FanDuel 2018-19 Premier League Season Primer
It is hard to believe with the soccer world less than a month removed from the World Cup, but the Premier League kicks off on Friday, August 10. And with it, FanDuel soccer makes its return this weekend.
If the World Cup got you hooked, there will be a bit of a transition as you move into Premier League contests. Much of the scoring changes made in advance of the World Cup remain the same, with goals, assists, and keeper clean sheets providing the most return. However, there are some differences, such as a larger roster to field and more games to choose from on the main slate.
We’ll talk more about what to pay attention to below, but let’s first look at some of the more recognizable EPL teams and standout players from this year's World Cup.
Manchester City, the defending champions, had the most players on World Cup rosters, with 16. They won the Community Shield over Chelsea last weekend and have the personnel for a repeat. Manager Pep Guardiola thinks the team is done making moves, which could lead to John Stones playing midfield. Guardiola likes to rotate his players, so it may take a few weeks to figure out which players will be in the spotlight on a consistent basis. Also, players like Kevin De Bruyne, who went deep into the World Cup with Belgium, will not be rushed into playing an entire match. Bernardo Silva is a good early season bet for consistent minutes given his summer workload. City are the favorite to win the title and should be a good source of FanDuel points all season long.
Tottenham have yet to make a move in the transfer window, but they do have the World Cup Golden Boot winner, Harry Kane. They will return to a new White Hart Lane in hopes of improving on their third-place finish from last season. They featured nine players in the semifinals of the World Cup, so the lineup could be juggled in the beginning of the season. In the end, it will be many of the same names from last season leading the line, such as Kane, Dele Alli, and Christian Eriksen. Kieran Trippier had a coming out party at the World Cup and should be one of the most targeted defenders on FanDuel.
Chelsea lost the Community Shield match to City and come into the season with a lot of questions. They generally had a good year, though it would be considered a down year for the high-profile team. However, the team is in limbo with rumors of both Eden Hazard and Thibault Courtois wanting out not to mention a new manager at the helm. The team still has a wealthy ownership group, which could potentially solve a problem or two, but the rise of Liverpool has overshadowed this club. It should be tough sledding in the early going for Chelsea, even with their players being among the highest-priced on the opening slate.
Alisson Becker was Brazil's number one keeper in Russia, and it appears that he is now the number one at Liverpool. It was only a matter of time before he took over the top spot given the summer transfer. Prior to Brazil's loss to Belgium, Alisson had three clean sheets. His distribution is often mentioned among the best of any keeper in the world, and it was on display in the recent preseason match against Napoli.
Kevin De Bruyne was instrumental in City's road to the championship last season and continued to be a catalyst for Belgium over the summer. De Bruyne has 34 assists over his 2 last seasons with Manchester City. He averaged over two shots per game in the World Cup. He is unlikely to play in the first match of the season after just returning to training this week.
Olivier Giroud's status has been unsettled for the past few years, but now he is a World Cup winner. He is at Chelsea and is playing down any moves away from the Premier League. There is no guarantee that Giroud will start for Chelsea, but no one really grabbed hold of the starting striker position. He scored 105 goals while at Arsenal and 5 goals across 18 matches when he moved to Chelsea. If Chelsea decide to keep the Frenchmen, his form will be worth documenting.
Cardiff City are among the three promoted sides that will join the field this season. They finished in 2nd place in the English Championship last season after a 12th place finish the previous year. Callum Paterson had a breakout season after being moved to the midfield from defense. He was Cardiff’s top goalscorer. Junior Hoilet had 12 goals in all competitions, and Kenneth Zohore, newly-signed Josh Murphy, and Bobby Reid will be keys to the Bluebirds’ attack.
Wolverhampton were nine points ahead of Cardiff as the cash spent to add to the team paid off with promotion. Manager Nuno Espiritio Santo employs a back three with high attacking wing backs that also neutralize the opponent's attackers. Jonny Castro, on loan from Atletico Madrid, should help in the back to keep this formation in place against tougher competition. Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota are keys to the Wolves’ attack.
Fulham won the promotion playoff and landed USMNT defender Tim Ream in the Premier League. Ryan Sessegnon, a converted outside back, became one of the most threatening midfielders in the Championship. Tom Cairney is expected to continue as captain despite the additions Fulham have made. Aleksandar Mitrovic was a loan addition last season, scoring 12 goals in 17 games. Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle, the player that set up Germany's winning goal in the 2014 World Cup, will be joined by Jean Michael Seri as the distributor.
Form is always key in soccer. Even though a team may be in the top five, it does not mean they are playing their best or that the stars are still leading the team. It will take a few weeks to find form, and it can fluctuate for many of the teams outside the top four. Also, be sure to take into consideration home versus away form.
Roster size is also different from the World Cup. The size of the team is expanded, which can make construction tougher. Two forwards, three midfielders, two defenders and one keeper are needed to fill out a roster. The emergence of Mo Salah last year upped the value of the midfield position as he often had the highest points per game average on any slate. Forwards are still highly valuable, but the key is to find one that will produce at a lower price. Otherwise, roster construction becomes a nightmare. Just don't get cute and try to poach goals from defenders.
With all this being said, stay tuned to numberFire for detailed breakdowns of each matchweek's main FanDuel slate. Our team will recommend studs, value plays, under-the-radar plays, and more to help you enjoy a successful EPL season.
Douglas Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Douglas Smith also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username aquemini03. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.