EPL 1

 

Cardiff @ Bournemouth

Interesting Facts

- Bournemouth has won five of their last nine home games, losing only twice.

- Bournemouth hasn't had a clean sheet bonus at home since November, 2017 (13 games).

- Cardiff manager Neil Warnock hasn't avoided EPL relegation in his career.

- Last season, Bournemouth won all but one home game against the newly promoted teams.

- In their last EPL experience (2014) Cardiff lost 14 of their 19 EPL away games.

- These teams have never met in the EPL.

If you were to ask me the three most boring  and likely to be relegated teams leading into this season, Bournemouth and Cardiff are a close one and two. It's in no way the game I wanted to start on, but hey, here we are, a new season, and my standard has been following the DK schedule. However, it is worth noting this game will feature not one, but TWO Canadian's starting. Asmir Begovic grew up in Edmonton (grew up doesn't make him Canadian? Yeah it does, welcome to Canada), and Junior Holliet, whom grew up in the vast suburbs of Toronto (Junior actually capped for the national team, he's by definition. So there!)

Bournemouth

Keeper

While the benifit of doubt may fall into the hands of Begovic, very little else has since the dawn of 2018. His play hasn't been bad, but the lack of defensive star depth on Bournemouth will continue to haunt them. Their one hope for a defensive future, Nathan Ake, will probably miss out, so little can be expected from a defensive effort compared to what we saw last season. My biggest and real concern is; this early in the season Begovic probably won't stand on his head, and if Bournemouth do get him a win bonus, it won't be on the backs of numerous saves, nor a clean sheet. As GK2 and GK1 on DraftKings and FanDuel respectively, I draw little intrest other than hoping it's guaranteed base points. Hint: Nothing is guaranteed with Bournemouth at home. Bournemouth will probably win on the back of a few saves, making Begovic one of the upper raw points for the slate, but his value will be super low. There should be better options in either format, and the only way you can really justify him from a salary standpoint is if you are fading Chelsea.

Defenders

There isn't much to see here, unless you have some sort of evil genius GPP plan including a centre back. I mean, sure, they are at home, and Daniels without Stanislas has produced the odd crossing output, but his salary is borderline pointless when you can get the exact same thing for $500-1k less on either site. Steve Cook's salary is obscene on FD, and on DK Diego Rico (suspended) would have been completely untouchable. I could maybe get behind some Adam Smith on FD if he starts, but that's only if you're super desperate, and IF he starts. Other than that, Bournemouth can be safely faded, despite being a massive home favourite. For these salaries, the clean sheet bonus is too much of a risk.

Midfield

In particular, Fulham, Wolves, and Palace all offer far better options than the midfield of Bournemouth. If in fact Ryan Fraser doesn't score, which he could, but if he doesn't, you're basically holding out for the entire slate not crossing the ball, and his 1x value at best won't justify his MID3 on DK, and MID12 on FD (he's more like a MID5 on FD with guys not playing). I'll be surprised if Fraser finishes top 5 in raw points, or even top 10 value. The rest are easy fades. They are decent enough players, but if they only play 70-80min, they aren't worth the PMR.

Forwards

I don't see the point, especially on FD, to paying that much for a Bournemouth forward. Sure, a goal is possible. Maybe even two. What's great about Bournemouth is they are pretty streaky, so if you land on Wilson and he gets one, chances are if Bournemouth are scoring again, he'll be getting two. However, on almost every level for every team, there are better options across the slate. And honestly, there should still be a fair amount of people looking to play such a home favourite against a newly promoted team. My concern is people will forget Bournemouth may still get the result on paper to further support the numbers, they don't always produce in DFS the same way. In general, they are plagued by subs and poor value, and frankly, I would prefer the other side of the field in almost every position and in either format.

 

Cardiff City

Keeper

It will be interesting to see not only how Cardiff perform this season, but who in fact they will start as their Keeper. Neil Etheridge was excellent for them all last season, and deserves the #1 role. But at the same time, Cardiff brought in Alex Smithies from QPR. Smithies was by in large considered not only one of the top, but easily the most entertaining keeper of last season's Championship League. The vast majority of QPR fans are at complete odds with current ownership for allowing him to move for bread crumbs. In any case, I don't particularly like either keeper for cash, but GPP there are lots of merit. The major GPP downfall is a fair amount of people will see Cardiff as sneaky,newly promoted GPP flyers, so they could draw ownership overall. I still don't mind the keeper naked, as there aren't really any defensive options.

