This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester United
- 10:00 am: Fulham vs. Crystal Palace
- 10:00 am: Liverpool vs. Aston Villa
- 10:00 am: Wolverhampton vs. Everton
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Dwight McNeil (EVE at WOL, $8,600): I think Mohamed Salah ($10,000) will be a popular tournament option, but he is a bit expensive for cash games in a matchup against Aston Villa that I think is a bit more difficult than the odds suggest. McNeil stands out to me as the best spend up cash-game option. He has a fairly reliable floor based on a combination of a set pieces and open play value. Everton have plenty of motivation to get a result in their bid to avoid relegation, as well. Eberechi Eze ($9,500) is a similar option but $900 more expensive, so I prefer McNeil if I spend up.
Alex Iwobi (EVE at WOL, $6,100): Iwobi has had a strong floor under Sean Dyche and he seems like a value at $2,500 less than McNeil. He has a slightly worse points projection since he probably won't take set pieces, but he is almost guaranteed to play a full 90 minutes and can hit a decent floor for his price from open play alone. Aleksandar Mitrovic ($6,000) remains cheap since his return from suspension and I think he is fine as a goal dependent option playing at home. He can hit a modest floor based on shots, too, but I am concerned he doesn't play a full 90 minutes given the strong form of teammate Carlos Vinicius.
There is some merit to completely punting at second forward by using $3,900 Diego Costa in cash. No one stands out as a value and his presence can allow you to jam all three of Michael Olise, Bruno Fernandes and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
With no must-plays at forward, tournaments are wide open. If that's the case, maybe we should just play the best plays and roster popular Salah or Marcus Rashford ($9,000). I don't think either is a must and I personally find it difficult to stomach fragile forward chalk in tournaments. Antony ($8,800), Diogo Jota ($8,300) and Cody Gakpo ($8,000) won't attract as much rostership and allow alternative ways to attack the best matchups of the slate.
It's entirely plausible that all the expensive forwards fail to be necessary to be in a tournament winning lineup, as it's possible they all score under 15 DK points. I think there is a case to be made for rostering two goal-dependent mid-ranged forwards for the times the slate goes this way. Dominic Calvert-Lewin ($5,200) is cheap for a penalty taker and Hwang Hee-Chan ($5,000) is affordable even if his minutes are not guaranteed. It's difficult to stomach, but the upside of the mid-ranged forwards is that you can play the highest floors in the rest of your spots and be in a good spot to win when the expensive chalk fails.
Michael Olise (CRY at FUL, $9,700): It's frustrating that Eze has been taking some of the free kicks, but Olise is still the primary corner taker for Crystal Palace and he has one of the best and most steady floors on the slate. He's logged an outrageous 59 crosses in his last five matches and he's averaged over 1.5 shots per 90 minutes all season. Even if he doesn't have great goal upside, he's registered 10 assists this season.
Bruno Fernandes (MUN at BOU, $9,300): Bruno's matchup away to Bournemouth is undoubtedly more favorable than Olise's, but I don't think his floor is nearly as safe. His open-play value is undeniable and set pieces help boost his floor. That said, Manchester United have a three-way split of set pieces and Bruno's floor has seen a noticeable drop in away matches this season.
It's not exactly rocket science to see that Olise and Bruno are great plays, but many lineup constructions are going to force you into only playing one of them. I don't claim to know who is best, but here is one way to look at it. Even if Bruno projects to score two or three less than Olise on floor points, he undoubtedly is more likely to contribute a goal or assist in a better matchup at Bournemouth.
Ruben Neves (WOL at EVE, $6,000): Neves seems like the only Wolves player that plays 90 minutes and he has been taking half of their set pieces along with penalties. His goalscoring odds of +250 are strong for his price. He's tough to afford, but he has a chance of keeping up with Olise or Bruno in fantasy points.
James Garner ($5,000) and Tom Cairney ($4,900) both seem fine as boring central midfielders who will take some set pieces, but I would really like to find the extra $1,000 to get to Neves. If I can't do that, Jordan Henderson ($4,200) seems like a reasonable punt option. His minutes aren't guaranteed, but he has been getting more forward for Liverpool lately and has enjoyed a slightly better floor as a result.
Luke Shaw (MUN at BOU, $5,800): I'm not sure what I will do with my defender spots in cash games, but I am fairly certain that I will play Luke Shaw in one of them. He has a partial share of United's set pieces,and the matchup against Bournemouth should be favorable for him making forward runs and whipping in crosses. He should probably be at least $1,000 more expensive in this matchup.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV vs. AVL, $7,800): This is an expensive price for Alexander-Arnold. He's been reinvigorated in his new central role, racking up open-play peripheral points and splitting set-piece duty. Aston Villa aren't a smash matchup for Liverpool, though, and rostering him requires either spending very little at forward or fading one of Olise or Bruno. I'm apprehensive to fade him in cash games, but I am more willing to avoid Liverpool in GPPs. If I am nervous to play Alexander-Arnold, the same reasoning can be applied to Andrew Robertson ($5,900). He's $1,900 cheaper, but his floor has been more inconsistent than Alexander-Arnold's and a tilting early substitution for Kostas Tsimikas ($5,600) is always in play for Robertson.
If I fade Alexander-Arnold in cash, I'll probably spend as little as possible at second defender so that I can spend up at other spots. Raphael Varane ($3,100) seems acceptable as a cheap punt, as he is too cheap for his matchup against Bournemouth. There is a chance Nathan Patterson ($3,800) plays as a right-back or even right wing-back. He is an attacking player and a strong value if that happens. He can help make sure you don't get completely blown away by lineups that use Alexander-Arnold.
Emiliano Martinez (AVL at LIV, $3,800): Neither Liverpool nor Manchester United have particularly high clean-sheet odds, so I don't feel inclined to spend up at goalkeeper. If you don't like playing the cheapest goalkeeper, I think someone like Sam Johnstone ($4,400) in a low-scoring matchup is perfectly fine as a safer target. I'm willing to stomach the risk of playing Martinez at Anfield. I think he'll have plenty of opportunities to make saves and Aston Villa have only conceded four goals in their last six matches.