It’s time for the gameweek 12 preview! Hopefully you enjoyed the international break and are ready to get back to some EPL action this weekend. Unfortunately I won’t have time to go game-by-game for the article this week, so instead I’ve decided to just highlight some key players at each position for the upcoming Saturday main slate on DraftKings and Yahoo.
Davide Zappacosta – Chelsea, $5700 DK, £14 YH
Zappacosta has been starting at RWB recently for Chelsea with Victor Moses sidelined, and the Italian fullback has been very willing to get forward and put crosses in for Morata, with 6.2 Crs90 so far in the EPL. His matchup this week is a good one – West Brom are typically solid through the middle of the pitch, which filters the ball out wide and leads to Pulis’s side being ranked 19th in crosses against. The only concerns for Zappacosta this week are the risk of an early substitution, which is far from ideal at a high price-tag and would mean missing out on the clean sheet bonus on Yahoo. With that in mind, he is more of a GPP option this week unless you find yourself with plenty of salary left to spend in cash games. It’s worth noting that Cesar Azpilicueta already has five assists for Morata this season despite playing most of his minutes as a CB; if Azpi starts at RWB instead of Zappacosta he becomes an elite option in all formats.
Ashley Young – Manchester United, $5600 DK, £15 YH (Mid)
I don’t think Young is playable on Yahoo, where he is unfortunately still listed as a midfielder, and he is also priced up on DraftKings. That said, United are usually strong bets for a clean sheet at home, and depending on the starting XI we could see Young take a couple of set pieces (if Rashford and/or Mkhitaryan are rested, for example). Young isn’t a must play this week, but he is a solid option if you’re looking for alternatives to Zappacosta in a similar price range.
Leighton Baines – Everton, $5200 DK, £14 YH
Baines isn’t good any more in my opinion, but he is still playing every game for Everton at LB. Baines has been taking set pieces recently even with Sigurdsson on the pitch, which is absolutely ridiculous seeing as Siggy barely contributes anything from open play. Everton have about £45m reasons to play Siggy, but if he’s not taking set pieces he may as well be on the bench. That said, corner duty does make Baines playable in DFS. He looks like a solid option this week, although it would be foolish to rely on an Everton clean sheet at the moment!
Danilo – Manchester City, $4900 DK, £14 YH
With Otamendi suspended, we could see Danilo start at CB this weekend. I wouldn’t use him on DraftKings, but he offers a cheap way to gain exposure to the City defence this week on Yahoo. City CBs are always heavily involved in build-up play, so Danilo should have plenty of passes to give him a safe floor. Other options for Pep are to move Fernandinho into the back 4 or to give a rare start to Mangala, who is available for just £10 on Yahoo.
Stephen Ward – Burnley, $4700 DK, £15 YH
It’s never exciting to use Stephen Ward, but he has been fairly solid for DFS purposes despite some difficult recent fixtures. A home game against Swansea is one of the best matchups Burnley will have all season, and if Ward gets the clean sheet bonus he has a shot at double-digit fantasy points. However, Ward did play 180 minutes over the break and even allowed Bendtner to score (a penalty, obviously), so there is a slight risk that he will have a quieter game than normal this week.
Simon Francis – Bournemouth, $4100 DK, £13 YH
Francis’s stats don’t stand out as a result of him playing most of his minutes at CB, but he started at RB in the last game and he is a completely different player for fantasy purposes in that situation. If he gets another start at RB, he is a solid salary saver at the position in a decent home fixture.
Kieran Gibbs – West Bromwich Albion, $3700 DK, £13 YH
If you are getting desperate for salary relief on DK, Gibbs offers a cheap route to 5-6 fantasy points. I don’t expect West Brom to keep a clean sheet this week, but Gibbs has shown that he can be useful at a cheap price tag even in difficult situations. With West Brom likely to struggle in front of goal Gibbs’s ceiling is low, so I would try and avoid him if possible unless the salary relief gets you a big upgrade elsewhere. It’s preferable to find the extra funds for Francis or even a Swansea fullback over Gibbs ideally.
