Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 12/12/18
The Champions League, the best soccer competition on the planet, resumes this week, and Wednesday is the last round of group-stage matches. FanDuel is offering daily fantasy contests for the entirety of the campaign. Wednesday's main slate starts at 3 p.m. EST and will not include the two 12:55 p.m. matches.
Here's the full main slate.
|Wednesday, December 12th|
|Juventus at Young Boys|
|AEK Athens at Benfica|
|Lyon at Shakhtar Donetsk|
|Hoffenheim at Manchester City|
|Bayern Munich at Ajax|
|Manchester United at Valencia|
This slate has three big favorites, led by Manchester City, a team carrying 84.6% implied win odds, per FanDuel Sportsbook. Benfica (73.0% implied win odds) and Juventus (69.7%) are the two other big favorites while Bayern (51.2%) are a slight road favorite.
With this being the final day of group-stage matches, this is a glorified exhibition game for some teams on the slate, meaning we may not see top-shelf starting lineups for everyone, especially coming on the back of a busy stretch in most domestic leagues. Manchester City, Bayern, Ajax, Manchester United and Juve have already qualified for the knockout rounds -- though seeding is still up in the air for most of those teams -- while Benfica are drawing dead. Shakhtar Donetsk needs to beat Lyon to advance, so those two sides should field their top starting lineups.
Here are some players to target for Wednesday's main slate.
Cristiano Ronaldo ($13,500): While Juve are through to the next round, they haven't yet sealed their place atop the group, and over previous years, Ronaldo rarely stays on the sideline in UCL play. So, in short, Ronaldo is likely to be in the starting XI, and Juventus are a 1.0-goal favorite at Young Boys. Ronaldo has 10 goals and 5 assists in 15 Serie A starts this season, hitting the ground running in his first campaign in Turin. He hasn't been at his best in Europe, notching just one goal and one assist in four UCL matches, but he's capable of a ceiling game against what should be an overmatched Young Boys side.
Gabriel Jesus ($12,000): Sergio Aguero wasn't able to give it a go last Saturday in Manchester City's key Premier League fixture at Chelsea, and assuming City -- who have already punched their ticket to the knockout rounds -- won't risk Aguero in this one, Jesus makes for a great play as the Citizens likely number-nine. Jesus has played a reserve role for most of this campaign, but he's got one goal and two assists in four EPL starts (plus nine appearances as a substitute). City are 2.0-goal home favorites with a 2.75-goal implied total versus a Hoffenheim side that's a pedestrian seventh in the current Bundesliga table. Jesus should have a few chances to score, and he could take penalties, making him a scary fade even though he'll likely be very popular.
Haris Seferovic ($7,500): Benfica may fly under the radar a bit on this slate, but they're a great side to target, sitting as 1.5-goal favorites with 73.0% implied win odds at home to AEK Athens. Seferovic netted a goal the first time these two played, and he's expected to start up top on Wednesday. He's got four goals and one assist in four Liga NOS starts this campaign. It's hard to pass up the opportunity to roster a starting striker on a heavily-favored team for this cheap. If Seferovic doesn't start, whoever Benfica uses in his place would fit the same mold and be a top value forward.
Raheem Sterling ($11,500) and Riyad Mahrez ($8,500): If both of these guys start, they're both in play against Hoffenheim. Mahrez has been a key figure in his first season at City, starting eight EPL matches and recording five goals with two assists. He's averaging 2.0 shots per match and handles some corner and free-kick responsibilities. Mahrez is a great stacking partner with any of City's other attack-minded players. Sterling has as much upside as anyone on the slate, and he's a well-rounded DFS contributor with eight goals and six assists in 13 EPL starts. Also, City's Phil Foden ($6,000) would be an appealing plug-and-play value if the youngster finds his way into the starting lineup.
Taison ($9,000): While starting lineups may be tricky for most of the matches on the slate, the Lyon-Shakhtar match is one match we know both sides will field their best 11 as a Shakhtar win puts them through ahead of Lyon. Taison has been immense for Shakhtar in UCL play, and he's coming off a two-goal, one-assist outing in when he blew up for 67.5 FanDuel points. That should cause a bump in ownership for this round, but as Shakhtar's central attacking midfielder, he's instrumental to everything they do, leading the team in shots (2.5) and key passes (2.5) per match in UCL action.
