3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 3
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 five matches.
|Saturday, August 26th|
|Swansea City at Crystal Palace|
|Southampton at Huddersfield Town
|West Ham United at Newcastle|
|Brighton & Hove Albion at Watford|
|Leicester City at Manchester United|
We lose one match from the usual six-match slate this week, leaving us with four early matches and one late match. Similar to last week, oddsmakers see this as a tight slate, with four of the five matches having half-goal spreads.
From those four matches, there are three home favorites -- Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Watford -- and one road favorite (Southampton). The remaining match, Leicester City at Manchester United, has the largest spread on the slate, with the Red Devils a 1.5-goal favorite in the confines of Old Trafford. This match also boasts the largest over/under of the week at 3.0 goals.
On a slate with an elite home favorite such as this one, our decisions on lineup construction begin with Manchester United. Given their blazing start to the campaign, with 4-0 victories against West Ham and Swansea City, and their implied goal total of 2.19, completely fading the Red Devils would be foolish. So far, the majority of their FanDuel point production has come from Paul Pogba (42.12 points per game), Romelu Lukaku (37.12), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (35.50) and Anthony Martial (25.38). Martial did his damage as a substitute both times, and while he has proven effective in limited action, if he isn't starting, we can consider him an afterthought for our rosters this weekend.
Of the remaining three options, Mkhitaryan may be the safest bet, but you could roster any or all of them. If we're splitting hairs, Lukaku has been excellent, but 80% of his points have come from goals and assists, compared to Pogba (59%) and Mkhitaryan (56%), making the newly-signed forward the least consistent of the group. While some of that is due to the nature of the forward position, it shouldn't be ignored when deciding who to roster from this group. Add to that Lukaku's FanDuel Salary of $12,000, compared to Pogba's ($12,000) and Mkhitaryan's ($10,500), and you can certainly make a case for Lukaku as the best pivot option of the group.
On a slightly smaller slate, it will be better to anchor your lineup around the Manchester United options mentioned above and then look to differentiate from there. Here are three players who can help you accomplish that task this weekend.
Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
FanDuel Salary: $8,500
With Martial seemingly assigned to the super-sub role, Rashford is the only other starting Manchester United player with forward eligibility on FanDuel. As mentioned above, pivoting off of Lukaku this weekend isn't a crazy tactic, and you may not have to look any further than Rashford to do so. At a price of $8,500, Rashford comes at a large discount compared to Lukaku, allowing you to more comfortably pair him with United's midfield duo of Mkhitaryan and Pogba.
Rashford's flick against Swansea ðŸ”¥ pic.twitter.com/grLmTjxyxk
â€” Oliver (@nemanjamatic31) August 22, 2017
While Rashford's skill -- with the above flick-on from last weekend as evidence -- needs no introduction, it's always important to remember what he is capable of. He is tied for the second-best odds to score, per bet365, on the entire slate, behind Lukaku, and he most recently produced 21.25 FanDuel points against Swansea City without a goal or an assist. Rashford had a chance created, one foul drawn and most importantly, three shots on goal. While the score sheet hasn't shown it yet, he is a key part of Manchester United's blazing start to the season, and if he had bagged himself a goal, he would have been mentioned above as one of the highest fantasy producers for the Red Devils so far this season.
We shouldn't expect Rashford's ownership to be sub-15% given the excellent matchup, but it should be below Lukaku's, and that -- combined with the salary relief -- is all I am looking to gain from this pivot. The matchup against Leicester City is interesting, as the Foxes have started well this season, but until we see Manchester United stopped, we have no reason to doubt they are capable of scoring multiple goals in every match they play, especially at home. Leicester City allowed four goals on the road against Arsenal, and while four goals is always a tough number to reach, I don't think anyone would be surprised to see Manchester United equal that total again this weekend. If they do, Rashford will be involved, and at lower projected ownership than Lukaku, he is a great large-field-tournament play this weekend.
FanDuel Salary: $5,000
Speaking of players scoring 20-plus FanDuel points without a goal or an assist, Joselu did just that in his debut for Newcastle against Huddersfield Town this weekend. He produced 22.25 points, with 1 chance created and 4 shots on goal, and he did it all in 38 minutes after coming on as a substitute in the second half. While it is no guarantee that he will get the start, Dwight Gayle has been dealing with an illness, and Alexander Mitrovic played 106 minutes in the League Cup on Wednesday. These things point to Joselu possibly being given the start against West Ham this weekend.
In his career, Joselu has never been a regular starter, but he has produced goals at a decent rate. He had four goals and one assist in 22 appearances (10 starts) for Stoke City in 2015, and five goals and one assist for Deportivo in 20 appearances (9 starts) in 2016. As his debut proved, he is certainly not afraid to shoot, and at a price tag of only $5,000, he doesn't have to do much to justify his inclusion in your lineup.
Newcastle haven't had the best start to their season, but they can't be blamed for a tough 2-0 defeat against Tottenham. And while the result didn't go their way, they didn't play terribly against Huddersfield Town, who are in excellent form right now. The Magpies are 0.5-goal favorites and have the fourth-highest implied goal total on the slate at 1.52, closely behind Watford (1.53) and Crystal Palace (1.54). This is due to West Ham's defensive struggles, as they have given up seven goals through two matches this season.
While Newcastle are certainly not Manchester United, or even Southampton, they should still have numerous opportunities to find the back to the net this weekend. Joselu should be involved in those opportunities, and if he were to convert one -- his goal-scoring odds are only slightly below that of Paul Pogba -- he would immediately provide massive value on his low salary.
Andre Gray, Watford
FanDuel Salary: $6,500
Sometimes, when players miss easy goal-scoring opportunities and don't appear on the scoresheet, it's a good thing for their projected ownership levels going forward. That's the case with Gray, who missed a sitter over the bar last weekend against Bournemouth. He is certainly capable of finishing opportunities like that, and while all eyes and ownership will likely be on the flashy Brazilian Richarlison, Gray represents great value at projected low ownership.
Despite missing that sitter, Gray should be given every chance to make up for it after arriving from Burnley for a club-record fee this summer. Last year he scored nine goals and provided three assists in 32 appearances for Burnley, and he is certainly adjusted to the Premier League. He is tied for the sixth-best goal scoring odds this weekend, above the aforementioned Richarlison (as well as Pogba). Watford have the third-highest implied total on the slate at 1.53, and the Hornets are also the third-largest favorites on the slate behind Manchester United and Crystal Palace.
While Brighton have shown reasonably well so far against Manchester City and Leicester City, they have still allowed four total goals over two matches and should allow numerous scoring opportunities to Watford this weekend. The Hornets ended last season on a miserable run, but they have come out flying this season under new manager Marco Silva. They tied Liverpool 3-3 on opening weekend, and picked up a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth last weekend.
All signs point to an improved Watford side, and one that should take advantage of the opportunities Brighton will afford them this weekend. We can safely expect some of those opportunities to fall to Gray, and he has the class to make the most of them. Gray represents an opportunity to roster the striker with the best odds to score on a home favorite, and we can get him at a reasonable price and what should be low ownership.
As always, make sure to check lineups as they come out on Saturday morning and adjust accordingly.