DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday-Wednesday UCL Picks

DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday-Wednesday UCL Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EST)

For detailed stats and odds, as well as expected lineups, check out the

DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday-Wednesday UCL Cheat Sheet

FORWARDS

Cristiano Ronaldo, JUV at OL ($10,600): Lionel Messi ($11,500), Robert Lewandowski ($11,000) and Ronaldo headline the forward pool in terms of price and upside. They've all been awesome this season, they're all away favorites this week, and they're the only players on the slate with anytime goal scorer odds better than 50 percent. None of them play for overwhelming favorites, so they don't have the easiest matchups, but there's no denying their respective upsides. They each take penalties for their teams, and while Messi is the only one with a role on set pieces, he doesn't do enough with those opportunities to score enough fantasy points to squarely put him ahead of the other two. Messi scored four goals this past weekend against Eibar, though he came into the game with just two goals in his previous nine games (then again, he took 52 shots, including 22 on goal, and he had seven assists on 24 chances created). Meanwhile, Lewandowski bagged a brace last Friday, giving him nine goals on 30 shots, including 18 on target, in his last nine games, and he's the one with the highest anytime goal scorer odds on the slate while playing for the

MATCHES (EST)

For detailed stats and odds, as well as expected lineups, check out the

DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday-Wednesday UCL Cheat Sheet

FORWARDS

Cristiano Ronaldo, JUV at OL ($10,600): Lionel Messi ($11,500), Robert Lewandowski ($11,000) and Ronaldo headline the forward pool in terms of price and upside. They've all been awesome this season, they're all away favorites this week, and they're the only players on the slate with anytime goal scorer odds better than 50 percent. None of them play for overwhelming favorites, so they don't have the easiest matchups, but there's no denying their respective upsides. They each take penalties for their teams, and while Messi is the only one with a role on set pieces, he doesn't do enough with those opportunities to score enough fantasy points to squarely put him ahead of the other two. Messi scored four goals this past weekend against Eibar, though he came into the game with just two goals in his previous nine games (then again, he took 52 shots, including 22 on goal, and he had seven assists on 24 chances created). Meanwhile, Lewandowski bagged a brace last Friday, giving him nine goals on 30 shots, including 18 on target, in his last nine games, and he's the one with the highest anytime goal scorer odds on the slate while playing for the biggest favorite. Finally, Ronaldo has been on a tear himself, scoring 11 goals on 42 shots, including 19 on target, in his last seven games. You can pick your poison, but I side slightly with Ronaldo if only because I think Juventus have a better shot against Lyon than Bayern against Chelsea. These first legs are usually tighter than the seconds, and the favorites will surely be looking for important away goals to bring back home for the reverse fixtures in a few weeks. Playing two of these guys will really hamper your lineup in terms of salary, but there will certainly be people who try it.

Paulo Dybala, JUV at OL ($7,500): While Ronaldo is the goal-scorer, Dybala's role on set pieces will surely make him an option this week. While he usually doesn't have a full monopoly, he gets enough opportunities to help his floor, and Juventus being favored should only help his cause. Combining him with Ronaldo shouldn't be an issue because they do different things, and it's entirely possible they link up for a goal anyway. Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne ($7,700) is also a possibility in this price range for those who like to focus on floor because of his role on their corners, and the same could be said about Chelsea's Willian ($7,800) if the lineup shakes out in his favor. GPP players looking for ceiling have options around here too, with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema ($8,000) having the fifth-best anytime goal scorer odds, and he comes in cheaper than the guys opposing him such as Sergio Aguero ($9,100) and Riyad Mahrez ($9,200). You could also make a case for Dries Mertens ($8,500) or Arkadiusz Milik ($7,900) because we shouldn't really fear the Barcelona defense, even if Napoli are home underdogs. Needless to say, there are plenty of ways to go, and no overwhelming favorites, which should keep each of these guys relatively low-owned. In fact, one strong way to differentiate may be to fade all three of the guys in the top section and focus more on their cheaper teammates.

Tammy Abraham, CHE v. BAY ($6,400): Abraham doesn't have the floor to be a reliable cash-game option, but he's quite cheap for a striker on a home team, even if they are the biggest underdog. He returned from an ankle injury this past weekend, playing 19 minutes off the bench, which should be enough to get him back in the starting XI; luckily, Chelsea play Tuesday so we'll know right away if he's in. He had been on a bit of a cold streak while battling the ankle issues, but his anytime goal scorer odds are only a tick lower than players like Dybala and Benzema, and he provides some salary savings to help elsewhere. If he doesn't start, you could save even more with Olivier Giroud ($5,100), who is highly unlikely to play 90 if he starts, though you could get some more minutes with Pedro ($5,300), who could start because Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic continue to sit out injured. Then again, Moussa Dembele ($5,700) might be a better path given his consistent playing time, and this will surely be Lyon's best chance at scoring on Juventus.

