After a short pre-Christmas sojourn, the Premier League is back on Boxing Day and some of the biggest contests of the year will be taking place on DraftKings. The following article goes through each position, picking out the very best players for your consideration.
David de Gea – ($6,000) – Man Utd – United are not up there among the Premier League’s best sides when it comes to defending, but the fixture on Boxing Day, which brings Sunderland to the Theatre of Dreams, makes De Gea a strong option. The United stopper scored 12 fantasy points in the 2-0 win at West Brom for what was his sixth clean sheet of the season. The seventh should come against a Sunderland attack that is the second worst in the top flight.
Thibaut Courtois – ($5,600) – Chelsea – Courtois picked up his 10th clean sheet of the season at Palace in the last game before Christmas and in the process improved to 9.8 fantasy points per game (FPPG) thanks to the 14 fantasy points he accrued. Courtois will never bring you big output in the save column, but no-one has the upside of a win-clean sheet bonus quite like the Belgian keeper.
Kasper Schmeichel – ($5,000) – Leicester City – Schmeichel returned to the Leicester side for the game at Stoke last weekend and things did not look good at the interval with the Foxes 2-0 behind and down to 10 man. By the end of the game, Schmeichel had an impressive 6.0 fantasy points thanks to five saves and the big Dane averages a weighty 4.2 saves per game. With several first choice defenders suspended, Schmeichel will likely be busy, and Leicester possess a good enough home record to suggest that even without a clean sheet, Schmeichel can achieve double digit fantasy points.
Tom Heaton – ($4,900) – Burnley – Talking about keepers who love a save, Heaton’s 5.1 saves per game is the best of any goalkeeper and it makes around 10 FPPG per game likely. The last two games he has played have both seen him finish on the losing side but still score double digit fantasy points. Burnley’s formidable home record combined with Boro’s record of just two away wins suggests that another double digit fantasy point total will be on the way on Boxing Day.
Marcos Alonso – ($6,300) – Chelsea – Alonso finally broke the $6K ceiling ahead of the 1-0 win at Palace and scored another 10 fantasy points on that day to maintain his 10.5 FPPG average. The way Southampton’s full backs had success against Bournemouth’s back line last weekend will give Alonso and right wing back Victor Moses plenty of confidence, and Alonso will have the opportunity to his double-digit fantasy points again.
Seamus Coleman – ($5,500) – Everton – Coleman has started to attack much more over the past couple of weeks and had seven crosses for 7.0 fantasy points in the 1-0 loss to Liverpool on Monday night. That was against a defence that is far-from steady, and this time around he goes up against a Leicester back-line that is missing Christian Fuchs on his flank. For a fair discount on Alonso, Coleman offers good performance and is at a price that could well put a number of other players off.
George Friend – ($5,000) – Middlesbrough – Friend ranks in the Premier League’s top five for tackles (3.3) and interceptions (3.3) per game and for that reason will always score points for your line-up. Boro like to sit back and absorb pressure, especially away from home, and it plays into the hands of Friend who will be busy in his return from injury.
Stephen Ward – ($4,900) – Burnley – On the other side of the pitch to Friend, Ward has hit double digit fantasy points in two of the last three games and had 10 fantasy points in the 2-1 loss at Spurs. Ward’s fantasy returns don’t usually rely on the clean sheet bonus (+3pts) and that strongly suggests that his total could go beyond 10pts if they do indeed manage to keep Boro from scoring.
Kevin De Bruyne – ($10,100) – Man City – De Bruyne has been at his influential best for City this season and has scored double digit fantasy points in his last eight starts for the Citizens. De Bruyne has an assist in his last two appearances for the club and averages over 7.0 crosses per game this season. Hull have the second worst defence in the Premier League, and I think the Belgian should always be a lineup consideration.
Dimitri Payet/Gylfi Sigurdsson – ($9,300/$9,300) – West Ham/Swansea – It’s neigh-on impossible to separate these two players, such has been the consistency of their performances. Payet helped himself to 23.75pts in the 1-0 win over Hull City, and that was despite the fact he didn’t get a goal or an assist. Instead, the Frenchman whipped in 17 crosses and fired off six shots (three on goal). Sigurdsson, whilst not as prolific as Payet, still managed 15.75pts without a scoring play, and it was his third consecutive double digit return. This one comes down to the team you have most confidence in. You like Swansea go with Gylfi. Love West Ham? Payet’s the choice.
Cesc Fabregas – ($6,000) – Chelsea – A one-game suspension for N’Golo Kante means that Cesc will likely step into the side for this game, and he has been an assist machine in the past. Fabregas, who already has a goal and two assists after making just three starts (eight total appearances) this season, will be put on set pieces and is always going to score fantasy points as a result. Across two starts this month, he is averaging 16 FPPG and at a price this low is a bargain.
Scott Arfield – ($5,200) – Burnley – There are plenty of players around the $5K range in midfield, and Arfield is one of the stronger options given Burnley’s match-up that is 1) at home and 2) against Middlesbrough. In his last two starts, the Canadian midfielder has hit 10 FPPG and Arfield’s stats aren’t reliant on just one category, something that could well be key. He’s already scored once this season, and his numbers from past seasons strongly suggest another strike isn’t far away. Also, keep an eye on Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s fitness in the lead up to this one. He could be a solid late option.
Alexis Sanchez – ($9,600) – Arsenal – Alexis has registered at least a goal or an assist in each of the last six games, a run that has seen him score six goals and add four assists. Sanchez is in the Premier League’s top five for goals (12) and assists (six), plus he averages 2.8 shots per game. As long as Arsene Wenger doesn’t decide to move him out wide, Sanchez is worth considering every week. So, be wary of Olivier Giroud. If he starts, I’d think twice about selecting Sanchez.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – ($9,000) – Man Utd – As debut seasons go, Zlatan isn’t half doing bad for a striker who is supposedly ‘past it.’ Ibra now has 11 Premier League goals, and only Diego Costa and Sanchez are better in that regard. The big Swede also averages 4.6 shots per game, and that figure is one only bettered by City forward Sergio Aguero. Put all this together with the fact that next up for United is a game against Sunderland, and you can envision Zlatan hitting near 20 fantasy points this Boxing Day.
Fernando Llorente – ($6,500) – Swansea City – Bob Bradley’s appointment at Swansea City has not gone well, yet in home games they have scored a pile of goals, and the Spanish centre forward has been responsible for a large chunk of them. In his last two home appearances, Llorente has scored twice in each game and averages 28.5 FPPG across those fixtures. West Ham’s defence doesn’t fill me with a huge amount of confidence, and a Sigurdsson-Llorente stack could be just the tonic.
Dieumerci Mbokani – ($5,500) – Hull City – To say Hull City were unfortunate against West Ham is the understatement of the century, and Mbokani was one of the ones who spurned an excellent chance. He ended the game on 9.75pts and in his previous appearance for the Tigers, Mbokani also had 10pts. City have been unable to keep clean sheets this season, and it might be about time to take the DR Congo international.