Football

2 years ago

EPL Gameweek 32 Fantasy Preview. Stacks, Value Plays, Captains

The long international break is finally over, and we are ready to pounce on yet another gameweek in the English Premier League. In our preview, we will focus on picking the right defensive stacks, possible double-ups in attack, differentials, and captains for daily fantasy contests on FanTeam.

FanTeam's main event consists of 9 games in game week 32

Defensive Stacks

Defensive stacks are extremely important when playing at FanTeam. That is why we will focus on this aspect of the game providing you with safe, value and differential options for the slate on offer in every preview article.

Great odds:

Crystal Palace have conceded only 3,40xG (expected goals)*  over the last 4 home games. That is less than a goal per match, and it’s Huddersfield, the league’s worst away attack (2,01xG across last 4 away games), they will be hosting. They have a 58% chance to keep a clean sheet according to the bookies.

There are a couple of things to note here.

Firstly, as the odds are stacked in Crystal Palace’s favor, and given their defensive assets’ relatively affordable price (8,3-9,8), many fantasy teams will feature their stacks. I am expecting 30-35% of the field to have them.

Secondly, despite great odds to keep a clean sheet, the defenders’ price is a bit too high for a non-top 6 side. In general, we are aiming for 1 point per million invested from every player to have a good shot at winning at FanTeam. Defenders are awarded 7 points (2 points for 90 minutes played, 1 point for impact, 4 for a clean sheet) in the best case scenario. 21 points from the stack fall shorts of that mark, since you will be investing 27,5 million.

The good news is that defenders may earn a few extra points for an assist or a goal. Make sure you include Jeffrey Schlupp (9,8) in your stacks as he is playing out of position as a midfielder while listed as a defender on FanTeam. James Tomkins should also be in your thoughts as he is an aerial threat at set-pieces (20 shots in box in 26 games). Scott Dann is expected to start as well being the cheapest of the bunch (8,3).

Not to forget: keep an eye on Wan-Bissaka’s fitness. If he fails to recover in time, Joel Ward (8,3) will likely deputize for him, making the Palace’s stack almost irresistible. Ward (8,3) - Schlupp (9,8) - Dann (8,3) equals in 26,4  million invested.

Value play:

Brighton have a 40% chance of keeping a clean sheet which is noteworthy in itself. But it is the price that makes this stack stand out. Bernardo (5,8), Duffy (6,0), Dunk (6,2) are an 18 million investment.

Duffy and Dunk are an aerial threat as well, with the former having notched 5 goals and 2 assists, the latter 2 goals, and 1 assist.  Brighton’s solid defensive displays at home (4,60xG and 6 big chances conceded in their last 4 home games), and Southampton’s rather impotent attack (3,47 xG over the last 4 away games) makes for an appealing stacking option.

Not to forget: Duffy is an injury doubt at the time of writing, so tread cautiously and remember to swap him if need be when lineups are announced 1 hour before the kick-off.

Differential:

Although Burnley have been rather impressive as of late at home (6,94xG, 44 shots in box, 7 big chances in their last 4 home games), Wolverhampton are a tricky side to break down. They boast 3rd best away defensive record in terms of xG conceded (17,5) trailing only Manchester City and Liverpool.

Games after the international break are hard to call, but we believe that of all teams playing away from home, Wolves have the best chance to keep a clean sheet despite their opponent’s recent form. Most people will be going Burnley in this matchup, so that is exactly why we are backing Wolves in the differential stack category.

Not to forget: Make sure to include Doherty and Jonny in your stack. The former is 3rd in the team for penalty area touches with 41 - an incredible feat for a defender, and the latter is second for chances created (13).

Offensive Double-ups

Good correlation of players in your squad is of extreme importance in any fantasy team no matter the sport. In football, it is crucial to single out players who assist each other often, are involved in the attacking play, and are on set-piece duty. With a lot fewer opportunities to get offensive returns in comparison to other sports, such as hockey, basketball, American football etc., understanding which players offer the most threat and link-up well is one of the most important tasks a fantasy manager faces.

Double or triple-ups should come into consideration when you are expecting one team to score more than 2 goals, with selected players sharing assists and goals between them. In this section, we will provide you with some advice on which players make a well-correlated duo (trio) for the slate.

