Sometimes there are ugly slates and sometimes those are the easiest to take advantage in. With six smaller clubs in action on Saturday, there won’t be many chalky lineups, especially without a stand out play at forward. However, the same can’t be said for midfield where James Maddison will likely be most popular in the EPL $20K Backheel Special [$5K to 1st].
Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace at Newcastle, $8,400 — In a weak slate, you can’t rely on any of the forwards to make the scoresheet. That’s why going with Zaha is the better play in cash games due to a higher floor. In addition to averaging 2.27 shots, Zaha averages 3.02 fouls drawn per 90 minutes. Conveniently, Newcastle has committed the fourth-most fouls in the league. He’s hit at least 9.3 fantasy points in eight of his last 10 starts with those two down outings coming against Tottenham and Man United.
Other Options — Jamie Vardy, Leicester, $8,500; Callum Wilson, Bournemouth, $8,300; Salomon Rondon, Newcastle, $8,000
Karlan Grant, Huddersfield vs. Leicester, $5,600 — With nothing to play for, Grant will likely stay in Huddersfield’s starting XI to get experience. He has 10 shots in his first four starts and three of those came away. Leicester have allowed 11 goals in their last five league trips and if Huddersfield score, Grant will likely be involved.
Other Options — Miguel Almiron, Newcastle, $6,700; Chris Wood, Burnley, $6,100; Ayoze Perez, Newcastle, $5,900
James Maddison, Leicester at Huddersfield, $9,000 — Maddison will likely be the most popular midfielder and there are few reasons to fade him in cash games. He’s hit double-digit fantasy points in his last eight starts, averaging 2.59 shots and 6.70 crosses per 90 minutes for the season. In addition to his crossing numbers, he has the fourth-best odds to score for expected starters.
Other Options — Ryan Fraser, Bournemouth, $7,800; Matt Ritchie, Newcastle, $7,700; Luka Milivojevic, Crystal Palace, $7,400
Juninho Bacuna, Huddersfield vs. Leicester, $4,000 — I’m not backing off Bacuna after last weekend’s down performance since he’s still hit four points in six of his last seven starts. Playing as a central midfielder, he’s acquired more defensive stats with seven tackles won and eight interceptions in the last three matches. That should keep him fantasy relevant against Leicester, who have forced the sixth-most interceptions this season.
Other Options — Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester, $5,000; Jeffrey Schlupp, Crystal Palace, $4,000; Dan Gosling, Bournemouth, $3,900
Charlie Taylor, Burnley at Bournemouth, $4,700 — There’s not a true stud defender on the slate so I’m forced to go with a somewhat underrated option. Taylor has at least 5.3 fantasy points in five of his last six starts with the down performance coming at Liverpool. He only averages 3.40 crosses per 90 minutes, but when given the opportunity, that number has frequently jumped to more than five. That could be the case against Bournemouth, who have given up the fourth-most crosses to defenders this season.
Other Options — Ben Chilwell, Leicester, $5,300; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Crystal Palace, $4,300; Chris Lowe, Huddersfield, $4,100
Florian Lejeune, Newcastle vs. Crystal Palace, $3,400 — Since there aren’t a ton of studs, there are multiple ways to go for value. Lejeune is in a good spot with at least 4.5 fantasy points in four of his last six starts. Most of his points come from tackles and interceptions, which is where Crystal Palace benefits him having allowed the most tackles to defenders this season.
Other Options — DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle, $3,900; James Tomkins, Crystal Palace, $3,300; Christopher Schindler, Huddersfield, $3,000
Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester at Huddersfield, $5,500 — None of the favorites are easy to trust, but it’s usually a good idea to go against Huddersfield, who have scored just 18 goals all season. Schmeichel at least makes a couple saves every match, while the same can’t be said for either Bournemouth or Newcastle goalkeeper. As the biggest favorite with the best odds for a clean sheet, he’s also not that expensive.
Other Options — Asmir Begovic, Bournemouth, $5,200; Martin Dubravka, Newcastle, $4,800
Ben Hamer, Huddersfield vs. Leicester, $4,100 — Hamer may not get the win, but he should get enough saves to stay in the positive. Leicester have the third-most shots in the last 10 gameweeks, yet the seventh-most goals, showing their inefficiency in front of net. Even if you back Maddison, Hamer is still viable since most of Maddison’s points come from crosses.
Other Options — Vicente Guaita, Crystal Palace, $4,600; Tom Heaton, Burnley, $4,400
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