Let’s get set for another strong Saturday slate here at DraftKings, with a six matches ready to choose from followed up with another strong Sunday/Monday combo that has three games to choose from. This breakdown will focus on the former…
Saturday’s Big Contests
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Aston Villa:
Spurs: Michael Vorm ($5,700), Danny Rose ($4,500), Vlad Chiriches ($4,400), Eric Dier ($4,000), Ben Davies ($3,900), Christian Eriksen ($8,400), Nacer Chadli ($6,500), Andros Townsend ($6,300), Erik Lamela ($4,600), Harry Kane ($10,700)
Villa: Kieran Richardson ($3,000), Matthew Lowton ($2,900), Jack Grealish ($4,000), Christian Benteke ($7,900), Gabriel Agbonlahor ($6,000)
While the mini-renaissance has taken place since Tim Sherwood took over Villa, especially in attack (read: Benteke, all Benteke), I think the run of poor defensive performances continues at White Hart Lane on Saturday. As much as they’ve been written off, Tottenham still have a chance of a top four spot (especially if Manchester City continue free-falling and Liverpool drop a result or two), Unless Spurs have mentally packed it in at this point (and it’s hard to see that happening at this point), a home win over Villa should be in the making.
On a slate without a clear goalkeeping favorite, Vorm as the most costly option backs into chalk territory on Saturday. With Lloris out, both he and North London compatriot David Ospina are the biggest favorites for a win bonus–but neither are certain to take a clean sheet from said potential victories. Villa has shown a pulse in attack, and if Jan Vertonghen isn’t fit enough to mark his Belgian national teammate Benteke the chances for Vorm drop that much further. Rose is a top play at defender; very consistent, with a high floor and ceiling to his credit. With Kyle Walker out, it looks like a central defender (Chiriches, Dier) will get the start–if Davies by chance starts on the left with Rose shifting to the right, the former is a much more DFS-friendly option than either centerback.
It looks like Townsend will get the start over Lamela; both Chadli and Eriksen has seen their real life form dip and bringing down their DFS production along with it in the same Spurs lineup. Whomever starts in the attacking midfield trio behind Kane is in a strong position to have an excellent game. All three are relatively affordable, while Kane can scuttle your lineup if he has a single digit day (three of his last five starts) rather than a big day out (31 points versus QPR, 39 versus Leicester). Of those three poor performances, only one was against a top six side. Kane easily has the highest ceiling on the day.
For Villa, I can’t suggest fully using any player save Benteke in this match. His salary is relatively affordable despite seven goals in his last five games; Spurs before the clean sheet they kept at Burnley last weekend gave up 11 goals in their previous five matches. That vulnerability gives someone on Villa the likelihood to score–be it Benteke or Agbonlahor. While he had a really nice showing against QPR midweek, Grealish should see a lot of attention from Spurs’ defensive midfield pairing of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb and is fadeworthy. In the back, at best Villa gives up one goal and is unlikely to get a win–at worst, Spurs rips them to shreds. Brad Guzan is hands-off for me, while Lowton and Richardson are low cost I can’t see much production out of either.
Sunderland vs. Crystal Palace:
Sunderland: Costel Pantilimon ($5,300), Patrick van Aanholt ($3,100), Billy Jones ($2,000), Jordi Gomez ($4,900), Jermaine Defoe ($7,000), Connor Wickham ($6,900), Steven Fletcher ($5,800)
Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni ($4,300), Joel Ward ($2,800), Yannick Bolasie ($6,000), Jason Puncheon ($5,300), Wifried Zaha ($4,000), Mile Jedinak ($4,900), Glenn Murray ($3,000)
With both teams coming off big wins, they meet each other at the Stadium of Light–and I’m a big fan of the visitors in this one. Sunderland didn’t impress in the derby win over Newcastle, the complete opposite of Palace’s win over City. Jedinak is back from suspension and should take the deep lying midfield role back from a doubtful Joe Ledley; keep in mind that Jedinak did have free kick and penalty duties earlier in the season, and while things may have changed in the interim the Australian is a contrarian way to go if you want Palace in your lineup. Otherwise, you shouldn’t have to be sold much on Murray (still a minimum play?!?), Bolasie or Puncheon, while Zaha is the big wild card in the Palace options. Speroni is a nice contrarian way to go in goal on Saturday against a Sunderland attack that’s still not strong and will be without Sebastian Larsson due to suspension. You wonder if Palace may have a letdown in this one after the high of beating City at home; it’s the only reason I would be scared off using players.
