Can I Kick It? EPL Picks for Saturday Sep. 14th
Its been a long international break but EPL is finally back. I’ll be taking a look at this weekend’s main slate with a focus on Fanduel pricing and scoring, but much of the info may be helpful on any site. Let’s dive right in.
Norwich vs Manchester City
This is the injury list for Norwich this weekend:
That’s an absolute crisis that could not have come at a worse time with a visit from Man City on the docket. Even if Norwich were at full strength I would still tip Man City to score 3-4 goals, but with nearly all of their defenders missing, City might reach that by halftime. What was already skewed slate has reached comical levels of brokenness. I will likely have at least 3 City attackers in most of my lineups. I expect this to be a fairly common approach given the circumstances, which means picking the right value is absolutely critical. But before we get there, I feel I should touch on my preferences among the City attackers. My top play is Raheem Sterling as he is excellent at making runs behind the defense and that is where I have seen Norwich be most vulnerable this season in the games I’ve watched. After that, Kevin De Bruyne seems likely to be on the assisting end of those through balls and he should be able to pick apart this week defense. David Silva looked extremely dangerous last game and could have had a goal with better finishing. He still grabbed two assists for the second game in a row. His relative discount allows you to add a fourth mid-priced asset rather than scraping the bottom of the value barrel. However, if you don’t mind playing the scraps, I won’t talk you off Aguero who already has 6 goals on the season. He also will get first crack at a penalty should they win one which seems extremely reasonable to expect given the defensive chaos. He also had the benefit of not having international duty the past two weeks, so he may be more rested than Sterling or KDB. But at $24, you basically need him to score two goals to be happy. I’ll try to fit him where I can, but I expect to have him less than the previous three. Should Gabriel Jesus get the start, he’d be a slam dunk play at $18. Last up is Mahrez or Bernardo Silva. Whoever gets the start is also in play especially at just $16 and $15 respectively. TLDR Jam them in. And then jam one more in.
Tottenham vs Crystal Palace
While this seems like it could be a matchup to target, I likely won’t have much exposure. In Tottenham’s last 5 home league matches vs Palace they have a total of only 5 goals. They have struggled offensively this season, often looking disjointed and directionless. I do think that they will snap out of it at some point, but I’m hoping that it doesn’t happen this week. Palace showed vs Man United that they can battle for all 90 minutes against the top teams. If Manchester City were not on the slate, I’d have more interest, but when I compare the attacking options from each team it is simply no contest this weekend. If I do choose to add a Spurs one-off, it will likely be Lamela if he gets the start. At just $14 he can be fit in with a City stack depending on your options. He’s offers the cheapest path into the Spurs attack and is a good hedge if you don’t like to fully fade them.
I’m just going to do a rapid-fire list off my favorite value plays at different prices
$8: Keep an eye on the Norwich players at this price. One of them may be forced to play center back which would give them a great chance to reach value just from clearances, interceptions, and tackles.
$10: Pascal Gross should play a larger role with Trossard injured. He was the key playmaker last season and should hopefully pickup where he left off. Not my favorite matchup but Gross is likely a $14-$16 player going forward.
On the other side in the same game, Dwight Mcneil. Mcneil has really struggled this year but he did have 3 goals and 5 assists last season while only playing half the minutes. He definitely has the ability to be a $16 player if he can find form.
$12-$13: I like Sheffield United to score 2 this week so any of Mcburnie, Sharp, Mcgoldrick, Lundstrom are all one-off goal shouts depending on who gets the start. Maupay and Murray are both decent goal shouts as well for Brighton. Che Adams is in play too as he has racked up 2.01 xG despite not yet finding the back of the net. But with no Redmond, I think Sheffield has a decent shot at a clean sheet.
$14: I already mentioned Lamela as one option here. Another interesting one would be Buendia as a pairing with a triple Man City stack in the hopes that he can score/assist and keep City on the attack. I like Pukki this week but at $18 he’s very difficult to justify, but Buendia is enough of a discount to take a shot on. Callum Robinson is another of the Sheffield United attackers worth mentioning. I also think Chris Wood could be an interesting low owned play. Last season Wood grabbed two goals at Brighton. Having not scored or assisted yet this season, he may go overlooked.
Value is still essential for our defense this week. I’m hoping Rudiger returns for Chelsea as that would be a solid value at $8. After that, I’ll be looking at whatever $8 Norwich player I can find, preferably a center back. Vallejo at $8 is also in play with Boly suspended for wolves.
If I have $10 to spare, I’m going with Dean Henderson for Sheffield. Southampton is missing Redmond and Che Adams has been struggling with his finishing. Meanwhile Sheffield has been quietly allowed the 5th least xGA.
The other keeper that I will be playing is only for the bold. Tim Krul (or whoever replaces him if he misses out). It may be crazy to play a keeper that realistically could allow 5+ goals, especially when your offensive stack will be hoping for those goals. But this is a strategy that I’ve had success with before. It gets you very low ownership and allows you to stack together Aguero, Sterling and KDB. Basically, the hope is that City get 10+ shots on goal and Krul saves more than half of them so you can escape with positive keeper points and the optimal 3-man offensive stack at extremely low combined ownership. With City shooting upwards of 30 times possible in this one that will be 3 points per chance created and 5 for anyone who shoots on target, there could be a ton of fantasy points even without City even scoring 5+ goals. It’s an unconventional strategy but it has a clear path to success and that’s what I look for in a GPP.