DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday UCL Picks

DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday UCL Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EDT)

For detailed stats and odds, check out the DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday UCL Cheat Sheet.

FORWARDS

Mohamed Salah, LIV v. GNK ($10,500): Salah is the most expensive player on the slate, which is pretty much what happens when you have the highest anytime goal scorer odds and your team is by far the biggest favorite. Consideration for Salah really should be about how many goals he will score, as his floor for cash games is simply not high enough at this price, especially with other reasonable options at lower salaries. Salah has been dealing with an ankle injury of late, one that limited him to 65 minutes this past weekend against Aston Villa, though he has still managed to score two goals on 14 shots (seven on target) and pick up one assist on two chances created in his last three games, including a goal and an assist against Genk in the reverse fixture. Salah hasn't been crossing much, nor drawing many fouls, so again, his floor is poor for cash games, but his ceiling is quite high on this slate, and with many people eyeing Liverpool because they are big favorites, he should be decently owned. As a result, Sadio Mane ($10,300) and Roberto Firmino ($9,400) could be decent GPP pivots

MATCHES (EDT)

For detailed stats and odds, check out the DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday UCL Cheat Sheet.

FORWARDS

Mohamed Salah, LIV v. GNK ($10,500): Salah is the most expensive player on the slate, which is pretty much what happens when you have the highest anytime goal scorer odds and your team is by far the biggest favorite. Consideration for Salah really should be about how many goals he will score, as his floor for cash games is simply not high enough at this price, especially with other reasonable options at lower salaries. Salah has been dealing with an ankle injury of late, one that limited him to 65 minutes this past weekend against Aston Villa, though he has still managed to score two goals on 14 shots (seven on target) and pick up one assist on two chances created in his last three games, including a goal and an assist against Genk in the reverse fixture. Salah hasn't been crossing much, nor drawing many fouls, so again, his floor is poor for cash games, but his ceiling is quite high on this slate, and with many people eyeing Liverpool because they are big favorites, he should be decently owned. As a result, Sadio Mane ($10,300) and Roberto Firmino ($9,400) could be decent GPP pivots because of potentially lower ownership, but similar to Salah, they really don't have good enough floors for cash games without considering their goals. Then again, Salah is the only player with higher anytime goal scorer odds than Mane and Firmino.

Memphis Depay, OL v. BEN ($9,600): Paying up for a floor should bring you to Memphis, who continues to take most set pieces for Lyon, who are favored at home against Benfica. He is coming off a great game this past weekend against Toulouse, scoring two goals on eight shots (four on target) while creating six chances and sending in seven crosses, his third consecutive game with at least three shots, two on target, and four chances created; oh, and he has four goals and nine fouls drawn over that span. There's no question that Memphis' floor is one of the highest on the slate, and if you think Salah only scores one goal, you could get away with using Memphis over Salah in cash games. Paying up for Salah or Memphis also probably takes you away from Dries Mertens ($9,900), who hasn't shown enough of a floor for a nearly five-digit salary, though he scored two goals and added an assist at RB Salzburg two weeks ago and is playing in the game with the highest implied goal total.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, CHE v. AJA ($6,900): Hudson-Odoi was used as a substitute in each of the past two Premier League matches, as he lost out to Christian Pulisic ($7,600), who had four goals on eight shots (seven on target), three chances created and six crosses over that span. Hudson-Odoi took set pieces when he started against Ajax in the reverse fixture, a role he could reclaim if he can supplant Pulisic or Willian ($8,100) in the starting XI. Pulisic actually took a majority of Chelsea's corners this past weekend against Watford, and while he's a little more expensive, he could certainly make for a decent cash play in the game with the third-highest implied goal total.

MIDFIELDERS

Hakim Ziyech, AJA at CHE ($9,300): Ziyech just always finds a way to double-digit fantasy points, whether it's by putting a few extra shots on target, sending in a few extra crosses or winning a few tackles; it's tough to find a more reliable floor player. His price is a little high because there are forwards worth paying up for, but it's really tough to justify fading Ziyech's floor in cash games because he just always gets there (great analysis, I know). Not that you have to pay up for a midfielder, but there are literally no other players who are midfield-only eligible between Ziyech and Pizzi ($7,500), price-wise, and while the latter's floor is solid, it's not nearly as reliable.