For Sunderland, if you’re going with any player, it’s one of the front three–and none are overly strong plays, even at home. Sunderland created chances in the derby versus Newcastle, but were relatively wasteful and needed Defoe’s long-distance strike to actually get three points. Defoe’s the most natural goalscorer on the trio, but if I had to pick anyone for Saturday’s slate it would be Fletcher who had a better DFS day last weekend. Pantilimon has a home start, but against a strong and in-form Palace attack a clean sheet isn’t likely, and a win may not in the offing either. Jones had a really strong game in the derby win, and he’s still at $2k and is easily the most attractive low-cost defender in the mix.
Southampton vs. Hull City:
Southampton: Kelvin Davis ($5,100), Ryan Bertrand ($4,200), Nathaniel Clyne ($4,100), Dusan Tadic ($7,100), Eljero Elia ($5,900), James Ward-Prowse ($5,100), Graziano Pelle ($7,500), Sadio Mane ($6,200), Shane Long ($4,900)
Hull: Alan McGregor ($3,600), Andrew Robertson ($4,200), Ahmed Elmohamady ($6,000), Dame N’Doye ($6,100), Abel Hernandez ($4,700)
In the “park the bus” special of this weekend, Hull travels south to face Southampton in match that should be rather one-sided unless the hosts have packed it in for the season. You can never really gauge the mental state overall of a team; even if things are pretty settled for a team overall, you have the individuals that will strive for a move in the summer, etc. Southampton is screaming currently for a consistent finisher–will Ronald Koeman go back to the well and start Pelle again up top? The Italian remains ice cold for the Saints and if it isn’t this weekend, when will he score? Whomever starts in the front four for Southampton should be in your reckoning on Saturday morning, but Koeman could go many different ways, so keep an eye out for lineup announcement, Davis has a home start, but could have a repeat performance if Hull scores, gets a win or draw, and doesn’t put up enough of a consistent attack to gather any save bonuses. I like the potential use of Bertrand and/or Clyne; Hull’s formation will allow both to get forward on occasion, and it’s man versus man and you can beat your opponent going forward. A clean sheet would be icing on the cake.
For Hull, McGregor should be low-owned–on the road, a clear underdog, etc. If you’re making multiple lineups and want to spend up elsewhere, you can do worse using McGregor against Southampton, who could have a really poor performance in attack. Hull is really unlikely to win in this one, but you could see McGregor his double digits with a handful of saves and giving up either zero or one goal. Robertson is expected to start (disregard the O) and should be low owned; like I just said, he and Elmohamady can beat Bertrand and Clyne just as easily as vice versa. Mohammed Diame returns to give Hull some much needed spine in midfield; that can only help the front two of N’Doye or Hernandez. Both are talented, physically capable forwards and Southampton can be taken advantage of.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Leicester City:
WBA: Boaz Myhill ($5,200), James Morrison ($4,800), Saido Berahino ($8,600), Brown Ideye ($6,400)
Leicester: Kasper Schmeichel ($4,400), Riyad Mahrez ($5,400), Leonardo Ulloa ($5,500), David Nugent ($5,300), Jamie Vardy ($5,000)
On paper, this is the least attractive match on the slate–Leicester still is likely going down despite winning at home against West Ham last weekend, while West Brom got hammered (pun intended) by QPR (QPR!) and isn’t nearly out of danger from relegation. The hosts are favorites, albeit not huge ones, versus Leicester. There is value in this match–you just have to hit the right targets and hope they produce, either by keeping a clean sheet or scoring goals.
There isn’t a single defender I’d use in this match–both left backs (Chris Brunt, Jeff Schlupp) are midfield classification here at Draft Kings that neuter their ceilings DFS wise, while in midfield Mahrez has gone cold and West Brom’s best options like Sessegnon and Morrison have done little to justify your use on Saturday. That leaves you with the keepers and forwards in this one–an unusual pairing, since success of one group would likely have negative outcome on the other. Myhill is the more attractive option of the pair of keepers, even after Leicester scored twice in the win over West Ham. The Leicester trio of Ulloa, Nugent and Vardy are incredibly affordable but none have been consistent point producers and don’t be sucked into their success last week. West Brom is likely to rebound from the QPR loss and shore up things in the back coming off back to back losses, and the partnership of Berahino and Ideye are likely to be the reapers of West Brom’s success.
