Premier League: 4 FanDuel Value Plays for Matchweek 5
The first round of Champions League and Europa League group play will be in the books when the Premier League kicks off its fifth week on Friday night. European play usually means managers look for creative ways to juggle their lineups in the domestic league in an effort to rest players. It is early in the season, so guys may not need a rest quite yet. However, many of the teams that played midweek matches are in good spots to rest a few regulars.
European play means that four matches will take place on Sunday rather than the two we saw in previous weeks. The matchweek gets underway on Friday night with a fixture that will not be on the slates with the biggest payouts. However, the game between Chelsea and Liverpool could be one of the highest-scoring affairs of Matchweek 5.
Regardless, there are plenty of options over the weekend to find the value plays needed to stack some big guns in your lineup.
Islam Slimani, Leicester City
Price: £6 million
Slimani was in the lineup for Leicester's first Champions League win on Wednesday. He was able to go 62 minutes before being subbed off for Leonardo Ulloa. Slimani won more headers than anyone on the team and registered two key passes before exiting just moments after his new squad took a 3-0 lead.
Slimani is a different type of player than the club's talisman Jamie Vardy. Vardy offers the speed while Slimani's frame makes him more of a threat through the air. Crosses from the wing will now have another target. Vardy was also taken off the field early Wednesday with the comfortable lead in hand, so their partnership should continue this weekend as Leicester hosts Burnley.
Burnley are 12th in the Premier League in aerials won per match. They have been under fire in the early part of the season as Michael Keane and Ben Mee are fifth and sixth, respectively, in headed clearances this season. However, Slimani is up for the task with his 6'2" frame. Burnley has seen other tall strikers this season, such as Abel Hernandez, but they have likely not faced a player with a similar work rate.
There were some signs of rust for Slimani in the Champions League match, but facing a Burnley side could help him shake off early season struggles.
Roberto Pereyra, Watford
Price: £7.7 million
All eyes have been on Etienne Capoue, and rightfully so. Capoue's price has skyrocketed thanks to his almost 35 FanDuel points per game. However, Argentine midfielder Roberto Pereyra is now averaging over 25 points per game over the two matches where he's played in an attacking midfielder role for Watford.
Pereyra has completed nearly 87% of his passes over his career. This past Saturday, Pereyra completed 94% of his 35 passes as a key link to the forwards. He also set up three shots and contributed one of his own. The performance earned the former Juventus player great praise from manager Walter Mazzarri.
Playing in a central role in a 3-5-2 system will allow Pereyra to create chances every match. In fact, he has already equaled Capoue's four chances created. Pereyra is also just behind Eden Hazard in creating a key pass every 36.5 minutes.
Watford has a tough match up with Manchester United this week, but he will be facing a side that traveled to Feyenoord for the Europa League on Thursday. United are resting some key players and admit they do not want to be a part of the Europa League.
The health of Luke Shaw is a concern for the weekend as the defender was ruled out of the Europa League match. Manchester United lost their first league match last weekend, hit the road for Rotterdam with a weak mindset and may be without a first-choice defender. All of these factors improve Watford's matchup and, in turn, Pereyra's stock.
Martin Kelly, Crystal Palace
Price: £4.6 million
Martin Kelly will likely start at right back this week because of the car accident that will keep Pape Souare out for the year. Kelly is versatile, but he has been kept him in the backup role until now. However, Palace does not have depth on the back line, so Kelly could project as the starter for the foreseeable future. Fortunately for Kelly, who scored 14.75 FanDuel points in his last outing, Palace gets a favorable game against Stoke City.
Palace has won four of their last six Premier League encounters with Stoke. The Potters also sit dead last in the table with a minus-eight goal differential and only two goals scored on the year. Xherdan Shaqiri is likely out until Matchweek 7, and keeper Jack Butland will be out for another month.
Kelly will team up with one of two rejuvenated players in Wilfried Zaha or Andros Townsend while also having a large target in the middle in Christian Benteke. Stoke's inability to generate solid chances should allow Kelly to get forward. The back four of Palace, along with keeper Steve Mandanda, are all in play this week, but Kelly provides the most value.
Maarten Stekelenburg, Everton
Price: £6 million
Everton takes on a Middlesbrough side that ranks in the bottom four in shot attempts. Everton has two kept two clean sheets in the early going, with Stekelenburg averaging over 16 FanDuel points in his last two contests. With a defense that is in the top five in both tackles and blocks, the 33-year-old Netherlands keeper could be in for another superb outing.
In Stekelenburg we trust 💪🏻#COYB 💙 pic.twitter.com/lCQBWi3a1l
— abdulwhab (@iiHooba) August 21, 2016
Stekelenburg has not been tested often, but he has been up for the challenge when called upon. Add in that Everton looks re-energized on offense, and Stekelenburg should be in line for the win, as well. Oddsmakers currently have Everton as -145 favorites.