Premium:

Hazard (13,4) + Higuain (12,8)

On home turf, Cardiff shipped 3 goals vs Arsenal, 5 vs Man City, 5 vs Man United, 3 vs Tottenham. That is 16 goals in 4 games against top-6 sides - you get the message. Even though Chelsea are not in their best form at the moment, and Cardiff fighting for their lives, we should expect goals here. Solid at times against weaker sides, Cardiff still lacks class to battle any of the Premier League giants. While generating only 4,60xG across their last 4 away games, Chelsea have a 36% chance to score 3 or more goals. The opposition is certainly to blame here.

Hazard is on penalties, often plays the whole match, leads the team with 15.93xGI*** (expected goals involvement) this season. Expect him to wreak havoc against a slow and bulky Cardiff defense missing their leader Sol Bamba.

Higuain did not travel with the Argentinian national team and should be well rested and fit to profit from Hazard’s pinpoint passing.

Value play:

Murray (8,3) + Knockaert (7,8)

Southampton have conceded 8,50xG, 11 big chances and 42 shots in box away from home in their last 4 games, which makes rather low-scoring Brighton assets a bit more enticing.

Murray (1,13xGI in the last 4 games) and Knockaert (1,31xGI, 1 goal, 2 assists in the last 4) could easily link up for a goal or even two, given Southampton’s awful away defensive form.

Pascal Gros is rated an injury doubt at the time of writing, further making the case for Knockaert’s selection. Murray is on penalties and is the team’s top goalscorer with 11.

Differential:

Joshua King (7,2) + Callum Wilson (7,0)

Bournemouth are the epitome of unpredictable. Today they beat Chelsea 4:0 and then they lose 0:2 to Cardiff. Most of the players will be looking to exploit Bournemouth leaky defense (6,90xG, 37 shots in box, 12 big chances conceded in their last 4 away games) picking the likes of Maddison, Vardy, and Barnes.

Look out for Bournemouth to play on a counter-attack, with both Wilson and King possessing enough speed to cause Leicester problems and score. King is on penalties as well, having netted his latest for Norway against Spain this past week.

Differentials

These players are budget friendly, allowing you to spend the rest of the money on big-hitters, while still being capable of collecting some point returns. Consider these lads for the current game week:

  • Alli (6,6) Tottenham - away at Liverpool
  • Brooks (6,2) Bournemouth - away at Leicester
  • Westwood (6,2) Burnley - home to Wolves
  • Rondon (6,2) Newcastle - away at Arsenal
  • Grant (6,0) Huddersfield - away at Crystal Palace
  • Mooy (5,8) Huddersfield - away at Crystal Palace

Dele Alli

Captain dilemma

Many options to choose from this week, with the likes of Hazard (13,4), Pogba (13,5), Aubameyang (14,3), Vardy (12,4) all playing in favorable matchups. Any of them may make a worthy captain depending on your team composition and funds available.

As an alternative option, consider Jeffrey Schlupp. Listed as a defender (58% chance of keeping a clean sheet), playing out of position in midfield against the league’s worst side. He has 1,10 xGI (3rd in the team) and 1 assist in the last 4, playing for a team that had generated 8,16xG and created 11 big chances in their last 4 home games.

Reg’s recommendation

This time it is one of the best players at FanTeam - smith1313 - providing us with an insight.

Harvey Barnes (Leicester) has been due a goal for a long, long time. He has got to score sooner or later and such a favorable matchup could be the time when he explodes. Just like Ryan Fraser did in the reverse fixture.


* xG = expected goals. The model works by assigning a value to a shot that is taken based on the likelihood of it being scored.
**xA = expected assists measures the likelihood that a pass will be a primary assist. The model is based on the finishing location of the pass, what type of pass it was and a variety of other factors.
***xGI = expected goals involvement equals xG+xA.

 


We hope this helps you build a winning lineup for the weekend's slate. We will be providing similar tips ahead of major slates on FanTeam in the future. Follow us on Twitter , stay tuned and good luck!

Alexey Bobrov
Author

Alexey Bobrov

Alexey, also known as KJIIOIIIKA, has been playing daily fantasy football since 2015 on various European sites. Scratches his fantasy itch mostly on FanTeam, where he has a net profit of €6000+ with more than 2000 tournaments played and a 40% ROI. FanTeam's 2018 World Championship of Fantasy Football finalist. As Head of Content at DraftGym, his mission is to help our young European fantasy community grow. A proud father of two, plays ice-hockey at the regional level, loves board games.

Comments