MIDFIELDERS

Toni Kroos, RMD v. MCI ($6,500): Kevin De Bruyne is unsurprisingly the most expensive midfielder at $10,300, which is pretty much what you have to pay for a guaranteed 10 points. His floor is certainly higher than 10 in most games, and while this one probably falls into that category as well, you have to understand that you're paying five figures for most of Manchester City's set pieces in a game they are barely favored in, even if this match has the highest implied total. On the other side of this game is Kroos, who takes a higher percentage of his team's set pieces and costs nearly $4,000 less. It's certainly possible to play both in a cash lineup, though rostering De Bruyne likely means you're fading one of the high-priced elite forwards who have significantly higher upside and maybe half the floor points. Given his price, and the fact Real Madrid are at home and barely underdogs, Kroos could be very popular in cash games given the relatively few midfielders who have reliable floors on the slate. And for those who want to focus on the game with the second-highest total, Chelsea's Mason Mount ($6,200) is much cheaper than he is during Premier League play, though his role on set pieces is not nearly as reliable as Kroos' (or De Bruyne's). And if you really believe in Real Madrid, Isco ($5,100) could be a sneaky GPP play, though his spot in the starting XI isn't guaranteed and we won't know if he's starting until Wednesday (Vinicius Junior is an option to start in place of the injured Eden Hazard, but he's a $6,300 forward, so you can only swap to him if you have the salary and a utility spot).

Serge Gnabry, BAY at CHE ($7,600): It's tough to justify Gnabry in a cash lineup, but he's been showing lately just how good of a GPP play he can be, scoring the equivalent of 34.7 and 37.0 fantasy points in his last two games, respectively (you can see those on his RotoWire player page even though DraftKings doesn't offer Bundesliga contests). This recent run includes three goals on nine shots (four on goal) and two assists on six chances created, and with Bayern Munich having the highest implied team total on the slate, he surely makes for a solid play because he provides exposure to the Bayern attack without having to pay all the way up for Lewandowski. He's also much more exciting than teammate Thomas Muller ($7,400, midfield/forward), who has been playing better lately and is likely to be lower owned, so he at least has that going for him. The midfield-only group is pretty sparse, enough so that I am not sure how many three-midfielder lineups we'll see other than people using one to punt.

Rodrigo Bentancur, JUV at OL ($4,200): Bentancur fits into the punt category because he's a central midfielder who doesn't get involved in the attack consistently but occasionally comes up with enough points to make value (great endorsement, right?). He's actually had a small role on set pieces recently, which surely puts him ahead of guys in his price range like Casemiro ($4,400), Thiago Alcantara ($4,800), Jorginho ($4,200) or Federico Valverde ($4,000). One guy down here who has gotten a few set pieces recently is Lyon's Martin Terrier ($3,900), but the matchup against Juventus probably doesn't lend itself to a bunch of those opportunities.

DEFENDERS

Joshua Kimmich, BAY at CHE ($6,200): The argument for Kimmich is pretty simple: he's the primary set-piece taker for the biggest favorite on the slate. Bayern aren't overwhelming favorites, but getting a set-piece taker at this price is solid (in comparison, he's the same price as Kroos, who is an underdog and can't get any clean sheet points). Fantasy players like to reduce Kimmich's floor when he plays as a defensive midfielder or center-back, but we continue to see him produce in those spots, so I think it's generally overblown. For example, he started as a center-back last week as part of a three-man back line and still managed 10 crosses, two shots assisted and three tackles won. Is his floor higher when he's a right-back? Sure. Is his floor bad when he's a defensive midfielder or center-back? No. Given the price, don't be surprised if Kimmich is one of the highest-owned players in cash games, and he could be a popular companion to Lewandowski in GPPs.

Dani Carvajal, RMD v. MCI ($4,700): Carvajal and Marcelo ($5,400) have been crossing quite a bit lately, and while they are technically home underdogs, Madrid aren't going to sit back and let Manchester City do whatever they want. Despite how many goals they score, the Man City defense continues to be exploitable, a situation both of Real Madrid's fullbacks should be able to take advantage of, especially at home. Neither player is likely to take set pieces, but they cross enough and create enough chances to justify being cash-game options. Marcelo is the better of the two, but his salary could be tough to fit in for those wanting to pay up elsewhere. Then again, if Ferland Mendy ($4,000) gets the start at left-back, he could be popular because he's so much cheaper, though he doesn't cross or create chances as much as the guy he'd be replacing. Unfortunately, this is another situation we won't know about until Wednesday.

Cesar Azpilicueta, CHE v. BAY ($4,000): Reece James ($5,000) definitely has more attacking upside than Azpilicueta, and he took set pieces this past weekend, but paying up for him seems tough, at least in cash games. Azpilicueta is about as boring as they come, but he's able to provide fantasy points no matter the matchup. He gets involved in the attack when Chelsea are favored, and he wins enough tackles and interceptions to give him a decent (albeit not high) floor when they're not. His price is helpful, though admittedly he's in this weird range where his floor isn't ideal for cash games and his upside is usually limited despite scoring against Arsenal last month. If you're looking for upside in this range, Sergio Ramos ($3,800) continues to be on penalties for Real Madrid, and if James doesn't start then Marcos Alonso ($4,400) and Emerson Palmieri ($4,400) are solid alternatives.

GOALKEEPER

Anthony Lopes, OL v. JUV ($4,100): Given that every home team is an underdog, each goalkeeper is obviously cheaper than their counterpart. The benefit of Lopes is that he is playing in the game with the lowest implied total, not to mention facing shot-happy Ronaldo, so the odds are at least saying he's unlikely to get blown out while still getting a decent save floor. You can make that argument for any underdog keeper, but none will provide the salary savings Lopes does.

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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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