Premier League Daily Fantasy is a difficult game. There’s a lot going on, and there’s more than one way to approach things.
There are many, many ways, in fact, but here are some quick-hitting tidbits to think about when you sit down to fill out your roster.
What Are the Odds?
It’s imperative to have a firm grasp on the betting lines for all of the games on the slate.
Which teams are the biggest favourites? Which players have the top anytime goal odds? Which sides carry the best implied totals – who is expected to score most goals, basically?
All of that is vital information to have at hand when you start to build your line-up. Not only does it help you zero in on who you want to roster, it gives you an idea of which teams and players everyone else will likely flock to, which is a valuable part of daily fantasy and something we’ll dive deeper into here in a minute.
Stack the Deck
Loading up on multiple players from one team – a strategy known as stacking – is a great way to maximize the upside of your line-up.
For example, pairing Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Alisson together gives you a chance to double-dip in a few areas. The dream scenario would be Robertson assisting a Salah goal, but you can also double-up on the clean-sheet bonus with Alisson and Robertson if the Reds keep a clean sheet.
If there’s a side you think will score multiple goals and create boatloads of chances, considering stacking multiple players from that squad.
Save Some Money for Defence
Speaking of Robertson, attack-minded defenders are some of the most valuable players in daily fantasy.
Their salaries are typically cheaper than those of the top attackers, but full-backs on favoured teams can wind up spending a lot of time getting forward. Liverpool’s top-class duo of Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are the best examples of this, but full-backs such as Lucas Digne, Ben Chilwell and Emerson are capable of racking up fantasy points, too.
On the contrary, defenders on lesser sides are appealing for a completely different reason. Center-backs on underdogs, particularly if they’re facing elite opposition, are usually high-floor fantasy options due to the amount of defensive actions they amass as they try to fend off wave after wave of attacks from their opponents – though these players don’t usually offer much in the way of attacking upside or good clean-sheet odds.
Players who take penalties, corners or free-kicks get a boost in daily fantasy because serving in those roles gives them extra chances to accumulate fantasy points.
Typically, penalty takers are guys who already score a lot of goals and are priced accordingly. That’s not always the case, though, with Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojević and Liverpool’s James Milner two of the notable exceptions.
Some players — like Leicester City’s James Maddison — take nearly all of their team’s corners and free-kicks, raising both their floor and ceiling in fantasy. If that player is a defender – the aforementioned Alexander-Arnold and Digne come to mind – they’re fantasy unicorns who are immensely valuable.
Know who fills these roles for each team.
Along these same lines, it’s an absolute must to check starting line-ups when they are announced an hour before the match. A few unexpected lineup changes can change the outlook of an entire slate and create a big opportunity to exploit.
Obviously, the biggest reason to check starting XIs is so you don’t spend 20% of your budget on, say, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang only to turn on the match and see him sitting on the bench. But another reason to check lineups is that squad changes alter the outlook of other players.
Sticking with the Aubameyang example, if he sits on the bench, guys like Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pépé become a lot more appealing, possibly enticing you to give them a look when you hadn’t planned to use them.
Lastly, while strikers who are expected starters are usually expensive, backup strikers are not, so a lineup change could create a sweet value play.
Know What the Goal Is
Daily fantasy isn’t about predicting outcomes; it’s a game against other people.
That’s something which is easy to forget, but it’s key to finding success. None of us are as good at predicting outcomes as we think we are, and having a feel for what the general public is going to do on a given slate can help you beat them.
For example, let’s say it’s a four-match slate. Chelsea and Manchester City are sizable home favourites against Watford and Southampton, respectively. The other two fixtures are Wolves home to Crystal Palace — a match in which Wolves is a modest favourite — and Newcastle United hosting Sheffield United.
Given the makeup of the slate, Chelsea and City are going to be popular — more specifically, the attackers from those two teams will be among the slate’s highest-owned players. A way to leverage yourself against the field is to go light on players from those two sides and stack a pair of attackers and a defender from Wolves, a side that should generate chances at home to Crystal Palace but whose best players likely won’t see as much ownership as the forwards and midfielders from City and Chelsea do.
If Chelsea and Manchester City net four goals apiece, then the masses will fare well, but if those two sides disappoint — or if the goals come from unusual places (like a defender on a set piece) — you can gain a leg up on the field because you zigged when a lot of people zagged. If that happens and your Wolves players have a big day, you’re in business.
In short, don’t get so consumed with thinking about what is most likely to play out on the pitch. Instead, think more about what most of the lineups of your opponents will look like and try to find ways to leverage yourself against the field by finding players with similar outlooks who won’t be as highly owned.