Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Semifinals 4/24/18 and 4/25/18
The Champions League returns this week for the first legs of the semifinals, which pit Liverpool against Roma and Real Madrid versus Bayern Munich. This week, Liverpool host Roma on Tuesday while Real Madrid travel to Bayern on Wednesday, and FanDuel's main slate covers both matches.
As of Monday morning, both matches are installed with a 3.0-goal over/under. Liverpool are 1.5-goal home favorites with a 2.25-goal implied total, so they'll be pretty popular. Bayern are 0.5-goal favorites at the Allianz, with the hosts carrying a 1.75-goal implied total.
Let's go through the four positions and look at some players to target at various price points.
Forwards to Target
Cristiano Ronaldo ($13,500) -- Ronaldo has been in incredible form during Champions League play, scoring in all 10 of his appearances and totaling 15 goals and 3 assists. He put up 36.75 FanDuel points in his last outing, and that was his worst fantasy output in six UCL matches. Real Madrid are underdogs, but they are expected to score (1.25-goal implied total). Ronaldo has the second-best odds to score (21/20) in the Bayern-Real match -- we'll get to the other guy in a second -- and even though he's $2,000 more expensive than anyone else and in a tough matchup, he just bagged a brace in a similar spot at Juventus in the last round. He's a scary fade in his current form.
Robert Lewandowski ($11,000) -- Lewandowski is the aforementioned other guy, and he has the best odds to score (8/11) in the Bayern-Real matchup. Lewa has turned in three straight duds -- FanDuel outputs of 7.5, 4.5 and 1.25 -- in UCL play, which could cap his ownership a bit, but this is a sweet spot for the Polish international. Madrid have allowed six goals across their last four matches in all competitions, failing to record a clean sheet in that span, and Lewa has 28 goals in 28 appearances (22 starts) in Bundesliga play.
Midfielders to Target
Mo Salah ($11,000) -- Salah feels under-priced considering his play this season and the fact Liverpool are the slate's biggest favorite with the largest implied total, so he may wind up being the highest-owned player. Salah has netted 41 goals with 13 assists in 46 appearances this season -- putting himself in a goal-scoring plateau that's been reserved for Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the better part of the last decade -- and he scored 2 goals with an assist over the two legs of Liverpool's 5-1 quarterfinal triumph over Manchester City. He has the best odds (8/15) to score in the Liverpool-Roma match, and the Reds have scored 11 goals in their last three home matches across all competitions. In UCL play this campaign, Liverpool have 33 goals in 10 matches, including 10 goals through two knockout rounds.
Sadio Mane ($10,000) -- As we just touched on, Liverpool are on fire, and they're in a stellar spot at home against Roma. Mane has been very goal-reliant lately in UCL action, which has made him a volatile DFS performer. Across his last five European matches, he's blown up for FanDuel outings of 71.25, 57.25 and 34.50 points, but he's mixed in duds of 7.25 and 5.50 points. For the year, he's produced 17 goals and 8 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions, and he owns the third-best odds to score (7/5) among Liverpool's expected starters, making him an enticing GPP play.
Joshua Kimmich ($7,500) -- Since we'll want to load up on as many top-shelf attacking players as we can fit in -- preferably two of Salah, Lewa, Ronaldo and Roberto Firmino ($11,500) -- it'll be imperative to find value plays. Kimmich fits the bill. He started each quarterfinal match against Sevilla and is a cheaper way to get exposure to a home favorite. Kimmich has been playing right-back even though FanDuel has him as a midfielder, but he's not shy about getting forward, creating four chances in Bayern's last UCL match. In addition to that, Madrid's high-octane attack should require Kimmich to work defensively, as well, giving him a respectable floor.
Luka Modric ($7,000) -- Modric hasn't been in good form, failing to reach double-digit FanDuel points in any of Madrid's four knockout matches. But he's their cheapest expected starter in midfield, and the price alone makes him at least worth peeping. Modric has been playing better domestically, tallying five assists across his past six La Liga matches. The floor is scary, particularly since he hasn't been playing a full 90 minutes lately, but Modric isn't a bad option since he can get you exposure to Real Madrid while helping you afford the attackers you want.
Daniele De Rossi ($7,500) -- De Rossi is a much better cash-game option than Modric is, but he's less likely to be involved in creating a goal. De Rossi has put up at least 10 FanDuel points in five of his last six matches, with the lone exception coming because of a flukey own goal. He was immense in Roma's 3-0 shocker against Barcelona, notching a goal and assist on his way to 40.75 FanDuel points. We shouldn't expect him to do that again, but De Rossi did take Roma's penalty in that match, which is a big feather in his DFS cap. Playing at Anfield, De Rossi will likely be busy defensively, so he's got a decent floor at a cheap price.
Defenders to Target
Jerome Boateng ($4,500) and Raphael Varane ($4,500) -- These two are expected to start for Madrid (Varane) and Bayern (Boateng), and they are the cheapest expected starters on the slate among outfield players. That alone makes them worth checking out. Boateng has scored at least 9.0 FanDuel points in all eight of his UCL appearances this campaign, but his ceiling is capped as his season-high is 13.5 FanDuel points in UCL play. Varane is similar. He has totaled 11.0 FanDuel points in six of his eight European starts, with a season-best of 16.75 fantasy points.
Marcelo ($6,500) -- Real's Brazilian left-back has scored at least 15.0 FanDuel points in all eight of his Champions League matches this season, including 25.25-point and 28.25-point outings across his last three UCL games. Even in a tough road matchup at Bayern, Marcelo's ceiling is rivaled by only one other defender, and that's David Alaba ($7,000), who isn't a lock to be fit.
Andrew Robertson ($5,000) -- Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool's other starting full-back, was a breakout star in the two legs against Manchester City in the previous round. That may keep people off of Robertson, who is $1,000 cheaper than TAA while checking many of the same boxes. Robertson went for 13.5 and 18.25 FanDuel points in the two matches with City, and he's got 4 assists in 20 Premier League appearances this season.
Federico Fazio ($5,500) -- Fazio offered a high floor against Barcelona due to his defensive activity. He totaled 6 interceptions, 4 blocks and 4 clearances across the two legs, putting up fantasy outings of 13.0 and 20.75 FanDuel points. Playing at Anfield, Roma's defense should be busy, making Fazio a nice cash-game play at a modest cost.
Goalies to Target
Loris Karius ($6,000) -- Roma's 0.75-goal implied total is the slate's lowest, so Karius offers the best chance at a clean sheet. He may not have much upside, though, as the Reds have dramatically improved their defense over the latter stages of the season, including keeping Manchester City without a shot on target at Anfield in the first leg of the quarterfinals. Still, if you're chasing a clean sheet and can afford the most expensive keeper, Karius is a solid option.
Keylor Navas ($4,500) -- On the flip side, we have Navas. Madrid's keeper is facing a Bayern side with a 1.75-goal implied total, so the clean-sheet odds are minimal. But Navas has been busy in UCL play, making at least three saves in five of his eight outings. There's upside here if Navas can rack up saves, but the real appeal is the salary as he is $500 cheaper than any other expected starting keeper. You can use the extra cash elsewhere and hope for the best at goalie, where scoring usually doesn't vary too much.
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.