Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 4/10/18
The return legs of the Champions League quarterfinal round take place this week, and FanDuel is offering separate two-game main slates on Tuesday and Wednesday. This primer will focus solely on Tuesday's matches -- Barcelona at Roma and Liverpool at Manchester City.
City are 1.5-goal home favorites against Liverpool with a slate-best 2.5-goal implied total. Down 3-0 after the first leg, the Citizens need at least three goals to keep the tie alive -- they'll need five if Liverpool net one away goal -- and they'll be popular targets in DFS. In the other matchup, Barcelona are a 1.0-goal favorite with an implied total of 2.0 goals, and they are taking a 4-1 advantage with them to Rome.
Let's go through the four positions and look at some players to target at various price points.
Forwards to Target
Lionel Messi ($13,500) -- Messi is always an appealing option, and with Barcelona boasting a 2.0-goal implied total, he's certainly in play versus Roma. In the first leg, Barca netted four, but Messi was kept off the scoresheet, failing to record a goal or assist. Still, he finished with 29.0 FanDuel points and was credited with 3 chances created. He's got 29 goals and 12 assists in 30 La Liga appearances (28 starts), being involved in 41 of Barcelona's 79 domestic-league goals. With all that said, there is reason to tread lightly with Messi in this spot as he's been dealing with a knock lately and could be subbed off in the second half if the tie has already been put to bed.
Sergio Aguero ($11,500) -- You can make a pretty easy argument for Aguero being this slate's top play. City have to score at least three goals -- they'd need five if Liverpool get one away goal -- so they'll be in attack mode from the opening whistle. Aguero wasn't fit for the first leg, but he came on as a second-half substitute over the weekend so he should be ready to rock. City have a slate-high 2.5-goal implied total, and Aguero leads the team in goals (21) and shots per match (3.8) in Premier League play. If City are going to make things interesting, Aguero figures to be an integral figure, and he's $2,000 cheaper than Messi.
Edin Dzeko ($10,000) -- Dzeko is the man up top for Roma, and he scored at the Camp Nou in the first leg on his way to 24.0 FanDuel points. He's averaging 26.0 FanDuel points per match in three knockout games in the UCL this season, getting at least a goal or assist in all three matches. In a 4-1 hole to Barca, Roma are probably toast. But oddsmakers expect them to score (1.0-goal implied total), and they were able to generate some good chances in the first leg, taking 12 shots. With all the headline names available at forward, Dzeko probably won't see as much ownership as he should, making him a nice tourney play.
Midfielders to Target
Kevin De Bruyne ($10,500) and David Silva ($9,000) -- City had a nightmare game in the first leg, but they still saw 66% of the possession. They will likely dominate the ball even more in the second leg at the Etihad, and Silva and De Bruyne will be tasked with cutting open the Reds' defense. Silva totaled 26.0 FanDuel points in the first leg despite the 3-0 defeat, and KDB has 7 goals with 15 assists in 31 EPL starts this season. Both are in play in all formats, and Silva may wind up as the slate's most popular midfielder given his form, City's situation and his $1,500 discount from KDB.
Sadio Mane ($9,000) -- Ostensibly, this Liverpool-City game sets up perfectly for Mane. Protecting a three-goal cushion against a City team that dominate possession, Liverpool will likely spend large portions of this match pinned back in their own half, clogging up things for City and then trying to break loose on the counter. That's where Mane's pace comes in handy. He has scored a goal in each of his two full matches this season against Manchester City, and his UCL form has been superb as he has outputs of 20.25, 29.25, 57.25, 71.25 and 34.50 FanDuel points in his last five European matches.
Bernardo Silva ($7,000) -- Raheem Sterling was left out of the starting XI for the match at Anfield, and then he missed the target with three of his four shots in the Manchester derby over the weekend, per WhoScored. If Sterling is left out again, City manager Pep Guardiola could opt to play Silva on the right wing instead of using Ilkay Gundogan in midfield like he did in the first leg. Silva has four goals and four assists in 30 EPL appearances (12 starts) and would be a cost-effective way to get exposure to City if he does get the start.
Paulinho ($6,500) -- Like Silva, Paulinho may not start, but if he does, he's a cheap way to get access to Barcelona's 2.0-goal implied total. Sergio Busquets has been dealing with a toe injury, and he sat out over the weekend after getting taken off in the second half in the first-leg win over Roma. If Busquets doesn't start the return leg, Paulinho and Ivan Rakitic ($8,500) would likely be deployed in a defensive midfield pairing. That would give Paulinho a decent floor in a match in which Barca may be more defensive-minded than usual given their three-goal advantage, and the Brazilian isn't shy about making runs into the box when Barcelona get forward as he has eight goals in La Liga play, the third-most on the team.
Defenders to Target
Kyle Walker ($5,000) -- With so many top-notch attacking players, it's not a good week to pay up at defender, although doing so would likely be a good way to differentiate your lineup in GPPs. Walker should be bombing forward down the right side with great frequency as City try to dig out of a three-goal hole. Walker doesn't have any goals this season, but he has recorded seven assists in 47 matches across all competitions.
Dejan Lovren ($4,500) and Trent Alexander-Arnold ($5,000) -- Injuries along Liverpool's back line mean these two are pretty much locked into 90 minutes at the Etihad, and that's worth the price of admission at this salary, especially since the Reds' back line figures to be very busy. Liverpool's defense held up extremely well in the first leg, keeping City without a shot on target, and these two were immense. Lovren had four clearances in that one, and even though he doesn't offer much in the way of upside, he's cheap and should have a decent floor. City tried to pick on TAA in the first leg, but the youngster was up to the challenge, finishing with 10 clearances, 7 interceptions and 4 tackles on his way to 30.0 FanDuel points.
Kostas Manolas ($4,500) -- Manolas is the cheapest expected starter among outfield players, and that alone makes him attractive. An own goal kept Manolas to just 4.75 FanDuel points in the opening leg, but prior to that outing, Roma's center-back had scored at least 13.0 FanDuel points in six of his seven UCL starts this season. He had 8 clearances, 3 interceptions and 2 tackles in his last home UCL match (against Besiktas), and he should be active against Barcelona.
Goalies to Target
Alisson ($4,500) -- Alisson is the cheapest starting keeper, and he's been good in European play this season, averaging 16.5 FanDuel points in nine outings. He's flashed a big-time ceiling with games of 29.25 and 39.5 FanDuel points in the group stage, and he's put up exactly 19.75 FanDuel points in two of his last three, including the first leg at Barca, a game in which he conceded 4 goals but made 7 saves. He'll likely be busy again, and the savings he offers can help you pay up for the outfield players you want.
Loris Karius ($6,000) -- Karius profiles as an interesting GPP play. He is the most expensive keeper, and City have a slate-high implied total, two things which should keep his ownership down. But the expected shot volume could prop up his floor as long as he can make a few stops. As Alison did against Barca in the first leg, Karius could allow a few goals and still have a solid fantasy day if he makes a handful of saves. He didn't have to make a single save in the first leg, registering his fourth straight clean sheet in UCL play, and the Reds have conceded just once in their past four matches across all competitions. Karius is not a bad cash-game play, but he's best suited for tournaments.
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.