3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 2
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.
|Saturday, August 17th
|Watford at Everton|
|Liverpool at Southampton|
|West Ham at Brighton|
|Newcastle at Norwich|
|Bournemouth at Aston Villa|
|Tottenham at Manchester City|
Matchweek 2 features three elite sides, with Manchester City hosting Tottenham and Liverpool traveling to Southampton. Despite the difference in the quality of their opponents, Manchester City are larger favorites than Liverpool is. Against a Spurs side coming off an uninspiring escape from defeat against Aston Villa on opening weekend, Manchester City has an implied win probability of 75%. Away at Southampton, Liverpool has an implied win probability of 68.75%, the second-highest win probability on the slate.
Following their opening day demolition of Norwich City, Liverpool's stars are likely to see the highest ownership levels on this slate even though Manchester City are in a better spot. On paper, a matchup against Tottenham seems more difficult, but Spurs have yet to hit their stride following a preseason that left much to be desired, and City looks like the same side that won the league last season. Combine that with Liverpool having featured in the UEFA Super Cup in Turkey on Wednesday, and it makes Manchester City's stars far more appealing for tournaments this weekend. Consider anchoring lineups around them instead of Liverpool.
Outside of the big-six sides, the slate is wide open. Everton, Brighton, Norwich, and Aston Villa are all slight home favorites, but only Everton (60%) have an implied win probability greater than 43.48%.
With that in mind, here are three players to consider this weekend -- especially for tournament formats -- who may fly under the radar
Dale Stephens, Brighton
FanDuel Salary: $10
The second week of the Premier League season will provide some context to results of the opening weekend. Brighton, a team that projected to be fighting off relegation all season, thrashed Watford, a side projected to finish comfortably in the upper-mid part of the table. Is Brighton already transformed under new manager Graham Potter, or is Watford set for regression after their best finish in club history last season?
Given the minimal amount of turnover in Watford's side and the quality they possess, I'm inclined to say its the former and not the latter. Brighton's strong start to the season likely wasn't a fluke, and it should continue this weekend at home against West Ham.
West Ham's opening weekend defeat to Manchester City isn't a reason to be concerned -- it's Manchester City after all -- but the fitness levels of the Hammers' squad is a reason to worry. Jack Wilshere, Mark Noble, and Felipe Anderson are all doubts for this weekend, and the Hammers will likely roll out a starting lineup below the level of the Watford side that Brighton faced last weekend. A depleted midfield group should benefit Brighton's central duo of Dale Stephens and Davy Propper ($10) and allow them to pick up where they left off last weekend.
Stephens and Propper have been fixtures in Brighton's starting 11 since the 2017 season. In their time at the club, Propper has been slightly more productive in the goals and assists categories, and following his assist against Watford, he could be a popular value play this weekend. Despite being in the exact same situation as Propper, Stephens will likely go overlooked even though he represents a similar value. For lineups anchored around Manchester City's stars, Stephens represents a good combination of cheap salary and likely low ownership in a great spot at home.
FanDuel Salary: $18
There is a decent amount of buzz surrounding Norwich striker Teemu Pukki ($18) following his one-goal, 29.9-FanDuel-point performance against Liverpool on opening day. After signing on a free transfer in August of 2018, Pukki scored 29 goals for Norwich and was named EFL Championship Player of the Season a year ago. Now, he is available on the main slate for the first time and at home facing a Newcastle side that is unlikely to deter those who wish to roster him.
While Pukki will command higher ownership, it's his counterpart on Newcastle, Joelinton, who is the better option for tournaments this weekend.
Joelinton moved to Newcastle this summer from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, where he started 29 matches last season, including four in the Champions League. Against Arsenal on opening weekend, he stepped right into the starting lineup and played the full 90 minutes, taking three shots and putting one on target. While Newcastle didn't get the result they wanted, they looked good against an Arsenal side dealing with several injuries. Now, they will travel to Norwich, who, despite winning the Championship last season, have a dismal record of defending at home.
Last season, Norwich secured 49 points from their 23 home matches, tied for the most in the league. They did this while conceding a stunning 34 goals at home, the third-most in the league behind only Rotherham (who finished 22nd) and Aston Villa (who won promotion via playoff). Adding to their woes is the absences of their first-choice center backs, Christoph Zimmermann and Timm Klose, who are unlikely to return from their injuries this weekend. All of this is enhances Joelinton's outlook for Saturday.
While all eyes, buzz and potentially ownership is on Pukki, consider fading Norwich in favor of Joelinton and Newcastle.
Troy Deeney, Watford
FanDuel Salary: $16
Both Everton and Watford had disappointing results last weekend, but Watford's poor game has received far more attention. Despite Everton's dismal 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace, they are likely to see much higher ownership in this clash as Watford are left for dead by many following their three-goal loss to Brighton. That loss was bad, but a single result doesn't erase Watford's body of work from last season and their outlook for the remainder of this season. If things continue down the same path, the time to panic will come, but for now, Watford represents an opportunity to capitalize on the public's recency bias.
Everton are without midfielders Andre Gomes (injury) and Morgan Schneiderlin (suspension), which should slightly destabilize the link-up play between their back four and Gylfi Sigurdsson ($18). Furthering that likelihood is Watford's 4-2-2-2 formation, which heavily contests the middle of the pitch. Expect Abdoulaye Doucoure ($14) and Etienne Capoue ($12) to apply pressure and disrupt the flow of the match to give Sigurdsson as little time on the ball as possible.
Deeney is fully comfortable in this system, and he is the most likely to benefit if Watford does get back on track. Last season, in the same formation, he scored nine goals, six of which came on the road. His top three FanDuel performances also came on the road -- 62.9 points (at Bournemouth), 60.6 points (at Cardiff), and 44.3 points (at Burnley). Everton is a step above those three, but Deeney also produced 24.6 points on the road against Arsenal without scoring a goal.
Given what the Hornets accomplished last season, it is unlikely that the Watford we saw last weekend is what we should expect going forward. Expect a bounce-back against an Everton side whose own opening day failures are going overlooked.
Zack Bussiere is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Zack Bussiere also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zbuss1. 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