FanDuel Soccer: EPL DFS Helper for Saturday 8/28/21
Southampton (+180) at Newcastle (+145)
Over 2.5 Goals: -124 | Most Likely to Score: Wilson (+120)
Crystal Palace (+500) at West Ham (-175)
Over 2.5 Goals: -116 | Most Likely to Score: Antonio (+110)
Everton (+230) at Brighton (+130)
Over 2.5 Goals: +126 | Most Likely to Score: Maupay (+185)
Leicester (-115) at Norwich (+340)
Over 2.5 Goals: -128 | Most Likely to Score: Vardy (-110)
Brentford (+280) at Aston Villa (-105)
Over 2.5 Goals: -104 | Most Likely to Score: Ings (-115)
Chelsea (+190) at Liverpool (+150)
Over 2.5 Goals: +106 | Most Likely to Score: Salah (+130)
This is a pretty wide open slate, and those are always fun. With no team better than -175 to win, stacking isn't really in play, according to a study I did last year. No fixture is better than -128 to go over 2.5 goals, so we're short on good fantasy environments all around. The headline bout between Chelsea and Liverpool isn't likely to see many goals.
Going by anytime goal odds, three attackers stand out -- Danny Ings ($20; -115), Jamie Vardy ($22; -110), and Michail Antonio ($21; +110).
Ings carries the slate's best goal odds and gets a nice home matchup with promoted Brentford. While the Bees haven't conceded yet this season, they have permitted 2.1 expected goals (xG), per FBRef, and Villa is -105 to score two-plus goals, which is the third-best odds on the slate. Ings has two goals already and is going to be a chalk play. Although he definitely checks a lot of boxes, he's pretty reliant on goals for DFS production (nine EPL assists in 83 starts since moving to Southampton), and it looks like Anwar El Ghazi ($16; +185) is the first-choice penalty taker I'll be pivoting off Ings to one of his lesser popular Villa teammates -- El Ghazi, Ollie Watkins ($19; +175) or Emiliano Buendia ($16; +210).
Antonio is +110 to score, and that feels a touch low. Dude has three goals and two assists already, posting FanDuel outputs of 65.6 and 36.3. The Irons are home to a Crystal Palace side that hasn't shown much through two weeks. West Ham are a slate-best -160 to score at least two goals. Antonio might wind up with the slate's highest draft percentage. The blemishes with him are that he's probably not on penalties (didn't take one in the league last campaign), and West Ham have a few other enticing options in Jarrod Bowen ($16; +175), Tomas Soucek ($16; +240) and Said Benrahma ($18; +280) -- all of whom are lower in salary and won't be as popular. Bowen is one of my favorite plays on the slate, and I'll have more of him than I do Antonio.
Vardy is at Norwich, and Leicester are -135 to score two-plus goals. He's another guy who will probably be a go-to play for the masses. A consistent and proven scorer in the EPL, Vardy has already opened his 2021-22 account and could have a field day against a Canaries defense that has shipped eight goals through two matches -- although they've faced a gauntlet of Liverpool and City. Vardy put three shots on target and scored versus Wolves in Matchweek 1. He could do something similar Saturday and will be on pens.
I didn't include Callum Wilson ($18; +120) in that tier mostly because I have a hard time trusting Newcastle, but he's undoubtedly in a good spot at home to Southampton. Wilson's goal odds are there, and this match is a decent -124 to go over 2.5 goals. The Saints have surrendered 3.9 xG so far, the fourth-most, and the Magpies are a decent +110 to score at least twice.
As I mentioned early on, the Chelsea-Liverpool showdown doesn't look like a great environment for fantasy. It's only +106 to go over 2.5 goals -- the second-lowest odds on the slate -- and we know how stout Chelsea have been defensively since Thomas Tuchel took over. Could one of these sides go off? Yeah, for sure. But I'll mostly stay away from the attackers in this match. With that said, this could be a chance to get guys like Mohamed Salah ($21; +130), Sadio Mane ($19; +220), and Romelu Lukaku ($20; +155) at modest draft percentages, so if you see goals in this game, go for it.
