4 FanDuel Premier League Players to Avoid for Matchweek 31
FanDuel split Matchweek 31 into two slates, with the main slate including four Tuesday matches while their other slate spans both Tuesday and Wednesday and includes every match. FanDuel’s newly introduced late swap is available for both slates, but it is not extremely important for Tuesaday’s main slate as three of the four matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. EST while the fourth match kicks off 15 minutes after the first three matches begin.
This article will focus solely on FanDuel’s main slate which includes four clubs in the top half of the table.
As with any sport, it is imperative to have your players, especially the high-priced studs, live up to their price tag. When making an investment into any player, it is important to determine which players will likely contribute in FanDuel's emphasized areas (goals, assists, and shots on target). It's also just as important not to overspend on players in bad matchups.
We should look to take advantage of the teams -- and players -- who play especially well either home or away while also looking at Vegas favorites and over/under totals. DFS players, as always, should look at injury reports and confirmed starting XI's, when they become available.
Let's take a look at four players, across the entire pitch, who should be avoided in the upcoming matches.
Romelu Lukaku, Everton
FanDuel Price: $12,000
Lukaku is the top-priced forward for Matchweek 31, and he has averaged 26.23 FanDuel points per match this season. Lukaku has been in spectacular form over his last seven matches, scoring 9 goals and assisting on 2 others while taking 15 shots on target in that span.
Lukaku and Everton travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United. The Toffees maintain 51.8% of the possession away from Goodison Park while averaging the 10th-most shots per match on the road. Everton enters Tuesday’s match as a 1-goal underdog, and the over/under is set at 2.5 goals.
The Red Devils have one of the Premier League’s best back lines, conceding the second-fewest goals this season. Their defense has been even stingier on their home pitch, conceding only 10 goals, the league’s second-fewest goals allowed, in their home matches. United has only conceded more than one goal on their home pitch once this season and has not conceded more than one goal in the Premier League since Matchweek 9.
Along with being one of the overall top defenses, the Red Devils have also been one of the league’s best back lines against forwards. They have allowed the second-fewest shots (69), fewest shots on target (21), second-fewest goals (6) and fourth-fewest assists (3) to forwards this season.
The Red Devils do concede a high number of defensive statistics to forwards as they are in the top half of the table in most defensive statistics allowed, but it is hard to rely on defensive actions for a forward (just as it is hard to rely on goals from defenders).
Despite his form, Lukaku was held without a goal -- and to just 3.75 FanDuel points -- in his previous match and now faces one of the league’s best defenses, especially against his position. Lukaku may not even be the top DFS forward on the pitch Tuesday as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is eligible to return from suspension and has a better matchup as the Toffees have conceded the fifth-most goals to forwards this season.
Etienne Capoue, Watford
FanDuel Price: $6,800
Watford enters Tuesday’s match against West Brom as the slight favorite, and the over/under is set at 2.5 goals. Despite challenging for a spot in Europe, the Baggies are the league’s worst squad at maintaining possession away from The Hawthorns. They only possessed the ball 25% of the match in their previous match, which came at Old Trafford.
Capoue has scored below his FanDuel average of 18.23 FanDuel points in six straight matches and has not recorded a shot on target in five straight contests. In his recent matches, the majority of Capoue’s FanDuel points have come from defensive actions and a few chances created.
The Baggies are not a good matchup for center-midfielders looking for defensive statistics as they do not possess ball enough to put heavy pressure on their opponents. They have allowed in the bottom half of the table in interceptions, clearances and blocked shots to center-midfielders this season. They have allowed the league’s fifth-most chances created to center-midfielders this season, but Capoue has only recorded three or more chances created in three matches this season.
With the two highest-priced midfielders ruled out for Matchweek 31, DFS players may find Capoue an intriguing option against a West Brom squad that struggles to maintain possession. However, Capoue is not in good form and has scored under 10 FanDuel points 10 times this season, including his previous match against West Brom when he scored 7.5 FanDuel points, making Capoue an extremely risky value play.
Antonio Valencia, Manchester United
FanDuel Price: $6,600
Valencia is the top priced defender for Matchweek 31, and he has averaged 17.59 FanDuel points this season. Valencia has one goal and two assists in his last five matches, but his lone goal of the season came when he lined up as an attacking-midfielder.
Valencia has been able to send in a large number of crosses -- a statistic not scored on FanDuel unless it creates a chance -- down the right side of the Red Devils' attack this season, but he has only recorded three or more chances created three times while adding three assists this season.
The Toffees tend to attack down the right side of the pitch, giving defenders on the right side of the opposing squad a hard time earning defensive statistics. They have allowed the fewest clearances (61), fewest interceptions (29), fifth-fewest tackles (35) and sixth-fewest blocked shots (9) to right-backs this season.
Valencia has been in good form recently and is extremely skilled in the attack for a defender, but he is facing an Everton squad that likes to attack down the opposite flank. It is rare to have a defender other than a center-back installed as the top-priced defender (as center-backs usually see the majority of their opponent's attack). Despite the upside Valencia offers in the attack, DFS players should look to save money and invest in a center-defender while avoiding Valencia.
Tom Heaton, Burnley
FanDuel Price: $7,300
It’s another Premier League matchweek and another FanDuel slate where Heaton is the top-priced keeper.
Heaton has averaged 15.6 FanDuel points this season, the second-highest average among keepers. Heaton and Burnley host Stoke City at Turf Moor, where the Clarets have produced 29 points in 15 matches, conceding the fifth-fewest home goals.
Clean sheets and saves are extremely important for keeper scoring on FanDuel. Heaton has kept seven clean sheets this season, five coming on his home pitch. The Clarets allow 16.3 shots per match in home matches while the Potters average 3.1 shots on target away from their home pitch. The over/under is set at 2 goals, the smallest number on the slate.
The Potters have allowed eight clean sheets to opposing keepers this season, including four clean sheets in their last four away matches. In those four matches, the Potters faced three clubs in the top half of the table and their other match was against the Foxes, arguably the hottest club in the Premier League.
The Potters rank in the lower half of the table in shots on target and saves forced, making Heaton’s price hard to justify. The Potters’ recent form in away matches might make Heaton a highly-owned keeper, but unless he gets a clean sheet, Heaton's unlikely to see the volume required for him to post a good day.