After the return of Champions League and some FA Cup action last weekend, the EPL returns on Saturday with a great looking 7 game slate on DraftKings. We have six 10am ET games and the late 12.30 ET game between Man City and Newcastle to choose from. As always i’ll go position by position and try to give plays at a range of price points geared mainly towards GPP format.
Before I jump in, i’d like to give a friendly little warning. Be sure to check lineups this weekend, with the return of midweek games teams like Chelsea have the potential to rotate their squads a little more than usual. We also have many players returning from AFCON, for example Bony and Yaya Toure for Man City, this could lead to a reshuffle in starting elevens. Just be sure to monitor these things closely on Saturday morning would be my advice.
Okay, lets get into these plays!
David Ospina $5,100 – We’ve seen it before in all sports, when someone is ‘fighting for their job’ it is when they are at their best. Since replacing Szczesny in the Arsenal net, Ospina has shown he is not willing to give up the starting job but knows with Szczsney is breathing down his neck he can’t afford one poor game or he might be warming the bench for the rest of the season. This weekend Arsenal roll into Crystal Palace, they are finally getting healthy and I see a relatively comfortable win for the Gunners and Ospina. This for me makes him one of the best price based plays of the weekend in net. A $700 saving over Courtois could be a significant one and i’ll be looking towards Ospina in all game formats this week.
Allan McGregor $4,600 OR Robert Green $4,100 – This is a first for me, i’m writing up both goalkeepers in a game, stupid, right? Hang in there, let me explain. Both these teams are relatively open and this is a huge game for both clubs, I see both keepers facing a lot of shots. Now, anyone who has watched soccer this season will tell you QPR have been horrific on the road. However, I have a gut feeling about them this week assuming Charlie Austin comes back and is starting. If you feel the same as me, Rob Green could make a fantastic value play, if he steals a win we could see a 15pt game from him even if he wins 3-2. The other side of this, IF you think my gut feeling is because I ate something bad last night, and you expect QPR to continue to struggle on the road, then McGregor could see a 10-15pt outing too. I really think that we could see a GPP winning goalkeeper coming from this game if you can predict the winner.
Others I like: Thibaut Courtois $5,800, Costel Pantilimon $4,500, Asmir Begovic $4,400.
Branislav Ivanovic $5,100 – I won’t lie, I hate writing up the highest priced guy at a position, but I feel obligated to here. Chelsea have a home game with Burnley so a great shot at either a clean sheet or 1GA bonus. But beyond that he has managed double figures fantasy points in 6 of his last 7 and 8 of his last 10. In the last 7 games he has 2 goals and 3 assists. I feel like defence is pretty shallow this weekend so it may be a day to pay up for a known, and in form, quantity at defence.
Alan Hutton $3,700 – Villa against Stoke could turn into a snooze-fest. I could genuinely see a 0-0 or 1-0 either way in this game. So there is reasonable chance of a bonus for Hutton in this game, combine that with him having a minimum of 4 crosses in his last 4 games I feel comfortable using him at a cheap price when there isn’t too much depth at Defence this week, he offers probably one of the better price plays of the slate.
Others I like: Kieran Trippier $4,900, Luke Shaw $4,500, Felipe Luis $4,200, Aly Cissokho $4,000.
Angel Di Maria $8,700 – I think if you can find the salary Di Maria makes a great play this weekend. Swansea love their wide men to push forward, they are crucial to the Welsh team’s play style. That said, this is the perfect matchup for Di Maria to thrive in if he starts wide for Man Utd this weekend. The potential for counter attacks and playing directly against opposition wide men that are more focussed on attacking themselves rather than tracking back to defend Di Maria, you have potential for massive upside from the now fully healthy Argentine star. I feel like he is also a player who may fly under the radar in tournaments, people may look at overall matchup for Chelsea/Arsenal etc and take their players instead, but when you get into the specific player matchups, IF Angel plays wide, he has one of the best matchups on paper for me this week.
Willian $5,500 – Okay, no hard feelings, Mr Willian. I decided to play Puncheon over you last week and it cost me a tie for first in the treble. We should move on. Mourinho loves this guy as a player and clearly trusts him. I very much like the role he has been playing, with Matic in the team he is free to push forward a little more. I don’t see him scoring the goals of a Hazard or Oscar, and yes his upside is not as great, however, if you are looking for exposure to a potent Chelsea lineup he is by far the cheapest and most reliable way of getting it. A solid, if not super exciting pick, this one is based on price and matchup rather than expecting massive upside.
Others I like: Mesut Ozil $8,000, Yaya Toure $7,600, Ahmed Elmohamady $6,200, Victor Moses $6,100, Ander Herrera $5,000.
Diego Costa $10,200 – Oh man, he’s starting to look reaaaal scary again. He has 18+ FP in 4 of his last 5 EPL games and 5 goals in this span. If Costa is re-finding his form after an injury limited festive season, then look out league. I think he has to be your top option to get on the score sheet this weekend at home to Burnley. He is one of very few players who offers you hat-trick upside every time he takes the field.
Theo Walcott $6,800 – I’m a big Walcott fan generally, I think his career path could have matched that of Gareth Bale had he had a little more luck with injuries. That said, he is back and part of an unbelievably talented group of attacking players for Arsenal right now. However, unlike Ozil, Cazorla, Welbeck, Giroud and Sanchez, who are all priced over $8k on DraftKings right now, he offers a fantastic saving priced at $6,800 and exposure to this lineup. We have to be careful as he hasn’t played a full 90mins since his return, but one thing we do know, is he has scored in each of his last two starts. If he’s in the Gunners lineup this weekend I love his chance of exploiting the Palace defence, even if he only gets around 70mins.
Others I like: Sergio Aguero $10,300, Alexis Sanchez $9,600, Jermaine Defoe $6,000, Peter Crouch $5,900.
Gut play of the week: GPP only here, IF Charlie Austin returns and is starting I am really a fan of his potential at $8,400 against a Hull defence which isn’t exactly intimidating. Austin has shown his upside clearly and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return with a bang on Saturday.
Best wishes to everyone in their games this weekend. I’ll do my best to tweet out starting lineups as they are released on Saturday morning, so give me a follow @cjhopkins07.