With midweek action in the Premiership, there are two afternoon slates here at DraftKings, and the Playbook is here to breakdown every game to help build your lineups.
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And on Wednesday, we have the $15,000 Treble with a $300 entry fee, with several satellites for the Treble running on Tuesday.
Sunderland vs. QPR: It’s the end times, people—Sunderland is a clear, no doubt, who would’ve thunk it favorite in this one. At home, facing a toothless QPR side that will be without Charlie Austin due to injury that is flat out horrible on the road, Sunderland is ready to take three points from this one—right? Like Icarus, will the Black Cats fly too high, too near the sun? Sunderland does not have a strong home record this season, but all signs point towards a strong showing.
One of Tuesday’s best two options in net is Costel Pantilimon ($4,900); while Sunderland is not an outright favorite like Arsenal/David Ospina is, Pantilimon’s matchup is too good to ignore. Add into the mix that QPR should get some efforts on target, and the ceiling gets that much higher. Ospina is the chalk on Tuesday; Pantilimon saves you $400 and is just as intriguing. Just as intriguing is Sunderland’s pair of outside backs, Anthony Reveillere ($3,800) and Patrick van Aanholt ($3,700). There’s also a chance Billy Jones ($2,000) may start in the place of Reveillere at right back. It’s a tricky play, though—none of the three are outright attacking backs, and could be very dependent on hitting a clean sheet bonus for double digits.
In midfield and attack, keep an eye on what lineup Gus Poyet puts out on Tuesday afternoon. If Jermaine Defoe ($6,300) starts as a lone striker, his ownership numbers should be through the roof. If complimentary strikers Danny Graham or Steven Fletcher ($5,900) start alongside Defoe, there’s both positives and negatives in their inclusion—there’s always the chance either put away a chance that might have fell to Defoe. But Defoe is not best used as a sole striker up top. The best case scenario, DFS wise, is to pair Defoe with Adam Johnson ($5,300) up top, with the latter as a free role attacking midfielder or a forward.
If he’s passed fit and starts, Connor Wickham ($6,600) is an interesting pick—but he costs more than Defoe, and would likely not go the full 90. Sebastian Larsson ($5,600) is a contrarian option, but is heavily goal dependent. Sunderland may also offer punt plays in Ricky Alvarez ($3,300) and Liam Bridcutt ($3,000), if you need salary relief.
QPR’s starting 11 is very hard to fade because of the four game pool you’re choosing from, but there is not a lot of goodness to pick from. It’s all contrarian options, from winger Matt Phillips ($4,000) to Leroy Fer ($4,900) to likely lead striker Eduardo Vargas ($5,200). Some out there might even bet on the talented but total head case Adel Taarabt ($4,800). I’ll be avoiding QPR like the plague.
Arsenal vs. Leicester City: As much as I’m fading QPR, Leicester is in a worse off position as they travel to face Arsenal on Tuesday. Not much more of a lead-in I can give this match, save my interest in seeing how much squad rotation Arsene Wenger has ready with the North London derby in the rearview mirror and the FA Cup this weekend.
Dead last in the Premiership, the Foxes when it comes to DFS has…Riyad Mahrez ($5,300). That’s about it, friends. Even in this matchup, Mahrez remains underpriced and a solid chance to hit double digits without a goal or assist at the end of 90 minutes. Beyond that, there really isn’t an option I would suggest for Leicester. Andrej Kramaric ($5,000) was a big signing for Leicester in January, but has done little at forward. Jeff Schlupp ($5,000) hasn’t seen the consistent point production on Mahrez’s opposite wing.
Now, Arsenal—it’s going to be very interesting to see what lineup Wenger puts out there after the loss versus Spurs. Alexis Sanchez ($9,700) is back after a hamstring injury and should start—but whom else will join him in the Gunners front four? Olivier Giroud ($9,200) had a really poor performance last weekend, and might be on the bench or could remain as the lead striker. If he sits, it’s likely Sanchez or Danny Welbeck ($8,200) starts up front. If by some chance, Welbeck again starts on the outside of the three attacking midfielders behind Giroud/Sanchez, avoid him like the plague. It’s more likely Theo Walcott ($6,900) starts where Welbeck did on Saturday.
