Re-introduction to DraftKings
It is time to back into the swing of things, in the world of EPL on DraftKings. For those of you that still don't know, DraftKings is a daily fantasy sports service. What this means is instead of agonising over your season-long fantasy team, you get to put one together each week.
What remains the same in DraftKings this season is you will have a salary cap ($50,000) and you will need to pick 8 players. In the new format this season however, you will now pick; 1 x Goalkeeper, 2 x Defenders, 2 Midfielders, 2 Forwards and 1 x Utility player. The Utility player is an extra player you can have in your line-up with no position restrictions.
Also new this year is the M/F option. There are now certain players that can be selected as either Midfielders or Forwards, typically wingers. One example of this type of player is Riyad Mahrez. The reason you might like to use Mahrez as a Forward is maybe there is only one out and out Striker you like that week, but three attacking players who you want in your line-up. You are now no longer forced to select two Strikers, which is becoming less common in real-life formations these days.
You get the idea, other than that it is all fairly self-explanatory.
How scoring works on DraftKings
As you may guess, certain players are expensive, others aren't. Like your usual fantasy football though, there is always value. Salaries are based on form, match-ups and the ability to score points. A good example of this is Lukasz Fabianski. Now you would not expect him to be the 4th most expensive starting keeper this week, but here is why he is. Fabianski made 115 saves (2nd highest) and kept 9 clean sheets (6th highest) last season, despite Swansea's struggles. Swansea as a team struggled, but more often than not, Fabianski played well. Even in games where he was conceding (-2 points) he was making up for it in the number of saves made (+2 points).
Here is a full list of the DraftKings Scoring Rules for all positions:
- Goal = +10 PTs
- Assist = +6 PTs
- Shot = +1 PTs
- Shot on Goal = +1 PTs
- Crosses = +0.75 PTs (via corner kick, open play, and set pieces)
- Fouls Drawn = +1 PTs
- Fouls Conceded = -0.5 PTs
- Tackle Won = +1 PTs
- Pass Intercepted (D,M,F) = +0.5 PTs
- Yellow Card = -1.5 PTs
- Red Card = -3 PTs
- Penalty Kick Miss = -5 PTs
- Saves (GK) = +2 PTs
- Goal Conceded (GK) = -2 PTs
- Clean Sheet (GK) = +5 PTs
- Clean Sheet (D) = +3 PTs
- Win (GK) = +5 PTs
- Penalty Kick Save (GK) = +3 PTs
This should give you an idea of those sort of players that can have a massive effect for you on a weekly basis. Players who are going to take several set-pieces in a game become important, as does the marauding full-back in the side, it is not just about goals.
Without further ado, here are the players in each position that could win you some contests this week. It is important not just to find the best option in each position, but also the value players, so multiple picks will be offered in each position.
Simon Mignolet ($5,300)
Points last week: 6.0
Mignolet had a torrid time last week, but he couldn't really be blamed. He picked the ball out of the back of the net three times, after his side hung on to beat Arsenal 4-3. The Belgian stopper will be expecting an entirely different week altogether against newly promoted, Burnley.
Despite conceding 3 goals, Mignolet did manage two saves, one of which was a penalty stop from Theo Walcott. Whilst he may not have a whole bunch to do against Burnley this week, striker Andre Gray will be looking for his first goal in the top-flight and may ask some questions of Mignolet and his Liverpool defence. Liverpool looked in good form going forward last week so should score and they will be hoping for a tighter performance from the defence. You have to believe they will have worked on this on the training ground this week, so a win and a clean sheet looks perfectly viable here.
Last week's stats: 1 x win, 2 saves, 1 x penalty save, 3 goals conceded
Lukasz Fabianski ($5,000)
Points last week: 17.0
As noted above, Fabianski is one of the most viable fantasy options in this format, due to his suitability to the scoring system. What I mean by that is that his position is based on the amount of saves made and clean sheets (he ranked 2nd and 6th respectively last season). After making three saves last week, he is currently on track to make 114 through the season.
