SOCCER

3 FanDuel Premier League Players to Avoid in Matchweek 5

After a strong performance in Matchweek 1, Marcus Rashford has not played well in three straight matches. Who else should you avoid for Matchweek 5?

This article is geared toward FanDuel's main slate, which begins at 10:00 a.m. EST Saturday and features six matches. The slate includes three of the current top-four squads, and it also includes two of the three newly promoted squads. The final match on the slate sees Norwich City host Manchester City, and the Citizens are a -700 favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook, which puts their implied win probability at 87.5%.

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 up, 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.

Matchweek 5
Saturday, September 14th
Chelsea at Wolves
Burnley at Brighton
Leicester City at Manchester United
Crystal Palace at Tottenham
Southampton at Sheffield United
Manchester City at Norwich City


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.

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

Marcus Rashford, FWD/MID, Manchester United

FanDuel Price: $20

Rashford is tied with Tammy Abraham as the fifth-highest priced player on the slate, and he has averaged 20.45 FanDuel points through four matches. After notching 45.2 FanDuel points and two goals in the opening match, Rashford has failed to reach his season-long average in three straight matches, while scoring fewer than 12 FanDuel points in two matches over that span.

Manchester United are the favorite over Leicester, and the match has a 55% chance of going over 2.5 goals, per FanDuel Sportsbook. After scoring four goals in their opener against Chelsea, the Red Devils have recorded just one goal in three straight matches, and Rashford has a 42.6% chance of finding the back of the net, according to oddsmakers.

Last season, only two of Rashford's 10 Premier League goals came against clubs that finished inside the top-10 -- including one against the Foxes. While he already has two against Chelsea this season -- the Blues have been disappointing so far but should finish inside the top-10 -- the Foxes have conceded the second-fewest goals against (3) this season while allowing the fourth-fewest shots (38) through four matches.

Putting Rashford on this list makes me extremely nervous as everything I just rattled off could make him a quality under-the-radar GPP play. He is always capable of a slate-breaking performance, as he showed in Matchweek 1 against the Blues, and will likely take any penalty kick if United is awarded one. However, in what could be a tight match, Rashford's scoring opportunities might be limited against a Leicester squad that has played well to start the season.

Teemu Pukki, FWD/MID, Norwich City

FanDuel Price: $18

After missing badly in Matchweek 2 with Pukki (79.3 FanDuel points and a hat trick), I am going back down the well again this week. Pukki is tied with three other players as the ninth-highest priced player in this category, and he leads all forwards/midfielders with a 39.20 FanDuel average through four matches. After scoring at least 29.9 FanDuel points in three straight matches, Pukki came back down to earth in Matchweek 4, scoring just 12.6 FanDuel points, and he has contributed on all six of Norwich City's goals this season -- five goals and one assist.

Norwich City are the largest underdogs on the slate in their match with the two-time defending champs, with Manchester City sporting an 88.9% chance of winning, per FanDuel Sportsbook. The match has a 61.2% chance of totaling over 3.5 goals, and Norwich City has a 60.3% chance of scoring at least one goal while Pukki's anytime goal scoring probability is set at 30.3%

Manchester City have conceded just three goals this season, including one on the road, and they have allowed the fewest shots (24) this campaign. While Pukki has been in great form and clearly doesn't appreciate being placed on the avoid list, Manchester City is a large favorite for a reason. If DFS players find themselves in this range, they should look at other forwards/midfielders who, at least on paper, appear to be in better matchups.

Lewis Dunk, DEF, Brighton & Hove Albion

FanDuel Price: $16

Dunk is tied with two other players as the top-priced defender on the slate, although both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Emerson enter their matches as game-time decisions. Dunk has averaged 13.18 FanDuel points through four matches, although that season-long average is heavily impacted by a 25.4-point performance in Matchweek 1.

The Seagulls are slight favorites over the Clarets, and Burnley have a 67.7% chance of scoring, a feat they have accomplished in three of their first four matches, failing to score only against Liverpool.

Dunk showed his upside in Matchweek 1 but now faces a Burnley squad that has averaged the second-lowest possession rate while the his squad averages 51% of the possession, good for 11th in the Premier League. Despite the likelihood of Burnley finding the back of the net, Dunk will probably not see a high amount of defensive opportunities. The Clarets are a bottom-five squad in relinquishing interceptions (34), tackles (39) and blocked shots (9) to defenders while allowing the fourth-most clearances (94).

With a clean sheet unlikely and a low amount of projected defensive actions, Dunk should be avoided, especially at his price, in favor of other defenders who have higher upside and ones who allow DFS players to roster the high-priced forwards/midfielders.



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.