This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.
Saturday's single-game FanDuel slate is another exciting one for USMNT supporters, but player selection and late lineup maintenance will be absolutely crucial as both USA and Netherlands face a number of injury and illness concerns throughout the lineup. With that in mind, although this will likely be an entertaining matchup of two squads in top form, scoring may well be at a premium for a couple of extremely stout defensive units. Netherlands is nearly a 50-percent favorite to win outright, but the USA's pressing style may lead to a back-and-forth affair that currently is expected to yield just less than two-and-a-half goals.
For detailed stats and odds, check out the
FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: World Cup Cheat Sheet
CASH GAME STRATEGY
Cody Gakpo ($15, +180 to score) and Memphis Depay ($14, +170 to score) are the Netherlands attackers to build around, but they're also predictably priced at the top end of the slate. I lean slightly in favor of Gakpo, the 23-year-old PSV Eindhoven attacker, who has tallied three World Cup goals across as many matches. All else equal, Depay is the more seasoned veteran and could actually score just as easily but he didn't come terribly close to logging a full 90 during the group stage. I have a tough time paying such a premium for a player that might be utilized sparingly. Notably, Gakpo usually lines up out on the wing for PSV but has been deployed more centrally in Louis van Gaal's shape-shifting system. This bodes well for his fantasy output since he's still sending in frequent cross volume while also finding the back of the net with regularity. If Depay heads to the sideline at any point, Steven Berghuis ($8) and/or Steven Bergwijn ($6) would likely slide into the lineup and return tremendous value at current prices.
Frenkie de Jong ($12) is listed as questionable with an illness, but he's a rather safe lineup choice provided he recovers in time for Saturday's clash. The usual Barcelona pivot man scored and assisted during the group phase and will always take quite a few touches across a full 90 (when healthy). If de Jong is unable to contribute, van Gaal has enjoyed utilizing Davy Klaassen ($11) as a creator and distributor in the middle of the pitch as well. Notably, Klaassen actually has the third-best odds of any Netherlands player to find the back of the net (+300) and the best of any midfielder in this matchup.
Despite being cleared to play, the fact that Netherlands has one of the stingiest back lines in the world makes Christian Pulisic ($13) just seem too risky and expensive for most cash-game lineups. I'm fine using him as part of a full USA stack in tournaments. In the absence of a pure target man, Timothy Weah ($10) has largely been the tip of the spear for the USMNT and will be looking to snap a two-game scoring drought in this one. Weah also logged over 80 minutes in all three group games, so he's probably not at risk of coming off too early either. Further down the board, Weston McKennie ($6) and Tyler Adams ($7) are both on the heels of strong two-way performances against Iran and figure to be heavily involved once again during a match that could well be contested within the middle third. Even if scoring is muted, McKennie and Adams should minimally post enough defensive peripherals to help buoy lineups a bit.
If you're the type of player who prefers defenders that get forward and can generate goal contributions, look no further than Sergino Dest ($7) and his more expensive counterpart Antonee Robinson ($9). Robinson is priced two dollars higher because he's more assured of a spot within the starting XI, but Dest was arguably the Yanks' best player versus Iran. Netherlands concedes very little in the way of space and closes down passing lanes as well as any team in this tournament. Accordingly, it's very conceivable that most of the opportunities in this matchup come from the wide areas. Dest and Robinson are positioned nicely for this sort of tilt and could connect with Weah or Pulisic on a cross for a mini-USA stack of sorts.
On the other side of the ball, the Oranje have their own talented wing backs that can seamlessly transition from defense to offense in Denzel Dumfries ($8) and Daley Blind ($6). That said, Netherlands doesn't play out near the touchlines all that often and prefers to attack the middle of the pitch. Accordingly, I give a slight edge to the American defenders in this contest but Blind provides a compelling value option should you be running low on budget. If you're content with peripherals and are looking for a pure defender, Nathan Ake ($6) is another affordable piece that should log the lion's share of his squad's tackles and clearances.
Because keepers aren't in play for this type of contest, tournament strategy is a bit limited for those expecting a low-scoring result. The optimal lineup for a scoreless draw is likely to leave money on the table and lean heavily toward high-floor, high-volume players like Adams and Robinson. As mentioned, a USA-heavy lineup with Pulisic and Weah alongside Dest and Robinson is essentially a vote of confidence that the Americans come away with a convincing victory during regulation at roughly 22-percent expected odds. It's difficult to envision either team posting more than two goals unless things totally go off the rails but that's fine if both goals come from Weah and Pulisic, who will also command most set pieces when he's on the pitch.
If expecting a more offensive affair, it's likely that Netherlands holds the upper hand in this type of contest. From this angle, it's possible to start both Gakpo and Depay (one as Captain for 1.5x) alongside Dumfries. Per FanDuel rules, you'll still have to start at least one player from each team, so I would personally fill my final two spots with the aforementioned McKennie and Adams combination to provide for a bit of a points floor within my lineup. In the event you're particularly opposed to having more than one American, Teun Koopmeiners ($5, +550 to score) or Wout Weghorst ($4) could receive an extra run for the ailing de Jong and put a few shots on net if either finds his way into the starting XI.