The big boys come out to play on Wednesday’s slate here at Draft Kings, as the English Premiership rolls on with a four game slate.
Sunderland vs. Manchester City: For some reason that defies logic, Sunderland is City’s bogeyman. Sunderland has won three times and drawn twice in their last six matches against City, and at home Sunderland has won the last four over City. Yeah, it makes no sense at all.
City does have a bit of a concern in central defense on Tuesday; with Vincent Kompany (hamstring) hurt and Eliaquim Mangala suspended, City will have to turn to a patchwork middle of Martin Demechelis and either right back Bacary Sagna or Derrick Boyata. While none are worth playing in your lineup (Sagna would be if at right back), this affects the use of Joe Hart ($4,900) to a degree. Pair to that City being on the road, plus City’s recent struggles against Sunderland, and a strong play becomes a bit less solid. If Sunderland had anything resembling a solid attack, I’d suggest fading Hart altogether. Since the hosts struggle for goals, City is still a really strong favorite and you can use Hart with some confidence.
Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon ($3,200) has been pretty nice production wise the last three weeks, and City is bound to have a hiccup sometime soon. If you’re going to spend low, Pantilimon could have a big day. At the very least, he’s going to be busy. Worst case scenario is Sunderland gives up a couple of goals but ease up. Best case? Pantilimon stands on his head, Sunderland’s voodoo continues on, and Pantilimon (NARRATIVE: He’s playing his former club!) earns 20+ points with a win and clean sheet.
Defenders from Sunderland are really untouchable in this one; on the off chance they do keep a clean sheet, they won’t earn points otherwise unless against long odds one scores. For City, Pablo Zabaleta ($4,500) has been incredibly poor this season and hasn’t hit double digits since late September. Gael Clichy ($3,800) is a better play, but put aside his goal on Sunday—he’s had a pretty low floor and I’ll be going elsewhere.
It looks like David Silva will remain out for City, so because of the small slate every City midfield option is worth considering. Yaya Toure ($7,600) has hit fifth gear, producing DFS double digits in his last four matches. It looks like James Milner ($6,800) will replace Jesus Navas ($5,800) in the starting lineup. Milner doesn’t score, but he should see a lot of secondary scoring and might pick up an assist. Samir Nasri ($5,000) has not produced at all, but if you’re trying to save he could be the best way into City’s midfield—unless Frank Lampard ($4,100) starts. If the vet does go from the beginning, he should be heavily owned because of a low salary and Lampard’s ability to score. Sunderland has a couple of options to consider in GPP plays, but both Sebastian Larsson ($5,800) and Adam Johnson ($5,300) pop up with a goal now and then and it could be their week.
At forward, Edin Dzeko is still out and it looks like Stevan Jovetic will not start—so it’s Sergio Aguero ($12,900). There are six forwards over $10k, and with Diego Costa out Aguero has the best matchup of the bunch. There’s always the chance Sunderland’s hex continues, but on paper City should win, and with that Aguero is City’s most likely scorer. Whoever starts for Sunderland up top is a GPP option only, be it Steven Fletcher ($6,000) or Jozy Altidore ($4,100).
Everton vs. Hull City: Coming off a rather disappointing loss this weekend at Spurs, Everton hosts Hull, who got stomped over the weekend by Manchester United. Even on a short slate, it’s really tough to suggest using anyone from the visitors in this one. Whomever starts in goal will be a minimum play (either Steve Harper or Allan McGregor), but I’d rather go with Pantilimon than either. Andrew Robertson ($4,700) has bottomed out as of late, and the midfield is a wasteland. Sone Aluko ($3,700)? Good luck with that. Nikica Jelavic ($5,500) is perhaps the best of the bunch, playing at his former club, but his worth is dependent on a goal and he’ll be on an island for most of this one.
For Everton, see who Roberto Martinez starts and try and find some value. Tim Howard ($5,400) is the second highest salary at keeper, but it looks like Everton has a better chance at a clean sheet than even Chelsea (more to come) on Wednesday. It’s hard to spend up on Howard, Leighton Baines ($6,300) and Seamus Coleman ($4,600) for your lineup, especially with the high end options in midfield and attack. But they’re almost certain to have a good day against Hull.
Some squad rotation should take place in midfield—keep an eye on potential value options like Leon Osman ($4,000) and/or Aiden McGeady ($4,800). It’s a nice matchup for Ross Barkley ($8,000), but his DFS output has been terrible and for that salary versus the overall scale he’s almost unrosterable, even in a GPP. Samuel Eto’o ($6,700) had a quiet match this past weekend and should see himself back on the pine, and the best Steven Naismith will get after injury is a substitute role. But Romelu Lukaku ($10,800) should start unless Martinez rests the striker, and is an attractive play because of the matchup. Even more attractive because of his salary is Kevin Mirallas ($5,000)—if he starts, lots of teams will have him at forward or at Flex. Mirallas has talent, isn’t afraid to shoot on sight and can chip in with assists as well—he works well with countryman and national teammate Lukaku.
Arsenal vs. Southampton: The darlings of the Premier League this season took their first cross to their figurative chin this past weekend courtesy of Manchester City; it’ll be interesting to see how Southampton bounces back at the Emirates against Arsenal. Southampton have lost three games this season, all to teams that finished in the top seven places last season. Arsenal is another of those teams, and are solid favorites at home.
