Last season’s historic title race was awesome, with two great teams fighting until the final match. Hopefully, you enjoyed it while it was happening, because this season’s title has been wrapped up for weeks.
At least we have daily fantasy, giving us a reason to stay plugged into the Premier League, even on weird slates like this one. And what a wonky slate this is. There are just four matches to choose from, and outside of Liverpool, who are big favourites, ownership should be fairly spread out.
Newcastle United (13/8) v Burnley (9/5) – FGS Fav: Chris Wood (5/1)
West Ham (13/8) v Southampton (6/4) – FGS Fav: Tammy Abraham (16/5)
Bournemouth (7/2) v Chelsea (8/11) – FGS Fav: Danny Ings (4/1)
Watford (6/1) v Liverpool (2/5) – FGS Fav: Sadio Mane (16/5)
You know which team this slate is going to centre on – Liverpool. The Reds are unbeaten in the league with only one draw. They’re a machine, and they are on the road at a Watford side that is very much not a machine. According to Paddy, Liverpool are 2/5 to take all three points, implying win odds of 69.7%, which feels a little light given the seasons the Reds and Hornets are having.
On a four-match slate, Liverpool’s stars are going to be wildly popular. The only other somewhat comfortable favourite are Chelsea (8/11), who head to the south coast to do battle with Bournemouth. It’s hard to feel too confident in the Blues right now. Not only are they coming off a midweek home drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich, which we can’t knock ’em for too much, they’ve won just once in their past five league matches, shipping eight goals in that span with zero clean sheets.
So, yeah, people are gonna be on Liverpool.
How do you want to handle Liverpool though? That’s the first thing you need to figure out when building this week. Are you dipping your toes in the water, or are you loading up?
The Reds offer plenty of appealing options if you’re looking to stack, and there’s enough value out there to make it work. With the Reds playing the late game, we won’t know Liverpool’s lineup by the time the first three games lock, which is annoying, but they have so many good players in their team that we should be able to find enticing pivots no matter the lineup Jürgen Klopp puts out.
The Reds’ famed front three – Mohamed Salah (£23), Sadio Mané (£22) and Roberto Firmino (£19) – are among the slate’s best plays. Salah always gets the edge because he’s on penalties unless James Milner (£12) is playing, but the Egyptian will likely be the slate’s most popular player. Mané will be highly owned, too, and for good reason as he can smash in the form he’s in (17 goals and eight assists across all competitions this season). Firmino is usually the least owned of the trio, though he’ll still be popular, as well, and he’s bagged all eight of his EPL goals away from home this campaign.
The bookies like Chelsea more than I do, but the Blues are fully capable of ripping the Cherries to shreds if they’re in top gear. Tammy Abraham (£20) owns the best anytime goal odds (10/11) on the slate outside of Salah and Mané. He’s perfect for fantasy tournaments, as he might slip through the cracks if the masses go with two of Liverpool’s high-priced forwards. The same can be said for Willian (£18), who is 23/10 to score anytime and handles some set-piece work.
After the Liverpool stars, I’m hopping down to West Ham. I like the Hammers more than the bookies do because there’s so much at stake for them. Over their last 10 EPL matches, Southampton have conceded one goal to Palace, one to Villa, three to Wolves, two to Burnley and four to Liverpool. Liverpool are Liverpool, but West Ham aren’t all that different from the rest of those teams (apologies to Wolves).
The Hammers are getting healthy and entering an all-important stretch as they fight to stay in the top flight. Felipe Anderson (£11) is one of the Hammers’ players who is rounding into fitness. Simply put — the Brazilian is too talented to be this cheap. A year ago, he had nine goals and four assists as a wide playmaker. This season, he’s scored just once in 19 league starts, but he does have four assists. He logged 65 minutes Monday at Liverpool and should push for the full 90 in this one if he starts. Anderson’s £11 salary makes him a perfect fit for lineups that allocate a lot of money to Liverpool’s top-tier studs.
Lastly, I wanted to mention Allan Saint-Maximin (£12). There’s not much to like attacking-wise from the Burnley-Newcastle game, but ASM is my favourite play from this match. He’s cheap, on a favourite and has been a key creative piece this season. He’s growing in importance for Newcastle, totalling 17 shots taken across his past five matches in all competitions, with 10 of them being on target.
I’m going to be using at least one of Liverpool’s stud full-backs in pretty much every lineup I make and playing both is a viable move. Per usual, they offer plenty going forward, and the clean-sheet odds are solid, too.
2 assists for @LFC's Trent Alexander-Arnold & 1 for Andy Robertson tonight
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 24, 2020
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£15) is in his own tier, but he’s not even all on his own as the most expensive defender. One of these times, I want Paddy Power Fantasy to make Trent £20 just to see what it does to ownership. When he’s priced like this – as a top defender and not the top winger/midfield creator he actually is – he’s gonna be super popular.
Alexander-Arnold has 12 assists in EPL play and has created at least one chance in all but two matches this season. He’s got twice as many games with six-plus chances created (four) as he does with zero chances created (two). Watford figure to park the bus, which should lead to Liverpool funnelling balls to Trent for him to whip into the box.
Given that Alexander Arnold is just £1 more, Andrew Robertson (£14) could fly under the radar. He hasn’t been the equal of his full-back partner this season, but a year ago, Robertson had 11 assists. He’s got seven this campaign and has been credited with 10 chances created across his past two outings.
On the value end, the Watford duo of Craig Dawson (£10) and Christian Kabasele (£10) should offer a high floor in a match in which the Hornets will spend much of the 90 minutes defending in their own half. Danny Rose (£9) is one of the cheapest expected starters, and with Newcastle at home versus Burnley, Rose should be able to get forward and pump in some crosses for his new squad.
Alisson (£14) should be worth paying up for given Liverpool’s status as the lone big favourite on the slate. Goalies get 17 Paddy Power Fantasy points for a clean-sheet win. It’s tough to imagine Alisson not getting the win bonus here, and, per PaddyPower.com, the two most likely scorelines (1-0 and 2-0 wins for the Reds) involve Alisson clean sheets. He’s probably going to be chalk, though, especially since he’s not that pricey.
If you’re not using Liverpool’s keeper, my advice would be to use a goalie who fits with the rest of your lineup. For example, if you’re using two Chelsea attackers, you might as well plug in Willy Caballero (£12).
For me, since I’m drawn to West Ham on this slate, I will have a good amount of Lukasz Fabianski (£11). In addition to Lukasz being the absolute most BA way to spell his first name, Fabianski has been solid this season – howler(s) at Liverpool notwithstanding. West Ham being not good usually leads to him being busy. Fabianski can have a big fantasy day if he can get a win in addition to his usual handful of saves. If he added a clean-sheet bonus to that, we’d be in serious business.