AS the chaotic Christmas schedule gets underway, we’re ready to take a look at the best DFS options heading into the seventeenth round of the Premier League season.
We’ll be basing our selections on Draft Kings Classic 8-Player format as we analyse the best inclusions for your Sunday DFS lineups.
MARQUEE MUST HAVE
Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
It has been a roller-coaster year for the South Korean starlet.
In August, Son faced the prospect of mandatory 21-month military service unless he took home gold for South Korea at the Asian Games. In what resembled a cheesy Hollywood climax, Son led the Under 23 South Korean side to the finals, and assisted two dramatic extra-time goals against Japan, sealing a 2-1 win, and winning exemption from service.
Son initially struggled to reestablish his spot in the Spurs starting eleven upon returning to England. But a wonder-strike in Tottenham’s away win against Chelsea reignited the 26-year-old’s form. With three goals and two assists in his last four games, Son has provided the unimaginative Spurs midfield with the spark of creativity it needed. At present, he is the league’s form attacking midfielder.
Tottenham are playing good football and have one of the kindest fixture lists over the Christmas period, so keep their players in mind over the coming weeks. On Sunday, they entertain 17th place Burnley, who have only picked up one win away from home. Only Fulham and Southampton have conceded more away goals.
We expect Son to give them a very difficult afternoon at Wembley.
Diogo Jota (Wolves)
Wolves fans had high hopes for the Portuguese attacking midfielder after his exploits in their promotion winning campaign last season, while on loan from Atletico Madrid. The 22-year-old scored 17 goals, and looked like he would play a key part in their attempts to stay in the Premier League.
Unfortunately, it was a slow start to life in the English top flight for Jota, who struggled for form and spent some time on the sidelines. In recent weeks however, he appears to have adapted to the unforgiving pace of the Premier League and rediscovered his goalscoring touch. He has contributed two goals and one assist to two very impressive Wolverhamption victories, including the upset win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Wolves sit in 10th place this season, an admirable position for a promoted side. They entertain Bournemouth this week, who despite sitting one point above them in 8th place, have had a torrid run of form, losing five of their last six games.
It should be a tough game, but Wolves will look to the likes of Jota to provide the difference. With a knack for scoring goals, and his momentum, we think he is great value at $6,000.
Sol Bamba (Cardiff City)
Manager Neil Warnock recently claimed Sol Bamba is better than Liverpool’s $118m record signing Virgil Van Dijk. Admittedly, the jury is out on that one.
Whether you agree with him or not, Bamba has over-performed as a goal threat for fantasy managers this season, and $4,200 seems a pinch. Remember, the Draft Kings format doesn’t reward clean sheets very favourably for outfield players, which is why Bamba boasts a higher points per game than most centre-backs, including the likes of Vertonghen, or Alderweireld, whom you may otherwise prefer at a glance.
Cardiff’s form has been very poor away from home, where they travel to Vicarage Road to take on 12th place Watford. However, they currently sit at 6th in the form table, with three wins in their last five games. Conversely, Watford sit dead last, without a win in their last five. It’s a tough game to call, but we do know that Warnock’s direct, old-fashioned style gives players like Bamba an opportunity to impact the result, and that’s why we like him as a bargain option this week.
THIS WEEK’S MANAGERIAL PHILOSOPHY
The crazy Christmas period is not only the toughest time of the year for Premier League managers and players – It’s much the same for fantasy footballers.
The games come so thick and fast, that half the battle is figuring out who is actually fit to play. Players pick up various niggling injuries, unable to cope with the inhuman demands of the schedule. Big clubs in particular look towards squad rotation and resource management, so you need to keep an eye on who played midweek, or more significantly who didn’t, to clue you in on who you can expect to start.
This night of football in particular is interesting because Spurs are the only top seven team playing, meaning that you will be required to pick most of your team from lower level clubs. Tottenham players are predictably overcosted as a result, so we have opted with their form man, Son, for our marquee slot, and keeper Hugo Lloris, since the cost margins for keepers are so tight, and the clean sheet bonus for them is so crucial.
Lloris(TOT), Bamba(CAR), Zabaleta(WHU), Pereyra(WAT), Jota(WOL), D.Gray(LEI) Son(TOT), UTIL J.Maddison (LEI)