Swansea kept a clean sheet against Burnley last week and play another side promoted from the Championship last season, in the shape of Hull City. Swansea have the home advantage and if you believe as I do that it will be low scoring, Fabianski could rack up the points again. Hull started their season brightly against defending champions, Leicester last week beating them 2-1. Confidence will be high, but Swansea and more importantly Fabianski can keep them out. Should Swansea manage a smash and grab 1-0 victory, Fabianski could score in the region of the 17 he garnered last week.
Given his salary, Fabianski may actually be a better option than Mignolet.
Last week's stats: 1 win, 1 clean sheet, 3 saves, 1 tackle won
Eldin Jakupovic ($4,300)
Points last week: 11.0
In favour of picking Fabianski is my prediction that the Swansea v Hull game should be low-scoring, so why not pick the keeper at the other end?
Jakupovic made a great start to life in the Premier League last week, making 4 saves, en-route to a 2-1 victory over Leicester City. Thanks to the 8 points he accumulated through his saves + the 5 points for the win, he still walked out way with 11 points last weekend. Swansea have attacking options that can test him, so saves will be on the cards again. Hull managed to keep Leicester out from open-play, as Mahrez scored from the spot to equalise. This make-shift defence could consider themselves unlucky last week, as it looked as though Demarai Gray was brought down outside the box anyway. Out of position Jake Livermore played at centre-back last week as well, so this defensive effort was even more impressive.
Both keepers in this game may be as busy as they were last week, given some of the attacking talent on the field, however I still think both can score well.
Last week's stats: 1 win, 4 saves, 1 goal conceded
Kyle Walker ($5,300)
Points last week: 12.3
The cheaper of the two Tottenham Hotspur full-backs this week and as a result my favourite play. In true Walker fashion last week, he managed to put in 5 crosses, one of which led to an assist.
Walker put in a inviting cross, which Erik Lamela cooly converted with a diving header. Always known more of an attacking full-back, Walker improved last year defensively and therefore looks a solid pick each week. On top of his attacking efforts, Walker managed 2.6 tackles a game last season, which is a sterling effort for a full-back. No one played more games than Walker (33) and averaged higher.
A clean sheet could very easily be on the cards against Palace who have one recognised striker available (Connor Wickham) and have just lost Yannick Bolasie. Wilfried Zaha will look to expose Walker, but Palace have managed just 2 Premier League wins in 2016, so form is against them.
Last week's stats: 5 crosses, 1 assist, 1 shot, 2 fouls conceded, 2 tackles won, 1 interception
Nathaniel Clyne ($4,400)
Points last week: 11.3
Another full-back I love this week is Liverpool's Nathaniel Clyne. It is nip and tuck between Clyne and Walker as to who is the best English right-back, with Walker just getting the nod last season and at Euro 2016.
Clyne is however a very good fantasy play each week. Jurgen Klopp's system generally allows him to get forward and express himself in the attacking third. He loves doing this is and has proven a threat in the past, even as recently as last week. Although his back was against the wall defensively against Arsenal last Sunday, Clyne still scored 11.3 points. This was thanks to the the one cross he managed to swing in leading to an assist for Phillipe Coutinho.
Clyne also managed to get a shot in on goal and with the extra freedom this week, he should elevate all his numbers. A win and a clean sheet looks likely, so should he get forward and deliver more crosses, points will be scored.
Last week's stats: 1 assist, 1 cross, 1 foul drawn, 1 foul conceded, 2 tackles won, 1 interception
Kyle Naughton ($3,500)
Points last week: 12.0
Play him while you can. I say this because as the season goes on, he probably won't be such a viable option. Swansea had a tough time last season and that may not change this year.
This week though, they have a favourable home match-up against Hull, where a clean sheet isn't against the realms of possibility. Last week, Naughton put up 4's across the board. Whilst contributing to Swansea's clean sheet, Naughton managed to put in four crosses alongside his solid defensive efforts.
