Tuesday brings a short three game slate from the Premiership at DraftKings, but even with an understated group of matches there’s still money to be won.
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Crystal Palace vs. Southampton: Palace will likely be without central midfielder and captain Mile Jedinak, who was caught during the win over West Ham on the weekend giving out a vicious elbow to Diafra Sakho. In that win, Jedinak played just in front of Palace’s back four as Jason Puncheon ($5,000) played a more central attacking role—and picked up three assists in the win. Puncheon looks to continue in that same role, with Yannick Bolasie ($5,900) and Wilfried Zaha ($4,100) out on the wing. Both Bolasie and Zaha didn’t have a great game production wise against the Hammers, but the potential for strong, double digit games are in play against their struggling opponents. Saturday’s surprise starter Glenn Murray is suspended after being sent off for Palace, so with Yaya Sanogo, Frazier Campbell and Maroune Chamakh likely out due to various injuries it looks like Dwight Gayle ($5,700) will get the start by default. Gayle has been decently productive when given playing time and should be in the mix for your lineup.
Otherwise, there isn’t much I would start in a lineup for Palace. Outside backs Martin Kelly ($3,400) and Joel Ward ($3,000) are inexpensive, but are not productive going forward and a clean sheet away is a real doubt, even with Southampton struggling. Julian Speroni ($3,500) is your boom or bust option at keeper this slate; at that low price, you just need multiple saves to return value, and if Southampton continue to be poor in attack there’s a real chance this could pay off, be it with a high ceiling of a win and clean sheet, or a lower one with multiple saves and one goal allowed. If you use Speroni, you’re hoping that Southampton don’t put things together with that talented attack.
But, let’s face it: Southampton need a win desperately to stay in the hunt for a Champions League spot. With just four points out of a possible 15 in their last five league matches, Southampton have Chelsea away weekend after next—and that is likely not going to turn out positively. With the Saints fighting Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham for just two likely spots, three points in this one are an absolute must. Question is this—who in attack can be productive, both in real life and DFS? Ronald Koeman has shuffled the desk over the last few games aside from continually starting Graziano Pelle ($9,100) in the lead striker’s role—and Pelle has done little in that time. The Italian striker hasn’t scored in the Premiership since December 20th, and only a FA Cup goal has come in between for Pelle. Is this the time Koeman sits him, regardless of whether the Saints don’t have a lead striker to put in his place? Koeman could go with a front attacking three of Sadio Mane ($7,000), Dusan Tadic ($8,600) and Eljero Elia ($6,700), or if healthy Shane Long ($5,600) could see a start. There’s a lot of talent there, even if Pelle does not start, but none have scored as of late and Koeman may stick to his guns with Pelle. Keep an eye on the starting lineup Koeman puts out; Mane is the most consistent option, not dependent on goals to give value to some degree. Tadic is only a top option on the slot because of the lack of banner options elsewhere, and even that salary doesn’t have to preclude you from starting the Serbian. Like Mane, Tadic is not goal dependent and is a strong play at a midfield spot.
Elia, James Ward-Prowse ($6,100) and Filip Djuricic ($4,100) are all options if given the start—especially Elia, who would likely be in Southampton’s front three. Even Steven Davis ($3,000) is in play, especially if given a central attacking role if he’s preferred over Tadic or Ward-Prowse. Fraser Forster ($5,800) burned more than a few of us this past weekend, myself included. Forster is by far the most expensive goalkeeper on the slate, and use of the Southampton keeper would be based on the home start and that he’s been pretty solid, even during his team’s recent skid. But the margin for error is pretty thin for Forster, even with a level salary overall amongst the group you can use this slate. One goal for Palace ruins the ceiling on what should be a relatively low-scoring matchday.
Much more attractive, and likely to see rather high ownership rates on Tuesday, is the pair of Ryan Bertrand ($5,100) and Nathaniel Clyne ($4,900). Because of the really poor group of options at defense in this group, use of anyone but these two isn’t really a good idea. Unless you’re putting multiple lineups together and need some difference between lineups (and why not just scramble your midfield and forwards?), staying with these two is the right thing to do. Both are consistent double digits options and are not dependent on a clean sheet bonus to return value; plus, it’s a home start against a Palace side that is lacking three first-team strikers and could easily be shut out. There aren’t many other places to go on this slate that I can suggest with any confidence, and none of them strongly.