Defenders

Basically a rewrite of the Bournemouth defense. They have guys that are priced badly, and don't produce. They don't cross very much, and Bennett, while available, can shoot from distance to little effect. 5k is FAR too expensive on FD, and there are better options on DK. This isn't the place to find your Cardiff.

Midfield

Time to change speeds, and turn on the gears a little bit. This season, Joe Ralls is about to become a DFS household name. Much like an Aaron Mooy of last season, Ralls has almost exclusive rights to set pieces (along with Holliet). There is no reason you shouldn't fire up Ralls in DK Cash this slate, he is as big of lock as there is this weekend. On FD I would be a little more apprehensive, as his scoreset doesn't exactly fit as well over there. At only 5.3k, expect a massive week for Ralls, as 3x floor is completely within his ballpark. Bobby Ried is another interesting GPP flyer, but his involvement is hard to gauge as he just came in from Bristol. Josh Murphy is another really interesting player to consider, as his shot count was through the roof last season, and he should play an important role, as he was Cardiff's #1 transfer target leading into the window. However, I am far less impressed with his salary, and the only time I would take him over Ralls would be a Cardiff stack...which I would take Ralls anyway.

Forwards

Cardiff play a DFS friendly 4-3-3, with two wide wingers and a man up front. Cardiff find their big target man in the name of Danish national Albin Zohore. Honestly, I love him for GPP this slate. It's actually quite appealing for a Cardiff/Palace stack, where you take Ralls, Murphy, Holliet, and Zohore in the hopes Cardiff finds two low owned goals through those four exclusively; not a far off consideration when we remember Bournemouth and their lack of clean sheets. Holliet is another guy who deserves serious consideration, and honestly, I'm just trying to play it cool with him and all. He's a near lock for me, and in the case I'm not using Ralls, I'm trying to use Holliet. I can't see them being that highly owned in either format (Ralls SHOULD be massively owned in cash), so from this match looking to capitalize on single digit ownership for multiple goals is something I'm shooting for. There shouldn't be any crazy ceilings, but if there was value to be found, it would be in Ralls and Zohore.

 

PREDICTION: 2-1 Either way, 1-1 Draw.

 

Palace @ Fulham

Interesting Facts:

- Fulham is coming into this match on a five game preseason winless streak, winning just once all summer.

- Palace is coming into this match on a five game preseason winning streak, losing just once all summer.

- Last season, Palace managed 0 points without Wilfred Zaha.

- Palace is undefeated in six straight EPL games.

- Palace has lost only three of their last 13 EPL away games.

- These teams have not met since 2014, but Fulham have lost only one of their last eight vs. Palace.

- This is an unknown Derby game, both clubs reside in London.

Fulham are given an instant chance to prove themselves with a home game vs. Palace, the strangest team in the EPL. Palace are somehow one of the most valuable and disastrous teams in the league, last season setting a worst ever 0-8 start for an EPL club, at the very least Zaha should be healthy and ready to go this season. Fulham have made some serious moves this summer window, and it will be interesting to see how their transfer shuffles will stand against the unpredictable Palace. One thing should be certain though, there must be goals.

Crystal Palace

Keeper

Palace have brought in keeper Vicente Guita from Spanish side Getcafe, and a three year deal for a 31 year old Keeper would suggest he will be their new starter. I get it, obviously, Hennessey and Speroni were at time train wrecks throughout last season, so it wouldn't suprise me to see another fresh face for the Eagles between the pipes. Palace have a great team, but it gets better the further away you move from the net. I wouldn't start, finish, or include any Palace keeper, no matter the starter, based on history alone. These guys are the 49er's of defensive capabilities, until they prove otherwise, stay away.

Defenders

The one thing Palace have going for them in DFS defense is Patrick van Aanholt. At 5.2k/6.5k on DK/FD respectively, he's not the most expensive name on the list, and in reality he very well should have been. Coming out of preseason, you'd be hard pressed to find another guy like PvA, and I doubt Fulham are really the team to change his ways. He has always liked to shoot from distance, and while he's no Trippier, PvA will have more than enough time against a Fulham side who aren't exactly put back together after big moves. Don't be afraid to use him in either format, and especially on DK PvA will make one of the better locks of the slate.

