SOCCER

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Soccer Helper for Saturday 8/21/21

Riyad Mahrez and Manchester City lost their opening match, but will look to get their first win of the season as giant favorites at home against Norwich. Who else should we look to roster on Saturday?

We’re back for the second week of Premier League action of the season with a four-game Saturday slate. Let's look at the games, with odds from FanDuel Sportsbook:

Home Draw Away
Man City (-1000) +950 Norwich City (+2300)
Crystal Palace (+160) +210 Brentford (+190)
Leeds (+130) +240 Everton (+200)
Aston Villa (-125) +280 Newcastle (+330)

Forwards to Target

Riyad Mahrez ($8,800): Manchester City did not get off to a great start to the season, losing 1-0 to Tottenham. They'll get a chance to bounce back in a much easier spot, as huge home favorites against Norwich. This is a situation we've seen over the past few seasons, where the main question of the slate is how many Manchester City players do you need. If Kevin De Bruyne does not start again, Mahrez could be the most appealing option on the team. Mahrez took one of five corner kicks, but now with İlkay Gündoğan likely to miss the game, some corner kicks could go to Mahrez, giving him an even higher floor.

Mahrez certainly isn't just a floor play in this matchup. Norwich did not fare well in their opening match against Liverpool, losing 3-0. A similar score could be in play for Manchester City in this game. Mahrez has anytime goal scoring odds of -115 in this game, and to go with his crossing floor, that makes him worth playing in all formats at $8,800.

Danny Ings ($7,400): It wasn't what new-look Aston Villa wanted in their opening game, but Danny Ings was able to open his account for his new club with a goal. It was a last-minute penalty kick, which is good news for Ings' value as he is already taking penalties for his new club. Now, Aston Villa get to face a Newcastle team that was one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season, as they conceded the fifth-most goals. The Magpies also just allowed four goals at home against West Ham in their first match of the season. Ings has the best goal-scoring odds for any player not on Manchester City, so for just $7,400, he's worth taking a chance on in tournaments.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin ($6,900): DCL came through for those fantasy managers who rostered him last week, so we can go back to the well this week. Calvert-Lewin had a goal and five shots in Everton's win against Southampton, and his salary did not rise too much to put him out of consideration. He has a matchup with Leeds that should produce a fantasy-friendly environment, as we saw from Leeds last season and in their 5-1 loss to Manchester United last week. If it's another up-tempo match with poor defending by Leeds, Calvert Lewin could bag another goal and easily pay off his salary.

Also consider: Raphina ($8,600), Fernan Torres ($8,000), Patrick Bamford ($5,900)

Midfielders to Target

Jack Grealish ($9,200): Grealish didn't miss a beat in joining his new club. He did what we expected from him, drawing five fouls and taking three shots on his way to 13.1 DraftKings points, even after receiving a yellow card. He produced that with Manchester City not even scoring a goal in the game, something we don't expect to repeat in this match. Grealish led the league in fouls drawn per 90 minutes last season, drawing 4.53 per 90 last season, according to Rotowire. That number should increase with Manchester City dominating possession in most games they play. This matchup against Norwich is no different. In fact, a 70% possession rate would not be too surprising. Grealish and City could run rampant against Norwich, making his floor/ceiling combination the highest among midfielders on the slate.

Emiliano Buendía ($7,900): Buendía made the move from Norwich to Aston Villa as one of the pieces needed to replace Jack Grealish. He got his chance on set pieces, taking three of four corner kicks. That was his role at Norwich, and he seems to have inherited it at Villa now. He has a perfect opportunity to cross a lot in this game against Newcastle, as they allowed the most crosses per game last season, according to WhoScored.com. They also were the second-worst possession team in the Premier League. Buendía should be able to score a lot of points against Newcastle this week and is a high floor play this week.

Jaïro Riedewald ($3,000): Riedewald is the punt option at midfield on this slate. He took both corners that Crystal Palace won when he was on the pitch. It was only two, but that's because Crystal Palace were being beaten handily by Chelsea. They should see more of the ball and have more corner kicks in this match against Brentford. It's not the most exciting option, but playing Riedewald could allow you to fit in some higher-salaried Manchester City options that you'll want in your lineups.

Also consider: Andros Townsend ($7,800), Todd Cantwell ($4,800), Kalvin Phillips ($3,400)

Defenders to Target

Matt Ritchie ($6,300): Matt Ritchie has somewhat fallen out of favor and missed time through injury over the past two seasons. He's only made 36 Premier League appearances in the last two campaigns. The problem has been his defending capabilities, but that doesn't concern us in fantasy. What we do care about is that Ritchie produces a ton of crosses, as he has generated over six crosses per 90 minutes in every Premier League season. That didn't change last week when he had 12 crosses and an assist. He gets them via set piece and open play, so he doesn't rely on Newcastle getting corner kicks to get his points. The $6,300 salary is worth it, as the midfielders and forwards around the salary can't project for nearly as many crosses as Ritchie does.

Lucas Digne ($6,100): Digne was mostly able to do his thing in the first match of the season. He got eight crosses in the win against Southampton last week. His overall point total wasn't hugely impressive because it was dragged down by committing three fouls, but that shouldn't be much of a concern moving forward. Digne should be in a good game environment to score points and get up and down the pitch in this match against Leeds. We also know that he will be on corners and free kicks, which makes him one of the most appealing defenders on the slate.

John Stones ($4,100): If you need to save salary at defender, you can go to John Stones. In these matches where Manchester City are huge favorites, playing a center back from them makes some sense. We know they will get around 1.5 points from the accurate passes and are likely to get the three-point clean sheet bonus. If they get some tackles or interceptions, we could easily see six points for not much salary. Stones, in particular, is a goal threat too, as he had four in the league last season. This gives him some outcomes that we would be happy with, even if we want to try to avoid center backs in general.

Also consider: Oleksandr Zinchenko ($5,300), Matty Cash ($5,100), Kyle Walker ($4,400)

Goalkeepers to Target

Ederson ($5,900): We can always look at taking the goalkeeper for these gigantic favorites. Ederson kept 19 clean sheets in 36 league matches last season and is a -152 favorite to do so in this match. The goalkeeper maximum salary of $5,900 is working in our favor, because if there were ever a time for a keeper to be in the $6,500-$7,000 range, this would be it. This salary is actually a good value, and Ederson can be rostered in all formats.

Jordan Pickford ($4,600): Pickford could face a lot of shots against Leeds, who averaged the fifth most shots per game in the league last season. This gives Pickford the potential to make a lot of saves, and it wouldn't be too surprising if he was able to escape with the win. He's an option at goalkeeper that has the potential to beat someone like Ederson who probably won't face many shots, and Pickford allows you to allocate more salary to other positions.


Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. 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.