Welcome to a little midweek action for the English Premier League; you’ll notice the rest of this month, the games are tightly packed in around the holiday season so there is not a lot of time between matches for teams, especially those in Europe that play in the middle of next week.
A little refresher for this slate and Wednesday’s; if you’re going to play, don’t set it and forget it. With injuries and squad rotation really in play, guys will not play, guys will not start. You need to keep an eye on starting lineups and have your pivot points ready to go.
Leicester City vs. Liverpool: On paper, this should be another step on Liverpool’s road back to fighting for a Champions League spot—but if you watched some of their 1-0 win over Stoke Saturday, Liverpool’s play was less than stellar. They travel to Leicester, who played relatively well in a 3-2 loss against QPR. Liverpool is a better team, but the amount of matches they’re playing between Europe and the Premiership plus the amount of injuries to their squad is going to catch up with the Reds sometime.
The saving grace for Liverpool is Leicester’s incredibly poor attack in this one. Simon Mignolet ($5,000) is a strong play according to the odds paired with Leicester’s toothless pair of strikers. There are caveats; it’s a road game, and Liverpool’s defense has been inconsistent this season. But if you’re spending up for a keeper, Mignolet is one of two best options. I can’t see Glen Johnson ($4,100) scoring again, but he has the best non-goalscoring ceiling of all of Liverpool’s defenders. For Leicester, Kasper Schmeichel ($3,900) is a GPP option, but I’ll be going elsewhere. There’s just too much talent Liverpool has in attack to ruin any clean sheet you would need to have Schmeichel to justify his value.
Overall, Leicester’s options are rather threadbare for DFS uses on Tuesday. Riyad Mahrez ($5,600) is an option if you want to spend mid-level in midfield, but after a strong start to the season he has slowed greatly as of late production wise. Esteban Cambiasso ($5,000) is incredibly boom or bust, dependent on goal scoring. The best of the bunch is Jeff Schlupp ($4,000), who is useable as a flex option if you think he’ll score. He’s not a classical winger, so Schlupp does not rack up secondary points from crosses and the like.
Upside comes from Liverpool’s midfield and attack. Raheem Sterling ($8,300) has plateaued a bit, but his ceiling remains high if Sterling has a good game against Leicester’s solid but not spectacular backline. But keep an eye on any lineup changes by Brendan Rogers; it will not surprise me if Sterling sits and only sees a substitute role. I think a pretty strong play is Steven Gerrard ($6,600); he sat on the weekend, playing only the last 15 minutes. He is dependent on goals, but as Liverpool’s free kick and penalty taker chances will be there for Gerrard. Adam Lallana ($5,900) is more of a cash game play, but doesn’t have the ceiling Gerrard does because the latter has a better chance of scoring. Phillipe Coutinho ($5,700) and Jordan Henderson ($5,500) are also GPP plays if you’re strong on Liverpool’s chances, but their midlevel costs scare me off a bit.
Rickie Lambert ($6,100) should remain a highly owned option at forward on Tuesday because of his relatively low salary. With all other striking options out hurt, Lambert remains the lone striker for Liverpool’s formation and he has a good chance of scoring on Tuesday. If by chance Fabio Borini ($4,000) starts for Liverpool, the Italian is a really strong Flex option.
Burnley vs. Newcastle United: This should be really interesting, if only to see if Newcastle can bounce back from a weekend loss at West Ham when they visit Burnley. But paired with that loss come suspensions and injuries, and Alan Pardew has several defenders doubtful for the trip to Burnley. This means I’m all in on Danny Ings ($6,800) on Tuesday. Alongside QPR’s Charlie Austin, Ings has been of late one of the best affordable options at forward and his point production has been strong. There’s a good chance Newcastle starts Rob Elliott ($3,000) in goal on Tuesday, and Burnley’s attackers could have a relatively strong day. Ashley Barnes ($4,700) and Michael Kightly ($4,600) should be on your radar.
In goal, Burnley’s Tom Heaton ($4,300) is a really strong play. He and defender Kieran Trippier ($5,000) have been really consistent (for the most part) this season and even Stephen Ward ($3,100) is a value play at right back to use in any stack you may choose to go with. Newcastle’s options at defense, as mentioned, are in question. Daryl Janmaat ($4,100), Massadio Haidara ($3,800) and Paul Dummett ($3,600) all have been decent plays as of late, but Tuesday’s matchup, even against Burnley, is disconcerting.
Remy Cabella ($5,800) should take the place of the suspended Moussa Sissoko behind Ayoze Perez ($7,300) in attack. For a contrarian way to go, pairing Cabella and Perez in your GPP lineup could pay off. Sammy Ameobi ($5,300) is another option, but if you’re going Newcastle I would rather go with the first two rather than Ameobi. Lurking in the shadows remains Papiss Cisse ($7,000); a second half sub as of late, his salary hasn’t dropped at all and unless he gets a start Cisse remains unrosterable.
