This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Leeds United vs. Fulham
- 12:30 pm: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace
- 3:00 pm: Arsenal vs. West Ham United
Bruno Fernandes, MUN v. CRY ($18): Most of my lineups will feature Fernandes because he's four bucks cheaper than Anthony Martial and three cheaper than Marcus Rashford. Sure, the forwards are more likely to score, but Fernandes has a higher floor and had fewer than 10 fantasy points just once in 14 starts last season. He slowed down a bit toward the end of the season, but he was also playing 90 minutes in every match and fatigue may have been a factor. Either way, he's on penalties for Man United and averaged 3.32 shots and 2.27 chances created per start last season. With the highest implied goal total on the slate, you need at least one Man United player, and Fernandes makes the most sense in cash games. If you want to bank on a 5-0 win and braces from Martial and Rashford, it's a viable stack. It's possible to add Mason Greenwood ($16) to that trio, but that may force you into Crystal Palace's goalkeeper. Donny van de Beek ($15) and Paul Pogba ($16) are also in the conversation, though both with significantly less upside than Greenwood. When these teams met in July, Martial and Rashford were the only two to make the score-sheet in a 2-0 win, while Fernandes had twice as many shots as anyone else (six).
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ARS v. WHU ($22): Aubameyang has the best odds to score on the slate and will probably be the main challenger to Fernandes in terms of popularity. Aubameyang opened the season in good form, connecting on a perfect pass from new signing Willian ($19) in addition to two other shots on goal. Throw in West Ham's lackluster defense that gave up two goals to Newcastle last weekend and Aubameyang has a good chance to add to his tally. In cash games, I'd rather have Fernandes than Willian, mainly because he's on the ball more and takes penalties. Willian was great in his Arsenal debut, but he also had fewer than 10 floor points, something that will likely see his price drop in the future. Alexandre Lacazette ($18) is a better tournament play mainly because he's more likely to score as the central forward. It's a reasonable stack with all three, but you're banking on a repeat performance from the Fulham match, which rarely happens for the Gunners. The bigger worry with Arsenal may be that they switch their lineup for some reason and then you have extra unused salary because you're rostering someone like Edward Nketiah ($15) because it's the last match of the day.
Patrick Bamford, LEE v. FUL ($16): Since Man United and Arsenal are such big favorites, Leeds players may slip under the radar in Saturday's opening match despite being almost as big of a favorite as Arsenal. I like Rodrigo, but he started and went a full 90 in midweek and Bamford is likely to start this one. While Bamford may not go the full 90, he scored in both meetings last season and Leeds beat Fulham 3-0 in the most recent matchup in June. The only problem with a Leeds stack is that no one stands out from the striker despite Mateusz Klich ($15), Kalvin Phillips ($14) and Jack Harrison ($14) all producing against Liverpool. Phillips takes set pieces, but he had just two goals and two assists in 37 starts last season, so he's mainly a cash play due to a lack of upside. At the least, Leeds will score against what may be the worst back line in the league, and it will most likely be their top striker.
Ivan Cavaleiro, FUL at LEE ($7): Aleksandar Mitrovic ($16) is the other forward who will be widely considered, but he wasn't fit enough to start the opener and, in addition to possibly not playing 90 minutes, I don't want to spend that much on a Fulham player, especially on this slate. That led me to Cavaleiro, who went the full 90 in the first match and was the most likely player to make the score-sheet for Fulham last season outside of Mitrovic, finishing with six goals and seven assists. He's not exciting, but he would allow you to get a better goalkeeper and he at least has some upside if the Leeds back line has issues again. Eberechi Eze ($9) would've been my pick, but after going the entire way in Tuesday's Cup match, I'm not sure he'll start. Otherwise, most Fulham options are pretty mediocre unless you want to go after a defender.
Tyrick Mitchell, CRY at MUN ($6): If nothing changes for the expected lineups, Mitchell will be the cheapest defender by three dollars. That rarely happens and it likely means he'll be on the majority of rosters in all formats. He was under-priced last match at $6 and racked up 16.7 fantasy points with the help of a clean sheet. While a clean sheet is unlikely against the Red Devils, he should still hit 10 points from tackles and clearances, and given how unreliable defender is, there's no reason not to roster him.
Tim Ream, FUL at LEE ($9): The next cheapest of the expected starting defenders is Ream, who did close to nothing in the first match, accruing 5.2 points. That said, Arsenal forced the second-fewest clearances in the second half of last season. In comparison, Leeds forced the most clearances and third-most interceptions in the Championship. I'd rather go with the cheapest defenders because none of the teams on this slate force a ton of defensive action, so even if you spend up on Issa Diop ($12) or Angelo Ogbonna ($11), production isn't guaranteed. The prices for all Leeds defenders shot up, but Fulham aren't going to force as much work as Liverpool. Not to mention, neither Man United nor Arsenal have attacking full-backs who are must plays. If you are flipping between Man United goalkeepers (see below), I'd try and get Victor Lindelof ($10) instead because Ream is in the early match.
David de Gea, MUN v. CRY ($14): The reason to go cheap at defender is to have enough money in case de Gea starts. There's a chance Dean Henderson ($6) gets the call, but it's better to have your lineup built around de Gea so you don't have to vastly change your lineup. Crystal Palace had the worst offense in the league last season, and scoring against Southampton hasn't changed my mind. I'd rather back de Gea than Bernd Leno ($13), mainly because West Ham's attack is more potent. If you're fading Man United because of their lack of training together, Vicente Guaita ($7) is your guy.