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Thursday 21st Sep 2017

The 2016-2017 season of the English Premier League, commonly known as EPL, kicks off this week. This coming Saturday, August 13, we will see the first seven games of the season.

DraftKings features several weekly EPL contests. Note that this week Draftkings will not include the first game of the season, Leicester City at Hull City, likely due to its early start time.

The standard lineup of each DraftKings contest has two goalkeepers, two defenders, two midfielders, two forwards and one utility player. The utility player is similar to a flex position, a position that is commonly found in fantasy football leagues.

Our strategy is to place a numerical value (weight) out of 100 to the key characteristics for each player position. Use this weighted value to devise your own roster, should you be unable to fit our recommended lineup under the salary cap.

Let me elaborate on why we have a weighted value and how to use it. Each goal is valued at 10 points. With that in mind, we assign a high weighted value to those players who tend to score even if they are fullbacks, like Alexandar Kolarov, who has scored ten times since joining City. Another factor to keep in mind when deciding your roster that is essential in DFS soccer and more valuable than, say, in baseball, is the quality of the opponent. As you might expect, this week’s Manchester City–Sunderland matchup is telling us to go with several City players.

Goalkeepers: His clean sheet, valued at 5 points, depends on how good he is (weighted value of 20/100), how capable his defense is (40/100) and if the opposing team he faces has a weak attack (40/100). We have assigned only a 20-weight value to a goalkeeper’s individual quality because the better the goalie, the higher his salary, which leaves less for the offense. With that in mind, our research this week points to City’s Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Lukasz Fabianski (we expect Burnley-Swansea to be a low-scoring match).

Defenders: A goal scorer gets 10 points, the highest prize. Hence, those defenders who have a history of scoring receive a 60/100 value. Knowing how to deliver a goal assist, valued at 6 points, receives a 30/100 value. A 10/100 weight value goes to tackles won, because each gets 1 point. Suggested defenders this week are Alexandar Kolarov, Bacary Sagna and Virgil Van Dijk.

Midfielders: The key here is to pick players who know how to deliver goal assists, that is, send that final pass, cross, header or shot which leads to the goal being scored. We recommend Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and Erik Lamela. Let’s wait for Week 2 to place Paul Pogba on this list.

Forwards: This is the most important section simply because most points are assigned to the goal scorers. In addition, a shot or a shot on goal are each worth 1 point. Hence, 60/100 value is given to those strikers who have historically scored well, while 40/100 value is used when considering the opposing team and the quality of its defense. This is the position where we want to spend our money. This week, let’s go with Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Shane Long.

Utility: Given the way DFS points are distributed, we strongly favor a forward in this position. On rare occasions, we may place a goalkeeper here. This week, we have Marko Arnautovic and Yannick Bolasie.

Follow Pasko on Twitter @varnica123. His essays about sports in ancient Roman times can be found at SportsInAntiquity.com 

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