Midfield

The rest of the way, Palace are jam packed with excellent DFS options, and they happen to be facing a newly promoted side that could answer, but hold little in terms of resistance. Milivojevic is probably a little too expensive on either site, and he may fall into the Cardiff situation where people think they are being cute with him, but aren't, and still get paid off. A goal from that salary on DK, you're set. However, on FD, you'll need a goal just to break a solid avg. Sure, raw points are nice, but from 9k you need a goal and then some for a decent showing. On DK, you get a goal and you are near takedown level. James MacArthur had an incredible run of 90min games towards the end of last season, so if he does happen to start he is always worth consideration. Townsend and Zaha are both locks in either format. You can start with them, start with one of them, wait to see if you can fit them in, but both of these guys should have no issue finding enough raw points to hit near enough 3x, but they will need a goal at least. Ideally, I want Zaha to walk away with two goals, and an assist for Townsend, but until Milivojevic stop taking free kicks, he also demands to be in the discussion. Feels like a decent enough stack, and I don't think many people at all would have all three.

Forwards

Norwegian international Alexander Sorloth has been dominating the preseason minutes, and while there is word Palace may be bringing in another forward, Benteke and Wickham are still in the mix. It should be extremely obvious to everyone on what kind of player Palace are looking for; all three of these men up front are towers, the smallest being 6'3 Wickham, and the lightest being 200pd Sorloth. The obvious issues are their really serious and consistent injury and fitness concerns, and, well, they aren't very good. Benteke is the only one with a history, and while much was expected from Wickham, Sorloth is unknown outside Norway. Palace need another name, another SERIOUS name to couple with Zaha. While Townsend is great and all, Palace need an Ozil or Mkhitaryan type of player to really set them above mediocre.

Fulham

Keeper

Fabri is a reasonably talented keeper. Playing for Turkish side Besiktas, the Spaniard was basically Mr. Keeper in the Turkish domestic league. He was back to back Turkish Keeper of the Year, and lead Besiktas not only to the UCL, but deep into it. Conceding less than a goal a game in all competitions (34g in 35 domestic games), Fabri played excellent behind a talented defense. Fulham are not Besiktas. If Fabri is to find any result, he will be forced to stand on his head. Every week. While on one hand that's awesome, that means we can get a talented keeper with the ability to make the saves, on the other hand, Fulham aren't a team that's going to necessarily stop another team from exerting themselves with momentum, and while I would like the idea of Fabri against the Brighton/Bournemouth/Huddersfield's of the league, against Palace isn't the place I want to start, even if it's at home. GPP flyer? Sure, but pretty expensive to be a flyer. I think a lot of people who played the first few seasons last year and stopped will think Palace are still complete garbage. They aren't great, but they also aren't "let's play a KEP3/KEP5" salary and hope for good value.

Defenders

Here's to give you an idea of what I expect from Fulham defense in DFS this year:

Current number of LB on Fulham's entire senior roster: 0.

They went the entire summer not bringing in a single person to play one of the most important positions, while bringing in basically every other position on the field. Mind you, they brought in some serious names, and they do happen to have this wonderkid named Ryan Sessegnon. Now, both Sess and the coach have repeatedly stated that there is no desire now, nor long term for this to continue, it seems super likely to continue. As everyone can see, Sess isn't listed as a defender, and his salary makes it almost a risk in itself to play him. Honestly, they probably weren't getting the clean sheet anyway (cue: clean sheet), but I'm overly skeptikal of RSess' influence from left back.  That being said, Ryan Fraser has done it on occasion and succeeded, why not expect the same and more from one of England's next superstars? The rest of them are irrelevant. Sorry not sorry. Callum Chambers isn't going to get it done.

EDIT: They signed some LB's, no fear.

Midfield

Fulham play three in the midfield. Cairney is a great guy, everyone agrees. He's team captain and will play 90min every game, all season long. The problem is, he does little else, and will have little DFS relevance on either site. Slight uptick on FD, but even then, his salary is a little too much for me. Seri has just come in, and he basically does everything Johansen and McDonald do on the field, but slightly better. The issue is both Johansen and McDonald are our only hope for DFS relevance from the Fulham three. Johansen will handle most of the set pieces, and McDonald is a 5 Pass specialist. McDonald could end up being the top 5 Pass on FD by season's end, where Johansen could be a massive part of a team who will need set pieces to succeed. Seri doesn't fill those DFS voids, and if anything may play as more of a wrench into out PMR. The other part of this is Johansen doesn't do what McDonald does and vise versa. If Seri starts for one or the other, feel free to use them on their particular site, because chances are they won't be subbing each other out....unless Seri moves around, DAMMIT. Wait and see on this, I think.

