This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.
- 10:00 am: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Southampton
- 10:00 am: Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace
- 10:00 am: Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
- 10:00 am: Watford vs. West Ham United
- 12:30 pm: Liverpool vs. Arsenal
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The fight in cash games will be between Manchester United and Liverpool players. The Red Devils are a bigger favorite and may get more love, but I'm not sold on the Arsenal back line, which has given up at least three goals in their last four trips to Anfield. That stat alone is what makes the Reds stand out a little more to me. Similar to last week, my favorite player on the slate is Sadio Mane ($20). Outside of the goal and assist last match, he still had a solid floor from four extra chances created, two clearances and two tackles. Marcus Rashford ($24) and Mohamed Salah ($22) have both had floors below 10 fantasy points but are the most expensive options. The same goes for every other player in the high end like Paul Pogba ($20), Roberto Firmino ($18) and Anthony Martial ($18). All of them have produced in some way, but they aren't racking up chances like Mane has in his two appearances (Super Cup included). Either way, I'd get at least one of these guys on the team in cash games, with two or three being a likely strategy.
If you want to completely fade the big favorites or add another attacking piece, I'd look at Watford before banking on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($20) and Alexandre Lacazette ($18) at Liverpool. Watford have yet to score, but I think a home matchup against West Ham changes that. While they're dealing with injuries, namely to Troy Deeney, Gerard Deulofeu is still someone who can break open a slate, as seen in last season's hat-trick. His floor is also respectable for $16 after averaging almost one shot on target and 1.30 chances created per 90 minutes last season. Other than that, Jamie Vardy ($18) and Chicharito ($16) are the most realistic options to find the back of the net, and both are away.
In cash games, Wilfred Ndidi ($16) will be in most of my lineups, as he's hit a floor of 17 points in the first two matches thanks to five clearances, nine interceptions and 11 tackles. If you don't think the same defensive numbers will be there against Sheffield United, James Maddison costs the same and has more upside, already with 17 corners. If you go cheaper, it's a bit trickier with a lot of defensive midfielders struggling to rack up the same defensive stats as Ndidi.
Oliver Norwood ($14) is taking the majority of set pieces for Sheffield United, while John Lundstram ($14) has been a surprising bright spot. In addition to the goal last match, Lundstram had a floor of 16 points from defensive stats. James Ward-Prowse ($14) should also be in conversation because he'd be closer to $18 if this was the first match of the season. While away from home, his floor has been around 10 points, and he's already taken nine corners; plus, I'm not sold on Brighton's back line just yet. Of course, if you don't believe in the Southampton hype, Solomon March ($12) and Pascal Gross ($12) are cheaper on the other side of the field and play similar roles for Brighton. If you want to stretch your money more, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg ($10) was always viable in the starting XI last season, and he went the full 90 last match.
The downside to Trent Alexander-Arnold ($18) was seen last match when he finished with 8.6 fantasy points. Without an assist, he's rarely worth spending on when almost every defender at $16 has a higher floor. Sure, Alexander-Arnold has the best odds of any defender to make the scoresheet, but he's usually not a good bet in cash games. I'd rather spend on Harry Maguire ($16) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka ($16) this week because, in addition to having a floor around 15 points, Crystal Palace are known for forcing a lot of defensive action because players like Wilfried Zaha lose the ball a lot in the attack.
However, I'm still going with the cheapest defender strategy that more often than not works. Joel Ward ($10) is at the top of my list with 12 clearances, seven tackles and five interceptions in two matches. I also like whoever starts for West Ham, especially after Angelo Ogbonna ($10) had 18.2 fantasy points against Brighton last match and now faces a Watford side that has forced the third-most tackles and second-most clearances through the first two weeks. Liverpool force the most clearances and that lines up for Nacho Monreal ($10) to sit back a little more than usual. If you want to go with an $8 defender, George Baldock will probably be most popular after hitting 18 points last match. In case you need to spend a couple more bucks, I'd probably turn to Jack O'Connell ($14), David Luiz ($12) or John Egan ($12), all of whom are in position to hit a floor around 15 fantasy points because of clearances.
If you don't spend on outfield players, David de Gea ($16) is a logical goalkeeper, but don't expect the 38 fantasy points he had two weeks ago. He has the best odds for a win and clean sheet, but Crystal Palace have six shots on goal and will likely only force a couple saves. I'd rather save money on Kasper Schmeichel ($10) or Ben Foster ($8), both of whom will be popular. Foster could be a chalk cash play because he'll likely be the cheapest starter and is favored against a team whose best striker is Chicharito. Schmeichel is away, but there have been a total of five goals in Sheffield United and Leicester's four combined matches, and Sheffield United's lone goal against Crystal Palace came on a rebound. The only way I'd consider de Gea or a more expensive goalkeeper is in GPPs and even then, most of your outfield players will have to be defensive midfielders.