Yusuf Yazici, LIL at VAL ($5,000): Lille are away underdogs in the game with the lowest implied goal total, so why are we thinking about Yazici? Simply put, his salary is too low for his floor, and he's gotten on the score-sheet in two of the last three games, scoring one goal on three shots and assisting three times on eight chances created in the past two games. He's certainly more exciting than paying $1,800 more for Dani Parejo, though admittedly he's been excellent lately with one goal on two shots (one on target), one assist on seven chances created, 14 crosses and eight fouls drawn in his last two games. The difficulty with Parejo, as well as guys like Pizzi, Jadon Sancho ($7,100), James Milner ($6,700) or Stefano Sensi ($6,500), is that they're a little too expensive if you want to pay up for at least two players (like Salah and Ziyech or Memphis and Mane, etc.). That's not to say you have to do that, though there aren't good cash-game forwards at lower price points.

Zlatko Junuzovic, RBS at NAP ($5,000): Junuzovic has been solid this season, as his role on set pieces keeps him in the cash-game conversation, especially since he's playing in the match with the highest implied goal total. His upside continues to be assist dependent, as he hasn't taken a shot in a Champions League match this season, but three assists on seven chance created, nine crosses, six tackles won and five fouls drawn in three games is solid. Playing away to Napoli isn't as enticing as the matchup at home, but Junuzovic's lower price helps mitigate that. The only place you might find cheaper set pieces is with Genk's Ianis Hagi ($3,900), who played three minutes off the bench against Liverpool, or Patrik Hrosovsky ($3,700), who didn't play at all in that match. Hagi is much more attractive because of his open-play potential, though we can't forget that Genk are the biggest underdog on the slate and unlikely to get much going at Anfield.

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV v. GNK ($7,000): Alexander-Arnold has been absolutely ridiculous lately, as he sent in 20 crosses in each of his past two games, and that was preceded by games with 10 and 11, respectively. That plethora of crosses has led to 17 chances created over that span, though surprisingly only one assist. With a dominant role on set pieces, Alexander-Arnold is the safest player for cash games when considering Liverpool's overwhelming win odds and implied goal total, and he's likely to be the most popular player in double ups and head-to-heads.

Andreas Ulmer, RBS at NAP ($4,400): Ulmer continues to be underpriced for an attacking fullback in the game with the highest implied goal total. His shared role on set pieces helps give him a decent floor, and he's even been taking more shots than Junozovic. It's a bit tough to spend up on two defenders if you want the upside forwards, which means we could see more people trying to get Alexander-Arnold and Ulmer together instead of pairing TAA with someone like Alejandro Grimaldo ($5,700), Nicolas Tagliafico ($5,500) or Achraf Hakimi ($5,900) despite their strong attacking upsides. However, you could make a case that each of those guys are better than the midfielders in their salary range, though they're also all slightly expensive for people who pay above $9,000 for multiple players. If you're able to comfortably fit Ulmer, whoever starts at left-back for Chelsea between Marcos Alonso ($4,700) or Emerson Palmieri ($4,600) could be better.

Leo Dubois, OL v. BEN ($4,200): Dubois is one of the cheapest expected starting fullbacks on a favored side, though Lyon aren't expected to have an easy time with Benfica. He continues to be a decent crosser, and he's seen an uptick in his shots assisted recently, finishing with seven in his last three games, including two (and an assist) against Benfica in the reverse fixture. Otherwise, guys like Sergino Dest ($4,000) and Cesar Azpilicueta ($3,900) start to look okay, though Domagoj Bradaric ($3,900) would be a great value if he starts and duplicates his 10 crosses from the first match against Valencia.

GOALKEEPER

Mike Maignan, LIL at VCF ($4,100): Only Genk's Gaetan Coucke ($3,600) is cheaper than Maignan, and yet the $500 difference in salary really doesn't translate to their respective win odds. Neither keeper is expected to win, but Coucke is a +3300 underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook whereas Maignan is only +340 and in the game with the lowest implied goal total. Meanwhile, Valencia have scored multiple goals just once in their last five La Liga and Champions League matches, so Maignan getting lit up would be more surprising than not.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Head of DFS Content and Senior Soccer Editor. He is a nine-time FSWA award finalist, including twice for Football Writer of the Year.
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