Welcome to our fantasy Premier League coverage at Awesemo!ne Here, you’ll find a breakdown of each match on tap as well as each fantasy relevant player. We have soccer content each and every week here at Awesemo, so stay up to date on it all by following @Awesemo_Com and @tristanhoh on Twitter!
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Everton @ Newcastle
Team Totals: Everton 1.41, Newcastle 1.12
Everton (1.41 implied goals)
New boss Carlo Ancelotti said he’d 100% be rotating his squad with the congested schedule incoming, highlighting Leighton Baines and Tom Davies in his presser in particular. This could potentially bring out both Lucas Digne and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
It’s to be seen how the set pieces will be divvied up with Baines and Sigurdsson both on the pitch together (Baines has a long history of taking set pieces at Everton), but I’d expect Sigurdsson to take the lion’s share given he took all 15 (!) of their set pieces with Digne on the pitch on Boxing Day. Assuming Sigurdsson starts again, he’s a very safe option in his new role, albeit the upside feels limited in this spot.
Whether we like it or not, this one is more than likely to be kept tight. Newcastle has a solid home record, and Everton has a squeamish road record. We could see a moment of magic from any of the strikers (Moise Kean, Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin), but the volume is shaky and the upside isn’t consistent between the trio. I’d hone in on Sigurdsson and Baines as the strongest plays.
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Newcastle (1.12 implied goals)
Steve Bruce decided to rest some key players on Boxing Day in order to save them for a more winnable match at home. Sean Longstaff took their one and only corner at Old Trafford, but Jonjo Shelvey should come back into the side here and take that role back. Everton haven’t allowed many peripherals this season, so I’d temper my expectations for a strong floor performance from Shelvey. While ‘how many’ are in question, his monopoly on set pieces nevertheless provides a floor.
Miguel Almiron, Joelinton nor Andy Carroll have showed much goal prowess this season. While they’re hosting a tough to predict Everton side on a short week, putting confidence into these two seems far-fetched. This has ‘tight’ written all over it, and nothing truly stands out on Newcastle.
Crystal Palace @ Southampton
Team Totals: Southampton 1.57, Crystal Palace 1.03
Crystal Palace (1.03 implied goals)
Still grinding out tough results, Palace are in yet another decent position to grab some points. Southampton don’t pose much of a threat on paper, but are coming in with a few very solid results against Aston Villa and Chelsea. Back on home turf, Vegas is expecting Palace to struggle, only implied about a goal.
With Patrick van Aanholt doubtful, Luka Milivojevich should regain his set piece share. He truly has little to no upside, but the floor is intact in most spots.
Max Meyer, Jordan Ayew, and Wilfried Zaha round out the attack. Ayew is fresh off an exquisite performance, but he should revert to the mean here in a less than ideal spot on the road. Zaha is a shaky play at his typical price, but his talent and foul drawing ability keep him in the tournament mix. I’m low on Palace in a vacuum.
Southampton (1.57 implied goals)
Straight off the best result of their season, Southampton return home against a tough Palace team to crack down. Taker of nearly every set piece they get (Ryan Bertrand chips in every now and then), James Ward-Prowse is as safe as it gets from a floor perspective.
Danny Ings has goals in seven of his last eight starts, with a brace in his latest start. I see Southampton struggling to crack through, but he’s in a very hot patch of form. He’ll probably miss my tournament builds given his price and expected ownership though. I’d be more willing to back Che Adams or Nathan Redmond. Both fullbacks Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand are in an exploitable spot. Palace allow the fourth most crosses in the Premier League.
Aston Villa @ Watford
Team Totals: Watford 1.74, Aston Villa 1.25
Aston Villa (1.25 implied goals)
A match between two bottom tier sides in the Premier League table sometimes makes for a fun one for fantasy. Aston Villa and Watford play contrasting styles with Villa preferring to attack on the front foot while Watford are typically content with sitting back.
As we know, Jack Grealish is the man to have in fantasy Premier League. Grealish even took all of Villa’s set pieces against Norwich on Boxing Day, making his viability even stronger. There’s no need to go on about it – Grealish is a top play week in and week out until further notice, even in a tough spot.
