Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 3/14/18
Chelsea travels to Barcelona tied 1-1 on aggregate, but Barcelona got an away goal to take back home. Chelsea managed a victory in the Premier League this past weekend, but the team has been inconsistent, with Eden Hazard wanting more help in attack.
Besiktas will host Bayern Munich with a seemingly insurmountable deficit. Bayern's 5-0 win in the first leg could allow for some squad rotation for the German powers.
Let's look at some players at various price points.
Forwards to Target
Lionel Messi ($13,500) -- Why would anyone doubt Messi in this situation? Messi has been in incredible form all season long. Barcelona is also eight points clear at the top of the La Liga table, so they can focus a bit more on Champions League play. Chelsea is expected to be without three key contributors. Messi is the most expensive player on the slate, but he has averaged 30.2 FanDuel points in seven Champions League matches this season. After not seeing much of the ball around the Chelsea penalty area in leg one, he put away his only real good chance of the game to push the momentum back to his team. Messi leads La Liga in goals and has scored in each of his last four domestic appearances. He also leads the league in assists with 12. He has only one assist in the Champions League, but that has not stopped him from being the second-highest points per game player on this slate.
Pedro ($8,500) -- Hazard's comments about needing help in attack bring some uncertainty to the lineup that gaffer Antonio Conte will trot out in Barcelona. However, Conte also seemed unsure of his team's lack of experience in this type of match and has not shown confidence in either Olivier Giroud or Alvaro Morata to lead the attack. Pedro is the top points per game player among the Chelsea forwards. He also only played two minutes in the Premier League match this past weekend and would be fit to face Barcelona. Willian and Hazard are the more in-form guys (both listed as midfielders on FanDuel), but Pedro is a former Barcelona player and understands the stage and playing in front of fans at the Camp Nou. In the two away matches he played in the Group Stage, Pedro scored 48.75 total FanDuel points with no goals and only one assist. He created five chances in those two matches and kept the Chelsea attack moving with crisp passing.
Sandro Wagner ($6,500) -- Wagner should be the beneficiary of some Bayern squad rotation. Robert Lewandowski scored a hat trick over the weekend and is a booking away from a ban, so there is no reason to risk him with such a significant lead. Wagner should start in the middle of attack for Bayern, a team that has won their last seven away matches by a combined total of 19-2. He has not played in the Champions League this season, but he does have a goal in three of his last five matches despite playing the full 90 minutes only once in that stretch. Wagner did score once in Europa League action when he was still with Hoffenheim. Wagner is a threat in the air, so he will be a target on set pieces. If Bayern attack, they should get fouled plenty as Besiktas grows more frustrated on the wrong end of a lopsided scoreline.
Midfielders to Target
Thiago Alcantara ($8,500) -- Thiago should be the man orchestrating the Bayern attack from the midfield. With the squad rotation, he may start on the outside, but Javi Martinez will do more of the shielding, allowing Thiago more freedom on the pitch. Thiago battled some of his own injuries this season, but he has recently returned and was used only as a substitute in the 6-0 victory over Hamburg last weekend. He should be rested and ready for Wednesday. He notched an assist in his previous start for the club. Thiago averages 22.4 FanDuel points per game over five UCL appearances this season, and that includes a 56.75-point performance against Anderlecht in the group stage. He has scored once, created eight chances, and been fouled seven times in that one. He has also recorded 26 defensive actions in Champions League play, giving him a nice floor.
Cesc Fabregas ($8,000) -- Keeping the former Barcelona player narrative going, Fabregas will not be fazed by a starting spot in this crucial match. Fabregas should get the start in central midfield as Chelsea look for their own away goal to advance to the next round. Fabregas has played in all of Chelsea's Champions League matches this season and averages 26.2 fantasy points per outing. He has scored only one goal, but his solid defensive effort has shown in his FanDuel scoring. Fabregas has also been credited for 20 chances created. Fabregas may not be able to play the entire match after going 88 minutes against Crystal Palace this past weekend, but he should be able to produce well in his time on the field. If Conte does go defensive from the start, look for Danny Drinkwater to be a value play at just $5,500.
Sergio Busquets ($6,500) -- Busquets has not been as visible in the Champions League thus far this season, but he should be employed right behind Messi on Wednesday given Barcelona's injuries in the midfield. Busquets is averaging just 14.5 FanDuel points per game, but the leg-one draw with Chelsea was his best game through seven appearances. He created one chance in attack and had eight defensive actions. He led Barcelona in touches and had a 92% pass success rate. Busquets should continue to play that pivot role linking offense from defense.
Defenders to Target
Dusko Tosic ($6,500) -- Pepe is injured and Domagoj Vida is suspended for Besiktas. That means the responsibility falls on Tosic as they try to take home some pride from the second leg. Tosic has performed well in the Champions League, averaging more in every key defensive stat on Europe's biggest stage than he is in the Super Lig. He started on the bench for the first leg, but he still managed 11 FanDuel points in 33 minutes of play. Tosic has played the full game in each of Besiktas' three matches since the first leg in Munich. In Besiktas' 1-0 victory over the weekend Tosic won four aerial duels, which will be key playing alongside the diminutive Gary Medel. Tosic was also credited for five defensive actions in that match. Bayern should own possession and keep Tosic busy.
Javi Martinez ($5,500) -- Martinez gets a boost as he should get pushed up into defensive midfield and come forward on set pieces to challenge the shorter Besiktas back line. Martinez played in a similar role over the weekend and notched an assist in Bayern's blowout victory. He scored 23 FanDuel points in the first leg. Martinez was fourth on the team in touches and got both of his shots on target in that match. His pass success rate was close to 90%. He will be involved more heavily in the offensive game plan than many listed as defenders for this slate, and he is $1,500 cheaper than the most expensive defender on this slate, teammate David Alaba. Martinez is a smart play.
Andreas Christensen ($5,000) -- Christensen should be playing to silence his critics as it was his error that ultimately led to the Messi goal in leg one. Conte has stuck with him since the error as he has played the full 90 minutes in every match since the Barca game. Christensen will have his hands full, especially as the middle of a back three. He is averaging over six defensive actions per match in the Premier League, with his average number of clearances and interceptions slightly up in Champions League play. Christensen is only $500 more expensive than the cheapest expected starters on defense, and with Chelsea likely on the back foot at Barca, he will have ample chances to rack up points.
Keepers to Target
Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Sven Ulreich ($5,500) -- Barcelona and Bayern Munich are both favorites to win on Wednesday, so go with their keepers. Ter Stegen and Ulreich have both performed admirably for their respective teams this season and average around 15 FanDuel points per game in the Champions League. A Barcelona shutout is the odds-on favorite result at the Camp Nou, while Bayern is dealing with a battered Besiktas side and should have more of the possession. Thibaut Courtois ($5,000) could make plenty of saves versus Barcelona, but he could also see five in the net behind him. Bayern could run out Christian Fruchtl ($4,000) for game action with the big lead, but that is a long shot. No reason to get cute here.
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.