Eden Hazard: A Must-Have In Your Week 8 Draft Kings Lineup

hazard

There’s no denying the talent that lies in the feet of Eden Hazard. When the diminutive midfielder is on the ball – especially in tight areas – there are few better in world football. Wether he’s losing his markers with some brilliant footwork and crashing into the box to find the back of the net himself or dishing out a breath-taking assist, he’s a constant threat on the real and pretend pitch.

Hazard’s 2014-15 campaign got off to a slow start and the Belgian didn’t score his second goal until the match against Arsenal two weeks ago. However, it was his play in that match that reminded us exactly why he’s considered to be arguably the best young player in the world. In addition to the goal, Hazard was at the heart of nearly everything the Blues did creatively; taking on and constantly beating defenders, crossing the ball into the box, and occupying dangerous areas in the final third.

This dominant display could signal that he’s beginning to find his form and is perhaps finally gelling with Chelsea’s two new high profile signings: Cesc Fàbregas and Diego Costa. That’s bad news for opposing defenders, but great news for fantasy players. 

This weekend, while it normally would behoove you to have him your lineup anyway, a limited player pool to choose from (more on that in a minute) means Hazard becomes almost a necessity to have in your Draft Kings week 8 lineup.

With Hazard and fellow Chelsea midfielder, Fàbregas, highlighting the available midfield options, spending the necessary funds to secure the services of either – even at the cost of the quality of forwards you choose – becomes paramount, as the talent level begins to decline steadily after the two Chelsea stars.

Midfielders are thin, but what does that mean for the rest of the positions? Let’s explore with a preview of week 8 on Draft Kings.com.

*Note* Draftkings week 8 only includes the following matches: Aston Villa/Everton, Chelsea/Crystal Palace, Hull City/Arsenal, Leicester City/Newcastle, Sunderland/Southampton, and West Ham/Burnley

Top Three Value Play’s

Goalkeeper

Thiabut Courtois – Chelsea ($4,600), Fraser Foster – Southampton ($4,100),  Adrián – West Ham ($3,400)

Courtois was pulled early against Arsenal two weeks ago after colliding with Alexis Sánchez, but the stud keeper was a full go for Belgium over the international break and will be between the posts when Chelsea visit Crystal Palace this weekend. Palace have been surprisingly decent in attack, and while Courtois and Co. can keep a clean sheet on any given week, there’s a chance they leak a goal to the hosts. If nothing else, Palace should muster a handful of shots, giving Courtois the potential for several saves and the likely win.

Foster might have the best matchup of any keeper this week: a home tilt against Sunderland. The Southampton keeper has only yielded five goals in seven contests thus far, and, given the way the Saints back line has played, he should come away with his fourth clean sheet of the young season.

Adrián goes right in line with my “stream your keepers against Burnley” theory, although that notion was shot down two weeks ago when Leicester City keeper, Kasper Schmeichel, let in two goals against the lowly Clarets. However, West Ham have a much more stable back line than Leicester City, and Adrián is a much better shot-stopper than Schmeichel. I’m back on the stream in week eight.

Defenders

Kieran Gibbs – Arsenal ($3,900), Seamus Coleman – Everton (3,900), Massadio Haidara – Newcastle ($3,400)

Arsenal play hosts to Hull City this Saturday in a rematch of last season’s FA Cup final, and while the Tigers will be looking for revenge, the Gunners should be able to have their way. Gibbs has the boots for getting forward plenty, and although he’s gotten off to a slow start (mostly due to injury) he should see plenty of action in Hull’s half of the pitch.

Coleman comes in at somewhat of a risk as the Irishman is just returning from injury and may not yet feature in the first XI, but if he does then he’ll be worth the roll of the dice. Despite Everton’s recent defensive woes, a home bout against the lifeless Aston Villa provides a great chance at a clean sheet. And, Coleman provides some of the best upside amongst defenders with his abilities in attack.

And last but not least, yes, I am recommending a Newcastle defender. As long as you’re comfortable “punting” a clean sheet as I’m sure the Magpies will surrender a goal or two, then Haidara makes for a perfect value play – if he’s picked for the starting XI, that is. In two starts he’s managed two shots (one on goal) and 16 crosses while going the full 90 in both matches.

