3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 22
If you have played daily fantasy sports for a while, you know the importance of being contrarian in large-field tournaments. Recognizing which players are going to be owned by the masses and finding others who you think have a similar point projection but will come at much lower ownership can really separate yourself from your opponents.
The same goes for DFS Premier League. Even though the large-field tournaments aren't quite as large as they are for other sports, there is still value in identifying quality under-the-radar plays.
This article will discuss FanDuel's Saturday main slate, which starts at 10:00 a.m. EST and features six matches.
|Saturday, January 21st|
|Everton at Crystal Palace|
|Manchester United at Stoke City|
|Sunderland at West Bromwich Albion|
|Watford at AFC Bournemouth|
|West Ham United at Middlesbrough|
|Tottenham Hotspur at Manchester City|
This week’s slate is a return to normalcy in terms of the betting lines. While last week had two heavy road favorites and no heavy home favorites, this week provides us with two home sides favored by a goal -- West Brom and Bournemouth. Manchester United are also favored by a goal on the road against Stoke. All three of these matches have an over/under of two and a half, which is tied for the highest on the slate.
Manchester City and Middlesbrough are also slight home favorites, but both will face teams coming in hot off of large wins this past weekend. On the other side of the coin are Everton, who, fresh off their dismantling of Manchester City this past Sunday, are considered slight favorites on the road against Crystal Palace.
Anytime Manchester United are playing, we can expect their talisman forward Zlatan Ibrahimović to be a popular selection. The same applies to Paul Pogba and his numerous haircuts. Outside of those two, ownership will be interesting as there are a number of high profile teams in tough spots -- Manchester City and Tottenham playing each other, and Everton on the road – and the home favorites are certainly not the most reassuring sides.
From those high profile teams, we can expect Harry Kane to command the most ownership, coming off his 93-FanDuel-point, hat-trick performance on Saturday. Also, after his goal from the penalty spot this weekend, we can probably expect Bournemouth midfielder Junior Stanislas -- who was 28% owned in last week's $3 FanDuel Saturday Sweeper -- to continue to be a popular value play at only $5,900.
We can use the expected roster construction above to find places to differentiate our Guaranteed Prize Pool (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.
Ryan Fraser, Bournemouth
FanDuel Salary: $4,800
The matchup with Watford is a great one, as Watford come into the match having lost their last five away fixtures by a combined score of 14-2. Those 14 goals conceded are tied with Sunderland for third-worst in the league during that span. Bournemouth have been scoring at a decent pace at home, with 10 goals in their last six home fixtures, and are averaging 51% possession.
While we can expect Bournemouth as one-goal home favorites to attract a decent amount of ownership, we can also expect that ownership to be centered on Junior Stanislas, Jack Wilshere and Harry Arter. With this trio likely to attract the majority of the ownership, we can pivot to a different Cherries midfielder -- Ryan Fraser -- to take advantage of the same matchup.
Although he didn’t play the full 90 minutes in any of them, Fraser has started Bournemouth’s last three Premier League matches. He has goals in two of those starts, and he has averaged 65 minutes played. Stanislas takes most of the set pieces for the Cherries, but Fraser relieves him of that duty on corners from the left side, and in a match we are expecting Bournemouth to control at home, there should be multiple corners for the Cherries. Due to this, pairing Fraser with whoever starts at striker for the Cherries – Callum Wilson or Benik Afobe – is a great correlation play.
While his floor is much lower than that of the previously mentioned trio of Stanislas, Wilshire and Arter, if he bags himself another goal he could easily finish with the most points of the four and allow those who started him to gain a leg up on the field in GPPs.
Antonio Valencia, Manchester United
FanDuel Salary: $5,800
Sticking with the theme of using guys who will likely be lesser-owned players on highly-owned teams, Antonio Valencia is in a great spot this weekend. FanDuel’s scoring system favors defenders who are asked to do more defending than attacking, and because of this, central defenders on underdog teams tend to have higher floors than fullbacks on favored teams. However, attacking fullbacks, such as Valencia, offer the upside -- through goals and assists -- that can help win a GPP.
With Ibrahimović in a great spot, we can use Valencia as a way to include Zlatan in our lineups but still differentiate ourselves from the field. Rather than thinking about the ownership of one individual player, we can consider the ownership of different Manchester United combinations. For example, the most popular combination will most likely be Zlatan and Pogba, followed by Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Ander Herrera. By choosing to use Valencia instead, we can save some salary, differentiate our lineups, and still take advantage of Zlatan’s upside, regardless of his individual ownership level.
Recently, Stoke have been tough to break down at home. However, they have not played a team inside the top six of the league table since October. The last two top-tier teams they played at home -- Tottenham and Manchester City -- each scored four goals. Given Manchester United’s current run of form -- five wins in their last six games -- they are certainly capable of matching those performances.
When United are controlling a game, Valencia is highly involved and sees the ball frequently. In United’s last four wins -- all games that they controlled -- he averaged 44 passes completed, and 14.3 FanDuel points a match with no goals scored. He has the talent and the opportunity to be the perfect low-owned, high-upside partner with Zlatan this weekend. You can also consider using him in a triple stack with Zlatan and one of the previously mentioned United midfielders.
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Wait, no don't leave! Yes, Benteke is tough to consider rostering, but hear me out.
Benteke and Crystal Palace have been on a horrific run of form which has seen them lose five of their last six games by a combined score of 11-3. At home, they have been only slightly better, with eight goals scored in their last six home fixtures.
That said, there is a chance here to capitalize on recency bias and roster a forward playing at home -- in a game tied for the highest over/under of the week -- with better goal-scoring odds than Jermain Defoe and Pogba -- at projected low ownership. Everton's incredible display against Manchester City last weekend will be fresh on the minds of most, possibly causing them to ignore many of the options from a struggling Crystal Palace.
While he has been ice cold lately, Benteke does have the upside required to take a risk on him heating up again. He's scored over 30 FanDuel points four times this season, and he averages 2.5 shots per game with eight goals on the season. He had been scoreless in his last six matches, dating back to December 10th, before breaking that goal drought with a brace against Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup on Tuesday, when he came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute. The game was played at Selhurst Park, the same place Crystal Palace will host Everton this weekend.
Sometimes, all forwards need is one goal to start a hot streak, and the brace for Benteke at home could return him to his goal-scoring ways from earlier in the season. While he's certainly not a safe play, Benteke makes for a great GPP flyer this weekend. If you don't feel comfortable clicking his name, then there's a good chance your competition doesn't either. To take down large-field tournaments you have to be willing to give up some safety for upside and unique roster construction.
As always, make sure to check lineups as they come out on Saturday morning and adjust accordingly.