4 FanDuel Premier League Studs to Target for Matchweek 19
As is the case when playing any sport on FanDuel, it’s imperative to hit on high-priced studs, the players in which you’ve made the biggest investment. This is especially true with strikers in soccer as goals are often the difference between winning and losing in DFS.
Let’s take a look at some high-priced players -- all across the pitch -- who, despite costing a good chunk of change, are worth the investment.
This article is geared toward Saturday's main slate, which starts 10:00 a.m. EST and features seven matches.
|Saturday, December 31st|
|Bournemouth at Swansea|
|West Brom at Southampton|
|Stoke City at Chelsea|
|Sunderland at Burnley|
|West Ham at Leicester City|
|Middlesbrough at Manchester United|
|Manchester City at Liverpool|
Let's get to it.
Diego Costa, Chelsea
FanDuel Salary: $13,600
Costa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are both in great spots this weekend, playing at home and listed as 1.5-goal favorites. Costa gets the slight edge with Chelsea boasting a 2.25 implied total, the biggest of the slate (Manchester United's implied total is 2).
Costa -- who is rested after being suspended for last week's game -- has a league-leading 13 goals in 17 appearances this season, also chipping in 5 assists. He leads all players on the main slate with a FanDuel average of 30.3 points per game, and Costa has recorded a goal or assist in seven of his last eight matches.
The Blues are the in-form team in the Premier League, riding a 12-game win streak (two shy of the Premier League record), and they should control the match against Stoke City. The Potters have gone five straight fixtures without a victory, and they just allowed four goals in a loss to Liverpool. Stoke are allowing 14.3 shots per match, the fifth-most in the Premier League.
Costa is the most expensive player on the slate, but if you're willing to pay up at forward, he's an ideal target.
Paul Pogba, Manchester United
FanDuel Salary: $10,200
What you opt to do at the top of your formation impacts your decision here.
If you go for Costa at one of your forward spots, then it's probably wise to get some access to the Red Devils, who are in a superb spot at home against Middlesbrough. If you roster Zlatan, then tabbing Hazard makes sense so you can get exposure to Chelsea. Either way, we're likely going to want a piece of Manchester United and Chelsea, two of the three teams favored by more than half a goal (Southampton is a 1-goal favorite).
Pogba hasn't been a model of consistency in his first season at Old Trafford, but he's flashed a huge ceiling lately. After posting at least 40 FanDuel points once in his first 14 matches this season, he's done so twice in his last three games, averaging 38.75 FanDuel points in that span.
The rise in output has been sparked by more shots on goal. Pogba fired just 8 total shots through 13 matches, but he's taken 9 shots in the last four games. That's lifted his floor, and the ceiling goes with it, too, since it's increasing his goal-scoring opportunities.
United are a 1.5-goal favorite, and they hold a big advantage over Boro in average possession (54.9% to 48.6%). This game should play out similarly to the Red Devils' last three fixtures -- against Sunderland, Crystal Palace and West Brom -- which, as we covered, is when Pogba has elevated his game.
Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City
FanDuel Salary: $6,100
Manchester City's road match at Liverpool has a chance to be one of the Premier League's better games this season. It's two sides which play similarly -- namely pressing high up the pitch and looking to go forward at every opportunity -- and they are the league's top two teams in terms of possession and goals scored.
The likely back-and-forth, fast-paced affair should make for a fantasy-friendly fixture, and defenders on each side are going to be heavily involved. City asks their defenders to play on the ball more than any other Premier League club, and as a result, Otamendi, a center back, is averaging 60.8 passes per match. He's leading the Citizens in clearances (6.8), aerials won (4.4), tackles (2.6) and interceptions (2.8) per game. He's been their top performer this year, per the rating system at WhoScored.com.
Liverpool's NASCAR-like attack is going to keep him busy as the Reds have scored a monstrous 45 goals in 18 matches. Otamendi has had some of his best fantasy days against other top teams, averaging 25.56 points in City's four matches against Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea
FanDuel Salary: $6,900
Typically, we stay away from overwhelming favorites at goalie because we want our keepers to be busy, but Stoke City posses enough going forward with Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan and Joe Allen that the Potters should force Courtois into action on a few occasions.
Courtois has been in excellent form, keeping a clean sheet in four straight matches, and he's astonishingly allowed just two total goals during Chelsea's 12-game winning streak. He's averaged 2.25 saves per match during that span, scoring double-digit fantasy points in all 12 matches.
The upside isn't too big, since it's unlikely he's forced to make more than a couple saves, but his form and Stoke's implied total of 0.75 goals, the lowest of the slate, means another clean sheet could be in the works.