Daniel Parejo ($9,000): Valencia are off to a woeful start in La Liga, sitting 15th and netting a mere 12 goals through 15 matches. While they've already been eliminated from the UCL, a home win over a household name like Manchester United could give the side a big lift. Valencia have been so starved for goals that Parejo's two tallies actually tie for the team lead -- as do his two assists. Expected to start next to Geoffrey Kondogbia, a defensive-minded midfielder, Parejo should have the license to roam against a United defense that's allowed 26 goals across 16 EPL matches.
Pizzi ($7,500): After a solid start to his UCL campaign, Pizzi has faded in recent European matches, but AEK Athens present a get-right spot for the Benfica midfielder. Pizzi has four goals and five assists this season in domestic league matches, playing a part in 9 of Benfica's 24 goals. He averages a team-best 3.1 key passes per match along with 1.5 shots. A Pizzi-Seferovic stack gives you sneaky upside and can differentiate your lineup while giving you cap relief to pay up elsewhere.
Mattia De Sciglio ($4,500): With Alex Sandro only recently coming back from injury for Juventus, De Sciglio could start at full-back for the Italian giants. In a match in which Juve should control possession, De Sciglio should offer something going forward. Juve also have good clean-sheet odds as Young Boys carry a meager 0.75-goal implied total. All in all, if Juve elect to be cautious with Sandro, De Sciglio (assuming he starts) is an outstanding play at defender, and he gives you cap relief, as well.
Nicolás Tagliafico ($6,500): Tagliafico and Ajax are hosting Bayern, and both teams are already through, with Bayern needing just a draw to lock up a first-place finish in the group. Bayern are usually a powerhouse team we don't want to play defenders against, but while they're still very good, the German side are only a 0.5-goal favorite in this match. A loss doesn't damage Ajax much while a win "should" get them an easier Round-of-16 matchup, so they have reason to go for it in front of their home fans. Tagliafico has one goal and three assists this year in Eredivisie play, and he's third on the team in key passes (1.5) per match. The Argentine -- who has put up at least 14 FanDuel points in each of his UCL appearances this season, including a 59.5-point explosion -- is a superb stacking partner with Ajax star forward Dusan Tadic ($9,000) if you're looking for a contrarian stack.
André Almeida ($5,000): Almeida will likely be at right-back for Benfica, and he's far too cheap for a defender who has four assists in 12 Liga NOS starts. He hasn't flashed huge upside in UCL play, but he's gone for at least 11 FanDuel points in three of five outings despite being credited with just one chance created over the five appearances. Almeida could pop with Benfica in such a commanding spot at home versus AEK, and AEK's 0.5-goal implied total is a slate-low clip, giving all of Benfica's defenders stellar clean-sheet odds.
Odisseas Vlachodimos ($4,500): As we just mentioned, AEK have the slate's lowest implied total (0.5), so Vlachodimos, Benfica's starting keeper, is a smashing play at a discount price. A clean-sheet win -- Benfica's implied win odds are 73% -- is good for 17 FanDuel points before factoring in any saves. The scary thing here is that if Benfica concede, Vlachodimos probably won't offer much in the way of save volume, so he could post a pretty low number. But you could say the same thing about Ederson ($5,000) and Wojciech Szczęsny ($6,500). Given his price coupled with his win and clean-sheet odds, Vlachodimos is very appealing.
Oliver Baumann ($4,000): Let's get weird. We can get this out of the way right now -- Manchester City could put four or five past Baumann. That's fully on the table. But at the same time, Baumann offers as much save volume as any keeper on the slate, and if Hoffenheim find a way to keep City to just a goal or two, Baumann could post a big fantasy day. This exact scenario unfolded in Hoffenheim's UCL match at Lyon earlier this campaign. Baumann let in two goals, but he recorded nine saves on his way to 22 FanDuel points. There's a ton a risk here and the floor in bottomless, so you can't touch Baumann in small-field contests. But if you're looking for a low-owned play who could go off in GPPs, Baumann fits the bill.
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.