Starting Eleven: Saturday Premier League Breakdown
Starting Eleven: Saturday Premier League Breakdown

This article is part of our Starting Eleven series.

MATCHES (EST)

7:30 a.m: Arsenal v. Burnley
10:00 a.m: Huddersfield v. Southampton
10:00 a.m: Bournemouth v. Brighton
10:00 a.m: West Ham v. Watford
10:00 a.m: Newcastle v. Fulham
10:00 a.m: Manchester City v. Crystal Palace
10:00 a.m: Chelsea v. Leicester
12:30 p.m: Cardiff City v. Manchester United

FORWARDS

Saturday's slate is packed with eight matches and three huge favorites in Arsenal (v. Burnley), Chelsea (v. Leicester) and Manchester City (v. Crystal Palace). You could pick anyone from those teams, but Eden Hazard has to lead the bunch after scoring at least 19.9 fantasy points in his last four starts, and he should be decently rested after coming off the bench in Wednesday's Cup match. His floor surpasses most on Man City because not only does he get shots and create chances, but he also draws more than three fouls per match. Any of the Man City forwards could have the same upside, but none have the same floor. Leroy Sane may be easiest to trust since he didn't play in the midweek match, while Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus are set to start at the other two spots, though they may not make it the entire way.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Arsenal's lineup because Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went 90 minutes on Wednesday, and that could lead to Alexandre Lacazette's return to the starting XI. I'd consider either one given that Burnley have allowed the most shots in the league.

There aren't many forwards with a high floor since they touch the ball the least, so it makes sense to go with the most likely ones to score. Romelu Lukaku hasn't been good or consistent, but the sacking of Jose Mourinho could revive him, and going against Cardiff, don't be surprised if he's involved in at least one goal. If you don't trust United playing away, Callum Wilson could be back in the starting XI, and he's been Bournemouth's main route to scoring with eight goals and five assists in 15 starts. It also wouldn't be outlandish to back either Salomon Rondon or Ayoze Perez since Fulham still have the worst back line in the league, having allowed 42 goals. Danny Ings also deserves consideration since he plays Huddersfield and has made the score sheet in each of his last three starts.

MIDFIELDERS

While you're banking on goals from big names at forward, midfield is a little easier to trust due to more activity from tackles and interceptions. No one has taken advantage of that more than Lucas Torreira, who has at least 16.6 fantasy points in his last four starts. Even though he didn't make the score sheet at Southampton, he still had a great floor from four tackles won and two interceptions. That reliability is hard to pass up, and teammate Granit Xhaka is close behind. His numbers were down last match because he played center-back, and that likely won't be the case against Burnley with multiple Arsenal defenders returning from suspension.

Others that fit this mold include Ander Herrera, Luka Milivojevic and Fernandinho. Milivojevic is firmly above the other two because he's also on penalties, while the others are lucky to get a shot in a match. That said, both Herrera and Fernandinho are in good situations so they could easily be in the attack more than usual. Fernandinho may be the most intriguing since he usually accrues defensive stats no matter how much City dominate, and he's averaging more than one shot per game.

West Ham are the other team that should be in the mix in a favorable spot against Watford. Robert Snodgrass has at least 16 fantasy points in his last four starts, though his floor is only around 10 points. But since he's on set pieces, it wouldn't be surprising if he made another appearance on the score sheet. Teammate Felipe Anderson is slightly more active in terms of defensive stats, and he also has better odds to score. Any mix of those players is a good bet with Wilfred Ndidi, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Philip Billing not far behind.

DEFENDERS AND GOALKEEPERS

The surprise top defender in recent weeks has been Cesar Azpilicueta, who is doing more defensively than earlier in the season. Throw in a couple crosses, and he could be headed for at least 15 fantasy points if the Blues can secure a clean sheet against a Leicester side that went scoreless at Crystal Palace in their last away match. Marcos Alonso hasn't been as effective because of fewer defensive opportunities, but he usually has more upside. David Luiz has maybe been the most consistent one of the bunch because he consistently gets shots, and he also draws fouls in addition to his defensive work, something most center-backs can't say.

The other top clean sheet candidates are Arsenal, Man City and Man United, but it's often a mystery of how their defenders perform. Ashley Young could snag a goal or finish with five fantasy points since he doesn't do much else defensively and United are always a threat to allow at least a goal on the road. Sokratis Papastathopoulos may be the sneaky play for the Gunners after he had 21 fantasy points against Huddersfield last match, with Nacho Monreal close behind now that he's healthy. For City, Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker have a good chance for a clean sheet, but neither provide much upside and often max out at 15 fantasy points. Newcastle's Fabian Schar, who has at least 16 fantasy points in three of his last four starts, could end up being a better play against Fulham.

Martin Dubravka may end up being the top goalkeeper because while his clean sheet odds aren't as good, there's a decent chance he makes more saves than the other favorites. Ederson isn't usually active enough to top 10 fantasy points, though Bernd Leno should see activity due to Arsenal's inconsistent back line.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate. 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year.
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