This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
It's been a while since we've been treated to a five-game Premier League slate on DraftKings and I'm expecting Brighton and Manchester United players to be popular due to their favorable home matchups against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, respectively. From a DFS perspective, it seems like DraftKings has completely gotten rid of dual forward/midfield dual-eligibility. Forward has generally been thin from a cash-game perspective already, and this change removes a lot of forward-eligible, set-piece takers. While this is certainly annoying, there is going to be an edge in adapting to this fairly big change to the game.
- 10:00 am: Aston Villa vs. Leicester City
- 10:00 am: Brentford vs. Southampton
- 10:00 am: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. AFC Bournemouth
- 10:00 am: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace
- 10:00 am: Wolverhampton vs. Liverpool
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Marcus Rashford (MUN vs. CRY, $9,100): If you spend up at forward in cash games the popular move is going to be rostering an in-form Rashford. He is almost a coin-flip to score a goal, should play 90 minutes and is averaging close to three shots per match. Antony ($7,800) has a slightly better floor, but he is also less likely to score and more likely to be subbed off early. I'd rather play Leon Bailey ($7,200) at a similar price. Aston Villa's matchup against Leicester is a positive one and he has routes to taking some set pieces along with his open-play value.
In tournaments, the Liverpool forwards might be overlooked due to their poor recent form, and Mohamed Salah ($8,100) and Darwin Nunez ($9,000) are cheaper than they have been for most of the season. Ollie Watkins ($7,400) has brace upside and fits well in Aston Villa stacks. I have to mention that the odds (as of writing) have the always-popular Ivan Toney ($8,900) as the most likely goalscorer on the slate. Even with high rostership, I'll probably play him in a few tournament lineups with one of his midfield-eligible teammates.
Hwang Hee-Chan (WOL vs. LIV, $3,700): The midfield position is strong on this slate and with few floor options at forward, I think spending down is a strong strategy. Hee-Chan will more often than not score three points in this matchup, but he at least has decent goal upside and allows you to strengthen the rest of your lineup. Depending on starting XIs, some other cheap options might emerge. I'd rather play Wout Weghorst ($4,500) over Hee-Chan if he starts since he is in a much better matchup. It's also possible that Brighton's Jeremy Sarmiento ($4,700) starts as an attacking midfielder, although he will probably be an early substitute.
Bruno Fernandes (MUN vs. CRY, $8,300): Christian Eriksen will be sidelined at least until April with an injury, so I'm expecting Bruno to have at least the right-sided Manchester United set pieces. He should probably be priced above $10,000 with that role against Crystal Palace and I expect him to be extremely popular. While there are routes to fading Bruno in GPPs, don't overthink this one in cash games.
Pascal Gross (BHA vs. BOU, $9,100): With so many strong midfielders to play, I'm inclined to spend up twice in cash games. I'll only play Gross if he lines up as an attacking midfielder. Your best hint to that happening is if his teammates Alexis Mac Allister ($6,900) and Moises Caicedo ($4,300) are both starting, as well. Otherwise, Solomon March ($8,200) might take a set piece or two and has goal upside, while Kaoru Mitoma ($8,700) is more of a tournament option.
I really like all of the options on Brighton and plan to attack their matchup against Bournemouth in GPPs. James Maddison ($9,300) is in a tough matchup against Aston Villa for his price and I can't stomach paying $8,600 for James Ward-Prowse given how inconsistent Southampton have been. Both players are fine on paper with a monopoly of set pieces, but I think the upside is better on the Brighton pieces.
Douglas Luiz (AVL vs. LEI, $5,700): If you want to get up to Rashford in cash, I think you'll likely have to consider a mid-priced midfielder to pair with Fernandes. Luiz stands out as the obvious cash-game option since he takes most of Villa's set pieces. Mathias Jensen ($6,100) hasn't been subbed off early in recent fixtures for Brentford, so I think he is a good value, as well. While I don't want to spend below on Luiz in cash games, there are a few cheap tournament options. Josh Dasilva ($4,500) has started three of the last four games for Brentford and has shown some upside with one goal and assist, although he'll be subbed early. Jacob Ramsey ($4,600) is probably my favorite spend-down tournament option. He often gets in shooting positions and has shown a good floor lately as a wide midfielder.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV at WOL, $5,900): Alexander-Arnold has been frustrating from a DFS perspective (and real life), with several subpar performances in league and cup fixtures since the World Cup ended. At $5,900, I am willing to go back to the well and play him in cash games for his set piecces, especially since he is $300 cheaper than teammate Andrew Robertson ($6,200). Given his form along with Liverpool's, I think you can turn to other options in GPPs. Luke Shaw ($5,500) will probably split set pieces with Bruno, so I think he is underpriced in this spot. The Brighton full-backs also seem like good options. Tariq Lamptey ($5,600) feels a bit too expensive and is more likely to get subbed than Pervis Estupinan ($5,100). Both should have plenty of crossing opportunities against a Bournemouth side that concede 25 crosses per match.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (MUN vs. CRY, $4,400): There aren't many great cheap defender options, but Wan-Bissaka is favorably priced if you can't pay up twice. The Wolves left-backs are also fine options, with either Hugo Bueno ($3,900) or Rayan Ait-Nouri ($4,000) priced quite cheaply. Their minutes are not guaranteed, but both have been taking left-sided set pieces and Ait-Nouri often finds himself in forward positions. Finally, Raphael Varane ($3,300) is slightly underpriced for Manchester United's clean sheet odds, so I think he is fine if you need to punt at second defender. The same is true for Stefan Bajcetic ($3,100), who is inexplicably defender eligible the same week DraftKings overhauled positional eligibility. You can do a lot worse than a favored defensive midfielder who also has clean sheet equity at that price.
Just looking at the odds, we expect at least one of Robert Sanchez ($5,900) and David de Gea ($5,700) to keep a clean sheet. Manchester United actually have similar win and clean sheet odds as Brighton, so I prefer the $200 savings I can get with De Gea.
A strategy I am likely to use that I often implement in GPPs in bigger slates is to either pay up for the elite options at goalkeeper or pay down for an underdog. One reason I find this effective is that the other favored goalkeepers are priced close to Sanchez and De Gea. If I want to spend up, I am more likely to find the $400 to upgrade from Alisson ($5,300) to De Gea. With five games to choose from, it is likely that one of the underdog goalkeepers will score double-digit points and you will often need performances like that to win first place in tournaments. Jose Sa ($4,100) stands out the most of this group since he is playing at home against a Liverpool side struggling to find its form.