Welcome to the 11th weekend of EPL action and another edition of my EPL Player Pool, brought to you by a some not so humble folks @Rotopros.com.
This slate is all about keeping it tight. There are such few viable keepers, defenders, and forwards that if you focus your pool down to a few super viable options and use them at high exposure there’s no limit to what you can take down this slate.
The big thing to note on this slate however is the time change. Everything is an hour later (giving people more of a chance to wake up), and in the case of Spurs v Wolves it’s only the 4th time in league history a game has kicked off so late into the(ir) night.
With Champions League just around the corner, let’s take a look at my player pool list for the main EPL slate on DK, but not really FD with that extra game.
Good luck, have fun! And see you at the top!
Keeper, Leicester City
Easiest win of the slate.
When you are looking for safety at a discount there aren’t many keepers like Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel.
Schmeichel should be the safest win this slate. Before finding the first win of the season vs. Fulham, Cardiff had been absolutely dismal in terms of production and results. This pick isn’t for GPP, it’s a cash play. The fact is Leicester/Schmeichel are borderline incapable of keeping a clean sheet. Outside games vs. Wolves and Newcastle (two of the three lowest scoring teams in the league) the Foxes have conceded in every game, even against Huddersfield. So, Schmeichel shouldn’t have a ceiling from the lack of a clean sheet, but at the same time he carries a safe win, some saves, and if we get lucky because of a Cardiff bad day (which isn’t that crazy of a script) we may pull off a clean sheet for cash. My bigger issues are around every other keeper in his range having a far higher chance of conceding, from Pickford to Alisson it’s a potential goal fest. Therefore, for cash I’ll take the win, and considering they are up against Cardiff? Hard to look past Schmeichel for cash.
When you are looking for that safe win in cash, it should be coming from Leicester City’s keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Side note: I really didn’t want to bring this up, honestly. But Schmeichel was one of the first people on the crash site. If you missed the news; after last week’s game the Leicester City owner’s helicopter crashed in the parking lot, killing him and others. Leicester should absolutely shamblize Cardiff to the tune of 5+ goals. The team considers this an absolute must win. This is all a GPP script, it’s better kept there, but it’s very very real, and can be loosely applied after considering their cash upsides.
BEN FOSTER/MARTIN Dubravka
Keeper, Watford/Newcastle United
Going back to the well….again….again.
I swear this isn’t a homer pick, but this slate Watford’s Ben Foster is once again a top keeper play.
I have two legitimate takes for this game. The first is Newcastle haven’t scored in ages, so even before we consider his salary, ownership, stacking options, or team form, Foster is a strong chance to get a clean sheet and a win. Newcastle (on avg) has the very rock bottom worst shooting percentage in the league, but a lot of this has to do with them being top five in both crossing and shots and bottom three in goals. They are also without a win and the 2nd last place in the league standings. What this equates to is Ben Foster seeing a ton of work against a team that can’t convert. That literally describes his last slate score. All Ben Foster needs is for his team to score a couple times and he will be fine. Considering the vast majority of Newcastle games have finished as a 2-1 opposition victory, that could even be the safest bet.
Feel to obvious yet? Me too.
Honestly, the past couple of weeks of DFS have been a mess. Everything can’t happen the way it’s supposed to every game, otherwise anyone who knew what could happen would always win. I know what should happen, and it hasn’t. I know Foster should shut out Newcastle for the win. Therefore, Newcastle are probably winning this game.
That’s my second take. For what it’s worth, above is what I know should happen. What I think will happen is Watford will struggle on the massive trip north and Newcastle will find their first result of the season giving keeper Martin Dubravka GPP relevance. Nothing speaks more to me about this week than Newcastle finding a result. All things considered, Dubravka hasn’t conceded more than a couple goals a game for most of the season, so are we really taking on that much risk for GPP? If there was any team in the league, literally anyone else, it’s Watford who are due for regression. Their fouls and card issues can only go unnoticed for so long. It is only a matter of time before they take a red card and is left scrambling for what would have otherwise been a simple cash script win. Watford’s make-shift forward line has also gone well overboard, it’s another case of “only a matter of time” before that doesn’t work out.
In any case, you can use either keeper this slate. My preference would be the Watford option in Ben Foster (since he stacks with Holebas) in cash, but in GPP the duo fade is just as safe for some of Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka and Yedlin, or just Dubravka alone.
JOE HART/LUKAS FABIANSKI
Keeper, Burnley/West Ham United
Classic “keeper leads the league in saves” scenario.
