This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Liverpool vs. Burnley
- 12:30 pm: Sheffield United vs. Chelsea
- 3:00 pm: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester City
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Ben Osborn, SHU v. CHE ($3,200): Were you expecting someone else? This isn't a risk-free play because it's possible John Fleck $5,800) is able to return from his groin injury, though that seems more likely to limit Osborn's minutes than his spot in the starting XI. Oliver Norwood is expected to take all of Sheffield United set pieces if Fleck doesn't start, but Osborn, who took corners two games ago after Norwood subbed out, still managedd a strong 8.4 fantasy points against Wolves earlier this week thanks to four crosses, one shot (which was on target), two tackles won and an interception, which is very good production for his $3,100 price in that game. Now just $100 more in a matchup against a leakier defense, Osborn figures to be popular, particularly in cash games, because of how many viable expensive options there are on the slate.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV v. BUR ($7,200): As a consistent set-piece taker for a big favorite against a defense that's conceded the sixth-most crosses, sixth-most corners and fifth-most chances created, Alexander-Arnold should be very popular, especially because we'll know if he is starting because Liverpool play in the first game. If there's one thing worth considering, it's that Andrew Robertson ($5,400) has actually taken on more corners recently, one of which resulted in an assist Wednesday against Brighton when he finished with 18.1 fantasy points in only 45 minutes (he didn't start but came on after halftime) thanks to nine crosses and four chances created. While Alexander-Arnold will surely be owned because he's always owned, the nearly $2,000 in savings might actually be worth it on this slate, especially to provide some salary cap flexibility if we're confronted with significant lineup rotation in the two later games.
Kevin De Bruyne, MCI at BHA ($11,000): I was going to include De Bruyne above because he would certainly be chalky if we knew he was starting, but there might be enough hesitation about his spot in the starting XI that he won't be overly owned. As the main set-piece taker for a big favorite with a high implied goal total, De Bruyne's salary is understandably high (it's the highest on the slate) but also one that many people will happily pay. De Bruyne did not start last weekend's match, though he played 31 minutes off the bench, and then he went the full 90 on Wednesday, so there's definitely concern about his availability. On the plus side, you could use Riyad Mahrez ($9,600, midfield/forward) in his spot because he often takes a few set pieces, though as we saw last weekend, Bernardo Silva ($7,600, midfield/forward), David Silva ($7,400) and even Phil Foden ($7,700) could poach a few. What this really boils down to is that you're probably better off taking multiple pieces from the Manchester City game (and likely that means multiple Manchester City players) and hope that you aren't leaving too much salary on the table in the event the higher-priced players sit. On the plus side, Mahrez, Bilva, Dilva, Foden and Raheem Sterling ($8,100, midfield/forward) are all midfield-eligible, so you can plug them into De Bruyne's spot if he doesn't start, though Gabriel Jesus ($8,300) has the highest anytime goal scorer odds on the team and is only forward eligible.
Mason Mount, CHE at SHU ($6,600): Mount feels a bit under-priced, especially when compared to Willian (more on him later), but if he has a clear path to a majority of set pieces then he could be a steal. The Sheffield United defense is solid, but Chelsea are still solid away favorites and Mount could be given more attacking responsibilities if the lineup shakes out in his favor. There are, unfortunately, not many midfielders with solid floors in good matchups, so if you prefer to focus on favorites, Mount fits the bill along with guys who won't have set pieces like Naby Keita ($4,700) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek ($4,300) if you don't want to rely on underdogs like Oliver Norwood ($4,700), Ashley Westwood ($4,600) or Alexis Mac Allister ($4,200).
Roberto Firmino, LIV v. BUR ($6,200): If I told you that the starting center forward for the biggest favorite on the slate with the highest implied goal total was only $6,200, is that something you'd be interested in? Firmino has been absolutely awful in Premier League play, as his last goal came back on Jan. 23 (he's played 11 league games since then), and his last assist came Feb. 1 when he had three against Southampton. He probably isn't a big consideration for cash lineups because he doesn't even have that good of a floor, and maybe I am just grasping at straws here, but it simply feels crazy that Firmino is priced below guys like Pedro ($7,900), Takumi Minamino ($7,300), Pascal Gross ($6,800) against Manchester City and Chris Wood ($6,400) or Dwight McNeil ($6,500) against Liverpool. If you're considering somewhat cheaper forwards to pay up for Man City, Chelsea or even other Liverpool attackers, Firmino certainly makes sense, as does Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ($5,700) if he starts because you're not relying on guys playing against Man City or Liverpool, while the Sheffield United forwards rarely deliver enough.
Willian, CHE at SHU ($10,600): Willian has been one of the best players in the league since the restart, as he has four goals on 16 shots (10 on target), two assists on 16 chances created and 35 crosses in five games. He's been their primary set-piece and penalty taker, and while his matchup away to Sheffield United isn't as good as what Liverpool (v. Burnley) and Manchester City (away to Brighton) face, it's still a solid opportunity for fantasy points. Like everyone else, there is some rotation risk possible, especially after playing 435 of a possible 450 minutes since the restart, but you could also pivot to any of the forward-eligible Manchester City options if he's not in. GPP players could look at whoever starts at center-forward for Chelsea too, with Olivier Giroud ($7,500) coming in with goals in back-to-back starts, while Tammy Abraham ($7,000) scored off the bench earlier this week. Then again, Christian Pulisic ($9,000) has been doing it all lately and provides a much better floor with similar upside.
Aymeric Laporte, MCI at BHA ($3,400): The difficulty with this slate is that all of the fullbacks on the favored teams are quite expensive, with the cheapest one possibly Kyle Walker at $4,500, and he doesn't even produce like a high-end fullback. Relying on points from the Burnley, Brighton or Sheffield United outside-backs seems like a bit of a stretch, which is why it wouldn't be crazy to consider cheaper center-backs from the favorites like Laporte, who scored 5.1 fantasy points for $3,400 in a 1-0 loss to Southampton last weekend. It's not a ton of points, but his low salary surely helps in the other spots. The idea of someone like Erik Pieters ($3,900) playing in a more advanced role will tempt some people, but you really have to consider how much of the ball Burnley will have at Anfield. Then again, Liverpool have allowed more crosses this season than Chelsea and Manchester City.
George Baldock, SHU v. CHE ($4,400): I seem to always go the wrong way when considering Baldock and Enda Stevens ($4,100), who both make sense on the slate if you really don't want to rely on a center-back. Sheffield United are a solid teams when it comes to crossing, and they are playing at home, so there's potential they could do some damage against a Chelsea defense that has been very leaky. It's just tough to get overly excited with the expectation that Chelsea could have a good amount of the ball, and the clean sheet points seem pretty unlikely.
Dean Henderson, SHU v. CHE ($4,000): Henderson could be a somewhat popular pay-down option because he's not facing one of the two highest-scoring teams in the league and Sheffield United don't usually get lit up. We've seen goalkeepers succeed against Manchester City, like Alex McCarthy of Southampton last weekend, but more often than not they concede more than they save. You could also prioritize goalkeeper by paying up for Alisson Becker ($6,000) or Ederson ($5,800), but it feels like a slate where that money would be better off on attackers.