FanDuel Soccer: EPL DFS Helper for Sunday 5/22/22
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It's the final day, and we've got 10 games. Every year, this is my favorite slate of the year. Ten matches going on at once. It's going to be awesome.
With such a large slate, I'm going to write up this primer a little differently than usual in an effort to cover the slate well but keep you from having to carve out two hours to read through this article.
Checking starting lineups will be imperative, so plan on being locked in at 10 a.m. EST. Some sides have nothing to play for, so we could see some teams rotate heavily.
A 10-match slate is a once-a-year occurrence, and it should impact how you do things. We have no shortage of routes we can take, and the massive player pool should -- for the most part -- keep draft percentages pretty spread out. With so many goals on the slate, you need to shoot for upside more than ever if you want to win -- read: you need goals. And there's also a big opportunity cost to stacking attackers as it will limit your exposure to (at most) three sides in your forward/midfield spots. I won't be stacking attackers in the majority of my lineups.
Teams I Most Want Exposure To
Manchester City -- City have it all to play for. If they win, they capture the league title, so they'll be full throttle at home against Villa. It's not a cakewalk matchup, but City are City. As is almost always the case with City, anyone who starts in an attacking spot for them is worth a look. Kevin De Bruyne ($21) has been phenomenal down the stretch. Riyad Mahrez ($18) might still be on pens while Bernardo Silva ($17) and Phil Foden ($18) are also standout options.
Liverpool -- The Reds can win the title if they take three points and City slip up, so Liverpool will be pedal to the metal. They're at home against Wolves. It's a similar matchup to City's -- not an easy one but also one in which Liverpool should prevail. Mohamed Salah ($21) is looking doubtful, so the Reds' front three figures to be Luis Diaz ($18) and Sadio Mane ($19) along with one of Diogo Jota ($18) or Roberto Firmino ($17). Salah's likely absence opens up penalty duties. Fabinho ($11) would probably be next in line, but he's also doubtful. James Milner ($8) may handle spot kicks if he starts. If Milner isn't out there, my hunch is Mane will be the guy.
Tottenham -- This continues the theme of zeroing in on good sides with a lot on the line as Tottenham can clinch a top-four spot with a win at Norwich. The matchup is a great one. Norwich have been a sieve all campaign. Even on a slate where I won't stack much, there's a case to be made for pairing Harry Kane ($20) and Hueng-min Son ($21). They've been in form and can erupt in this matchup. If you want to buy into a narrative, Son can tie for the EPL scoring title with one goal or take it for himself with two (assuming Salah sits). Maybe Kane lets Son take a penalty late if Spurs get one and the match is already decided. Dejan Kulusevski ($17) is a fun pivot off Spurs' star duo.
Chelsea -- The Blues wrap up their season at home against relegated Watford. The catch with Chelsea is they have jack squat to play for and are big candidates for squad rotation after playing Thursday. But, Watford also have nothing on the line, and if the Blues field a strong XI and are at it, they could score a handful. I don't think Chelsea will be as popular as the aforementioned sides who have supreme motivation, particularly after the Blues didn't look that good Thursday at home against Leicester. Mason Mount ($20) paces Chelsea in goals (11) and assists (10).
Other Best High-Salary Attackers
Bukayo Saka ($19) -- Arsenal get Everton at home, and Arsenal need to win and hope Spurs lose, so the Gunners will be rearing to go. Safe from relegation, the Toffees could let their foot off the gas after an emotional win Thursday to seal their top-flight status. It's a matchup in which the Gunners can score a few, and Saka has been really good this year, totaling 11 goals and six assists. The goals lead the team while the assists are one off the team-high mark.
Jamie Vardy ($18) -- Vardy and Leicester are home to Southampton, and this match could wind up being fantastic for DFS. Neither side has anything to play for, and both managers are pretty attack-minded. I can see this turning into a goal-fest, and Vardy can take advantage. He's in superb form, racking up four goals across his past three matches. You can also look to James Maddison ($17) for upside on the Foxes. Maddison has a goal in three straight with two assists in that time. He's red-hot.
James Ward-Prowse ($17) -- The Saints' attacking options make sense, as well, on the flip side of that match. Ward-Prowse is a set-piece maven, and that lifts both his floor and ceiling in DFS. Leicester City failed to keep a clean sheet in recent matches against Everton and Watford, so Southampton should have chances to score.
High-Upside Attackers Who Could Go Overlooked
Cristiano Ronaldo ($20) -- It's rare that we can ever say Ronaldo shapes up as a contrarian play, but I think it might be the case on this slate. There are so many high-salary options in better spots, and with United limping home after a tough season, CR7 shouldn't be a chalk play in a road matchup with a Palace side that's conceded the seventh-fewest goals this year. But Ronaldo offers as high of a ceiling as anyone on the slate, and he's capable of a hat trick every time he steps onto the pitch. Plus, Palace just gave up three second-half goals at Goodison on Thursday and might be fatigued.
Ivan Toney ($17) -- Toney is my favorite GPP play of the slate. The Bees have a delightful matchup with Leeds, and although Brentford have nothing to play for and Leeds have their EPL lives on the line, Brentford should be able to make the net bulge. Leeds have surrendered the second-most goals this season, and Toney -- who is on pens -- has flashed massive upside. Salaried near the stars from Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham -- the sides that will likely be popular -- Toney is primed to be under-rostered.
