SOCCER

DraftKings Champions League Daily Fantasy Soccer Helper for 2/25/20 and 2/26/20

Cristiano Ronaldo has been on fire in the league, and he should be able to keep it going at Lyon. Who else should you consider in these first-leg matches?

The second half of the round of 16 begins with the first legs played on Tuesday and Wednesday. Some true European giants such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus get involved in the knockout stage this time. Let's see what players we want to look at from these teams and the others on this slate.

Forwards to Target

Crisitano Ronaldo ($10,600): With the top of the forward position loaded with some of the world's best goal scorers, Ronaldo is in the best recent form of any of them. He has scored in his last 12 games in all competitions. His Juventus squad travel to France to take on a Lyon team that aren't having a good season. They are seventh in Ligue 1 and are the biggest underdogs on this slate, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Ronaldo averages 5.8 shots per game, the most in Europe's top five leagues, per WhoScored.com. This gives him a floor we can rely on for his high price. He is also a -135 favorite to score anytime in this match and +400 to score multiple goals. He may just be the best DFS play of all the forwards given how well he has been playing of late and the matchup he is in for this round.

Karim Benzema ($8,000): Benzema has been somewhat of a forgotten man at Real Madrid with the focus being on a few different players and issues. Benzema is quietly having a solid season, with 18 goals in all competitions. He also is averaging 4.01 shots per 90 minutes, his most in La Liga since 2015. Real Madrid are at home and face a Manchester City side that have had their issues defensively. This should be a fairly even match, and Benzema will be Real Madrid's main goal threat, especially with Eden Hazard injured. Benzema has +120 odds to score, and at just $8,000, it's tough to find a better bargain than that.

Matteo Politano ($5,600): Politano is a value play at forward in a tough match for Napoli against Barcelona. Politano transferred from Inter in the January transfer window and has gotten a role on corner kicks for Napoli in his brief time with the team. He averaged 6.07 crosses per 90 minutes with Inter in 2019, according to Rotowire. Barcelona haven't been shutting things down at the back this season, as they have only the seventh best defense in La Liga in terms of goals conceded. Politano should pay off his $5,600 price tag through his crossing, and he could provide an assist if Napoli are able to get a goal or two.

Midfielders to Target

Lionel Messi ($11,500): Messi is both midfield and forward eligible and is viable at both positions, with the other top midfield options not being too enticing. Messi is coming off a four-goal game on Saturday, ending a brief a goal-scoring drought. He gets a share of corner kicks, as well, just to add another reason to a laundry list of things that make him an appealing play. Napoli are sixth in Serie A and have allowed the 12th most goals, so they aren't exactly a good defensive team. Barcelona are +115 to win the game and Messi is -125 to score at any time. It will be tough to fit Ronaldo and Messi together into a lineup, but if we get the right value plays, it is possible.

Toni Kroos ($6,500): Kroos is always a safe play midfield play for Real Madrid due to his near monopoly of set-piece duty. He has taken 99 corner kicks in the league this season, leading to 101 total crosses. Kroos is often thought of as a player who does nothing else beside take corner kicks, but the addition of shot assists to DraftKings scoring this season has helped him. He averaged over four shot assists per game in the group stage. He also had multiple shots in all but one of those games. The $6,500 price is reasonable, and the safe floor makes him a good cash-game play.

Blaise Matuidi ($3,100): If looking for a complete punt, Matuidi makes some sense. He is more of a defensive-minded midfielder, and he averages over a tackle and interception per 90 minutes. He's not having his best season from an attack perspective but did score a goal and had five shots in five games in the group stage. For nearly the minimum price, he doesn't need to do much to give a respectable score. He could provide Ronaldo with an assist, or even a few shot assists would go a long way for just 3,100. He's not a sexy play by any means, but if trying to fit in Ronaldo and Messi, it might be necessary to play someone like Matuidi.

Defenders to Target

Joshua Kimmich ($6,200): Kimmich isn't really a defender these days, as he has moved into Bayern Munich's midfield almost exclusively. He still has the appeal on DraftKings due to his corner-kick role. He has averaged 7.61 crosses per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga this season. There isn't another defender-eligible player who has as safe of a floor as he does. He is similar to Kroos in that most of the appeal of playing him is just because of the corner kicks, but Kimmich will also receive a three-point bonus if Bayern can keep a clean sheet at Chelsea. He really is in a tier of his own at the defender position, as the clear player to spend on if wanting someone expensive.

Ferland Mendy ($4,000): Mendy has had a decent season in his first year at Real Madrid. He has found a more attacking role than what he had at Lyon, with 4.26 crosses per 90 minutes and over one shot assists per 90, as well. He has also got the clean-sheet bonus in eight of his 12 starts in La Liga this season, per Rotowire. Mendy has more upside than most, if not all, defenders in this price range. With there not being many expensive options to spend on at the position, paying in the low-to-mid range for someone like Mendy is a good route when building lineups on this slate.

Goalkeepers to Target

Wojciech Szczęsny ($5,300): Szczęsny will be between the sticks for a defensively stout team in Juventus. He has seven clean sheets in 18 starts in Serie A this season and two more in five UCL group stage games. Juventus are the biggest favorite on the slate, even at just -115, but Szczesny is not the highest-priced starting keeper. He is the best play if going with an expensive goalie.

Thibaut Courtois ($4,700): Real Madrid have somewhat reinvented themselves as a defensive team this season. They have conceded the fewest goals in La Liga, with just 17. Courtois has kept a clean sheet in half his starts in the league. A matchup against Man City won't be easy, but Courtois does have the benefit of playing at home. If Real Madrid are to keep up their solid defensive play, Courtois should be pretty safe in this game.



Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. 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.