This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
- 3:00 pm: Chelsea vs. Red Bull Salzburg
- 3:00 pm: FC Copenhagen vs. Sevilla
- 3:00 pm: Juventus vs. Benfica
- 3:00 pm: Maccabi Haifa vs. Paris Saint-Germain
- 3:00 pm: Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund
- 3:00 pm: Rangers FC vs. Napoli
- 3:00 pm: Real Madrid vs. RB Leipzig
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
Wednesday brings the first-ever seven-game Champions League slate as the Rangers-Napoli match was moved back a day. Manchester City and PSG are big favorites and each have an implied total above 2.5 goals. From a DFS perspective, these are two of the trickiest teams and when they're on the same slate together, it's always going to be a nightmare trying to decide who to roster. Now add Chelsea, a near-impossible team to predict, with a 2.25-implied total and Real Madrid, minus Karim Benzema, with a total just above two goals. For cash games and optimal strategy, the best place to start is pricing. Kylian Mbappe ($12,900) and Neymar ($12,100) are the most expensive players on the slate for PSG's away trip to Maccabi Haifa. They're followed by Erling Haaland ($11,600), who's off to a flying start at Man City and now gets a home matchup against his former club, Borussia Dortmund. He has the top goalscoring odds at -220 followed by Mbappe at -160. None of them make sense to me for cash games based on those salaries. You might have considered Neymar, but he's taken just one set piece in PSG's previous three matches.
Lionel Messi, PSG at MHI ($10,900): Messi has been taking most of PSG's sets and has -135 odds to score. That makes him the logical starting point, especially since he's quite a bit cheaper than the players mentioned above. GPP options below Messi include Vinicius Junior ($9,300) and Rodrygo ($8,800), who are expected to lead the line for Madrid in the absence of Benzema. I don't expect either to be popular and that makes them intriguing for tournaments. Vinny Jr. is an unbelievable player; he's scored in five consecutive matches and Leipzig allowed four last time out against Shakhtar (though they have a new manager since that loss).
Phil Foden, MCI vs. BVB ($8,500): Forward is the weakest position on this slate in terms of value which is really what brings Foden into play. He should be good for a couple of set pieces and he's played the full 90 minutes in three of his last five starts. Based on expected lineups, there isn't anyone priced below him who I'd consider a good cash game play in a vacuum and there are some cheaper values at the other positions. It's possible that the optimal construction doesn't include a cheap forward. Looking elsewhere, if you still believe in Chelsea, Raheem Sterling ($7,900) and Kai Havertz ($6,900) would be good options for tournaments. They're relatively cheap, won't be that popular and Chelsea have a pretty high implied total. Still, I'd prefer going to Dusan Vlahovic ($6,700) instead. Juventus are home favorites against Benfica and Vlahovic is an ultra-talented striker who usually plays 90 minutes.
There isn't much to like as far as cheap forwards go. I wouldn't mind taking a chance on Arkadiusz Milik ($4,800) should he start. All of the forwards in the Copenhagen-Sevilla match are cheap and Youssef En-Nesyri ($5,100) has the best odds to score at +150.
For cash games, playing one of the cheapest forwards makes sense as it allows you to afford both Messi and De Bruyne and there isn't much opportunity cost in the expensive range at forward. Dolev Haziza ($4,100) takes set pieces for Maccabi Haifa and would be acceptable even in a matchup against PSG.
