3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 23
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 Tuesday slate, which starts at 2:45 p.m. EST and features seven matches.
|Tuesday, January 31st|
|Watford at Arsenal|
|Crystal Palace at Bournemouth
|Tottenham Hotspur at Sunderland|
|Southampton at Swansea City|
|West Bromwich Albion at Middlesbrough|
|Leicester City at Burnley|
|Chelsea at Liverpool|
This week’s slate is highlighted by two very heavy favorites in Arsenal and Tottenham. Arsenal are favored by two goals at home, and Tottenham are favored by a goal and a half on the road. Both of these matches have an over/under of three goals, which is higher than every other game on the slate.
Liverpool and Middlesbrough are slight home favorites, but with Liverpool in dismal form and Middlesbrough difficult to trust, the majority of ownership this weekend will center on Arsenal and Tottenham. Getting those two games correct will be vital to having success this weekend.
When two teams are as heavily favored as Arsenal and Tottenham are, we can develop a better understanding on how roster construction will look. We can expect Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane to be highly owned, along with Christian Eriksen and Olivier Giroud. In order to pay up for the key offensive pieces in the lopsided matchups, people will need to find value at defender. That shouldn't be too difficult, as many of the teams on this slate were also in action this past weekend in the FA Cup, which will lead to squad rotation, which will provide value.
On slates like this, rather than look to other matches, we can focus on the same key matches and look to find the lesser owned options on the heavily favored teams. 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.
Mesut Özil, Arsenal
FanDuel Salary: $9,100
Recently, the FanDuel points that have been flowing from Arsenal have come from Alexis Sanchez and Giroud. While we can expect them to continue from Sanchez -- who is constantly on the ball collecting peripheral points -- Giroud is a prime candidate for some regression to the mean in terms of his goal scoring conversion rate. Even the best strikers aren't a sure thing to score in good matchups -- such as Zlatan against Stoke last weekend -- and when they don't, they can ruin a tournament lineup with a low score.
Fresh in people's minds will be Giroud's recent form and Özil's struggles, which should lead to high ownership for Giroud and low ownership for Özil. We can capitalize on this by pivoting to Özil, combining him with Sanchez, and putting ourselves in a position to take advantage of the great matchup and have a more unique lineup than the field.
While it doesn't always translate to FanDuel points, Özil is heavily involved for Arsenal. In the games Özil has played this year, he has taken 60 corners -- all other Arsenal players combined have taken seven. His last Premier League goal was against Stoke at the start of December, but he is certainly capable of finding the back of the net -- as he did in the reverse fixture against Watford at the start of the season -- and when he does, he has the ceiling required to win a large field tournament.
In a match Arsenal are expected to dominate, there will be no shortage of opportunities for Özil. Watford are winless in their last six away matches, and in their one fixture against a top-of-the-table side, they were beaten 4-1 by Tottenham. In stark contrast, Arsenal have won five of their last six at home, scoring an average of two goals a game during that stretch. All signs point to goals coming for Arsenal and a game in which all of their players will have opportunities to score.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea City
FanDuel Salary: $8,400
On most slates, Sigurdsson at home for only $8,400 would cause him to be one of the higher owned plays on that slate. However, another side effect of having two heavy favorites is that the great options on other teams get overlooked due to salary restrictions. After paying up for Arsenal and Tottenham options, the $8,400 required to roster Sigurdsson is difficult to find. That said, his projections for this weekend aren't too much different than those Arsenal and Tottenham options, and he should come at lower ownership in addition to a lower price.
While Swansea have been struggling recently -- having allowed 17 goals in their last six matches and only scored six -- it hasn't affected Sigurdsson's FanDuel points. Even in those dismal team performances, he's averaged 23.7 FanDuel points, with only one goal scored. Those are elite numbers.
This is due to everything Swansea does running through Sigurdsson. He has taken 93 corners for Swansea this year -- the only other player to take a corner is Jefferson Montero, and he has 6 -- and handles the free kicks as well. He has a monopoly on dead ball opportunities, and in a home matchup with Southampton, there should be some to go around.
Unlike with Arsenal, where there are multiple mouths to feed, Swansea City go as Sigurdsson goes.
The matchup against Southampton comes at an advantageous time for Swansea City. Southampton have been busy with two difficult fixtures in the past week against Liverpool and Arsenal. They will come into this match with far less rest than Swansea City, who haven't played a match since their shock victory over Liverpool on January 21st.
Outside of their incredible run in the League Cup, Southampton are not having a great season. They have lost four of their last five Premier League matches and have allowed 10 goals in their last six away matches. A well rested Swansea City should be able to do well in this match, which bodes well for Sigurdsson's outlook.
Andre Gray, Burnley
FanDuel Salary: $6,800
With the high priced forwards in excellent spots, we can look to be contrarian by paying down for one of our forward spots and using the salary we save to pay up at another position. Gray is certainly goal-dependent, but at home, he has been far more productive than on the road. Of his six league goals this year, five of them have come at Turf Moor. He has slightly better goal scoring odds than Roberto Firmino and better odds than Jermain Defoe and Jamie Vardy.
Burnley's home results this season are fourth-best in the league, only falling behind Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal. They have scored 20 goals at home this season, eighth-best in the league, and have won five of their last six at Turf Moor.
Conversely, Leicester City have been atrocious on the road. They have zero away wins this season and have been outscored 24 to 8. Leicester come into this game off of back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Southampton and Chelsea and appear to be in shambles defensively.
Of course, all of these stats are beneficial to all of Burnley's players, not just Gray. If you wanted to be even more contrarian, you could roster Gray's striking partner, Ashley Barnes. You could also look to pair him with either Steven Defour or Johann Berg Gudmundsson.
In a week where the top teams are in excellent spots, looking to an under-the-radar team that could produce can provide value to afford the high-priced studs from those top teams, as well as differentiating your lineup.