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: Wolverhampton v. Leicester
10:00 a.m: Bournemouth v. West Ham
10:00 a.m: Liverpool v. Crystal Palace
10:00 a.m: Manchester United v. Brighton
10:00 a.m: Newcastle v. Cardiff
10:00 a.m: Southampton v. Everton
10:00 a.m: Watford v. Burnley
12:30 p.m: Arsenal v. Chelsea

FORWARDS

The days of blindly trusting Eden Hazard appear to be over, at least while he plays as a false 9. Even though he assisted against Newcastle, he still managed just 11 fantasy points, and unless his position changes at Arsenal, he's off the radar. Instead, I'm turning to players who have firm roles on their respective teams, and that means Mohamed Salah and Marcus Rashford, the latter of whom is on a roll with a goal in three straight, and his floor is also in a good place with at least three shots in his last five starts. Meanwhile, Salah relies slightly more on goals and assists, but I'm not betting against him to make the score sheet against Crystal Palace. There aren't many other safe plays, unless you think Liverpool are going to score at least three.

Roberto Firmino has had a better floor, with at least 30 passes completed in five of his last six starts, while Sadio Mane has a slightly worse floor and isn't as likely to find the back of the net. Oddly, Ashley Barnes and Troy Deeney have been two of the most in-form players, though Deeney is the one at home. He has 11 shots and six chances created in his last four starts, while Barnes has had a better floor with 10 shots and seven chances created in his last three starts. There's little reason to trust the Watford and Burnley back lines, so both could have solid floors again.

With Callum Wilson battling a hamstring injury, Joshua King took up more of a forward role last match and has eight shots in his last two starts. I'm not saying he's going to score, but the chances will be there against West Ham. The same goes for Marko Arnautovic against the struggling Bournemouth back line. And if you think you can trust Arsenal against Chelsea, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is worth consideration. But remember, both Arnautovic and Aubameyang are mostly goal dependent and may not reach five fantasy points without a goal or assist.

MIDFIELDERS

There's no question who the top midfielder is these days, as Paul Pogba has a floor of 20 fantasy points, reaching that total in his last five starts. It'll be hard to win without him since he has 22 shots and 13 chances created over that period, and Brighton won't slow him down.

The big decisions will come at the other midfield spots, and that's a little more of a mystery with the usually consistent options like Granit Xhaka, Luka Milivojevic and Jorginho all in more difficult spots. From those players, I'm most confident in Jorginho because he averages 89 passes per 90 minutes. He may not reach that number at Arsenal, but more defensive stats should help. Milivojevic isn't far behind, but it's hard to see him having many opportunities in the attack at Liverpool. Wilfred Ndidi is my pick above all those guys after scoring at least 14 fantasy points in his last four starts. He may not score again, but the defensive numbers will always be there in addition to at least 30 completed passes. Idrissa Gueye is in that same territory with 15 fantasy points a good assumption, though with little upside. You could throw Nemanja Matic into the mix as well since he surpassed 60 completed passes in the four matches prior to the Tottenham win. If you want a tad more upside than Matic, Ander Herrera has had a similar floor but with a few more shots and chances created.

Of course, Felipe Anderson is probably the upside play against a Bournemouth team that has allowed multiple goals in their last five in all competitions. Even playing away, West Ham are in a good spot to produce a goal or two. On the other side, Ryan Fraser doesn't have much of a floor, but he had 27 fantasy points in the last home match and has eight chances created in his last two starts. Southampton aren't in a bad spot, but you'll have to pick between Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and James Ward-Prowse. Hojbjerg is back from suspension, but there's a chance Ward-Prowse keeps his spot in the starting XI. I'd be more inclined to look at someone from Watford or Burnley. Etienne Capoue is usually good for 11 fantasy points no matter the matchup, while Abdoulaye Doucoure is the play if you want more potential. Also of note, Ashley Westwood and Jack Cork have benefitted from Burnley's recent run of form and have hit double digits over the last few matches.

DEFENDERS AND GOALKEEPERS

Defender is a little harder than usual because of Chelsea's matchup. Led by David Luiz, the four Chelsea defenders have had great floors in recent matches, but that could change at the Emirates, as Arsenal are fourth in the league in terms of possession. With less possession comes a lower floor and fewer fantasy points. Even with that being the case, Luiz, Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta should still have some of the better floors on the slate since 50 completed passes in addition to defensive stats is usually more than what other defenders supply.

It may be a little easier to back a Liverpool defender like Andrew Robertson with hopes of an assist or Virgil van Dijk with hopes of 100-plus passes like he had last match. Those two should be popular, along with Luke Shaw, who completed 85 passes in two of his last three starts and has hit double digits in his last five. The more potent plays are Ricardo Pereira and Lucas Digne since both get forward and cross a ton. I'd put Pereira slightly above Digne since he's at home, and he's reached 18 fantasy points in four of his last five starts.

The top goalkeeper could oddly be Neil Etheridge, who has at least three saves in five of his last six starts, including three clean sheets. Playing a Newcastle team that has 16 total goals is also a good reason to back him. For those looking at Alisson and David De Gea, remember that the saves probably won't be there. I'd trust Alisson more because of his matchup and because he's been more consistent this season, while De Gea may not be asked to make more than one save against Brighton. Otherwise, Martin Dubravka, Ben Foster and Rui Patricio are in similar situations to Etheridge. Of those three, Foster has the best odds to win against Burnley.

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. Adam Zdroik plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: zdroik, DraftKings: rotozdroik, Yahoo: StreakMaster.
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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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