After a successful UCL breakdown Tuesday, I’m back for more Wednesday. Let me start by reiterating a few things I mentioned at the beginning of my last article. First, it’s match-day 6/6, and there are already 4 teams on this slate who have qualified for the next round (Tottenham, Manchester City, Besiktas, and Real Madrid). Therefore, expect all of those teams to rest a few or their normal starters, especially given the jam-packed schedule club teams have this time of year. It is very important to check starting lineups this week to make sure your guys are starting, but also to find some hidden value plays. Second, good plays this week will depend much more on matchup and game-flow than normal given the stage of the tournament. Third, there are no 12ET kickoffs, so there are more players on this slate than there have been recently.
Ronaldo (Borussia Dortmund @ Real Madrid, $15,000) – Ronaldo is not up to 15k, which is insane. But you can’t really argue. He’s averaging an astonishing 45.9 fantasy points per game in the UCL this season, and he has scored at least one goal in every…single…game (and 2 goals in 3/5 games). If you’re playing cash games, Ronaldo is a must. If you’re playing GPP, Ronaldo is the top play, although he is not necessarily a must. Ronaldo is matchup-proof, but he has a good matchup Wednesday against a Dortmund team giving up 2.0 goals per game in the UCL. There is no need for Ronaldo to play on Wednesday, but he’s proven to be very durable. If he starts, try (hard) to make room for him in your lineup. Forward teammate Karim Benzema ($11,000) finally got on the scoresheet with 2 goals in his last UCL game, and is a viable play this week as well.
Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla @ Maribor, $11,000) – Ben Yedder had a monster game last time against Maribor, scoring a ridiculous 92.25 fantasy points. He also had a 50-point game in his last UCL start against Liverpool. Needless to say, Ben Yedder is one of the most explosive forwards on the slate (especially with Kane, Aguero, and Firmino all but ruled out). Sevilla need a win on Wednesday to guarantee themselves a spot in the next stage. They will go at Maribor’s poor defense (allowing 3.0 goals per game) nonstop. With a plus matchup and big potential, Ben Yedder is an elite play this week.
Dries Mertens (Napoli @ Feyenoord, $10,000) – Napoli is in a similar situation as Sevilla. However, a win doesn’t necessarily put them through to the next round, but it would give them a chance depending on other results. They should come out ready to play, and attack Feyenoord’s weak defense (allowing 2.6 goals per game) from the get-go. Mertens netted a goal in his last game against Feyenoord, and is in a good spot to do it again on Wednesday. Forward teammate Jose Callejon ($9,000) is also a good play this week. He isn’t the same caliber goal-scorer as Mertens with only 1 goal in 5 UCL games, but it was against Feyenoord. Both players have a plus matchup ahead of them, and are definitely worth serious consideration.
Vincent Aboubakar (Monaco @ Porto, $8,000) – Aboubakar tore Monaco up the last time they played, scoring 2 goals and putting up a total of 45.5 fantasy points. This week he’ll take them on at home in a game Porto needs to win to give themselves a chance of advancing depending on other results. They’ll take on a Monaco defense that hasn’t been very good (giving up 2.2 goals per game). Aboubakar has emerged as a big-time goal-scoring threat for Porto recently, scoring 9 goals in 13 games in Portugal and adding 3 in 4 UCL games. Aboubakar makes a good play at 8k this week.
Luis Adriano and Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow @ Liverpool) – Both of these Spartak forwards are $7,500 and face a Liverpool team that dominated on offense but isn’t that great on defense. Liverpool, already through to the next round, is also set to rest some of their stars tomorrow. This game means a lot more for Spartak because they need a win to give themselves an outside chance at qualifying for the knockout round. They’ve both shown good flashes, and they’re in solid spots on Wednesday to be successful.
Fernando Llorente (Apoel Nicosia @ Tottenham, $6,500) – Yes, I realize that Llorente is averaging 2.8 fantasy points per game in his 5 UCL games, but don’t worry. He’s only started one of those games, and he didn’t even play that whole game. However, this week with Tottenham already qualified for the next round, the veteran striker will get another start. Llorente is a good option if you’re looking to punt at forward. He draws a great matchup for goal-scorers against Apoel’s defense (giving up 3rd most goals out of 32 teams).
Also like: Nolito ($7,000), Mousa Marega ($7,000)
FanDuel was smart enough to realize that top midfielders like Salah, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, and Casemiro would most likely be out, however they still list Manchester City midfielders Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling as expected starters. I did some digging around online and conferred with my buddy Eric (big MCI fan), and it seems very likely that neither Sterling or Sane will play. Therefore, check their starting lineup tomorrow for some deep value.
Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli @ Feyenoord, $10,500) – Insigne has had a really good UCL season for Napoli averaging 23.3 fantasy points per game. However, that average rises to 27.7 if you negate the 1 dud game he posted against Manchester City. Insigne is Napoli’s best midfielder, and is in a good spot for a big game on Wednesday. If you need more convincing, scroll up to my writeup on Mertens. Insigne’s teammate, Jorginho ($8,000), makes a good play as well.
Dele Alli (Apoel Nicosia @ Tottenham, $10,000) – Tottenham is through to the next round, and they’ve already confirmed that Kane, Eriksen, Trippier, Dier, and Lloris will not be playing against Apoel. This leaves Dele Alli as the main-man in the offense. Additionally, Alli has a matchup to die for against Apoel’s poor defense. Alli has 53 and 35.5 fantasy points in his two UCL games this season, and is in a wonderful spot to put up a similar number on Wednesday. Midfield teammate Son Heung-Min ($9,000) will also see a lot more action given who is on the bench.