Joel Matip – Liverpool, $3600 DK, £16 YH
Southampton have been very underwhelming recently, but they aren’t a pushover by any means, and this is a tougher matchup for Liverpool than most people probably realise. That said, Matip has shown a high floor on Yahoo this season and is in play if you want to get some Liverpool exposure. Unfortunately, he’s expensive this week after scoring against West Ham, and if Milner starts he’s an obvious pivot at the same price.
Fade: Cedric Soares – Southampton, $4300 DK, £13 YH
It’s easy to get attracted to such a low price-tag on Cedric this week, but I’ve fallen for this trap before and I won’t be making the same mistake here. Cedric is usually one of the best options at the position each week, but he has historically been poor vs good opponents. This looks like another letdown spot for Cedric, even at a vastly reduced salary.
Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool, $11100 DK, £24 YH
It’s tough to stomach the price tag on Coutinho this week, but salary aside he is one of the top options in DFS on a weekly basis, even in below average matchups. The bookies are expecting Liverpool to score a couple of goals this weekend, and Phil is a strong bet to be involved when they do find the back of the net (4.5 Sh90, 3.2 CC90). If Milner and/or Oxlade-Chamberlain start alongside Coutinho I like him less in cash games, with some uncertainty on who will take set pieces in that scenario. However, that would also keep his ownership down in GPPs.
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City, $10100 DK, £25 YH
KDB is on another level to most midfielders in the league right now. The numbers tell us that we shouldn’t expect him to score or assist every game, but with City finding the back of the net at will it’s hard to see him slowing down any time soon. With a high floor from crosses and upside from assists/goals, you’re unlikely to regret plugging him into your DFS lineups on a weekly basis.
Leroy Sane – Manchester City, $9400 DK, £22 YH
Sane has just under 1 xG+xA90 this season, which means he is generating about a goal per game for his side right now on paper. For comparison, KDB is currently sitting at 0.55 xG+xA90. What’s even more ridiculous is that three City players actually have a higher xG+xA90 mark than Sane! It’s hard to argue against loading up on City players each and every week…
Robbie Brady – Burnley, $7000 DK, £15 YH
Brady is typically overrated for DFS purposes, but any time he’s playing at home vs a poor opponent, he’s always worth considering thanks to a high floor from crosses (7.6 Crs90). Burnley are not a good team going forward (ranked 20th in xG and xG/Sh) and they have been running very good in front of goal so far this season. Brady himself only has 0.2 xG+xA90, which is similar to players like Kyle Walker, Jordan Henderson and Oriol Romeu… That said, this is as good a spot as any for Burnley to continue their good run of form in front of goal.
Yohan Cabaye – Crystal Palace, $5800 DK, £15 YH
Cabaye has double-digit crosses in each of his last two games, and a home matchup against Everton isn’t anywhere near as scary as it should be right now. Cabaye is still too cheap for his current role in this Palace side, and he should be able to post another solid game here. I like him in all formats this week.
Jordan Ibe – Bournemouth, $4800 DK, £14 YH
I’ve talked about Ibe before – he will take set pieces when he’s on the field, but rarely plays 90 minutes and doesn’t offer a lot outside of 4.6 Crs90. A home matchup with Huddersfield isn’t the scariest situation, and Ibe should be able to do enough to pay off a cheap price tag. He isn’t ever a great play in GPPs, but could do enough in cash games to help you afford the expensive forwards on the slate.
Rajiv van La Parra – Huddersfield Town, $4300 DK, £13 YH
Parra came through for us last time out, and whilst I don’t expect another goal he could offer enough points from crosses at a cheap salary to help us pay up elsewhere. If Aaron Mooy is rested after the international break Ince and van La Parra should split the set pieces, and they would both become much more appealing options in that scenario.
Fade: Wilfred Zaha – Crystal Palace, $7700 DK, £17 YH
This is a good matchup for Zaha, but if you’ve read my articles before you know how I feel about using an overpriced, overowned winger that has below average stats. Zaha averages 1.6 Sh90, 2.8 Crs90 and 0.3 xG+xA90 dating back to the start of last season – very similar numbers to players like Johan Berg Gudmundsson and Christian Atsu, who nobody is going out of their way to roster even at much cheaper salaries. Let everyone else chase points with him this weekend.
