3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 19
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 seven matches.
|Saturday, December 23rd|
|Watford at Brighton & Hove Albion|
|Bournemouth at Manchester City
|West Bromwich Albion at Stoke City|
|Crystal Palace at Swansea City|
|Newcastle at West Ham United|
|Huddersfield Town at Southampton|
|Tottenham at Burnley|
After a run of slates featuring numerous elite options, Matchweek 19 features only two – Manchester City and Tottenham. Manchester City are 2.5-goal favorites at home against Bournemouth, while Tottenham are 1.0-goal favorites on the road against a resilient Burnley side. With the exception of Southampton, who are 1.0-goal favorites at home against Huddersfield Town, the rest of the matches on the slate have spreads of less than one goal.
To state the obvious, Manchester City are going to carry tremendous amounts of ownership this weekend. While it is usually worth it to consider at least a partial fade in a situation where ownership will be through the roof, it is important to remember that this Manchester City team is historic and needs to be viewed as such. The form they are in hasn’t been seen in the Premier League since Arsenal’s Invincibles in 2003-04.
Manchester City will eventually slip up, but until they do, they should be the cornerstone of lineups on every slate they are in. There is no reason to overthink it.
With that in mind, here are three under-the-radar players to consider for Matchweek 19.
Cheikhou Kouyate, West Ham United
FanDuel Salary: $6,500
West Ham’s resurgence under David Moyes continued last weekend when they trounced Stoke City, 3-0. They appear to be a side in form at the moment, and Kouyate’s return from a thigh injury he suffered at the start of December comes at the perfect time for the Hammers, as Manuel Lanzini is set to miss the final game of his two-match ban this weekend.
As the center-mid in a 3-4-1-2, Lanzini has been excelling in recent fixtures. It remains to be seen if Lanzini’s exclusion will cause a change in formation against non-elite opponents (West Ham lined up in a 5-3-2 against Arsenal in their mid-week cup tie), but if Kouyate slots in as a center mid, he will be primed for success against Newcastle this weekend.
While Kouyate is a more defensive-minded player than Lanzini, he is certainly capable of playing an attacking role, something he has done on multiple occasions this season. Newcastle have four losses in their last six away matches and have allowed 13 goals over that span, the third-most in the Premier League. Kouyate should carry the lowest ownership of West Ham’s midfielders, which makes him an excellent option for large-field tournaments.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Stoke City
FanDuel Salary: $9,500
With salary being allocated to Manchester City’s high-priced options and in-form Wilfried Zaha at Shaqiri's same price, the Stoke City man could go under owned in this spot. At home against West Brom, he has similar upside to Zaha as well as the individual pieces of the Manchester City midfield. He is an interesting pivot off of Raheem Sterling, and he comes at a discount of $1,000 compared to Sterling's price tag.
Shaqiri’s abilities need no introduction, and as the engine of the Stoke City's attack, he has averaged 21.56 FanDuel points per match this season. He hasn’t scored a goal since the beginning of September, but his odds to score are similar to Zaha’s, and he has proven his upside in the first half of the campaign, recording seven matches of more than 30 FanDuel points this season.
West Brom have been impressive defensively of late, allowing just five goals in their last six away matches, but Stoke City still have the fifth-highest implied total on the slate. Stoke are averaging 1.1 goals per match at home, where they produce 2.2 more shots per game than they do on the road. Despite their stellar goals conceded record, West Brom are allowing 15.9 shots per match to opponents on the road. The Potters should see an uptick in scoring chances this weekend, and Shaqiri is more than capable of taking advantage of them.
Ben Mee, Burnley
FanDuel Salary: $7,000
In terms of ownership, Mee has two things going for him this weekend in his excellent home matchup against Tottenham. The first is his price, which at $7,000 makes him the most expensive defender on the slate, tied with Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake. At an elevated price, he is difficult to fit in alongside Manchester City’s attacking options.
The second is the injury to his teammate Scott Ward, and the recent suspension of teammate James Tarkowski. The absence of these two should provide either Kevin Long or Charlie Taylor, both priced at only $5,000, a start this weekend. As low-priced defenders in an excellent matchup, those two will be popular value plays this weekend, and should draw ownership away from the higher priced Mee.
On his production alone, Mee warrants consideration. He has been a rock at the back for Burnley this season, averaging 19.23 FanDuel points per match. In the reverse fixture against Tottenham back in August, Mee produced his season high 37.5 FanDuel points without a goal or an assist. In that match, he had eight blocks, eight clearances, three interceptions, two tackles, and a (partridge in a pear tree) chance created. In a match that Tottenham should control, Mee offers high upside on defensive opportunities alone, and he should carry lower ownership than he normally would in a superb situation.
Zack Bussiere is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.