Daily Fantasy Soccer Strategy: Premier League Form and Fads

Diego Costa
Diego Costa

When you're selecting a daily fantasy football team on DraftKings or FanDuel, it can be tempting to take the plunge and select players who are doing well right at the moment. Pick on form, we're always saying - and though that's right, there's a difference between a trend and a fad.

In this article we take a look at some of the key players early in the 2016-17 Premier League season, and examine whether they are fantasy must-haves, or flashes in the pan. We'll also look at some players currently out of form who can be counted on to improve as the season progresses.

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The Brazilian-Spaniard would probably be an internet troll if he weren't a footballer, so much does he enjoy upsetting people. He's spent the first eighty or so minutes of both Chelsea's first two matches going in feet-first on goalkeepers, arguing with referees and getting irate at defenders. It's the final ten minutes when Costa's footballing ability has come into play, and on two occasions in the Premier League he has scored in those final moments.

The question is not whether he can do it, it is whether he will do it week-to-week. There are always questions over Costa's fitness, and his form tends to come and go in streaks. Buy him for now, but at the first sign of a scoreless run, move onto other players.

Pundits are fond of saying that you should beware of signings who look good in the Dutch League, and while that's true in some cases (Afonso Alves being one), it's unfair on the likes of Christian Eriksen, who has been a great signing for Spurs. The latest recruitment from Holland is Janssen, who scored a hatful for AZ Alkmaar and got himself into the national side, but hasn't played regularly at anything like Premier League level yet.

Although Janssen isn't shying away from shooting - he's had three shots per game - he's not getting the numbers yet that would make him a good value pick. Until he gets two or three goals, I wouldn't recommend him as an attacking option for your daily fantasy side.

The fact that Townsend has been relegated with two different clubs shouldn't distract from the fact that he is a seasoned performer who is proven at Premier League level. He's exciting to watch, and although he's not the best crosser in the league, Townsend has a great shot, which he tries regularly (he's hit four shots per game and played 2.5 key passes per game, so he's getting in the right positions).

Townsend's problem thus far has been acting as a playmaker in a team that isn't scoring enough goals. If Palace can fix that, and the arrival of Christian Benteke suggests it won't be a problem soon, then you'll start to see a greater benefit for playing Townsend in your daily fantasy side.

At the moment, the salary algorithm at DraftKings is keeping Bailly's price relatively low, meaning you've got a bargain at least in that game. The Ivorian centre-back has moved seamlessly into Manchester United's line-up, looking like he's played 100 league games for the team, not two. Blocks, interceptions, tackles, they're all done superbly.

Bailly will surely still be a good pick in November or December, but the question is more one of value - if his price rockets, particularly if you're playing the more attack-oriented FanDuel, you should look for cheaper players in your backline. For now, sign him up.

A name that could have been first on any defensive team-sheet last season, Bellerin has had a really tough couple of games. A lot of that can be put down to playing in a makeshift defence, and to Arsenal having suffered from some key absences elsewhere. The point of putting Bellerin in your daily fantasy side, and the reason why he costs so much, is his ability to get forward and contribute to the attacking points-scoring.

While he is pinned back by opposition attacks, the Spaniard cannot do this, and that's why his numbers so far are not good. Things will surely improve for Arsenal, but until that usual backline is back together, don't bet on him getting you lots of assists - there are better-value defenders out there.

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Stuart Garlick

Stuart Garlick

Stuart Garlick is a freelance journalist who writes about daily fantasy sports and sports betting. Stuart has played Fantasy Premier League in the UK since it began in 1993, and has jumped into daily fantasy soccer with both feet. He also writes on non-sporting matters for The Baltic Times and Agence France Presse, among other publications.