Champions League Quarterfinals: Daily Fantasy Soccer Helper for Week 1
The main slate for the first week of the Champions League quarterfinals includes all four matches.
|Champions League Quarterfinals|
|Monaco at Dortmund|
|Barcelona at Juventus|
|Leicester City at Atlético Madrid|
|Real Madrid at Bayern Munich|
The two big favorites for the first legs are Dortmund and Atlético Madrid, both of whom are playing at home. Dortmund is a 1-goal favorite over Monaco while Atleti is a 1.5-goal favorite against Leicester. Bayern Munich is a 0.5-goal favorite at home versus Real Madrid, and the Barcelona-Juventus matchup, which is in Italy, is listed as pickem.
With those lines in mind, let's break down the DFS landscape for this week's Champions League action.
Antoine Griezmann ($12,100): With Atleti such a big home favorite over Leicester, Griezmann will probably be a very popular player. Diego Simeone's squad has an appealing 2-goal implied total, and even though Leicester have turned their season around under Craig Shakespeare, Los Colchoneros are expected to control this one. Griezmann has scored 15 goals with 7 assists this year in La Liga play, and he netted a late game-tying goal versus Real Madrid at the weekend
If fellow Atleti forward Kevin Gameiro ($9,500) plays -- he missed the Madrid derby due to injury -- he'd make for an intriguing pivot play. Gameiro has 10 goals and 5 assists in 19 domestic league starts this campaign.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($12,300): Dortmund has the highest implied total (2.25 goals) of the slate, and the Dortmund-Monaco matchup, which boasts the slate's top over/under (3.5 goals), should be a lung-busting affair. Monaco are known for their high-powered attack (88 goals in 31 domestic league matches), but they've been leaky at the back against top-tier teams. They conceded four goals to Paris Saint Germain in a recent cup match, and they surrendered five goals in their Round of 16 first leg clash at Manchester City.
Aubameyang is the clear-cut top goal-scoring option for Dortmund. He's made the net bulge 25 times in 26 Bundesliga matches while no other Dortmund player has scored more than 6 goals. The only negative here, similar to Griezmann, is that Aubameyang profiles as a pretty chalky play with Dortmund a 1-goal home favorite. For those in large-field tournaments, super teen Ousmane Dembele ($10,300), owner of six goals and nine assists while playing out wide for Dortmund, offers an intriguing option for lineup differentiation as well as $2,000 in savings.
Fernando Torres ($8,100): On a slate with this many top-notch sides, it's hard to find more than a couple cheap forwards who could play big minutes. If Gamerio is out, Torres could fit that bill. He was in the starting XI against Real Madrid last Saturday, and he's scored five goals with five assists in 10 starts (plus 14 appearances as a substitute) in La Liga play this season.
Radamel Falcao ($8,300): As we just mentioned, Monaco have one of Europe's top attacks this year, firing home an astounding 88 goals in 31 Ligue 1 matches. Even though they're a 1-goal underdog, Monaco still owns a solid 1.25-goal implied total. Falcao has found the net a team-best 17 times in domestic league play, adding 4 assists.
After missing four weeks with a hip ailment, he returned to action this past weekend and scored a goal in a 1-0 win. In his last Champions League appearance, a Round of 16 fixture with Manchester City, Falcao totaled 51.5 FanDuel points via a pair of goals, including this stunning chip.
Thiago Alcantara ($9,000): Fellow Bayern Munich midfielder Arjen Robben ($9,300) is probably the better bet for a goal, but Thiago offers a safe floor thanks to his pivotal role in Bayern's system. One of the top players in Europe this season, per WhoScored.com's rating system, Thiago is averaging 96.9 passes per match, which gives him a superb DFS foundation as he's scored at least 13 FanDuel points from passing alone in six of his seven Champions League outings this season.
He's also scored four goals and recorded five assists. Bayern have a 1.75-goal implied total, and Thiago figures to be heavily involved in any chances the German club creates.
Toni Kroos ($9,300): Similar to Thiago, Kroos is a key, workmanlike cog in his team's attack. Kroos averages 72 passes per match, completes his passes at a 91.8% clip, and has registered 11 assists -- all of which are team-high numbers for Real Madrid. He also offers the upside of taking corners and long free kicks, which gives him added chances for an assist.
