3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 2
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, August 19th|
|West Ham United at Southampton|
|Crystal Palace at Liverpool
|Watford at Bournemouth|
|West Bromwich Albion at Burnley|
|Brighton & Hove Albion at Leicester City|
|Arsenal at Stoke City|
Matchweek 1 produced one of the most entertaining starts to a Premier League season that I can remember. Here's to hoping this week produces more of the same.
This slate projects to be a tightly contested one. Of the six matches, four of them have spreads of half a goal, with the favorites are Southampton, Bournemouth, Leicester City and Arsenal. Of those four sides, three are home favorites, with Arsenal being the exception on the road against Stoke. Outside of those four matches, Liverpool is the largest favorite on the slate, with a 1.5-goal spread at home against Crystal Palace, and Burnley is a slight money line favorite at home against West Brom.
Following a similar pattern, the four matches with half-goal spreads all have an over/under of 2.5 goals, while Crystal Palace at Liverpool has an over/under of 3.0, and West Brom at Burnely has an over/under of 2.0.
Ownership on this slate should easily find its way to Liverpool. Despite their opening weekend failings against Watford, they are well positioned to get back on track against a Crystal Palace side that made Huddersfield Town look like world beaters last Saturday. This means Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah will all attract serious interest from the field after they all produced 20-plus FanDuel points against Watford last weekend. Daniel Sturridge has also been deemed fit and might make his return to the starting eleven. If he does, he is almost a must play at a depressed price of $7,500. He might not see a full 90 minutes of action coming off injury, but 60 minutes should be plenty of time to pay off his price tag and then some.
Besides Liverpool, ownership should be heaviest on Arsenal and Leicester City. While Liverpool's options are still worth roistering at higher ownership levels, Arsenal and Leicester City are great sides to pivot off of to differentiate your roster. Both showed well when they played each other last Friday, and following that primetime match, the public will expect them to roll against Stoke City and Bright, respectively.
However, both sides are just half-goal favorites, the same as Southampton and Bournemouth. For Arsenal, they managed to pull out the win, but they where far from being in great form, and away at Stoke is never a great place to play at when you're at less than perfect form. For Leicester, Brighton at home appears to be a dream matchup, but Brighton held Manchester City scoreless for the majority of their opening match.
With two high-profile teams like Arsenal and Leicester City -- who are likely to see much higher ownership -- in equal positions to Southampton and Bournemouth, pivoting to The Saints and The Cherries is an excellent strategy for large-field tournaments.
Here are three players to consider this weekend.
Joshua King, Bournemouth
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
After the numbers he put up last season, thinking Joshua King could be under the radar seems crazy. However, coming off a dismal 5.5-FanDuel-point performance last week, it is very possible that he does. This is especially true if Daniel Sturridge starts for Liverpool -- he is priced $500 less than King, and should pull even more ownership away from him. Even if King is the fourth- or fifth-highest owned forward on the slate, that is underowned for his proven upside and price in this matchup.
After a lackluster 2015-16 season in which he only scored 6 times in 31 appearances, King found his form in the second half last year, scoring 14 times in his last 19 matches to finish with 16 goals and 2 assists in 36 appearances. While it remains to be seen how the presence of the recently signed Jermain Defoe will impact King, he should still be considered as a high-upside option every weekend.
Despite their impressive showing against Liverpool last weekend, Watford's defensive weaknesses were on full display. They allowed 39 goals on the road last season, which was the second worst in the league. They also weren't much better at home, allowing a combined 68 goals last season, the fourth worst in the league.
Conversely, Bournemouth where exceptional offensively at home last season, scoring 35 goals, the seventh best in the league, behind only elite sides. This should be a matchup that allows Bournemouth to get back on track after having limited possession in their opening match against West Brom on opening weekend. If that happens, King will be at the center of it.
Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
With Liverpool in a great position, Wijnaldum offers a way to get a low-owned, high-upside piece of the action. After their first match, all eyes will be on the attacking trio mentioned above, along with Sturridge if he starts. Wijnaldum should go overlooked, which is a great opportunity to take advantage of.
Wijnaldum has an impressive history of production in the Premier League with both Newcastle and Liverpool. He had 11 goals and 5 assists in 38 appearances for Newcastle in 2015-16, and was a key play maker for Liverpool last season, scoring 6 goals and providing 9 assists in 36 appearances. He excels in matches that Liverpool control, and will benefit from the numerous attacking options that will all garner higher ownership than him.
Pairing him with one of the previously mentioned attackers is a great way to gain exposure to this matchup while differentiating your lineup.
Despite their struggles last season, I expected Crystal Palace to be able to handle Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town on opening weekend, but they did the exact opposite. Now, after fluffing their lines against a lesser opponent, they have to play Liverpool on the road, which could get ugly quick. Liverpool were tremendous at home last season, scoring the third-most goals in the league (45). Their struggles against Watford were on the defensive end, and they shouldn't have any issues taking care of this easy matchup against Crystal Palace.
Dusan Tadic, Southampton
FanDuel Salary: $7,000
Southampton are a difficult team to project on a weekly basis. They have numerous players who are capable of taking advantage of a good matchup, and I won't blame you for going with someone besides Tadic for your Southampton exposure. While Oriol Romeu scored the most FanDuel points for Southampton last week (31) and James Ward-Prowse was clearly established as the main corner taker, it was Tadic who caused the most problems for the Swansea defense. He was active from long range as well as up close and forced the best save of the game from Fabianski.
If Southampton are going to finally convert their chances against West Ham, Tadic should be the reason they do.
The positive effect of Southampton being difficult to predict is that ownership tends to be spread out. This allows Tadic to remain in the sub 15% range of ownership, while providing the upside needed to win large-field tournaments. While Tadic struggled last season -- he racked up 3 goals and 5 assists -- but he scored 7 goals with 12 assists during the 2015-16 season.
If the first match against Swansea is any indication, he appears to be closer to his 2015-16 form after this offseason -- he created two chances, drew three fouls, and had a long range shot on goal. He was heavily involved, which should continue this weekend.
It's difficult to judge West Ham based on their 4-0 thrashing against Manchester United. United were in exceptional form and not many could have stopped them on that day. This matchup should give us a better indication of where West Ham stand. Last season, they where mediocre on the road, allowing the ninth most goals in the league. Oddly enough, they where worse at home, and allowed the sixth-most goals overall last season.
Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart where signed this summer to address those issues, but it remains to be seen if they will. Tadic's goal-scoring odds don't seem to indicate that they will, as he has better odds to score than Paul Pogba at Swansea, and Riyad Mahrez at home against Brighton.
As always, make sure to check lineups as they come out on Saturday morning and adjust accordingly.