Raphinha ($17) -- As Leeds' season took a turn for the worse this year, it has taken Raphinha's fantasy value with it as defenses have been able to key in on the Brazilian winger, who is often forced to drop deep to get on the ball. That has taken him away from dangerous areas and made it tougher for him to produce fantasy points. With that said, he's super talented, and if the Leeds-Brentford match becomes an open affair, he could thrive. He's not going to see much love on this slate.
Top Value Attackers
Harvey Barnes ($14) and Ademola Lookman ($11) -- These two are a great way to get exposure to Leicester. Neither started Thursday, so they should be ready to roll on Sunday. Facing a Southampton defense that has shipped the fourth-most goals, Leicester is my favorite side to get a piece of outside of the top-notch squads with a lot on the line. Barnes has posted two goals and three assists over his last two starts. Lookman has been quieter but is worth a look if he starts in the forward line.
Joe Gelhardt ($11) and Rodrigo ($13) -- If Leeds find themselves trailing, they'll have to get really aggressive in an effort to get back in the game. They need at least a point -- maybe more depending on what Burnley does -- to survive the drop. Rodrigo has six goals this year for Leeds and played as a number-10 last time out. Gelhardt has worked his way into a starting role, serving as the number-nine in Leeds' last match. There's also a chance striker Patrick Bamford ($14) returns. He hasn't played in roughly a month, so Bamford would be difficult to trust.
Bryan Mbeumo ($12) -- Leeds are already bad defensively, so if they have to push forward and chase the game, they're going to be really vulnerable. I already professed my love for Toney, but if you need to save some salary, Mbeumo is decent dart throw at a goal if he starts.
Ashley Barnes ($10) -- Barnes cashed a crucial penalty on Thursday for the Clarets, and Burnley are desperate for another result this time out. At home against an in-form Newcastle side, Burnley may have a hard time creating chances, but they will have no choice but to push forward if the Magpies get out front. If the Clarets win, they stay up. If they lose or tie, their fate depends on what happens with Leeds.
Kenedy ($5) -- This is wishful thinking. Kenedy probably won't get in Chelsea's starting lineup, but if he does, he'll be an incredible value. Of the elite sides in favorable matchups, Chelsea are the only team lacking motivation, so they are the one most likely to rotate and give us a value attacker. The Blues have been hard to trust of late. I can see them running rampant over Watford. I could also see them playing out a boring, low-scoring affair. I am willing to roll the dice on the former.
My priority on this slate is to get the attackers I want, so I will be going with value players in defense. If some teams rotate squads, we could have a bunch of low-salary defenders to choose from, and we already have more value defenders than usual due to slate size.
Of the expected starters, Calum Chambers ($9), Adam Masina ($8), Christian Kabasele ($7), Willy Boly ($8), Conor Coady ($9), Dimitris Giannoulis ($8) and Max Aarons ($8) are low-salary plays who should be able to generate around double-digit FanDuel points. They're all on sides that should be under siege against a top-notch foe. For the most part, I'll get my two defenders from that group unless those sides give us other low-salary defenders.
Liam Cooper ($11) and Grant Hanley ($12) have great floors if you have a little more salary to spend on a defender.
On the other end of the defender pool, Trent Alexander-Arnold ($15), Andy Robertson ($15), Joao Cancelo ($15), Reece James ($14) and Marcos Alonso ($14) offer immense attacking upside as full-backs in nice matchups. I just probably won't have the salary to get to them unless we get some sweet unexpected value attackers. If I do, James and Alonso are the ones I most covet. Alonso had 27.3 FanDuel points Thursday while James registered 22.3. Outside of Mount, those two are the most reliable DFS options on Chelsea.
We have 20 starting goalies available to us, and we need to roster just one. That should keep draft percentages extremely spread out. Also, this has sometimes been a day when managers will give backup keepers a run-out if their teams aren't playing for anything. A lot of backup keepers have the same salary as the starter, but some of the third-stringers are extreme values. That's something to watch for as plugging in a $5 keeper gives you a lot of flexibility with the rest of your lineup.
Ederson ($14), Alisson ($14), Hugo Lloris ($13) and Edouard Mendy ($13) have the best chances to get a win and clean sheet. Of that group, Allison and Lloris are the ones I'm most into -- especially Alisson. The Reds need a win and are facing a Wolves attack that has underwhelmed this campaign. You can say the same for Spurs' matchup with Norwich, but I don't trust Spurs' defense as much as I do Liverpool's.
David Raya ($11) has a cozy matchup with Leeds. The hangup here is that Leeds are desperate for a point and will throw bodies forward if they're behind. But over the last five matches, Leeds have mustered just two goals and have been blanked three times.
Nick Pope ($10) is at home against a Newcastle side that's been outstanding since January. It's a tough matchup. But I'm bullish on Pope for two reasons -- he is pretty talented, and Burnley will be desperate to keep a clean sheet. The Clarets will stay up if they get a win. If they lose or tie, there's a chance they get relegated. So if Burnley get a lead, they'll do everything they can to keep it, which likely means putting a lot of bodies in front of Pope.