FanDuel Premier League Trends to Know for Matchweek 18

Sheffield have quietly made it to the top half of the table and have yet to lose on the road, making their form one of the trends in Matchweek 18.

The next Premier League main slate hits FanDuel at 10:00 a.m. EST on Saturday with seven games. The last game of the day in Manchester is the marquee matchup.

Matchweek 18
Saturday, December 21
Sheffield at Brighton
Burnley at Bournemouth
Liverpool at West Ham
Crystal Palace at Newcastle
Wolverhampton at Norwich
Southampton at Aston Villa
Leicester at Manchester City

Let's look at the teams and players that are rising and falling this week.


Team: Sheffield

Sheffield lost to Newcastle three Matchweeks ago, but they have taken points from 9 of the last 10 games and won their last two matches. They have a +5 goal differential and sit in seventh place. Their 16 goals allowed is good for third-best in the league. John Fleck ($15) has either created at least one chance or scored in all but one match this season. Defender Enda Stevens ($11) has scored at least 16 points in each of the last four matches. Keeper Dean Henderson ($10), who was featured in the value plays for last week, is coming off his best game since November 2. This week's opponent, Brighton, is down in 13th place with a -4 goal differential. Both teams are defensive minded and Sheffield have yet to lose on the road while allowing less than one goal per game.

Player: James Tarkowski, Burnley ($15)

Tarkowski has been a part of six clean sheets this season, which is one short of last year's total but in half the games. He has scored at least 18 points in four of the last six games, including a 44-point performance against Watford. He has had at least three interceptions -- his second-most consistent category -- in four straight games. He has 20 clearances in the last three matches with 10 last week against Newcastle. Aside from one foul drawn, he earned 24 points last week through a dominating defensive performance that kept Newcastle from getting a shot on target. Tarkowski had a five-game stretch earlier in the season with at least one block, which tends to be the hardest category for defenders to earn points on FanDuel. Tarkowski's first six weeks were a little sluggish, but he has found the form that made him one of the best defenders on FanDuel last season.


Teams: Aston Villa and Southampton

Normally this is only one team, but two teams with some of the worst form are facing one another this weekend. Villa are now in 17th place after three straight losses in which they scored a total of two goals. They have won three of eight games at home. Villa is only ahead of Southampton on goal differential with Southampton sitting at -17. Southampton have lost two in a row and have scored just 18 goals all season. Southampton have won just two of their eight away matches this season. There are still players who have fantasy value, though, such as Jack Grealish ($18), James Ward-Prowse ($16), and John McGinn ($15). They all average over 18 FanDuel points per game, but they do not outperform their salary. It is hard to say what will come from this relegation battle with both teams struggling.

Player: James McArthur, Crystal Palace ($10)

McArthur is generally very reliable for Crystal Palace, but as the team has been playing better over the last four weeks, his production has declined. He did have one good game in that stretch, but did not score more than 11 in any of the other three matches. Against Burnley, Brighton, and Watford he was a non-factor on the offensive side of the ball. He had his best defensive game of the bunch last week with six defensive actions, but that did not help on the FanDuel scoreboard. Overall, the Palace midfield has not been scoring many FanDuel points, but McArthur has been inconsistent offensively all season. That seems unlikely to change against a Newcastle team that has been playing well defensively.

Doug Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Doug 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.