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Thursday 21st Sep 2017

Note that most English Premier League (EPL) Gameweek 18 matches are scheduled for next Monday, December 26. There will be eight games played on that day. The matches are:

Burnley – Middlesbrough
Watford - Crystal Palace
Manchester United – Sunderland
Leicester City – Everton
Arsenal - West Brom
Swansea City - West Ham
Chelsea – Bournemouth
Hull City - Manchester City

DraftKings will feature all eight games for their daily contests. Our recommendations for your fantasy lineups are below. The standard lineup for each DraftKings contest has one goalkeeper, two defenders, two midfielders, two forwards and one utility player.

In doing the search for a winning fantasy lineup, we are sensitive to the requirements of the dreaded salary cap. Our recommendations include players who have a favorable scheduled match and whose salary will allow you to field a well-balanced team. In addition, our recommendations for your lineup are based in part on the odds set by English bookmakers for each game.

Our recommendations for your GW18 fantasy lineup are:     

Goalkeepers (choose one): Victor Valdes (Middlesbrough), Petr Cech (Arsenal)    

Defenders (choose two): Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough)   

Midfielders (choose two): Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) and the expensive but appearing again and again on these pages, Eden Hazard (Chelsea)     

Forwards (choose two): Tom Deeney (Watford), Mitchy Batshuayi (Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United: He has to do more to become our favorite but he seems to have found his way to the goal), Alvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough)     

Utility (choose one): Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Paul Pogba (Manchester United)     

Let’s keep an eye this week on Fernando Llorente (Swansea City) and Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) as potentials for GW 19.

Note that several midfielders and forwards are qualified by DraftKings as both and can be placed in either position or as utility. Unfortunately, that may not help your salary cap, as all of these players are quite expensive. Our strategy is to insert in the mix low-salaried defenders.

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

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