SOCCER

Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 4/16/19

Coming off a lackluster showing in the first leg, Barcelona are commanding home favorites versus Manchester United. Should you load up on Lionel Messi and company for Tuesday's main slate?

The Champions League, the best soccer competition on the planet, resumes this week with quarterfinal action, and FanDuel is offering daily fantasy contests for each day. The Wednesday main slate starts at 3:00 p.m. EST and includes both of the day's matches.

Here's the full main slate.

Quarterfinals
Tuesday, April 16th
Manchester United at Barcelona
Ajax at Juventus


Barcelona are the clear top favorite on this slate, boasting implied win odds of 73.0%, per FanDuel Sportsbook, and sitting as a 1.5-goal favorite at home versus Manchester United. Juventus own 59.2% implied win odds and are a 1.0-goal favorite for their home match against Ajax. Juve and Ajax drew, 1-1, in the first leg while Barcelona bested United, 1-0.

Let's scan the slate and look at some players to target at each position.

Forwards

Lionel Messi ($14,000) -- With Barcelona a heavy home favorite and carrying a 2.25-goal implied total, Messi is a terrifying fade. The Argentine burned DFS players on Wednesday, totaling just 8.0 FanDuel points in the first leg against Manchester United, but that probably won't scare away many people for the return leg. Other than said dud, he's put up 79.3, 26.9, 59.6, 62.9 and 76.6 FanDuel points in his other five UCL starts this year. Barca have been otherworldly at home in UCL play dating back to the start of last season, outscoring opponents 27-5 in nine matches. The only home match in that span in which they scored fewer than two goals was a 1-1 draw with Tottenham in this year's group stage, a game in which Barca didn't field their best starting XI because they'd already sealed a spot in the Round of 16.

Cristiano Ronaldo ($13,500) -- If you're willing to pinch pennies everywhere else, you can roster both Ronaldo and Messi, but if you want to pay up at all at defender or in midfield, you've got to pick one or the other. While Messi's in a stellar spot, Ronaldo is pretty appealing, too. Ronaldo has four goals across his past two UCL outings, scoring Juve's lone tally in the first leg in Amsterdam. Ronaldo is more goal-reliant than Messi is when it comes to fantasy production, but he offers massive upside and is likely to see less ownership than Messi -- all of which make Ronaldo an enticing pivot in large-field tournaments. Also for Juve, Mario Mandžukić is going to be out, which opens up a starting spot for either Moise Kean ($7,500) or Paulo Dybala ($8,500). The in-form Kean would be a tempting value play if he gets the nod.

Luis Suárez ($11,000) -- Those who faded Messi and Suárez last week absolutely nailed it as Barcelona's star duo flopped, with Suárez getting just 4.3 FanDuel points. But Barca are a good bet for multiple goals on Wednesday -- remember: they have a 2.25-goal implied total -- so if you're not rostering Messi, you're playing with fire if you also pass on Suárez. The Uruguayan has 20 goals and six assists in 30 La Liga starts, and he's racked up 13 shots across his last three matches in all competitions. Suárez hasn't scored a goal in UCL play this season, but he's still been productive in fantasy, finishing with at least 15.0 FanDuel points in five of his seven starts.

Midfielders

David Neres ($7,500) -- Neres continues to be under-priced, and he's an ideal midfield option on a slate with so many top-notch high-priced studs. Ajax are a 1.0-goal underdog with a 0.75-goal implied total, but they've consistently shown that they can go toe-to-toe with Europe's best, even on the road. In the group stage, Ajax went to Munich and drew, 1-1, with Bayern, and they got to the quarterfinals on the back of a 4-1 masterclass at Real Madrid. The Dutch powers out-played Juve in the first leg, generating six shots on goal -- while the Italians had just one -- and holding 61% of the possession. Neres has a goal or assist in each of his past three UCL matches, scoring at least 20 FanDuel points in all three fixtures and creating five total chances in that span.

Douglas Costa ($6,500) -- Costa isn't a lock to start after missing out on the starting XI in the first leg, but if he's in there Tuesday, he's a smashing value. Costa came on as a sub for the last 30 minutes in Amsterdam and was well and truly on one, giving Ajax fits and nearly scoring a wonder goal. Ajax aren't going to sit deep and play defensively; they're going to do what they do. That should create space for Costa and Juve's attack-minded players. If Costa isn't in the starting lineup, you can look to Federico Bernardeschi ($7,500) and Rodrigo Bentancur ($7,000) in Juve's midfield.

Scott McTominay ($5,500) -- Ander Herrera is expected to be out, so we should get another start from McTominay, who was rested in EPL action over the weekend. While McTominay was a standout performer in the first leg -- WhoScored.com rated him as Manchester United's top player -- his contributions helped United more than DFS rosters as he finished with just 3.9 FanDuel points. That should change in the second leg as the Red Devils are likely to approach this one very defensively. In a similar spot at PSG in the Round of 16, United saw just 28% of the possession, and McTominay put up 9.6 FanDuel points thanks to five tackles, one clearance and one interception. There's almost no upside here, but he's cheap and could get around 10 FanDuel points on solely defensive work.

Defenders

Jordi Alba ($7,000) -- Alba was one of the few Barca players to have a good fantasy day in the first leg as he amassed 23.0 FanDuel points, getting a boost from a clean-sheet bonus. He could be in store for another clean sheet as United own a mere 0.75-goal implied total, and Alba should offer much more in attack this time around. He's got one goal and eight assists in 31 La Liga appearances, and he's tallied a goal with three assists in UCL action this year. While the left-back is a great stacking partner with Messi and/or Suárez, he's also a nice stacking partner for Marc-André ter Stegen in hopes of doubling up on the clean-sheet points.

Daniele Rugani ($4,000) -- Rugani was rested in Serie A play over the weekend, which makes it seem like he'll once again be starting in place of Giorgio Chiellini. He posted 9.1 FanDuel points in the first leg, with four clearances, two interceptions and a block. While he probably won't have as much to do defensively in Tuesday's home match, Rugani is priced at the minimum and figures to be heavily rostered by those trying to fit in both Messi and Ronaldo. Rugani has decent clean-sheet odds with Ajax holding a 0.75-goal implied total, though the upside here is fairly non-existent.

Keepers

Marc-André ter Stegen ($6,000) -- Ter Stegen wasn't asked to make a save in the first leg, getting the entirety of his 17.0 FanDuel points from the bonuses for a win and clean sheet. We could see that exact same scenario play out again in the second leg as United have a 0.75-goal implied total and Barcelona's 73.0% implied win odds -- according to FanDuel Sportsbook -- are tops on the slate. The likely lack of save volume takes away some of his upside, but ter Stegen has a decent floor thanks to Barca's win odds. Wojciech Szczęsny ($5,500) is in a similar spot. His win odds (59.2%) aren't quite as good, but he's $500 cheaper.

David de Gea ($5,000) -- This isn't for the faint of heart. De Gea, through no fault of his own, could give up three or four goals against Barcelona. As we laid out earlier, the Catalans have been insanely good at home in European play the past two seasons, netting 27 goals in nine matches at the Camp Nou. In GPPs, you can at least consider de Gea because he's more than capable of putting forth a world-class display and approaching double-digit saves if he's in top form. He's got a game like that on his resumé from earlier this year -- a memorable 11-save showing at Spurs. The floor is terrifying -- he could post a negative number -- but his talent and expected save volume give him some upside, too.