Also, does Santi Cazorla ($8,800) or Mesut Ozil ($8,300) get rested? Cazorla has logged a lot of minutes in the absence of Ozil and Walcott the past few months, but it’s hard to see Wenger sit him. Ozil is coming back from a long-term injury; does Wenger sit him like he did Walcott against Spurs? All six are excellent plays in this really favorable matchup, but which four start (and in what places) goes a long way to who ends up in lineups.
In the back, Ospina ($5,300) should see heavy ownership, as should whoever starts at outside back for Arsenal. Hector Bellerin ($4,400) might get replaced by Calum Chambers ($4,400) at right back, while Kieran Gibbs ($4,000) may be passed fit and reclaim his left back spot from Nacho Monreal ($3,500). Whoever starts in that group has an excellent shot at double digit production from a probable clean sheet and crosses. On this short slate, even central defenders like Laurent Koscielny ($3,500) are a strong play.
Hull City vs. Aston Villa: On a normal slate, I’d say fade this one with extreme prejudice. Even with just four games, you can avoid this matchup from your lineup completely, but in your prep there are a handful of players to take into consideration. Both clubs had pretty strong showings this past weekend, with Hull drawing at Manchester City while Villa played relatively well despite a loss at home to Chelsea. Hull are favorites, and with a win should find themselves out of the relegation zone. This is a true six pointer, so play should be very close to the vest—it’s hard to see three or more goals from this one. If anything, this match screams 1-0 to either side or a 1-1 draw. One thing—Hull has been very poor at home this season, so take that into consideration.
Because of the likely low scoring nature of this match, both keepers are in play. Allan McGregor ($4,300) has the home start, and played well in the draw at City after a really poor run of games. Villa’s poor attack gives McGregor a lot of allure, but his ownership numbers should be relatively low as players use mostly Ospina and Pantilimon. Even less used should be Brad Guzan ($4,200); Hull’s attack is nothing to write home about, but it’s hard to see Villa keeping a clean sheet from this one.
Villa’s pair of outside backs are inexpensive and might be necessary to use to stack better options in midfield and attack, but it’s hard to see Aly Cissokho ($3,700) or Alan Hutton ($3,500) see double digits short of picking up an assist. Hull using three central defenders keeps them out of consideration at defense, but in midfield you have Ahmed Elmohamady ($5,900), who saw the crossbar deny him at City on Saturday and should have a strong game on Tuesday. David Meyler ($3,000) is a minimum play, but aside from his goal against City the midfielder hasn’t seen double digits this season. A better option should be Gaston Ramirez ($4,500), who plays higher up in the formation Steve Bruce puts out and doesn’t hesitate to shoot when given the chance. Sone Aluko ($4,800) played up top against City, but at home Bruce could use strikers Nikica Jelavic ($5,600) or Abel Hernandez ($5,500) instead. Both have had poor seasons for Hull, and are contrarian plays.
For Villa, Christian Benteke ($7,300) was only a substitute in the loss to Chelsea, and even if he starts it’s tough to put any trust in the Belgian, especially at that price tag. You’d be better off going cheaper with Walcott or Defoe then Benteke at this point. It looks like Gabriel Agbonlahor ($4,600) will remain the lead striker if Paul Lambert keeps the same starting lineup and Benteke remains on the bench. If that is the case, Villa becomes even more of a completely counterattacking side and should see few chances going forward. Agbonlahor isn’t playable and has not scored since November of last year.