Forwards

Mitrovic played over 40 games for Newcastle a couple seasons ago, and you can count how many points he had with one hand. The guy isn't relevant on a goal dependent site like DK. I'm absolutely praying 20% of people latch onto this guy because he is familiar, not even knowing Kamara is an EPL legend in the making. I think Kamara will make one of the sneakier GPP plays of the slate. By no means would I suggest him in cash, he is just as likely to be irrelevant. But with a nickname like AK47, you are destined for greatness, soccergods agree. I would compare his play to a poor man's Zaha, so it's interesting we get to see them hopefully play against each other this slate. If in fact Fulham are going to find any long term success this season, it will be coming off the boots of Andre Schurrle. The once budding superstar, former Chelsea, and one of the most German looking German to play for his country, Schurrle has joined Fulham on a season long loan, which should be more than enough time for him to prove he still has what it takes. Because, let's be honest, last time around wasn't exactly pretty, and it was during an incredible time for Chelsea. So, it's hard to be excited over a player who would otherwise define washed up, except for the fact if there are many players left still playing from that generation, one that would deserve another chance is Schurrle. Is it this week? I like it.

 

PREDICTION: 2-2 Draw in a Week 1 stunner. Both of these teams will want it, have the ability to take it, and none to stop it. Fabri still finishes +EV.

 

 

Chelsea @ Huddersfield

Interesting Stats:

- Huddersfield has lost in five straight summer friendlies.

- Chelsea is winless in three straight summer friendlies, followed by a loss in the Community Shield vs. City.

- Visitors failed to beat Huddersfield in 11 of their 19 EPL home games last season.

- Chelsea has won only five of their last 13 EPL away games.

- Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has no major trophies to his name.

-  Sarri has also failed to win in four of his past six Seria A (Italy) away games.

- Huddersfield has never beaten modern day Chelsea, but have scored in every game (0W, 2D, 4L).

- Huddersfield confirmed their EPL spot for this season by avoiding defeat to Chelsea last season (1-1 draw).

- Huddersfield has never lost five straight home games to a single team. Chelsea has won four straight @ Huddersfield.

 

How much money do you want to make on opening day? Because nobody will be picking Huddersfield, that's for sure. Their mistake.

Chelsea

Keeper

Chelsea slammed the door shut on speculation over their keeper situation. I guess this was more ripping the door off the hook and flinging it 500ft, as Chelsea went out and bought Athletico Bilbao's Spanish international Kepa Arrizabalaga for a world record fee on a keeper. Astounding really. Chelsea have clearly had enough of back to back seasons where Courtois has held out over transfer concerns, and the club has taken the step of bringing in a replacement, forcing his hand for a transfer out.  Despite having a journalist's nightmare for a last name, Arrizabalaga should fit in quite nicely for Chelsea. I think it's very interesting that the two biggest keeper transfers this season were for the two best penalty savers in the modern game. Arrizabalaga has won shootous by making three saves, and there are few more prolific savers than Portugal's Rio Patrico (Wolves, we'll get there).What's interesting to note, Chelsea actually completely another massive deal for Pickford, but Everton blocked it following completion by Pickford and Chelsea.  In any case, Arrizabalaga is a carbon copy version of Courtois, but in my humble opinion, more of a team player. Expect more from Chelsea this season. Expect less from them at the moment. Worst case Ontario, they picked up Robert Green on a free; what a legend.

Defenders

When Azpilicueta is the only real option because he plays 90min, I really don't want to consider things further. Yeah, Zappacosta, Alonso, and Emerson are really good wingers, when they play. But are they consistently or considerably any better than the numerous options below them? No. Not even close. There is always the relevant consideration that Huddersfield won't score, but at the same time, if we aren't getting some sort of exteral production from what is really the top two salaries on both sites, there is literally nothing to bank on, other than, yeah, Huddersfield not scoring. I don't think a clean sheet bonus is enough on DK, but you may be able to get away with some Azpilicueta on FD, despite his insane (probably low owned) salary. But not cash, only GPP.

