FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Wednesday UCL Targets

FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Wednesday UCL Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EST)

For detailed stats and odds, check out the

FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Wednesday UCL Cheat Sheet

FORWARDS/MIDFIELDERS

Romelu Lukaku, INT v. SHK ($21): I've gone heavy on Lukaku the last couple weeks and that's not going to change Wednesday with Inter in need of a win to advance to the round of 16. Lukaku has multiple shots on target in four of his last five starts, with the down match coming against Real Madrid. He's bagged 12 goals in 11 starts in all competitions and had a floor of 18.6 fantasy points in the reverse fixture despite it finishing scoreless. Inter dominated that last match away from home, controlling 59 percent possession and racking up 12 shots compared to four for Shakhtar. While Shakhtar are coming off a huge win against Real Madrid, they gave up eight shots on target and have given up six goals in their two UCL away games. And while it's not fully comparable, Shakhtar have a plus-15 goal differential at home in league play compared to plus-four away from home. It's expected Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez ($19) will rack up enough opportunities to hold a decent floor in addition to upside. In fact, they have the best odds to score on the

MATCHES (EST)

For detailed stats and odds, check out the

FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Wednesday UCL Cheat Sheet

FORWARDS/MIDFIELDERS

Romelu Lukaku, INT v. SHK ($21): I've gone heavy on Lukaku the last couple weeks and that's not going to change Wednesday with Inter in need of a win to advance to the round of 16. Lukaku has multiple shots on target in four of his last five starts, with the down match coming against Real Madrid. He's bagged 12 goals in 11 starts in all competitions and had a floor of 18.6 fantasy points in the reverse fixture despite it finishing scoreless. Inter dominated that last match away from home, controlling 59 percent possession and racking up 12 shots compared to four for Shakhtar. While Shakhtar are coming off a huge win against Real Madrid, they gave up eight shots on target and have given up six goals in their two UCL away games. And while it's not fully comparable, Shakhtar have a plus-15 goal differential at home in league play compared to plus-four away from home. It's expected Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez ($19) will rack up enough opportunities to hold a decent floor in addition to upside. In fact, they have the best odds to score on the slate of the expected starters, meaning an Inter stack could be the most reasonable strategy. Otherwise, Inter's upside is unpredictable unless you want to bank on an assist from Marcelo Brozovic ($12) because he's on set pieces, but he's never been much of a goal scorer.

Karim Benzema, MAD v. BMG ($22): Borussia Monchengladbach can advance with a draw, but Real Madrid need to win to get to knockout stages. Sure, there's a chance this match finishes 1-0, but if Real score the first goal, Gladbach will undoubtedly press for goals because at that point either the match won't matter if Inter are winning or if Shakhtar are winning, Gladbach will need points. No matter the situation, Benzema is in play to get opportunities against a back line that has struggled, allowing 11 goals in their last six matches in all competitions. In the reverse fixture, Gladbach scored the first two goals and then Real attacked the rest of the way, leading to a 22 to nine shot advantage in which Benzema scored and created five chances. Benzema has the best odds to score of projected starters outside of the Inter guys and has multiple shots on target in each of his last six starts. Unfortunately, no one else on Madrid is reliable unless you want to bank on 10 chances created from Toni Kroos ($16) or that Casemiro ($12) will score and assist like he did in the first meeting. It may be better to look to the other side for upside because when Alassane Plea ($19) scores, it usually comes in bunches. He's more of the upside play, while Lars Stindl ($14) is cheaper and takes set pieces, including penalties. 

Gabriel Jesus, MCI v. MAR ($21): It seems like I've written about Jesus every slate and it hasn't worked for a while. He's failed to score in each of his last four starts, but that doesn't stop him from having the best odds to score on his team. At some point, his scoring fortunes will turn and that could come against Marseille, who have nothing to lose and will be pushing for points. However, Man City dominated the first meeting even if they only managed four shots on target. Man City have the third-highest implied goal total on the slate and no matter who starts, they'll have an edge in this matchup. The problem is that Jesus is a tad expensive, meaning he's a better play in GPPs because not many will look to him when guys like Lukaku and Benzema are in the same range. While everyone is in play to start, it's likely Ferran Torres ($19) and Phil Foden ($17) will be the first options after not appearing over the weekend. Similar to most in the squad, they have tons of upside, making them viable tournament options. While some will be turned off by Man City not scoring last week, it's worth noting they still dominated Porto, racking up 18 shots and 11 chances created with 68 percent possession.