West Ham United vs. Stoke City:
West Ham: Adrian ($5,300), Aaron Cresswell ($4,700), Carl Jenkinson ($4,600), Stewart Downing ($7,200), Diafra Sakho ($7,700), Enner Valencia ($7,000),
Stoke: Asmir Begovic ($4,000), Victor Moses ($6,000), Charlie Adam ($4,800), Jonathan Walters ($5,700), Peter Crouch ($5,500), Mame Diouf ($5,400)
This one is incredibly difficult to read; it’s ninth versus tenth in the standings, neither in relegation trouble nor having the ability to make a Europa League spot, either. Add into the stew the likely departure of Sam Allardyce from West Ham, and it’s hard to gauge who–if anyone–shows up for this one. Stoke have lost their last three and West Ham, three from their last four (with a win over Sunderland the meat in the sandwich). Stoke has struggled mightily in defense as of late, and that’s paired with West Ham scoring just three goals in their last five matches.
The Hammers are at home, and would be greatly helped if Valencia is passed fit to start after hurting his foot last month (watch out for those broken teacups, people). Both Sakho and Downing have missed both Valencia and Andy Carroll as strike partner up top for the Hammers. If Valencia does start, use the other two with just that much more confidence on Saturday. The outside backs should see a lot of success going forward if Stoke use Adam and Stephen Ireland as outside midfielders in a possible Stoke 4-4-2, although with Moses likely getting back into the starting lineup (he was ineligible to play against Chelsea, who hes on loan from at Stoke) Mark Hughes could return to a 4-2-3-1 formation. This is another one to keep a specific eye on when lineups are announced on Saturday; despite his long-distance bomb against Chelsea, Adam’s worth is lessened if used out on the wing, even if he’s allowed to cut in towards the middle consistently–if that happens, that allows guys like Jenkinson to get forward more (and Cresswell on the other side if Ireland is used there).
Burnley vs. Arsenal:
Burnley: Kieran Trippier ($5,400), Danny Ings ($5,900), Ashley Barnes ($5,600), George Boyd ($5,200), Sam Vokes ($3,000)
Arsenal: David Ospina ($5,600), Hector Bellerin ($4,800), Nacho Monreal ($4,300), Mesut Ozil ($8,300), Santi Cazorla ($7,700), Aaron Ramsey ($6,300), Tomas Rosicky ($4,200), Olivier Giroud ($10,300), Alexis Sanchez ($9,500)
Burnley continues running their figurative gauntlet against relegation, finishing off their mini-North London stack of foes by welcoming Arsenal to Turf Moor in the late game on Saturday. Arsenal are huge favorites in this one, and despite their fighting nature as of late Burnley has won just once in their last ten matches–Arsenal are looking for their eighth straight victory. Sean Dyche doesn’t park the bus in his formation, which could cut both ways for Burnley–Arsenal can be hit, especially on the counterattack (see Monaco in Europe, etc) but Arsenal’s attack has been devastating as of late.
Let’s start with the home side: Trippier, even against the big teams, is worth using. He’s very consistent production wise from the crosses he generates, and any goals allowed bonus would be gravy for Trippier. Beyond that, it’s selecting one of four forward-eligible options from Burnley with relatively low floors and limited ceilings. If Burnley get on the scoreboard, it’s likely to be Ings–but on the negative side of the ledger, he’s been very quiet against the better teams in the EPL this season. He scored against Manchester United in a 3-1 loss, and most of the defensive focus Arsenal brings is likely to be be on the forward. Vokes is a minimum play, but if you’re going low at striker/Flex on this slate, it’s Murray or bust. Barnes and Boyd are playing as wings, but unless they score a goal they are unlikely to find value.
Ownership numbers for those in red and white should be very high on Saturday. You have Ospina in goal, near the top when it comes to cost but likely to get a win from the proceedings but unless a clean sheet is kept in partnership he may not hit double digits, which you’d need if you spend up. Bellerin and Monreal, likely outside back starters in this one, have a bit less lure–Bellerin seems to hit double digits mainly when he scores, and Monreal is the same without the high ceiling. I’d rather go with the higher floor of the Southampton pair, or West Ham’s, or Rose, or a combination of those–or go low. Bellerin is the better bet.
Does Arsene Wenger keep the front six the same that decimated Liverpool, or does he rest a player or two perhaps? Giroud seems to be the likely starter as the lone forward, with some kind of combination of Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey and Cazorla behind him. Of course, Wenger could throw Danny Welbeck (don’t do it, unless he’s in the place of Giroud) or Rosicky. Ramsey’s an injury doubt as well, so if he’s absent, Cazorla likely partners Francis Coquelin as a “defensive” midfielder–but if Ramsey plays, he seems for the time being to have the central role that Cazorla and Ozil have thrived in this season. Of course, the late game has it’s own pitfalls–if you want to use Ramsey and he does not start, you will need to keep enough salary cap space to pivot to Ozil or Cazorla or switch to Ings as a flex. My best suggestion is to pair Ramsey to Giroud (midfield, flex) and if the latter does not start, switch to a Cazorla/Ozil duo.