This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
Most of the teams Tuesday have little to play for, so it is going to be much more difficult than usual to project the lineups. I'd like to open the column with a quick overview of what is at stake for each team, along with their motivation.
- 4:00 pm: Bayern Munich vs. Inter Milan
- 4:00 pm: FC Viktoria Plzen vs. Barcelona
- 4:00 pm: Liverpool vs. Napoli
- 4:00 pm: Marseille vs. Tottenham Hotspur
- 4:00 pm: Rangers FC vs. Ajax
- 4:00 pm: Sporting CP vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Every team in Group D has a reasonable route to finish first in the group and each team has fate in their own hands, as they'll all advance with a victory. Tottenham visit Marseille as slight favorites, while Sporting Lisbon are favored and host Eintracht Frankfurt. I'm expecting the strongest possible XIs for each of these sides, while Marseille and Frankfurt will have to show initiative since Sporting and Tottenham can both advance with draws. Unfortunately, both fixtures have implied goal totals less than three.
As a contrast to Group D, the teams in Group B have nothing outside of pride to play for. Bayern Munich have clinched first place and are the second-biggest favorite on the slate hosting an Inter Milan side that have already clinched second place. I expect both teams will rotate. Barcelona are the slate's biggest favorite visiting Viktoria Plzen and they are guaranteed to finish third in their group. I would be shocked if Xavi didn't rotate his side and it's already been confirmed that Robert Lewandowski is not traveling with the squad.
In Group A, Liverpool host Napoli, and both are guaranteed to advance. Liverpool will finish in first place in the unlikely event that they win by four or more goals. Ajax visit Rangers and will finish in third place so long as they don't lose by four or more goals, as well. I'm curious to see how Liverpool approach this match; while they have made more improbable comebacks in the Champions League at Anfield, they risk not qualifying for the competition next season if they don't turn their league form around.
One GPP route to take is to stack games in Group D. If one team scores an early goal, then the other team will have to press more. Is that a better tactic than simply waiting for lineups to come out and playing the attacking pieces of the biggest favorites, though? If unfamiliar names start for these favored sides, you may even enjoy the bonus of lower than usual rostership.
Son Heung-Min ($8,700, TOT at OM): With no Lewandowski in the slate, none of the forwards stand out for their goalscoring odds. Son is a lock to start against Marseille and I think he will be a very popular cash -ame target since you can rely on his set-piece floor and Tottenham's motivation. He and Harry Kane ($7,900) are much lower priced than usual, as well. Tottenham enjoy playing on the counter and Marseille will be forced to attack, so the projected game script is good for Kane and Son, no matter what happens. On the other side of that match, Amine Harit ($7,300) has been taking some set pieces and explosive teammate Alexis Sanchez ($6,700) was rested in league play this weekend. They feel a bit expensive and I consider them tournament plays only.
Any forward eligible player in the high-end range who starts for Barcelona or Bayern should also be in consideration in GPPs. Don't expect any bargain prices, though. For example, Bayern's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is $9,100. If he starts, 60 minutes of Raphinha ($8,100) might be enough to pay off the salary for cash games, and even GPPs, against Viktoria Plzen. If Steven Berghuis ($8,300) or Dusan Tadic ($7,700) start for Ajax, I think they are fine plays against a leaky Rangers defense.
Randal Kolo Muani ($5,700, LIS vs. SGE): There isn't much to spend down on at forward, and it is probably optimal to spend up twice in cash games and save money elsewhere. Frankfurt must win to advance, so Kolo Mauni is a goal-dependent budget option. Pedri ($6,200) is also playable at this price, but I don't think he has enough goal upside in tournaments.
Jamal Musiala ($7,400, BAY vs. INT): Musiala has been terrific for Bayern this season and might split set pieces for Bayern if Joshua Kimmich is rested as expected. In GPPs, Serge Gnabry ($8,600) looks solid with anytime goalscoring odds of +135. He may take set pieces, too, but neither him nor Musiala is guaranteed 90 minutes. Daichi Kamada ($7,200) has been taking set pieces for Frankfurt, but teammate Luca Pellegrini might take away from that role if he starts. If Tadic starts, he is midfield eligible and probably better options than each of these players in cash games. In lineups with Kolo Muani, I think Marcus Edwards ($6,400) will benefit if Lisbon have to push to overcome an early Frankfurt goal.
James Milner ($4,500, LIV vs. NAP): Liverpool are favorites hosting Napoli and Milner will be splitting corners. He feels like an obvious source of salary relief in cash games, though he's about 50/50 to start. Francisco Trincao ($4,600) and Nuno Santos ($4400) look like good plays for Sporting and Santos should split set pieces. Finally, Jordan Veretout ($3,600) has been the taking corners for a Marseille side that has to push and may generate several set-piece opportunities.
Kostas Tsimikas ($6,400, LIV vs. NAP): Liverpool will certainly take initiative in this match no matter who they start, so it's worth paying up for Tsimikas' set pieces. Nuno Tavares ($5,400) should have a solid floor for pushing forward for Marseille, as well. Team motivation makes me prefer him to Lisbon's Pedro Porro ($5,600). He splits set pieces, but Sporting can advance with a draw and may open more defensively against Frankfurt.
Luca Pellegrini ($4,400, LIS vs. SGE): If Pellegrini starts, I think he is a bit underpriced for his role. as he should take some corners for Frankfurt and will whip in plenty of crosses. Barcelona are big favorites so their full=backs Hector Bellerin ($3,600) and Alex Balde ($4,400) make sense in this price range, too. James Tavernier ($4,100) is capable of high-ceiling performances and this might be the match to play him in tournaments against an unmotivated Ajax side.
Hugo Lloris (TOT at OM, $5,000): I usually don't prioritize paying up at goalkeeper in Champions League and I would be very cautious if you consider this strategy. If you have the salary and are satisfied with the outfield spots in your lineup, then Marc-Andre ter Stegen ($5,800) and Sven Ulreich ($5,700) have the best win and clean sheet odds and they (or their backups) stand above the other options at the position. I'm just not sold at spending all the way up if Barcelona and Bayern rotate heavily. If Tottenham play on the counter as projected, Lloris has plenty of save upside.
Alex Meret (NAP at LIV, $4,200): I rarely make stands against the odds, but I was shocked to see Liverpool as better-than-even-money favorites against Napoli after losing at home to Leeds this weekend. If Liverpool rotate, I think Meret is one of the better low-priced options at the position, and he has the upside for a win and several saves at Anfield. You can truly play whoever you want at goalkeeper if you're not rostering an opposing outfield player.