Whoever starts for Arsenal is really the only option in this one; Fraser Forster has really struggled as of late. If Wojciech Szczesny ($4,800) does not start, Damian Martinez ($3,500) is pretty attractive at his price tag. Southampton might not be shut out again, but the Arsenal keeper should be active and could hit double digits even without a clean sheet. All four outside defenders are options to roster, but I’ll be going with Baines and/or Coleman instead of Ryan Bertrand ($5,500) or Nathaniel Clyne ($4,400). The point floor is kind of low for Arsenal’s Calum Chambers ($4,400) or Kieran Gibbs ($3,900), so unless you feel Arsenal shuts out Southampton I’d be going elsewhere.
Midfield, aside from a couple options, is a pretty barren field on a DFS level for both clubs. Guys like Aaron Ramsey ($6,200) and Victor Wanyama ($6,300) are pretty dependent on goals for hitting double digits. For Arsenal, you have Santi Cazorla ($6,500)—the Spaniard hit double digits without scoring and is racking up the assists as of late. For his price, it seems Cazorla is a better option than Dusan Tadic ($10,800) on Wednesday. Tadic’s production has dipped as of late, not picking up a goal or assist since that 7-0 blowout of Sunderland in mid-October. He remains a very good bet of hitting double digits in points, but at that salary you really need more from Tadic than 10-13 points.
At forward, if he starts Olivier Giroud ($6,500) is incredibly attractive at the price tag alone, but with Mikel Arteta out Giroud should take penalties for the Gunners. Shane Long ($6,300) could start in place of Sadio Mane ($7,400) for Southampton, but Long does not have the “regular” high ceiling Mane has, and Mane hasn’t produced as of late. Teammate Graziano Pelle ($10,600) also is pretty cold as of late, and among the $10k-plus “club” at forward only the suspended Costa is a worse pick. That leaves Arsenal’s high end pair of Danny Welbeck ($11,200) and Alexis Sanchez ($12,500). Welbeck scored Arsenal’s only goal this past weekend’s win at West Brom, but if Giroud starts Welbeck will likely be on the wing opposite Sanchez and his goalscoring chances on average will be lessened. Sanchez remains the better bet between the pair, incredibly steady. If it’s a choice between Aguero and Sanchez on Wednesday for your lineup, I’d still choose Aguero because of a higher ceiling.
Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Lastly, we have Spurs traveling across town about a dozen miles south to Stamford Bridge, where league leaders Chelsea will be waiting. Chelsea’s small stumble drawing at Sunderland will anger Jose Mourinho a bit, and Chelsea will try and avoid giving any of the teams following it in the standings any hope of catching them if it can be helped. Therefore, I doubt Chelsea makes any lineup changes aside from the enforced absence of Costa due to suspension. A lot of lineups will include Didier Drogba ($5,900) in a spot start up top for Chelsea. Earlier this season, when Costa was injured, Drogba scored a goal in three straight starts. He’s better as a starter than a sub, and Drogba has pretty healthy odds to score against a pretty malleable Spurs backline. There is a chance Loic Remy ($6,200) starts in place of Drogba, however.
Otherwise, it’s all the usual suspects to roster from Chelsea. Cesc Fabregas ($8,800) remains a fade for me due to his price tag—even if he gets an assist, the Spanish midfielder may not even hit double digits. I’d rather spend up on Eden Hazard ($9,600), who scores much more often, or go lower for either Oscar ($7,300) or Willian ($5,700). The latter Brazilian is incredibly boom or bust, and is GPP fodder for me. Oscar is much more consistent, and his central role allows more chances on net.
A Chelsea stack for your back three is the most costly option of any on Wednesday, but if you’re willing to go low elsewhere or even fade all the top options at forward, it’s incredibly attractive. At the very least, spending up on Thibaut Courtois ($5,800) is the surest option in goal. Spurs have talent in attack, both at forward and midfield, but putting aside their win over Everton at home on the weekend it’s been rather disjointed and Chelsea can lock in the figurative sleeper hold with the best of them. My hesitance in using either Branislav Ivanovic ($5,100) or Cesar Azpilicueta ($4,500) is purely based on both not getting forward and getting points from crosses and the like with any regularity this season.
For Spurs, it’s GPP plays only really unless you have a really good feeling they will perform on the road. Hugo Lloris ($4,100) hasn’t had a clean sheet since October, and despite seeing a lot of action will probably give up at least one goal, if not more, and getting the win bonus for you faces pretty healthy odds. Both Ben Davies ($3,200) and Kyle Naughton ($2,500) are affordable, but this simply is not the matchup to play them in. There is the outside chance of an assist from either, so if you’re going to spend up elsewhere for a tournament roster you can plug either in, but that floor could be very low Wednesday.
As of late, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela have found their way to the bench in favor of a more defensive midfield group, so for DFS purposes it’s Christian Eriksen ($8,100) or bust. He’s scored in each of Spurs’ last two, but again, it’s not the right matchup for using Eriksen. He’ll see a lot of Nemanja Matic for Chelsea in this one. The front two for Spurs did well on Sunday in their win over Everton, but Roberto Soldado ($6,700) prior had not in almost 600 minutes of play for him and he’s facing Chelsea’s stout backline. As for Harry Kane ($8,000), he’s in a no-man’s land salary wise between the top shelf strikers (Aguero, Sanchez, etc.) and the lower cost value plays (Drogba, Giroud, Mirallas). He has played well as of late, but I’d go elsewhere myself.