In honesty, the only playable option for Villa on Tuesday is Carles Gil ($5,000), who has hit double digits in two straight games. He’s a creative play, really the only one Villa uses on a regular basis. And even then, it’s hard for me to give Gil that much of an overwhelming recommendation because of the Villa attack. Around Gil’s price point at midfield on Tuesday, you have Aluko, Ramirez, Jordan Henderson, and for $300 more Johnson or Mahrez.
Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur: On paper, Tuesday’s best match sees Spurs fresh off their aforementioned win travel to Liverpool, who put in an organized, yet zombie like performance in the scoreless Merseyside derby. Liverpool had two injuries in the second half against Everton that will scramble the lineup for Brendan Rogers—so let’s concentrate on Liverpool first.
There are several injury concerns Rogers will have to take into play when putting together his starting lineup at Anfield. With Lucas Leiva definitely out and Raheem Sterling likely to miss the game with a foot injury, it’s hard not to see Daniel Sturridge ($8,100) starting this one. After three straight substitute appearances, Sturridge should see the starting lead forward role in Liverpool’s 4-3-3—but who flanks him is also in question. Both Phillipe Coutinho ($6,000) and Adam Lallana ($5,400) are injured; Lallana missed out against Everton while Coutinho had to be subbed off in the second half. Both could miss out, both could play—Coutinho is the much better DFS option if he does start.
Add into the mix that with Leiva out, Steven Gerrard ($5,800) may have to start another match—it would be the third start for Gerrard in a week, something Liverpool were trying to avoid greatly in the midfielder’s last season at Anfield. Does Gerrard have enough to make an impact in this match? He does have dead ball and penalty responsibilities, so if he does start he’s definitely an option to choose from. Other Liverpool players that could come into reckoning are Lazar Markovic ($4,800), especially if he starts in the front three; Henderson ($5,000), whose offensive responsibilities would increase in Gerrard’s potential absence; and Jordan Ibe ($3,000), who at minimum cost could see another start either at wingback or up top with all the injuries in play.
With all that instability up top, it’s hard to recommend Simon Mignolet ($4,800) despite how strong Liverpool has been defensively as of late. The switch to a back three has worked out well, and Mignolet hasn’t given up a league goal in his last 390 minutes of play (New Year’s Day against Leicester being the last). I can’t fault using Mignolet, especially with a home start, but with a weakened lineup in front of him and Spurs playing really well, I think other keeper options are better ways to go. Alberto Moreno ($3,700) is a mid-range option at defender, but he simply isn’t generating lots of crosses—I’d choose other defenders on the slate.
Now, to Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino might stick with the same lineup that won at home against Arsenal, or make a few changes, be they tactical or rotational ones. Hugo Lloris ($4,600) starts in goal, but like Mignolet, it’s not the right matchup to play him. It’s a pretty even match, on the road, against a Liverpool side that has attacking talent in it, despite injuries. Whoever starts at outside back for Spurs have a better upside to them; Danny Rose ($3,900) or Ben Davies ($3,700) at left back, and likely Kyle Walker ($3,700) at right back all have the ability to hit double digits and should see chances going forward. There’s a chance Eric Dier ($3,800) gets pushed out to right back after a start in central defender.
In midfield, it’ll be interesting to see of Pochettino sticks with the same midfield behind Harry Kane ($10,100), or if changes will be made in the attacking trio of midfielders supporting the on-fire English attacker. Christian Eriksen ($8,000) seems a certainty to start, despite playing constantly for Pochettino, but he’s better suited in real life and DFS wise if he’s central. If Nacer Chadli ($6,100) starts in place of Moussa Dembele ($3,700), Eriksen gets that central role and both he and Chadli are superb plays. Nabil Bentaleb ($5,000) had an assist in the win over Arsenal, but because of his defensive midfield role it’s hard to recommend the Algerian—same with Ryan Mason ($5,500), who is playing really well as of late. Erik Lamela ($5,500) may remain in the starting 11 for Spurs, but he’s incredibly goal dependent and won’t be in any of my lineups.