The UCL threw us a little knuckler this week by having 2 games with 12 PM ET start times instead of 2:45ET starts. This is really unfortunate because there would’ve been a lot of value and #CriminalOwnership in those games. Also, none of the four teams in the early kickoff games are big-name teams, so now we’re left with a bunch of popular and high-priced options. Anyways, here’s my breakdown of Tuesday’s UCL slate.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid @ Apoel Nicosia, $14,500) – More times than not, I fade Ronaldo. However, this week he is my favorite player on the slate regardless of his price. Ronaldo had his best UCL performance of the season last time Real Madrid played against Apoel, and I expect another strong outing from him this week. He has never put up less than 33 fantasy points so far this UCL season, and he has a plus matchup for this week. Lock him in.
Sergio Aguero (Feyenoord @ Manchester City, $13,000) – Much like Ronaldo, Aguero doesn’t need a whole lot of justification to be rostered. But if you need some, I got you. Only those who live under a rock still don’t realize that Manchester City is firing on all cylinders offensively this season, and Aguero is the head of the attack. Manchester City takes on Feyernoord (3rd most goals allowed out of the 32 teams in the group stage) at home this week. This game has Manchester City route written all over it making a MCI stack starting with Aguero a tasty play. However, be aware that Aguero was not 100% over the weekend so make sure he’s starting.
Harry Kane (Tottenham @ Borussia Dortmund, $11,500) – If you haven’t caught on to the pattern yet, I am a big fan of paying up for forwards this week. Tottenham take on a disappointing Dortmund team this week who are conceding 2 goals per game (fairly high for a decent club like Dortmund). Tottenham’s attack looks really good so far this season, and I expect them to continue their hot streak against Dortmund this week. As always, Kane will be heavily involved and should reach his average of 46 fantasy point per game.
Andriy Yarmolenko (Tottenham @ Borussia Dortmund, $8,500) – Normal starting forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dropped from the Dortmund team over the weekend for disciplinary reasons, and there has been no word on how long his punishment will continue. If Aubameyang is out, I like Yarmolenko this week. However, if Aubameyang plays, Yarmolenko would not be a recommended start given a difficult matchup against Tottenham.
Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk @ Napoli, $6,500) – Taison is my favorite punt at forward this week. Last game against Napoli, Taison was able to find the back of the net and put up 37 fantasy points. Although playing against Napoli in Italy is not idea, Taison is a huge attacking presence for Shakhtar down the outside of the field where Napoli will be more vulnerable.
Also like: Facundo Ferreyra ($7,500), Jose Callejon ($8,500)
Roberto Firmino ($11,000), Wissam Ben Yedder ($10,000), Falcao ($10,500)
Just like every other week, it’s very easy to justify playing Kevin de Bruyne ($12,000) and Mohamed Salah ($11,000). However, playing one of them could get tough if you opt to pay up for forwards.
Casemiro (Real Madrid @ Apoel Nicosia, $10,500) – Casemiro’s ability to put up extremely consistent fantasy performances is uncanny. He’s generally not considered much of a fantasy asset due to his role on the team as a defensive midfielder, however is ability to accumulate stats of all kind is unparalleled. He is a defensive hound, and his motor runs for the whole 90 minutes. Real Madrid is also good enough as a team for him to get involved in the attack regularly which is exactly what I expect to happen this week. Casemiro will be busy feasting on Apoel’s feeble attack, but will most likely also have the freedom to venture up the field in the attack this week.
Dele Alli (Tottenham @ Borussia Dortmund, $9,500) – In his UCL season debut against Real Madrid, Alli looked fantastic. He netted 2 goals and put up 53 fantasy points. Alli is an important piece of Tottenham’s attack in the Premier League this season, and it is big for them to get him back for UCL play. Like I wrote about for Harry Kane, Dortmund is struggling this year on defense which gives these two a big plus matchup. For this reason, Christian Eriksen ($9,000) is also a recommended play and would look sweet in a Tottenham stack.