Naughton won four tackles as well as intercepting the ball on four occasions and if he can put up similar numbers this week against another newly promoted team, he could prove great value.
Last week's stats: 4 crosses, 4 tackles won, 4 interceptions
Riyad Mahrez ($9,900)
Points last week: 22.0
Mahrez is the second most expensive player on DraftKings in today's 3pm kick-offs, and for good reason.
Even though 12 of his 22 points came from converting a penalty last week, he should still be considered again this week. It is almost written in the stars that the tricky winger will put Arsenal to sword today. He has been chased relentlessly by today's opposition all summer, before he signed a new deal at the King Power Stadium in the week until 2020 and he will be keen to show the Gunners what they are missing.
The Algerian fired in 5 shots last week, of which 2 were on target and also swung in two crosses. This was a good output given the disappointing performance from his side and hopefully he can kick on today, in what will be a more open game.
Mahrez can also be used as a forward thanks to the new M/F position, so should be played in some capacity.
Last week's stats: 1 goal, 5 shots, 2 shots on goal, 2 crosses, 3 fouls drawn, 1 foul conceded, 1 tackle won
Eden Hazard ($7,800)
Points last week: 16.5
Another that qualifies as a M/F, however the modest salary means playing him in midfield makes more sense.
I am convinced Hazard is going to be the player he was two seasons ago and will be in the running for Player of the Season. He showed some of this form on Monday night against West Ham and faces arguably weaker opposition in the shape of Watford today.
Again, like Mahrez, Hazard scored from the penalty spot. Statistically Hazard was pretty good in general on Monday night, scoring 16.5 points but I expect a better output today.
He shoots, crosses, draws fouls and scores. With the likes of Diego Costa in front of him he can always expect an assist too. At $7,800 he is my favourite play this week. This is a $200 saving on Monday night, which seems extremely generous given the opposition.
Last week's stats: 1 goal, 3 shots, 1 shot on goal, 2 crosses, 1 foul drawn
Adam Lallana ($5,700)
Points last week: 17.0
Adam Lallana put in a fine performance against Arsenal last week, so expect something similar at Turf Moor today.
Lallana was positioned in a more reserved position, but still managed to find the net, with an exquisite finish. The Englishman played in the midfield three, with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, whilst Sadio Mane, Roberto Firminio and Phillipe Coutinho formed an attacking three.
Should this game go as expected, Lallana will have plenty of chances to contribute offensively, so points are up for grabs.
Last week's stats: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 shots, 1 shot on goal, 2 fouls conceded, 1 interception, 1 yellow card
Diego Costa ($8,400)
Points last week: 16.0
The pricing on Chelsea players seems generous all round this week and Costa is no exception. He scored the winner on Monday night against West Ham and can easily find the net against Watford today.
With the likes of Willian and Hazard giving support, Costa will have chance in bundles this season.
Costa was booked last week, which can potentially happen in every game, given his combative nature, but his scoring output outweighs this.
Chelsea can win this game comfortably today and with Costa spear-heading the attack, points should be scored.
Last weeks stats: 1 goal, 3 shots, 2 on goal, 3 fouls drawn, 1 foul conceded, 1 yellow card
Salomon Rondon ($5,600)
Points last week: 22.3
Rondon could be put in both the Best play and Value play category, so I have put one striker in each. At just $5,600 you can have the focal point a team's attack in your side.
The Venezuelan international scored 10 goals in 35 appearances in his first season in England. This was in a West Brom side that finished 14th and scored just 34 goals in total. With a full season in the Premier League under his belt he should improve this year and 15 goals seems a realistic target.
Rondon scored last week and attempted 6 shots in total, of which 2 were on target. Repeating this high volume of shots on a weekly basis, could mean plenty of points this season. He will face a decent Everton side today, but they can be scored against. Rondon is back in front of his own fans this week, which can only help.
Last week's stats: 1 goal, 3 shots, 2 shots on target, 3 crosses, 2 fouls drawn, 1 foul conceded, 1 interception