Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 9/18/18
Tuesday brings the first set of Champions League group stage matches, with FanDuel offering a six-game main slate. The slate will not include the two earliest matches of the day, Tottenham at Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven at Barcelona.
|Group Stage - Matchday 1|
|Tuesday, September 18th|
|Dortmund at Club Brugge|
|Napoli at Crvena Zvezda|
|Lokomotiv Moscow at Galatasaray|
|Paris St. Germain at Liverpool|
|Porto at Schalke|
|Atletico Madrid at Monaco|
A few of these clubs may not be household names for those playing on FanDuel. Crvena Zvezda is better known as Red Star Belgrade. Club Brugge hails from Belgium while Moscow gives away the location of Lokomotiv. Regardless, this is the time to get to know the respective key players for these teams.
Let's look at some players at various price points.
Forwards to Target
Antoine Griezmann ($12,500) -- Griezmann is not having a World Cup hangover. He has one goal and two assists in the early part of the season for Atletico Madrid. He has started all four league games and is averaging two shots per match. Monaco have struggled defensively at home this season, including allowing Marseille to score three. Griezmann will also take penalties if given a chance and often takes the ball on direct free kicks. Do not overthink this one. Monaco have allowed six goals without a win in their last three matches, and Griezmann is still playing well.
Vincent Aboubakar ($10,000) -- Porto have a great opportunity on the first matchday to put three points on the board based on the form of their opponent. Schalke lost 2-1 on Saturday and have now given up six goals in three matches in the Bundesliga. They are allowing only 10 shots per match, but they are coming in dangerous locations. The 26-year-old Aboubakar is a sturdy center-forward who has tallied three goals and an assist in four games in Liga NOS. He had 15 goals last season, his first year with Porto, and he continues to fight for the ball in the attacking third. Pay close attention to the lineup for Porto as Aboubakar did sustain a knee contusion during international play. Andre Pereira ($8,000) would be a good option if Aboubakar cannot go.
Arkadiusz Milik ($9,000) -- Milik is a pivot play from Napoli's main attacker, Dries Mertens ($11,000). Mertens has actually come off the bench for three of Napoli's four league matches while Milik has been played as the center-forward in a three-man front line. Crvena Zvezda are in this position having won their play-in matches, so their schedule has already been packed. The international break helped, but at one point in August and early September, Belgrade had played four games in two weeks. They've also averaged less than 46% of possession, compared to Napoli's 54.3% clip. Also, this is Belgrade's first match in the Champions League in 26 years. Given Milik's positioning on the field and the odds stacked against Crvena Zvezda, with Napoli being a big favorite, the center-forward makes for a good play.
Midfielders to Target
James Milner ($8,500) -- There are plenty of places to save money in the midfield, although it will still be understandable if players favor Mohamed Salah ($11,500) or Sadio Mane ($10,500), especially over teammate Milner. However, Milner proved to be one of the most valuable players for Liverpool during the Champions League campaign last year. He had nine assists in helping Liverpool make it to the final. Milner is also taking penalty kicks for Liverpool and has a goal and two assists in the Premier League this year. Liverpool's skill players give Milner room to work, and he should continue to do so this season even in a tough group.
Emre Akbaba ($7,500) -- Galatasaray are on fire to start the Super Lig, and Akbaba's play is a big part of the story. Galatasaray have scored at least three goals in three of their five matches. Their only loss to start the season came after the team went down to 10 men. Akbaba has two goals and one assist while averaging more than two shots per match. Akbaba is also on good form for his country. He scored two goals for Turkey during the international window to seal a comeback victory against Sweden.
Mahmoud Dahoud ($7,000) -- Dortmund have a plethora of talented midfielders, but it is Dahoud that has been the most active offensively. He is averaging the most shots per match on the team, although he has just one goal through three Bundesliga matches. He is generally playing behind the front four, but they tend to open up space for Dahoud to be the target of a layoff pass or cross. His role has increased due in part to the injury to Christian Pulisic, and Dahoud is making himself more visible. Historically, he is not a prolific goal scorer. However, he has 10 assists over his last two Bundesliga seasons despite starting only 11 matches last year.
Defenders to Target
Thomas Meunier ($7,000) -- Meunier has been able to get forward for PSG, contributing one assist and a pass success rate around 84% so far this season. What is more important is that he is averaging nearly six defensive actions per match as he will have to stop Mane and the formidable Liverpool attack. Meunier will not hesitate to get forward and put dangerous balls into the box should Liverpool give him room on the counter. This is a measuring-stick game, and PSG must see what they are made of on the road against Liverpool. They will be favored against other teams in Group C and can recover from a poor result at Anfield. However, this is their biggest test of the early season, and a win would give them great confidence. Meunier understands that and should be active on Tuesday.
Salif Sane ($6,000) -- Sane has been one of Schalke's best players during their rough stretch to open the season. He is averaging nearly nine defensive actions per match. Porto are averaging over 55% possession with the most goals and second-most shots per game in Liga NOS. Porto players should also realize that they have a great draw in their group with a good chance to get into the Round of 16. There is no reason to hold back against a struggling Schalke side. Schalke are averaging less than 50% possession, so Sane should be busy.
Saba Kvirkvelia ($5,500) -- Lokomotiv defender Kvirkvelia is likely not a name recognizable by most. However, he is part of a core of players on the back line who are doing their best to keep the team in each game despite offensive troubles. He will play center-back alongside Vedran Corluka ($5,000) as they look to slow down the Galatasaray attack. Galatasaray are averaging nearly 14 shots per match and have scored 14 goals to lead the Super Lig. Kvirkvelia is averaging nearly seven clearances and a total of 11.5 defensive actions per match. As with Sane, the numbers say that Kvirkvelia's team will be under attack in this match, but he has shown why he is the backbone of the team. He will likely go lower-owned, but he has a very high ceiling.
Keepers to Target
David Ospina ($6,000) -- The objective in finding a keeper for the opening set of matches is to pick a starter who is likely to get a clean sheet. Napoli are highly favored, and the top-four correct score odds are a clean sheet for Ospina. Remember that Belgrade have had a heavy early schedule and had to play their way into the group stage.
Iker Casillas ($5,000) -- Porto are not favored like Napoli is, but Casillas has a pedigree that makes him an intriguing play against a team that is struggling. He had two clean sheets in the Champions League last season. That was after four clean sheets in the previous campaign. He also has two clean sheets in only four games this season. Schalke have failed to score more than one goal in any of their three Bundesliga matches, including one shutout.
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.