SOCCER

DraftKings Soccer: EPL DFS Helper for 9/25/21

We’ve got a four-game slate this week in the Premier League, but unlike last week none of the big teams are playing on it. Let’s look at the games, with odds from FanDuel Sportsbook:

HomeDrawAway
Leicester (-165)+290Burnley (+500)
Watford (+115)+240Newcastle (+250)
Leeds (+210)+260West Ham (+120)
Everton (-165)+290Norwich (+480)

Forwards to Target

Raphinha ($9,100): Raphinha has been a standout performer for Leeds even as they’ve had a slow start to the season. He’s the only player on the team with more than one goal this season. However, he’s not a player who has to score goals to get fantasy points.

Raphinha’s peripheral stats were strong last season, and they continue to be strong this campaign. He’s averaging more shots and crosses per 90 minutes than he did last season, according to Rotowire. Those peripheral stats total up to about 10 DraftKings points a game, a number we haven’t seen Raphinha below in any outing this season.

Leeds love to attack no matter who they are playing, as we’ve seen in games against Manchester United and Liverpool this season. That bodes well for Raphinha, as the fact that they are underdogs doesn’t hurt his fantasy outlook much.

Even though this is a lot of salary for a player we are playing mostly for his floor, the lack of high-total games or forwards who have great goal-scoring odds make it acceptable on this slate.

Dwight McNeil ($7,500): We haven’t had a good spot to use Dwight McNeil yet this season, but this could be one of them. He’s always one of our favorite forwards in the midrange, because he is a consistent crosser. That hasn’t changed this season, as he currently leads the Premier League with 45 crosses.

McNeil’s matchup with Leicester City isn’t as difficult as we might have imagined it to be heading into the season. Leicester have allowed the fourth-most shots per game and the second-most crosses, per WhoScored.com. We saw McNeil have 16 crosses in a tough matchup against Arsenal, so he can certainly get there in this one.

McNeil accumulates points in a similar way to Raphinha but with less of a ceiling. The same context of the slate applies to McNeil that did to Raphinha, making the Burnley player's high floor acceptable in all formats.

Joshua King ($5,300): If you're hunting for a goal in the depths of the forward position, you could do worse than Josh King. He is yet to score in two starts and four total appearances this season but has the perfect matchup should he get the start this week.

Watford face Newcastle at home and are favored. Newcastle have been hanging on for dear life at the back so far this season, allowing the most shots per game and conceding the second-most goals. King has any time goal-scoring odds of +190, which are pretty good for a player of this salary. King is a solid punt option in tournaments if you want a player who probably won't be popular and could bag a goal.

Others to consider: Jamie Vardy ($9,600), Allan Saint-Maximin ($8,300), Tyler Roberts ($4,900)

Midfielders to Target

Youri Tielemans: ($7,700): The midfielders are odd on this slate. We don't have the likes of Bruno Fernandes or Kevin De Bruyne to spend our salary on, and most of the midfielders with high salaries are also forward-eligible. This makes it hard to find those midfielders with high floors that we like to play. We can look to Youri Tielemans as someone who has a decent floor, albeit one that can come into question depending on how Leicester line up.

With Ayoze Pérez returning from suspension, he should take over for Marc Albrighton on the right-wing, which would mean Tielemans would take over Albrighton's corner kicks. Tielemans had the corner responsibility in the last league match and had eight crosses to go along with five shots and an assist. The matchup with Burnley is a good one for Leicester, as Burnley are the worst possession team in the league.

Tielemans should be able to get forward in this game, and he tends to score more than the average central-midfield player. If he has set pieces and can nab a goal or an assist, Tielemans has slate-winning upside.

Tom Cleverley ($5,300): Cleverley has been a valuable fantasy asset to start the season. He's taken over the set-pieces for the Hornets and took all seven of them in their game last week. He's scored no fewer than 6.5 points in his three starts in this league campaign.

Against Newcastle, Cleverley's floor should be even higher than normal. With Newcastle allowing a ton of shots, there should be opportunity for a creative player like Cleverley to get shot assists. Given the nature of the slate, Cleverley is the type of player we can feel fine about rostering this week.

Billy Gilmour ($3,800): Gilmour is a similar play to Cleverley, but he's on an underdog team, so his salary is lower. He had a breakout performance last week against Watford, going for 13.3 DraftKings points. Norwich are fairly sizable underdogs here, but Everton do have a number of injuries, so the game may be a competitive one. Gilmour should be able to squeeze out at least the 5.3 points he was averaging before the last game, and for $3,800 on this slate, that makes him useful.

Others to consider: Pablo Fornals ($7,100), Harvey Barnes ($5,600), Dan James ($4,700)

Defenders to Target

Lucas Digne ($6,400): Digne is listed as questionable but appears to be set to play. He is the defender with the highest salary on the slate, but he doesn't have the same astronomical salary we saw for Trent Alexander-Arnold last week or some of the defender salaries we got in the Champions League. Digne may not be quite on the same level as those players, but we know he is capable of producing fantasy points from the backline.

Digne was sixth in the league in crosses last season and is tied for ninth so far this year. He'll face a Norwich side that has conceded the most goals in the league through five games, allowing 14 thus far. Digne should be able to bomb forward from his left-back position, and the Everton attack could run through him with the number of missing players they will have.

You should be able to fit Digne into your lineups with the lack of enticing high-salary options on this slate. He can easily be considered a priority in a lot of lineup builds this week.

Matt Ritchie ($5,400): It's not been a good start to the season for Newcastle. They haven't won any of their five matches in the Premier League, and fans are quite unhappy with the situation. The good news is that it hasn't hurt Matt Ritchie's fantasy value so far, as he's had at least nine DraftKings points in four of five games. He has a near monopoly of corner kicks for Toon, taking 19 of 23 corners they've had this season.

Even with Newcastle being underdogs in this match, this is their easiest match (on paper) so far. Ritchie was able to get 9.2 points at Old Trafford against Manchester United, so an away match against Watford shouldn't faze him. With the options lacking at other positions, playing two of the defenders with higher salaries like Digne and Ritchie makes a lot of sense.

Ryan Bertrand ($4,400): Bertrand is an occasional set-piece taker for Leicester when he is in the lineup. Leicester could use this matchup with Burnley as a get-right spot, as their attack has been less than impressive so far. Against the team that is the worst in the EPL from a possession standpoint, Bertrand should be involved in the attack, and if he does get on some set pieces, he's a bargain at $4,400.

Others to consider: Aaron Cresswell ($5,500), Adam Masina ($4,000), Ben Godfrey ($3,500)

Goalkeepers to Target

Ben Foster ($5,100): With no team favored to keep a clean sheet, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to allocate a lot of salary to goalkeeper this week. Ben Foster is a solid option for $5,100. He won his first match of the season last week and is favored to win again this week. Newcastle will be without their main striker, Callum Wilson, who has scored two of their six league goals this season. Foster is a fine pick and one who shouldn't get blown up in this matchup.

Tim Krul ($3,900): If you are looking for a punt play at the hardest position to predict in fantasy soccer, Tim Krul is probably the best one to do it with. Yes, Norwich have conceded the most goals in the league, but they've also faced some of the best teams in the EPL to start the season.

Now, Krul and Norwich go up against an Everton team without Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, their two main goal threats. The Toffees couldn't score with those two out last week against Aston Villa, a team that isn't known for being strong defensively.

We've seen bigger underdogs at this salary in the past, so the fact that these games are all fairly close on paper means the underdog keepers are better values than normal. It makes it acceptable to play any keeper, and saving salary for other positions could be the way to go.



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.