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

This article is part of our Starting Eleven series.

MATCHES (EST)

7:30 a.m: West Ham v. Arsenal
10:00 a.m: Brighton v. Liverpool
10:00 a.m: Burnley v. Fulham
10:00 a.m: Cardiff v. Huddersfield
10:00 a.m: Crystal Palace v. Watford
10:00 a.m: Leicester v. Southampton
12:30 p.m: Chelsea v. Newcastle

FORWARDS

The options are endless on Saturday's slate with seven teams in action led by the biggest favorites, Arsenal (at West Ham), Liverpool (at Brighton) and Chelsea (v. Newcastle). This all leads to Eden Hazard again being in everyone's lineup after scoring at least 16.4 fantasy points in his last eight starts even though he hasn't made the score sheet in three of those matches. His ability to do a little bit of everything makes him the easiest player to trust on the slate, from completing at least 40 passes to drawing at least three fouls, and that doesn't include what he does on the attacking end. Oddly, Aleksandar Mitrovic may be the next easiest player to trust simply because he always takes shots, firing 16 in his last three starts resulting in at least 17 fantasy points in each match over that span. Fulham are playing away, but Burnley are Burnley and have allowed the most shots in the league this season (390).

Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are the other players in the top-tier conversation. Both are a little more reliant on making the score sheet, but that's not a bad thing to bet on. Salah has three goals and three assists in his last four starts while Aubameyang has four goals in that same period. Without goals, their floors aren't at the same level as Hazard and Mitrovic, but both are more likely to score. If you consider yourself lucky, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Alexandre Lacazette are all in the category below their teammates, though all can produce just as much in the right situation.

If you hate top players, Ashley Barnes has turned into a relevant fantasy player with two goals on 14 shots and one assist on five chances created in his last four starts. That'll slow down at some point, but Fulham still have the worst defense in the league after conceding 47 goals, five more than anyone else. Even worse, Fulham just fell 2-1 at home to Oldham in the FA Cup. Chris Wood and Dwight McNeil are just behind Barnes for an improved Burnley, while Steve Mounie and Troy Deeney may have better floors. Wilfried Zaha is still struggling to produce, but he has another good matchup against Watford. Finally, Marko Arnautovic would be the ultimate differential since he doesn't have a high floor, but Arsenal always seem to allow a goal when playing away, and he's coming off a brace against Brighton.

MIDFIELDERS

Midfield is a little less certain, though there are numerous defensive midfielders who have better floors than most forwards. Jorginho tops that list in terms of form with at least 15 fantasy points in four of his last five starts. He won't find the back of the net, but he's good for at least 80 completed passes and a range of defensive stats, and that's often enough.

There are a slew of players in that defensive midfield mold, with Granit Xhaka, Luka Milivojevic and Philip Billing all having similar floors. The difference is that they're all more likely to make the score sheet in one way or another in addition to defensive stats. Billing may be the safest one, with at least 15 fantasy points in five of his last six starts. Whereas Billing is getting at least two shots per match, Milivojevic always has added value as a penalty taker and Xhaka creates more chances from set pieces. Others like N'Golo Kante, Wilfred Ndidi and Etienne Capoue are slightly behind because of lower floors, and it's hard to back any of them above the aforementioned options.

If you're hoping for goals, Felipe Anderson is someone to pair with Arnautovic if you think the Hammers can grab a couple at home. It's the same thing for players like Andros Townsend, who provides little in terms of fantasy scoring if he doesn't make the score sheet.

DEFENDERS AND GOALKEEPERS

Any Chelsea defender is a good option in a match where they should control possession. In back-to-back clean sheets, all four defenders have been around 15 fantasy points, whether from completing tons of passes, getting in the attack or a variety of defensive stats. David Luiz has maybe been the safest because he provides a little bit of everything, from getting shots and, more importantly, completing at least 70 passes each match. Antonio Rudiger isn't far behind, but he also doesn't get forward as much. Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta don't have as high of floors, but they could also be involved in the attack more than usual if all goes well.

Outside of Chelsea, Ricardo Pereira has been doing everything, with at least 18 fantasy points in his last four starts. While he's made the score sheet in two of those, he also has eight shots, 10 crosses and 23 tackles in that period. His floor isn't as good as the Chelsea guys, but if he stays involved in a favorable matchup against Southampton, there's no reason he can't come close to 20 points again.

Crystal Palace defenders are a tier below Chelsea, with Mamadou Sakho the best option because he completes the most passes as a center-back. Others that provide consistency with clean-sheet potential include Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk, who have been a little harder to project depending on their matchups, but both should control the ball plenty against a Brighton side that won't see a ton of possession. I'd also throw Sol Bamba in the mix because Huddersfield continue to force the most defensive stats out of anyone, namely in the clearance department.

Goalkeeper is always a little less certain since the top options don't make as many saves. It's still a worthy spot for Alisson, who usually reaches more than 10 fantasy points against teams not near the top of the table. Kepa Arrizabalaga has the best odds for a clean sheet, but he may also only make a save or two. Guys like Neil Etheridge and Kasper Schmeichel not only have decent clean sheet odds, but also are usually forced to make a few saves, and that helps their floors.

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate. 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year.
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