The first Saturday in May is a sports fan’s dream: the Kentucky Derby, a major prizefight (this year happens to be the long-awaited Mayweather/Pacquiao duel), playoff basketball, early season baseball and…late season EPL! Here are some picks to start your day off right.
David De Gea – ($5,700) – Manchester United – After two consecutive losses, we’ll likely see a more focused United side, and that starts with De Gea and his defense. Fortunately, it also coincides with the mediocre West Brom attack. Berahino has had his moments but overall they are largely ineffective, and De Gea is world class.
Kelvin Davis – ($4,500) – Southampton – Davis comes at a nice discount to the top keepers but with comparable odds to a win and clean sheet. Several relegation threatened teams have dug deep to try to stay up (Leicester, Hull). That narrative is worth considering, but Southampton are playing for Europe and are a much better team, which is more compelling.
Others to Consider – Simon Mignolet, LIV ($5,600), Adrian, WHU ($5,200).
Antonio Valencia – ($5,300) – Manchester United – In honor of his newly minted Defender eligibility on DK, we’re opening with Ecuadorian national Antonio Valencia. Valencia has been playing right back most of the year due to United’s injury concerns and sends in enough crosses to be considered at home against mediocre West Brom.
Kieran Trippier – ($5,700) – Burnley – We put Valencia first, but – surprise! – Trippier is the best defender option this week. He’s certainly not the discount he once was, but he is as consistent as it gets and consistent points will be hard to come by this weekend.
Ryan Bertrand – ($4,600) – Southampton – Bertrand has been fairly inconsistent this season, but did manage 9 crosses last match and Sunderland are a bit weaker defensively on the right. They should contend for a clean sheet and with the dearth of other options we’ll just have to hope this is one of the matches where Bertrand is active.
Others to Consider – Leighton Baines, EVE ($5,700), Aaron Cresswell, WHU ($5,100), Nathaniel Clyne, SHN ($4,400)
Charlie Adam – ($6,200) – Stoke City – Adam has been a fantasy stalwart the past few weeks and has likely earned a spot in the XI the rest of the way. He was a GPP-winning pick last weekend, and we just have to hope he saved some for Swansea. Swans are putting forth a limited effort of late, in an otherwise banner season, so Adam should have his chances. (Adam did pick up a broken nose, but still sounds like he’ll go!)
Raheem Sterling – ($8,600) – Liverpool – Frankly, it’s hard to confidently spend your money anywhere this week. Check the lineup Saturday, but if Sterling is leading the line, forget about his recent struggles and fire him up. There aren’t many better options for goals.
Angel Di Maria – ($8,200) – Manchester United – Di Maria has been a colossal disappointment due to his contract, though United’s success has kept him out of the crosshairs too much in Manchester. With the injuries mounting, he may due to slide back into the XI and when that happens he gets crosses. If he doesn’t start, Mata is an easy and suitable replacement.
Others to Consider – Philippe Coutinho, LIV ($6,300), Stewart Downing, WHU ($,6800), Matty Phillips, QPR ($4,300)
Christian Benteke – ($7,900) – Aston Villa – Benteke has returned to form under Tim Sherwood and should find some holes in the Everton defense. He has the potential to sink your week if he doesn’t score, but there aren’t many options at forward and you need 2. Could do worse than a guy with 8 goals in his past 7 matches.
Graziano Pelle – ($8,500) – Southampton – After a painfully long goals drought, Pelle has made it back to the scoresheet over the past few matches, including a brace against Tottenham. Sunderland is a horror show on defense. It’s not worth much, but the Saints did hang 8 goals on Sunderland earlier this season.
Romelu Lukaku – ($8,100) – Everton – Benteke, Pelle, Lukaku. How much would you pay for the United team sheet a few hours early?! Lukaku should be back fit, though hamstring injuries tend to linger and his performance since has been underwhelming. Maybe Martinez can trick him into thinking it’s a Europa League match, where he was a sudden superstar…
Others to Consider – Enner Valencia, WHU ($7,900), Danny Ings, BUR ($6,100), Marko Arnautovic, STO ($4,900)
Jordan Henderson – ($5,100) – Liverpool – The Balotelli Experiment should finally end after the past two matches, which should help Henderson shoulder more of the offensive load. He’s been up to task of late and has a nice price in a match Liverpool will want to release some frustration in.
Robin Van Persie – ($8,400) – Manchester United – We’re reaching a bit here, but there are strong hints RVP will be able to go in this one. He may not last 90 minutes, but Van Gaal needs him to stop the bleeding after two straight losses. United are in the late match so make sure you leave the flex open. RVP, Di Maria, Mata or Falcao could all work here depending on how Van Gaal chooses to line up. Sounds like Rooney will play, but if RVP leads the line he could be the difference maker.