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool, $11000 DK, £27 YH
Salah is a strong play on most slates, it’s just a question of whether you can find enough salary to afford him now that he’s finally priced up where he should be. People might take the savings and look to use Sadio Mane instead, but I will be doing my best to spend up for Salah if I want Liverpool exposure at the forward position.
Alvaro Morata – Chelsea, $9900 DK, £23 YH
Morata is keeping pace with Lukaku this season, and I’ve mentioned before that West Brom aren’t the elite defence they are widely perceived to be. Based on the bookies’ odds Morata figures to be the lowest owned of the big team strikers, and he is a great GPP option this week as a result.
Alvaro Morata vs Romelu Lukaku so far in 17-18.
Same same, but different. pic.twitter.com/HHziEnmEVJ
— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) November 16, 2017
Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City, $9800 DK, £23 YH
City forward = fantasy goldmine these days. Jesus has 0.91 NPxG90 this season, which is best in the league by a significant margin for players with >450 minutes played (5 90s). Aguero could be given a rest after being admitted to hospital whilst on international duty, and Jesus would be the main beneficiary.
Raheem Sterling – Manchester City, $8900 DK, £20 YH
Sterling has been on fire this season, with a ridiculous 1.11 NPxG+xA90 leading to 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games in all competitions (including two games against Napoli!). Sterling missed a couple of great chances in the last game against Arsenal and withdrew from the England squad due to a back injury, but if he’s fit enough to start here he should have plenty more opportunities to chip in with a goal or assist against Leicester.
Marcus Rashford – Manchester United, $8300 DK, £18 YH
Jose has been reluctant to play Martial and Rashford together, but Rashford has been taking a lot of the set pieces in recent games, leading to a high floor if he is in the starting XI. Newcastle aren’t an easy opponent (we’ll get to that in a minute), but Rashford is very affordable on both sites given his current role in the side, and is viable in all formats this week.
Tammy Abraham – Swansea, $6000 DK, £16 YH
This article wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t mention the fact that Abraham is facing Burnley this week. No doubt Dyche will be able to conjure up another 1-0 win from somewhere, and it almost feels like we’ll hear he’s flattered to be linked with the Zimbabwe PM job at this point (I hear Ryan Giggs is also interested). This is a huge game for Swansea, and Abraham could be the man to spoil the party in Burnley.
Oumar Niasse – Everton, $5800 DK, £19 YH
It’s strange to think that Niasse has been the main attacking threat for Everton so far, after he spent much of last season on loan at relegated Hull City. I guess that’s what happens when you spend £45m on Sigurdsson instead of signing a striker to replace Lukaku… I’ve talked about Palace being unlucky so far this season and Everton could struggle yet again here, especially with Unsworth still in charge. Palace are still poor defensively, however, and Niasse appears to be the most likely Everton player to get on the scoresheet. He is overpriced on Yahoo this week, but still remains affordable on DraftKings.
Callum Wilson – Bournemouth, $5400 DK, £14 YH
It’s been a while since I’ve recommended a Bournemouth striker, but if Wilson or Afobe keep getting the nod ahead of Defoe we can look to use them in GPPs in good matchups. It’s great that Howe finally seems to realise he already has 3 better forwards than Defoe, but let’s not forget that Jermain will be at the club until the end of the 19/20 season! Unfortunately that means Defoe is still seeing minutes off the bench at the moment, which limits the upside of the other strikers a bit. Huddersfield also aren’t bad defensively, so this isn’t exactly a smash spot for Bournemouth. However, at a cheap price-tag you could do worse than Wilson or Afobe this weekend.
Fade: Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United, $9700 DK, £25 YH
Lukaku has been on a bit of a goal drought recently, which has a lot to do with Jose’s tactics in difficult matchups and less to do with Lukaku’s ability. That said, you can’t play every expensive striker this week and Newcastle have kept games close this season. Only Spurs and Southampton have managed to score more than one goal against Newcastle, and with Lukaku priced up in the same range as the likes of Morata and Jesus he really needs multiple goals to be worth using. United face Brighton and Watford in their next two league games, and it looks like a good idea to fade Lukaku here and hope for reduced ownership in future weeks.
Thanks for reading! Sorry the article wasn’t as in-depth as usual this week, but hopefully there is a lot of useful info in here regardless! Please share the article on social media if you agree, and good luck in your contests this weekend.
All data by Opta.