Neymar (Switzerland vs. Brazil, $12,500) – Neymar is one of the most explosive players, in real games and from a fantasy perspective, in this tournament. The Swiss will sit deep defensively in this game hoping to stuff Brazil’s attack and have success on the counter attack. Brazil sometimes struggle breaking down defensive teams with this strategy, however, Neymar has proven that he can play with the best of the best, so this does not worry me. As one of the favorites to win the Golden Boot, Neymar should be a popular play in the group stage. Gabriel Jesus ($11,000) is a cheaper way (although still high-priced) to get exposure to Brazil’s dangerous attack. Both players are viable in all formats.
Marco Reus (Mexico vs. Germany, $9,000) – Price included, Reus is my favorite of the three German forwards for cash games. His creative ability, especially by way of crosses and shots, translate well to the fantasy game. I’m expecting this game to be action-filled with chances on both ends, resulting in a plus matchup for a wide player like Reus. As long as he can stay healthy, he’ll be a good cash option in the group stage. Timo Werner ($10,500) and Thomas Muller ($11,000) are too expensive for me unless you’re looking to play them in GPPs as a goal-dependent forward.
Hirving Lozano (Mexico vs. Germany, $7,000) – Lozano is the cheapest of the 3 Mexican forwards on this slate, but I think he’s the best option. He had a strong season with PSV tallying 17 goals and 8 assists while averaging 3.8 shots, 7.6 crosses, and 2.9 chances created per 90 minutes. Lozano will be an even better play against the weaker teams in the group, but still remains a good play against Germany especially with his price. For another $1,000 you can take the chance on Carlos Vela ($8,000) or Chicharito ($8,000). The same story goes for these two. They’ll be better plays in the next two games.
Mesut Ozil (Mexico vs. Germany, $9,500) – Instead of paying for Muller/Werner, I would prefer saving some salary money and just getting Ozil as exposure to Germany’s attack. He’s a creative mastermind with the ball at his feet, and since Germany are a possession-first team, he should have the ball at his feet often. Ozil’s main source of fantasy points is going to come from assists, crosses, and chances created as well as some defensive stats. His price is fair in my mind, and with his activity on the ball, he has a safe floor. Toni Kroos ($9,000) is another safe option in the midfield. Both players will take some corners and set pieces adding to their fantasy appeal.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland vs. Brazil, $8,500) – Shaqiri is really the only Swiss FWD or MID that I will be targeting in the group stage. He had about as good of a season as you can have on a Stoke side that ended up getting relegated from the Premier League averaging 2 shots, 6 crosses, and 2.3 chances created per 90 minutes. He will be Switzerland’s main force going up the field and could catch Brazil defenders out of position if they are too far forward. One last note on him is that he will be showcasing his talent to possible buyers this summer as he looks for a move away from Stoke.
Paulinho (Switzerland vs. Brazil, $7,500) – Price considered, Paulinho is my favorite GPP play in Brazil’s midfield. Coutinho ($10,500) is not a bad play by any means, but his new position as the number 8 for Brazil will most likely lead to less shots for him. It seems wiser to save $3,000 and find less ownership with Paulinho who, stats wise, had a more productive club season than Coutinho and Willian ($10,000). Both Coutinho and Willian are viable options though, especially since they’ll split set piece duties.
Joshua Kimmich (Mexico vs. Germany, $7,500) – Here I continue finding exposure to Germany while avoiding this center forwards. Kimmich will assume a similar to role to the one he played for Bayern Munich all season as a wing defender who will track up the wide areas of the field and put crosses in. This makes him a very appealing player on DraftKings, while still being viable on FanDuel. During this club season, he showed goal and assist upside. Kimmich also totaled 9 assists in World Cup qualifying, and sometimes takes free kicks which is a big bonus as a defender. Jonas Hector ($5,000) is a similar type of player in a similar situation, but he is not the same caliber player as Kimmich, hence the $2,500 price difference.
Ricardo Rodriguez (Switzerland vs. Brazil, $6,000) – Rodriguez was impressive for Switzerland in their qualifying games tallying a team-leading 3 goals. The lack of goals for the Swiss as a team is concerning, so I will be sticking to their fullbacks Rodriguez and Stephan Lichtsteiner ($5,000). Both players will push up the field when they can and add crosses often like they do for their respective club teams. Unfortunately, neither will get a clean sheet in this game a against Brazil.
Danilo (Switzerland vs. Brazil, $5,500) – My cash value defenders on this slate are Brazil. With a clean sheet likely, they’ll need to collect a few peripheral stats to pay off. Danilo will occasionally join the attack and send in crosses, making him the preferred play over Marquinhos ($5,000). Marcelo ($7,500) is a great play, especially on DraftKings. He regularly outscores midfielders and is the best left defender in the world, so don’t feel bad paying up for him and down for a midfielder.
Alisson (Switzerland vs. Brazil, $5,500) – Alisson had himself a really nice season with Roma this year, advancing all the way to the UCL semifinals. With a possible 17 bonus points from a clean sheet and a win on FanDuel now, I am usually going to be prioritizing those. Against a Swiss team that struggles mightily on offense, I feel good about Alisson getting those bonuses. If he can add a few saves, he should produce a 20+ FDP game.
Manuel Neuer (Mexico vs. Germany, $6,000) – Normally I like to write about 2 GK options at least, and since I don’t like Sommer (SWI) or Corona (MEX), I have to write up Neuer. Neuer hasn’t played in a meaningful game in months so his form and fitness are a big question mark. He plays behind a steady defense, but I think Mexico scores in this one resulting in no clean sheet. He should make enough saves and clearances to counteract that, and a win should be likely.