SOCCER

Champions League Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 10/23/19

Lionel Messi offers big-time upside with Barcelona a healthy favorite. Who else should you look to on Wednesday's main slate?

The Champions League, the best soccer competition on the planet, is back, and FanDuel is offering plenty of contests for all of Wednesday's matches, including the two early fixtures. This article will focus on the main slate, which starts at 3 p.m. EST.

Group Stage
Wednesday, October 23rd
Barcelona at Slavia Praha
Liverpool at Genk
Valencia at Lille
Lyon at Benfica
Dortmund at Inter
Napoli at Red Bull Salzburg


Per FanDuel Sportsbook, Liverpool are the slate's biggest favorites at -400, implying win odds of 80.0%. Barcelona are next at -260 (72.2% implied win odds). After those two, no other teams have implied win odds better than 50%, so this slate will revolve around the Reds and Blaugrana.

Here are some players to target at various price points.

Forwards/Midfielders

Lionel Messi ($23) -- Messi appears to be rounding into full fitness, with the recent international break coming at a good time for him. With this Saturday's El Clásico postponed, there's not as much of a risk of an early removal for Messi against Slavia Praha, and per usual, he offers an insane combination of floor and ceiling in DFS. In his last UCL outing, Messi created six chances and notched an assist on his way to 40.0 FanDuel points. The Argentine had 36 goals and 13 assists in 29 La Liga starts a season ago, averaging a pristine 1.63 goals plus assists per 90 minutes, and he's got two assists and two goals in three La Liga starts this year. Even with Barcelona's road form not being so hot, particularly in Europe, Messi -- who will be on penalties, free kicks and some corners -- is a superb play.

Sadio Mané ($22) and Roberto Firmino ($19) -- Liverpool are the slate's other big favorites as they are on the road at Genk. The holders are off to a flying start this season, and Mané has been at the heart of it with five goals and one assist in eight EPL starts. Firmino is being typical Firmino, racking up three goals and three assists in eight domestic league starts. Mohamed Salah ($21) is also a great play if he's able to recover from the ankle injury that forced him to sit this past Sunday.

Pizzi ($13) -- Outside of Barca and Liverpool, the team with the best implied win odds is Benfica, who are at +115 to win (46.5% implied odds) at home versus Lyon. Lyon have been in poor form domestically, netting just 10 points through their first 10 Ligue 1 matches, while Benfica have tallied 16 goals through seven Liga NOS fixtures. Pizzi leads the way with six goals and two assists in seven starts. The masses will likely flock to Liverpool and Barca, so being right on the slate's other games should prove key.

Marcelo Brozovic ($13) -- Brozovic has been a key cog this season for Inter, who host Dortmund. Playing in the middle of the park, he's got two goals and one assist and has played all 90 minutes in each of Inter's eight Serie A matches. His presence is even more crucial with Stefano Sensi expected to be out. With Inter a slight favorite (+135), Brozovic is a solid play at a modest price.

Roberto Gagliardini ($10) and Matías Vecino ($9) -- Speaking of Sensi's absence, it's likely one of these two steps into the starting XI in his place, depending on how Antonio Conte wants to set up. Gagliardini has a goal across four domestic appearances (two starts) while Vecino has one assist in six appearances (three starts). If either (or both) start, they would be a decent value dart throw.

Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold ($15) and Andy Robertson ($14) -- We're spoiled for choice on this slate when it comes to high-priced defenders. Liverpool rely heavily on these two to send in crosses, and both should spend a lot of time forward against Genk. Alexander-Arnold handles some corners, boosting his upside, and each also has decent clean-sheet odds playing in an elite defense. Both players are great stacking partners with any of Liverpool's front three.

Jordi Alba ($14) -- Alba is back in the Barcelona squad after an early-season injury, and he's recorded one goal over his five La Liga starts. Alba is a cheap way to get exposure to Barca's attack, which often funnels through his left side, and he's a great stacking partner with Messi, who is usually on the end of Alba's pullbacks. Over the last four seasons, Alba has assist totals of eight, six, five and six in La Liga play.

Jere Uronen ($8) -- Paying down at defender and targeting a guy on an underdog is always a viable strategy. Uronen is projected to start at left-back for Genk, and he could spend large chunks of the match with Liverpool pinned deep in his own half. In a similar spot at home to Napoli in his last UCL match, Uronen amassed two tackles, two interceptions and one clearance on his way to 11.5 FanDuel points. He's a safe bet for a similar day versus the Reds.

Goalies

Alisson ($15) -- Alisson made his injury return last Sunday, so there's a chance Liverpool don't risk him with the short turnaround for this one. But whether they start Alisson or opt for Adrián ($15), you can feel good about paying up for whoever the Reds go with at keeper as he'll have a great shot at a win and a clean sheet.

Odisseas Vlachodimos ($11) -- As we mentioned earlier, Benfica are the biggest favorite outside of Barca and Liverpool. That puts Vlachodimos on our radar. He's allowed five goals through two UCL matches this season, so that's not ideal, but he's been much better in Liga NOS, conceding just three times across seven matches.