It’s really hard to give a take on this game, because both Burnley and West Ham have been mingling #bad teams all season, but in terms of options from this slate both their keepers in Joe Hart and Lukas Fabianski respectively offer some really interesting upside for us to consider.
Now, to be clear, both these keepers are GPP only. The main reason they lead the league in saves is because they also play for a not-so-good team that allows a ton of action. In recent weeks Joe Hart has been making some incredible saves and is giving serious suggestion that he not only still has it, but could still offer more to the national side. Lukas Fabianski has been silently stellar as well, keeping most games under a goal and suffering from a complete lack of attacking support. However, if I was to give the upper hand it would be to Hart. West Ham are dealing with a wash of injuries and haven’t been playing well at all. Burnley on the other hand have Robbie Brady back, and the team crosses the ball at such frequency they a borderline cash plays.
Both keepers warrant consideration because of how well they are playing. In the case of DFS we have to consider their success scripts. What does Hart need from 4.1k, or what does Fabz need from his salary? As mentioned, with salary included Hart is the obvious choice, but if Cresswell starts we need to stack him and Fabz at least once.
In any case, make sure to try both of these keepers at low exposure. West Ham’s Lukas Fabianski’s salary is too high for me, and considering Burnley’s Joe Hart’s past history we also need to consider how sustainable these saves can be in a cash script. GPP for me.
Keeper, Brighton & Hove ALbion
Sneaky clean sheet streak.
Just throwing this out there in case nobody looked.
Check out Brighton’s Mat Ryan’s recent scores, and try to tell me: considering the aformentioned Watford “week long DFS” take from above, how he doesn’t make the best GPP play of the slate? Exactly.
Cross machine #1, my 3rd choice.
Now, if you were to ask me, which you kind of are, Everton’s Lucas Digne’s salary is far too expensive on DK, and he’s priced as the home favourite, not as the best defender option.
In any case, he has been crossing the ball with ease and racking up double digit counts consistently enough to warrant said salary. However, as mentioned above the likelihood of an Everton clean sheet bonus is pretty low, so while Digne may cross the ball 10+ times, his ceiling (which is absolutely needed from that salary in GPP) will be cut. Keep Digne and his crosses to cash, it’s safer and you don’t need a special script to succeed. If you take him in GPP you are starting to reach for a script you never needed. He isn’t my favorite defender cash option, but if you find yourself in a situation where you want to trio spend-up on defenders by all means get Digne in as well.
Everton’s Lucas Digne may be expensive, but he is also massively reliable and going into the week as the biggest home favorite. He may not be GPP relevant, but on this slate he’s one of the better cash options from his salary, not only his position.
Cross machine #2, my 1st choice.
Just look at those cross counts, incredible.
Look at all those fouls and yellow cards, incredible.
I’d love to take this in GPP and stack with Foster, and probably will, but don’t be oblivious to the insane risk he carries at starting -2.5 within the opening 10min forcing you to claw your way back to min-cash a GPP. This is fine in cash because you don’t need the BEST score to win, but that will ruin you in GPP.
Keep Watford’s Jose Holebas to cash because he carries far too much risk to be consistently trusted in GPP. That risk is minimized in cash, but amplified in GPP.
Defender, Leicester City
Definition of consistency, my 2nd choice.
Next on the list we have the instant stacking option with Schmeichel or someone to roll with on his own; Leicester City’s only left back this season, Ben Chilwell.
That’s right, he’s played literally every second of every EPL game this season. Not only that but he has possessed an excellent cross floor and rarely gets into foul trouble. This pick goes all sorts of ways, he’s awesome, he has everything going for him, he’s not too expensive, and he stacks with one of the better keeper options of the slate. It’s hard not to lock in Chilwell as the main defender play this slate because of his salary and stacking upside. He doesn’t have the double digit crossing consistency, but he plays on a better team with a better chance to win, I’ll generally choose that every time.
When you are looking for an easy and safe game scripts for either format, the first defender you should consider is Ben Chilwell. But, in terms of cash he is a near lock.
Defenders, Brighton & Hove Albion
Low salary but decent floors.
Very quickly wanted to touch on the Brighton wing back duo of Bong and Bruno.
They aren’t great plays. They aren’t going to get you super value, nor will they find double digit floors in any relevant category. However, they are both dirt cheap, will probably score you 4-6, and stack with the super sneaky Mat Ryan.
Like I said, this isn’t my favorite nor first take, but when you desperately need to spend down and not get a goosegg, look at who Brighton is starting at wing backs, and take either Bong or Bruno and spend up wisely elsewhere.
Because you don’t have a choice.