Swansea City vs. QPR: Swansea is a pretty strong favorite on Tuesday, at home against a QPR side that despite winning this past weekend is a pretty flawed team that could get roughed up. QPR has lost every game on the road this season, scoring twice and giving up 15 in six matches.
Let’s start with this; goals in his last two games make Wilfried Bony ($8,400) a pretty strong play. Both he and QPR’s Austin ($8,000) are the names that jump at you in this one. Swansea’s defensive form has dipped a bit as of late, but Bony remains the better play of the pair. Bony is more dependent on service to score, while Austin has the higher floor because he creates more than Bony does. A lot of things go into that, like formations and style of play. But in the end, Bonny’s matchup just seems a lot better than Austin’s. You could use both in a lineup, and that makes sense to a degree, but I’ll be fading Austin in this one.
In goal, Lukasz Fabianski ($5,100) is your only suggestible option in this one, but Swansea’s defense has been a bit suspect as of late. QPR is unlikely to rack up a lot of chances on net, so hitting Fabianski’s ceiling will require the win/clean sheet combo. For me, I’d rather spend down on Heaton, West Ham’s Adrian or Crystal Palace’s Julian Speroni. But the matchup and the home game should see Fabianski’s ownership see healthy numbers. If you think Fabianski keeps a clean sheet, then stack Neil Taylor ($4,000) or Angel Rangel ($3,500) to pick up those five points. Otherwise, neither has little value production wise this season and should be avoided like the plague, as should any QPR options at defense.
You have three pretty strong options for Swansea in midfield. Leading the way is Gylfi Sigurdsson ($7,400), who is an option in all formats and should be heavily owned. Wingers Wayne Routledge ($5,300) and Jefferson Montero ($5,100) are options if you want to stack or a safe Flex option. QPR’s Leroy Fer ($3,900) is a cheap way to go if salary constraints are in play, but it’s a hit and hope way to go. Fer paid off over the weekend, but if he doesn’t score you’re looking at a really low number of points. One outside option, with Bobby Zamora out it looks like Eduardo Vargas ($5,500) should start alongside Austin in attack. Vargas isn’t exactly a punt play, but there is a decent floor and the chance of scoring from the Chilean.
Manchester United vs. Stoke City: First, my play of the slate looks to be Ander Herrera ($4,900). The Spanish midfielder got hurt after a strong start to the season, and after he got fit Herrera was stuck behind guys like Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria. With Di Maria out with a hamstring injury, Herrera should get the start in midfield behind a front three of Wayne Rooney ($10,600), Robin van Persie ($9,600) and Mata ($7,800). But Herrera and Mata should interchange a lot in the run of play, and Mata might not even start if Louis van Gaal goes with a more defensively themed side. Herrera should really get his chances in this one. There’s an outside chance Radamel Falcao ($9,500) may start, with him partnering RVP and dropping Rooney into the “hole” behind the front two. In that case, I can’t see Mata starting over Herrera.
David de Gea ($5,700) is the top shelf option price wise at keeper on Tuesday; looking at his point production, de Gea is worth it. But I have some misgivings about rostering de Gea on Tuesday and it’s not about his price tag. I will be making some rosters with de Gea, and some with other keepers. Stoke’s size and ability on dead ball chances is paired with a relatively small United team overall. Stoke hasn’t done well so far this season scoring from corners, free kicks and the like, but the potential is there.
United’s options at defense are non-existent due to injuries. They have midfields playing either outside back or wingbacks, depending on the formation van Gaal uses. More than a few of us went with Ashley Young ($3,000) as a minimum play on Saturday, and we got two points from that gamble. If Young is used as a wingback, the point potential is there. If he’s a left back in a 4-4-2, the floor and ceiling are lowered.
For Stoke, Asmir Begovic ($3,200) should have a really busy day in goal. He’s a GPP flyer at best. If Stoke is going to strike in this one, it’ll be a) from a dead ball chance as mentioned, or b) on the counterattack with speed. It’s tough to determine who can cash in from the first option; that would likely come from a central defender like Ryan Shawcross, but the floor is way too low to roster him. Then you have the counterattacking way to go, which gives us guys like Mame Diouf ($5,000), Boran Krkic ($5,400) and Jonathan Walters ($5,400). All three would be options as a second striker or Flex, Krkic is the best cash game play of the three, while Diouf is the lead striker in the formation. However, I like Walters the best of the trio. He’s a strong goalscorer if given the chance, and Walters could see opportunities against an uneven United backline. In midfield, Charlie Adam ($5,800) is a GPP option due to the fact he’s the main free kick and penalty taker for Stoke.