Added time -- Southampton are appealing to me in their match at Newcastle. Newcastle have give up four goals to West Ham and two against Villa. Che Adams ($18; +220) has the Saints' top goal odds. ... The Brighton-Everton match should be a good game but not a fun one for fantasy. It's a slate-worst +126 to go over 2.5 goals. ... Brentford's Ivan Toney ($16; +185) carries solid goal odds and a modest salary. He can be trouble for Villa's defense, and he may slip through the cracks on this slate.
Ricardo Pereira ($14) and Matt Ritchie ($14) are full-backs who offer attacking upside.
Ritchie has also been superb through two matches, generating 18.9 and 20.3 FanDuel points while creating nine total chances. He's done that without the five-point clean-sheet bonus in either outing. Ritchie gets a big boost from his work on corners and set pieces, and you can roll the dice and stack him with Wilson if you want to shoot for upside. Against Southampton, Ritchie should be able to keep his good start going.
Pereira will see a Norwich side that usually plays an open style, which should give him space to run into down the wing. He was a top DFS producer before suffering a knee injury in 2020, and he's hit the ground running this campaign, averaging 15.3 FanDuel points per match thus far.
Dropping down a bit in salary, I'm super into West Ham's Aaron Cresswell ($12) and Vladimir Coufal ($11) as well as Villa's Ashley Young ($11) and Matty Cash ($12). Both Villa and West Ham have nice matchups that should allow for their full-backs to get forward. Cresswell handles some set-piece work while Coufal has totaled 16.5 and 16.4 FanDuel points in his two games. Depending on how Villa line up, Young could be in midfield like he was in their opener. Cash has scored 14.1 and 13.4 FanDuel points through two matchweeks.
If Brandon Williams ($6) starts for Norwich, he'd be a quality value target. With Everton playing on the road against a Brighton side that's good in possession, Yerry Mina ($7) and Mason Holgate ($8) should have respectable floors at their lowly salaries.
Added time -- Trent Alexander-Arnold ($15) has a high ceiling every time he plays, so even in a difficult matchup against Chelsea, he could have a spike game, and it would likely come at a lowish draft percentage. ... Palace's Cheikhou Kouyate ($10) and Norwich's Grant Hanley ($10) should be busy as underdogs. ... Ryan Bertrand ($9) needs to be on our radar if he's able to play.
The best win (-175) and clean-sheet odds (+120) belong to West Ham's Lukasz Fabianski ($12). When you add in his easy-to-like salary, Fabianski is the slate's top keeper play in his date with a Palace side that hasn't scored yet this campaign. As such, he'll likely be the chalk goalie selection. If you want to fade him for that reason, I get it (and may do the same), but he's unquestionably a dope pick.
Emiliano Martinez ($11) is a worthy pivot option. Villa are +172 to blank Brentford -- the slate's second-best clean-sheet odds -- and they're -105 to win. The Bees have finished with 1.3 and 0.9 xG through two matches in the top flight, so Martinez offers a great mix of solid clean-sheet chances and save volume.
Since I'm mostly off the attackers from the Chelsea-Liverpool matchup, I'm intrigued by both keepers -- especially at their salaries. Alisson ($11) and Edouard Mendy ($9) are both considerably lower in salary than usual. Alisson shapes up as the better option between the two. Liverpool are +225 to keep a clean sheet and are slight +150 favorites while the Blues are +260 to keep the Reds from scoring.
Added time -- The top-salaried keeper is Kasper Schmeichel ($13). He's at Norwich, and the Canaries' attacking mindset should force him into action. However, Schmeichel's +184 clean-sheet odds are only the fourth-best. He's a tough sell at his salary. ... Brighton's Robert Sanchez ($10) is +178 to shut out Everton. Brighton's defense is pretty stout, but Everton have some attacking talent. This match is an ugly +126 to go over 2.5 goals, so it's a place to hunt for a clean sheet.