This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Brentford vs. Aston Villa
- 10:00 am: Crystal Palace vs. Everton
- 10:00 am: Leicester City vs. Wolverhampton
- 10:00 am: Liverpool vs. Nottingham Forest
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Mohamed Salah/Cody Gakpo (LIV vs. NFO, $11,900/$9,900): Liverpool are enormous favorites hosting Nottingham Forest on Saturday with an implied goal total that is one more than any other team playing. Mohamed Salah ($11,900) has scored four goals in his last three starts, which helps explain his aggressive price bump, especially compared to his teammates.
Salah takes Liverpool's penalties and has the highest likelihood of playing a full 90 minutes of any Liverpool attacker. All things equal, I'd prefer to have Salah on my teams, but I'm not sure he is more than $2,000 better than the other Liverpool forwards Cody Gakpo ($9,900) has played over 80 minutes in each of his last five starts and his goalscoring odds of -105 are close to Salah's. I don't expect him to take corners, but he has done that in the past for club and country and did take three corners against Arsenal two weeks ago. Diogo Jota ($9,500) is a similar option, but I think it is likely that he will be the first forward subbed off. Finally, Darwin Nunez ($9,300) has taken just under five shots per 90 minutes with 1.5 chances created this season. His floor looks better on paper than his teammates', but even if he starts, the most likely outcome is that he plays 75 minutes.
Emiliano Buendia (AVL at BRE, $5,400): Buendia continues to be forward eligible and I think he offers some salary relief at the forward position should you want to spend up at other spots in your lineup. If Douglas Luiz and Leander Dendoncker start again for Aston Villa, Luiz will likely lineup as a central attacking midfielder in a toss-up matchup away to Brentford. He's averaged 1.6 shots and 1.4 chances created per 90 minutes, so I think a six-to-eight point floor is achievable. A central role should increase his likelihood of contributing a goal or assist, too. Thiago Alcantara ($6,100) is forward eligible again and he is an equally compelling option with arguably a better ceiling since the Liverpool match will feature more goals.
Moving onto GPPs, I think Eberechi Eze ($9,800) might get some looks from the field after scoring a brace last weekend against Southhampton. He's in great form and Palace are favored at home against Everton, but that's a steep price for a forward in a low-scoring matchup with few, if any, set pieces. I'm more interested in Bryan Mbeumo ($7,700) in larger field contests. I'm not sure how many will play forwards in his salary range, but he projects to split set pieces with Mathias Jensen ($6,800) for Brentford, and if he scores one goal he could easily achieve 20 points or more.
The punts below Buendia at forward are a bit uninspiring. Diego Costa ($4,600) scored a goal last weekend along with three shots on target, but I am more interested in Matheus Cunha ($5,200). He's only scored one goal for Wolves this season, but he has also avoided being subbed off at the 55th minute like many of his teammates.
James Maddison (LEI vs. WOL, $8,100): This is a cheap price for Maddison and he is probably the first name in my cash-game lineup with a home matchup against Wolves. His set-piece monopoly is just too valuable even if Leicester have struggled in some recent matchups. His goalscoring odds of +220 are strong too, so he has plenty of goal upside.
There is definitely an argument to be made for Michael Olise ($9,600) in cash games, but it will likely require fading Salah. He'll have a majority of set pieces at home and I think Palace will have more possession in this matchup. Roy Hodgson teams are not known for being offensively brilliant, but Everton have conceded a large amount of possession to home sides under Sean Dyche. Even an out-of-form Fulham had 54-percent possession away to Everton last weekend and that led to seven corners. The ingredients are definitely there for Olise to have another massive floor performance, but it does come at the opportunity cost of playing a second Liverpool forward.
There isn't a cheap midfielder who stands out to me, but I'd like to highlight a few intriguing names that you can use to save some salary. James Garner ($5,000) is probably the strongest mid-priced option. He started for Everton last match and immediately took over a majority of their set pieces. I mentioned Villa possibly playing in a 4-2-3-1 and if that is the case, John McGinn ($5,400) plays a more advanced wide midfield role. Anecdotally, it always seems like he gets overlooked in GPPs.
Any Liverpool midfielder is a fine tournament option given how strong their matchup against Nottingham Forest is and I saw Jordan Henderson ($5,500) make more forward runs with Trent Alexander-Arnold transitioning to a more central role. Finally, Kevin Schade ($3,600) has started the last two matches as a forward for Brentford. He shouldn't be priced among defensive midfielders in this range and could easily offer a cheap goal.
Andrew Robertson/Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV vs. NFO, $6,000): Jurgen Klopp was noncommittal in his press conference this week if Trent Alexander-Arnold ($7,900) would continue to operate more as a central midfielder versus an attacking right-back as he did against Leeds last week. It's been a difficult season for Alexander-Arnold and his defending on the flank has been called into question many times this season. If other players continue to offer width on the right side and he stays central, his floor is undoubtedly worse. He'll be more dependent on set pieces and his likelihood of shots or chances created are not improved since other Liverpool midfielders pushed ahead of him when Liverpool possessed the ball.
That said, Jordan Cooper compared Alexander-Arnold to a defense-eligible Pascal Gross on the podcast. With that comparison, it still feels like an acceptable price tag in a fantastic matchup for Liverpool. Robertson is a cheaper option on the opposite side of the pitch, but I am not certain of the safety of his role on corners. Due to price and position, I think I prefer Robertson at this point if I could only pick one.
Luke Thomas/Timothy Castagne (LEI vs. WOL, $3,100/$3,800): It's nice to see some viable spend-down options at full-back, and Thomas and Castagne were the first names that stood out to me in this price range. Leicester City manager Dean Smith deployed his side in a 3-5-1-1 away to Manchester City last weekend, so Thomas and Castagne are cheap wing-backs if that formation continues. Castagne seems like the safer bet to me, but you are mostly playing either for their role and salary relief, so I won't lose any sleep if I need the salary and have to roster Thomas instead. If Leicester change their formation, they are still cheap enough to roster.
One name I'd like to mention for GPPs is Alex Moreno ($5,200). When he transferred to Aston Villa, he was in a timeshare with Lucas Digne. That appears to have changed, and he has played 90 minutes in his last two starts and over 80 minutes in his last four. He's in good form and Villa's matchup away to Brentford is not prohibitive.
Sam Johnstone (CRY vs. EVE, $5,200): Of course, Alisson ($5,900) is the safest option at goalkeeper if you can afford him. But Palace have the second-best clean sheet odds on the slate to pair with the lowest-implied goal total. He should have more save upside than Alisson, as well. Given how close the other three matchups are, I think any other goalkeeper that is not named Keylor Navas ($3,600) has a solid chance to keep a clean sheet. Jordan Pickford ($4,300), for example, should see some save opportunities, and no one would be surprised if Palace failed to score a goal.