It appears that Manchester City is planning on resting several of their top midfielders except De Bruyne. None of David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, or Fernandinho are expected to start on FanDuel. This is definitely a situation worth monitoring, and if FD has their facts straight, there will be a lot of value in the MCI midfielders who are actually starting (Manchester City has already qualified for the next round so they can afford to give their players some rest). Their opponent, Feyenoord, give up an average of 3 goals per game, and MCI should dominate this game giving many opportunities to these cheap midfielders. My favorite cheap MCI midfielder is Ilkay Gundogan ($6,500). Gundogan drew the start and scored 17.25 fantasy points in their last UCL game when MCI was playing their regular starters. The other name I like here is Bernardo Silva ($7,000). Silva regularly sees action off the bench, and sometimes even as a starter for MCI and should be featured this week if the normal starters sit. Yaya Toure ($5,500) is the other expected MCI starter on FD.
Also like: Youri Tielemans ($8,000), Jorginho ($8,000), Marcel Sabitzer ($7,500), Eric Dier ($7,000), Fabinho ($7,000)
Philippe Coutinho ($10,500) and Sadio Mane ($9,500) – For the price, it makes a lot more sense to go elsewhere especially given a negative matchup for Liverpool against Sevilla this week. Generally, I am a fan of these two midfielders for fantasy purposes, but they are both recovering from injuries and they make risky plays this week.
Mario Gotze ($9,000), Toni Kroos ($9,000)
With the amount of great expensive options as FWD and MID, I won’t be paying up for any high-end defenders, but if you do choose to do so, here’s who I recommend.
Simon Kjaer (Liverpool @ Sevilla, $7,000) – Kjaer is the most expensive defender on the slate, and for good reason. He’s been a really consistent fantasy scorer for Sevilla’s defense so far this UCL season. He’s averaging 25 fantasy points per game, and with a solid matchup this week against Liverpool he could eclipse that average.
Marc Bartra (Tottenham @ Borussia Dortmund, $6,500) – After recovering from serious injuries after a team bus crash last season, Bartra piled up 24.75 and 25.25 in his first two UCL games this season. Dortmund’s defense should be under attack for a large part of this game, allowing Bartra the opportunity at a lot of defensive stats. In addition, as an outside defender on an attacking-based squad, Bartra will have the license to join the attack up the field.
Carlao (Real Madrid @ Apoel Nicosia, $6,500) – Carlao is Apoel’s most useful defender fantasy-wise, and he has a great matchup this week against Real Madrid.
Also like: Ridgeciano Haps ($6,000)
Marcelo (Real Madrid @ Apoel Nicosia, $5,500) – Marcelo is another high-risk/high-reward play for Real Madrid. Marcelo has the reputation of being one of the most attacking defenders in the world, and is always a threat to score especially against an opponent like Apoel. For his price, I am a big fan of Marcelo this week especially in GPP lobbies.
Also like: Giogos Merkis ($5,000), Praxitelis Vouros ($5,000), Clement Lenglet ($5,000), Jeremiah St. Juste ($4,500)
There are a lot of decent plays at GK this week, but nothing that jumps out at me screaming lock.
Ederson (Feyenoord @ Manchester City, $5,500) – Ederson is the clear favorite for a clean sheet bonus this week, but he won’t see many save opportunities. He’s also a little more expensive than he’s been in the past, but he will still make nice play this week.
Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk @ Napoli, $5,500) – Pyatov is probably the best bet for a combination of a clean sheet bonus and a decent number of saves. Napoli has a solid attack, and they’re playing at home. However, SKD’s defense has been stiff this season only giving up 1.25 goals per game.
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham @ Borussia Dortmund, $5,000) – Lloris is the most talented GK on the slate, but he’s also the most high-risk/high-reward play at GK. There is a real possibility that Tottenham shuts Dortmund out and Lloris is the highest-scoring GK on the slate. However, there is a real possibility that Dortmund erupts for a lot of goals in a game they desperately need to win.
Kiko Casilla (Real Madrid @ Apoel Nicosia, $4,500) – I will be rostering Casilla in all my lineups, mostly due to his price. But Apoel has only scored 2 goals in their 4 UCL games. In a game that Real Madrid should dominate, I don’t see Apoel scoring in this one either. I like Casilla as a cheap option for the clean sheet bonus.