This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
The World Cup final is here and it should be a great matchup between Argentina and France. The sportsbooks have this match as a toss-up with a low implied goal total below 2.5. Out of 21 World Cup finals, seven have gone into extra time and I think it makes sense to project this game to be a cagey affair rather than an open game. We'll get into strategies below, but whether you are a long-time reader or a new subscriber, thank you for joining us this World Cup. Let's win that $100,000!
10:00 am: Argentina vs. France
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
DFS Fantasy Soccer: Argentina vs. France Cheat Sheet
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CASH GAME STRATEGY
In cash games, I think it is straightforward that the best projected players are Lionel Messi ($11,800), Kylian Mbappe ($11,000), and Antoine Griezmann ($9,600). While it feels obvious to play all three of them, the precise choice of who you lean on in the captain spot is going to be tricky. Messi has the best anytime goalscoring odds at +160 and he should take a solid share of Argentina's set pieces. Hurting him is that I don't consider his role a monopoly. Rodrigo De Paul ($5,400) may take some corners instead of Messi and Angel Di Maria ($10,200) has taken corners as a substitute when Argentina have been pushing.
My main issue with Messi as a captain is not just the set pieces. He still projects well, but my remaining three lineup spots are all punts and a Messi captain can't even afford De Paul as a flex. I think this puts Griezmann in serious consideration as cash-game captain. It's difficult to swap him and Messi, but I think the improvements in your other lineup spots will be a worthy tradeoff.
The cash construction I am describing above is going to rely on low-priced players. I've already mentioned De Paul. He has a chance to take some corners and if Argentina play a 4-4-2, he'll be in a favorable position as a right-sided midfielder. I was initially worried about a potential early substitution, but his early exit from the Croatia game was after Argentina's third goal. He could play 90 minutes, making him a strong play at his price, assuming he's close to removed from the muscle injury that was bugging him last week.
Jules Kounde ($4,400) seems fine if you can afford him. He often plays center-back at the club level, so he'll likely get his points from defensive stats and perhaps one speculative shot on goal. He'll likely get subbed early if he starts, but Leandro Paredes ($3,400) is fine at his price. Finally, Cristian Romero is, as usual in this World Cup, at the minimum price of $3,000. He has pretty poor discipline and you are mostly hoping he doesn't get a yellow card.
I've neglected to discuss a good chunk of the player pool above, but that's because it's difficult to afford them in cash games. I'm personally setting a rule that I will play at most two of the "Big Three" of Messi, Mbappe and Griezmann in the same lineup when I captain one of them. Perhaps this is fine in smaller fields, but there just aren't enough 3v3s to differentiate such a lineup from the rest of the field in large GPPs. There are plenty of forwards to swap in instead of one of the above. Julian Alvarez ($9,400) will be popular after his brace in the semi-finals. I'm a bit more bullish on France in this matchup and will look to pivot off of Mbappe and to Olivier Giroud ($8,400) and Ousmane Dembele ($7,600) in both the flex and captain spot. I think captain utilization is going to be dominated by the Big Three, so you can get on a slightly different roster construction with strong upside from Giroud and Dembele. Dembele has been disappointing of late, but I think his lack of floor and sub risk has been priced in at $7,600.
There has been reports of illness circulating through the French locker room and it has been reported that Theo Hernandez ($7,000) missed training Friday. If Hernandez is fit enough to play, I think he is a solid option due to his upside in the attacking third. He might be relatively low rostered, as well, due to the presence of several other forwards and midfielders people want to play. On the other hand, he's been quite popular in previous contests and is coming off a goal. If Hernandez is not fit, France has used Eduardo Camavinga ($3,600) as an emergency left-back. In that situation, Camavinga becomes a great cash-game punt and likely tournament-salary relief chalk.
I have mixed opinions on 1-0 constructions. On the one hand, it is impossible to afford a goalkeeper if you play all of the Big Three with one as a captain. That forces you to fade a popular player so you can afford one of the goalkeepers, which feels like a good way to be different in tournaments. On the other hand, the implied goal total of 2.35 is quite low and in large field GPPs, I've noticed a lot of lineups cater to a 1-0 game script. I'm not sure what the field is going to do, but if I play 1-0 lineups, I'm more likely to do so with a goalkeeper captain. Neither team is a favorite and I don't expect either goalkeeper to be relatively high rostered. A goalkeeper captain is more likely to benefit in a potentially defensive and cagey match with few floor points overall, as well.
The main GPP for this slate has 16,000 entries, so it's as good a time as ever to consider some galaxy-brained tournament strategies. The substitute goal is one tactic that gets discussed a lot, but I'm not sure I want to go down that road. On the France side, I am uncertain about if and when Marcus Thuram ($9,800), Randal Kolo Muani ($9,200),or Kingsley Coman ($7,800) will be subbed on. On the Argentina side, Lautaro Martinez ($8,800) will likely sub on for Alvarez and Di Maria ($10,200) might be subbed on if Argentina are chasing the game. I don't plan to use the substitute tactic, but if I did, I feel best about Lautaro since I feel like he will be subbed on in most game scripts.
Instead of a substitute, I would rather captain a player in the price range of Adrien Rabiot ($5,200) so that I can afford each of Messi, Mbappe and Griezmann in the flex. If each of those players scores around 20 points, Rabiot only needs an assist to be an optimal captain despite not being the highest overall scorer. I don't expect this to be an open game and I have a feeling set pieces are going to play an important role in this match. My favorite off-the-board strategy will be captaining center-backs and hoping for a key set-piece goal late in the match. If I keep on captaining Nicolas Otamendi ($4,200), he eventually has to score a goal, right?