“The Diamond Standard” (EPL) – 9/26/20

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As the third week of the EPL is upon us, we are faced with another three game slate with all of them starting at different times. Make sure to check out the starting lineups as the day moves forward once we get confirmed lineups.

We will be talking through plays through the day as lineups drop, so drop us a DM at @DFSHeadquarters so you will get our thoughts throughout the day.

DraftKings is offering some great prize pools for this slate so let’s dig in!


In the first game of the slate we have Everton making the trip into London for a match vs. one of the more surprising starts of the season, the Eagles of Crystal Palace.

Hand it to Palace, they’ve run a tight ship, and based off the horrid summer break a lot of teams can’t handle their high press style of play. This can’t, and won’t last forever, and it seems the Eagles may have hit a brick wall in the form of Everton. It may be a good time to sell high, as eventually teams will get in shape and pick them apart. Everton is already playing inspired footy, and the Toffees isn’t exactly a team to try and press.

Palace has three things going for them; they’re red hot, they’ve consistently kept home games low scoring, and their salaries are still affordable. Guaita isn’t the worst play of the slate, and if Palace continue the trend of low scoring home games, he and the Palace clean sheet chase could be a very low-owned sneaky stack.

Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend continue to produce at a high level. In GPP or cash, respectively, they make sense, and are both part of this slate’s optimal build patterns. It’s also prudent to mention sooner rather than later Jordan Ayew will break a slate. While his DK salary isn’t necessarily cheap, and Palace is out of the Cup, he’s still GPP viable if he’s getting 90min. Less high on Batshuayi if he starts, and a Milivojevic PK seems less and less likely until Zaha stops playing so well.

Mind you, Palace is likely to score. Pickford is far from consistent and has a serious knack for letting in bizarre goals. The Eagles will be lucky to get the same kind of chances and successes they’ve found this season, and certain opposition players could really tear them apart.

As for Everton, the club been playing some top notch footy. They have’t lost all month, winning all their EPL and Cup matches, and their attack has been inspiring, but their defence still leaves a lot to be desired. The Toffees have 10 goals from their past couple of games, but at the same time Pickford has let in two against a 10 man Brom, and Fleetwood in the midweek. Also, Digne played a midweek 90min, and Richardson played a lot as well, so don’t be surprised if the pair fail to start. Coleman is an interesting pivot, but he’s better for GPP.

Everton’s midfield are some of the best options of the slate; Doucoure’s floor is decent for his DK salary, and James Rodriguesz is as close to anyone to being a multi format lock. While Richarlison’s DK salary is a lot to ask, he does work in an Everton GPP stack, and that’s where I would keep him. DCL is in excellent form as well, and should feature quite heavily in your weekend exposure.

If there’s no Digne, use James Rodriguez freely. While I’m hesitant to say Everton will break down Palace, that won’t stop Rodriguez from trying. One team is playing into another’s hand, it’ll be interesting to see if Everton can maneuver through Palace’s pressure, which they should with some ease. James Rodriguez double digits game ftw.

Prediction: 3-1 Everton, 1-1 draw.


For the second game of the slate we have Chelsea making the trip to West  Brom for what should be the most one sided game of the weekend. However, I beg to differ.

Chelsea isn’t exactly on a roll. They’re dealing with a serious keeper controversy, they still have failed to master defending the cross, they love not letting a FWD get a full 90min, and to top it all off, they’re without their two best DFS players. If we’re being realistic, Brom isn’t scoring. However, this is DFS, and it’s rarely the case where the most expensive keeper either pays off, or is in the optimal build path.

And in this slate’s case, it’s the consensus least optimal build, except for the shallowest of GPP pools. A rested Reece James is another name that should feature high in this weekend’s exposures. Especially if there’s no Digne, he’s a near must have for cash, and his high floor will be equally useful in GPP. There’s a concern as Mason Mount played mid-week 90min, without Digne, Pulisic, and Mount, Reece James should be the highest targeted player of the slate. If Mount starts feature him either format, as Brom has been conceding a firesale of goals. Jorginho is another player worth considering, he could poach a PK, and he’s been a tad more attacking than Kante, who on sites that score defensive stats could be a gem.

The biggest talking point of the slate is Timo Werner’s scoring odds, and in comparison his lack of actual goals. Brom has been defensively horrendous, so realistically, he’s in for multiple points, but my fear is he doesn’t see 90min from a salary that needs that, and more. He’s not cash viable due to his minutes risk, along with the fact he doesn’t really have a floor, but considering his enormous ceiling there’s definitely worse.

Sticking to Reece James and Mason Mount is an excellent way to build this weekend’s cash LU’s. Include that with James Rodriguez and Digne, and you have a super capable, affordable, and potent cash core.

West Brom has an EPL history, however it’s a far reach for recent success stories. The Brommies haven’t had much to talk about since the Lukaku days.

