World Cup Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 7/2/18

Romelu Lukaku is in a sweet spot as red-hot Belgium take on Japan. Which other players should you target on Monday?

After a four-year wait, the World Cup is back, and FanDuel is offering daily fantasy contests 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.

With the knockout stage upon us it is important to note that extra time goals and points accrued will count toward a player's total and goals allowed will negate a clean sheet while penalty shootouts will not count toward a player’s fantasy production. As always, be sure to check the starting XIs prior to game time.

Two of the tournament favorites are in action on Monday. Belgium takes on Japan and Brazil will face Mexico. Our projections have both of these games as one-sided affairs.

Let's go through the four positions and look at some players to target at various price points.

Forwards to Target

Romelu Lukaku ($11,500) -- Lukaku is said to be fully recovered from his ankle injury and should cause problems for the Japan defense. His movement off the ball has been phenomenal and has put him in great goal-scoring spots. He is the top pick for anytime goal scorer in this match, and he is in the running for the Golden Boot. With Manchester United, Lukaku had five goals in eight games in the Champions League with 3.3 shots per match, and he already has four goals in two World Cup games with slightly less shots per match. Japan is only in this match based on the fair play rule and should be overwhelmed by Belgium's attacking talent. Dries Mertens offers $2,000 in savings from Lukaku and has great value given the matchup.

Midfielders to Target

Philippe Coutinho ($10,000) -- Neymar gets all the publicity, but Coutinho has been vital to Brazil's success thus far. He had an early candidate for goal of the tournament and has continued his play as catalyst for his team. He plays behind Neymar, which can open up space for Coutinho. He now has two goals and an assist while tallying four shots per match. He also has value standing over free kicks or taking corner kicks. Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio says that Coutinho is the best player his team will face on Monday. He cited Coutinho's versatility and overall importance to the team.

Carlos Vela ($8,000) -- Like Coutinho, Vela is a weapon on set pieces, and he could take penalties as seen earlier in the tournament. He is getting his shots this World Cup playing behind Chicharito, but it is likely that Brazil will own possession. His defensive action stats should increase, but that is not why Vela is on the field. He is there to create a moment of magic with his left foot. Vela is a contrarian play because Brazil are such a huge favorite. He has over two shots, key passes, and successful dribbles per match. He wants the ball at his feet and will take every chance he gets to set up a teammate or shoot from distance. With two matches that seem settled on paper, DFS players will need to have variation in their lineup, and Vela could be the contrarian option who pays off.

Defenders to Target

Thiago Silva ($7,000) -- Silva has been solid for Brazil in central defense and even scored a goal. He equaled his goal total in Ligue 1 for PSG, so another tally would be a bit far fetched. However, if anyone is going to slow down the Mexico counter attack, it should be Silva. He is averaging four clearances per match and slightly more than seven defensive actions. Six of Brazil's last seven matches have been clean-sheet wins. Our projections also heavily favor the defense of Brazil, so the defender clean-sheet bonus in FanDuel scoring could come into play.

Gen Shoji ($5,000) -- Shoji has been a rock for Japan. He is their highest-rated defender despite Maya Yoshida making more of the last-ditch tackles. Shoji is averaging 4.5 clearances and 2.5 tackles per match. He averages nine total defensive actions per game. Shoji is also averaging close to a 91% success rate on his passes, which is third on the team. Shoji also wins the most aerials per match for Japan, which will come in handy against Lukaku. Shoji plays in the J-League, so he may be the least well-known player in the starting XI. However, he has met the competition on the world's stage with confidence.

Hugo Ayala ($4,500) -- Ayala is expected to fill in for the suspended Hector Moreno at center-back. He did not play a lot this season with Tigres, but he did get a match under his belt in the group stage. He had seven clearances, two interceptions, and one tackle in the 1-0 victory against Germany. Mexico have earned a clean sheet in three of the last four matches that Ayala has started. Still, if this game goes as expected Ayala, will be busy trying to keep Neymar, Countinho, and Gabriel Jesus at bay.

Keepers to Target

Thibaut Courtois ($6,000) and Alisson ($5,000) -- With these two matches being lopsided in our projections and according to the odds, the keeper selection does not need much contemplation. Courtois and Alisson have two shutouts apiece through three matches. Courtois has made four more saves, which could be a result of Belgium using a back three. The seven-point win bonus should be coming to these keepers, so do not over think it.

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.