Off The Mark - EPL Boxing Day Plays: December 26th
I hope you all had a good Christmas morning and are spending your day enjoying some fantastic NBA basketball and/or time with family enjoying this wonderful time of year. Lucky for us Premier League fans, the fun doesn’t stop on Christmas day, the holiday season continues tomorrow with Boxing Day and a full EPL slate.
The EPL boxing day slate is an annual tradition with all 20 teams in play. This of course leaves us with a gigantic slate. The game makers at DraftKings and FanDuel have however decided to make things a little easier for us and only include 7 matches in the big slate, so this article will focus on players from these seven matches. Of the top six teams, only five are in play, with Chelsea visiting Watford not included in the slate. The key for this slate is thus finding all the goals that will be scored this week. This breakdown will go position by position with looking at top plays, and at values.
There are plenty of matches with goal scoring odds of 3 goals or more, so getting forwards from those matches is key
Mohamed Salah, Liverpool, $10,400 DK, $11,500 FD – Liverpool play against Newcastle United at home in a match that they are heavily favored in and are expected to win by 2 goals or more according to Vegas. Newcastle has struggled to contain teams this season, as they’ve conceded the fourth most goal attempts and the most set piece goal attempts on the season.’ The team has however conceded just 22 goals in 18 matches but against the remaining top 5 teams they conceded 11 goals. Salah has proven to be a reliable scorer for Liverpool this season just as he did last season. He currently is second in the league in scoring at 11 goals after scoring five goals in his last four matches including a Hat-Trick on the road against Bournemouth. I expect that one of Firmino or Mane will sit this one for rest with Shaqiri starting who is priced at a pretty good price for his potential role in this match ($8.6K in DK, $8.5K in FD)
Jesse Lingard, Manchester United, $9,800 DK, $11,500 FD – Jose Mourinho is out, this means that it is time for Lingard to shine. Of course, there is also a chance that the rest of the team is suddenly “healthy” after missing some matches before. If Lukaku and Sanchez are back then that hurts Lingard’s potential, but all indicators are that Lingard will still be the man this week. He’s been on penalties, and when the team scores goals in recent weeks he was the man for this team. In other situations you could also go with Martial or Rashford. Pogba should also now be unleashed, but he’s a midfielder and not a forward. His performance is also away from the goal that he’s unlikely to get fantasy points because of his tendency to be part of the team buildup rather than the attack.
Roberto Firmino, Liverpool, $7,100 DK, $12,000 FD – Firmino is very cheap on DraftKings even though he’s been consistently one of their better and more important players. In the 3-1 win against Manchester United he had 9 shots, but didn’t score. In fact, Firmino hasn’t scored in a start for Liverpool since Late November (which is roughly 1000 matches ago in the English Premier League) in a 3-0 win against Watford. As mentioned earlier, Liverpool are big favorites so they have ample opportunities to come away with goals this week.
Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace, $6,700 DK, $8,500 FD – Zaha didn’t score last week in the HUGE win against Manchester City. On the other hand, Townsend looked great and was rewarded with a goal and 18 DK points. Zaha on the other hand disappointed against City with no shots and with just a single DK point. What this means is that many people will ignore Zaha this week as the team takes on a Burnley team that is not as strong this season as it was last season. In fact, Burnley have conceded the third most goals this season, and while Palace haven’t scored more than a goal a game, this match with Burnley is a good chance to turn that around.
You’ll want to focus on players with dual position eligibility who can score goals or are on set pieces, preferably both in a single player.
Leroy Sane, Manchester City, $8,700 DK, $10,000 FD – Manchester City are in a bit of a downhill swing at this point. They lost two of their last three matches in the league with a surprise loss to Palace last weekend. Sane does have plenty of upside if he continues in the same role as he has in recent weeks. However, with the return of Kevin De Bruyne, who is priced at just $7,400 on DK, City should still win big in this one. They are coming off a loss, and while their opponent was able to defeat Chelsea last week, I think City are a much better team and with them coming close to full strength in attack they should get 3+ goals, so taking any of their attacking players will be a solid selection. Sane is highlighted because of his consistency in recent weeks (double digits in seven of his last 10 matches).
Son Heung-Min, Tottenham, $9,200 DK, $9,000 FD – Tottenham are relying heavily on Son in recent weeks. He’s been playing great, and the matchup this week is great. He has 4 goals in his last 4 matches, and he’s a departure from Kane who the majority will flock towards. Also, without Eriksen in this week’s match (he may sit to rest) Son will get his opportunities in attack and Bournemouth may have trouble containing him.
Lucas Moura, Tottenham, $6,200 DK, $9,500 FD (is a forward on FD) – Moura should get a chance to start again here this week with a rest in the last match and with Dele Alli potentially out once again with fatigue Lucas should get a start. His price tag allows you to get exposure to one of the top teams on the slate with not a lot of risk (on FanDuel).
Bernard, Everton, $4,500 DK, $6,500 FD – Everton are big favorites and the one team not in the top six this week that has a great matchup with Burnley. Bernard is priced at just 4.5K on DK which allows you to play up in other positions. Expecting 3-10 points is probably all you need in this matchup for this price tag. Although, there is potential for a goal or assist for Bernard which would more than make up for his price tag and not entirely out of possibility.
Depending on your strategy in other positions, you’re either going to go super cheap on defense, or go super expensive. It’s rare that you’d select a defender that is in the middle of the price spectrum as those players usually carry little appeal for DFS purposes.
Lucas Digne, Everton, $6,000 DK, $5,500 FD – Another Everton option is Digne who should lead the team in crosses and deliver plenty in this match (at least 5). In the matchup with Burnley he’ll push forward and create chances for his team.
Ashley Young, Manchester United, $5,700 DK, $7,000 FD – Young is one player who’s role without Mourinho shouldn’t change as he continues on set pieces and delivering crosses for his team. United will try to play an attacking brand of football to appeal to their base after the slow moving Mourinho teams of the last two and a half seasons. Young should get 10+ points with potential to score goals or assist his teammates.
Michael Keane, Everton, $3,700 DK, $5,500 FD – Leading all defenders in headed goal attempts is Michael Keane who should be on your radar for tournament games this week as he is going against an opponent. The opponent this week, Burnley, have allowed the second most headed goal attempts in the league, making this a great spot for Keane to come through with a goal for the super cheap price of $3,700.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Manchester City, $4,100 DK, $5,000 FD – Getting exposure to City is never a bad idea, and after their issues on defense with Kyle Walker last week, I think Zinchenko will get some run here as a wing back. He may not come through with a lot of fantasy production, but he’s part of a City team that might score 3+ goals making him a good pivot defensive play if you need the salary savings.
Alisson, Liverpool, $6,000 DK, $6,500 FD – The hottest team in the league and maybe the best defensive team in Europe is led in the back by Alisson who should come away with a clean sheet and maybe a win. A home matchup with Newcastle is a great opportunity to come away with a win. However, if he concedes a goal, it is unlikely that he will get enough saves to make up for the points lost from the conceded goal.
Joe Hart, Burnley, $4,200 DK, $4,500 FD – Going cheap in goalkeeper is always a preferred method of mine. In this case, I went with Joe Hart and Burnley, but going with any home keeper that is an underdog will get the same results. While Hart will most likely concede at least a goal this week, he might also get enough saves to overcome that goal allowed. At his cheap price tag, it’s not too big of a burden or risk to take him in your team. As usual, goalkeeper is probably a crapshoot this week.