Midfielders

(In addition to Hazard, duh!) Dusan Tadic – Southampton ($8,000), Stewart Downing – West Ham ($6,600), Santi Cazorla – Arsenal ($6,400)

Tadic has been a pleasant surprise on a pleasantly surprising Southampton side. The Serbian has been one of the chief creators in the Saints attack, and has been a fantasy stat sheet filler. Though he only has three assists, he’s averaging over a shot/game, has played 50 crosses, and has drawn eight fouls. The price is somewhat steep, but in a week where midfielders are thin he’s worth ponying up the big bucks for as you can be confident he’ll produce.

Downing has seen a resurgence this season, as the former English international is reveling playing behind strikers Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho. His 22 created chances is tied for tops in the league with Fàbregas. West Ham’s attack has been lethal at times this year, and they should feast upon playing a visit to Turf Moar this Saturday.

Perhaps no Arsenal player’s fantasy stock has a chance to soar more in Mesut Özil’s absence than one Santi Cazorla. Cazorla, capable of playing either out wide or in behind the striker, should have ample opportunities to create for Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sánchez no matter where Arsene deploys him, and could end up being one of the steals of the week.

Forwards

Christian Benteke – Aston Villa ($8,600), Enner Valencia – West Ham ($6,900), Diafra Sakho – West Ham ($6,300)

Benteke, a.k.a. “The Beast”, made his long-awaited return from a ruptured achilles two weeks ago against Manchester City, and should be in the first XI and ready to go the full 90 come Saturday against Everton. The Everton defense is in shambles right now with the loss of John Stones (wasn’t in great shape anyway), and Benteke could take full advantage. He’s a matchup nightmare for either of the remaining Toffee center backs.

Valencia and Sakho have been striking fear in the hearts of opposing defenders this year, and have formed one of the most potent and fantasy friendly attacking duo’s in the game. Sakho, in particular, has been especially lethal, netting a goal in each of the last three contests.

My Team

DK week 8

 

Outside of keeper and maybe Ulloa, I feel there’s significant upside with this lineup while still maintaining a relatively high floor.

Methods Behind My Madness

Goalkeeper: Ideally, I’d like to go with Foster here but Adrián’s price and matchup against a Burnley side that really struggles to score is one that I can’t pass up. Burnley may run into a goal, but West Ham should emerge victorious and Adrián should have a handful of saves to boot.

Defenders: Baines has been the most consistent defender this year, despite only keeping one clean sheet. His constant pressure in the opponent’s half has lead to one goal (should’ve been two if not for a poor penalty kick against Manchester United), three assists, and 20 crosses. Additionally, as long as he’s healthy, he’s virtually a lock to play the full 90 in almost every match. He’s one of the few defenders I don’t mind shelling out for each week.

Bertrand has been another consistent defender, although his scoring is more dependent on clean sheets – which he should get this weekend against Sunderland. Along with the clean sheets, his crosses also provide value, and he averages 3.2 per match.

Midfielders: I’ve already explained why I believe it’s necessary to spend on midfielders this week, but to recap, I feel Hazard is just hitting his stride and is capable of going off on any given Sunday (or Saturday in this case).

Cazorla will be the man in the middle while Özil is away, and that should lead to plenty of fantasy goodness. It’s never been a question of skill for the Spainard, just opportunity. Well, opportunity, meet Mr. Cazorla.

Forwards: I feel we’re just beginning to scratch the surface on what Sánchez is capable of. The Gunners get a terrific home tilt with Hull City this week, and the Chilean should be at the forefront of what they attempt to accomplish offensively. The counting stats haven’t exactly been there thus far, but he does have two goals, one assist, and 13 created chances in just six matches.

Admittedly, I’m taking a risk on Ulloa as the Argentine has essentially been non existent over the past two matches, but his upside against one of the worst defensive sides in the league in Newcastle is just too great to ignore. The focal point of the Foxes attack is capable of fireworks at any moment, and he should return to his goal-scoring ways this weekend.

Flex: As I stated earlier, Sakho has been deadly over the past three matches and he should continue his run of good form against Burnley. His link up play with Valencia and Downing has lead to the Hammers becoming one of the most effective attacking trios in the league.

Good luck in week 8!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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