3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 38
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 you from your opponents.
The same goes for Premier League DFS. Even though the large-field tourneys aren't quite as big as they are for other sports, there is still value in identifying quality under-the-radar plays.
This piece is geared toward the Matchweek 38 main slate, but for this week -- the final one of the season -- the main slate includes all 10 matches. With a much bigger player pool and so many teams not having anything to play for, it should be a wild Sunday.
|Sunday, May 21st|
|Bournemouth at Leicester City|
|Tottenham at Hull City|
|West Ham at Burnley|
|Manchester City at Watford|
|Everton at Arsenal|
|Stoke City at Southampton|
|Crystal Palace at Manchester United|
|Middlesbrough at Liverpool|
|West Brom at Swansea|
|Sunderland at Chelsea|
The slate features four teams -- Liverpool (-2.5), Chelsea (-2.5), Arsenal (-1.5) and Manchester City (-1.5) -- who are at least a 1.5-goal favorite. It's safe to assume the attackers and midfielders for those four squads will see a good amount of ownership.
That's especially true for Liverpool and Arsenal, who will be going all out for the fourth Champions League spot. Manchester City, barring some crazy scorelines, are locked into a Champions League spot, but it's not set in stone, so they should field a strong starting XI, too. Chelsea, though, has nothing to play for with the title wrapped up, so Antonio Conte may tinker with his lineup.
Outside of City, Liverpool and Arsenal, everyone else is playing for pride. That leads to a lot of uncertainty, and it should open up a good bit of value if teams elect to rotate their squads. It's always imperative to check starting lineups when they're announced, but that's particularly true this week.
With a lot of volatility in the forecast for Sunday, here are three players who are in a good spot, but could fly under the radar.
Son Heung-Min, Tottenham
FanDuel Price: $8,500
Spurs are a side that may go a bit overlooked this weekend as people flock to Liverpool and Arsenal. But Tottenham are in a great spot as they hit the road to take on Hull City in a match in which Spurs are a 1-goal favorite with a 2-goal implied total. If people do come to Spurs, it'll likely be for Harry Kane, Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen, so Son is a nice pivot off Tottenham's star trio.
Son has been in really good form of late. He's totaled at least 20 FanDuel points in three straight matches, and he's surpassed the 40-point mark three times over his last seven appearances. He torched Leicester City on Thursday for 2 goals and 1 assist on his way to a 52-FanDuel-point outburst as Spurs thrashed the defending champs, 6-1.
For the season, Son has recorded 14 goals and 5 assists in 22 total appearances, only 11 of which have been starts.
Hull are already relegated, so it's hard telling what kind of lineup they'll roll out Sunday. Spurs don't have anything to play for, either, so it's not a given Son starts on a quick turnaround. If he does, he has big upside in a game Tottenham should dominate.
Hull have conceded a league-worst 73 goals in 37 matches while Tottenham have scored 79 goals, the second-most in the EPL, in 37 fixtures. Spurs lead the league in shots per match (17.6) and rank third in possession (57.2%). Hull are 15th in possession (47.0%) and have allowed the 3rd-most shots per match (16.6). So, yeah, Tottenham should boss the proceedings, putting Son in a spot to produce.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
FanDuel Price: $9,300
United are home against Crystal Palace, and the match is listed as a pick'em -- which tells you how much uncertainty there is in terms of who Jose Mourinho will put in his starting XI this week. The Red Devils have an all-important Europa League final next week, which is their only route into the Champions League. That could lead to Mourinho starting his top guys to keep everyone locked in, or it could mean he'll make sweeping changes to give his players a chance to rest.
With oddsmakers refusing to list United as even a half-goal favorite in a home match against a lesser side, it seems like the hunch is Mourinho will rest some of his key cogs. Frontman Marcus Rashford hasn't started a Premier League match since May 7th, and he played through an injury in the second leg of the Red Devils' Europa League semifinal. It's hard to imagine Mourinho risking Rashford in this one, which would put some of United's other attackers in a good spot.
That's where Rooney comes into the picture. A Manchester United legend, Rooney has been pushed out of the squad this season with the emergence of Rashford and the addition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who is out with an injury), but he's still looked capable when given the chance to play. Rooney has scored five goals with five assists in the EPL this season despite making a meager 4 starts (10 total appearances)
Rooney played all 90 minutes as the team's lone striker in United's last match, getting off 2 shots and making 36 total passes. Rooney is unlikely to start in the Europa League final, meaning there's a good chance he starts versus Palace. Also, it could be Rooney's last game at Old Trafford, so they may let him take a penalty if they get one.
Jesse Lingard ($7,300) and Anthony Martial ($9,800) would also make for enticing under-the-radar plays depending on who Mourinho puts in the side, but Rooney's combination of passing ability and goal-scoring touch gives him the biggest upside of the bunch.
Emre Can, Liverpool
FanDuel Price: $7,800
On a slate with very little certainty, Liverpool is incredibly valuable, and you're going to have to get some exposure to them. Not only are they in a must-win match (assuming Arsenal top Everton), the Reds are whopping 2.5-goal favorites for their home date with Middlesbrough.
Liverpool are third in shots per match (16.6) and second in possession (58.1%). Boro sit 10th in possession (48.3%) and surrender the sixth-most shots per match (14.2). Even if it wasn't a must-win for the Reds, they'd be expected to control the fixture, but the fact that their season is on the line is a big fat cherry on top.
Liverpool have so many good attackers and midfielders -- even with the potent Sadio Mane out -- that Can is unlikely to see significant ownership even though the team should be heavily targeted. Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge (since Roberto Firmino is doubtful) and James Milner will likely be the popular plays.
A defensive midfielder, Can should make a ton of passes in a match in which Liverpool will likely see a lot of the ball, giving him a nice floor. Can has scored at least 7 FanDuel points from passing in each of his last eight games, including 11 or more points from passing in four of his last five outings.
Across his last four contests, he's created five chances and scored one of the best goals of the season, so he does pack a little upside. For the year, he has five goals and two assists in 26 total appearances (21 starts).