SOCCER

FanDuel Soccer: Champions League DFS Helper for 2/16/21

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

Round of 16
Tuesday, February 16th
PSG at Barcelona
Liverpool at RB Leipzig


Per FanDuel Sportsbook, Barcelona (+100) is the slate's biggest favorite, with Liverpool (+130) in second. RB Leipzig (+195) and PSG (+240) round out the two-game slate as underdogs. From an odds perspective, this is an evenly matched slate featuring four world-class sides.

Liverpool enters Tuesday in the middle of one of their worst runs of form since Jurgen Klopp took over. They have lost three in a row -- to Brighton, Manchester City, and Leicester City -- by a combined score of 8-2. RB Leipzig, meanwhile, have won four in a row and five of their last six, and they currently sit second in the Bundesliga, four points behind Bayern Munich.

Barcelona is in the midst of one of their worst seasons in some time. But despite that, they have won 11 of their last 13 fixtures, including their last seven La Liga matches. PSG enter Tuesday one point out of first place in Ligue 1 and winners of eight of their last nine. No matter how you slice it, Tuesday should be a fantastic day of soccer.

Here are some players to target at various salary ranges.

Forwards/Midfielders

Lionel Messi ($24) and Ousmane Dembele ($17), Barcelona -- Following their loss at Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey last Wednesday, Barcelona is in desperate need of a positive performance against strong opposition. They have turned things around recently against lesser opposition but will need a strong run in the Champions League to salvage their season, which could end without a trophy since Atletico Madrid is running away with the league. Luckily for Barca, PSG will be without Neymar and Angel Di Maria due to injuries, which could force Paris to play more cautiously in an effort to keep the tie alive for the second leg, when they could be closer to full strength.

That would be music to the ears of Messi and Dembele. Messi is coming off a near-perfect 68.0 FanDuel-point performance on Saturday and has produced fewer than 30.0 FanDuel points in only two of his last 12 starts. He is worth considering whenever he's on a slate, and if Barcelona finally breakthrough against a strong opponent, Messi will likely be the reason why. Dembele has been consistent since returning from a hamstring injury that kept him out for most of December, averaging 18.9 FanDuel points per match in his last seven appearances in which he's logged 45 minutes or more. The ceiling performances haven't been there yet, which could make him the least popular of Barcelona's attacking trio on Tuesday. At a salary of just $17, he is well worth thinking about as the best value of Barcelona's potential starting attacking trio.

Yussuf Poulsen ($16) and Christopher Nkunku ($14), RB Leipzig -- Further down the salary scale, we find two players central to Leipzig's attack. Given Liverpool's recent form and the current odds of this fixture, both Poulsen and Nkunku are excellent values. Before their recent struggles, Liverpool would have been larger favorites in this one, but after conceding eight goals over their past three, they have the appearance of a side we want to attack. Poulsen's minutes have been sporadic this season, but he has been effective when he's on the pitch, with FanDuel point totals of 17.6, 5.0, 3.0, 21.3, 24.2, and 38.9 over his last six starts.

Nkunku has been the engine of Leipzig's attack throughout the season and is simply mispriced at his salary of $14. His FanDuel point totals over his last six starts are 33.6, 38.6, 22.6, 13.6, 16.5, and 28.2. His link-up play with Poulsen at the top of Leipzig's normal 3-1-4-2 formation makes stacking the duo a viable play. Combined, these two are a nice value. If Liverpool suddenly snaps back into form on Tuesday, this duo's salaries would still be fair. The upside they have if Liverpool continue to struggle simply isn't factored into these salaries.

Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool ($15) -- Liverpool's recent struggles have resulted in Alexander-Arnold being far more involved on the defensive end of the pitch than he usually is. In his last three fixtures against decent opposition (Leicester City, Manchester City, and Tottenham), he has produced FanDuel point totals of 20.3, 20.3, and 36.5 with a combined 15 tackles and seven interceptions. He has also remained involved in the final third, contributing a combined six shots, five chances created, one goal, and one assist in those fixtures. With the always dangerous Angelino ($14) playing down Leipzig's left, Alexander-Arnold will have his hands full defensively, but there should also be space behind for Trent to exploit. He is the highest-salaried defender on the slate, but he offers big-time upside.

Presnel Kimpembe, PSG ($10) -- On the lower end of the salary scale, Kimpembe should be heavily involved as PSG are forced to contend with Barcelona at the Camp Nou without Neymar or Di Maria. Kimpembe has started and played the full 90 in each of PSG's last four matches. His upside is limited, but on a short slate, he figures to be one of the better values available for lineups that are spending up for the plethora of stars available. Sides such as PSG are rarely asked to defend for extended periods of a game, but a visit to Barcelona is certainly one of the times when they'll have to defend plenty.

Goalie

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona ($13) -- With the amount of high-salaried attacking talent available on Tuesday, paying up for ter Stegen may end up being an unpopular move. However, with PSG missing two of their attacking stars and Barcelona playing at home, MATS should face an easier task than his matchup suggests. Barcelona's defensive struggles this campaign have resulted in very few clean sheets for ter Stegen, but they have provided him with plenty of save opportunities. Over his last five fixtures, he is averaging 2.4 saves per match and has failed to produce double-digit FanDuel points only once. A weakened PSG attack helps his clean-sheet and win odds, and he should still be called into action a few times.