World Cup DFS Breakdown – 7/3/18

Forwards

Harry Kane (England vs. Colombia, $13,000) – After scoring 5 goals in just 2 group stage games, Harry Kane had a well-earned day of rest in England’s third group stage game against Belgium.  Kane’s incredible form is undeniable having scored 30 goals (2nd most behind Salah) in the EPL this season, but he has not faced a team the same caliber of Colombia yet in this tournament.  Kane is still obviously England’s number one attacker, but a ferocious Colombian defense should challenge him.  Regardless, Harry Kane is also a shot monster which is important because it gives Kane a good floor on FanDuel.  He’s not a must-play in my eyes, but he’s a proven goal-scorer in one of the biggest matches of his career so far, so I expect Kane to be on his best.  Raheem Sterling ($9,500) on the other hand as not been impressive in the World Cup, but with his speed and ability to create chances, he’ll be a solid GPP option.

Falcao (England vs. Colombia, $11,000) – As far as forward options go on this slate, the lack of value is concerning.  It also makes me like Falcao some, but mostly be default.  Falcao does have 1 goal to his name in the World Cup so far (and also three shots on goal).  He’s always a danger to score from a header, but England center backs should be able to defend that well.  However, England is facing a good team with something to play for for the first time in this World Cup.  Colombia has been dangerous in front of the net, so Falcao and company could catch them flat.  I would reserve Falcao for GPPs as a goal-dependent forward.

Breel Embolo (Switzerland vs. Sweden, $7,000) – If I had to choose a value forward to play on FanDuel, I would favor Embolo.  The Swiss forward has played in all three World Cup games (2 as a late substitute), with his best game coming in his lone start against Costa Rica where he had 20.6 FDP.  If we can get that out of him in this game, it will be a success.  The 21-year-old scored 3 goals in about 10 games worth of minutes for Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga this season.  I’m looking for him to produce a few shots on goal and some other peripherals, with a goal being icing on the cake.  His matchup against Sweden isn’t necessarily good or bad on paper, but he could be a necessary risk unless you’re paying up for two top forwards.

Luis Muriel (England vs. Colombia, $6,500) – Here’s a quick note on Muriel.  James Rodriguez ($9,000) got injured in Colombia’s last game and Muriel came on as his replacement.  It is unclear right now whether or not James (who I like a lot if he’s healthy) will be fit to play.  If he can’t, Muriel is likely to get another start.  He’ll provide some deep forward value if he does play.

Midfielders

Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland vs. Sweden, $9,500) – Shaqiri is the most expensive (but still fairly cheap) midfielder on this slate, and he’ll be a good stud to pair with Kane/Falcao in cash games.  Shaqiri’s play in this World Cup hasn’t been great from a fantasy perspective, but it hasn’t been awful either.  He came through for his country with a massive late goal against Serbia to help Switzerland to this stage, and since everything goes through him on offense, Shaqiri is in a good spot be productive against a Swedish team that likes to sit in defensively.

Viktor Claesson (Switzerland vs. Sweden, $8,500) – Claesson has arguably been Sweden’s key attacker so far in the World Cup with 2 assists and 6 chances created in 3 games on a team that does not emphasize attacking.  Claesson had 10 goals and added 6 assists this club season with Krasnodar, so there is upside present.  In a win-or-go-home situation, Claesson will be heavily relied on making him a solid cash play but a better GPP option.

Dele Alli (England vs. Colombia, $8,500) – Dele Alli looks like he successfully shook an injury he sustained earlier in the World Cup and should start on Tuesday against Colombia.  Alli is England’s main attacking midfielder and will no doubt be involved early and often in this one.  His club connection with Harry Kane could come in useful as well in what should be a fairly open game.  He’s viable in all formats.

Juan Quintero (England vs. Colombia, $8,000) – Quintero has been a key player in Colombia’s midfield so far in this World Cup with 1 goal, 2 assists, and 5 chances created.  With James questionable, a ton of the attacking load would fall on Quintero, so he would be a great play for $8,000 in all formats.  I don’t like Quintero any more if James sits but I would give a nice bump to Juan Caudrado ($7,500).  The speedster will be able to challenge England’s defense, and if James can’t play, Cuadrado would become an even more important piece for Colombia.  He’s still a good play in my mind with James on the field given his price.

Defenders

Kieran Trippier (England vs. Colombia, $6,000) – Looking at the top defenders on this slate, there are a lot of people who will flock to Granqvist, Mina, and Stones with their recent game logs.  I am fading all of those top options because they’re only up there for some goals they’ve scored even though none of them are known for scoring goals.  Trippier, however, is known for his attacking upside as a defender.  In his two games, he’s averaging 18.5 FDP including 1 assist and 7 chances created.  Trippier will always add a few defensive peripheral stats as well giving him a solid floor.  Colombia is a matchup that Trippier can exploit if he brings his A game.  He’s my top defender on the slate and should be affordable with not many high-priced stars on the slate.

Mikael Lustig (Switzerland vs. Sweden, $6,000) – Lustig has been a cash game lock of mine on Sweden’s slate, and it has paid off in all three games.  He has 18 clearances so far in 3 games which is where he’ll get most of his fantasy points.  Good thing for him, Sweden often play defensively so clearances will come.  Lustig has also shown some attacking upside with at least one chance created in each game.  As more and more people realize Lustig is a good play, his ownership keeps climbing, but that will not deter me from playing him in at least one lineup.  Ludwig Augustinsson ($5,500) and Victor Lindelof ($5,000) are also viable plays on this slate.  Sweden’s tough defense could cause issues for Switzerland’s attack, so a clean sheet bonus is possible for these three.

Nico Elvedi (Switzerland vs. Sweden, $3,500) – Elvedi looks like he might get his first start of the World Cup, and if he does, anyone at minimum price is worth playing as a salary-saver.  This game should yield a good number of peripheral stats which makes Elvedi a good value defender.

Goalkeepers

Robin Olsen (Switzerland vs. Sweden, $6,000) – There are not any GKs that are clearly in line for a win and a clean sheet.  I think Olsen has a decent shot at both, though, with Sweden’s strong defense and Switzerland’s lack of good attackers.  Olsen had make 7 saves so far, and I’ll take another 3-4 from him in this game.  Olsen could also add a few points via clearances, which some GKs do not do.

Jordan Pickford (England vs. Colombia, $4,500) – Pickford has yet to keep a clean sheet which has been disappointing for fantasy owners.  However, with the way they’ve scored goals, it hasn’t been necessary for Pickford to keep a clean sheet.  In a much bigger game, Pickford will need to be on his best if England hopes to win.  I foresee Pickford making more saves in this game than he has in past games.  With James possibly out, Colombia could struggle to put it all together in front of goal, so Pickford would have big game upside if he can pull of a clean sheet and win.

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