This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.
The World Cup quarter-finals kick off Friday with two matches, Brazil versus Croatia followed by Argentina against the Netherlands. Brazil are the biggest favorite on the slate after their destruction of South Korea last time out, while Argentina are also healthy favorites with a lower implied goal total than their South American compatriots.
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Lionel Messi, ARG vs. NED ($22): Messi is the most expensive player on the slate and for good reason, as he hasn't scored below 30 FanDuel points in the tournament. Argentina have a host of attacking options including Julian Alvarez ($17) and Angel Di Maria ($16) but no one who matches the floor of Messi. He's unfadeable in cash with his secure role on corner kicks, free kicks and penalties for Argentina.
Neymar, BRA vs. CRO ($21): Like his PSG teammate, I also find it difficult to get away from Neymar on Friday. He hasn't posted the same performances as Messi due to missing the final two group stage matches, but his role is the same as he stands over set pieces and penalties, scoring from the spot against South Korea last match. Brazil also have an embarrassment of riches in attacking roles with Raphinha ($18), Richarlison ($20), and Vinicius Junior ($19) all being viable options, but again none have the same secure floor as Neymar.
Cody Gakpo, NED vs. ARG ($17): Gakpo has broken out in a major way at this tournament scoring three goals while putting up impressive performances resulting in no less than 17.2 FanDuel points through four matches. He faces a much stiffer test against Argentina, but his role on corners and free kicks helps his floor despite ceding penalties to Memphis Depay ($15).
Luka Modric, CRO vs. BRA ($11): Modric has yet to find his way onto the score-sheet with a goal or an assist, but if you're paying up for multiple big-name players, he provides salary relief that comes along with a respectable floor. Modric has taken almost every corner for Croatia while is also the likeliest one to take a penalty if his side is awarded one in the match. Modric has finished below 10 points twice in four games, but his 20.8-point performance against Belgium shows he is capable of a strong point total at this cheap price without needing a goal or assist. Ivan Perisic ($15) has more upside than Modric as he's playing in a more attacking role, but he isn't the safest bet with +550 goal odds on the biggest underdog on the slate.
Cristian Romero, ARG vs. NED ($9): Romero is pretty cheap as a center-back on a favored side, which makes sense as he's yet to score over nine fantasy points in the tournament. He's more of a salary saving option to get up to Neymar and Messi in cash games with Marquinhos ($10) being the Brazilian equivalent.
Borna Barisic, CRO vs. BRA ($8): Barisic is cheap for a full-back if he starts in place of Borna Sosa ($12) for the second-straight match. Sosa would be too expensive if he returns to the lineup, with both players providing offensive upside to go along with likely having to defend the majority of the match. Barisic's 8.2 points against Japan were helpful at his price while his tackles, clearances and interceptions would likely increase against Brazil.
Emiliano Martinez, ARG vs. NED ($11): If you have the money to pay all the way up for Alisson ($13) then go for it, as he's got over 46-percent clean sheet odds on the slate's biggest favorite. The two-dollar salary savings is enough for me to go to Martinez, however, with his 36-percent clean sheet odds. If you're more interested in playing an underdog, Andries Noppert ($9) would be my pick as the Netherlands are underdogs but to a much lesser degree than Croatia against Brazil.