This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Sheffield United vs. Southampton
- 12:30 pm: Aston Villa vs. Wolverhampton
- 3:00 pm: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Leicester City
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Anwar El Ghazi, AVL v. WOL ($10,300): The absence of James Maddison ($10,100) and likely absence of Jack Grealish ($10,600) presumably opens up some salary because they would have been definite targets for cash games, but the alternatives are hardly cheap. El Ghazi is likely to have a big role on set pieces if Grealish is out, though Ross Barkley ($6,200, midfielder) could take some if he starts. El Ghazi's floor has been pretty ridiculous recently, and while the Aston Villa attack lacks bite without Grealish, El Ghazi has still been producing some pretty impressive numbers. The issue is that he's likely to be the most expensive player on the slate if he starts, so there could be some who just want to save a little salary with Pascal Gross ($9,600) or Pedro Neto ($8,300) because they take set pieces for their teams too. The difficulty with paying up at both forward spots is that there are expensive midfielders worth prioritizing too, which could push some people away from El Ghazi and maybe toward Bertrand Traore ($8,200).
Adama Traore, WOL at AVL ($6,700): Traore continues to be a good source of fantasy points from shots, fouls drawn and crosses, though he notably has yet to score a goal or assist one this season. He still has upside and a decent floor while costing considerably less than the upper-tier forwards, though a total lack of set pieces is part of the reason that's the case. GPP players in the price range could look at Danny Ings ($7,400) and Neal Maupay ($7,000), who have the highest and third-highest anytime goal scorer odds on the slate, respectively, with Jamie Vardy ($7,800) not too much more expensive and sandwiched in between in terms of goal odds. There aren't any attractive cheap forwards unless you convince yourself whoever starts up front for Sheffield United is worthy of consideration, but really the only reason they would be is because they are cheap and not because they provide good value.
James Ward-Prowse, SOU at SHU ($9,000): Ward-Prowse has a near monopoly of set pieces for Southampton, the biggest favorite on the slate. He's always a cash-game staple when Southampton are favored, and the absence of Maddison and Grealish only makes it easier to turn to him. If there's a nit to pick it's that he doesn't shoot much, and a lot of his value comes from those set pieces, but again, Southampton are favored away to Sheffield United so there is an expectation they'll win enough corners to give him opportunities for crosses and chances created. Going a little further down the salary scale brings us to Youri Tielemans ($8,100), who usually takes set pieces when Maddison is out. He's a bit pricey if he plays in his regular defensive midfielder role, and he could lose a few corners to Marc Albrighton ($6,800), who is also a better open-play crosser, but Tielemans will still be a target for many.
Ross Barkley, AVL v. WOL ($6,200): Barkley's spot in the starting XI has been hit-or-miss recently, though a history of injuries makes that understandable given the congested schedule. He seems to have a role on set pieces when he's in, and he provides significant salary savings from El Ghazi if the Aston Villa set pieces are your priority. Albrighton, who is slightly more expensive, is the better open-play fantasy-point scorer, but he's also an away underdog, unlike Barkley.
Joao Moutinho, WOL at AVL ($4,900): Moutinho is the reason Neto isn't more popular than he probably should be, as the former provides significant salary savings but the same access to Wolves' set pieces. Neto obviously has much more upside, and his floor points come more from the attacking end of the pitch, but Moutinho under $5,000 is solid for cash games, even as an away underdog. Also in this range is Sheffield United's John Fleck ($5,100), who may lose a few set pieces to Oliver Norwood ($4,500), but he's still a better all-around scorer. Given that the floors of Moutinho and Fleck aren't drastically different from Barkley, the Aston Villa midfielder probably won't be that popular because the increase in salary will be tougher to find elsewhere.
Ahmed Elmohamady, AVL v. WOL ($5,100): There are no high-impact defenders on the slate, and it definitely feels like the position to save money for the elite forwards and midfielders, but Elmohamady has a solid floor for those who differentiate lineup constructions and want to spend up at defense. He comes in slightly cheaper than Matt Targett ($5,400), but really either one is fine.
George Baldock, SHU v. SOU ($4,200): Baldock isn't a prolific fantasy scorer, but as a cheaper wing-back for a home team, he'll be of interest to some. Luke Thomas ($3,900) would probably be more preferable if we knew he was starting, but playing in the late game probably doesn't make the risk worth it.
Wesley Fofana, LEI at BHA ($2,600): A close-to-minimum-price defender, you say? I'm in! Given the lack of must-have defenders, and not even good fullbacks at reasonable prices, paying down for at least one defender seems like the path to an optimal lineup. There's nothing overly exciting about Fofana that we can't get with Daniel Amartey ($2,600) or Mohammed Salisu ($2,600) if they start, with really the only benefit being that they are so cheap, coming in roughly $1,000 less than guys like Ben White ($3,600), Ezri Konsa ($3,500) or Tyrone Mings ($3,300). Some could be tempted by Jonny ($3,400) because he's a cheap wing-back, but he's not much of a crosser and playing 90 minutes seems like a stretch.
Aaron Ramsdale, SHU v. SOU ($4,200): All three matches on the slate are expected to be close and low-scoring, so paying all the way down for Ramsdale seems like a viable strategy because it allows you to pay up at the more important positions. He makes sense even with Ward-Prowse in a cash build, though you probably should stay away if you have someone like Ings or Adams because they are goal dependent to make value. The most important thing is to make sure your goalkeeper is correlated with the rest of your lineup, but if you can't do that then getting as much salary flexibility is important.