3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 21
All of the Premier League teams return to action this weekend after a much-deserved break following the congested holiday period. This article will discuss FanDuel's Saturday main slate, which starts at 10:00 a.m. EST and features seven matches.
|Saturday, January 14th|
|Stoke City at Sunderland|
|Crystal Palace at West Ham
|Arsenal at Swansea City|
|Southampton at Burnley|
|Bournemouth at Hull City|
|Middlesbrough at Watford|
|Chelsea at Leicester City|
Of the 14 teams on the slate, only two -- Hull City and Southampton, who had mid-week League Cup fixtures -- are playing without at least a normal week’s rest.
This week’s slate is an interesting one. According to the betting lines, the only heavily favored teams -- Arsenal and Chelsea -- are on the road, and the rest of the matches lack a clear favorite. West Ham United and Watford are the only home favorites on the slate, and both are only slightly favored. All of the other favorites -- Bournemouth, Southampton and Stoke -- are on the road. This creates a slate with an uncertainty of game flow across the board, which in turn means it's a great slate for guaranteed prize pool contests (GPPs).
With Arsenal and Chelsea tied as the slate's largest favorites, even though they're away from home, we can expect the majority of lineups to be centered on them. This means the high-priced studs on both sides -- Diego Costa, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Eden Hazard -- will likely see a lot of ownership, especially Costa and Sanchez. In turn, Bournemouth midfielder Junior Stanislas, who is just $6,000, could be a very popular cap-relief option for those trying to fit in multiple studs from the Gunners and Blues.
In lineups that opt to roster only one of Sanchez and Costa, Dimitri Payet may be a popular selection, and for good reason as his monopoly on set pieces combined with his shots per game (3.1) make him one of the most consistent options in the Premier League. Swansea City’s Angel Rangel, a defender priced at $4,700, may be another popular target. Rangel is in line to start with Neil Taylor out due to a fractured cheekbone, and he is a nice source of cap relief.
We can use the expected roster construction above to find places to differentiate our GPP lineups. It’s important to keep in mind that even the largest soccer GPPs are much smaller than most of the NFL or NBA GPPs, and therefore don’t require as many contrarian plays.
Jay Rodriguez, Southampton
FanDuel Salary, $8,000
While the majority of people will pay up at forward, a contrarian move could be to pay down and use the savings to pay up at another position. Rodriguez is the 10th-most expensive forward on the slate, and he offers savings of $5,500 from Sanchez and $5,200 from Costa.
On paper, a matchup at Burnley looks like an uphill battle for Southampton. Burnley have won five of their last six home matches, with their only loss coming to Manchester City. However, those victories did not come without giving up goals as Burnley surrendered eight times over their last six home fixtures.
Southampton have been on a poor run of form, losing their last three matches by a combined score of 9-2, but they put in an inspired performance against Liverpool in the League Cup on Wednesday and will look to carry that form into the weekend. If they do that, Rodriguez should be part of the reason why.
He can certainly be classified as goal dependent, but in a GPP, that's a risk you should be willing to take. He has similar goal-scoring odds to Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe and West Ham’s Andy Carroll, but Rodriguez comes at a discount. He averages 1.6 shots per game, and he has three goals in seven Premier League appearances, including a brace on the road against Bournemouth, a game in which he scored 50 FanDuel points.
Virgil van Dijk, Southampton
FanDuel Salary: $5,900
If people are forced to save money at defense to fit in expensive forwards, we can pay up at defender to be contrarian. Van Dijk has been a consistent defensive stalwart for Southampton this season. He averages 20.18 FanDuel points per match in 19 matches played. He has surpassed the 20-point threshold seven times this year without scoring a goal, including a 31.75-point performance against Manchester City.
While Burnley have been giving up goals at home, they have also been scoring them, with 19 of their 22 league goals this year coming at Turf Moor. This provides van Dijk an opportunity to be active on defense, but it also means that he can be paired with Rodriguez in hopes that the match opens up on both sides.
Michail Antonio, West Ham United
FanDuel Salary: $8,700
Antonio won't be a forgotten man this weekend by any stretch, but from a roster construction standpoint, he’s difficult to fit in. As the fourth-most expensive midfielder on the slate, once you plug in the higher-priced studs, or stack Arsenal or Chelsea, you are forced to look below Antonio’s price range. However, if you go contrarian and pay down at forward, you can use some of that saved salary to pay up in the midfield and include Antonio.
The home matchup against Crystal Palace is a solid matchup. The Eagles have given up 22 goals on the road this season, which is the second-most in the league behind Hull City. West Ham tend to play defensive and control the game at home, as evidenced by their recent 1-0 home victories over Hull City and Burnley, but Crystal Palace can make that difficult.
In addition to giving up goals on the road, Palace has also been scoring them, netting 17 goals in their travels. If the Eagles score, the game should open up. With an over/under of 2.5, the third-highest on the slate, the potential for fireworks is there. If that happens, pairing Antonio with Payet -- who has supplied Antonio with 14 key passes leading to shots this season -- gives your roster the ceiling needed to take down a GPP.
As always, make sure to check lineups as they come out on Saturday morning and adjust accordingly.