After a week off to sample the new UEFA Nations League, the Premier League is back this weekend for Gameweek 5 – which means PlayON is back with daily fantasy offerings, and I also am back to run you through who to have in your sides.
The round starts with an action-packed Saturday featuring seven games, kicking off with a mouth-watering clash between two sides sitting well up the table.
With this many games, there are loads of options for your sides. To make sure you have the right ones, I have gone through the day’s fixtures and picked out my must-haves, the value plays and a few high-potential PODs that others might overlook, starting with the early Saturday fixture.
Tottenham v. Liverpool
Until Spurs’ surprise loss to Watford last out, both these sides had 100% records. The Reds conceded their first goal of the season last game, but overcame Leicester to sit atop the table after four rounds.
This is a game that usually features goals, with almost 150 scored in the 52 meetings at this level. With Liverpool’s defence finally breached and Spurs keen to bounce back from a loss, expect the trend to continue and look to the attacking players from either side.
There are plenty of players across the two teams who would not be out of place in this category. However, the standout has to be Sadio Mane (£13.9m), who continued his great start with another goal against Leicester. A daily fantasy average of 2000 is a wave you want to ride while it lasts.
It is strange to talk about a £9.8m player as a value option, but given the massive prices for some of the others in this game, Lucas Moura is just that.
Three goals and an assist so far, and averaging nearly 1700 for owners, the price differential to the likes of Mane and Salah is almost too tasty to pass up. Just beware of the returning Son and potential impact on game time. All eyes on the teamsheets.
Bournemouth v. Leicester
Both sides come into this one from losses in round four, but both have made good starts to sit in sixth and eighth respectively. The fixture itself is somewhat dull history-wise – six previous matchups have seen five draws and a Cherries’ win, with a total of just seven goals scored and two 0-0s in there.
The low-scoring nature of the game would lean me towards defensive players, but there are also points to be made if you can nail the one or two players involved in any goals.
The two most likely to nab any potential winners are the main strikers for each side in Callum Wilson (£9m) and Jamie Vardy (£11.8m). Both averaging over 1400, Wilson has two goals and three assists in four games.
Vardy grabbed a goal in a 30-minute cameo in round one, but this is his first game back after being sent off in round two. No doubt on his goalscoring pedigree, but the lack of game time through suspension might just sway me towards Wilson.
The fact that this could well be a tight one brings the defenders into play, and your best value for money in that department so far has been Steve Cook (£6.8m).
Admittedly, his 1150 average is boosted by a goal and an assist, but if this is to be a close affair, the clean sheet points are a real possibility.
Having been quiet so far, ‘Mahrez 2.0’ Rachid Ghezzal (£7.3m) got off the mark against Liverpool on his way to a 1750.
The overall average of 690 might keep him out of many PlayON squad, but the return of Vardy intrigues. If they can link up half as well as Vardy and Mahrez, it could be a profitable partnership for DFS owners.
Chelsea v. Cardiff
The second of the perfect-record teams feature here, with Chelsea hosting Cardiff, who themselves are yet to win. That said, the Bluebirds have not been completely outclassed in any of the games so far and have actually created more clear-cut chances that the hosts over the opening rounds.
The problem for the visitors is that they have given away the lion’s share of possession in all but one of their games and if you do that against a side like Chelsea, more than likely they will punish you. Look to the Blues’ players for this one.
It is a big call to make this early in the season, but it very much looks like Eden Hazard (£14.9m) is back!
Two assists in the first two games, followed by two goals in the latest two and a home game against a newly-promoted side this week. So much to like that not even the price tag could put me off here.
One of the better performers so far, I was slightly surprised when Pedro (£9.8m) was dropped to the bench for round four. However, the in-form Spaniard still managed a goal and a 1625 daily fantasy haul in his 30 minute showing.
It also may be that Chelsea will rotate Willian and Pedro in the last starting midfield role. That, and the goal last game, means he should find himself among the starters for this one.
In a game where the Blues could run riot, he is a strong play for your sides.
Cardiff lost, and conceded three, last time against Arsenal. Even more impressive then that Neil Etheridge (£7.2m) managed to score 1425 in PlayON points, very close to his overall average of 1550 (which includes clean sheets and penalty saves).
The big score last time came by virtue of saves. Eight of them in fact. Arsenal managed 17 shots against the Bluebirds, with 11 on target. A ‘keeper who is that busy is a good chance of a decent points haul, and I don’t expect Chelsea to differ much from Arsenal in keeping him busy.
The opposition should also serve to keep him out of a few other sides, giving you something of an edge if this comes off.
Huddersfield v. Crystal Palace
Just the one win between these two sides so far and the goals are only going one way. Combined across the first four games, the two sides have conceded 16 goals and scored just five.