Midfield

Willian came back late to camp, and in horrid shape following his World Cup with Brazil. I highly doubt he will play, nor feature at all for at least a few weeks. Hazard has been featuring as a sub, but was also holding out for most of the summer because he wanted to go to Real Madrid. So, he isn't 100% either. If there was one person to target from the midfield group, well, in reality Chelsea as a whole, it's Pedro on DK. Pedro has been red hot this summer, and in light of Hazard and Willian being out, Pedro has stepped up bigtime, and has been stellar in all of Chelsea's, mind you underwhelming, preseason. If in fact neither Hazard nor Willian start, I have no issue with Pedro on either site, but if Hazard is starting, I would only use Pedro in GPP on DK.

Forwards

Chelsea have a serious forward issue on their hands. Giroud is awesome, but basically incapable of properly seeing out 90min. His World Cup was far from irrelevant, but it was extremely unimpressive. It really proved the guy is incapable of being a 90min player, and while he had flashes of greatness, that tended to take place in the earlier stages of games. Morata simply may not be very good. He reminds me of a Torres back in the day, he was on his decline with Liverpool so the Reds sold him. Morata was on his decline with Real Madrid, so they sold him in the same broken record process. Chelsea would be better off just handing the reigns to Tammy Abraham and see where he goes with it, but for the time being, it's Pedro, Hazard, or bust with this crew. I'm leaning towards the latter.

 

Huddersfield Town

Keeper

Huddersfield did well to bring in Lossi for the long term, but the issue remains Lossi is only a midrange talent on a fledgling club. Compare some of the other names brought in,  Arrizabalaga, Fabri, Rio Patrico, Angus Gunn, Foster and Fabianski, even Robert Green has more potential draw than Lossi. He may, however, find some serious value this slate, as Chelsea are coming into this far from 100%. 3.9k is an excellent risky option for either format, because he should still see enough saves for cash, and those saves could really set him apart in GPP. Long term? No. This slate? Yes.

Defenders

The big, glaring issue for Huddersfield in DFS is lack of consistent upside, and that is found most in their defensive options. Former German international and World Cup winner Erik Drum also steps into the picture, and he is the only real hope this side has for hidden production. Hadergjong will be decent enough some weeks, Lowe gets some set pieces from time to time, Tommy Smith I think is the captain? Even though he played barely any games last season? Kongolo is good too, but then there's also Malone. And we are still talking about the left and right backs. So, yeah, not really a lot of stable production, and even if someone ends up with a solid 90min, you are better off fading guys facing Chelsea wingers. I however do not mind on FD a Lossi/Schindler stack, that could really end up paying off.

Midfield

Not interested. Chelsea don't take fouls, and Huddersfield don't draw them. So Mooy having one of his 26fpts outings is super unlikely, unless he gets a penalty shot or something. From there it's a subfest, with basically every player suffering from someone most likely coming off. Team captain Hogg has yet to play a 90min EPL game, Sabiri and Pritchard play the same spot. RvLP, Sobhi, Quaner, Kachunga, and new signee Diakhaby can all play the same position, and do. So, there are too many holes on this midfield line, and while they may find a result against Chelsea, they will probably do it by barely getting value.

Forwards

Again, not much to see here. Mounie and Depoitre sub each other out with more consistency than they score goals, and Diakhaby can also play striker, and is arguably the most exciting of the trio. I won't hold my breath for Huddersfield to outright win this game, and if they do, it's almost as likely it will come from an OG than Huddersfield blowing the slate off the charts.

 

PREDICTION: 1-0 Huddersfield win. 3-1 Chelsea win, Pedro with two.

 

 

Brighton @ Watford

Interesting Stats:

- Watford won only two of five preseason summer friendlies.

- Brighton has also won only one of their five, which was the final preseason game.

- Brighton had the 5th lowest goals from last season, and the 2nd least amount of shots.

- Brighton has drawn four of their last five EPL away games to "lower/bottom half" teams.

- Watford has drawn two of their last three EPL home games to "lower/bottom half" teams.

- Three of the past six games between these two have drawn, including last season's game @ Watford.

- Brighton is undefeated in three stright vs. Watford.

- Last season, only one player scored in Brighton v Watford games. It was Brighton's Pascal Groß.

- Javi Garcia has won only three of his 11 games as Watford manager.

- Neither team have ever won their EPL MatchWeek 1 game. Watford have had five, Brighton lost their's last season to ManCity.

