DraftKings Daily Fantasy Soccer Helper for Matchweek 1
You may be surprised that the Premier League is back already, as it feels like last season just ended. The weirdest calendar year in sports scheduling history continues to throw us for a loop, but let’s enjoy what we have. What we have this week is a three-game slate for the opening matchweek, so let’s take a look at the fixtures, with odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
|Crystal Palace +230||+220||Southampton +130|
|Liverpool -360||+500||Leeds +850|
|West Ham +100||+250||Newcastle +270|
Forwards to Target
Mohamed Salah ($10,300): Salah had a great season in helping Liverpool win their first Premier League title. He led the team with 19 goals and also chipped in with 10 assists. Salah also led the league in shots by 14 over Raul Jiménez. This adds a decent floor to the high ceiling that he definitely has. Liverpool are facing newly-promoted Leeds United, who are projected by the oddsmakers to have a decent chance of staying in the league this season, but Liverpool are still massive favorites in this game. Salah himself is -155 favorite to score a goal at anytime. He's the best expensive forward play on the slate and can be used in any format.
Jarrod Bowen ($8,300): Bowen really emerged last season as a solid fantasy option for West Ham after joining from Hull City in January. He produced at least 10 DraftKings points in every game after the league restarted, except for the season finale in which he only played 45 minutes. He did so by taking over the corner kick duty, taking multiple corners in seven straight games during a stretch at the end of last season, according to Rotowire. This lead to Bowen getting nearly six crosses per 90 minutes, and four assists in 13 appearances. The matchup against Newcastle is a good one for players who cross, as they allowed the second-most crosses per game, according to WhoScored.com.
Bowen only scored one goal with the Hammers, but managed to score 16 in 29 games with Hull in the Championship last season. He should be able to score a few more this season, giving him upside to go along with a floor that is very good for cash games.
Jordan Ayew: ($6,800): Ayew is a cheaper play that could score a goal for Crystal Palace on Saturday. He led the team with nine last season, despite going on a barren run to end the season with no goals in the last eight games. He still had fantasy value by drawing fouls, averaging about three fouls drawn per 90 minutes during the season and drawing 34 in his last ten appearances. Ayew also offers some leverage in tournaments, as his teammate Wilfried Zaha ($6,700) is right in the same salary range and is normally a popular play. Zaha only managed four goals and three assists in the league last season, so he doesn't have a high ceiling that we want in tournaments. I'd much rather play Ayew and hope he scores a goal and is in fewer lineups than his teammate.
Midfielders to Target
James Ward-Prowse ($9,200): James Ward-Prowse is always one of the safest plays at midfield because of his ability to accumulate crosses. He took the most corner kicks in the Premier League last season and also had the fourth-most crosses. He also chipped in with five goals and three assists. JWP has scored two goals from free-kicks in each of the last two seasons, which should give him a chance to score or just get some shots. Southampton will face a Crystal Palace side that was winless in the last eight games of last season. Palace also allowed 22 crosses per game last season, the fourth-most in the Premier League. Ward-Prowse should be able to feast on that and is firmly in play in any lineup on Saturday.
Jonjo Shelvey ($6,000): There are a lot of question marks on who will actually be available for Newcastle in this game, especially in midfield. Shelvey has the questionable tag listed on DraftKings but is in the projected starting lineup on WhoScored. If Shelvey does start, he'll make for a fine play, especially if Matt Ritchie is not in the lineup. This would give Shelvey the majority of the set pieces, as we saw last season when he led the team in corner kicks with Ritchie missing a lot of time. Shelvey also had six goals last season and isn't afraid to shoot from distance. Newcastle are underdogs in this game but the matchup isn't anything to fear as West Ham won't be dominating possession like some of the better teams would against Newcastle. If Shelvey isn't able to go, a pivot to Sean Longstaff ($5,100) would make sense as he saw some set-piece duty last season.
Mark Noble ($5,200): It feels like Mark Noble has been playing for West Ham forever. His main fantasy value comes from scoring goals on penalties, as he has scored at least one penalty goal in the Premier League for eight straight seasons. He also added some creativity to his game at the end of last season, with 19 shot assists and 15 crosses in the last four games. This makes him a lot more palatable than just hoping for a penalty kick. The upside for a goal isn't really found for anyone else in the lower-midrange of midfield, so Noble is definitely a play that makes sense in this game.
Defenders to Target
Trent Alexander-Arnold ($8,000): One of the standout performers in real life and in fantasy last season was Trent Alexander-Arnold. He led the Premier League in crosses with 382, nearly 80 more than the next closest player. His 13 assists were second in the league, and he was able to score four goals, which is nothing to sneeze at for a defender. His $8,000 salary may seem crazy for a defender, but TAA actually averaged more fantasy points per game last season than anyone on this slate, but comes with a $2,300 discount off someone like Salah. Alexander-Arnold also would benefit from a Liverpool clean sheet, something that expensive forwards and midfielders cannot get. When making multiple, it's not crazy to just play Alexander-Arnold in every one.
Aaron Cresswell ($5,000): Cresswell has been a consistent fantasy option since joining West Ham in 2014. He is usually one of the highest crossers for defenders in the Premier League, and last season was no different. He had the second-most crosses on his team and seventh-most for defenders. He should be able to get forward against Newcastle, who had the worst possession rate in the league last season. Cresswell is a fine option in the mid-range of defender that doesn't have a ton of reliable plays.
Tyrick Mitchell ($2,700): With Patrick Van Aanholt set to miss this game due to injury, Mitchell will step in for Crystal Palace. Mitchell started the final two games of last season for Palace at left back. He didn't show tremendous fantasy value right away, but they were in two tougher matchups against Tottenham and Wolves. He should be able to play better against Southampton at home and has had a preseason to prepare for life in the Premier League. At $2,700, he doesn't have to much to pay off that salary. He's a fine punt play in any lineup build.
Goalkeepers to Target
Alisson ($5,900): You can pay up for the safety of Alisson, who is the keeper for by far the biggest favorite of the slate. Last season, Alisson kept a clean sheet in 13 of his 29 league appearances and won 22 of them. Liverpool are even money to keep a clean sheet in this match against a newly promoted side, so there's a good chance of getting at least 10 points if you spend up for Alisson.
Alex McCarthy ($4,900): McCarthy was a decent keeper for Southampton last season, conceding 35 goals in 28 appearances and keeping 7 clean sheets. Southampton are favored to win this game even on the road, and they'll face Crystal Palace, who struggle to score goals. Palace's 31 goals were the second-fewest in the league last season. McCarthy should be at least a safe play because it's unlikely that he will get blown up for too many goals against this opponent.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. 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.