Hull City vs. Sunderland: This game isn’t for the lightly invested, not for the faint of heart. The beautiful game, this won’t be. 15th versus 16th in the standings, Hull hosts Sunderland after both lost on the weekend. Steve Bruce put out a pretty ugly lineup at Stoke without an outright striker in it, and lost 1-0 for his troubles. Hull had won two straight prior to that, and will look to stretch their home winning streak to three against Sunderland, who gave Manchester United a pretty strong game in a 2-0 loss at Old Trafford. Hull has a pretty strong history as of late against Sunderland, winning their last four matchups and scoring two goals in three of the last four against the Black Cats.
Gus Poyet should have the same starting 11 that faced United in play for this one, especially after the red card against Wes Brown was overturned on Monday. Despite giving up two goals, Costel Pantilimon ($4,800) hit double digits against United and could repeat that performance, albeit from a clean sheet and a possible win. Defenders Anthony Reveillere ($3,700) and Patrick van Aanholt ($3,600) are not the most DFS friendly of options, as they rarely get forward in the attack. They’re purely contrarian to the aforementioned Bertrand/Clyne options, and not exactly good ones. Midfielder Sebastian Larsson ($5,500) is a viable option the slate, but the suspension of Adam Johnson should see either Liam Bridcutt ($3,000) or Steven Fletcher ($5,800) a start out right. Jordi Gomez ($5,000) is very much a contrarian option if you want to get some variance into your multiple lineups. At forward, you have Jermaine Defoe ($6,300) and Connor Wickham ($6,500)—Defoe had two decent chances against David De Gea, but after a quick start to his Sunderland career has garnered three, five and three points respectively in his last three league games. Wickham is back out on the left wing for Poyet, and his direct chances on goal have suffered greatly since Defoe’s arrival. It would be hard to avoid using one or both if trotting out multiple lineups, but Defoe’s opportunity as a central striker heavily outweighs Wickham’s potential.
It’s hard to see Bruce not revert to two strikers at home in Hull’s 3-5-2 formation. Keeper Allan McGregor ($3,900) should see a healthy ownership rate on Tuesday; home start against a Sunderland side that hasn’t scored in three straight matches is the cake, while the icing is McGregor’s 10 and 18 points in his last two home starts. With Hull using wingbacks, only either Maynor Figueroa ($2,800) or Andrew Robertson ($4,700) should come into consideration for lineup building at left wingback with midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady ($6,600) out right. Figueroa didn’t do much with his start against Stoke save cut open Stephen Ireland’s leg, while the early season success Robertson had is long gone. Robertson would be an interesting way to go if not choosing one of Southampton’s outside backs, but it’s a risky play.
Elmohamady has only hit double digits once in the last six league games, but with the short slate it’s hard to fade the Egyptian, especially if you’re using multiple lineups. If Hull can keep possession at home, it’s hard not to see Elmohamady having a strong day even without a goal or an assist to his name. Both Sone Aluko ($4,900) and Gaston Ramirez ($4,600) had anonymous games against Stoke and are unlikely to start, but stranger things and all. David Meyler ($3,800), Tom Huddlestone ($3,800) and Jake Livermore ($4,700) are pure central midfielders and would be dependent on a goal or assist to return value. It’s a lottery if you choose any of the three. Up top, it looks like Dame N’Doye ($6,800) and either Abel Hernandez ($5,400) or Nikica Jelavic ($6,400) will start. The oft-injured Jelavic didn’t play against Stoke and might be passed fit; between he and Hernandez, the Croatian is the much more productive option of the pair. N’Doye scored in each of two starts before his surprising substitute status against Stoke, and he should have his chances against a decent but breachable Sunderland backline. N’Doye’s game is similar to Radamel Falcao, who Sunderland kept mostly in check save the penalty in the second half in the loss to United.