This particular spot is particularly concerning for goal-dependent players in Wesley or Jota. There’s some chance at this game shooting out, so they can be played in tournaments, but I’d reserve them for game-stacked lineups. There are worse options than Matt Targett or Frederick Guilbert at defender.
Watford (1.74 implied goals)
An early Watford goal or two will see to them parking the bus and allowing Villa to rack up peripherals. On the contrary, a Villa lead could see to Watford pushing forward more, which would give this match shootout potential.
The most likeliest scenario though is a controlled affair with Watford striking through first. Will Hughes looks to have the set piece share for now (unless Jose Holebas returns). That makes him a backable value on home turf against a team allowing the most chances created in the Premier League.
We haven’t seen much of Andre Gray this season, but the pacey striker could nab a spot start here. It’s a mouth-watering draw, and his price makes him easily fittable as a cheap striker, even stackable with Gerard Deulofeu, Ismaila Sarr, or even Hughes. I’m bullish on Watford in a vacuum but would probably limit my exposure to two attackers per lineup given their style of play once they get a lead.
Tottenham @ Norwich City
Team Totals: Tottenham 1.95, Norwich City 1.16
Tottenham (1.95 implied goals)
Spurs total is dropping, but they still have the highest total on the slate. The drop most likely be credited to the slew of injuries. That same injury barrage could thrust the Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen into the starting lineup. It’d be his first start since the beginning of November. If we see him in the lineup, he’s a fantastic play in all formats with a likely set piece share against the team allowing the most goals in the Premier League.
If Eriksen misses again, we’d probably see Lucas Moura take the set pieces again. Giovani Lo Celso would also be a candidate for that role. It really just depends on the lineup Jose Mourinho trots out.
Harry Kane will absolutely be the one to watch for Spurs with Heung-Min Son suspended. It’s a homecoming for him as he once played for the Norwich City canaries. They concede the second most shots in the Premier League, so Kane should be a good bet for a goal despite Spurs’ odds dropping (money-line is down to -136 at the time of writing).
Norwich City (1.16 implied goals)
Tottenham are not the powerhouse they were in the past few seasons at the moment. Mourinho should get them on the right track, but a lot of damage had already been done. I’m not excited about Norwich stacks or anything, but overlooking Emi Buendia right now is a losing proposition. His price keeps rising, but his floor is extremely high in fantasy Premier League scoring. In a home match that Norwich won’t be dominated in, Buendia should get there once again. Teemu Pukki is a big game player; he’d be the only other Norwich player in my pool.
Leicester City @ West Ham United
Team Totals: Leicester City 1.81, West Ham United 1.30
Leicester City (1.81 implied goals)
After getting boat raced in the high profile Liverpool showdown on Boxing Day, Leicester are in need of a bounceback. The manager hinting at making some whole-sale changes, which could involve James Maddison and Jamie Vardy both. Much depends on who ends up starting, but it’s the 12:30 match while three of the others start at 10:00.
If Maddison starts, he’s obviously got the safest floor on the slate against a giving West Ham defense. Vardy has great upside in this spot if he starts too. I’ll personally look to fade in most spots, as reserving a spot for Maddison or Vardy for them to not start could be costly. There are pivots in place though as Tottenham starts at the same time (Kane, Moura, Eriksen).
One scenario I’ll touch on is if Maddison sat with Marc Albrighton starting. He’s amazing for fantasy Premier League scoring, and would be the best value on the slate at a lowly $4700 with a full share of set pieces.
West Ham United (1.30 implied goals)
Leicester City do not concede many chances or peripherals, but West Ham’s style is a constant attack mindset. It’s unknown whether or not Manuel Lanzini will start, but his potential return hurts Robert Snodgrass’ value quite a bit. Both are shaky starts.
I’d be most willing to take a stab on a Felipe Anderson buy-low in tournaments. It’s nowhere near a main lineup type of play, but he’s got the upside to pop up with a goal or assist and put in a slate changing score at sub 5%.