SOCCER

FanDuel Soccer: EPL DFS Helper for 2/27/21

As always, we're covering FanDuel's main slate, and that kicks off at 10 a.m. EST. All betting lines come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

Slate Overview

Fixture Favorite Over 2.5 Goals Most Likely
to Score
Brighton at West Brom Brighton (-105) +116 Maupay (+140)
Aston Villa at Leeds Leeds (+120) -170 Bamford (+100)
Wolves at Newcastle Wolves (+115) +134 Silva (+230)


Positional Breakdown

Forwards/Midfielders

There is one obvious match we should all be loading up on, and that's the Villa-Leeds clash. Per FanDuel Sportsbook, it's -170 to go over 2.5 goals -- the best clip on the slate by a wide margin -- and it features a host of appealing players. My simulations see even more goals than oddsmakers do, as my model gives this fixture a 58% chance to have at least four goals. FanDuel has set up this slate knowing the masses will be coming after this game because the slate's four highest-salaried healthy players are in this match.

Leeds make every match fun, as they sit fifth in the league in expected goals (xG) scored, according to FBRef, while also allowing the second-most expected goals. Aston Villa are the more well-rounded squad, ranking nearly as high as Leeds in xG scored (seventh-most) while sitting much prettier in xG allowed (eighth-fewest). As such, my model prefers the Villans, giving them a 71% chance to net two-plus goals and 33.8% odds to score at least three -- compared to 58.3% and 28.7% clips, respectively, for Leeds. But the absence of Jack Grealish does ding Villa's outlook.

For Aston Villa, Ollie Watkins ($22; +175) is the go-to dude, while it's Patrick Bamford ($21; +100) and Raphinha ($20; +250) on the Leeds' side. Bamford carries the slate's best goal odds, and Raphinha has been in dazzling form pretty much all season, especially of late. He's scored at least 21.5 FanDuel points in five of his past six, with three outings of at least 34.6 points. Watkins is more goal-or-nothing than Raphinha and Bamford are, scoring 10 with two assists in his first year with Villa.

The common lineup build will probably be to pluck two of those studs -- likely Watkins and one of Bamford or Raphinha -- so if you want to get creative, you could use all three, which is feasible with the value available to us, or you could roster just one of them. The great fantasy environment should be a tide that lifts all boats, so players like Ross Barkley ($14; +350), Bertrand Traore ($14; +280), Anwar El Ghazi ($11; +185), Jack Harrison ($16; +320) and Tyler Roberts ($6; +200) are well worth checking out if they start. Roberts hasn't played much this year but could be called on due to Leeds' injury issues. That happened midweek versus Southampton, and he notched an assist. The salary is obviously very helpful. El Ghazi may be on penalties for Villa.

Brighton are the other side my model is really high on, as they're up against West Brom. A cursory glance at the table would have you thinking this is a fairly even matchup between two bad teams. That's not the case when looking through the xG lens, however, as Brighton is fifth by xG difference while West Brom are last (by a mile).

My sims have Brighton bagging at least two goals 67.2% of the time, which is the second-best mark on the slate behind Villa's. I will toss in a word of caution, though. While Brighton have suffered from some bad luck this campaign and are really good at creating chances -- and limiting the opposition from doing so -- they're pretty bad at finishing them. And if West Brom get a lead, they'll make life miserable for Brighton in what is close to a must-win for the Baggies.

With that said, I do still want exposure to Brighton, and I like the idea of dedicating one attacking slot to Brighton and the other three to the Leeds-Villa match. Neal Maupay ($18; +140) carries the top goal odds for the Seagulls. It wouldn't be surprising to see Danny Welbeck ($15; +185) get a start. Pascal Groß ($16; +390) does some set-piece work, and Leandro Trossard ($17; +230) has a quality floor/ceiling combination, scoring at least 15.6 FanDuel points in five consecutive starts.

We have to be careful writing off all of the attackers from one match on a three-match slate, but the Wolves-Newcastle game looks like a fantasy nightmare. It's +134 to go over 2.5 goals, and no one in the game has anytime goal odds better than +230. But if you grab a guy from this match and hit on a goal, it will give you a leg up in tournaments.

With Callum Wilson sidelined for Newcastle, Wolves offer more enticing options. Ruben Neves ($17; +300) and Pedro Neto ($18; +250) top the list and figure to be a lot less popular than the other high-salary players around them. Neves is taking penalties while Neto has created 12 chances across his past five matches, scoring one goal and tallying one assist in that span. He's a fun GPP swing play.

