Well, I REALLY hope you guys played some Champions League DFS this week because it was a wild one! Tuesday broke the all time UCL record for total goals on a day with 8 games and if you weren’t sold on the sport before then, you would be after getting to watch those games! We, however, are here to talk EPL. We have an interesting little 5 game slate on Saturday morning, 4 games at 10am ET with the final game, Swansea vs Leicester, kicking off at 12.30.
This is actually a relatively complex slate, here’s a few quick points to consider before we get into the picks.
Sunderland, who lost 8-0 to Southampton last week and refunded their fans who made the trip to watch, look to try and bounce back but their visitors this weekend are Arsenal. The coach will almost certainly make a statement with changes to his squad, so their lineup and style of play against Arsenal will be hard to predict until lineups are released.
Liverpool and Arsenal are both coming off (being kind) less than convincing performances in the Champions League in midweek. I don’t expect too much of a hangover effect from either team but a slow start to their weekend games is possible.
Southamton, the opposite of Sunderland, won 8-0 last week. At home to Stoke this week which isn’t a super intimidating matchup. If you’ve read my articles so far this season you’ll know i’ve been high on Southampton players from the start, but Tadic and Pelle especially are no secrets anymore. Already popular, their ownership will be driven through the roof by the recency bias of people who just look at that game log from last week. This has me questioning the merits of a (very risky) GPP fade in some places as their owned will be astronomical.
Leicester have gone 3 games without a win and face Swansea in the late kickoff, the manager has already said he will make changes to his lineup to try and seek a response from his players, this makes rostering Leicester players tough unless you have a ready made pivot in the same game.
My final point is, we are going to be choosing from teams we don’t normally pick from. Liverpool, Arsenal and Southampton have some of the shiny objects, but who can say they roster very many players from the likes of West Brom, Swansea and Leicester? This is a week to dig a little deeper, hopefully I can help with that. Which transitions nicely too… my picks!
Simon Mignolet ($5,200) – This price is based on matchup. He is expensive, but with good reason. As a Liverpool fan i know all too well our defence is leaky, however, a matchup at home to Hull, who this week lost their main striker Jelavic to injury, gives Mignolet and Liverpool as a whole a great opportunity of a bounce back game. I like him to get the win and give up, at most, 1 goal. He should face some shots as Hull will counter attack on Liverpool but I see him as my overall number one for cash games.
Fraser Forster ($4,700) – Love this guy, watched him a lot when he was at Celtic. He has 4 clean sheets in 8 league games, 3 in 4 at home, and with Southampton winning almost every game in sight at the moment he is a great option. Stoke are not known as a massively offensive team, though have improved slightly this year. Forster has given up no more than 1 goal in a game since the opening day of the season, i think that continues this weekend. I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to use him over Mignolet.
Ben Foster ($3,700) – He missed the Man Utd game with a calf issue but is already confirmed back this weekend. He faces Crystal Palace at home this weekend which is a nice matchup. Foster is a very talented shot stopper, I see some Palace chances coming on the counter attack but at his price he has great Win+Clean Sheet upside in GPPs and offers a nice saving from the others.
Nathaniel Clyne ($4,600) and Ryan Bertrand ($4,400) – These two will prove popular. I grouped them because I find it impossible to write about one and not the other. Both full backs for Southampton love to get forward and if Stoke decide to play defensive on the road this is the perfect chance for these two to get forward and swing some crosses in. Love both, but you’ll have to pay for them.
Alberto Moreno ($4,300) and Glen Johnson ($4,000) – Similar to the Southampton pair, I expect these two to play full back for Liverpool this weekend. Both make solid options with both offensive and clean sheet upside.
Kieran Gibbs ($3,900) – Arsenal’s rescue man! He started the comeback in Belgium in the midweek Champions League game with a late goal. (Don’t expect that again this week), Gibbs offers a solid option at full back though, hopefully he will look to pin the Sunderland defenders back and with Alexis usually playing from the left, when Gibbs gets forward more often than not defenders are drawn to Alexis leaving Gibbs free to get in behind for a cross.
