Hopefully you guys read my article breaking down Friday’s main slate because there were a lot of plays in there that turned out successful and many winning lineups were built by readers. I’m hoping the hot start continues on Saturday. Here’s my breakdown of Saturday’s slate. For additional advice, follow my Twitter account (@vdray5).
Sergio Aguero (Iceland vs. Argentina, $11,500) – Aguero is a name that many people will recognize from Manchester City’s dominant EPL campaign. He’s the main striker for an Argentine team that many people consider one of the favorites. He should be heavily involved in their attack, and just like during this EPL season, he’ll always be a threat to score when he’s on the pitch. He’s a good cash option with GPP upside if you can get over how high is ownership is likely to be.
Mario Mandzukic (Nigeria vs. Croatia, $10,000) – Mandzukic is the ultimate GPP-only, goal-dependent forward. Mandzukic is one of the best target forwards at winning balls in the air, and with the Croatian midfielders targeting him with their crosses, he’ll be a threat to put one in against Nigeria’s weak center backs. However, Mandzukic does not add much by way of peripheral statistics so I can’t recommend him for cash games, but I do understand the appeal as a GPP pivot off Aguero.
Andrej Kramaric (Nigeria vs. Croatia, $8,000) – Unless you’re rostering both Aguero and Mandzukic, Kramaric is my favorite FWD2. Kramaric had a solid season with Hoffenheim this year producing 3.3 shots and 2.1 chances created per 90 minutes. As mentioned above, the Nigerian defense is not that strong so Kramaric should be able to do work on the flanks and possibly find himself on the scoresheet.
Lionel Messi (Iceland vs. Argentina, $13,000) – I mean do I really have to justify playing him? He’s one of the top players in the world in a matchup against an inferior team who is hungry for international success. Angel di Maria ($8,500) is a solid way to get more Argentina exposure if you’re looking to stack them. There are rumblings of Maximiliano Meza ($5,500) starting for Argentina on Saturday, and he would provide some salary relief in a plus matchup.
Christian Eriksen (Denmark vs. Peru, $9,500) – Christian Eriksen is the best player on Denmark both in real life and for fantasy purposes. The Tottenham man had a stellar club season an added 11 goals in 12 qualifying games with his country. Eriksen also adds a good number of assists, crosses, shots, and chances created as well as taking most of the set pieces. He’s a top cash option and Denmark run through Eriksen making him a tough fade.
Victor Moses (Nigeria vs. Croatia, $8,000) – The Nigerian national team is led by right winger Victor Moses. He takes the majority of the free kicks for the team and sends in tons of crosses making him a better play on DraftKings. Croatia’s defense is solid, but since he is a regular PL starter, Moses shouldn’t have a big issue with this level of play. I think Moses has a solid floor making him a nice cash play, but I don’t think there is a ton of GPP upside. If you’re looking for more of GPP play in Nigeria’s midfield, consider Alex Iwobi ($6,500).
Christian Cueva (Denmark vs. Peru, $8,000) – Another good cash midfielder is Peru’s Christian Cueva. Cueva was extremely important in Peru’s qualifying run scoring 4 goals and 3 assists. Cueva plays fairly high up the field in the 10 spot for Peru, and will be heavily relied on as Peru look to attack. Cueva has also taken some set pieces adding to his fantasy appeal. Renato Tapia ($6,000) is worth a GPP look in Peru’s midfield as well.
Ivan Perisic (Nigeria vs. Croatia, $7,500) – Perisic is my favorite Croatian midfielder, and even more so on DraftKings. With Internazionale in Serie A this season, Perisic averaged 3.1 shots and 5.4 crosses per 90 minutes. He’s good cash play because his ability to get peripheral stats keeps his floor high. Perisic’s price tag is very affordable as well.
Nicolas Otamendi (Iceland vs. Argentina, $7,000) – All EPL/UCL season I was a proponent of finding value at defender, and with FanDuel’s new scoring, I am an even bigger proponent now. However, if you have the need for a higher-priced defender, Otamendi is the man. He’s very good at collecting peripheral statistics, and even joins the attack when he can. He should have that freedom to join the attack in this game against a weaker Iceland team, especially if Argentina get off to an early lead. Additionally, a clean sheet bonus for Otamendi is likely. He’s a good GPP play with his upside, but there are better cash options at lower prices.
Sime Vrsaljko (Nigeria vs. Croatia, $5,000) – Vrsaljko is one of my favorite defenders on DraftKings given the amount of crosses (7 per game) he averaged with Croatia in qualifying. Since FanDuel doesn’t offer points for crosses, I like him less on that site. However, I still think he’s a fair play for a decent price. A clean sheet bonus is not a guarantee, but I’d say it’s more likely than not.
Marcos Rojo (Iceland vs. Argentina, $4,500) – It looks like Rojo is going to gain the start instead of Fazio on defense for Argentina. He’s a veteran defender whose physical style bodes well for stats like tackles, clearances, and interceptions. If you add in his price and the fact that he should get a clean sheet, he makes a good cheap defender play in cash games.
Willian Troost-Ekong ($4,500) and Kenneth Omeruo ($4,000) (Nigeria vs. Croatia) – Both Nigerian center backs are my high-risk GPP picks at defender on this slate. They’ll be busy marking Mario Mandzukic and should have plenty of opportunities to accumulate defense stats. A clean sheet is also not out of the question. They should both be fairly low owned, so you can exploit that as well.
Willy Caballero (Iceland vs. Argentina, $6,000) – As Muslera proved on Friday, there is no reason to chase GK in line for a lot of saves with FanDuel’s new scoring awarding 10 points for a clean sheet and 7 points for a win. I expect Caballero to get both of those bonuses, so you’ll only need a few saves from him to score into the mid-20s. He’s affordable and viable in all formats.
Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark vs. Peru, $5,000) – Schmeichel is normally a save magnet, but I don’t think he will make a ton of saves in this game. Peru doesn’t have the attacking creativity or talent to break down Denmark’s respectable defense. Schmeichel should also get a win and possibly a clean sheet, but it’s not as likely as Caballero (hence the $1,000 price difference).