4 FanDuel Premier League Players to Avoid in Matchweek 18
The main slate for Matchweek 18 features six Saturday matches -- with five of the top-seven clubs in action -- and the slate is capped off with what should be a great match between Manchester City and Tottenham.
As with any sport, it is imperative to have your players, especially the high-priced studs, live up to their price tag. When investing in any player, it is important to determine who will likely contribute in FanDuel's emphasized areas (goals, assists, and shots on target). It's also just as crucial not to overspend on players in bad matchups.
We should try to take advantage of the teams -- and players -- who play especially well either home or away, while also looking at oddsmakers' favorites and over/under totals. Due to the midweek matches, DFS players, as always, should check out injury reports and confirmed starting XI's when they become available as some players may be rested.
Let's take a look at four players across the entire pitch who should be avoided.
Alvaro Morata, Chelsea
FanDuel Price: $11,500
Morata is tied with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero as the second-highest priced player on the slate -- $500 cheaper than Harry Kane. Chelsea’s striker has averaged 24.75 FanDuel points per match this season, which is the lowest average among the four most expensive forwards on the slate. Morata missed Tuesday’s match against Huddersfield with a back injury but should be fit for play on Saturday.
The Blues host Southampton at Stamford Bridge and are a 1.5-goal favorite over the Saints with an implied team total of 2.0 goals. Both squads are in the top-six of overall possession with the Saints' possession rate dropping slightly on the road.
Morata has feasted on clubs that are currently in the bottom-seven of the table, scoring 5 goals and recording 2 assists in his six starts against lesser sides while averaging 35.04 FanDuel points in those matches. His performances when starting against clubs currently in the top 13 of the table have been drastically different. He's scored just three goals with one assist while averaging 15.65 FanDuel points in those fixtures -- with two of those goals and the assist coming early in the season against Everton and Leicester City, when both clubs were in poor form.
The Saints have conceded the sixth-fewest goals on the road this season and have played well against opposing forwards, allowing the fourth-fewest shots (48) and ninth-fewest goals (8). The tough matchup along with Morata’s splits make the talented striker a player to avoid.
Raheem Sterling, Manchester City
FanDuel Price: $9,500
Sterling is tied with three other players as the fourth-highest priced midfielder for Matchweek 18, and he has averaged 22.57 FanDuel points this season. Sterling has appeared in the Citizens’ starting lineup 12 times this season and has lined up as a forward in all 12 matches.
Manchester City hosts Tottenham in Saturday’s marquee match, and the Citizens are a 1.0-goal favorite over Spurs. The two clubs are ranked first and second in overall possession with Tottenham’s ability to maintain possession on the road decreasing slightly.
Sterling has averaged 13.91 FanDuel points over his previous three matches and has not created more than two chances in a Premier League match since Matchweek 8 against Stoke City while being unable to record more than two shots on target since Matchweek 6 against Crystal Palace. City have scored eight goals in their last three matches, but the scoring has been limited to four players.
Spurs are not a great matchup for opposing forwards, allowing the second-fewest shots (39) and second-fewest shots on target (16) while giving up four goals to the position -- just one to a forward on the outside -- this season. The Citizens are all but certain to score a goal in Saturday’s match, but DFS players should avoid Sterling and target City's other attack-minded player, including David Silva -- at the same price point -- who is in great form, scoring four goals in the last three matches.
Jose Holebas, Watford
FanDuel Price: $6,500
Holebas is tied with 10 other defenders as the sixth-highest priced defender for Matchweek 18, and he is averaging 15.33 FanDuel points this season. Holebas has reached that average twice in his last five starts -- and seven matches overall -- while averaging 13.25 FanDuel points in those five starts.
Watford hosts Huddersfield at Vicarage Road, and the Hornets are a 0.5-goal favorite. The Terriers are the Premier League's worst squad at maintaining possession while the Hornets are the league’s ninth-best squad in that category on their home pitch, posting a 49.6% possession rate.
Holebas moved into the midfield for the Hornets’ previous match but has played left-back in 8 of his 11 starts while sending in 63 crosses over his previous six starts. However, those 63 crosses have led to only 7 chances created and 2 assists, and he now faces a Huddersfield squad that does not relinquish a high number of defensive actions to defenders. The Terriers have surrendered the 10th-fewest interceptions (90), 8th-fewest tackles (98), 6th-fewest blocked shots (29) and 5th-fewest clearances (269) to defenders this season. They have allowed the fourth-fewest crosses (47) to defenders but have given up the third-most crosses (54) to midfielders on the left side this season.
Holebas’ floor for defensive actions is low, and he has not shown great consistency in creating chances to offset it, making him a player who should be avoided at this price.
Nick Pope, Burnley
FanDuel Price: $5,500
Pope is tied with Manchester City’s Ederson as the top-priced keeper on the slate, and he is averaging 17.59 FanDuel points this season. Pope has recorded two straight clean sheets -- both at home -- including a seven-save performance in Matchweek 17 against Stoke City that saw him finish with 31.5 FanDuel points.
Burnley -- with aspirations of playing in Europe next season -- travel to Falmer Stadium to face Brighton and Hove Albion. Saturday’s match boasts the lowest over/under on the slate, and the Clarets are a slight favorite in what is listed as a pick 'em.
Pope has started 13 matches for the Clarets this season, but of his seven clean sheets, only two have come away from Turf Moor. He has conceded three times as many goals -- six versus two -- in road matches. The Seagulls have been held scoreless just twice on their home pitch, and they do not offer a high number of save opportunities as they have forced the third-fewest number of saves (31) this season.
A clean sheet -- especially given Pope's form -- is absolutely in the range of outcomes, but he will likely see a low number save opportunities. That limits his ceiling and makes him tough to get behind as the top-priced keeper.