Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 2/21/18
This primer will be focusing on Manchester United at Sevilla and Shakhtar Donetsk hosting Roma. Both games are pick 'em and have an over/under of 2.5 goals. Roma and United are favorites to advance out of the two-legged tie.
This matchday has the least appeal of all four days of Champions League knockout round play thus far to the general soccer fan, but many eyes will be on United after recent struggles in the Premier League. Unsurprisingly it is two of Manchester United's biggest stars, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, that carry the biggest price tags of the day.
Let's look at some players at various price points.
Forwards to Target
Alexis Sanchez ($12,500) -- Champions League play had to be part of the motivation for Sanchez moving to United in January. He must show his worth in attack for his new team. Jose Mourinho will likely continue playing him down the left side, but he often finds himself in the opponent's 18-yard box. That is not where the fans want him to play, but it's how he's been deployed. Sanchez had a big hand in United's recent FA Cup win and even embraced a pitch-invading kid, showing his lighthearted side. However, now he takes the big stage for his new club. Although Sanchez's performances over the years have warranted his presence on this stage, this is not necessarily about stats. It is about showing why he is a big-money transfer, especially with his team dealing with mounting injuries and illnesses.
Edin Dzeko ($10,500) -- FanDuel's pricing for the forwards in action on Wednesday is easy to understand, as about $2,000 separates each of the tiers. Dzeko comes in $2,000 below Sanchez and should lead the line for Roma in Ukraine. He rarely gets a rest for Roma, but only has three goals in his last seven matches. However, he leads all of Serie A in total shots and shots on target. He is second in the domestic league in shots off the woodwork. Dzeko ranks second in this fixture as an anytime goal scorer behind the next target. Shakhtar only have one clean sheet in their last 12 Champions League matches, so Dzeko should get plenty of chances.
Facundo Ferreyra ($8,000) -- Ferreyra is the top goal scorer in the Ukrainian Premier League, having scored 15 of Shakhtar's 43 goals in domestic play. He scored twice this past Friday, which was Shakhtar's first competitive match in two months. He finished with two goals and an assist in the Group Stage and earned man of the match honors in the first contest against Napoli. Ferreyra has 22 goals in 29 games across all competitions and should be at the front of the Shakhtar attack.
Midfielders to Target
Marlos ($8,000) -- Marlos is second in the league in goal-scoring, having tallied 10 goals in domestic play. He and Ferreyra have combined for 58% of Shakhtar's goals. Marlos also scored two goals on Friday against Chernomorets Odessa in league play. He is one of WhoScored.com's top in-form midfielders from his spot attacking on the right side. He averaged over 24 FanDuel points per game in the Group Stage due in part to a two-goal performance against Feyenoord. He was credited with 10 chances created in the six matches in group play, while drawing 17 fouls. Clearly, he is comfortable with the ball at his feet and will take on Roma defenders.
Franco Vazquez ($7,000) -- Midfielders in these fixtures are generally affordable, but Sevilla's Vazquez is definitely a value play. The issue for him has been playing time, but Sevilla have mounting injury concerns, leaving Vincenzo Montella short of options through the midfield. Vazquez should settle in behind the lead striker to help push the Sevilla attack against Manchester United. Since securing a starting role in early October, Vazquez has only come off the bench twice. He also has a goal, two assists, and nine shots over his last five games. Sevilla did score the same number of goals in the Group Stage as Manchester United, so there should be room for Vazquez to create in front of the home fans.
Fred ($5,500) -- Fred is the cheapest expected starting midfielder of the day, despite averaging 19.1 FanDuel points per match in the Group Stage. He had a 31-fantasy-point game without a goal against Napoli in November. Fred was said to be a target for Manchester City in January, but Shakhtar were able to keep him. He plays a pivotal role in front of the back line. He was credited with 16 tackles, seven interceptions, three blocks, and four clearances in group play. His offensive numbers are not exciting, but his price will be worth it for his normal, tenacious defensive effort.
Defenders to Target
Aleksandar Kolarov ($7,000) -- Roma's Kolarov is tied with Antonio Valencia for the most expensive defender on the slate. Valencia may be a more common name, which warrants more ownership, but Kolarov spent most of his career at Manchester City. He averaged 22 points per game in the Group Stage, which included a 44-point game against Chelsea. He does get involved offensively, averaging two shots and over two key passes per game in Serie A. Kolarov is averaging over five defensive actions per match across all competitions. He also leads his team in total touches and passes by a wide margin. Kolarov should get forward and join the attack against Shakhtar.
Kostas Manolas ($5,500) -- Kolarov's back line teammate Manolas has made 26 total appearances and has shown his ability to pass under pressure. He has amassed at least eight clearances six times in Serie A this season. He has 19 clearances in five Champions League games so far this season. That has helped him average over 18 FanDuel points per game in the Group Stage. Manolas, a supposed Arsenal transfer target, said the Italian giants were feeling plenty of pressure at the beginning of this month, but they have turned their fortunes around. They have won three in a row with two matches being clean sheets.
Ismaily ($4,500) -- Penciled in as Shakhtar's starting left back, Ismaily will try to get forward on the side opposite Kolarov. He scored in the last match of the Group Stage against Manchester City, but that is not the Brazilian defender's calling card. That was his best game of the Group Stage, to push his FanDuel average to 14.5 points per game. However, he will be depended upon for defense and the occasional cross. He had at least one tackle in every match of the Group Stage and collected 24 other defensive actions. He also created three chances and drew eight fouls. There is only one other expected starter on the back line priced lower than Ismaily, but Gabriel Mercado's Sevilla team are facing a much more fierce attack.
Keeper to Target
David de Gea ($6,000) -- There is only one keeper on Wednesday that warrants attention with the highest chance for a clean sheet. De Gea averaged 18 FanDuel points per game in the Group Stage, two points more than any other keeper expected to start on Wednesday. The Spanish keeper says he is happy at Manchester United and has been incredibly influential this season in every competition. Unlike the other keepers in action, de Gea has the ability to steal a game and is now in the debate for the world's best keeper. There will likely be some attention given to Roma's Alisson, but there have been over 2.5 goals in each of Shakhtar's last four Champions League games and the game is played on their home field. Each of Manchester United's last seven wins across all competitions have been clean sheets.
Douglas Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Douglas Smith also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username aquemini03. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.