Yahoo DFS Soccer: Saturday EPL Picks

Christopher Owen
RotoWire.com

MATCHES (ET)

FORWARDS

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Sadio Mane, LIV v. BRI (£26): The question isn't necessarily, "Do I select Liverpool's attack?" The question is "Which Liverpool forward do I end up with?" Mohamed Salah (£28) is the most-expensive player on the slate alongside Harry Kane (£28), with both players having the top two goal-scoring odds. Meanwhile, Mane is a couple bucks cheaper and has scored three goals in his past five starts. Salah has three goals and two assists in his previous six matches, making both forwards desirable selections. Roberto Firmino (£23) is the third option for the Reds but hasn't scored double-digit fantasy points in eight of his past nine outings. You could arguably get both Salah and Mane in your lineup, though that would limit your exposure to some of the other favorites like Chelsea and Tottenham. Outside of Liverpool's forward, Kane faces a Bournemouth side that concede the most shots of any team on the slate, giving the Englishman an opportunity for a higher floor if he's unable to score. All things considered, you'll need a goal from any of the top forwards to justify their prices. 

Willian, CHE v. WHU (£20): Chelsea's home match against West Ham has the highest implied goal total but will notably be missing Tammy Abraham (hip) after the Blues' striker was stretchered off in Wednesday's draw against Valencia. His absence likely benefits Michy Batshuayi (£14) more than Willian in terms of playing time, though both will need to pick up the slack from an attacking perspective. Willian is more expensive and takes most free kicks when on the field, while Michy is more goal dependent and hasn't seen nearly as much time in the lineup. West Ham are the fourth-worst defensive side in the table (23 goals conceded), giving Chelsea a platform for production at Stamford Bridge. From an alternative perspective, Chelsea aren't an airtight backline themselves, giving Sebastien Haller (£21) a chance to break out of his five-match goal drought. 

Gerard Deulofeu, WAT at SOU (£16): Three straight performances of 10 or more points has Deulofeu firmly on my radar. In those three outings, he's taken eight shots (five on goal), provided one assist and found the back of the net twice. Those numbers are all fine and good, but the underlying stats are in Watford's opponent, Southampton. The Saints are winless in their past eight matches and concede the second-most shots and third-most shots on goal. Their defense has Swiss cheese holes in it on a weekly basis, as they've conceded the most goals through 13 matches (31). Troy Deeney (£16) played his first minutes last week since a knee operation and could come back into the starting XI, making the Watford captain an option as well. Danny Ings (£17) has five goals in his past seven matches as he's shaken off early season rust. This match is absolutely worth targeting, as both of these clubs are brutal defensively (31 and 26 goals conceded). The implied goals total isn't great but I still think this clash offers value. 

MIDFIELDERS

Dele Alli, TOT v. BOU (£24): The midfield options are thin, and only four cost more than £20, with two of the top four options playing for Tottenham. Christian Eriksen (£26) played a big role against Olympiacos on Tuesday after being a lightly used substitute the previous two matches, and he rewarded Jose Mourinho with an assist. He's a bit more expensive than Alli, as both attacking midfielders top the pricing chart. Alli has produced seven or more points in four of his past five outings, doing it in a variety of ways. Over his past three starts, he's won seven tackles, scored a goal and provided assist (separately). If Eriksen makes the starting XI, he's the safer play over Alli, but both have an advantageous matchup at home against the Cherries.  

Dwight McNeil, BUR v. CRY (£16): Burnley average 5.31 accurate crosses per 90 minutes, while their opponents, Crystal Palace, allow the most (5.54) among teams on the 10-team slate. McNeil is fifth in the Premier League in accurate crosses (23) and has a small share of set-pieces with Ashely Westwood (£12), who is suspended. McNeil doesn't have much goal-scoring upside (one goal), but he has provided four assists over 13 starts. Luka Milivojevic (£14) is Palace's best midfield option and is coming off a four-shot (thee on target) outing against Liverpool. 

James Ward-Prowse, SOU v. WAT (£17): This is the second straight week I'm putting Ward-Prowse in my column, but I assure you it's for good reason. First off, as I mentioned in Deuofeu's section, these defenses are bad and there will be opportunities for goals and other attacking statistics. Second, Ward-Prowse has been a consistent force in the midfield, finishing with at least 7.45 points in his past five outings (two matches with 14+). Third, he has a near monopoly on set-pieces for Southampton and won't give up those duties anytime soon. The role on set pieces is a contributor to Ward-Prowse being sixth in the league in accurate crosses, and while this is the most expensive he's been all season, the midfield pool is pretty thin. 

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV v. BRI (£17): I'd rather spend up, relative to defenders' prices, on Alexander-Arnold than spend the same amount on a similarly priced midfielder. Alexander-Arnold leads all players in accurate crosses (36) and is second in corners won (25). Liverpool have struggled to keep clean sheets this season with just two, so it's tough to bank on that bonus despite the Reds being heavily favored at home. Despite that, his attacking production is enough to justify his top-tier defensive price. 

Emerson Palmieri, CHE v. WHU (£13): Early in the season, Emerson was a consistent play for me as he had taken over the starting spot at left-back from Marcos Alonso (£16). He's started the previous three Premier League matches following a hamstring injury and should come back into the side despite being a substitute in Wednesday's draw against Valencia. Emerson has finished with five or more points in all eight of his starts this season, giving him a solid floor against a struggling West Ham.

Diego Rico, BOU v. TOT (£13): Rico leads all players on Saturday's slate in interceptions with 3.39 per 90 minutes on top of his industrious 1.85 accurate crosses. Those consistencies have helped Rico become an asset to both fantasy players and Bournemouth's defense, as they've been slightly better in the first 13 matches than last season. He does have two yellow cards in his past four starts, posing some concern. Rico's price is also something to consider, as many of the more expensive options are nearly as involved statistically as Rico. 

GOALKEEPER

Alisson Becker (£18) and Liverpool have the highest clean sheet odds at home against Brighton, trailed by Chelsea (Kepa Arrizabalaga - £17) and Tottenham (Paulo Gazzaniga - £12) at home against West Ham and Bournemouth, respectively. Vicente Guaita (£17) faces Burnley at Turf Moor, which doesn't seem like the right place to start the Palace goalkeeper with the Clarets having scored three goals in their past two matches against West Ham and Watford. During Burnley's two shutout wins in the past two weeks, Nick Pope (£12) has finished with 16 points and remains a cost effective option in a favorable matchup. Roberto (£10), Aaron Ramsdale (£11) and Mathew Ryan (£14) should see the most save opportunities against Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool, respectively, and they have the highest upside. Notably, Ryan has finished with five or more fantasy points in his past eight outings, while hitting 10+ in three of those eight starts. Gazzinaga is the cheapest goalkeeper on one of the biggest favorites on the slate, putting him and Ryan in discussion as my two top goalkeeping options. 

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