Duke’s EPL DFS Preview for Saturday’s three-game slate…
BOOOO!!! Isn’t it funny how our interests change? Without sports last spring, I was craving an A-League soccer game that started at 3 am. Once the Bundesliga came back, I tossed the A-League to the side like a bad habit. Once the Premier League came back, seeing the larger EPL DFS contest sizes meant my focus and interest went to the Prem and left the Bundesliga in the rearview mirror. I love the Premier League. It’s the league I watch the most. It’s home to my favorite team in the world. But….it’s not the Champions League. Even a two-game slate with a combined pre-match total of 4.5 goals ended up with eight goals. It’s madness – and fun – and exciting! And 90 minutes of a sweat.
Speaking of which, we had a couple of subscribers go OFF on Wednesday. Big congrats to those folks, and thanks to Micah for the shoutout on Twitter.
As we saw over two days, fading the highest-owned and most expensive player on the slate is never a bad strategy for GPP contests. I mentioned in my article that Haaland was a tough play in cash, but I would likely have more Haaland than Ronaldo and Sancho in GPP. That was the case, and it certainly paid off…to an extent. Personally, I was over-exposed to En-Nesyri, and for correlation Bono, to turn a profit in GPP, but cash made up for the minor loss.
I posted the following lineup in the chat. It cashed everywhere with ease. Let’s evaluate real quick.
The Chiesa goal certainly came through for us, but between the two of him and Ronaldo essentially hit their combined projection. Ronaldo v Haaland is always an interesting debate, but it’s very similar to the situation we saw with Messi on Tuesday. What is Messi’s ownership? 75% plus is basically an auto-play. The upside can kill you, and the downside won’t hurt you. Basically, he’s irrelevant, and you take the free square. The keys were in the ancillary players. Marchesín gets the win, but the four saves were what we planned on. Navas hit value. Bentancur hit value. At that point, with the goal from Chiesa, we were home on a two-game slate.
It’s wild that this lineup was so successful because live, without seeing the score and where my competitors were scoring, I wasn’t feeling as confident. I pulled it up after the Chiesa goal and bang, GREEN.
Anyway, I don’t have time to write review articles anymore, so I wanted to evaluate a roster that did well despite the highest-priced player struggling.
To the desert…
EPL DFS GAME THOUGHTS
How about a Burnley v West Brom game not being the lowest scoring game on a slate??? It speaks to the times and also how fucking horrible Sheffield United are playing. To be fair, we are still looking at under 2.5 here, so it’s not necessarily going to be a goal-fest.
Congrats to Burnley on the big win over Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace are bad. West Brom are bad. Burnley only conceded slightly over a goal per game at home. West Brom are scoring under a goal per game away. I’m trying really hard to get excited about this game, but I simply can’t. To make matters worse, it’s the first game of the day, and we won’t even be sweating any team news.
If we are looking at who is the contender and the pretender, the easy answer is both are pretenders, but Burnley are by far the more real possibility to stay up. The draw with Fulham was further proof that their system works. West Brom are just flapping in the wind. The usual suspects will be in play, and sure, there could be some goals. So, we can explore GPP options, but in general, we’ll be targeting the goalkeepers and Dwight McNeil and moving on. Next!
The Merseyside Derby! Here is a game we can sink our teeth into. These are two teams who are struggling mightily compared to pre-season expectations. Liverpool are coming off the morale-boosting 2-0 win over Red Bull Leipzig in the Champions League, but their Premier League form is dreadful. They’ve lost three straight and have only scored two goals from those three matches. The good news is that both Mane and Salah got off the bark while Bobby Firmino had a goal controversially called back. The attack will be brimming with confidence.
Everton have more questions than answers. Dominic Calvert-Lewin went off injured and will be a late fitness test at best. James Rodriguez picked up a knock but should be ok as he finished the match against City. Lucas Digne was completely left out of the team against City. On top of that, they are relying on Gylfi Sigurdsson to score goals. No wonder they can’t sustain any success. Many will criticize the 2-0 loss to Fulham, and rightfully so. I was less impressed with their 3-3 draw to Man United. They were thoroughly outplayed in that contest and needed three second-half goals just to grab a point. They were absolutely played off the park by Man City in the 3-1 loss. Every team has these periods throughout such a long season, but they are treading water at best and quickly losing strength.
Traditionally, this is a contest dominated by Liverpool. You have to go back to 2010 to find the last Everton win in this fixture, and that was at Goodison Park. The last win at Anfield was in 1999. With the highest total on the board, the most talent between the two teams on offer and a very likely winner in Liverpool, you can guess where ownership will trend on this slate.