Aston Villa vs. West Bromwich Albion: In easily what should be the most contentious match of the three, we have the Midlands derby between the incredibly woeful Villa at home against a West Brom side that is becoming more competitive each week, but might be without its top three strikers on Tuesday. The Brommies are 13th and could further damage chances Villa has to stay up in the Premiership with a win or even a draw in this one. Villa have lost seven straight matches in league play, and despite there being some really poor teams at the bottom of the table they could find themselves out of the top flight since 1987. There has never been a Premier League with Villa not in its ranks.
The quick turnaround has Tony Pulis almost certainly without Victor Anichebe, and both Saido Berahino ($8,200) and Brown Ideye ($6,000) are doubtful with a foot and knee injury respectively. If neither can play, Villa do not have an outright striker on the rest of their roster—21 year old reserve Adil Nabi ($3,000) has not played a single minute for West Brom’s first team, and on DraftKings both Silvestre Varela and Georgios Samaras have left the club in the winter transfer window. It’s likely, unless both Berahino and Ideye are passed fit, that either Stephane Sessegnon ($6,700) or James Morrison ($5,000) would play much more of an attacking midfield position behind a single striker—be it Berahino, Ideye, Nabi or someone else. If one of Sessegnon or Morrison takes that spot, look for Callum McManaman ($4,100) or Youssouf Mulumbu ($4,100) to get a spot start—McManaman is an interesting play because he’s more of an outright winger that could get points from crosses and the like.
Villa’s poor defense makes anyone a good candidate from West Brom to use in attack, but because of the short slate and no real top dollar player to unbalance a roster, I wouldn’t use anyone save Berahino, Ideye or Sessegnon from that group—and even the last one is a stretch, because Sessegnon has done little this season when given the chance. The remainder of West Brom’s squad is not DFS-friendly save keeper Ben Foster ($4,600), who took home 15 points from this past weekend’s win against Southampton. The matchup can’t get much better, even on the road, with Villa’s putrid attack as of late. On this short slate, Chris Brunt ($5,300) would have been an interesting option at left back for WBA, but since he’s classified as a left back and unable to reap a clean sheet bonus, I’ll pass.
The hosts have limited options, especially if West Brom are without those top two strikers. If so, Pulis will likely put out a very defensive team built to frustrate and get a goal on the counterattack or from a set piece. It’s unlikely to be a high-scoring game and end the game with 22 players total on the field, because of the derby nature of this one. You can start Brad Guzan ($5,000) at home, in front of what has been a very poor defense, because of the home start and a potentially weak West Brom attack. Guzan has not seen double digits in 2015—if there’s any time to break that, it’d be Tuesday. But the only way Guzan sees my lineup is if both Berahino and Ideye are out, and even then I’ll be hesitant.
Aly Cissokho is a doubt, so look for Alan Hutton ($3,700) and Matthew Lowton ($2,400) as options at defense. But again, because of the overall flat salary structure, it’s hard to reason to include Lowton in order to save salary. Hutton is a much more consistent option and is in play, likely to be far behind Bertrand and Clyne in ownership numbers. Midfield brings Carles Gil ($5,700) and Scott Sinclair ($5,400) into the picture, and while Gil did not play in the loss to Newcastle over the weekend he should action from the beginning in this one. Villa are begging for creativity and passing ability in attack, and Gil is seemingly the only round peg to fit into that hole on Tim Sherwood’s squad as Villa is constructed currently. Sinclair has scored twice since moving to Villa in January, but in a 4-3-3 he has not been used as a winger and only hit double digits once because of a goal against Stoke. Otherwise, Sinclair has been ineffective and I’d avoid him in this one unless you are putting several lineups together.
Because of the limited slate, you have to consider Christian Benteke ($7,800) despite his really poor form over the last couple of months. Much of the pressure to keep Villa up is on the Belgian, and it’s not turning out well. With no established provider and no threat otherwise on Villa, Benteke is constantly being marked and game-planned out of being a consistent threat. Both or one from Gabriel Agbonlahor ($4,600) or Andreas Weimann ($5,000) could start, but neither have scored in 2015 and West Brom is pretty strong defensively, especially since Pulis took over. If there was one or two more games to this slate, I’d suggest fading Villa as a whole. But since there’s a shallow