This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
The Premier League is back and while the Boxing Day main slate doesn't feature any of the traditional top teams, it should still be a fun one for DFS. The four favorites all have similar implied win probabilities and none of them are better-than-even-money favorites. This makes every matchup a viable target in tournaments. In cash games, I see a few viable roster constructions, and one of the big decision points will be whether you use $8,900 in salary on Kieran Trippier.
- 10:00 am: Crystal Palace vs. Fulham
- 10:00 am: Everton vs. Wolverhampton
- 10:00 am: Leicester City vs. Newcastle United
- 10:00 am: Southampton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Wilfried Zaha (CRY vs. FUL, $8,600): I initially thought I would highlight Eberechi Eze ($7,800) as a priority cash-game target since he splits set pieces for Crystal Palace. That said, he is priced close to Zaha, who has the best goalscoring odds at +110. I normally don't chase goals at those odds in cash games, but Zaha has better upside and I don't think his floor is much lower than Eze's. Zaha averages over 2.5 shots and three fouls suffered per 90 minutes, and he is less likely to be subbed off early, as well. Fulham have conceded 26 goals in 15 Premier League matches this season, so I think you want to target at least one of these two either way.
Daniel Podence (WOL at EVE, $5,200): There are a lot of high-priced midfielders worth targeting, so it will be popular to spend down at the second forward position. Podence was splitting corners for Wolves before the World Cup break and offers a solid floor in open play as a winger. I'd be cautious about assuming Podence will take set pieces since Wolves have a new manager and this might change their tactics and set-piece distribution. In their EFL Cup match two days ago, Hugo Bueno took seven corners and Goncalo Guedes took the other. Jordan Ayew ($5,300) is a viable alternative for just $100 more if he starts.
I expect the Crystal Palace-Fulham match to be popular in tournaments and Aleksandar Mitrovic is likely going to be very chalky at $7,400 given his solid goalscoring odds. I think Leandro Trossard ($9,400) is overpriced and Pascal Gross ($9,100) has been starting at full-back lately for Brighton, so I am likely going to avoid both of them. There are plenty of cheap goals you can target, as well, and I am not opposed to spending down twice at forward in tournaments. Neal Maupay ($5,500) and Che Adams ($5,800) are in the same range as Podence and you can save even more if Hee-Chan Hwang ($3,700) starts.
James Maddison (LEI vs. NEW, $8,700): There are many midfielders I want to play and Maddison ($8,700) stands out for his goal upside and that he takes every set piece for Leicester. Maddison has been fairly matchup-proof this season and Newcastle are only slightly favored over Leicester. I think he is worth his price. Andreas Pereira ($8,500) is in a similar situation, taking most of the set pieces as a slight underdog. Since there is a small chance Willian ($7,000) splits corners with him, I prefer the security in Maddison's role, while Pereira happens to pair nicely with Mitrovic in tournament lineups.
Demarai Gray (EVE vs. WOL, $7,500): This price range is full of strong options. When Dwight McNeil ($6,300) isn't on the pitch, Demarai Gray takes all of Everton's set pieces. Michael Olise ($7,100) will split set pieces with Eze if they start together and he has played over 85 minutes in his previous three league matches. Solomon March ($7,200) will likely continue splitting corners with Pascal Gross and he has solid open-play value averaging two shots per 90 minutes. Finally, while Southampton are underdogs, James Ward-Prowse ($6,500) is favorably priced for his monopoly of set pieces and penalty-kick duty.
There is a ton of opportunity cost at midfield with so many strong options. If you spend down at the position or pivot from the options above, I think you need to target options with legitimate goal upside. Moises Caicedo ($4,000) seems like the best spend-down option and I'd consider rostering Kaoru Mitoma ($4,800) in tournaments if he starts, though he is likely to be substituted. I think Harvey Barnes ($7,000) and Anthony Gordon ($6,800) might go overlooked as usual but have enough upside to outscore the options above.
It feels strange not highlighting Kieran Trippier, but DraftKings aggressively increased his price to $8,900. He has one of the best floors on the slate, but in cash games, I think there are cheaper options available that can put up an eight-point floor with saving around $4,000 in salary. That tradeoff allows lineups to roster three of the midfielders in the $7,000-plus range. In tournaments, Trippier likely needs to contribute to a goal at his price, so I'm more likely to consider him with another Newcastle piece in hope for a set-piece assist.
Pervis Estupinan (BHA at SOU, $4,600): RotoWire is projecting Estupinan to start for Brighton, but Tariq Lamptey ($3,900) is also a strong option if he gets the start. Both are aggressive crossers and either will have a strong floor in a solid matchup against Southampton.
Hugo Bueno (WOL at EVE, $4,000): I already mentioned this, but Bueno took seven corners for Wolves against Gillingham in the EFL Cup, so it seems likely that he will take at least the left-sided ones. Wolves have been poor this season, but he's proven himself to be willing to whip in crosses, and I am fine rostering him even if I forecast his set-piece role incorrectly.
The rest of the defender position is fairly uninspiring. Kyle Walker-Peters ($3,400) is the cheapest attacking-minded full-back. The Crystal Palace defenders are cheap in a spot where they are favorites, so if you need the salary, Nathaniel Clyne ($3,300) and Marc Guehi ($3,000) both make sense.
Jordan Pickford (EVE vs. WOL, $4,900): Despite Everton being the least favored of the favored teams, they narrowly have the best clean-sheet odds. This makes Pickford slightly underpriced and I think he will be popular in cash games for this reason. I imagine Pickford will also be popular in tournaments, but there is really no reason to prioritize him over any of the other favored goalkeepers given how similar their win and clean sheet odds are. Given the volatility of goalkeeper scoring on a week-to-week basis, I am more likely to pivot off Pickford in favor of having a similar goalkeeper at lower rostership in GPPs.
All of the underdog goalkeepers are reasonable options, as well, and it's likely one of the underdogs records an upset victory, so it makes sense to target them in tournaments. As always, just pick an option that doesn't correlate against the attackers in your team.