Both of the previous meetings have gone to the away side and seen them pick up a clean sheet in the process. If you believe in history repeating itself, you would load up on Palace players. Looking at the two sides, that is what I am doing.
There are times when it almost seems like Wilf Zaha (£10.7m) is Crystal Palace. When he is not there, their goal threat diminishes massively, as evidenced by the 2-0 loss last round, when he missed with a groin injury.
All indications are that he will play this week and his two-in-three record for the season mean he is a great one for your PlayON side if he does.
With the likelihood of a lower scoring game, and history suggesting a Palace clean sheet, their defenders seem to be the way to go. In that area, you don’t get better value at the moment that Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.9m).
Straight back into the side in round four after suspension, the full back must be one of the cheapest options who is getting a solid 90 minutes. He is definitely the one with the best daily fantasy average, over 1400 even with the red card.
Man City v. Fulham
City put the blip against Wolves to bed in round four by overcoming a resilient Newcastle 2-1. Fulham threw away a two-goal lead at Brighton, but continue to look like a team that can find the net. They average just under two a game so far.
The worry is more around the over two a game they concede, particularly when City are averaging close to three scored each outing. Likely not to be a one for the defenders, but a wealth of attacking options.
Missing England duty through injury, Raheem Sterling (£15.1m) should have had time to recover from a back niggle top take his place against Fulham. He will come into the game with confidence after scoring against Newcastle in round four. The 2000+ score last time shows what the forward is capable of.
Despite just the one assist by means of an attacking stat, David Silva (£8.7m) has managed an average score of over 1400. A lot of that comes down to his passing and general ‘string-pulling’ behind the scenes.
With a base score around the 1200, if he does managed to grab the odd goal or assist, the resulting score could give your teams a big boost.
In terms of actual result, City will more than likely get the win. That means the average daily fantasy player will load up on their players and ignore the Cottagers.
Digging a bit deeper, there is a case to be made for making space for a Fulham player in your side. My best two in that regard are Marcus Bettinelli (£6.1m) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (£9.1m).
Bettinelli seems to have replaced Fabri as the first-choice number one. He also averages over 1300 since coming into the side, earning him a call up to the England squad. Similar to Etheridge against Chelsea, Bettinelli could see a large amount of action and the potential for a few save points.
Mitrovic has been in red-hot form so far, with four goals and an assist in the first four games. In a match where both sides could score, the Serbian would be my pick to get any potential Fulham goal.
Newcastle v. Arsenal
Rafa once again set up ultra-defensive against City last out and the Magpies managed just 22% possession to go with the 19% against Chelsea the game before. They have actually conceded the bulk of the possession in all their games so far, but the defensive mindset has achieved what it set out to do, with no crazy scorelines so far.
No crazy scorelines in this one either for a while, with the last five all decided by just one goal. Is this a fixture that is due a goal fest, or one where defenders are the DFS play? Probably the latter for me.
Finally off the mark for the season, Arsenal fans will be hoping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£15.1m) will kick on now. Given his goalscoring pedigree through his career, he is a good chance to do just that.
If the Gunners are to win this one, you would imagine it will be Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette (£13.5m) who do the damage in front of goal. As you are unlikely to be able to afford both, there is a choice to be made. For me, it would be the former, even with the higher price tag.
When you factor in the likely defensive mentality of the Magpies meaning less goal threat on Arsenal, the visiting defenders look like good options.
I will be bringing in Shkodran Mustafi (£7.8m) for this, with an added bonus being the home side’s frequent vulnerability to set plays opening up the chance for headed goals.
With a set piece threat comes the potential for assists for the takers. Last out against Cardiff, that was Granit Xhaka (£7.8m) taking the corner that Mustafi converted.
With a likely increased share of the ball leading to more attacking set plays, the opportunity exists for more assists for the Swiss if someone can get on the end of them.
Watford v. Man United
Closing out Saturday’s action, the surprise package host the faltering giants. Not many would have picked Watford being four from four at the start of the season, nor would most have seen United losing two by this stage with their respective fixtures.
The recent history in this one has seen either clean-sheet United wins or goal fests. A stab in the dark as to what this one brings in terms of result, but plenty to like from both sides from a Daily Fantasy viewpoint.
Scoring both goals against Burnley, Romelu Lukaku (£15.4m) was the highest scoring player from a PlayON perspective in round four with a massive 3450.
The big Belgian remains United’s biggest goal threat, particularly with Rashford missing through suspension.
Up there with City’s Mendy at the top of the assist list, Jose Holebas (£7.1m) has four in four games, including for both goals against Spurs in round four, to go with his goal against Palace.
Whilst Watford continue to play good attacking football and pose a goal threat, the full back remains in the mix for the odd assist.
That brings the Saturday fixtures to a close.
Think you have the perfect lineup? Head to the Games Lobby to get your team in. Be sure to heck back when we do this all again for Sunday’s and Monday’s games.