Premier League Preview: Predicting the Fantasy Soccer Standouts

The English Premier League gets underway with a five-game fantasy soccer slate Saturday morning.

As clubs embark on the 38-game season, Adam Zdroik and Schuyler Redpath offer their takes and predictions on some of the biggest fantasy storylines this year.

The stud fantasy forward of the 2018-19 season will be _______

Adam Zdroik: The stud fantasy forward of the 2018-19 season will be Harry Kane. It’s hard not to go with him after scoring a minimum of 25 goals in each of the past three seasons. He’s always going to get shots, and that’s going to lead to goals. He also has no competition up front for Tottenham.

Schuyler Redpath: The stud fantasy forward of the 2018-19 season will be Sergio Aguero. Aguero scored 21 Premier League goals in just 25 games played last season for Manchester City, and while Kane scored more goals (30), he also played in 12 more games, giving “Kun” the better goals-per-minute ratio. With even more attacking talent surrounding him, there’s reason to believe Aguero will be back at the top of the goalscoring charts this season.


The breakout fantasy forward of the 2018-19 season will be ______

SR: The breakout fantasy forward of the 2018-19 season will be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He made an immediate impact since signing with Arsenal in January 2018 for a club-record fee, finishing the season with 10 goals and four assists in 13 games. With a full season ahead of him, Aubameyang has a legitimate chance to make a run at the Golden Boot.

AZ: The breakout fantasy forward of the 2018-19 season will be Cenk Tosun. There aren’t many players who can fill this role with the usual names expected to battle for the Golden Boot, but Everton should be more exciting than last season, and Tosun’s breakout aligns with my breakout pick in the midfield (see below). The Toffees are an intriguing team with Marco Silva and Richarlison added to the mix. Tosun has been solid in preseason and scored in three straight matches when introduced to the starting XI last March.


The stud fantasy midfielder of the 2018-19 season will be _______

SR: The stud fantasy midfielder of the 2018-19 season will be Mohamed Salah. Some might question him being labeled a midfielder but, given his multi-position eligibility on DraftKings, the Liverpool hitman fits the bill. Salah stormed onto the scene with 32 goals last season to win the Golden Boot and Player of the Year awards and, with a new long-term deal in place, he’s locked and loaded for another big season.

AZ: The stud fantasy midfielder of the 2018-19 season will be Kevin De Bruyne. It’s hard not to go with Salah in this spot, but I’ll say De Bruyne to be different. De Bruyne has a guaranteed spot in the lineup once he’s ready to return, and there’s no reason he can’t reach or surpass last season’s eight goals and 16 assists. Manchester City will score, and KDB will be involved plenty.


The breakout fantasy midfielder of the 2018-19 season will be ______

AZ: The breakout fantasy midfielder of the 2018-19 season will be Gylfi Sigurdsson. He played in a World Cup and got engaged over the summer. The only thing better for him is new Everton manager Marco Silva, who will get the best out of Sigurdsson — similar to when he was at Swansea and had nine goals and 13 assists two seasons ago.

SR: The breakout fantasy midfielder of the 2018-19 season will be James Maddison. Leicester City will look to Maddison to fill the void left by the departure of Riyad Mahrez in the offseason. The 21-year-old playmaker scored 14 goals and added eight assists for Norwich in the English Championship last season and — with Leicester giving him the keys to the car — I think we see similar production out of Maddison in 2018-19.


The defense with the most clean sheets in the 2018-19 season will be ______

AZ: The defense with the most clean sheets in the 2018-19 season will be Manchester City. It’s hard not to go with it, especially because manager Pep Guardiola can replace Fabian Delph with Benjamin Mendy at left back. Manchester United had the most clean sheets last season, but it’s been a troubling summer and it’s unknown if Jose Mourinho will still be there at campaign’s end.

SR: The defense with the most clean sheets in the 2018-19 season will be Liverpool. The Reds pitched 17 clean sheets last season, just two shy of leaders Manchester United. They made a big statement by signing Brazilian netminder Alisson over the offseason, and with safer hands between the sticks, I’m looking at Liverpool as a team to target for clean sheet points this season.


The most disappointing club of the 2018-19 season will be ______

SR: The most disappointing club of the 2018-19 season will be Chelsea. The Blues had a miserable campaign last season and have brought in a new head coach in Maurizio Sarri to try and right the ship. While there’s still a chance they land some key additions before the Aug. 9 deadline, they haven’t done much to strengthen their squad outside of signing Jorginho. I expect Chelsea to compete for a top-four spot but, with squad uncertainty and chemistry still a concern less than two weeks from opening day, it could be another long season for Blues fans.

AZ: The most disappointing club of the 2018-19 season will be Manchester United. I don’t think Chelsea can disappoint much more than last season, while Man United finished second in the table with 81 points. It’s been an interesting summer with numerous reports saying Mourinho is on his way out, and that’s reason enough to doubt the Red Devils. They didn’t add much firepower and will again have to count on Romelu Lukaku to do most of the work up front. It wouldn’t be surprising if they finished outside of the top four.


The surprise club of the 2018-19 season will be _______

AZ: The surprise club of the 2018-19 season will be Wolverhampton. If you pay attention to betting, this isn’t a huge surprise, but Wolves are tied with Everton with the seventh-best odds to win the Premier League. Wolves won the Championship last season with 99 points — nine more than second place. The last club to reach those numbers was Leicester City in the 2013-14 season. Two years later, Leicester won the Premier League.

SR: The surprise club of the 2018-19 season will be Fulham. The Lilywhites return to England’s top flight for the first time since the 2012-13 season and have spent big bucks in the offseason to bolster their squad. In addition to new signings Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle, they boast last season’s Championship Player of the Season in youngster Ryan Sessegnon. Add in battering ram Aleksandar Mitrovic up top, and it’s clear Fulham has the talent to compete and will keep things interesting at Craven Cottage this season.


The 2018-19 EPL champions will be _______

SR: The 2018-19 EPL champions will be Manchester City. The defending champions set a Premier League record with 100 points last year, and the squad bolstered an already stacked roster with some big additions in the offseason. Man City landed Riyad Mahrez in a club-record $80 million transfer, adding more heavy artillery to Pep Guardiola’s star-studded attack.

AZ: The 2018-19 EPL champions will be Liverpool. Mo Salah might not reach the numbers he had last season, but the Reds have more depth with Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita as well as one of the better goalkeepers in the world in Alisson. Taking down Man City will be difficult, but if Liverpool can win more consistently against weaker teams, this campaign should be closer than last year’s.


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is MONEYMACHiNE) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (username: rotozdroik) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.