FanDuel Soccer: EPL DFS Under-the-Radar Plays for 9/18/21
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 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.
Crystal Palace (+1300) at Liverpool (-550)
Over 2.5 Goals: -205 | Most Likely to Score: Salah (-210)
Arsenal (+100) at Burnley (+280)
Over 2.5 Goals: +102 | Most Likely to Score: Aubameyang/Lacazette (+150)
Southampton (+1900) at Manchester City (-800)
Over 2.5 Goals: -280 | Most Likely to Score: Jesus (-125)
Watford (+240) at Norwich (+120)
Over 2.5 Goals: +118 | Most Likely to Score: Pukki (+130)
Everton (+200) at Aston Villa (+140)
Over 2.5 Goals: -106 | Most Likely to Score: Ings (+105)
Matchweek 5 features three big-six sides, with Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal all in action. Arsenal is hanging on to their place in that category by a thread after a rocky start to the season, but they did manage a win over Norwich last weekend to secure their first points of the campaign.
At -800 to win, Manchester City is the largest favorite on the slate, while Mohamed Salah ($23) has the best odds to score at -210.
Liverpool (-550 to win) trail behind City, followed by Arsenal (+100 to win). Norwich (+120 to win) and Aston Villa (+140 to win) round out the slate.
This slate centers on Manchester City and Liverpool, both of whom are large home favorites. Both sides are coming off midweek wins in the Champions League over difficult opposition, and the salaries of their stars are relatively even at the top of the forward/midfielder player pool.
With that in mind, here are three players to consider on this slate -- especially for tournament formats -- who may fly under the radar.
Teemu Pukki, FWD/MID, Norwich
FanDuel Salary: $18
Much like Wolves entering Matchweek 4, Norwich has had a brutal schedule to open their season, and they finally get a chance to play a side closer to their talent level. Norwich opened the season with four consecutive losses to Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester City, and Arsenal. They were blown out in the first two matches but lost by just a goal in the last two. Watford, who have lost three in a row after an opening-week win against Aston Villa, will be Norwich's easiest fixture of the season to this point by a wide margin.
As you may have guessed given his opposition to start the season, Pukki has gotten off to a slow start. He has FanDuel point totals of 6.3, 3.9, 28, and 1.3 so far this year, with his one goal coming on a penalty kick against Leicester. He should have a chance to add a second on Saturday versus a Watford side that has yet to keep a clean sheet this season and has conceded multiple goals to Aston Villa, Wolves, and Brighton.
At +130, Pukki has the best odds to score in this fixture and better odds than both of Arsenal's leading strikers (+145). With Liverpool and Manchester City in action as massive favorites, the highest-salaried players on the slate are likely to be popular, which should draw attention away from mid-to-high salaried options like Pukki.
John McGinn, FWD/MID, Aston Villa
FanDuel Salary: $13
Outside of Liverpool and Manchester City, Everton's stars are likely to generate the most interest on Saturday following their scorching hot start to the season. Despite said start, they are still underdogs on the road against Aston Villa, which could provide an opportunity for some of Villa's starters -- including McGinn -- to go overlooked.
McGinn missed Villa's third match due to COVID-19 protocols but has started and played the full 90 in the other three, recording FanDuel point totals of 26.5, 12.9, and 21.1. Villa's formation will be important for his outlook this weekend, with the ideal situation being either a 4-3-3 or a 5-3-2 as opposed to a 4-2-3-1 that would likely see him take up a more defensive role in the midfield. Either way, McGinn has taken the majority of set-pieces for Villa this season, splitting free kick work evenly with Emiliano Buendia ($15) and overtaking him on corner kicks.
At a salary of just $13, McGinn fits in well alongside some of the high-salaried stars from Liverpool and Manchester City. He can provide salary relief while getting you exposure to the primary set-piece taker on a slight home favorite that is expected to fly under the radar. He has an impressive seven chances created in his last two starts and could be paired with Ollie Watkins ($18) in lineups that opt to exclude Teemu Pukki and are looking for another striker in his salary range.
Dwight McNeil, FWD/MID, Burnley
FanDuel Salary: $14
A narrow one-goal victory over Norwich last weekend hardly proves that Arsenal has turned the corner. The Gunners are favorites on the road in this one, but until they prove they can consistently perform at the level of a true big-six side, they are worth targeting for under-the-radar options. After all, this is still a side that has scored one goal and conceded nine through four matches.
Of course, Burnley has had their issues, as well, with just a single point gained through four games. Despite the Clarets' struggles, McNeil has been a consistent producer, putting up FanDuel point totals of 11.2, 17.1, 16.4, and 23.6 while operating on the left side of a 4-4-2 formation. McNeil has started and played the full 90 in each of Burnley's last three matches and is heavily involved in both free kicks and corners.
He has seven shots in his last three games, including three on goal last time out against Everton. Combine that with his seven chances created so far this season and McNeil has delivered everything but the final product. He is a risky option but one who has produced consistently and is likely to go overlooked due to his opposition and the star power available on this slate.