3 FanDuel Premier League Under-the-Radar Plays for Matchweek 21
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 Wednesday slate, which starts at 10:00 a.m. EST and features 7 matches.
|Wednesday, January 1st
|Wolves at Watford|
|Tottenham at Southampton|
|Leicester City at Newcastle|
|Everton at Manchester City|
|Bournemouth at West Ham|
|Crystal Palace at Norwich|
|Manchester United at Arsenal|
The 21st main slate of the season features three big-six sides plus Leicester City and comes at the tail end of an incredibly congested fixture schedule for all Premier League clubs. Manchester City is the largest favorite on the slate by a wide margin, with an implied win probability of 79.2% at home against Everton. The next closest side is Leicester City, with an implied win probability of 63% on the road against Newcastle, followed by West Ham, with an implied win probability of 51.2% at home against Bournemouth.
The rest of the matches on the slate, including the late afternoon clash between Manchester United and Arsenal, are considered pick 'ems, with United, Wolves, Tottenham, and Norwich all slight favorites. Keep an eye on squad rotation this slate, as the busy holiday period may force more rotation than usual opening up additional value that wouldn't usually be there.
The potential for additional value, combined with Manchester City's high implied win probability, make them a difficult fade. Even at high ownership, they are likely worth the sticker price this slate. That said, a full pivot to Tottenham, who is struggling defensively but scoring an average of 2.25 goals per Premier League match under Jose Mourinho, is worth serious consideration.
With that in mind, here are three players to consider this weekend -- especially for tournament formats -- who may fly under the radar.
Pablo Fornals, FWD/MID, West Ham
FanDuel Salary: $15
Since breaking into the Hammers' starting lineup as an established starter at the end of November, Fornals has consistently produced FanDuel points. In his six starts since the end of November, he has only failed to reach double-digit FanDuel points once and has averaged just shy of 17 per match.
In five of those matches, he operated as a left mid in a 4-4-2, but in West Ham's most recent game against Leicester City, he was used as an attacking mid on the right side of a 4-2-3-1. He responded with his first goal of the season and 29.5 FanDuel points. If the Hammers stick with a 4-2-3-1 against Bournemouth this weekend, Fornals' outlook is increased.
West Ham's recent form, combined with the uncertainty of how new manager David Moyes will approach his first game in charge, will likely keep ownership away from their attacking options. Despite those factors, they are still the third-largest favorite on the slate, and their implied goal total of 1.73 is also third-highest, right behind Leicester City's implied goal total of 1.81. Those factors, driven by a matchup with a Bournemouth side that has conceded four goals in their last three games, put West Ham's players in play for tournaments on Wednesday.
Max Meyer, FWD/MID, Crystal Palace
FanDuel Salary: $10
After four full months without seeing a start, Meyer has now made back-to-back starts for Palace, playing 75 minutes and 85 minutes against West Ham and Southampton, respectively. He hasn't been very productive, but he was more involved against West Ham operating as the right forward in a 4-3-3 than as a right mid in a 4-5-1 against Southampton.
Against West Ham, Meyer contributed a shot and created a chance, and if West Ham lineup in a 4-3-3 against Norwich, he could have a chance to produce at extremely low ownership. The majority of Meyer, and any Crystal Palace players' appeal this weekend, is the horrid defensive form of Norwich. At home this season, Norwich has conceded an average of 2.4 goals per match, the second-worst average in the Premier League behind only Southampton.
They have faced a somewhat difficult schedule at home so far, but their struggles weren't limited to their better opposition. They conceded one goal to Newcastle, two goals to Wolves, Watford, Sheffield, and Tottenham, as well as five goals to Aston Villa. It's far from a sure thing given their own struggles in the final third, but Crystal Palace's attacking options are worth consideration for large-field tournaments on Wednesday. Meyer is the cheapest of the group and should carry extremely low ownership.
Christian Eriksen, FWD/MID, Tottenham
FanDuel Salary: $15
What a long, strange journey this Premier League season has been already. Eriksen potentially flying under-the-radar against Southampton would have seemed laughable at the start of the year, but here we are. Eriksen's start in Tottenham's most recent game was his first in five matches, as he appears to be getting the wrong side of the Jose Mourinho experience at Spurs. Dele Alli ($17) and Lucas Mora ($14) have both seen more playing time under Mourinho and its possible Eriksen's recent absence is enough to keep his ownership down in an incredible matchup against Southampton.
Eriksen made the most of his first start in five matches with four shots, two on target, and one goal against Norwich. If it earns him another start, he will be set up perfectly against a Southampton side that has conceded 25 home goals this season, the most in the Premier League. Those numbers are inflated by their epic nine-goal collapse against Leicester City in October, but they still haven't managed to keep a clean sheet all season.
Tottenham's issues this season have also been in their own final third. They've scored 36 goals in 20 matches, the fourth-most in the Premier League, but have conceded 29 times, an average of nearly 1.5 goals per match. Those issues have only increased under Mourinho, with Spurs conceding 12 goals and scoring 18 goals in his eight Premier League matches in charge. Spurs' defensive struggles don't dim the outlook for any of their stars' FanDuel point production, and they are all firmly in play on Wednesday.