Kevin De Bruyne, MCI vs. BVB ($10,000): De Bruyne has been as good as ever this season. He's scored at least 15 DK points in all six of his starts despite hitting the back of the net only once himself. On the surface, he seems like almost a lock for cash games but keep in mind that there are many decent options at midfield and few at forward. As usual, there's a chance that changes when lineups are announced. Piotr Zielinski ($8,700) and Mason Mount ($8,400) are options in that $8,000 range. Zielinski has played longer than 76 minutes just once in five starts this season, while Chelsea will play their first match under new manager Graham Potter. It was difficult to predict their set pieces before and in Potter's first match in charge, it becomes almost impossible. That rules out Zielinski and Mount, for me. Moving down, Filip Kostic ($7,200) seems appealing. Some of that appeal is just based on name and price, however. This isn't quite the $10,000 Kostic from Eintracht Frankfurt, who always played 90 minutes and sent in upwards of 20 crosses per match. He's been sharing sets for Juventus and he's been subbed off early more often than not, which probably happens again with Angel Di Maria back on the bench. This leads me to favor Dominik Szoboszlai ($6,600). He's been taking at least half the sets and he's played 90 minutes in consecutive games. The matchup away to Madrid isn't ideal but it isn't prohibitive, either, and Szoboszlai's affordable salary makes up for that a bit anyway. Juan Cuadrado ($5,900) is rather cheap, as well, and Juventus are in a better spot than Leipzig. Even still, the playing time concerns and lack of set pieces puts him in the same boat as Kostic, better suited for tournaments.
Toni Kroos, RMA vs. RBL ($5,800): If you remember last week, Kroos was too cheap at $5,100 away to Celtic. He's still too cheap at $5,800 with Madrid in a favorable spot at home against Leipzig. I wouldn't let his seven-point game last week against Celtic dissuade me from rostering him in cash games. He's still taking most of the set pieces and he's attempted nine shots in four starts while playing at least 80 minutes each time. I usually avoid rostering Kroos in tournaments in favor of someone like Szoboszlai, Cuadrado or even Federico Valverde ($5,300). Valverde already has two goals and two assists this season as he's played in the front three more often than not. Keep an eye on Madrid's formation to see if he starts in an attacking role. There isn't much for cheaper value at midfield. Leandro Paredes ($4,000) and Fabio Miretti ($3,600) have taken a few corners recently for Juventus, and the latter would be the better bet to come up with an assist from open play.
As I mentioned with Mason Mount, I have no interest in touching the Chelsea set-piece situation in Graham Potter's first match. Reece James ($6,500) has barely taken any since the first game of the season and I can't trust Marc Cucurella ($5,700) with Ben Chilwell ($6,200) on the bench, or vice versa. Joao Cancelo ($6,100) is a good option for GPPs, as a goal and two assists in his last three matches have seen him put up 20-plus DK points twice in that span.
James Tavernier, RAN vs. NAP ($5,200): Quite a few defenders on this slate take corner kicks but none of them stand out above the rest. There are concerns about Tavernier's fitness after he was subbed at half against Ajax last week, but his role on sets is most certain and he also takes penalties. The matchup against Napoli is tough, though. David Raum ($5,300) splits sets with Szoboszlai but also has a tough matchup against Madrid. Marcos Acuna ($5,100) takes sets for Sevilla, but he was subbed at half over the weekend in favor of Alex Telles ($5,300). Mario Rui ($5,500) takes corners sometimes but has had less of a role on them recently with Zielinski and Matteo Politano both starting. Sergio Gomez ($4,900) has taken a couple sets for Man City and has considerably higher clean-sheet equity than the rest of this group.
Victor Kristiansen, CPH vs. SFC ($3,900): Kristiansen took most of Copenhagen's sets last week and for under $4,000, at home against a Sevilla team that isn't as strong as in past years, seems like pretty decent value for cash games. Borna Barisic ($4,100) splits corners with Tavernier. For tournaments, Nuno Mendes ($4,300) is still slightly underpriced and has the best matchup on the slate. Dani Carvajal ($4,500) has assists in consecutive games and Madrid have a nice matchup, as well.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, PSG at MHI ($5,900): Donnarumma has 50-percent clean sheet odds so if you think you can afford him, it's probably worth it.
Mathew Ryan, CPH vs. SFC ($4,400): Copenhagen have a winnable matchup at home against Sevilla and about 22-percent odds to keep a clean sheet which makes Ryan looks like the "safest" of the cheap options. Josh Cohen ($3,600) has the most save upside on the slate, as he's likely to face a ton of shots against PSG.