Mergim Berisha, RBS v. ATM ($16): The Salzburg v. Atletico Madrid match may be the hardest to project because it could either be high scoring or scoreless. Salzburg need a win to advance to knockouts and their manager said it was one of the biggest matches in the club's history, while Atletico only need a draw. That means Atletico will likely sit back and accept the blows until Salzburg score. If that happens, Atletico would then need a goal, but unlike Atletico, Salzburg never sit back defensively, meaning things could really open up similarly to the first meeting, a 3-2 Atleti win. The second scenario would move Luis Suarez ($20) and Joao Felix ($18) into relevance, but if it's a scoreless draw, neither will get much work outside of counters. I'd probably recommend Dominik Szoboszlai ($20), but he's at an extreme price for a set-piece taker on an underdog. That's why I'm leaning to in-form striker Berisha, who has four goals in the last three matches, and had two shots on goal and two chances created in the reverse fixture. The bonus for Berisha is that he'll probably get opportunities no matter how the match goes. Salzburg are going to attack as much as possible until they score, which means his floor could push close to 20 with a couple shots on target. You could look at other players in this match, but they're either too expensive like Enock Mwepu ($19) or have minimal upside like anyone on Atletico.

I haven't mentioned the biggest favorite on the slate, which shows how many ways lineups can go. Bayern have the highest implied goal total, but this matchup was 2-1 in the prior meeting when Bayern played their regulars. No matter who starts for them, it'll be hard to pay up for Serge Gnabry ($22) or even Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting ($15). Douglas Costa ($12) went 86 minutes last week, yet he managed a floor of 1.3 points. Since Lokomotiv will likely push for a win, there's a chance this matchup features goals, but good luck projecting where they come from.

DEFENDERS

Stanislav Magkeev, LKM at BAY ($5): Magkeev is the lone projected defensive starter at $5, which means I have to recommend him. He allows you to stack Inter and then throw in anyone mentioned above. He played 90 as a central midfielder last week en route to 6.5 fantasy points, and while that's nothing exciting, it doesn't really matter. The difference between a $5 and $10 defender may be a few floor points, while the difference between Benzema and Vinicius Junior ($17) could be two goals and 40 points. If you have a couple extra dollars, there are a few $6 options and if anyone unexpected starts, there could be more $5 options.

Kieran Trippier, ATM at RBS ($12): I was going to back an Atletico center-back and then saw Trippier at a decent price. He's hit double-digit fantasy points in nine of his last 10 starts because he supplies a variety of defensive stats and has a touch of upside from set pieces. That upside is why I like him more than Felipe ($13) or Stefan Savic ($9). All of them could rack up defensive stats when Salzburg are pushing for that first goal and if they get it, Trippier will be the one to benefit in the attack if Atletico need a goal to advance. Otherwise, there are plenty of places to look for good floor points, highlighted by Valerii Bondar ($8) and Dodo ($10) against an Inter side in need of a goal.

GOALKEEPER

Zack Steffen, MCI v. MAR ($5): Steffen is expected to slot in for Man City and he's at minimum price, which means he should be on the majority of lineups and there's little reason to fade him. That said, Alexander Nubel and Caoimhin Kelleher were in this spot last week and weren't overly popular. Either way, Man City have the best odds to secure a clean sheet and third-best odds to win. Marseille managed two shots in the first meeting and have two goals in five Champions League matches. If you want another favorite, you'll have to spend up unless more backup goalkeepers start. Samir Handanovic ($13) is probably the safest play because Inter are playing to win, while everyone else is kind of in the same range. Salzburg produce a ton of shots, so Jan Oblak ($11) is worth a chance with the hopes he accrues a ton of saves.

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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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