FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Saturday World Cup Targets

FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Saturday World Cup Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EDT)

9:00 a.m: Argentina v. Iceland
12:00 p.m: Peru v. Denmark
3:00 p.m: Croatia v. Nigeria

FORWARDS

Gonzalo Higuain, ARG v. ICE ($10,500): As the biggest favorite and expected to have most of their possession in the attacking third, it makes sense to grab every relevant Argentinian attacker. There's no guarantee that Sergio Aguero ($11,500) starts and if it's Higuain, he makes more sense if you also want to try and get Messi in the squad.

Mario Mandzukic, CRO v. NGA ($10,000): If you plan on going all-in with Argentina, Mandzukic would be a cheaper forward to grab who has the next best odds after Aguero and Higuain to score. Mandzukic's production has fallen off in recent seasons at Juventus, but he's also stepped up in the biggest stages with four goals in five Champions League starts and five goals in World Cup qualification. Croatia have decent odds to win, mainly because of Nigeria's questions in the back led by a goalkeeper who plays club football in his home country.

Cristian Pavon, ARG v. ICE ($7,500): If Pavon starts on the wing, he's worth a gamble as a cheaper forward who will get plenty of opportunities against Iceland. This game also has the highest implied goal total of the three matches, which means Argentina are expected to score two or three goals. The worry with Pavon is that he won't play a full 90 minutes, but with the opportunities on the wing, that won't matter when

MATCHES (EDT)

9:00 a.m: Argentina v. Iceland
12:00 p.m: Peru v. Denmark
3:00 p.m: Croatia v. Nigeria

FORWARDS

Gonzalo Higuain, ARG v. ICE ($10,500): As the biggest favorite and expected to have most of their possession in the attacking third, it makes sense to grab every relevant Argentinian attacker. There's no guarantee that Sergio Aguero ($11,500) starts and if it's Higuain, he makes more sense if you also want to try and get Messi in the squad.

Mario Mandzukic, CRO v. NGA ($10,000): If you plan on going all-in with Argentina, Mandzukic would be a cheaper forward to grab who has the next best odds after Aguero and Higuain to score. Mandzukic's production has fallen off in recent seasons at Juventus, but he's also stepped up in the biggest stages with four goals in five Champions League starts and five goals in World Cup qualification. Croatia have decent odds to win, mainly because of Nigeria's questions in the back led by a goalkeeper who plays club football in his home country.

Cristian Pavon, ARG v. ICE ($7,500): If Pavon starts on the wing, he's worth a gamble as a cheaper forward who will get plenty of opportunities against Iceland. This game also has the highest implied goal total of the three matches, which means Argentina are expected to score two or three goals. The worry with Pavon is that he won't play a full 90 minutes, but with the opportunities on the wing, that won't matter when Argentina have close to 70 percent of the possession. Pavon, a Boca Juniors product, didn't often start in qualifying, but with Manuel Lanzini hurt, that could change in the World Cup. Other cheap options include Nicolai Jorgensen ($8,000) and Ante Rebic ($7,000).

MIDFIELDERS

Lionel Messi, ARG v. ICE ($13,000): A good portion of lineups will have Messi and there's almost no way around it. You could fade him, but with the best odds to find the back of the net, you're taking a gamble that he won't finish with 10 shots and a brace. A reasonable fade against him would be Angel Di Maria ($8,500), whose 102 crosses and 37 shots in qualifying were the only player to come close to Messi's numbers. Of course, Messi had nine goals and three assists, in nine appearances and going against that is playing with fire.

Christian Eriksen, DEN v. PER ($9,500): Eriksen is a must-own because he does everything for Denmark, which are slightly favored over Peru. If Denmark score, it will come through Eriksen, who had 12 goals and four assists in qualifying in addition to taking most set pieces. Those numbers speak for themselves, as does the goal and assist he had in Denmark's most recent friendly against Mexico.

Marcelo Brozovic, CRO v. NGA ($6,500): Whether it's Brozovic or Ante Rebic ($7,000) in the starting XI, this is a great price. Each of them play an attacking winger role for the Croatians and they should have a good percentage of possession against Nigeria. Brozovic proved capable at Inter this past season with four goals and nine assists, which came from 2.85 chances created per match. Sure, a lot of the attack will come through Luka Modric ($9,000), but due to price, Brozovic is a better value play as Croatia will have plenty of opportunities up front.

DEFENDERS

Henrik Dalsgaard, DEN v. PER ($5,000): According to the odds, this match will have the fewest goals and Denmark are a slate favorite. That points to Dalsgaard or Jens Stryger Larsen ($5,000) as the logical plays, at right and left-back, respectively. I prefer Dalsgaard, simply because Larsen will be more widely owned as a regular for Udinese, while Dalsgaard comes from Brenton. Dalsgaard also had more crosses and two more assists than Larsen in two fewer starts in qualifying.

Nicolas Tagliafico, ARG v. ICE ($4,500): Speaking of a defender who is cheaper than his teammates, Tagliafico only had three appearances in qualifying yet started Argentina's last friendly. As long as he starts in this match, he's worth using with a high chance for a clean sheet and even some opportunities in the attacking third with Argentina dominating possession. If not, I'd be wary of overspending on his teammates like Nicolas Otamendi ($7,000), Gabriel Mercado ($6,000) and Federico Fazio ($5,500), especially for a center back like Otamendi, who may not see the ball much.

Ragnar Sigurdsson, ICE v. ARG ($5,000): This may look like a weird play, but the Iceland center-backs should rack up points from clearances, tackles and blocked shots. Argentina are set for a huge amount of possession, and close to 20 shots wouldn't be a surprise. Kari Arnason ($5,500) is the more expensive play because he had two goals and two assists in qualifiers, but don't expect many attacking chances for Iceland in this match.

GOALKEEPER

Kasper Schmeichel, DEN v. PER ($5,000): There's only one keeper to use and that's Schmeichel, who comes in cheaper than Willy Caballero ($6,000) and Danijel Subasic ($5,500). Not only does this match project to have the fewest goals, but Denmark have a clean sheet in their last four matches and Schmeichel should still get saves. Peru scored more goals than Argentina and Colombia in qualifying, which should lead to chances against the Danes, keeping Schmeichel fantasy relevant even if he allows a goal.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam, a 2019, 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's soccer editor. He also runs RotoWire's Bracketology, as well as writes on other various college basketball content. He has previously worked at ESPN and Sporting Kansas City, and he is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate.
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