Yahoo DFS Soccer: Single-Game Preview for Brazil vs. Croatia

Yahoo DFS Soccer: Single-Game Preview for Brazil vs. Croatia

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Soccer series.

Friday's single-game Yahoo slate kicks off with a quarter-finals matchup between Croatia and heavily-favored Brazil (70 percent to win). The implied goal total sits at nearly three goals, so bettors expect considerable scoring action in most cases. Although the ultimate outcomes were the same, these teams experienced very different match styles during Monday's Round of 16 games. While Brazil should be well-rested after dispatching South Korea by a score of 4-1, Croatia could conceivably suffer some lingering effects in this contest on the heels of its 120-minute clash with Japan. 

For detailed stats and odds, check out the 

DFS Fantasy Soccer: Brazil vs. Croatia Cheat Sheet

CASH GAME STRATEGY

Neymar ($30) and Richarlison ($27) have both demonstrated their world-class quality throughout this tournament and are the favorites to score at +120 and +150, respectively. While Richarlison often sees a more advanced position within the formation, Neymar appears to be on a mission in Qatar and is showing no signs of slowing down following his return from an ankle injury. Both players tallied against South Korea and it's almost a foregone conclusion that at least one finds the score-sheet again Friday. Notably, Richarlison went the full 90 in the Round of 16, which is his first time doing so during this World Cup, maybe partly due to Gabriel Jesus being out. That probably won't happen in two consecutive matches, so you'll want to hope he gets on the board early. With this in mind, I lean slightly in favor of paying up for Neymar and watching perhaps the most creative player on the planet do his thing on set pieces and penalties.  

On the other side of the ball, striker Andrej Kramaric ($23) looked elite against lesser competition during the early group stage but has since been bottled up by Belgium and Japan. While he's still oddsmakers' favorite to score for Croatia in this matchup at +400, Brazil will certainly have studied Croatia's past two matches during which he managed just two shots in total (both off target). The argument for Kramaric is that he only went 68 of a possible 120 minutes against Japan, but I still prefer free-kick specialist Mateo Kovacic ($16) and corner-kick extraordinaire Luka Modric ($19) at a welcomed discount. Kovacic and the 37-year-old Modric both might be battling some tired legs after logging nearly 100 minutes Monday, but Croatia will still need to lean heavily upon their veterans in a win-or-go-home spot against perhaps the most-talented team in the tournament. 

A lineup with Neymar, Richarlison, Kovacic and Modric is a strong foundation for cash-game builds because it still provides for more than $21 of average salary to utilize on your final two slots. With this type of budget, you can fit Raphinha ($20), Kramaric, Marcelo Brozovic ($20) or Alisson ($20) all interchangeably depending on match-flow expectations. Should Brazil win in commanding fashion, Raphinha and Alisson will likely round out a nearly-optimal lineup. From a contrarian standpoint, Kramaric and Brozovic can be deployed as a mini-wager that Croatia continue their surprisingly deep run. Further down the lineup, Dejan Lovren ($19) and Thiago Silva ($19) both registered assists in the Round of 16 and will be keen to see plenty of meaningful touches during another pacy affair.

TOURNAMENT STRATEGY

A heavy Brazil stack is probably the most straightforward and popular tournament strategy, considering it's possible this Croatia team is simply overmatched and fatigued after their Monday marathon with Japan. In this instance, Neymar and Richarlison fit nicely alongside Raphinha, Marquinhos ($16) and Casemiro ($26). Vinicius Junior is $29 and has two assists with one goal this World Cup, but he's not as pure of a scorer as the other Brazilian forwards within a Yahoo format that handsomely rewards goals (8 points) over assists (4 points). 

Given that both of these squads can put shots on target with relative ease, it's tough to see this match yielding less than two or three goals. That said, betting on a low-scoring outcome could win you some tournaments should it finish at 1-0 (or something similar). Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic ($18) has been simply outstanding of late and was at the peak of his game during Monday's penalty shootout. He'll once again have to stand on his head if he hopes to help clinch a result against El Selecao and is priced rather fairly for being one of the best-performing World Cup options at his position. The key to any keeper-driven strategy will be selecting the correct Superstar (1.6x points) for your lineup and you'll also want to guess correctly which keeper maintains a clean sheet. Alisson has a 47-percent chance at a clean sheet, whereas Livakovic sits at just 10 percent. Give me Alisson with your pick of attacker up top to score, as I just don't see a scenario where Croatia have enough left in the tank to shutout the top-ranked team in the tournament.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Joseph Szmadzinski plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jszmadzinski.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joseph Szmadzinski
Joseph Szmadzinski is a golf and soccer contributor. He played golf at Bucknell University (2013). When not at the office, he enjoys spending time on the golf course, playing tennis and watching whatever games are on.
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