Yahoo DFS Soccer: Saturday EPL Picks

Christopher Owen


The Champions League and Europa League group stages wrap up next week, which could affect the lineups for Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham in one way or another. Tottenham and City are through to the Champions League knockout rounds and could rotate players in somewhat meaningless matches next week, putting them at full strength this weekend, while both Liverpool and Chelsea need at least draws (Chelsea will be more comfortable with a win) to advance and could opt of rotation over the weekend. Manchester United are through to the Europa League knockout rounds and will be full strength this weekend, presumably. 

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Gabriel Jesus, MCI v. MUN (£21): Sergio Aguero remains sidelined with a thigh injury, which will keep Jesus in the starting XI. He has the second-best goal-scoring odds on the slate behind Harry Kane and is playing for the top favorite with the highest implied goal total. The Brazilian striker averages an eye-popping 4.94 shots, including 2.26 shots on target, per 90 minutes to supplement his favorable odds. He scored twice in Tuesday's win over Burnley after failing to score in the previous seven matches. Derby matches can be unpredictable, especially the Manchester one, but at least with Aguero's absence we know that Jesus has a good chance to start. Raheem Sterling (£27) is the alternative City forward to Jesus but is much pricier, though I wouldn't entirely steer clear of him with City heavy favorites. Marcus Rashford (£24) is enjoying a good run of form with seven goals and two assists over his past eight starts and is coming off a 30-point effort against Tottenham on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Anthony Martial (£21) should return to the match-day squad after missing the win over Tottenham, but a starting role isn't guaranteed due to the knock he's carrying. 

Wilfried Zaha, CRY at WAT (£18): The forward pool is relatively top heavy with five of the league's top eight teams on the slate, including a surprising Crystal Palace side. Zaha is a cheaper forward than the players competing in Europe and will face the third-worst defensive side in the league. In my previous two columns I recommended players (James Ward-Prowse and James Maddison) that were able to exploit Watford's defensive frailties and produce double-digit outings. That's not to brag about being right (as I've been wrong all too many times), it's to highlight the potential for players to produce against the Hornets. They concede the second-most shots on goal among teams on the slate, giving a player of Zaha's pedigree a decent floor. Jordan Ayew (£16) is the direct alternative to Zaha, but for £2 more I'd much rather go with Zaha. Callum Wilson (£20) is a similar price but has gone missing over the past two months, while I don't trust Xherdan Shaqiri's outing against Everton to be enough for him to make the starting XI again. 

Divock Origi, LIV at BOU (£10): The aforementioned selection issues for Liverpool could bring Origi back into the starting XI on Saturday, especially after two goals in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday. If he does make the starting XI, playing a minimum-priced Origi is the optimal play considering you won't need much to return on investment. His potential inclusion means one of Roberto Firmino (£23), Sadio Mane (£26) or Mohamed Salah (£27) would be left on the bench. My bet is Mane after Firmino played 16 minutes against Everton and Salah was rested, while Mane has played a full 90 over the previous five matches. Liverpool have the second-highest implied goal total, meaning they shouldn't have a problem finding the back of the net. 


Kevin De Bruyne, MCI v. MUN (£27): Every time I look at De Bruyne's stats I find myself in awe of his production; he's first in the Premier League in assists (nine), 12th in shots (39), first in accurate crosses (41) and second in corners won (29). He's also chipped in four goals and regularly helps his score line with interceptions and shots on target. His consistency makes him a coveted (and expensive) play week-in and week-out, regardless of opponent. If you don't want to belly up the £27 for De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez (£21) is a possible replacement and has produced in somewhat limited playing time. Bernardo Silva (£26) is slightly cheaper than De Bruyne but doesn't have the matching stats. Rodri (£18) is the cheapest viable starter in the City midfield, though he's tasked with much of the defensive work, limiting his attacking potential. 

Dele Alli, TOT v. BUR (£25): Four goals in three matches for Alli has positioned him as Tottenham's top midfield playmaker since Christian Eriksen (£26) hasn't started in over a month. Alli's price will make you dependent on a goal or assist to make value, but he's shown the ability to do that by finishing with at least 7.2 fantasy points in six of his past seven outings, including four with at least 12.0. Dwight McNeil (£17) is the best midfield play for Burnley as they face a side that has concede the most shots on target and second-most shots and accurate crosses of the eight teams involved Saturday. 

Ryan Fraser, BOU v. LIV (£17): Harry Wilson will miss the clash against Liverpool, which opens up more set-pieces for Fraser and Diego Rico. The three have shared duties, with Wilson taking the shooting situations and Rico and Fraser delivering balls into the box. Luka Milivojevic (£14) takes almost all of the set pieces for Crystal Palace, making him a cheap option if that's the role you're targeting. 


Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV at BOU (£19): Alexander-Arnold is priced like a midfielder and his production has matched it. He doesn't contribute goals or shots like De Bruyne, but Alexander-Arnold is second in assists and accurate crosses right behind the Manchester City midfielder. Liverpool's right-back is also third in the league in corners won, sitting behind Raheem Sterling and De Bruyne, while Liverpool's opponent, Bournemouth, concede the most corners among teams on Saturday's slate. Andrew Robertson (£17) is another option for Liverpool defensively, while paying £20 for Virgil van Dijk seems like a lot for a center-back 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, MUN at MCI (£14): Manchester City concede the most interceptions and Wan-Bissaka averages just over two per 90. He leads the Premier League in tackles won but doesn't do much in the attack, and it's likely United will have to defend for long stretches of the match. Benjamin Mendy (£18) and Angelino (£13) have been splitting time at left-back, with Angelino outperforming Mendy from a fantasy perspective. If he makes the starting XI, his discount should put him on your radar, especially with the top clean-sheet odds. 

Diego Rico, BOU v. LIV (£13): Another article with me recommending Rico. You might be fed up with this recommendation, but I'm not here to play favorites (maybe a little). Rico leads all players on Saturday's slate with 3.32 interceptions per 90 minutes to go along with a respectable 2.01 accurate crosses. The Cherries are very unlikely to keep Liverpool out of the net, but Rico does enough peripherally that you wont need to depend on the clean-sheet bonus, though it would be beneficial. Chris Mepham (£14) started his first match since September on Wednesday and did well to come away with 7.65 fantasy points. In a small sample size, he's been able to contribute defensively with 2.74 interceptions and 1.25 blocks per 90 minutes.


David de Gea, MUN at MCI (£14): Nick Pope (£12) and Aaron Ramsdale (£12) are the cheapest likely starters against Tottenham and Liverpool, respectively. Pope has finished with a negative score in five of his past seven matches, while Ramsdale doesn't inspire confidence, especially against Liverpool. Speaking of Liverpool, Alisson Becker (£16) has yet to keep a clean sheet in seven league matches but is the cheapest price we've seen him all season. Ederson and Vicente Guaita (£17) are the two most-expensive options, with Ederson playing for the biggest favorite with the best clean-sheet odds. I'm going out on a limb with de Gea, but I like his opportunity for a large number of saves while (hopefully) not being wiped off the face of the planet by Manchester City's attack. 

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