Welcome back to some Premier League daily fantasy action. These days might be numbered here at RotoRanks given the return of baseball. But let’s keep the good times rollin’ while we can. And there’s probably the hope of some weekend EPL slates being covered here in this space. I am thoroughly enjoying the process, after all.
GK Nick Pope, Burnley ($7)
Insert Admiral Ackbar “it’s a trap!” GIF. For real though, Fanduel has to stop giving me these single-digit goalkeepers in good spots. Pope is at home…check. Burnley have the third-most clean sheets in the league (11) after only Liverpool (14) and Manchester City (12)…check. Watford have scored only 28 goals on the season, tied for the second-fewest in the league with Crystal Palace…check. Only Norwich City (25) have scored fewer. Burnley is 12th on the Premier League table with a -11 goal differential…while Watford sit 16th on the table with a -17 goal differential. I’m not sure what I’m missing here. But I’m going to continue to miss it while I enjoy a $7 goalkeeper on FanDuel. Maybe you can argue Pope won’t see a ton of shots, thereby reducing his chance at obtaining saves. But then why is he $2 cheaper than Watford’s keeper, Ben Foster? Burnley have only taken 302 shots on the season, tied with Sheffield for the second-fewest in the PL. Meanwhile, Watford have taken 338, or the eighth-fewest in the PL. That’s 10 more shots than Arsenal have taken, for reference.
FWD/MID Stuart Armstrong, Southampton ($15)
If you’re looking to pair up someone with Danny Ings (who is a great play today) I think you take Armstrong over Nathan Redmond. It’s only an additional $2 and I’m obviously already saving at goalkeeper today, so I should have $2 to burn. While Watford and Burnley could easily end in zeroes or a 1-1 draw, this match might have some leverage due to Arsenal’s slow start out of the break.. If DFSers shy away from the Southampton attack, I think that could be to my advantage. Armstrong was huge against Norwich City at the restart, linking up with Ings on two goals (Armstrong had a goal and an assist). He’s now started eight straight matches for Southampton and has scored four goals over that stretch. He’s taken 28 shots and put 12 on target. He also has 11 chances created over that stretch. It’s weird to say he’s in good form given that we’ve only seen once match against a hopeless Norwich side, but he’s getting playing time and he’s making good things happen. He’s also playing on the right side, closer to Ings in general than Redmond, who should line up on the left. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it is a more natural pairing given that Ings should line up shaded to the right.
FWD/MID İlkay Gündoğan, Manchester City ($12)
Manchester City’s 580 shots obliterate all comers, far and away the top number in the PL. Chelsea’s 500 rank second in the PL, though. Chelsea sit fourth on the PL table, trailing only Liverpool, Man City, and Leicester City in the ranks. Given the absence of Sergio Aguero (knee) today, these two sides might even be a tad more even. If there’s a chance for a higher-scoring affair today that isn’t ARS/SOU, it’s this match. Gündoğan was mentioned by Pep Guardiola as someone who could fill the departed Aguero’s position, so that has me all kinds of intrigued for only $12. He wouldn’t play the central or high striker role–that would seem to naturally go to Gabriel Jesus. But instead, he’d be more of a withdrawn striker, more deep-lying. So you’d likely have a better chance at an assist. You’ll need to check the lineups before lock, but if Gündoğan does get the start in an advanced position up the pitch, he’s a great player to pair up with Gabriel Jesus and/or Kevin De Bruyne. I probably wouldn’t roll with three Manchester City attackers given the quality of Chelsea, so if I had to pick I think I’d side with Gündoğan and Jesus, and see if being the tiniest bit contrarian could pay off.
I’m looking for keepers in the WAT/BRN clash. I’m looking for goals from the other two matches. In particular, I’m paying close attention to how Manchester City lines up without Aguero today. Gabriel Jesus could be the focal point, and might make for a pivot off of the always popular KDB (who should always be in consideration). That said, if Gündoğan does get the start and we can expect him to play in a more advanced role up the pitch, I’ll be hard-pressed to ignore him at only $12.