3 FanDuel Premier League Players to Avoid in Matchweek 1

With a lackluster opening slate that includes two newly promoted squads, we will likely need to take risks in order to win large-field tournaments. What players should we avoid for Matchweek 1?

This article is geared towards FanDuel's main slate, which begins at 10:00 a.m. EST Saturday and features five matches. The slate includes only two clubs that finished inside the top-10 last, a disappointing opening slate. The final match on the slate sees Tottenham, who is clearly the best squad on the slate, face newly promoted Aston Villa, and the Spurs are a -370 favorite on FanDuel's Sportsbook, which puts their implied win probability at 78.7%.

Matchweek 1
Saturday, August 10th
Southampton at Burnley
Everton at Crystal Palace
Brighton at Watford
Sheffield United at Bournemouth
Aston Villa at Tottenham

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. With the campaign just gearing DFS players, as always, should check out injury reports and confirmed starting XI's when they become available since some starting XIs may not be as expected.

As with any DFS 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.

One major change from the end of the last campaign is that FanDuel has continued with the format it used for the Women's World Cup this past summer, which I Austan Kas broke down prior to that event. The major changes come in the salary allocation as well as the combining of the forward and midfield positions.

Let's take a look at four players across the pitch who should be avoided.

Billy Sharp, FWD/MID, Sheffield United

FanDuel Price: $16

After scoring 23 goals in 40 appearances (34 starts) in the Championship last season, Sharp gets a shot in the Premier League this year. Despite scoring the fifth-most goals in the lower division last season, Sharp recorded just one goal over his last 11 appearances (nine starts) while notching 14 shots -- seven coming over two matches -- and four shots on target over that span.

Bournemouth enters Saturday’s match with a 51.2% chance of beating Sheffield United, per Fanduel’s Sportsbook, and the Blades have a 70.1% chance of scoring at least one goal. The Cherries do not have a stout back line, conceding 25 goals in 19 Premier League matches at Dean Court last season while giving up the third-most overall goals (70).

Sheffield United have not played a Premier League match since the 2006-07 season, and despite Sharp’s goal-scoring upside, he supplied only four assists last season and will likely be a goal-dependent option for most of the campaign. There's some appeal for Sharp in GPPs since he has goal-scoring ability and shouldn't see a bunch ownership at his salary, but in small-field contests, he's tough to get behind.

Ashley Barnes, FWD/MID, Burnley

FanDuel Price: $16

Another extremely goal dependent option at this position, Barnes scored more than 12 FanDuel points in just two of his 16 starts in which he did not net a goal. Over that 16-match span, Barnes scored eight or fewer FanDuel points in 12 matches, and he totaled 30 shots on target in 37 appearances (26 starts) last season.

Burnley are an extremely slight favorite over Southampton, and the match has a 58.3% chance of going under 2.5 goals. Barnes leads all players in this match with a 37.7% chance of finding the back of the net. Last season, the Saints allowed the fifth-most away goals (35) while the Clarets were tied for the sixth-fewest goals scored.

Barnes showed last season that he is capable of producing a great FanDuel performance as he scored at least 20 FanDuel points in 12 matches (11 starts). However, we need to be cautious of goal-dependent players in the new combined forward/midfield spots -- especially in cash -- as more players will now contribute with peripherals.

Michael Keane, DEF, Everton

FanDuel Price: $14

With Wilfried Zaha unlikely to play for Palace after requesting a transfer, the Toffees enter Saturday’s match as a 42.6% favorite, and the match has a 58% chance of totaling under 2.5 goals. Despite being an underdog, the Eagles have a 72.2% chance of scoring at least one goal.

Last season, Palace were one of the worst squads on their home pitch, scoring the second-fewest number of goals (19) at home. Without one of their top players, the Eagles may struggle to put pressure on Everton’s backline, limiting Keane’s upside. Despite taking three shots, with two on target, in his final match of the season, Keane produced a shot in just four of his last nine matches in 2018-19.

Keane will undoubtedly record some clearances as he produced at least five clearances in all but 13 of his 33 starts, totaling 182 last season. However, if Keane is unable to record a large number in the other defensive categories, his upside will be capped as he is not greatly involved in the attack, other than on set-pieces.

Ben Fisher is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ben Fisher also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Gvsubrickwall. 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.