Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 3/6/18
The Champions League is back for the Round-of-16 return legs, and FanDuel is offering separate two-game main slates on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
This primer will focus solely on Tuesday's matches -- Real Madrid at PSG and Porto at Liverpool. Oddsmakers are expecting goals as both matches have at least a 3.0-goal over/under. Liverpool are 1.0-goal home favorites with a 2.0-goal implied total and figure to be very popular after they thrashed Porto, 5-0, in Portugal in the first leg. PSG are in a 3-1 hole after the first leg, and they are 0.5-goal home favorites with a 2.0-goal implied total.
Let's go through the four positions and look at some players to target at various price points.
Forwards to Target
Edinson Cavani (10,500) and Kylian Mbappe ($10,500) -- Both Paris forwards are in dope spots with Neymar out and PSG needing to score at least two goals. PSG should be playing on the front foot, and both Cavani and Mbappe figure to be heavily involved against a Real Madrid team that has given up five goals across their last three road games in La Liga. Even though PSG lost the first leg by a 3-1 score, they split the possession 50-50 and fired off 8 shots, which bodes well for their chances to damage Real in this one. Neither Cavani nor Mbappe did much of note in Madrid, but that was with Neymar in the side. Sans Neymar, they should be the focal points of PSG's attack, and Cavani will likely assume penalty duties, a big plus for his value. Cavani has 24 goals and 4 assists in 24 starts in Ligue 1 play while Mbappe has recorded 10 goals and 8 assists in 17 starts.
Roberto Firmino (11,500) -- Liverpool slaughtered Porto, 5-0, in the first leg, and that one was in Portugal. The Reds are surprisingly just a 1.0-goal favorite for the second leg, but that's unlikely to hinder their ownership as Firmino and the rest of Liverpool's front three -- we'll get to the other two in a minute -- should be heavily owned. Firmino has notched 13 goals and 7 assists in 25 Premier League starts, and his Champions League form has been even better as he's bagged seven goals (including one at Porto) with three assists through seven UCL matches.
Karim Benzema ($9,500) -- It's not in Real Madrid's DNA to park the bus, so even though they're on the road and protecting a two-goal cushion, they're still a good bet to score (1.5-goal implied total). As always, Cristiano Ronaldo ($13,000) has the best chance to net a goal for Real, but his salary is pretty restrictive on a slate with several other enticing high-priced players. That brings us to Benzema. The makeup of this slate plus the fact Benz has just four goals and seven assists in 17 La Liga starts should put a fairly low cap on the Frenchman's ownership, making him an appealing GPP play.
Midfielders to Target
Mo Salah ($11,000) and Sadio Mane ($10,500) -- Salah has been one of the best players in the world this year, racking up an astounding 24 goals and 8 assists in 26 Premier League starts. In EPL play, he's got a goal or assist in 11 straight matches, and Salah has totaled six goals and one assist in seven Champions League games this season. He put up 32 FanDuel points at Porto and offers both huge upside and a nice floor, scoring at least 32 FanDuel points in four of his last five Champions League matches. Mane scored a hat trick on his way to a whopping 71.5-FanDuel-point day in the first leg. He's got eight goals and five assists in EPL play, and he's netted six goals across his last three Champions League matches, making the net bulge on six of his seven shots on target in that span. He's a great pivot off Salah, who will likely see gobs of ownership.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ($8,500) and James Milner ($7,500) -- OK, two more Liverpool players. Both guys are nice GPP options for those who want to fade Liverpool's front three, but neither is a for-sure starter, so check the Reds' lineup. Oxlade-Chamberlain has rounded into form in his first season with Liverpool, amassing three goals and five assists in 26 Premier League appearances (12 starts). Milner has made 11 EPL starts with 13 appearances as a sub, but he started the first leg and showed well with an assist and 21 FanDuel points. Liverpool should have plenty of the ball, so the Ox and Milner will offer good upside if they're in the starting XI.
Angel Di Maria ($8,000) -- Di Maria is expected to step into a starting role in the place of Neymar, and his salary doesn't reflect that. He's got eight goals and five assists in 18 Ligue 1 starts, and he is a great guy to stack with Cavani. PSG simply have to score at least two goals -- maybe more if they concede -- so they have every incentive to take risks with the ball in an effort to create chances. That plays right into Di Maria's hands (feet?) as he can fire his trademark crosses into Cavani's path at every chance.
Casemiro ($10,000) -- Casemiro offers a nice floor as he should be busy against PSG. Casemiro has put up at least 25 FanDuel points in five of his six Champions League starts this season, with the lone exception being a respectable 17-point day. He's done it without the benefit of a goal or assist, relying primarily on passing and defensive actions, the latter of which is something we should be able to count on in Paris.
Defenders to Target
Diego Reyes ($4,500) and Marcano ($5,500) -- Whoever starts in Porto's back line will be high-floor options as Porto figure to be under siege at Anfield. These two started for Porto in the first leg. In that one, Marcano finished with 16.25 FanDuel points, and Reyes had 20.0. With so many appealing high-priced options on this slate, we'll need to save coin wherever possible, and that makes Reyes mighty attractive if he starts.
Dani Alves ($7,500) -- Alves never needs much incentive to get forward from his right-back spot, but PSG's two-goal deficit gives him just that. Alves offers a decent floor -- at least 15 FanDuel points in five of his seven Champions League games this season -- to go with as much upside as any defender. With so much attacking talent on this slate, paying up for a defender probably won't be a popular route for most DFS players, so going with Alves should differentiate your lineup if you can make the money work elsewhere.
Marcelo ($5,000) -- Given Real Madrid's cushion, Marcelo may be a bit more defensive-minded than he usually is, but he's still going to get forward when possible. And if PSG find themselves in desperation mode, they could leave themselves vulnerable on the counter. Marcelo was a wrecking ball in the first leg, totaling 40 FanDuel points and doing a little of everything -- 1 goal, 4 tackles, 1 clearance, 1 interception and 2 chances created. He's a cheap way to get access to Real's 1.5-goal implied total.
Goalies to Target
Alphonse Areola ($5,000) --- Despite conceding three goals, Areola played fairly well at Madrid in the first leg. He made five saves, and he couldn't do a whole lot about any of the three goals. There's a chance PSG could advance even with a Real Madrid goal on Tuesday, but their best bet to move on is keeping a clean sheet, something Areola has done in four of his seven Champions League games this season.
Iker Casillas ($4,500) -- The former Real Madrid star has been Porto's starter in goal since the 5-0 loss to Liverpool. You can't touch Saint Iker in cash games because he could very easily put up a complete dud, but he makes some sense as a cheap tourney dart throw. Liverpool will almost surely score (2.0-goal implied total), but if Casillas can limit the damage to just a goal or two, he could wind up with a handful of saves and turn in a respectable fantasy day.
Austan Kas is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austan Kas also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username akas247. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.