Anyone can look at score lines and see this isn’t a promising day at the office for the Brom backline. However, simply not taking Werner (on the pretext he doesn’t hit his ceiling), opens up all sorts of builds, including taking the cheapest keeper of the slate in Sam Johnstone. My first cash builds included him and not Werner. Given what I’ve already mentioned, he allows for some actual cash players, opening us to fill the card properly without risk.

My personal favourite play of the slate is Branislav Ivanovic. He was one of my go-to’s back in the day, and for good reason. This weekend, he has the revenge games of all revenge game narratives. While he played a midweek 90min, he also played a million years with Chelsea, and I really can’t see him missing out. If he does feature, get him in GPP, or if you’re feeling frisky, use him in cash. His salary is too low for his ability to shoot from 40 yards away, and even though Chelsea is favoured by a landslide, it’s hard to pass up someone like Ivanovic.

Matt Phillips has also been a past DFS-god. If he starts there’s a solid chance he will see set pieces, which may not be plentiful, but with his quality and from his salary, not to mention his super deflated ownership, he should only need scraps to find value. A lot of people will also be on Matheus Pereira, which isn’t a bad play, but his ownership may end up costing people when Phillips takes over dead balls. Pereira is good for GPP, but in cash his salary is worth a fade.

Callum Robinson is definitely cheap enough, but he’s not exactly paying off from a goal. Taking a crosser, and or a cheap defender with Johnstone has a much higher top end potential than Robinson, as he’s just as likely to come off at some point than pay off from his salary, and probably too high of ownership.

Chelsea should handle the Brommies with ease. However, as this is DFS, and considering the most likely is as scarce as rational results, I’ll be looking to use just as much Brom value as chasing a 35% owned Werner brace.

Prediction: 5-1 Chelsea, two goals from Subs. 1-0 Brom, maybe 1-1.


For the third and final game of the slate, the Saints of Southampton make the unfavourable trip north to play an away match vs. Burnley. This should be the game to target defensive options/stacks, as it’s also expected to be the lowest scoring of the slate. Imagine that, these two teams…

I’m an Alex McCarthy truther, or to a deeper extent, a Southampton keeper truther. I’ve raved about Angus Gunn for years, Fraser Forster is freakishly tall, and McCarthy is probably the worst of the three, but has been capably holding the starting role for a couple of seasons.

Burnley isn’t a team to score five goals, but at the same time their shot count rarely represents the type of high-scoring chances they may create. Burnley’s smash the ball off someone’s head and into the net style isn’t easy to defend, and outside of Vestergaard, whom if starts is an interesting GPP punt, Southampton’s defensive options fail to pay off from the compared floors the aforementioned cash options. They’ll be more likely defending the onslaught of crosses from the Burnley wingers than creating their own.

Southampton is another team that loves to sub out the impact position players, and even with Redmond out, guys like Armstrong, JWP, and Smallbone are either too expensive, isn’t optimal to pay up for, or is as likely to kick the ball away as get a cross in the box.

However, it’s likely red-hot Danny Ings sees 90min, so he’s viable in GPP, but it’d make more sense to chase Werner’s goals than Ings’. Shane Long scores once every decade, and I think it’s been around two seasons now, so if he’s starting, it’s a trap. If there was a player who was due, it’s Che Adams, but I wouldn’t go heavy on this attack, it’ just too low scoring of a game.

Instead, choose to go heavy on Burnley’s defensive options. Yes, Danny Ings is looking dangerous, but as the hosts there’s a slight cross country edge to their already stingy defensive record. Nick Pope’s salary is calling my name and is as much as I’ll spend on a DK keeper. Though he’s likely to break my heart, I’ll be keeping him to GPP. 

Can Phil Bardsley do stuff? Is Kevin Long good in the air? These are two things I would be willing to bet on being yes, in cash or GPP respectively.

Dwight McNeil continues to cross the ball at a near frantic rate, which is great for DK. He did play a lot midweek, so I’m not as keen outside of cash, though he’s not alone. Ashley Westwood should see 90min, or near too it, and while he’s a yellow card risk, he also carries a solid floor, and fits into the optimal hammer for a cash build. Which, if he’s boosted by an assist or an unusually good game, either McNeill or both could carry your cash card late hammer style. They also make for a great pair to use for a late pivot.

Finally, Chris Wood is one of this slate’s top GPP attacking options. He’s a massive body that won’t fail on being that face someone smashes the ball against. Wood and Vydra, especially without Jay Rodriguez (not to be confused with the aforementioned Everton lock), make an intriguing combo. Since the game should be low scoring, stacking only them may not be the ideal route,. The most logical way they both pay off is seeing crosses, so if you’re taking both Burnley strikers, you need the assists as well. Using the pair with McNeil or Westwood could be super viable come 90min, even with a 2-1 scoreline.

Everything about this game says low scoring, but if the first game of the slate is a classic Palace low scoring home game, and if Chelsea fail to score more than twice, all you’ll need is a goal+assist combo with a 90min Burnley forward and you’ll be fine.

Prediction: 2-1 either way, most likely Burnley. A low scoring, high floor game.

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