We really don’t have a choice for this weekend, the only high end play from this slate is Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
There really isn’t much to say. You can fade him in GPPs on the hopes the game cancels out, but if Liverpool and Chelsea went 3-2, expecting a similar scoreline for this one is fair. If Liverpool gets three and Salah isn’t in on any, count yourself massively unlucky and move on.
Get Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah into your cards again this weekend. I’m hoping Arsenal will lower his ownership, and we can get him in a five goal game.
Probably the top plays in their respective formats.
Siggy in cash, Richarlison in GPP, it’s that simple.
Both of them have tremendous upside. Brighton have allowed a massive amount of shots this season, so expect a decent floor from both these cats, and if they hit they could raw points the slate on a mediocre Salah outing. Brighton should keep this closer than people are expecting, so while normally I’d be concerned about a massive ceiling, I think both players have multiple point upside, and while I don’t think they have goal upside like Salah, they can both walk with a goal and an assist, winning you a stacked GPP card. Interesting stat, this season Brighton haven’t allowed a goal in the box while allowing one of the highest shot counts in the league. So, if there’s a team with a forward who does literally none of the scoring, Everton is that team.
In truth, I think Siggy is due for massive regression, and Richarlison is due for a massive uptick in goals. If you are expecting big things from Everton, you have to expect great things from the duo of Siggy and Richarlison, in cash and GPP respectively.
JAMES MADDISON/MARC ALBRIGHTON
Midfielders, Leicester City
Probably the 2nd top plays in their respective formats.
If I’m not playing Everton (I’m probably not playing Everton), the first place I will be looking at is the Leicester midfielder duo of James Maddison and Marc Albrighton.
There’s a few ways to approach this, but the simple way is the Cardiff defense is #bad. They allow more goals than they score, way more, and outside their outburst against “even worse at defending” Fulham, Cardiff have been abysmal at best. Most importantly, they allow massive cross and shot counts. Where Brighton may allow shots, Cardiff allow everything. I think most people will flock on the home ownership, and that opens up a ton of spots of Leicester stacks. Salary is everything, especially on a Salah slate. So, if you take Salah and an Everton player, there’s no place for Leicester.
Frankly, I think Leicester make perfect Everton pivots across the board. Does that mean they are better plays? Not necessarily, but when the situation presents itself, pivot onto the duo of James Maddison and Marc Albrighton, two of the second best midfield plays this slate.
J.B. GUDMUNDSSON/ROBBIE BRADY
Cross machines in working order.
Probably my third favorite pivot stack is the Burnley duo of Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady.
There are a few problems with the boys. Firstly, they are in London, not at Burnley. This may not be the biggest problem given West ham’s lack of home record, but in the case of the trip itself, it makes more problems than resolves. Secondly, Fabianski has kept opposition to one goal or less at such a consistent rate we have to be slightly concerned. Now, a lot of the reasons we are taking the pair isn’t for the ceiling, it’s the floor. If the ceiling hits, excellent, but Robbie Brady is far too cheap on both sites and is a near must play in either format. Especially on FD, Brady IS THE ROUTE to Salah, not one of, but the route. From Brady we don’t even need a ceiling, just a really good floor. However, from JBG’s salary we need a ceiling, and that may take multiple goals and be too much of an ask. The third main issue for Burnley is minutes. While we don’t necessarily have to worry about these two and their 90min games, the idea is to get on the side of a viable team in GPP for multiple goals, not just a couple guys we know won’t finish under 6fpts. There are too few 90min games from viable Burnley players to consider them overly stackable.
At any rate, West Ham at home is always something to target, and I have no issue going after someone like JBG and Robbie Brady, getting them into your cash cards and using Brady in GPP when you need to save some salary.
Super sneaky with all the upside.
Watford should be a team to target this weekend, but their minutes are setting up to be such a disaster we have to carefully consider which one we should be after, and for me the run away choice is Roberto Pereyra in GPP.
I think the more popular choice will be Deulofeu. And why not? He’s cheaper, a better/flashier version of Pereyra, and has a pedigree to boot. Well, the reason not to use him is his minutes. He has consistently come off at 65-75min since arriving at Watford, and while he could very easily pull of a 90min game, Pereyra is more likely to. Pereyra has goals in back to back games, but what’s more important is how many more points he scored outside his goals. With a little bit of luck Pereyra is breaking the slate. Deulofeu is an excellent option but would need an incredible amount of luck with his short amount of time.
I think people will just fall onto the skill of Deulofeu and not care about his minutes. While they may be right, I prefer to take the edge on the other side and use the guy who has gotten a 90min games already this season, Roberto Pereyra.
Cross and shots, all into….two.