Two words: Josh Maja. The former Sunderland forward could be the difference between Fulham staying up and Fulham going back down to the grind of the Championship. So yes, he was worth the money in January. Fulham have been one of the better footballing sides over the last two months, but they hadn’t won a game since November 30th. The key? A goal scorer. Maja bagged two against Everton. For 70% of the game, Fulham were on top. After the second goal went in, they bunkered a bit, but in general, they aren’t afraid to play with anyone. In a match against Sheffield, they’ll certainly have quite a bit of the ball.
Sheffield have their moments. They’ve won four of their last seven matches, but two of those were against lesser sides in the FA Cup. The win over Man United is certainly stuck in my mind, but not because they did anything special. They had 25% possession and managed only five shots. The goals they scored were against the fun of play. They can’t stream two performances together, but perhaps that’s ok because they were dreadful against West Ham last weekend.
Maja had a good game against Burnley but tended to drift off to the right a little too much for my liking. Fulham did well to take the lead, but the frailties showed through by conceding just a few minutes later and leaving with yet another draw. I don’t have these stats, but I highly doubt a team has ever been relegated when losing only three games over a 13-game stretch. Relegation teams are awful. Fulham are not. This is a six-pointer and a fun little afternoon hammer.
EPL DFS PLAYS
- Salah – LIV – $10.5k
- The most expensive player for a reason. Liverpool have dominated this fixture, and Everton are in poor form. Cash and GPP
- McNeil – BUR – $9.6k
- Reverse the numbers, and I’d be all in. But at this price, you have to look for better options. His floor is quite high, especially considering other options on the slate.
- Mane – LIV – $10.3k
- Higher ceiling but lower floor than McNeil. He punished bad teams and just demolished Tottenham for a season-high 32.4 points.
- Maja – FUL – $6.9k
- The missing link or a one-hit wonder? We need some value with all of the preferred players carrying large price-tags.
- Lookman – FUL – $10k
- They’ve really done him a disservice here, but he’s so expensive, no one will roster him. Before pricing, I had him as a firm cash option, assuming he’d be around $7.8k. This is strictly GPP pricing.
- Barnes – BUR – $8.8k
- Bit eye-watering price there. Strictly GPP and strictly for those who are ok separating their feelings from their money.
- Firmino – LIV – $8.6k
- Liverpool exposure to the front 3 at a discount. Floor is a bit higher than Mane’s, but the ceiling is lower.
- Pereira – WBA – $7.8k
- What a discount from the top-end forwards. He’s still not cheap, but West Brom should be well in this game and allow Pereira to create.
- Westwood – BUR – $7.4k
- What are we doing with this pricing? He’s basically unplayable yet has one of the higher floors for midfield-only eligible players.
- Reed – FUL – $3.9k
- WE NEED VALUE. He’ll provide it. Plus matchup and enough of a floor to get by. Leaning cash only because his upside is limited, but there are builds where he makes sense in GPP, as well.
- Osbourne – SHU – $5.9k
- This should be Westwood’s price, but assuming Fleck is still out with his illness, then Osbourne is firmly in play for all contests. Set piece duty and a touch of open play value.
- Sigurdsson – EVE – $6k
- If the matchup was better, this would be an enticing price, but against Liverpool where they’ll be doing more defending than attacking, it’s hard to justify this number. If James and Digne are somehow out…go nuts.
- Loftus-Cheek – FUL – $4.6k
- Complete GPP Jekyll and Hyde type of player who will not get a better opportunity to perform than this matchup. To be in his role and to have played 19 games without an assist is criminal.
- Norwood – SHU – $4k
- Pivot off the higher-priced guys and even Osbourne/Fleck on his own team. Slight set piece equity but a sub risk for sure.
- Henderson – LIV – $3.8k
- Tougher matchup but a similar situation to Reed.
- Alexander-Arnold – LIV – $7.4k
- Would you rather play Westwood or TAA? Just play TAA.
- Robertson – LIV – $6.8k
- This requires more of a decision, and something I’d prefer in GPP as a pivot off of TAA.
- Digne – EVE – $5.9k
- With James back, Digne doesn’t have enough of a role in the attack to really warrant the ownership over Robertson other than price. The matchup is quite poor.
- Bogle – SHU – $5.6k
- GPP only play. 11 shots in 9 matches. He’s only crossed the 10 point threshold once without a goal. Risky play.
- Townsend – WBA – $5.3k
- Bit more of a floor than Bogle. Well below the top 3.
- Ampadu – SHU – $3.8k
- Swiss army knife at the back/midfield. He’s a decent punt option who finds a way to get home more often than not.
- Other value….
- Pope – BUR – $5.2k
- Johnstone – WBA – $4.2k
- Areola – FUL – $5k
Good luck!! New to DFS Soccer? Here’s an intro with Duke’s Rules & Strategies!