3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 29
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 11:00 a.m. EST and features six matches.
|Saturday, March 18th|
|Burnley at Sunderland|
|Chelsea at Stoke City
|Hull City at Everton|
|Leicester City at West Ham United|
|Watford at Crystal Palace|
|Swansea City at Bournemouth|
Matchweek 29 is the best kind of Matchweek, one that starts at 11:00am instead of 10:00am thanks to the difference in daylight savings between the United States and the United Kingdom. Enjoy that extra hour of sleep while you can! Now, onto the slate.
This slate features five home favorites and one heavy away favorite. Everton, who are at home, and Chelsea, who are on the road, are both favored by a goal, making them the heaviest favorites on the slate. They are followed by Crystal Palace, West Ham United, and Bournemouth, who are all favored by half a goal. Finally, Sunderland are slight favorites in a match against Burnley.
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict where ownership will gravitate towards this weekend. Everton and Chelsea are both in form and absolute offensive machines on their home grounds. This will lead to high ownership for Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Diego Costa, and Eden Hazard. Gylfi Sigurdsson is also in action, though, and squeezing even just three of these options into one lineup will be difficult. With so many top-priced options in excellent spots, we can expect stars and scrubs - a combination of high-priced and low-priced players - to be a popular lineup construction.
While I agree that all of these high-priced options appear to be in great spots, and I would never dream of fading Sigurdsson – that would be a nightmare -- this appears to be a good week to take a balanced approach in large-field tournaments. A balanced lineup will allow us to differentiate without having to scrap for value plays.
Here are three players to consider for a balanced lineup construction.
Christian Benteke, Crystal Palace
FanDuel Salary: $7,800
Say it with me: I will not fade Gylfi Sigurdsson. Write it down if it helps you remember. Now, once we know we have a midfield spot reserved for Sigurdsson, it becomes impossible to construct a balanced lineup if we include either Lukaku or Costa. This bring us down to Benteke, who is the forward on the most heavily-favored team outside of Chelsea and Everton.
Benteke hasn’t scored a Premier League goal since January 31st against Bournemouth, but it’s not for a lack of trying. In the four Premier League matches since then, he has averaged a shot on goal and a chance created per match. Crystal Palace scored five goals over those four matches, and while their home form is the worst in the league, they are currently on a two-match winning streak.
Usually, a moderately-priced Benteke at home would attract middle of the road levels of ownership. However, the public may overlook Benteke due to his form and because Jamie Vardy is in the same price range.
Benteke has nine goals on the season, which is tied with Roberto Firmino and one more than Olivier Giroud. He certainly has the ability and has the fourth-best goal scoring odds on the slate, behind only Lukaku, Costa and Defoe. In this scenario, Benteke is worth the risk.
Michail Antonio, West Ham United
FanDuel Salary, $6,700
Michail Antonio falls in the perfect price range for a balanced lineup.
Those who favor high-priced studs will be forced to look below him, allowing his ownership numbers to stay low. Antonio has been hit-or-miss in terms of FanDuel points -- across his last eight matches, he has three performances below 10 points, three between 10 and 20 points, and two above 30 (including a 43-point performance). The upside is there, and if he starts in his favored right attacking mid position, he certainly has the threats around him to notch an assist or two in addition to any goal-scoring opportunities.
Another reason to like Antonio is that he’s playing Leicester City, who are coming off the emotional high or their historic Champions League victory. Leicester might be the hottest team in football right now, but a drop off is coming. On the road to West Ham following a champions league victory seems like as good a time as any.
West Ham’s last five home fixtures appear poor at first glance -- three losses, one draw and one victory -- but the three losses were to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. Their two other matches were a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion and a 3-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace. I would certainly say that Leicester are more similar to the latter two teams than the former three.
At this point, any discussion of Leicester City before Ranieri was fired might be absolute. However, they are the second-worst away side this season, with only three points taken from 13 fixtures. They have allowed 27 goals in those 13 fixtures, an average of more than two goals per match.
While Leicester seem revived since firing Ranieri, this will be their first away match since then, and it wouldn't be surprising to see some of their old failings to show themselves again.
Steve Cook, Bournemouth
FanDuel Salary, $6,500
Steve Cook has been the definition of consistency, both on the pitch for Bournemouth and in FanDuel lineups.
He has averaged over 20 FanDuel points per match and has started and played the full 90 in every single Premier League match for Bournemouth this season. On a normal week, he would be an excellent cash-game option to pay up for. However, in a week where we expect people to pay up at midfield and forward, it will be difficult to include Cook, who is the highest-priced defender on the slate.
This, combined with Bournemouth having the late game, should lead to his ownership being lower than normal.
While he isn’t an offensive juggernaut, he does have two goals on the season. Predicting a third would be impossible, but with his proven track record, he doesn’t need one to pay off. If he reaches his season average (20.73), that is enough for him to be beneficial to our lineups, especially at low ownership.
Swansea City have found their offensive form as of late -- they've scored 10 goals in their last six matches, which is tied for 5th best in the league over that time period. They should also be able to provide enough pressure for Cook to accumulate defensive stats. Bournemouth have been the third-worst home side in the league over the last six matchweeks, so despite being half-goal favorites in this match, they should do their fair share of defending.
Anytime you can roster a premium assets at potentially reduced ownership, you should give strong consideration to doing so. This weekend, Cook fits the bill.
As always, make sure to check lineups as they come out on Saturday morning and adjust accordingly.