FanDuel Soccer: EPL DFS Under-the-Radar Plays for Saturday 8/21/21

With all eyes on Manchester City this weekend, Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew profiles as a great tourney option. Which other players could go overlooked?

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 popular and finding others who you think have a similar point projection but will be much less popular can separate you from your opponents.

The same goes for DFS EPL. 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 Saturday slate, which starts at 10:00 a.m. EST and features five matches.

Slate Overview

Norwich (+2300) at Manchester City (-1000)
Over 2.5 Goals: -320 | Most Likely to Score: Jesus (-135)

Brentford (+190) at Crystal Palace (+160)
Over 2.5 Goals: +140 | Most Likely to Score: Toney (+175)

Everton (+200) at Leeds (+135)
Over 2.5 Goals: -146 | Most Likely to Score: Bamford (+130)

Newcastle (+330) at Aston Villa (-125)
Over 2.5 Goals: -128 | Most Likely to Score: Ings (-135)

Watford (+470) at Brighton (-140)
Over 2.5 Goals: +126 | Most Likely to Score: Maupay (+150)

Matchweek 2 is a good old-fashioned Manchester City main slate. The defending champions are the only big-six side on the slate, and their stars dominate the top end of the player pool at all positions.

At -1000 to win, City are massive home favorites, and the largest favorites on the slate by a mile. Big-six sides being large favorites isn't uncommon, but these odds are on the high end even for City, with an implied win probability of 90.9%. Brighton (-140) and Aston Villa (-125) are the next biggest favorites -- followed by Leeds (+135) and Crystal Palace (+190). Despite their opening week loss to Tottenham, City is not a side I'd fade. Any lineup that does fade City will certainly be unique, but do so at your own risk. Norwich surrendered three goals to Liverpool in their season opener, and there's little reason to assume the defending champions can't equal or surpass that mark.

With that in mind, here are three players to consider on this slate -- especially for tournament formats -- who may fly under the radar.

Fernandinho, FWD/MID, Manchester City

FanDuel Salary: $11

One way to approach the slate is to gain exposure to City through their players who are likely to be the least popular. Raheem Sterling ($22), Riyad Mahrez ($22), Gabriel Jesus ($21), and Jack Grealish ($17) will be extremely popular, while Fernandinho and Rodri ($10) should go overlooked.

Fernandinho is an excellent pivot off City's chalk options and offers unique exposure to the largest favorite. He played the full 90 minutes against Tottenham, creating two chances and producing 12.5 FanDuel points. Against a much weaker Norwich side, City should dominate possession and allow both Fernandinho and Rodri to sit around the top of the box and dictate play alongside Grealish.

Ilkay Gundogan ($14) is battling a shoulder and an ankle injury, but if he is able to remain in the starting lineup, he would be an option, as well. While all eyes are on City's front four, consider going to their central midfielders to differentiate your lineup.

Jordan Ayew, FWD/MID, Crystal Palace

FanDuel Salary: $11

Following the Bees' opening-day victory over Arsenal, confidence in Brentford will likely be high this weekend as they travel to Crystal Palace. Conversely, confidence in Palace will probably be low following their three-goal defeat to Chelsea. Despite those drastically different results, these two sides are projected to be evenly matched, with Crystal Palace slight favorites at home.

Those opening-weekend results will likely lead to Palace being overlooked in this contest despite their status as slight favorites. Their struggles against Chelsea hardly exclude them from finding success against Brentford, who was excellent against Arsenal but still conceded 22 shots. Palace's front three should have their opportunities on Saturday.

Wilfried Zaha ($16) is in a similar situation, but his odds to score (+190) are far better than Ayew's (+480). If people do go to Palace, they'll likely plug in Zaha. Ayew should be less popular, and his lower salary allows him to fit in better alongside lineups that stack City's stars. At an even more affordable salary, Jairo Riedewald ($6) is worth a look. He took both of Palace's corners against Chelsea and could be much busier against a lesser opponent this time around.

Ashley Young, DEF, Aston Villa

FanDuel Salary: $11

Despite the defender position tag, Young operated as an attacking-mid on the left side of Villa's 4-2-3-1 formation in their season opener against Watford. He is expected to fulfill a similar assignment versus Newcastle this weekend, and his salary of $9 is an excellent value for that projected role.

Both Villa and Newcastle had adventurous opening fixtures, netting two goals each but conceding three and four goals, respectively. Newcastle allowed 18 shots against West Ham, tied for the third-most from Matchweek 1, and should provide a nice bounce-back opportunity for Young and Villa in their first home match of the season.

Young created two chances, drew two fouls and had two interceptions against Watford in the opener. Look for him to be involved on both ends of the pitch this weekend in a potentially open game between two sides that conceded a combined seven goals in their opening fixtures. Like Ayew, Young's salary is affordable and fits in well alongside lineups that stack City's high-salary studs.