Welcome to the first installment of a series focused primarily on Draftkings.com‘s daily Fantasy English Premier League game. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) have become all the rage over the past few years, as they offer the fantasy player (degenerate) a change of pace from the traditional format of fantasy sports. It also (ho hum) offers the allure of being able to win cold hard cash week in and week out.
If you’re familiar with the traditional format of fantasy Premier League, then getting yourself set up on Draft King’s should be a breeze, as the two games are quite similar. However, there are a few differences, most notably in the roster setup and scoring.
For example, instead of starting 11 players and choosing your formation (i.e. 4-4-2), you complete a roster consisting of one Goalkeeper, two defenders, two midfielders, two forwards, and one flex player that can either be another defender, midfielder, or forward.
And in terms of scoring, goals are still king, assists are really good, too, and clean sheets for keepers and defenders are the name of the game. But, DK’s edition also rewards points for shots on goal and completed crosses. So, that means players who have a propensity for shooting, or players who get wide and play lots of crosses get a tick up in value.
Now that you’re more acquainted with the new digs, allow me to provide you with some assistance in setting your lineups. I’ll give my top three value play’s at each position, as well as show you the lineup I’ll be trotting out this weekend and the reasoning behind the players I’ve chosen.
Tim Howard – Everton ($4,900), Wojciech Szczesny – Arsenal ($3,800), Vito Mannone – Sunderland ($3,200)
All three have a terrific chance at securing a clean sheet, and Szczesny and Mannone come in at great prices that will allow you allocate funds to other areas of your lineup. Howard’s price is a little steep, but I favor his chances of keeping a clean sheet at home against Crystal Palace over some of the similarly priced keepers.
Leighton Baines – Everton ($3,500), Seamus Coleman – Everton ($3,500), Marcos Rojo – Manchester United ($2,500)
Again, clean sheets will be the name of the game, but since defenders can also receive points for goals, assists, etc. you have to target ones that feature heavily in their team’s attack. In that vein, there are none better than Baines and Coleman. And while their prices may seem high, they’re actually quite reasonable compared to the 10 defenders listed above them. Rojo is a newcomer, but has already shown he can be effective in attack, as well as provide some stability to a United back four that’s really starting to take shape.
Yaya Touré – Manchester City ($6,700), Dusan Tadic – Southampton ($6,600), Ander Herrera – Manchester United ($5,600)
Midfield has without a doubt the deepest talent pool, and certainly a case can also be made to spend big as well, but these three provide great value and are almost certain to end up on the scoresheet in some fashion. I’m assuming Touré’s price tag is so low due to his slow start, but c’mon? We’re talking about the second best fantasy player from last season. He’s gonna get going eventually, and it may very well come in what should be a shootout against Chelsea this week.
Romelu Lukaku – Everton ($8,900), Eden Džeko- Manchester City ($8.700), Radamel Falcao – Manchester United ($7,900)
There’s no getting around it, you’re gonna have to pony up when it comes to forwards. However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t find value. Lukaku opened his account last week against QPR, and I suspect will have a plethora of chances against Palace on Sunday. With Jovetic sidelined, the door is wide open for Dźeko to come alongside Agüero and complete City’s duel threat up front. Falcao might just be one of the best plays this week, because I have a hunch Louis van Gaal’s going to want to show off his shiny new toy. He’s a good bet to find the back of the net this week, and this is probably the lowest his price will be all season.
Methods Behind My Madness
Goalkeeper: The Gunners will travel to Villa Park on Saturday to face what has been one of the best stories of this young season in Aston Villa. “The Villians” have secured nine points on four matches thus far, highlighted by a 0-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield last week. That being said, according to Squawka.com data they have been one of the least effective attacking sides in the league this year. I’m taking advantage of Szcezsny’s low price tag, thus allowing me to allocate some much needed funds to other positions, and banking that he’ll be able to secure a clean sheet against a hopefully punchless home side.
Defenders: I’m all in on the Everton “Stack Attack” this week, as they draw another weak attacking club in Crystal Palace at the friendly confines of Goodison Park. In fact, when originally setting my lineup, I had Tim Howard penciled in as my keeper because I’m quite confident in “The Toffee’s” ability to secure a clean sheet. Clean sheets are the name of the game when choosing your keepers and defenders, but defenders who get forward as much as Baines and Coleman do can often be valuable fantasy assets as they play key roles in their club’s attack. And you can’t beat that price. $3,500? Yes, please! Upon selecting them, I felt like Jim from “The Office” after he found a spool of 500 feet of red wire out by Dunmore High School. $20 for the whole roll!
Midfielders: It’s all about offensive upside from here on out. When choosing your DFS lineups, you have to be willing to spend big in certain areas. Enter: Angel Di Maria. If you watched Manchester United’s destruction of QPR last week, then surely you saw that the Argentinian was the most explosive player on the pitch. He played a prominent role in three of United’s four goals; scoring and assisting one himself, while setting up Wayne Rooney to find Ander Herrara after a gorgeous 60-yard run on another. United face Leicester City this weekend, who have surrendered five goals through four matches thus far.
Eriksen and his fellow Spurs face the same West Brom at White Hear Lane that was decimated by Manchester United just last week. Obviously I’m expecting more of the same this week.
Forwards: Remember when I said you have to be willing to shell out the big bucks for offensive upside on occasion? Well, the case for such spending is epitomized in the form of none other than the hottest player on the planet right now: Diego Costa. After seven goals in just four matches, he’s simply a must to have in your lineup. Manchester City remains the last beacon of hope in terms of a defense that could stop him, but even then I’ll need to see it before I believe it. It should be nothing short of a goal fest at the Etihad on Sunday, and I’d be surprised if Costa wasn’t on the scoresheet when it’s all said and done.
Radamel Falcao represents one of my value plays this week, even at $7,900. I say that, because after this week his price tag is sure to skyrocket. The newest in a long line of shiny new toys for Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, came off the bench last week in the rout of QPR and nearly scored despite playing only a few minutes. I expect him to be in the first XI this week as LvG will really want to show off his prized new striker. Expect him to have at least one goal.
Flex: With limited funds available to set my last remaining roster spot, I scoured the depths of the remaining available players in search of someone who could provide a cheap goal. Ulloa has been Leicester City’s best attacking player by far, and has bagged three goals in four matches.
Please keep in mind that several Premier League clubs had European competition this week, so it’s entirely possible some players you might like to select may not feature this weekend due to fatigue levels. As usual, be sure to check rosters when they are announced in order to make any necessary last minute changes to your roster. Unfortunately, if you’re watching on the American side of the pond that means you’re gonna have to be up early. Good luck!