UCL DFS Breakdown – 3/6/2018
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid @ PSG, $13,000) – Cristiano Ronaldo. Champions League. Not much else needs to be said. He has scored in all 7 UCL games this season, and he’s scored multiple goals in 4 of those games. PSG will need a great showing in this game to advance, so they’ll likely leave themselves vulnerable on defense in order to score. I expect Ronaldo to take advantage of that, and put PSG’s 2018 Champions League campaign to rest. He’s a top cash play, and is certainly GPP viable as well.
Edinson Cavani (Real Madrid @ PSG, $10,500) – Without Neymar on the field for an extended period of time, Cavani will become PSG’s main focus in the attack. PSG will need to score at least 2 goals, if not more, to advance so they will be pressing Real Madrid from the kickoff. If PSG have any shot at advancing, it will come through Cavani, making him an enticing option on this slate. He got rested in PSG’s game over the weekend ahead of this game, so I expect him to bring his A game for this one. Kylian Mbappe ($10,500) is also a nice play in this game. However, I would’ve liked to see his price be a little lower. He proved last season that he can score against the best of the best, but I like Cavani more for the same price.
The lack of mid-to-low priced forwards on this slate is going to make getting top midfielders a difficult task. It should also lower the ownership of those top midfielders with the amount of people who will play 2 stud forwards. Although I do not like either Vincent Aboubakar ($8,500) or Karim Benzema ($9,500) that much on Tuesday, both could be worth a punt at forward in order to get top midfielders.
Mohamed Salah (Porto @ Liverpool, $11,000) – With a 5-0 lead on aggregate, one would think that Liverpool would decide to rest some (if not all) of their stars, but manager Jurgen Klopp already stated that he would not rotate the squad for this one. Maybe Klopp is just playing games with Porto and he’ll actually give his players some rest, maybe not. We’ll have to wait until starting lineups to get released to find out. If you haven’t heard yet, Salah has been absolutely incredible all season and rarely needs justification to be rostered. Liverpool should walk all over Porto in this one after rolling them 5-0 a few weeks ago. The question will be whether or not Liverpool actually play with the same intensity they did in the first leg with this game unlikely to mean much. Personally, I will probably be staying away from Salah and Sadio Mane ($10,500), and hoping for them to rest so I can use cheaper Liverpool midfielders.
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid @ PSG, $8,000) – Kroos played a good game against PSG in the first leg. He totaled 26.5 fantasy points, but he’s been battling a knee injury for the last 3 weeks. He has traveled to France, but there is a chance he will not play. Kroos is one of my favorite cash game midfielders on this slate. His midfield teammate Casemiro ($10,000) is my favorite cash game player on this slate, but I am not a fan of his price especially given the specifics of this slate. He’s going to be a tough fit with 2 top forwards, but he is not the kind of high-end midfielder to target if you punt at FWD2. His upside is limited, but he remains a cash game monster.
Angel di Maria (Real Madrid @ PSG, $8,000) – FanDuel expects di Maria to start this game, but it remains unclear if he will or not. PSG could use whatever he has left of his attacking ability in this game. He’s a GPP only play if he starts.
Ricardo Pereira (Porto @ Liverpool, $7,500) – Pereira is my favorite cheap midfield option on this slate. Something to consider on this slate is the fact that Porto was missing several key players, including Danilo Pereira and the aforementioned Aboubakar, in their first matchup against Liverpool. Although the addition of these players for this game most likely won’t influence the fact that Liverpool has all but advanced, they have enough talent to pose a threat to Liverpool’s defense. Pereira has averaged 21 FDP in the UCL this season, and does a nice job at collecting peripheral stats. He’s my favorite midfielder to provide some salary relief. If you need to fit another cheap-ish midfielder in, look at Hector Herrera ($7,000).
With the limited cheap midfielders expected to start on this slate, Thiago Motta ($6,500) will be viable for salary relief reasons only. The veteran midfielder has not played in the Champions League since October, but could be called on on Tuesday due to injuries.
Dani Alves (Real Madrid @ PSG, $7,500) – Alves is by far and away the most expensive defender on this slate, but for good reason. The dynamic he adds to PSG’s attacking from a defending position will be crucial in this game. Real Madrid defenders themselves like to play very attacking, so Alves should be able to pick his spot to attack them when they’re out of position. He’ll also be relied on to do some defending given Real Madrid’s attacking ability. Alves has proven very capable of putting up stellar fantasy performances. His ownership likely will not be high, making him a prime GPP candidate.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid @ PSG, $6,000) – Ramos is one of my most hated soccer players in the world, but he’s in a pretty good spot in this game. PSG will need to take a lot of risks on the attack in this game if they want to advance, which is going to create a lot of opportunities for Ramos to collect defensive stats which he already does pretty well. He is a good cash play if you can fit a 6k defender in.
Also like (for cash only): Marcano ($5,500), Marquinhos ($5,500)
Marcelo (Real Madrid @ PSG, $5,000) – Marcelo’s UCL price tag has hovered around the 5k range all season, which is just too low in my option. He’s one of the best attacking defenders in the world playing on a team where he has the liberty to attack. Marcelo scored and totaled 40 FDP in the last game against PSG, and remains one of the top GPP options at defender.
Joe Gomez (Porto @ Liverpool, $4,500) – Gomez is the only defender on FD cheaper than $5,000 who is expected to start. He’s just about as good of a defender as you’ll be able to find for $4,500. Assuming he’s the only defender under $5,000 that actually ends up starting, his ownership could be slightly higher than normal, but he will be important for salary relief.
Loris Karius (Porto @ Liverpool, $5,500) – Karius will be the safest bet for the clean sheet bonus on this slate given how the first leg of this matchup went. Liverpool cruised to a 5-0 win, and Karius only needed to make 3 saves. I would expect something similar from him again, leading to a fantasy performance around 20 FDP.