Crystal Palace vs. Aston Villa: This one might cure insomnia to those not fans of either team, but a couple of plays are there in GPP formats. Because of the anemic attack the visitors bring to Selhurst Park, Palace’s Julian Speroni ($3,500) is a decent low-end option at goalkeeper. The margin of error is rather thin, though—Villa isn’t going to shower Speroni with shots, so it’s clean sheet or bust to return value. Villa’s outside pair of backs have been pretty decent as of late, but even though the price tags on Alan Hutton ($3,200) and Aly Cissokho ($3,800) are viable options on a rather thin corps of defenders on Tuesday. The matchup is pretty nice for Palace, but I can’t suggest with any great gusto either Joel Ward ($3,000) or Martin Kelly ($3,400).
Perhaps the best play of this game is Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak ($6,400), who has five goals on the season and three of his last four league matches. Jedinak is Palace’s penalty and free kick taker, so his worth is solely based on putting the ball into the back of the net. Otherwise, that floor is low, low, low for Jedinak. Yannick Bolasie ($6,100) is a bit steadier point production wise, while Wilfried Zaha ($4,500) is incredibly boom or bust. And with Dwight Gayle likely out, Frazier Campbell ($5,100) returns as Palace’s lead striker.
Villa gets Christian Benteke ($8,200) back from injury, but with that price tag it’s awfully hard to justify his inclusion. Gabby Agbonlahor ($6,000) is pretty inconsistent and is not a natural goalscorer, just what you want to hear about a forward you want to roster. A low cost GPP play in midfield brings Joe Cole ($3,700) to the table, but a) his value on the weekend was because of a goal scored, and b) it’s likely Cole cannot go the full 90 minutes. Unless you’re really in need of saving cost elsewhere, Cole is not a viable option.
West Bromwich Albion vs. West Ham United: Lastly, you have the Hammers on the road on Tuesday, facing West Brom at the Hawthorns looking to cement their place in the standings.
It’s very important to get Sam Allardyce’s lineup for West Ham before inclusion of any players in your lineups, especially with value choices if some are out with injuries. West Ham have another match on Sunday, giving the Hammers an extra day to get a trio of injured guys perhaps fit for Swansea on the weekend. Two of those three are strong options at forward—Enner Valencia ($8,300) and Diafra Sakho ($8,100). If either play, especially Sakho, both are viable in all formats lineup wise. If they do not, their replacements have good value—Andy Carroll ($5,900) had chances on the weekend but did not capitalize. If Carroll does start, it’s likely as a lone striker up top and he’d see the lion’s share of opportunities for West Ham.
One thought—midfielder Stewart Downing ($7,200) went 90 this past weekend. But if for some reason Downing could not play, I would avoid Carroll like the plague. Carroll needs his teammates to provide service for his chances, and Downing is the chief West Ham playmaker. An interesting minimum value play might be West Ham midfielder Matt Jarvis ($3,000) if he starts—he’s an out and out winger, and would be tasked to get Carroll the ball in order to capitalize aerially. Mark Noble ($4,300) remains West Ham’s primary penalty taker, but the team has only gotten one this season and Noble missed it.
The back three options for your lineup can be claret and blue, but it’s always tricky rostering a keeper and/or defenders on the road. Adrian ($4,300) has been really solid at home as of late, but in his last two road games West Ham has given up two goals per game. The outside back pair of Aaron Cresswell ($3,700) and Carl Jenkinson ($3,400) are much more useable, but don’t expect another goal from Cresswell to hit a 20-point plus ceiling again. If you feel that West Ham can keep their positive play going on Tuesday, a straight West Ham stack could be the way to go.
For the West Brom—Ben Foster ($4,000) has a start for the hosts, who are slight favorites despite West Ham being ten places ahead in the standings. West Brom has lost three straight league games (Newcastle, at Chelsea and Arsenal) and aside from Saido Berahino ($8,600) has little firepower in attack. Pair with that a pretty stout West Ham defense, and I’d suggest going elsewhere for your forwards.
Let’s put it this way: ownership rates on West Brom players will be low for pretty good reason, so if you want to be contrarian, here you go. DFS wise, the team does not have any dynamic point producers aside from an in-form Berahino. Midfielders Stephane Sessegnon ($6,000) and Chris Brunt ($5,300) have limited point ceilings and can’t be trusted to hit double digits unless a goal is included. Outside backs Andre Wisdom ($2,400) and Cristian Gamboa ($2,300) are options only if you’re trying to save elsewhere, really. Neither rack up points from crosses with any regularity, meaning value lies in a clean sheet—against a decent West Ham attack which could be even better if some of their injured players go on Tuesday. Buyer beware and all.