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The 2022 World Cup is finally here! This should be an awesome tournament and I can't wait to see what it has in store. Before jumping in, I want to touch on a piece of strategy that will apply to all main slates.
If you've played at FanDuel before, you're accustomed to having the late game on Premier League Saturdays and using the all important late swap. In the World Cup, this will be even more important as all games are staggered start times until the last group stage matches. We won't have lineups for each game until around an hour before the start so you need to be extra cautious and at the very least make sure all your players have the green check mark. You may also need to have contingencies in case a player you have in your lineup isn't starting so you can swap efficiently.
Harry Kane, ENG vs. IRN ($22): The biggest decision on the slate is what you will do with England, the biggest favorites on the slate. Kane has the best goalscoring odds at almost even money but is very expensive. I think this is a sneaky tough matchup to start and we should see Iran sit back and take a lot of action from England. This makes me at least analyze the game theory behind fading a highly-owned Kane, though he may have a bit of a higher floor than normal due to the Iran tactic I mentioned above. You could pivot off Kane to a teammate such as Raheem Sterling ($17) or Jude Bellingham ($16) at a cheaper price. Phil Foden ($21) is too close to Kane in pricing for me to have much interest.
On the other side of the England-Iran game you can definitely take a shot on Mehdi Taremi ($15) or Sardar Azmoun ($14) in GPPs. I wouldn't play any other pieces other than goalscorers and center-backs for them, as I don't expect them to have a lot of possession so you need the counter-attacking goal. For tournaments, these plays make some sense as a goal from them isn't expected and would stain a likely popular Jordan Pickford.
Cody Gakpo, NED at SEN ($15): I expect this slate to be fairly low scoring and the second match is somewhat similar to the first one in my eyes. Netherlands should be on the front foot as Senegal sit back and try to scrap out a result. The difference is that the projected starters for them are cheaper than England's for the most part. Gakpo comes in at an affordable mid-range price and should be involved in the attack. He could also have a split of set pieces. Teammate Steven Berghuis ($17) makes a good stacking option as the two could very easily combine for a goal.
Christian Pulisic, USA vs. WAL ($17): The United States get their World Cup underway in an evenly-matched game with Wales. Pulisic doesn't have very good odds to score, but if the USA score I expect him to be involved. He makes this team go. Jesus Ferreira ($17) makes for a good stacking partner or pivot from Pulisic if you choose as he has the best goalscoring odds for the USA. I do expect this game to be pretty low scoring, so I wouldn't go overly crazy stacking either side.
On the other side of the late game, Daniel James ($13) is super cheap with a share of set pieces for Wales. You can pair him with Gareth Bale ($17) who is second on the slate as far as odds to score of the expected starters. This is the value side I like to target as Aaron Ramsey ($14) is also available.
Kieran Trippier, ENG vs IRN ($15): Tripper should be creating a lot of opportunities for England as the main set-piece taker. I mentioned above how I could see Iran holding them back somewhat as far as number of goals, but Trippier should have a solid floor with England on the front foot most of the game. Denzel Dumfries ($12) and Antonee Robinson ($11) would be my next favorite plays of the favorites in solid matchups where they could be involved in a goal.
Abdou Diallo, SEN vs. NED ($10): On FanDuel we like to take some value shots on cheap underdog center-backs who will get forced into a lot of defensive actions and increase their floor that way. I also like to pair defenders with their goal keeper in hopes of stacking a clean sheet. Senegal should sit back here and you could certainly fall into a clean sheet. Either way, Diallo fits the bill and is a bit cheaper than teammate Kalidou Koulibaly ($13). Mohammad Kanani ($10) also fits this strategy for Iran.
Edouard Mendy, SEN vs. NED ($9): Jordan Pickford ($13) is probably the cash-game play at goalie in a game they should control and England have the best clean sheet odds by far. However, in GPPs I'm going to side with Mendy at the discount in a match I think Senegal can hang tough defensively. He should have solid save upside, as well, which could be enough even if he gives up a goal or two. To get really different in GPPs, you can clean-sheet stack Mendy with Diallo or Koulibaly mentioned above. Either goalie is fine in the late game with Matt Turner ($11) for the USA and Wayne Hennessey ($10) for Wales. On a slate with a big contest pool like this, I think it's important to use a goalie who correlates well with the rest of your lineup.