SOCCER

3 FanDuel Premier League Players to Avoid in Matchweek 4

With Liverpool likely to dominate possession, Virgil van Dijk shouldn't be asked to do too much at Burnley. Who else is worth fading on Saturday?

This article is geared toward FanDuel's main slate, which begins at 10:00 a.m. EST Saturday and features seven matches. The slate includes both of last year's top-two finishers, and it also includes all three of the newly promoted squads. The final match on the slate sees Burnley host Liverpool, and the Reds are a -330 favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook, which puts their implied win probability at 76.7%.

With both Liverpool and Manchester not only on the slate but facing projected bottom-tier squads, the top-priced forwards/midfielders have an opportunity to go ham. The question becomes which one(s) to target.

Matchweek 4
Saturday, August 31st
Bournemouth at Leicester City
Aston Villa at Crystal Palace
Brighton at Manchester City
Sheffield United at Chelsea
Watford at Newcastle United
Norwich at West Ham
Liverpool at Burnley

We should try to take advantage of the teams -- and players -- who play especially well either home or away, while also looking at oddsmakers' favorites and over/under totals. With the campaign just gearing up, DFS players, as always, should check out injury reports and confirmed starting XI's when they become available since some starting XIs may not be as expected.

As with any DFS sport, it is imperative to have your players, especially the high-priced studs, live up to their price tag. When investing in any player, it is important to determine who will likely contribute in FanDuel's emphasized areas (goals, assists, and shots on target). It's also just as crucial not to overspend on players in bad matchups.

Let's take a look at three players across the pitch who should be avoided.

Ashley Barnes, FWD/MID, Burnley

FanDuel Price: $18

One of the hottest players in the Premier League to start the season, Barnes has averaged 35.5 FanDuel points through three matches, the third-highest average at this position. Barnes is tied with sixth other players as the eighth-highest priced player at this position, and he arguably, at least on paper, faces the toughest opponent of all the players priced at or above $18.

Liverpool are a large favorite over Burnley, and the match has a 61.2% chance of going over 2.5 goals, per FanDuel Sportsbook. The Clarets, who have scored five goals across three matches, have a 55.8% chance of finding the back of the net, while Barnes has a 29.4% chance of scoring for the fifth-straight Premier League match -- dating back to last season.

Burnley have possessed 35% or less of the ball in two of their three matches, seeing 46% of the ball against Southampton (their only home match so far), and they will likely be dominated in that category against the Reds. Liverpool have allowed the ninth-fewest number of shots (35) so far this season, while conceding 14 shots in their sole road match against the Saints.

While Barnes will undoubtedly spend time on the ball, he should have a hard time generating four shots, as he has done in all three matches to start the season, and if he does not score a goal, his FanDuel output will be minimal as he does not produce enough peripherals (zero chances created). At the same price point, DFS players can target Roberto Firmino on the other side of the pitch (who hasn't had the best start to his season), Sebastien Haller or Mason Mount, the latter two entering their match in great form.

Callum Robinson, FWD/MID, Sheffield United

FanDuel Price: $16

Robinson is tied with 20 other players as the 15th-highest priced player at his position, and he has averaged 4.27 FanDuel point this season, the second-worst average among all players at his position priced at or above $16. Robinson has appeared in the starting XI in all three matches but has played less than 60 minutes in back-to-back matches.

Chelsea are a large favorite over Sheffield United, and the match has a 57.3% chance of going over 2.5 goals. Sheffield United have scored one goal in each of their three matches to start the campaign and have a 55.8% chance of finding the back of the net. Robinson has produced just one shot on target this season, coming in Matchweek 1, and he has a 28.6% chance of scoring his first goal of the season, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Despite conceding the most goals (7) through three matches, the Blues have allowed the third-fewest shots (29). One of the surprise squads so far this season, Sheffield United have averaged 47.6% of the possession, coming close to that number in their only road match, while Chelsea have averaged 52.1% of the possession. Despite attempting four shots so far this season, Robinson has not seen any solid scoring chances, and he is at risk for limited playing time.

With the top-priced players on the slate in complete smash spots, DFS players may find themselves searching for guys in this range, and Robinson should not be considered.

Virgil van Dijk, DEF, Liverpool

FanDuel Price: $16

Van Dijk is tied with eight other players as the third-highest priced defender on the slate, and he has averaged 16.20 FanDuel points this season, the second-lowest average among all defenders priced at $16 or above. Despite a decent average, van Dijk's scoring output has been severely impacted by a goal in Matchweek 1, and he has not reached 11 FanDuel points in back-to-back matches.

Van Dijk always has huge upside against an opponent such as Burnley, as a clean sheet is in play, and he always posses an aerial threat in the attack off set pieces. On the other hand, however, van Dijk's floor is quite low as the Clarets are in the bottom tier of the Premier League table in three of the four defensive statistics given up, while allowing the fifth-most clearances (75) so far this season.

Pairing van Dijk's teammate, Trent Alexander-Arnold ($18) with one or more of the Liverpool attackers will likely be contrarian with Manchester City on the slate, but that is the better route to take as Liverpool should be on the ball a ton, giving TAA chances to get forward and play in crosses. DFS players will probably spend up at the forward/midfield position, putting them in van Dijk's price point (or lower), and the Liverpool center-back should be faded in favor of other defenders at this price point.



Ben Fisher is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ben Fisher also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Gvsubrickwall. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.