3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 17
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 Wednesday slate, which starts at 2:45 p.m. EST and features seven matches.
|Wednesday, December 13th|
|Leicester City at Southampton|
|Manchester City at Swansea City
|Everton at Newcastle|
|Arsenal at West Ham United|
|Bournemouth at Manchester United|
|West Bromwich Albion at Liverpool|
|Brighton & Hove Albion at Tottenham|
This slate is loaded with elite sides. Five of the top-six teams are in action, with Chelsea being the only top-of-the-table team not featured on Wednesday's main slate.
Of the elite sides, Manchester City and Liverpool are the largest favorites, with a spread of 2.0 goals. Right behind them are Manchester United and Tottenham, who are both 1.5-goal favorites. Arsenal round out the elite sides as 1.0-goal favorites on the road. All five of these matches have an over/under of 3.0 goals.
On this slate, there is no shortage of high-priced options in great spots. Every position has multiple players who appear primed for success. The difficulty will be finding the value plays that allow for the inclusion of those top-priced options. Thankfully, the Premier League’s busy December schedule demands squad rotation, and value should present itself when starting lineups are announced. On this slate more than most, staying alert for low-priced options starting for elite sides will be crucial.
Outside of looking for value plays, it will be important to identify the good players on each elite side who will carry the lowest ownership. With the wealth of options available, players who typically carry heavy ownership when in good spots may go overlooked to a degree.
With that in mind, here are three under-the-radar players to consider for Matchweek 17.
Sadio Mane, Liverpool
FanDuel Salary: $8,500
Lost in the historic season that Mohamed Salah is having is the success of Sadio Mane. His playing time hasn’t been as consistent due to the injury he suffered earlier in the season, but his production has been excellent. He is averaging 21.02 FanDuel points per match, and he just produced 27.5 FanDuel points against Everton without a goal or an assist.
With the disappointment of the Merseyside Derby draw fresh in the public’s minds, it's possible Liverpool go slightly overlooked on this slate. While the result against Everton wasn’t ideal, Liverpool actually dominated the match and could have easily won by a two- or three-goal margin.
After being brought on as late substitutes versus the Toffees, Phillippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino should both return to the starting lineup on Wednesday. That means there is a chance Mane doesn’t start, but if he does, he will be playing alongside a full strength Liverpool attack -- Salah was subbed off at the weekend, so he should be good -- going against a West Brom side that has conceded 10 goals in their last six away matches.
Liverpool are tied with Manchester City for the highest implied total on the slate at 2.25 goals. With the exception of a draw against a stingy Burnley side, the Reds have been excellent at home this season against lesser opposition, outscoring non-top-six sides by a margin of 9-2. Mane has the eighth-best odds to score on the slate, and at a price of only $8,500, he allows for the inclusion of his higher-priced teammates, as well.
Erik Lamela, Tottenham
FanDuel Salary: $6,000
After his big money move from Roma in August of 2013, Lamela’s time at Tottenham has been inconsistent to say the least. He has performed well at times, but he hasn’t had the steady production expected from a big money signing.
After an injury last October ended his season, he finally returned to action as a substitute against Leicester City two weeks ago, and he immediately produced an assist for Harry Kane. Since then, Lamela has featured as a late substitute in Tottenham’s last two Premier League matches.
In his three appearances this campaign, Lamela has averaged 12.0 FanDuel points per match, which is excellent given that those three appearances only amounted to 49 minutes of action. He has played in the center, behind Kane, as well as on the wing. With some squad rotation likely on tap for Spurs, Lamela could get his first start on Wednesday. Regardless of where he slots in, if he gets a start this weekend, Lamela should have every opportunity to find success against Brighton.
In their four games against elite sides this season, Brighton have been outscored 10-1, with only Manchester United failing to score multiple goals against them. On the road, they only hold 45.3% of possession and concede 15.5 shots per match. That’s music to the ears of a Tottenham attack coming off a masterful 5-1 home destruction of Stoke City. If he’s given the chance, Lamela would be in a nice spot to be able to remind everyone why Tottenham broke the bank for him back in 2013.
Juan Mata, Manchester United
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
The Manchester United midfield is in a constant state of flux without Paul Pogba. There are numerous options available to Mourinho, and it is difficult to predict who will get the start. Mourinho appears to prefer to start Mata in games Manchester United are expected to control the ball, which makes sense given Mata’s lack of defensive abilities. All of Mata’s Premier League starts this season have come against non-elite sides, and this weekend’s home matchup against Bournemouth fits that bill.
At a price of $8,000, Mata should carry very little ownership this weekend with so many really good options in midfield. However, if he starts as the attacking center-midfielder in either a 4-2-3-1, or 3-4-1-2 (the formations Manchester United have used in their last four matches), he will be operating in a valuable position.
Recently, Jesse Lingard has been on fire in that spot in Manchester United’s last three Premier League matches. Mata is a different type of player than Lingard -- the Spaniard is more likely to create an assist than go on a solo run at goal -- but he can produce FanDuel points all the same.
After a dismal display in the Manchester Derby, Red Devils striker Romelu Lukaku could also go under-owned on this slate. Pairing him with Mata creates a (potentially) low-owned, high-upside stack. Mourinho has stuck with Lukaku through his struggles, and while the Belgian certainly isn’t in great form, he still has the second-best odds to score on the slate.
Putting the loss to Manchester City aside, Manchester United have been excellent lately, with 13 goals scored in their last six Premier League matches. They have also been clinical at Old Trafford, where they have scored 21 goals in eight home matches. This should be a bounce-back game for the Red Devils, and if Mata at the center of the attack, he could thrive.