With the all of the 2nd group stage games complete, we’re entering the home stretch of group play. All games within each group are now played at the same time in an effort to keep things fair. So, there will be two games every day at 10am ET and two more at 2pm ET. This breakdown is for the all day slate, but the advice still applies if you’re playing one of the smaller slates
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal vs. Iran, $14,000) – Through his first two World Cup games this year, Ronaldo is averaging a whopping 46.3 FDP. With Portugal needed at least a tie against Iran in their final group stage game, Ronaldo will be on his A game. Iran has only conceded one goal in their first two games, so the task might not come easy for Portugal. However, we’re talking about one of the top players in the world here in a game where his team needs a positive result. Ronaldo is worth the money in all formats. If you’re looking for a cheap forward on this slate, other Portuguese forward Goncalo Guedes ($7,500) is a GPP punt. Chances should be available against Iran, so if Guedes
Diego Costa (Morocco vs. Spain, $12,000) – My top GPP pivot off Ronaldo is Spain striker Diego Costa, who has scored in each of Spain’s first two games. Spain do not necessarily need a result, but with a win/tie against Morocco (already eliminated) Spain would secure their spot in the knockout round. Costa has been Spain’s clear number one option in front of the goal with 3 goals in 2 games so far. He has a favorable matchup against Morocco and is a good bet to get on the scoresheet with the talented Spain midfielders working to create for him. He should come with lower ownership on both the main slate and all-day slate compared to what it was on the first two Spain slates.
Mo Salah (Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia, $10,500) – Salah made his World Cup debut in a 3-1 loss to Russia this past week. He scored his goal on a penalty kick but added 4 shots (1 on goal) and 2 chances created. Egypt hasn’t been able to muster much offensively in their first two games, but that should change in this game against a weaker Saudi Arabian team. Both teams in this game have been mathematically eliminated from the tournament, so this one will just be ceremonial. Considering Saudi Arabia has allowed opponents to get 27 shots (15 on goal) in their first two games, Salah should be able to use his superior talent to break them down. With his amazing club season, he’ll always be a threat to score right now. He’s a good GPP target with big upside and a fair price.
David Silva (Morocco vs. Spain, $9,500) – Silva is my favorite stud GPP option on this slate. Silva has struggled fantasy-wise in Spain’s first two games, but Silva is too talented to let that last long. Spain has a favorable matchup against Morocco making Silva a prime bounce-back candidate. Spain should control possession in this game resulting in plenty of chances for Silva. With some great expensive options at forward, getting a high-priced midfield could be tough, so I do not expect Silva’s ownership to be that high at all making him a good GPP option with lots of upside.
Carlos Sanchez (Russia vs. Uruguay, $9,000) – Opposite of Silva, Sanchez is my top cash option at midfield. Sanchez has been the main attacking creator in the midfield for Uruguay so far with 6 chances created and 13 crosses in 2 games. He also has an assist in each of Uruguay’s first two games. Both of these team are already through to the next round, so the intensity of this game could depend on how much either of these teams care about winning the group. Sometimes in these games, defense is soft which would benefit creative attackers like Sanchez. In my opinion, his floor is really solid and there is some upside as well for Sanchez.
Trezeguet (Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia, $8,000) – With the addition of Mo Salah to the squad in Egypt’s last game, Trezeguet looked much more dangerous on the attack. He hasn’t done all that well accumulating peripheral stats yet, but against a weaker Saudi team in a meaningless match for both sides, I expect Trezeguet to be more involved on both sides of the ball. His ownership likely won’t be high given his lack of production in the first two matches, but I like him as a risk-reward GPP option.
Isco (Morocco vs. Spain, $7,500) – Isco is another viable risk-reward midfielder like Trezeguet. He’s been effective on the field for Spain, but that success has not translated well to the fantasy game. However, Isco has the talent in a plus matchup that could pay off big if he can find the net. I would stay away from Isco in cash because of his lack of periphals, but with his goal/assist upside, low price, and likely low ownership, he’s worth a look in GPPs.
Ramin Rezaeian (Portugal vs. Iran, $7,000) – Rezaeian is going to be one of my favorite salary relief pieces on this slate. He’s been good for Iran in the midfield, especially against Spain when he had 20.3 FDP. For a player this cheap, 20+ FDP is more than what you’re looking for. In a similar matchup against Portugal, I expect Rezaeian to produce a similar outing again on Monday.
Salman Al Faraj (Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia, $7,000) – Al Faraj has been one of the better Saudi Arabian players in this tournament. In Saudi’s last game against Uruguay, Al Faraj tallied 3 chances created and 5 crosses. Egypt is going to be Saudi’s best matchup of the tournament, so it’s unfortunate that both team are already eliminated. It’s hard to say exactly what is going to come of this game, but I expect both team to play hard (especially offensively) as they fight to avoid finishing last. This could open up the field from the beginning, which will benefit creative attackers like Faraj.
Daniel Carvajal (Morocco vs. Spain, $6,500) – After missing Spain’s first game due to an injury sustain in the UCL Final, Carvajal entered the starting lineup against Iran and produced a 17.9 FDP game. Carvajal is one of the better wing backs in this tournament. He does really well and picking up peripheral stats, and there is no denying his offensive upside. He’s expensive, but this is a good matchup for him (and Spain in general) especially with a clean sheet likely.
Cedric Soares (Portugal vs. Iran, $6,000) – I’ve been waiting for this game to use Soares since this is going to be his best matchup on paper of the group stage. With Iran not expected to challenge Portugal’s defense, Soares will be joining the attack often giving him nice upside. This also means that a clean sheet is likely for Soares. He has a good floor making him a nice cash play on this slate.
Ilya Kutepov (Russia vs. Uruguay, $6,000) – Kutepov has collected many clearances in both of Russia’s first two games and should be able to do it again against Uruguay. I project a good floor for Kutepov, but his offensive upside is limited compared to my other top options Carvajal and Soares.
Ali Gabr (Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia, $4,500) – Gabr is my value defender on this slate. In his last game against Russia, he went 3x value which is about what you’re looking for in soccer DFS. This should be Gabr’s best matchup so I think he posts his best fantasy performance of the tournament. Saudi Arabia hasn’t been able to get much in on goal, so a clean sheet bonus is possible for all Egypt defenders, making them nice value.
Rui Patricio (Portugal vs. Iran, $5,000) – Patricio hasn’t been able to keep both a clean sheet and get a win in the same game, but I think that changes against Iran. Portugal need a positive result to advance, so they’ll be showing no mercy. Iran’s only goal in this tournament has come from a very unfortunate Moroccan own goal, so Patricio’s shot at a clean sheet looks good. He’s got an affordable price-tag and seems like a safe option on this slate.
Igor Akinfeev (Russia vs. Uruguay, $5,500) – Let me start this off by saying that Akinfeev is a high-risk, high-reward GPP option. I like Akinfeev because, since both of these teams have already clinched a spot in the next round, I can see Uruguay taking their foot off the gas. However, I still imagine Russia playing hard in front of their home fans with a chance to win the group. Akinfeev should make a decent number of saves, and if he can get a clean sheet and/or win, he’ll have massive upside.