Added time -- Newcastle's Allan Saint-Maximin ($15; +350) is finding his form after injuries derailed him for a while. He's clearly the best attacking threat for the Magpies, although the goal odds are lacking. ... Matheus Pereira ($14; +360) is similar to ASM. The goal odds aren't there, but he's the best attacking weapon for West Brom. He scored 27.9 FanDuel points last time out thanks to three shots on goal and a trio of chances created.

Defenders

Since the high-salary attackers from Leeds and Villa are a priority for me, I'll be looking for salary relief at defender.

Jonny ($5) has a salary that is awfully handy. He's played just three EPL matches this season due to injuries, but he'll likely be in a wing-back position for Wolves. The matchup with Newcastle should give him chances to get forward, and he finished last campaign with two goals and two assists. Using Jonny and Roberts -- the aforementioned Leeds attacker who is $6 -- would give you the flexibility to do just about anything you wanted with the rest of your lineup.

Jonny's opposite wing-back is Nelson Semedo ($12), who is fresh off a dominant 32.5-FanDuel-point display against Leeds in which he fired three shots on goal and created two chances. With +2100 goal odds, Semedo is a longshot to keep pouring shots on goal, but the former Barca right-back should have chances to bomb forward against Newcastle. And at the risk of talking about all the Wolves' defenders, Romain Saiss ($11) has +550 goal odds, though his DFS output has fallen since his three-match midseason tear of 21.9, 29.1, and 35.4 around the New Year.

Villa's Ahmed Elmohamady ($6) started in place of Matty Cash last time out and scored 16.0 FanDuel points. Facing a Leeds side that usually puts a lot of pressure on the opposition, Elmohamady should have a decent day at a clearance-rack salary. Also on Aston Villa, Matt Targett ($12) has been a steady DFS producer this season, recording at least 12.5 FanDuel points in seven of his past eight appearances. He does it by doing a little bit of everything, and Targett should produce at both ends in what will likely be an open affair with Leeds.

On Wednesday, Leeds' Diego Llorente ($7) played the full 90 in a league match for the first time since Matchweek 1. He totaled 20.4 points, boosted by a shot on goal and the clean-sheet bonus. While he's unlikely to get the clean-sheet points on Saturday, his salary is easy to stomach, and Leeds defenders have been solid fantasy plays all year thanks to their high-octane style.

Joel Veltman ($13) is giving Brighton some attacking pop. He's created nine chances across his past six games and has registered three shots on goal in his past two, scoring once. I like him as a way to get exposure to Brighton.

Added time -- Leeds' Ezgjan Alioski ($11) is tied with Saiss for the best goal odds at the position (+550), but he hasn't scored more than 5.6 FanDuel points in any of his last three. ... Lewis Dunk ($15) isn't going to garner much attention at his position-high salary, but his +750 goal odds are notable for a center-back. He's totaled at least 15.6 FanDuel points in six of his past seven contests.

Goalies

There's a clear top three for me at keeper -- Rui Patricio ($12), Robert Sanchez ($11), and Martin Dubravka ($5).

Dubravka -- who is expected to start over Karl Darlow ($9) -- and Patricio are in the Wolves-Newcastle match that's expected to be low scoring. It's a good place to go clean-sheet hunting. Wolves are +146 to keep a clean sheet, while Newcastle are +225, which are the second- and third-best odds, respectively. Wolves are the fourth-best defense in the league by xG allowed. My simulations have Wolves blanking the Wilson-less Magpies 39.0% of the time. Patricio is easy to get behind, and he likely won't see as high of a draft percentage as Sanchez does.

As for Dubravka, he's played just once all year (zero times in the EPL), which is why the salary is what it is. There could be some rust, and the win odds aren't good. Those are legit concerns. But Wolves haven't been nearly as potent in attack sans Raul Jimenez, getting shut out in four of their past seven matches across all competitions. I'm drawn to the salary, but even factoring in the $5 tag, I have Dubravka below Sanchez and Patricio.

Sanchez has really come on for Brighton, and the team's issues capitalizing on chances in attack has somewhat masked how good they have been defensively, as they're fifth by xG allowed. They're up against a West Brom side that has generated a league-worst 17.5 xG in 25 EPL outings. My model has Brighton getting a clean sheet 46.5% of the time, and they have +140 clean-sheet odds -- both of which are slate-best marks. Sanchez will likely end up the chalk keeper play, which makes me want to pivot to Patricio, but I like the idea of pairing Sanchez with a Brighton attacker.

Added time -- I'm pretty scared by the three other expected starters. I don't think you can go with either goalie in the Leeds-Villa match unless you're trying real hard to be contrarian and are going to fade one of those team's attackers. So that leaves Sam Johnstone ($8). I'm not that into him, either, but for as much as xG loves Brighton, the Seagulls have made the net bulge only 26 times in 25 league games.