SOCCER

4 FanDuel Premier League Studs to Target for Matchweek 18

Kevin De Bruyne is playing at a world-class level this season, and he offers a stellar floor/ceiling combination. Who else should you pay up for on Saturday?

As is the case when playing any sport on FanDuel, it’s imperative to hit on high-priced studs, the players in which you’ve made the biggest investment. This is especially true with forwards in soccer. Not only are the top-end forwards expensive, they are the ones most likely to put the ball in the back of the net, and goals are often the difference between winning and losing in DFS.

This article will cover FanDuel's main slate, which begins Saturday at 10:00 a.m. EST and features six matches.

Matchweek 18
Saturday, December 21st
Crystal Palace at Newcastle United
Southampton at Aston Villa
Wolves at Norwich City
Sheffield United at Brighton
Burnley at Bournemouth
Leicester City at Manchester City


This is a wide open slate outside of Manchester City, who are -270 favorites, per FanDuel Sportsbook. Wolves are slight -105 favorites, but the other four matches are basically pick'ems, with no one else boasting implied win odds better than 50%. That means we have several justifiable paths we can take when building our lineups, which should lead to ownership being spread out.

Note: Players from the Liverpool-West Ham match are in the player pool, but that match has been postponed due to the Reds taking part in the Club World Cup. Don't roster any West Ham or Liverpool players.

Let’s take a look at some high-priced players -- all across the pitch -- who, despite costing a good chunk of change, are worth the investment.

Kevin De Bruyne, MID, Manchester City

FanDuel Price: $22

While Leicester are in sparkling form, Manchester City (-270) are big favorites over the Foxes in the showcase match of this slate.

For my money, Kevin De Bruyne has been the best player in the Premier League this year, and he put forth another world-class display last time out, shredding Arsenal for two goals and an assist in City's 3-0 triumph.


KDB has an incredible 16 goal involvements in 15 EPL starts, totaling seven goals and nine assists. He handles a lot of corners and free kicks, too, giving him additional opportunities to create chances. Speaking of creating chances, De Bruyne has been credited with at least two in every single league outing this season, including 16 over his past four matches.

He's got the best floor on the slate, and his ceiling (two games of 50-plus FanDuel points in his last four) is great, as well.

Jamie Vardy, FWD, Leicester City

FanDuel Price: $18

This match sets up well for Vardy. Manchester City will likely see a lot of the ball, and they play a high backline, which should give Vardy plenty of space to run into against what's currently a Manchester City defense that has one clean sheet in all competitions since October 26th.

Vardy lost his scoring streak last weekend, although he headed one toward the net that ended up going down as an own goal. He's got 16 goals and three assists in 17 starts this year, thriving in his first full campaign under Brendan Rodgers.

He's listed at +185 anytime goal odds, per FanDuel Sportsbook, in a match in which the most likely scoreline involves a Leicester goal. Vardy will also be on penalties.

Raúl Jiménez, FWD, Wolves

FanDuel Price: $17

Wolves are the second-biggest favorite on the slate (-105), and they're a cost-effective alternative to Manchester City.

Jiménez has been in good form this season, scoring six goals and notching five assists. He's registered either a goal or an assist in eight of his last 10 league outings, scoring at least 13.6 FanDuel points in every match during that stretch. Jiménez has created 15 chances across his past six games, showcasing a floor that's rare for strikers.

He's also taken Wolves' two EPL spot kicks this season, making both.

Wolves are on the road at Norwich, a side that's played some wide open soccer this year. The Canaries have given up 35 goals in 17 matches, including 20 in 13 home fixtures. This match should be a fantasy-friendly clash, particularly if Norwich score first, and Jiménez has the best anytime goal odds (+105) in this one.

John McGinn, MID, Aston Villa

FanDuel Price: $15

The two matches we've talked about so far should garner plenty of attention on this slate. The four other matches are anyone's guess as none of the sides have implied win odds greater than 50%, which should cap the ownership for all the players involved.

Of the teams in those four fixtures, I like Villa the best from a fantasy perspective as they host Southampton. The Saints have given up the most goals in the league, shipping 36 in 17 matches, though that's heavily skewed by their 9-0 defeat versus Leicester. Still, this is a defense we can exploit.

Villa's top fantasy producers are McGinn and Jack Grealish ($18). McGinn has three goals and two assists while firing off a team-high 2.2 shots per game. Grealish has amassed four goals and four assists while taking 2.1 shots per game. They're similar, so I'll take the savings with McGinn, who has at least 14.2 FanDuel points in three of his last four matches.