 

Brighton

Keeper

There have been little change in Brighton's DFS outlook, and in truth, they are probably destined for relegation this season. But that's for another article. Mat Ryan was serviceable at best last season, and while the Aussie's didn't make it that far into the World Cup, it wasn't really his fault. Brighton did bring in Jason Steele from Sunderland, but I won't be looking for him to start over the starting Aussie national team keeper. Don't expect too much from Ryan long term, or really this slate. Watford at home are quite boom or bust. In this scenario, both are bad for Ryan. If Watford bust, he'll be lucky to make one save. If Watford boom, he'll be lucky to make one save. It's tough. He could theoretically stand on his head for a win, Watford aren't that great, and he is capable. On top of this, low scoring games yield better chances for a keeper DFS result. Therefore, I like Mat Ryan this slate, but not as much as others. Not at all.

Defenders

Easy fade this week, and probably for the rest of the season. Bernardo has come in from Leipzig, and I will give him the benefit of the doubt that since he is on the Brazilian national team and stuck playing the same position as Marcelo, he could very well be the league break out star this season, but I highly doubt it. He is the only hope for any consistent production from this crew, namely Bong and Suttner, are only fashionable when at home. I also don't like the prospects of the tirade of wing attacks Watford will be coming with, and fail to see how the Brighton crew of last year will score any more goals this year, especially against a much improved Watford side.

Midfield

I suppose Pascal Groß has some relevance in cash, but in reality he has no ceiling considering his team usually doesn't score, let alone more than once. However, this weekend's Brighton looks like they are hanging on by a thread because of injuries, so I don't see Groß having a risk to come off like last season, which consistently cut off his production 25% short. At best, he is a low end cash option, and I would prefer someone like Ralls (Cardiff), Johansen (Fulham), Townsend (Palace), or even spending up to Hazard. Brighton are just that bad at scoring, and there's no reason not to do better with your selections when you can. Jahanbakhsh has come in from Hollad, and he was the real deal there and with the Iranian national team. Yeah. Iran. So again, much like Bernardo, Jahanbakhsh has not only one of the tougher names of the league, but also a lot of hopes are resting on him and Groß, especially for the season opener.

Forwards

Because wow, Brighton are looking like they could be missing up to four different forwards this slate. In any case, Murray is the only one to pay special attention to. He takes the penalty shots for Brighton, and took a ton last season, so it wouldn't expect me to see Brighton employ that same kind of tactic against Watford, one of the worst fouling teams in the league. On DK, Groß has an uptick because he isn't as expensive, and he can be played as a forward. I would prefer that, but in any case, this just gives more of a reason to look to the other side of the field. Brighton should be one of the lower accumulations by slate's end, and probably by season's end too.

 

Watford

Keeper

During the summer Watford went out and finally upgraded their keeper. Ben Foster backstopped West Brom to an unfortunate relegation, but very little to none of it was his fault. In a nutshell, he is exactly the kind of keeper Watford have been looking for, swinging and missing on their past couple attempts. At 5.1k, Foster makes one of the better all around plays of the weekend for a few reasons. Firstly, he's at home. Secondly, he's playing a team that will most likely end as the poorest attack in the league. Three, he is more than affordable, and when coupled with his amazing wing backs, makes easily the most powerful stack of the slate. I am, however, concerned about his shot count, as Brighton are just all around poor on attack. But I will concede that even as I just stated we need a save count for success, it won't be that bad from a salary that isn't as extreme. Feel free to load up on Foster in either format, and it's highly optimal to stack him with at least one defender at all times.

Defenders

For three straight seasons, Watford has done little to nothing on the market other than improving their backline. In particular, their wing backs seems to have a massive rate of attrition, and this season is no different. With the inclusion of Spanish international Marc Navarro and former Italian youth star Adam Masina. These two players are probably as good as Watford are going to get. The pair come in with excellent experience, and hold as much world stature as Watford could have hoped for. It will be interesting of what Watford does with the likes of Janmaat and Zeegelar, though Holebas has already shown himself to be as reckless as he is alive, and lower down the selection process. In any case, whoever starts is a must play in either format. Navarro is especially important, as he is more effectively known as a rich man's Holebas, literally everything Holebas is, but better and without the 500 fouls. I'm hoping at 5.4k most people won't be excited about his prospects, but he is everything we want from a DFS player, and should lock into any format this slate.

