FanDuel World Cup Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 6/16/18
The World Cup is now in full swing, and FanDuel is offering daily fantasy contests every day, for the entirety of the tournament. For those who played DFS during the Premier League season, FanDuel has made some changes to their scoring system, so make sure you're up to date on how the new settings impact things.
The main slate’s first match is a battle between Argentina and Iceland, and with Argentina's slate-best 1.87 implied goal total, they will be a popular option for forward spots. As always, it is imperative to check starting XIs when they become available and make changes throughout the day -- late swap is available -- as the four matches do not overlap.
Argentina are a 1.5-goal favorites over Iceland and are the largest favorites on the slate. In the two remaining matches, Denmark are slight favorites in a pick'em against Peru, and Croatia are 0.5-goal favorites over Nigeria. The biggest disparity between the Vegas odds and our game projections comes in the Argentina-Iceland match as Argentina have a 62.9% win probability, per our numbers, as opposed to a 75% implied probability from Bovada.
Let's go through the four positions and look at some players to target at various price points.
Forwards to Target
Mario Mandzukic ($10,000) -- With a projected total of 1.37 goals, Croatia have the second highest total on the slate behind only Argentina. With a world class midfield behind him, Mandzukic should have plenty of opportunities to build on his success from the 2014 World Cup, where he scored twice in two appearances. Coming off a season in which he scored nine goals for Juventus in a limited role, Mandzukic is still as efficient as ever and could thrive against a Nigerian side that has allowed 10 goals in their last 7 World Cup matches.
Jefferson Farfan ($8,500) -- From an ownership perspective, it may be advantageous to target Peru's attackers not named Paolo Guerrero ($7,500). While Guerrero has garnered much of the attention due to his ban being overturned in time for the World Cup, both Farfan and his teammate, midfielder Edison Flores ($8,000), have performed well recently. In qualifying, Flores tied Guerrero for the most goals with five, but Farfan wasn't far behind with three goals, and he also scored the crucial goal to secure Peru's spot in Russia. Additionally, he plays his club soccer in Russia for Lokomotiv Moscow, and helped them win a the title this season with a team-high 10 goals. Both Flores and Farfan should be underowned compared to Guerrero, despite carrying almost equal upside.
Midfielders to Target
Lionel Messi ($13,000) -- 2014's Golden Ball winner needs no introduction. He can do it all, and against Iceland, with Argentina's projected goal total of 1.87 goals, he should have every opportunity to do so. Despite Argentina's struggles in qualifying, Messi's four goals and an assist (in seven matches) in 2017 should ease some concern about his ability to perform on the biggest stage. Iceland are the darlings of the tournament and are riding a wave of historic momentum, but facing Argentina right out of the gates is a tough task. At this stage, every match is a must-win match, and the last time Argentina were in a must-win, in their final game of qualifying, Messi scored a hat trick to secure their place in Russia. His ownership will be sky-high, and due to that he is certainly worth fading in large field tournaments, but do so at your own risk.
Angel Di Maria ($8,500) -- It seems like no matter where he goes, Di Maria is a relatively forgotten man. At Real Madrid he was behind Ronaldo, at Manchester United he failed to establish a foothold in England, and recently at PSG it feels like the spotlight is always on his teammates Neymar, Edison Cavani, and Kylian Mbappe instead of him. For Argentina, he is outshone by Messi, but make no mistake about it, Di Maria is an important part of the the Albiceleste attack. In the 2014 World Cup, he scored the winner against Switzerland in the Round of 16, and started every game until he was injured in the quarterfinals against Belgium. He comes into the World Cup off a season that saw him score 11 goals and provide 6 assists for PSG in 26 appearances. As a pivot off of Messi's likely high ownership, Di Maria is an intriguing option consider on Saturday.
Luka Modric ($9,000) and Ivan Perisic ($7,500) -- Midfield is stacked on this slate, with numerous options to choose from, but two of the best are Croatia's Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic. Their teammate and Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic ($8,000) is also excellent, but he occupies a more defensive role for Croatia. Both Modric and Perisic should be heavily involved in the final third and are well worth considering on Saturday. Modric is coming off another Champions League winning season with Real Madrid that saw him create a whopping 39 chances in 26 appearances. While he's not a prolific goalscorer, he will be central to every attack Croatia orchestrate against Nigeria. Perisic is a better bet for goals, coming off a season that saw him score 11 times and provide 9 assists in 37 appearances for Inter Milan. In the 2014 World Cup, Perisic scored twice and was ranked by FIFA as the second-best performing player in the group stage. Both Perisic and Modric are excellent options this weekend for a Croatian side with the second-highest projected total, by our numbers.
Christian Eriksen ($9,500) -- The valuable midfielders just keep coming. As important as he is for Tottenham, Eriksen is even more vital for Denmark. With less talented players around him on his national team, he takes on a more goal-scoring role. In World Cup qualifying, Eriksen scored 11 goals, tied for third-most of any player in the tournament, and the most of any non-striker. Three of those came during the second leg of Denmark's playoff against Ireland, in which Eriksen singlehandedly secured Denmark's spot in Russia. While Denmark may have the lowest win probability and implied goal total of the favorites on this slate, Eriksen's volume of opportunities, and monopoly of set pieces outweighs those factors. He might have the highest floor of any player on the slate.
Defenders to Target
Sverrir Ingi Ingason ($4,500) and Ragnar Sigurdsson ($5,000) -- With FanDuel's scoring system favoring active defenders, both Ingason and Sigurdsson are in consideration, as they should be plenty busy trying to contain Argentina's talented attack. In the 2016 Euros, Iceland's defense constantly bent (allowing a single goal in each of their first four matches) but it only broke once, when it allowed five goals to France in the quarterfinals. Argentina are certainly capable of a France-like performance, but even if Iceland hold them, they will certainly test the backline throughout the match. Although it's a longshot, Sigurdsson does have prior goal-scoring experience on the big stage, with his last goal coming against England in the Round of 16 during Euro 2016.
Sime Vrsaljko ($5,000) -- For a defender with involvement in the final third, consider Croatia's Vrsaljko. In 21 appearances for Atletico Madrid this season, the versatile right-back sent in 81 crosses, created 13 chances and produced 4 assists. Defensively, he is part of what should be a solid Croatian defense, and against Nigeria he has an excellent chance to produce a clean sheet, which defenders now receive five points for under the new scoring system.
Goalies to Target
Danijel Subasic ($5,500) -- Despite Argentina's presence on this slate, Croatia actually have the best win probability at 64.7%, according to our numbers. This is due to Nigeria's implied goal total of just 0.6 goals, the lowest total on the slate. From an ownership perspective, Subasic offers the best combination of safety and upside compared to his expected popularity. In qualifying, Croatia only conceded 4 goals in 10 matches, tied for second-fewest behind only England and Spain. They are certainly capable of keeping a clean sheet against an exciting but young Nigerian side.
Pedro Gallese ($4,500) -- With a focus on large field tournaments, Peru's Pedro Gallese is an intriguing option. At 47.3%, Denmark have the lowest win probability of any favorite on the slate, and their implied goal total of 1.29 is also the lowest for any favorite. While defense isn't Peru's forte, they are used to playing against sides in South America that feature far more dynamic attackers then Denmark will feature. Gallese's floor is low, but Peru have the best chance to pull an upset of any underdog on the slate, which gives him save upside, combined with an outside chance at a win. Fading Denmark and selecting Pedro and Edison Flores is an excellent way to differentiate your lineup for large field tournaments on Saturday.
Zach Bussiere is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Zach Bussiere also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zbuss1. 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.