UCL DFS Breakdown – 3/13 2018
Sevilla @ Manchester United
Manchester United owns both of the top 2 priced forwards on this slate. After struggling against Sevilla in Spain in the first leg, I expect both Romelu Lukaku ($12,500) and Alexis Sanchez ($11,500) to play better in this game. Neither are that great of a play in my mind especially at their price. However, Manchester United has been better while playing at home this season, and Sevilla is by no means a difficult matchup. I lean Alexis over Lukaku in this game with his $1,000 salary savings and his superior ability to get peripheral statistics. Marcus Rashford ($9,500) will hope to build off his 2-goal game this past weekend, and has played well in the UCL this season when given the start. Anthony Martial ($9,000) was confirmed to be healthy for the game. It will be interesting to see which gets the start. The one who starts will be worthy of GPP consideration on this slate.
For Sevilla, Wissam Ben Yedder ($9,500) is the only forward expected to start, but he is not on my radar playing against a good defensive team at home.
It appears as though Paul Pogba ($10,000) will be unfit to make an appearance in this second leg matchup for Manchester United, and Ander Herrera ($8,000) is still injured, which leads to some uncertainty in the midfield. Juan Mata ($8,500) is essentially a lock to start, but is not on my radar. The same would go for Scott McTominay ($6,000) if he starts. Jesse Lingard ($8,000) is a name we have not heard much about since his EPL outbreak. If he earns the start, he’s an explosive high risk high reward player. Nemanja Matic ($7,000) is also likely to start, and I like him for cash games. His upside is fairly limited, but his fantasy floor is relatively stable. Marouane Fellaini ($6,500) is a similar type of player who would be on my radar for salary relief if he starts.
On the other side of the ball, Ever Banega ($9,500) is Sevilla’s top midfielder. He had the most unique soccer fantasy games I’ve ever seen in his last outing against Manchester United. Banega eclipsed 50 FDP with no goals or assists. He created 10 chances and added some other peripheral stats. Do not expect this from Banega again though. He will have a tougher time playing at Old Trafford, but is still my top midfielder on this slate. None of the other expected starters from Sevilla are great plays in my mind, but cheaper ones like Paulo Sarabia ($7,500) or Steven N’Zonzi ($7,000) could be useful for salary relief purposes.
Both of Manchester United’s wingbacks Antonio Valencia ($6,500) and Ashley Young ($6,000) are top defender plays in this game. I prefer Young over Valencia because of price and because of talent/expectations. Additionally, higher priced defenders could be more attainable on this slate given the lack of star power at midfield. Chris Smalling ($5,500) and Eric Bailly ($5,500) are not bad plays at all, but I think there are better options at that price or even cheaper.
If you can afford him, Sergio Escudero ($6,500) is my favorite defender in this game (2nd favorite on the slate). He’s been Sevilla’s best defender and he’s consistent as well. He’s a really good cash play, and the argument can be made for GPPs. He just might be tougher to fit in with some of the other top plays on the slate. Clement Lenglet ($6,000) is another decent play, but I would rather have the upside of a player like Ashley Young for the same price. Gabriel Mercado ($5,000) could very well be the cheapest defender to start on this slate, and he’ll be popular and definitely worthy of rostering because of that.
David de Gea ($6,500) is usually a top GK choice on the slates that include Manchester United, and Tuesday will be no different. He put up a 35-spot against Sevilla the first time around with a clean sheet and 8 saves. I do not envision him making another 8 saves at Old Trafford, but the clean sheet is in play. At the other end Sergio Rico ($5,500) is going to be tough for me to trust. I do not think Manchester United will force Rico to make many saves, and it is a possibility that he does not get the clean sheet either.
Shakhtar Donetsk @ Roma
Before being suspended in his last game due to yellow card accumulation, Edin Dzeko ($10,500) scored 2 goals on 4 shots against Napoli. As Roma’s most dangerous attacker, Dzeko is always a threat to score. In a game where oddsmakers are predicting 3 total goals, Dzeko should have plenty of opportunities to score. He is one of my top plays on the slate. Fellow Roma forward, Diego Perotti ($8,500) is also on my radar. He would fit in really nicely as a FWD2 with Dzeko or even Sanchez.
Both of Shakhtar’s projected starting forwards are strictly GPP plays in my mind. Facundo Ferreyra ($8,000) has shown some big-game ability in the UCL this season with 3/7 of his games being 30+ games. Roma give up an average of 1.0 goals per game in Serie A play, but I expect them to be pushing for goals in this game possibly making them even more susceptible on defense. It is very possible that Shakhtar scores 1 or more goals, but it could come from a large number of players making Ferreyra and Taison ($7,500) risky.
Radja Nainggolan ($8,500), although one of my favorite soccer players, is not viable on this slate for me. He is an important piece for Roma, but his style of play just does not translate well to fantasy. Now watch him have a great game because I said that. Cengiz Under ($7,000) scored a goal and totaled 29 FDP in the first leg. He has also scored in 2 of his last 4 Serie A games. He is a top value midfielder on this slate. My only issue is that he has not played a full 90 minutes any time recently, so if you play him, get ready to see him subbed off around the 75-minute mark. Hopefully he picks up enough points prior to that. Kevin Strootman ($7,000), Daniele de Rossi ($6,500), and Alessandro Florenzi ($6,500) are Roma’s last three midfielders expected to start, and I am staying away from all three.
The midfield duo of Marlos ($9,000) and Bernard ($8,500) have been crucial to Shakhtar’s UCL campaign, and they will be important Tuesday if Shakhtar if they want to win. Both are top midfield plays, along with Banega from Sevilla, given the other midfielders available. As I mentioned above, oddsmakers are setting the over/under for goals in this game at 3, which bodes well for both Marlos and Bernard. Additionally, I am expecting Roma to play an attacking style at home down 1-2 on aggregate, possibly giving Marlos and Bernard more to do on defense and more room to work on offense. If you’re looking to save money, Fred ($7,500) has a really solid price tag on this slate and goal/assist upside is there. Taras Stepanenko ($6,000) is nothing more than salary relief in this game.
My favorite defender on this slate belongs to Roma. Aleksandar Kolarov ($7,500) is an ultra-attacking defender who has created an average of 1.6 chances per game while adding 2 assists and a goal to his name in the UCL this season. He put up 23.75 FDP in the first leg, and should be in for another similar game given Roma’s need to score. I do not love either Federico Fazio ($5,500) or Kostas Manolas ($5,500), but as 2 of the cheaper defenders on the slate, they are fair plays in this game.
Shakhtar have a bundle of defenders priced at $5,500. They’re all super similar as far as preference, and it is very tough to distinguish them. The best bet might be taking Ivan Ordets ($5,000) for $500 cheaper.
This game owns both of the lowest priced GKs on this slate, most likely due to the high number of goals projected. Alisson ($5,000) is a nice play because he should have to make some saves, and there is also a fair chance that Roma can keep a clean save at home.
Andriy Pyatov ($4,500) is the cheapest GK on the slate, and he will be popular because of that. Roma’s attack is also good enough to force him to make saves, especially since they will be pressing for goals. A clean sheet might be a stretch here, but at $4,500 a CS is not super important.