, and we’ll get his best matchup in almost a month. Burnley have had a really tough run of games, but in the two that were considered winnable, McNeil bagged 26.7 and 17.6 points. Those are upside efforts, but from a floor perspective, he had seven and 10 crosses with two and three shots.
Watkins – AVL – $8k
Four goals in five. AT LEAST four shots in four straight. Give me forwards getting in good spots. +150 to score, which seems like value, but then you have to consider how Brighton play and wonder how many chances he’ll really get, and the price makes sense. He does have some floor, but he’s always going to be a GPP option. On a slate without Liverpool, he’d be higher.
Maupay – BHA – $6.2k
+130 to score, and his movement is improving. He has nine shots over his last four games, and Brighton should have quite a bit of the ball here. As the last game of the day, and with several better options on the slate, the majority of whatever ownership he carries will be those pivoting over to chase points. I can’t play him in cash for sure. GPP only.
Mahrez – MCI – $7.9k
He absolutely has open play value here, but with Foden mostly taking over his set piece responsibilities, I’m not sure I can justify the spend here. GPP option to differentiate Sterling/Foden ownership.
Heung-Min – TOT – $8.9k
Last year against City, he scored at home. This year, he scored against City at home. They aren’t at home. City are in unbelievable form. He didn’t break 20 in the games he DID score. It’s just a tough matchup, but he has so much quality that I can’t eliminate him from my player pool.
Bergwijn – TOT – $3.8k
We will likely see a defensive setup with Kane/Son as a front 2 on the counter, but should they go with a front 3 and include Stevie, he’s so cheap that he’s worth a stab. Neither Stones nor Laporte is pacey enough to stay with Berg and Son. The floor here is zero. Please understand that, but if he completes your lineup, that risk could be worth it.
Grealish – AVL – $9.1k
He’s so damn good. He’s a hell of a DFS player, but he does need to be involved in goals. He needs a goal or an assist. He has the second-highest floor on the slate after Gross, so he’s clearly in cash consideration but teetering on the must play border.
Foden – MCI – $8.6k
Believe me, I know. We simply can’t afford all of these expensive players. Phil Foden might be the one who gets left out. I absolutely love this kid’s ability, but I hate that he’s a teenager and plays like it sometimes. He can go 20 minutes without touching the ball. His massive games always come from ones with goals and assists. He’s not KDB but is priced like it. He has a role on sets, but not a monopoly, and is a sub risk.
Gundogan – MCI – $8.5k
The price is getting pretty silly, but Gundo keeps showing out the G that he is. Here is the thing the stat nerds won’t see: his timing of runs and instincts in the box. You’ll probably hear them say that he’s TOO efficient and CAN’T keep this up. That is likely true. He’s not going to score 30 goals this year. BUT, how is he so efficient? Oftentimes, it’s a yard here or there to create an angle for a cutback or taking that chance that a ball will spill in front of the goal. These aren’t lucky goals. He does take some set pieces and COULD, emphasis on could, still have penalty duty after his miss last time.
McGinn – AVL – $4.1k
This new version of Villa means McGinn is doing more defensively and getting in the box less. That means we roster him less, but in this particular matchup, he can do a bit of damage from his deeper position. I don’t believe we see an uptick in shots, but the crosses could improve.
Mac Allister – BHA – $4.2k
He’s playing well behind the front 3 but has been inconsistent at best from a DFS standpoint. 1x is a reasonable projection, but there is GPP upside at the price should he connect with Maupay or Trossard on a goal.
Pieters – BUR – $3.7k
I understand why they made him M eligible, but I miss those potential 3 CS points. He’s back at LB mostly, but regardless if it’s in the midfield or defense, he can pay off this price in this matchup.
Barkley – AVL – $6.4k
He hasn’t completed the full 90 in 2021, but he’s still the same Ross Barkley. He’ll shoot from anywhere. He’ll have moments of genius. And he’ll look like an idiot other times. This is a deeper GPP play for me as Villa should see less of the ball than usual, and Bissouma is super solid defensively.***
*Watch out for Morgan Sanson – he was loaned in from Marseille and is twice the player Barkley is. He’s likely too new to start. But if he does, he’s half the price, and I’m interested.
Cancelo – MCI – $5.6k
Defender is gross on this slate. Walker played midweek in the FA Cup, so Cancelo should get 90 minutes here. Assuming no KDB, he should slide inside when City are on the attack to create further up the field and closer to goal. He is far from a lock because he does not have a role on set pieces and is quite expensive, but he’s the best D for me.
Cash – AVL – $4.7k
In case you were wondering how bad the position is, here is my second fav defender at nearly 5k with a projection just over 1x… He did put in six crosses when these teams met earlier in the year and could reach that again.
Veltman – BHA – $4.1k
The Burnley performance was a set back in my eye, and makes me wonder if his good run of form the prior three matches was an outlier and not what we can expect. Considering his CB is more expensive and the position is a sieve on the slate, I might end up paying this price one more time in cash.
Laporte – MCI – $2.8k
Dias is carrying the Q tag, and Garcia played midweek, meaning Laporte could/should slide into the LCB role next to Stones. This is strictly a price play. Back in November, he only scored 3.8 points but had 66AP with 3 INTs. If he can manage a CS and cut out the fouls, he’ll push double digits at under $3k.
Dunk – BHA – $4.5k
This price is ridiculous for a CB, but he’s a weapon on set pieces and can be paired with Gross.
Davies – TOT – $4.2k
IF Tottenham play with 3 CBs and Davies is a wingback, I’ll entertain this price.
Lloris – TOT – $3.8k
Spurs have shit the bed against the big boys of late, but the save upside will be quite high, and he’s always a Jose masterpiece away from a CS/W at min-price.
Pope – BUR – $4.5k
Slightly more win equity in a lower total game. Pope makes sense in all formats.
Sanchez – BHA – $4.7k
Home GK at under $5k with upside? Yes, please.
Good luck!! New to DFS Soccer? Here’s an intro with Duke’s Rules & Strategies!