Newcastle are one of my favorite GPP teams this slate and it’s punctuated by the midfielder duo of Matt Ritchie and Kenedy.
I think Matt Ritchie is viable in either format. Basically, any time we can get him at a reduced salary and 90min games he is viable somewhere. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you how stellar Newcastle has been, nor that they even have super ceilings. In fact, they have excellent floors, and we are chasing their ceiling to happen for the first time this season. It’s bound to happen eventually, Newcastle aren’t that bad. Ritchie has been pumping in consistent cross floors for seasons, and Kenedy had enough talent for Chelsea to garner his ownership for a period of time.
Like I said, this is pretty contrarian, but I really like Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie everywhere, and Kenedy in GPP.
Midfielder, Brighton & Hove Albion
From slate to slate there’s a list of five or six guys that we can rely on to be cheap and half productive in the midfield, and for the most part they are all off this slate. The one decent value play we have left is on DK falling down to Brighton’s Beryam Kayal.
In terms of upside, there is none. The only time you should take him in GPP is when he opens up every door you needed for stacking and he does his “not below 4fpts” thing. I would also consider someone like Arsenal’s Xhaka to be in the same ballpark, if not a little more expensive and less viable, but on FD that is something to really consider as his defensive peripherals should be massive. That’s the key, Kayal does enough around the board to get you somewhere when you spend up elsewhere. He isn’t your core play nor your hammer, but he should fill the gap nicely when you want 5fpts to cap off your projection.
Like I said, this is something that should be kept to cash due to the complete lack of upside. But when you need to spend down to spend up, one of the first places you should look is Brighton’s Beryam Kayal.
Forward, Leicester City
Playing with +3 goals.
This one is super straight forward and deserves little to no explanation.
Usually when I say that things go horridly wrong, so prepare yourself for the VardyParty to be cancelled last second. I don’t mind though, I’m still showing up to dance. Cardiff are one of the worst defenses in the league, and the worst defense in this slate. Vardy will take penalty shots, which Cardiff have allowed more than a couple times already this season. Vardy is the main vocal point, and if he comes off it will be of massive surprise to all (that didn’t see it coming). Despite his salary Vardy stands as one of the more solid goal props of the slate. On FD it’s a bit different, but on DK he is demanding to be locked in either format. Outside his solid goal props he isn’t that great of a cash option, but the salary and prop may be enough to carry him into your cash cards. Obviously I suggest him for GPP as well, there’s nothing to suggest Cardiff won’t let in at least three, and that’s before we consider everything that has gone on over the past week.
The VardyParty is being held at a mansion outside of town and the cops won’t be called, he’s even offered to drive us. But if he leaves us hanging, our entire weekend will be ruined, that’s for sure.
Forward, West Ham United
He should be back and banging.
Especially with the lack of forward options on FD, West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic makes for one of the more interesting attacking options this slate by default, mostly because he’s one of the few viable attacking options.
When you can’t take every other awesome option as either a forward of midfielder, you’re trapped into paying up for Harry Kane (no), Aubameyang (not in cash), or going below Arny and Vardy where the real risk is. I don’t necessarily like Arny, but Burnley haven’t been solid enough to make him a bad play, he’s bad because it’s West Ham, so it’s a tough call.
I hold my reservation for the lineups but chances are if there aren’t forward options on FD, I’m looking at West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic in either format.
Hottest player on the slate.
Here’s another situation where I’m asking “do I have to?”, Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be and should be one of the more interesting plays of the slate.
He’s riding a massive points streak and after a slow start to the season; which was followed by a prompt dropping from my season long, which was instantly followed by this streak (how predictable, I must say). So, needless to say I’m not surprised. Without getting too ahead of myself, Liverpool haven’t looked as perfect of late. Don’t get me wrong, guys like Salah should still get his, but in terms of the walking clean sheet? It’s not as solid. Maybe it’s losing the streak to Cardiff, maybe it’s not looking right for a few weeks, I don’t know, but something tells me Arsenal could score to breaking the slate this weekend, because after all it’s not at Anfield.
Liverpool will still get their ownership, and it’s not a fade by any means (if anything it’s a game stack), but I will be looking to pivot onto Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, however that’ll probably be kept to GPP.
Forward, Newcastle United
His price on FD though.
I wanted to quickly finish the article on Rondon’s price on FD. Sure, he’s probably coming off the field, but from that salary all you need is a few shots on goal to a goal, and you won’t be ruined. Especially a goal (which in isn’t that much of an ask) he could set you up to takedown. Mind you, he may not even start, but if he does a Ritchie/Rondon GPP stack seems perfectly acceptable to me!