Sebsastien Pocognoli ($3,500) and Andre Wisdom ($2,400) – These two are who I would be stacking if taking Ben Foster in goal in a GPP lineup. Cheaper than the other guys but both averaging a solid 6 fantasy points per game, they offer the same kind of upside and should be lower % owned. If one can pop up with an assist the way Wisdom did last weekend, they both have a solid floor of a few crosses and good potential for a clean sheet, I don’t see you losing much ground to the more popular plays, but the savings could be significant in constructing the rest of your lineup.
Dusan Tadic ($9,100) – Do I really need to explain this one? Unbelievable start to the season, averaging 18 fantasy points per game? That is absurd. He is as close to a ‘must play’ in your cash games as it gets, just to block your opponent and try to win with your other picks. (and yes, I HATE the term must play)
Raheem Sterling ($9,300) – Usually I list by price, but Tadic deserved to come first. That being said, Sterling has a great matchup this week. If you have watched recent games he has got into some amazing scoring positions and his touch or finish have just failed him. I think this could be the game for him where he finally puts it together, other than Tadic I have no other midfielder matching him on projected output.
Gylfi Sigurdsson ($7,900) – Here is a guy I hope gets lost in the crowd this week at his price. He has been really solid so far this year, with 6 assists and a goal. I really like him to get on the score sheet against a leaky Leicester defence.
Philipe Coutinho ($5,300) – Both as a fan and as a DFS player, I hope Coutinho draws the start this week. He has really impressed me recently, not necessarily in fantasy output, but he hasn’t been far away. If other players around him could finish he could have grabbed a couple of assists in the last few games, as well as having a stunning strike hit the post against Real Madrid on Wednesday, I think he is VERY close to having a big breakout game. Watch the lineup on Saturday, if he’s starting then this could be a prime spot for it.
Stephane Sessegnon ($5,000) – This guy scored a wonder goal last week against Man Utd. He has always been a confidence player and its things like that which have usually sparked him to string together some good performances in recent years. I like his price this week and love the tactic of pairing him with Berahino, who I will get to later, in a GPP.
Sneaky Value Play Alert
Chris Brunt ($3,300) – returned from a groin injury last week to grab an assist against Man Utd. He is just too cheap for me. This is a guy who takes a lot of set-pieces be it free kicks or corners for West Brom, he has great potential to grab an assist from these situations not to mention the fact he has a great shot on him and isn’t afraid to use it and has one of the best eyes for a pass in the league. I can really see Brunt having a good game at an absurdly low price and wouldn’t be surprised if Berahino grabs a goal from another Brunt through ball.
Danny Welbeck ($10,600) and Alexis Sanchez ($10,300) – Great plays, great combination, its tough to tell you anything new about them. Facing Sunderland who got torn apart last week, if these two are on form and can get an early goal, we could see the floodgates open at the back for Sunderland yet again.
Graziano Pelle ($9,200) – Can’t stop, won’t stop playing him. Burst onto the EPL scene this year with a bang, I say it every week but he has a borderline telepathic link with Tadic, nice matchup at home, never feel bad about having this guy in your lineup.
Saido Berahino ($8,700) – Here we have the top English goalscorer in the EPL. He has 4 goals in his last 3 games and is just clinical in front of goal. He has pace to burn and get in behind defences, and once he’s there he has the composure to finish. Still only 20 I believe, we will be hearing his name for years to come. As I said previously, I love the idea of pairing him with a Brunt or Sessegnon in a GPP and wouldn’t be against it in cash games.
Wilfried Bony ($7,400) – I haven’t played this guy since the opening day of DFS EPL where he got stupidly sent off and was in about 40% of my lineups. Yes, I was bitter. However it may be time to go back to the well, he has a goal in each of his last two games and has a matchup against a Leicester team who are struggling to keep their heads above water. I like the Bony-Sigurdsson combo a lot, it has nice GPP upside and gives you good exposure to the late game if you are one of those people who loves to come up late on the rails with all the PMR.
Abel Hernandez ($6,000) – He will almost certainly lead the line for Hull against Liverpool. This is by no means a cash play, but Liverpool can be got at defensively and he has already shown he’s a talented finisher. I wouldn’t be against throwing him in a GPP, even against my beloved Reds.
Well guys, that does it for another week, hope you all have a productive weekends EPL and we get some of the excitement of the Champions League carrying over. If you ever have a question feel free to hit me up on twitter @cjhopkins07 I also try and retweet all the lineups I see as they are released on the morning of the games too. Thanks for reading and good luck!