Starting Eleven: Saturday Premier League Breakdown
Starting Eleven: Saturday Premier League Breakdown

This article is part of our Starting Eleven series.

MATCHES (EDT)

7:30 a.m: Southampton v. Chelsea
10:00 a.m: Huddersfield v. Watford
10:00 a.m: Swansea City v. Everton
10:00 a.m: Crystal Palace v. Brighton
10:00 a.m: Burnley v. Leicester City
12:30 p.m: Liverpool v. Bournemouth
2:45 p.m: Tottenham v. Manchester City

FORWARDS

Stop me if you've heard this before: Mohamed Salah could be the most popular player selected on Saturday's slate. After missing out last weekend due to a slight groin injury, Salah returned and scored in Tuesday's Champions League win over Manchester City, seemingly putting to rest any thoughts that the injury may linger. Speaking of rest, it's possible that manager Jurgen Klopp gives Salah some time on the bench this weekend, with Liverpool still significantly better than Bournemouth even without the Golden Boot leader.

Given the risk of rostering Salah, or teammate Roberto Firmino, because of the possibility of being rested, you can always pivot to Harry Kane, who is without a goal in his last five starts, unless you count the one he didn't score but was still awarded from last weekend's match against Stoke City. Given their battle for the league-lead in goals, Salah's reaction after the Premier League awarded Kane one of Christian Eriksen's goals was understandable:


Kane's matchup against Manchester City isn't ideal, but given the way they've defended and Kane's ability to score against top teams, I wouldn't be too worried. That being said, there may be a better option from the first game of the day.

Chelsea's Alvaro Morata has been in solid form of late and his match away to Southampton is certainly easier than facing Spurs or Man City. The Spaniard has a goal and an assist in his last two games, and his ability to win duels and take shots when given sufficient playing time gives him a solid floor even if he doesn't find the back of the net.

Another forward who isn't as goal dependent is Swansea City's Jordan Ayew, who is back after a three-match suspension for a straight red card against Huddersfield on March 10. Prior to that game, Ayew had scored at least 14.00 fantasy points in seven consecutive games, scoring a goal in only three of those matches. He gets most of his points through winning duels and drawing fouls, so while he still has a decent goal opportunity at home against Everton on Saturday, he's still a reliable option if he can't find the back of the net, unlike Jamie Vardy, who at least comes in with a goal in three straight games.

MIDFIELDERS

If you're expecting Manchester City to break out of their funk Saturday against Spurs at Wembley Stadium, then David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne are surely on the fantasy radar. Even if Man City are able to show signs of returning to the powerful force they were for most of this season, I still wouldn't shy away from Christian Eriksen, who had two goals on six shots last weekend against Stoke City. Given his role on set pieces, I prefer Eriksen ahead of teammates Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son, even if both have been playing well of late (Alli more than Son). However, a match against Manchester City doesn't seem like the ideal time to roster multiple Spurs midfielders.

If there is a team worthy of multiple spots in the midfield, I think it's Chelsea, with Willian and Eden Hazard the upside plays while N'Golo Kante is the midfield engine who has scored more than 12.00 fantasy points in nine consecutive matches, including more than 14.50 in three straight, all without a goal and just one assist. His defensive work is nearly unrivaled, and while Chelsea should probably have more possession against Southampton, the Saints are desperate for points and are at least playing at home.

There are a number of attacking midfielders outside of Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Man City worth considering, with Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez leading the way. Both players are a bit goal dependent to separate themselves from the options discussed above, but their matchups against Brighton and Burnley (away), respectively, should allow for some optimism. Mahrez hasn't been great altely, but the Burnley defense isn't as lock-tight as it seems, even if it's gone 10 consecutive matches without allowing multiple goals. And if Zaha's inconsistency feels too risky, Yohan Cabaye is a consideration when Palace aren't up against a top side.

DEFENDERS AND GOALKEEPER

Focusing on clean sheets will inevitably lead you to Liverpool, who have enough injuries along the back line that it's pretty safe to assume that at least Virgil van Dijk starts, though we could see some rotation with both fullbacks. We can also probably include James Milner because he continues to start in the midfield.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's defense has been brutal of late, but Cesar Azpilicueta has still performed well, though last week's goal against West Ham shouldn't be relied on for forecasting his production this weekend. Marcos Alonso always gets the attention because of his attacking acumen, but Azpilicueta has been the most consistent Chelsea defender this season.

Given a potential goal-fest, I'd be fine staying away from Man City and Tottenham defender, even if a few of them have strong upsides. Most of the other games aren't expected to be high scoring, so any clean sheets in those matches wouldn't be surprising. Unfortunately, it makes them a little less reliable, so even if you're interested in Huddersfield potentially holding Watford scoreless, are you comfortable enough with Terence Kongolo ahead of someone like Azpilicueta or Milner, who you can pair with either Loris Karius or Thibaut Courtois?

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Andrew M. Laird plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kingmorland, DraftKings: andrewmlaird, Yahoo: Lairdinho.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Senior Soccer Editor and a fantasy football contributor. He is a seven-time FSWA finalist, including twice for the Football Writer of the Year Award.
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