3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 18

With so many top attacking midfielders in action this weekend, Fernandinho will likely fly under the radar. Which other contrarian plays could differentiate your DFS lineup?

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.

Matchweek 18
Saturday, December 16th
West Ham United at Stoke City
Southampton at Chelsea
Burnley at Brighton & Hove Albion
Newcastle at Arsenal
Huddersfield Town at Watford
Tottenham at Manchester City

Matchweek 18 is highlighted by the massive clash between Manchester City and Tottenham. During their historic run, Manchester City have been the key to winning large-field tournaments on numerous slates. While Tottenham are certainly a difficult matchup, Manchester City still have the second highest implied goal total on the slate at 2.0 goals, and they should never be completely ignored for FanDuel purposes.

Outside of that seismic clash, the two other elite sides on the slate are Arsenal and Chelsea, both of whom are favored by 1.5 goals at home against Newcastle and Southampton, respectively. Arsenal have the highest implied goal total on the slate at 2.25 goals, and due to their recent struggles, the Gunners' top players have the lowest salaries of the elite options.

Arsenal and Chelsea should carry the highest levels of ownership on the slate. With Arsenal’s recent string of dismal performances, they are a risky proposition at high ownership, and they may be worth a fade in favor of Chelsea or Manchester City.

With that in mind, here are three under-the-radar players to consider for Matchweek 18.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, West Ham United

FanDuel Salary: $7,500

After his fast start to the season, Chicharito has largely gone missing from the scoresheet for West Ham. Since his brace against Southampton in Matchweek 2, he has scored only two goals. Recently, he has been returning to full fitness after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty with Mexico in November. He saw the field for the first time since that injury this past week, playing a limited role as a late substitute against Arsenal.

The good news is, the West Ham that Chicharito is returning to appears to be vastly more inspired and competitive than the one he left. Over their past three matches, they have a 2-1 loss to Manchester City, a draw against Arsenal and a win over Chelsea. To come out of that stretch with four points is impressive, and now they get a Stoke City side that has four losses in their last five matches.

If he gets the start this weekend, Chicharito will have the chance to remind everyone what he’s capable of doing. Stoke City hold a mere 42.4% of possession at home, and the Potters allow 13.6 shots per match. West Ham are actually averaging more possession (46.9%) and more shots on target per match (3.8) on the road than they are at home.

If West Ham finally have turned the corner, this could be a breakout game for them against their first non-elite opposition in the past three weeks.

Fernandinho, Manchester City

FanDuel Salary: $8,000

For obvious reasons, the focus on Manchester City is usually on their offensive options. However, this weekend against Tottenham, they should be required to do some additional defending, which plays into the skill set of Fernandinho. Due to City’s tendency to dominate games, they deploy primarily attacking midfielders, such as Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. This leaves Fernandinho as the primary defensive option in the midfield.

In his three matches as the center mid in a 4-3-3 against elite sides this season, Fernandinho has averaged 20.6 FanDuel points per match -- totaling 1 assist, 3 chances created, 6 clearances, 3 interceptions and 10 tackles.

Due to his defensive tendencies, he often carriers the lowest ownership of the Manchester City midfielders. That should be the case this weekend, as well, despite his increased defensive opportunities. While defensive midfielders tend to have limited upside, Fernandinho benefits from the excellence of his teammates, and his odds to score -- or notch an assist -- are always elevated because of Manchester City’s dominance.

Johann Berg Guðmundsson, Burnley

FanDuel Salary: $7,500

As a right midfielder in Burnley’s preferred 4-4-1-1 formation, Guðmundsson has excelled, scoring double-digit FanDuel points in every match since the end of October. He tends to accumulate points through chances created and assists rather than goals scored, so it is a good idea to stack him with whoever starts up top for Burnley.

Over the past three matches, since Robbie Brady went down with a season ending knee injury, Guðmundsson has produced an average of 25.5 FanDuel points per match. In those three matches, he has 4 shots on goal, 9 chances created, and a massive 27 crosses.

While Burnley operate with a defense-first philosophy, they should have an increased number of opportunities in attack this weekend against a Brighton side that has allowed 12 goals in their last six matches. At only $7,500, Guðmundsson's price has not caught up to his increased role, and he will continue to represent excellent value until it does.