Midfield

I think there are some interesting plays in the Watford midfield, but not the kind of excitement found from the backs. Doucoure should play 90min, and from 4k I don't have any issue taking some shots with him as a GPP flyer on DK Hughes was on an absolute tear before his injury last season. Again, 4.3k on DK is nothing to ignore when they are going up against what should be this season's version of Swansea. Wait. Brighton were basically tied with Swansea last season. Never mind. They are still playing Brighton. Lastly, on either site Pereyra is on my radar for cash. I wouldn't rate him up with the others, as Watford are just as likely to foul as be fouled. I think there are better, cheaper options, but if you happen to fall on him, he is absolutely worth the risk. Capoue is another that could find himself with a solid 2.5x. From only 3.5k salary on DK, that is worth a flyer in cash, however his salary on FD is a little too high, even with the 5Pass.

Forwards

On DK, I'm really not sure if there are many better GPP options than Andre Gray and Troy Deeney. I'm not expecting them to win the slate, they'll absolutely need a couple goals, but from that salary and absolutely no ownership...at all, it's kind of hard to ignore someone like Gray or Deeney at home vs. Brighton. I don't mind Deeney and he may even be the better play. Basically, he only scores at home, and will probably handle the penalty shots for Watford. I've been burned by him so many time, there is some self-apprehension with Deeney, but all the spots are pointing for a Deeney home goal, I say from the spot. Just because the game is listed to be silent doesn't mean it will be. It just means nobody will be expecting it.

 

PREDICTION: 3-1/3-0 Watford. Deeney or Gray with a pair, Doucoure from long distance. Nah. 1-0 Watford. 0-0 most likely. I'll take either CS bonus, and just skip the forwards.

 

Everton @ Wolves

Interesting Stats:

- Wolves have lost only one of their seven summer friendlies.

- Everton have won only one of their seven summer friendlies, that 22-0 win over Nothing&Nobody FC.

- Everton have spent a whopping $210mil in transfer purchases over two seasons.

- Last season, Wolves avg'd over four goals a game at home.

- Not counting 22-0, over the friendlies Everton have still since an avg of around four goals a game.

- Six of Everton's last eight EPL away  games had at least three total goals.

- These teams have not met since 2011 (Jimmy Bullard anyone?), but Wolves are winless in six straight.

 

Everton

Keeper

To start what could be one of the most historical fall off's of all time, Everton have a serious keeper issue with Jordan Pickford. Everton blocked the completed transfer to Chelsea, it was done. If in fact Pickford stays in good spirits, which should happen, Everton can consider this a good piece of business to keep him. However, if Everton start to slip up, Pickford may be the first to move on. But that isn't really a reason not to use him this slate. Wolves are the highest rated promotion team, ever, and over the past couple seasons Everton have had one of the worst home away splits in the league.

Defenders

With only hours remaining until the trade deadline, Everton had only two healthy center backs on their active roster. They went out and picked up World Cup breakout Mina (Columbia) from Barcelona, making him one of three players, and the second defender to join Everton from Barcelona over the summer. French international Lucas Digne also came over from the Spanish giants, and will look to replace either the aging Baines or the oft-injured Coleman. In any case, the signing of Dinge was a slight surprise, where Mina was a nessessity. WIth numerous clubs looking at Mina, it probably came to the place where Everton just threw more money at the Spaniards, and I don't think Mina actually chose Everton. Like Pickford, their bridge is built on feeble ground. By all definitions, Mina did not work out at Barcelona, and Digne is a guy who repeatedly failed on big club scenes, with a previous stint on PSG. Columbia is not Everton, and maybe a handful of team in the EPL wouldn't be able to run with the likes of Poland, Japan, and Senegal. People are acting like Mina was dominate against ManCity for 10 games straight, wait and see on this whole lot, though I could give some serious consideration to Digne in cash, he has the talent to produce in this league, just not the talent to take Everton to the next level. 4.4k on DK is a great price for someone sitting on 2x value.

Midfield

Here's what's up with Everton, and why you should fade them. They have literally two guys in every position who should be starting. Across the board, the team has depth. Great, that's an obvious great thing for the team, but a disaster for us. Richarlison and Walcott play the same position. Bolasie and Mirallas. Actually, all those four are interchangeable. Andre Gomes now from Barcelona (third player), who is incredible, all agree, but plays no position Everton use on the field. We haven't even touched on Siggurdsson, who is the week to week load and lock for cash. Gueye, Davies (who is still one of England's next big talents, if he can just get time), Schneiderlin, James McArthy, and we haven't eve got to England youth player Baningime. Eventually people start hurting each other's development. There's no point in owning everyone. If we start losing minutes here, which is what I am predicting, Everton will become completely untouchable.  For the time being, I'll roll with Siggy in cash, where I can, but Everton need to make a serious statement, and if they fail to do so, given their attacking brand of soccer (which would be DFS friendly outside minutes), their defensive capabilities will not hold up, to anyone.

