3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 24
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 main Saturday slate, which starts at 10:00 a.m. EST and features seven matches.
|Saturday, February 4th|
|Sunderland at Crystal Palace|
|Liverpool at Hull|
|Bournemouth at Everton|
|West Ham United at Southampton|
|Burnley at Watford|
|Stoke at West Bromwich Albion|
|Middlesbrough at Tottenham Hotspur|
After a run without many, this week’s slate gives us numerous home favorites. In fact, every single team playing at home this week is favored, with the exception of Hull City, who play Liverpool. While playing at home doesn’t always yield a better result -- see Manchester United this past Wednesday -- it does tend to lead to a team seeing more of the ball and creating more opportunities.
The six home favored teams this week are Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Everton, Southampton, Watford, and West Brom. Of those teams, the heaviest favorites are Crystal Palace, Everton, and Southampton -- one-goal favorites -- and Tottenham, who along with Liverpool, are 1.5-goal favorites.
Usually, Tottenham and Liverpool as heavy favorites would draw the majority of ownership, but given their recent struggles and the host of other viable home favorites, ownership may be more spread out this week. Also, Tottenham having the late game, combined with no late swap option are FanDuel, may make conservative players less likely to roster their Tottenham options. This leaves us with a very interesting slate.
As the safest option, I still expect Liverpool’s stars to garner heavy ownership, with Roberto Firmino and James Milner leading the way. For Spurs, Christian Eriksen is almost a sure thing to start, so he should be highly owned even with the late swap risk. We can expect Harry Kane’s ownership to be lower than it has been, coming off a disappointing game in which he was heavily owned and going against a Hull City defense that just held Manchester United scoreless on the road. If you’re willing to take the risk, you may be able to roster him in GPPs at lower than usual ownership.
From the remaining favorites, expect Kevin Mirallas to be a popular value play, as his FanDuel salary of $5,900 still doesn’t reflect his current role in the Everton attack. The same can be said of Yohan Cabaye, who at only $6,400, has been on fire lately, averaging 21.3 FanDuel points per game over his last six matches.
So, which players could go under-the-radar this week?
Jason Puncheon, Crystal Palace
FanDuel Salary: $5,600
Puncheon is often the overlooked man in the Crystal Palace midfield. Ownership tends to flock towards Yohan Cabaye and the much flashier Wilfried Zaha. Despite leading the team in corners taken this year, he is consistently the least popular option for the Eagles. In the $4 Megasweeper this past weekend on FanDuel, the ownership between these three was Cabaye (7.4%), Zaha (5.9%), and Puncheon (2.2%).
With people now confident in Zaha's starting spot after his return from the Africa Cup of Nations and Cabaye turning in another good performance on in Matchweek 23, we can expect their ownership numbers to increase in a match up that Crystal Palace are favored by a goal in. Puncheon only produced 9.25 FanDuel points in Matchweek 23, which should help keep his ownership numbers down this weekend.
Puncheon has a much better chance of producing in a match Palace are expected to win. When favored, there are more dead ball opportunities for him to take advantage of. While he hasn't had many ceiling games as of late, Puncheon is certainly capable of scoring FanDuel points.
Earlier in the season he produced matches with 42 points, 33.5 points, and 30 points, from September to October, all without scoring a goal. One of those games came against Sunderland, who Crystal Palace play this weekend. A repeat performance is certainly not out of the question.
Sunderland's defensive struggles are well documented. They have given up 42 goals this season, third-worst in the Premier League, and until their scoreless draw with Tottenham this past Wednesday, they hadn't shown any signs of improving. While Crystal Palace are struggling this year, currently sitting at 18th on the league table, it has not been because of a lack of offense. Palace have scored 32 goals this year, tied for eighth-best with Bournemouth and only one goal behind Manchester United.
Another feather in Puncheon's cap is the chemistry he has with Christian Benteke. Benteke is Eagle's leading goal scorer on the with nine goals, and Puncheon has supplied him with the most key passes this season. As of Matchweek 20 Christian Benteke and Puncheon had 19 key passes between them, third-most in the Premier League.
Troy Deeney, Watford
FanDuel Salary: $7,500
With Odion Ighalo’s recent transfer to the Chinese Super League, Watford’s preferred attacking configuration appears to have shifted from two strikers up top to one. In the one Premier League match they played since his transfer, they switched to a 4-5-1 formation, with M’Baye Niang getting the start out wide on the left. It remains to be seen if they will stick with a one-striker formation, but if they do, Deeny’s value increases as the lone striker.
Usually, strikers on home favorites don’t slide very far under the radar. However, because of the number of home favorites on this slate, Watford’s options could be overlooked. Regardless of the formation, I would recommend Deeney, and even more so if they stick with a lone striker up top. He will see higher ownership than any other Watford player, but he should still be under 10% owned, and his goal scoring odds are better than Kevin Mirallas, Peter Crouch, and Andy Carroll.
Deeney has been in form recently, scoring in his last two games and in three of his last six. While his floor is certainly low, he has more than 30 points in his last two matches, both of which were on the road and against tougher teams than Burnley.
Burnley are the Jekyll and Hyde of Premier League teams this season. At home they are one of the best teams in the league, currently sitting third on the home table, with 21 goals for and only 11 against. On the road, they have no wins, one tie, and nine losses, with 4 goals for and 22 goals against. Recently they have improved, with three consecutive defeats to Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal. However the fact remains that they are a completely different and worse team away from Turf Moor.
With multiple heavy home favorites on the slate this week, Watford’s favorable match up with Burnley could go overlooked. Allowing use their lower owned striking option to differentiate our lineups.
Salomon Rondon, West Brom
FanDuel Salary: $7,700
Along the same lines as Troy Deeney, Rondon is a striker on a home favored team that should have low ownership. People will look to Firmino, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, and possibly the likes of Andy Carroll on the road -- due to recent performances -- before they look at Rondon.
Rondon is no sure thing. He has seven goals this season, leading the Baggies, but hasn't scored since December 12th, when he had a hat trick against Swansea. However, of his seven goals, five of them have come at home.
In similar fashion, the Baggies have scored the majority of their goals at home as well. Of their 31 goals on the season, 21 of them have come at home. They have five wins in their last six home matches, with their only loss coming to a red hot Manchester United. In those six matches West Brom have scored 15 goals, the third-most in the league. Rondon could be at the center of those positive trends this weekend.
Conversely, in their last six away matches Stoke have given up 13 goals, the third-most in the league. While they have been playing better as of late, their away form hasn't been a part of that.
Rondon has the sixth-best goal scoring odds this weekend of players not on either Liverpool or Tottenham. His odds are better than Christian Eriksen, Jermain Defoe, and the striker who will be playing opposite of him this weekend, Peter Crouch. Expect him to be lower owned than all of those options, especially because his price falls directly between Defoe at $7,800 and Crouch at $9,600.
Anticipate people favoring recent form for strikers in that range and bypassing Rondon despite his great matchup.