Football

1 year ago

EPL Gameweek 35 Fantasy Preview. Stacks, Value Plays, Captains

Last week's review

We opted for Manchester United as our premium stack option, Brighton as the value play selection, and Cardiff as a differential. None of the teams earned a clean sheet and were second best in their respective encounters.

MU conceded 1,43 xG, Brighton a whooping 2,77 xG, and Cardiff 2,84 xG.

Our defensive picks didn't perform, to put it mildly, but some of our offensive picks did.

Pogba scored 2 penalties. 6 penalty box touches, 4 shots (4), 1 big chance created, 0,19xG+0,05xA (non-penalty).

Our Fulham diffential double-up performed admirably as well:

Babel. 0,46xG+0,46xA, 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 chances created.
Mitrovic. 0,41xG+0,01xA, 7 shots (5 in box), 6 penalty touches.

While Redmond (11% owned) turned out one of the best picks of the slate.
4 penalty box touches,  2 big chances, 4 shots (3), 1,26xG+0,01xA and 2 goals.

Now let us see what the upcoming week has to offer.

Gameweek 35

Here are the games that make up FanTeam’s slate for the weekend:

Odds for teams winning and drawing (middle column)

Before we dive into stacks, double-ups, and captain recommendations, let us share with you this chart that might come in handy while preparing for the slate.

  • Home teams are golden, teams playing away – silver.
  • % – to keep a clean sheet
  • Red number – xG Conceded over the last 4 games (4 home games for teams playing at home, 4 away games, for teams playing on the road)

Right-clicking and selecting 'open in a new window' option will display a high-quality picture

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

Chelsea have a 53% chance of keeping a clean sheet.

They have conceded only 1 goal (2,20xGC) and 3 big chances in their last 4 at Stamford Bridge.

Despite Burnley’s average attacking stats in the last 4 away games (5,40 xG, 25 shots in box, 8 big chances created) they are not threatened by relegation anymore and might not pose much of a threat.

The stack doesn't come cheap (but which premium option does?) at 26,8 mln., provided Emerson starts on the left flank.

Beware: Chelsea had a midweek game against Slavia Prague in Europa League. Tiredness and rotation (Alonso-Emerson) might be a factor here.

Value Play

Newcastle have won 5 of their last 7 home games. With 3,80 xG and only 4 big chances allowed on home turf in their last 4, they will be full of confidence facing Southampton this week.

The visitors are on a nice run of form (4 wins in their last 6) but far from lethal away from home. Southampton managed only 2,72 xG and created 4 big chances over the past 4 away games.

This game promises to be intense with no room for mistakes. Newcastle (15th) sit 2 points above  Southampton with 38 points after 34 games. Expect this to be a classical bottom-half six-pointer.

I am expecting a few goals to be scored here with the home advantage the deciding factor when picking between these two.

The Magpies stack is worth only 18,9 mln., making it even more enticing as the attacking options from big teams are costly this week.

Tip: Fabian Schar (6,8) leads the team with 3 goals scored and 24 shots on goal. Yedlin and Manquillo are fighting for the right-back spot - avoid picking any of them as we won’t know their starting lineup at the start of the slate.

Differential

Crystal Palace stack takes the spot this week. Arsenal struggled to break down 10-men Watford last weekend and managed only one goal against Napoli in midweek. It looks like the Londoners might prioritize the Europa League now, where they have reached the semi-finals.

Crystal Palace allowed only 6 big chances in their last four on the road and conceded 6,40 xG. Arsenal are playing well at home, but Palace is one of the sides capable of an occasional surprise (beating Manchester City, for example).

The stack is dirt-cheap at 13,1.

Alternative: Consider upgrading to Wan-Bissaka (5,2) and van-Aanholt (5,3) as they pose more of an attacking threat going forward.  

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

It is hard to look past the most obvious of choices this week.

The deadly Liverpool trio’s xGI numbers in the last 4 outings look impressive - Salah (2,01), Mane (2,58), Firmino (2,25).

Cardiff conceded 5,30xG (10 goals) and 8 big chances in 4 of their last home games. Not too leaky, but they are facing, arguably, the league’s best attack.

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.

Salah (15.0) has rediscovered his form (a goal and an assist in Porto in midweek) and I would recommend a triple-up here with the armband set on the Egyptian.

Be aware: Boosted by their win in Brighton, Cardiff have a fighting chance of survival and will dig in in hopes of snatching at least a point here.

Value Play

Everton pushed Arsenal all over the place in their last game on home turf and after a snap on the nose at Fulham, they will be looking to bounce back.

Manchester United’s form has dipped a little, they were second best against West Ham and suffered a heavy defeat in Barcelona in midweek.

I am backing the hosts to score at least once. Sigurdsson (8,0) leads the team with 2,16xGI (1 goal) over the last 4 home games, is on set-pieces and penalties. Richarlison is right behind him with 1,12xGI and 1 goal.

Alternative: Calvert-Lewin (7,8) had a good game away last week (0,98xGI). He usually completes a full match (+1 point at FanTeam) and might be used in your Everton double-up as well.

Differential

Everyone knows Huddersfield can’t score and are relegated. But in their last 4 home outings, they have generated 5,22 xG (more than Bournemouth), created 7 big chances, and fired 26 shots from inside the box (more than Watford).

Watford conceded 18 big chances in their last 4 outings on the road and 9,10 xG.

Karlan Grant (7,2) has 16 penalty touches, 9 shots, 2 big chances, 1,29 xGI, 2 goals in the last 4 games.

Aaron Mooy (6,8) is on penalties with 3 goals and 1 assist this season.

Note: Chris Lowe (5,8) is a defender playing as a winger.

Budget options

Players that are worth less than 7 mln. but capable of attacking returns. Used to pluck holes in your lineup.

  • Sessegnon (FUL) (6,2) has been completing full 90 minutes lately
  • Camarasa (CAR) (4,8) 1 goal + 1 assist in his last 4, on penalties and set-pieces in a team fighting for survival
  • Zaha (cry) (6,9) Earns a lot of penalties, dangerous on a counter
  • Milivoevic (cry) (6,3) on penalties and most set-pieces
  • March (bha) (5,6) on set-pieces in a team desperate to win

Captains

Safe pick

We have mentioned Salah (15,0) already in the double-ups section. If you want to play it safe, there is no better option than the Egyptian or Eden Hazard (13,6).

With 3 goals and 1 assist (2,47 XGI) in his last 4, Chelsea’s talisman is on penalties and some set-pieces. Chelsea are finding the stride and I tip them to win in style against beach-bound Burnley.

Hazard has a 57% to score at least once according to bookies.

Alternative option

Raul Jimenez (11,2) has 3 goals and 2 assists (4,37 xGI) and 17 shots in the box (leads the league) in his last 4 home games. Brighton are looking wobbly and might be panicking already which can cost them.

Look for the Mexican to punish the visitors. He has a 40% chance to score at least once according to bookies.

Reg recommends

PITON81 (9k tournaments, 19k profit on FanTeam) shares his thoughts.

I'd go for Firmino this week. He got less minutes under his belt in the midweek tie. All eyes will be fixed on Salah and Mane, Bobby can be a nice differential.

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 this 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.