Forward

Tosun is completely nonviable. You'll need a hattrick just for him to be relevant, and he'll be lucky to score double digits on a good day. Barring a card or fouls, he will barely scrape by on the points of the goal alone. Is he a good player? Yes. But his style is in no way relevant to DFS. Maybe, MAYBE you could convince me for a showdown. Outside that, Tosun is as untouchable in the league. Sure, if he scores, great, but unless he gets two, it's still worthless unless the entire slate forgets how to score too. Not your hammer, not even your chizzle.

 

Wolves

Keeper

In what is probably one of the most unexpected and anticipated EPL first games ever, Portuguese star keeper Rio Patricio will make his EPL debut. While this would and should have been with a team like ManUtd, or in particular Liverpool or Chelsea, RP will be making his mark on the EPL from newly promoted Wolves. A lot of the hype for Wolves centers around this star keeper, and unfortunately, if there wasn't a World Cup this past summer we probably could have got RP on the low. Unfortunately, not only does DK and FD have relevant, recent data, there was also too much noise around this to miss. I have zero issues with RP, I'd easily rate him about someone like Mat Ryan (Brighton), but Everton, are, well, they have a ton to prove, and 4.9k isn't pocket change. Cash? I don't think so, too risky, but GPP absolutely. My concern is obviously the noise, and he will probably be one of the higher owned keepers of the slate. Probably for good reason.

Defenders

I'll be interested to see who starts, but names like Jonny and Vinagre should be tops of your selection this slate. I don't know, they are still completely unknown quantities, but Jonny is really the name that steps up for me. The Spaniard as excellent, and is on loan from Athletico Madrid, one of the most talented clubs in the world. I have zero reservations on just locking in whoever starts, but if it is in fact Jonny, lock that hard. Excellent defensive hammer, and very stack-able with RP. Jonny may be the only way to really differentiate from the RP ownership.

Midfield

What is probably the most friendly of Wolves is their formation. They play a strict 3-4-3, with two particular names we have to consider. Firstly, Ruben Neves. This guys would have been your #1 choice in every season long, his costs were rock bottom, and Wolves owes basically everything to him. He absolutely dominated the statsheet for Wolves throughout the promotion last season, and I'm expecting much the same. He will be handling set pieces with Moutinho, and I honestly can't imagine a better player for showdowns and FD. 7.5k is an incredible price on an incredible player, so if you are playing FD, his 5Pass is going to be through the roof. Moutinho is only $500 less, and in reality that is probably only showing his less amount of set pieces, but on DK I have no issue with more Moutinho than Neves. I don't want to roll both in cash, but it's a legitimate possibility. It's not even that Everton are that bad or something, these guys are UNQUESTIONABLY 8k players, and we are getting them at near 35-40% off. Moutinho will be the lesser owned if the pair, but in reality, I want as much Neves as I can fit in, especially on FD.

Forwards

I am a little more hesitant on the Wolves forwards, as their salaries aren't forgiving, in the slightest. Bonatini is the one that interests me the most, but even the, he is easily the least interesting of the three. Jota is probably the only one who will see 90min, but that salary makes him borderline too much. It's not like if Jota goes out and scores a couple or smashes the slate and I would be surprised, complete opposite. It's just, if you asked me Zaha or Jota? It's Zaha 8/10. Jota or Pedro with no Willian? Not even a competition, Pedro 100%. Jota or Holiett? Jota's 15% ownership vs. Holiett's 5%? Come on. Unless your asking Jota or Bournemouth/Fulham/Huddersfield/Brighton? Yeah, I'd probably take Jota. But there are still too many names I want a piece of before Jota, and I have a feeling everyone will be jumping on him because he's the most expensive player on Wolves, and because Wolves. I'll stick to my RP/Jonny/RN/Moutinho stack, and pray to the soccer gods his salary busts.

PREDICTION: 2-1 Wolves. 1-1 Draw. Shouldn't be a CS bonus.