3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 25
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 six matches.
|Saturday, February 11th|
|Watford at Manchester United|
|Stoke City at Crystal Palace|
|Middlesbrough at Everton|
|Sunderland at Southampton|
|West Ham United at West Bromwich Albion|
|Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur|
Fresh off of a slate with multiple heavy home favorites -- some of which never got the memo (Crystal Palace) -- we have a slate which projects to be much less predictable. Manchester United are the one heavy home favorite on this slate and will rightfully command heavy ownership. Outside of that, there aren't many teams you can hang your hat on. The remaining favorites are Southampton on the road, West Ham at home, Stoke City at home, Everton on the road, and a struggling Liverpool at home to Tottenham. From an odds perspective, things are rather cloudy this week.
Thankfully for us, human beings base their decisions on more than just odds and math. Despite being on the road and less favored than Southampton, Stoke, and West Ham, we can expect recency bias to push people towards Everton.
Fresh off of a 4-goal, 89.75-FanDuel-point performance last week, Romelu Lukaku should see higher than usual ownership. The same goes for Ross Barkley coming off of his 55.25-FanDuel-point outing. Of the two, I would recommend Barkley, as he has less dependence on goals, but on the road neither is a sure thing. Oh yeah, and Everton at Middlesbrough has the lowest over/under of the week at only two goals.
After Manchester United and Everton, expect ownership to be spread out over Liverpool, Tottenham, as the name value of their stars will command ownership despite the difficult matchup for both. Between the two, James Milner should see the most ownership, as he can benefit from being called on to perform his defensive duties and getting forward when Liverpool attack.
Which players, then, could go overlooked?
Alvaro Negredo, Middlesbrough
FanDuel Salary: $7,600
If we expect Everton to see overinflated ownership, that means that Alvaro Negredo, at home, will go overlooked. In reality, he's actually less goal dependent than his counterpart in this game, Lukaku. He has scored more than 20 FanDuel points without scoring a goal four times this season. Lukaku has managed that once.
Now, that said, Lukaku has scored at a far greater rate this season, but in the games he doesn't, his floor is much lower than Negredo's floor. Usually this thought process is more applicable to cash game considerations, but with ownership expected to be incredibly lopsided, choosing Negredo could allow us to leap the field in GPPs.
On paper, the outlook for Middlesbrough doesn't improve much. They have scored the fewest goals at home of any team this season, and Everton have been middle of the pack in terms of goals allowed on the road. That said, the outlook for Negredo alone is a less grim picture. His odds to score are even with the red hot Andy Carroll, who is expected to play despite his groin injury, and ahead of Philippe Coutinho, Ross Barkley, and Wilfried Zaha.
In large-field tournaments, what we expect to be the most likely outcome shouldn't always drive our decision making. In this scenario, if we believe that that Negredo will outscore Lukaku 30% of the time and Lukaku's ownership is expected to be five or six times greater than Negredo's, then it is a risk worth taking.
Ander Herrera, Manchester United
FanDuel Salary: $8,700
Ander Herrera is one of the most overlooked options on FanDuel. He is consistently lesser owned than his teammates Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan despite putting up similar FanDuel point performances. To give you an idea of how great he has been this year, he averages 21.71 FanDuel points a match and hasn't scored a goal yet. That's insane.
He has seven performances with at least 25 fantasy points, including a 41.25-FanDuel-point performance against Tottenham in December, all without a goal.
Some of his consistency comes from his defensive abilities in the midfield, with his interception and tackle numbers being greater than either of his previously mentioned teammates, but he isn't scared to take his chances from distance either. He averages 1.4 shots per game, and his odds to score are even with Barkley, Zaha, and Kevin Mirallas. With his already ridiculously high floor, a goal would most likely send him above 40 points, providing the ceiling needed to do well in large field tournaments.
In the reverse fixture against Watford earlier this year, Manchester United put in a flat performance and lost 3 to 1 on the road. While I don't expect them to slip up again, it does show that Watford is capable of taking the fight to Manchester United, which increases Herrera's chances for tackles and interceptions.
Pairing Herrera with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose odds to score are the best on the slate by a wide margin, makes a lot of sense. Zlatan's odds of scoring a second goal are the same as Adam Lallana's odds to score one.
Also, in his last two games on main slates he has disappointed, which may slightly -- very slightly -- decrease his ownership, as people might still be shy after getting bitten by those performances.
Joel Matip, Liverpool
FanDuel Salary: $5,700
Very rarely is a defender the go-to option on an elite team, but that's the case on Liverpool with James Milner's set piece duties. If people are going to roster a Liverpool defender, the vast majority of the time it's Milner, and for good reason. However, in this matchup, going up against a Tottenham side that wants to funnel its attack through Harry Kane in the middle, Joel Matip should be plenty busy.
Central defenders going against Tottenham have been a great source for FanDuel points lately. Last week, Middlesbrough's Bernardo scored 21.75, and the week before that Lamine Kone scored 24. The ability to roster the central defender for only $5,700 against Tottenham is very appealing.
It also allows us to pivot off of the more expensive Milner, saving $2,300 in salary. That extra salary will allow us to pay up at different positions, positions that those who roster Milner can't, providing more unique roster construction.
Matip averages 2.1 aerials won per game, as well as 0.7 shots per game -- respectable for a center back -- and with Liverpool playing at home, despite their poor run of form, they should have their fair share of set pieces, providing some opportunities for Matip to get forward.
One word of caution: because there is no late swap feature on FanDuel, using players from the 12:30 p.m. game always carriers a certain risk. This also tends to lower the ownership of the non-essential players who aren't always a sure thing to start. If you decide to go with Matip, keep these two things in mind.