Naby Keita (Besiktas @ Leipzig, $9,500) – Keita is rolling in his last 3 UCL games averaging 31.4 fantasy points. Leipzig has not been impressive in the UCL so far, but they still find themselves in contention for the knockout stage. They’ll take on a Besiktas team on the road who have already qualified for the next round. This matchup is not ideal (Besiktas only gave up 4 goals in their first 5 UCL games), but Leipzig need a win, so Keita will be relied on heavily.
Also like: Philippe Coutinho ($11,000), Anderson Talisca ($9,000)
Hector Herrera (Monaco @ Porto, $8,000) – Herrera has been a staple in Porto’s midfield this season. In the UCL he is averaging 21.8 fantasy points per game. Like I’ve already stated, Porto needs a good result tomorrow and their attackers all have plus matchups given Monaco’s holey defense. Herrera is a main part of the team’s offense, and is in a nice spot for success tomorrow.
Ever Banega (Sevilla @ Maribor, $8,000) – The attacking midfielder has two assists in his last 2 UCL games, and draws a great matchup against Maribor (read about their weak defense under Wissam Ben Yedder). Sevilla also needs a win tomorrow to secure a spot in the next round, so the tandem of Banega and Ben Yedder will be busy.
Also like: Isco ($8,000), Ryan Babel ($8,000), Marek Hamsik ($7,500), Martin Milec ($7,500), Ricardo Quaresma ($7,000), Ilkay Gundogan ($7,000), Bernardo Silva ($7,000), Karim El Ahmadi ($6,500), Marwan Kabha ($6,500)
If you’re looking for someone under 6k, look at Vinicius ($5,500), Nuno Marais ($5,500), and Harry Winks ($5,500).
Sergio Escudero (Sevilla @ Maribor, $6,500) – With several of the top defenders not expected to start, Escudero becomes the top defender on Wednesday. The outside defender for Sevilla should have opportunities to join the attack on Wednesday against a poor Maribor defense. Escudero is averaging 19.2 fantasy points per game in the UCL this season, and is on track to get at least that on Wednesday.
Alberto Moreno (Spartak Moscow @ Liverpool, $6,500) – Moreno is a similar kind of player as Escudero; an attacking defender who is allowed to join the offense. However, Moreno draws a little big of a tougher matchup. Spartak plays tough defensively (they gave up 6 in 5 games), but Moreno should still be involved offensively. Spartak is also good enough to challenge Liverpool, so he will be back on defense picking up interceptions, clearances, tackles, etc. as well.
Sokratis (Borussia Dortmund @ Real Madrid, $6,000) – Any defender playing against Real Madrid will be busy. Sokratis has been averaging 21.8 fantasy points, and that is pretty good for a 6k defender. Sokratis will be asked to do a lot of defending on Wednesday, and is in a good spot to collect a lot of defensive stats.
Also like: Dusko Tosic ($6,000), Ivan Ordets ($6,000), Sergio Ramos ($6,000), Jean-Claude Billong ($6,000), Mitja Viler ($6,000)
Alex Telles (Monaco @ Porto, $5,500) – Telles is speedy to say the least. His pace poses major matchup issues for opposing teams. In Porto’s system, he has freedom to get up the field and join the attack regularly. He should be able to do this often on Wednesday against Monaco, making him essentially an extra midfielder. Telles can be dangerous on offense, and he is good option for his price.
Eric Dier (Apoel Nicosia @ Tottenham, $5,500) – Dier has a lot going for him this week. Tottenham is resting a ton of their best attackers, opening the door for him. He has a great price tag. He qualifies as a defender when he’ll basically be playing in the midfield. He has a plus matchup against Apoel. He’s averaging 18 fantasy points per game in his last 4 UCL games. What else do you need?
Also like: Danilo ($5,000), Marcelo ($5,000), Elseid Hysaj ($5,000), Marcano ($5,500), Achraf Hakimi ($5,500)
If you want to punt at defender (there are some really nice options) look at Yaroslav Rakitskiy ($4,500), Jeremiah St. Juste ($4,500), Giorgi Jikia ($4,500), Ilya Kutepov ($4,500), Pepe ($4,500), Raphael Guerriero ($4,000), Gokhan Gonul ($4,000), Marcel Halstenberg ($4,000), Serdar Tasci ($4,000), and Danny Rose ($4,000).
Andriy Pyatov (Manchester City @ Shakhtar Donetsk, $5,500) – Pyatov could be a great play on Wednesday. Shakhtar plays really strong defense, and historically teams hate playing against them in Ukraine. Additionally, there are strong rumors of MCI resting nearly all of their top attackers, giving Pyatov a nice matchup.
Jose Reina (Napoli @ Feyenoord, $5,000) – Reina is a good bet for the clean sheet bonus. Feyenoord have only scored 3 goals in their 5 UCL games, and Napoli’s defense is sound. They gave up 9 goals in the UCL so far, but 6 of those were against Manchester City. Napoli needs a win badly, so they will be locking up Feyenoord on defense.
Also like: Sergio Rico ($4,500), Michel Vorm ($4,000)