His ability to send in dangerous balls coupled with the world-class heading ability of Los Blancos teammates Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Pepe leads to goals like this one from Saturday's Madrid derby.
Yannick Carrasco ($7,100): We're back drinking at the Atlético Madrid well, and it's not our last stop. Carrasco has eight goals and four assists in 22 La Liga starts this season. With Atleti likely to see a ton of the ball, he should get to spend much of this matchup playing forward and creating chances without having to worry too much about his defensive responsibilities.
Danny Drinkwater ($6,700): While the expected game script in the Leicester-Atlético clash should allow Carrasco to play to his strengths, Drinkwater, a defensive midfielder for the Foxes, should get to play to his strengths as a defensive engine.
His upside isn't too appealing because of how unlikely it is that he scores a goal, but Drinkwater's defensive prowess gives him a solid floor. At Sevilla in the Champions League Round of 16, a game which played out in a similar fashion to what most expect for this matchup at the Vicente Calderón, Drinkwater totaled 5 tackles and 4 clearances on his way to 27.25 FanDuel points.
Gerard Pique ($6,500): It sounds blasphemous, but Barcelona have been outmanned in midfield at times this year, resulting in Pique having to do more defending than usual in some matches. One such match was the shocking 4-0 loss at PSG in their last road game in this competition, a match in which Pique scored 23.75 FanDuel points.
Playing on the road at Juventus, Barca should absorb a fair amount of pressure, giving Pique a respectable floor. The suspension of Barca's world-class defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets should also help keep Pique fairly busy defensively. Plus, if Barca fall behind and are chasing the crucial away goal late, Pique is really their only viable aerial weapon on crosses and corners, and they're not afraid to let him roam up into a forward role.
Filipe Luis ($6,000): Luis is a mainstay at left back for Atlético, and the matchup with Leicester figures to give him plenty of opportunities to get forward and play balls into the box. Luis has four assists this season, and he averages 56.2 passes per match, the third-most for Atleti. Admittedly, there's some risk here because his likely lack of defensive actions lowers his floor, but the upside of an assist or goal is there, too.
Yohan Benalouane ($4,600): With Wes Morgan likely out, it should be Benalouane pairing with Robert Huth at the center of Leicester's back line, and those two should be very busy. The Foxes see just 44% of the possession in Premier League play, and they registered a meager 27% possession clip in their last Champions League road match, a 2-1 loss at Sevilla. Playing at Atlético Madrid, Leicester will probably spend a lot of time pinned back in their own territory, meaning Benalouane (and Huth) should have ample chances to rack up defensive statistics.
Nacho Fernandez ($5,700): Real Madrid stalwart Pepe suffered broken ribs Saturday, so he's going to be unavailable for the match at Bayern. With Raphael Varane already on the shelf, Nacho is the likely starter by default. Nacho has been something of a revelation this season for Real, filling in all across the back line. He averages 2.6 clearances, 1.9 tackles and 1.8 interceptions per match. Those numbers aren't all that attractive, but locked into a central role for a road match against Bayern, Nacho should busier than normal.
Goalies to Target
Gianluigi Buffon ($7,700): Rostering a goalie against the front three of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi is a bit scary, but Barca are actually tied for the second-lowest implied total (1.25) of the slate. While the Blaugrana will undoubtedly create a few chances, the legendary Buffon is having a great season as Juve have conceded just 20 goals in 31 Serie A matches. Buffon kept a clean sheet in both legs of their Round of 16 tie versus Porto.
Manuel Neuer ($7,400): Neuer is expected to return from injury to host Real Madrid. Bayern have been incredibly stingy at home this year, giving up a mere six goals in 14 matches at the Allianz Arena in domestic league play. Even with Neuer injured, Bayern have surrendered just two goals over their last six league fixtures. Neuer, possibly the best goalie in the world, has a combination of save upside against Real Madrid and the outside possibility of a clean sheet if things break perfectly. His passing ability also boosts his floor as he's scored at least five FanDuel points from passing alone in six of his seven Champions League appearances this campaign.