FanDuel World Cup Final Single-Game Helper: France vs. Argentina (12/18/22)

Lionel Messi has been a DFS machine in the World Cup. Do you need to lock him in at captain for Sunday's final, or is there another route you should take on the single-game slate?

We've arrived at the final.

It's set to start at 10:00 a.m. EST on Sunday. It should be a great match. Either France will complete a historic repeat or Argentina will capture the crown, thereby checking the final box in Lionel Messi's unbelievable career.

FanDuel is offering single-game contests for the matchup. In single-game contests, the scoring settings are the same as FanDuel's normal soccer offerings, but roster requirements are different. You have $50 to work with, and you need to roster four forwards/midfielders -- one in a captain slot, where the player's points are multiplied by 1.5 -- along with a defender. Goalies are not part of the player pool.

All World Cup odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook and FoxBet, and they may change after the article is published.

Quick Match Overview

This is priced as an even matchup, per FanDuel Sportsbook. France are +175 on the moneyline, and Argentina are +180. A draw is listed at +195. In terms of odds to lift the trophy, France are -112 to do so while Argentina are -104.

The match is +142 to go over 2.5 goals.

Our model falls in line with the betting market as we project a 1.21-1.10 win for France. We give the match a 57.7% chance to stay under 2.5 goals.

Captain Choices

Lionel Messi ($16), Argentina

Messi has been amazing in this tourney. If there is ever someone you shouldn't fade in DFS (in any sport), it's Messi when he's in this kind of form. He combines world-class playmaking ability with elite goal-scoring, so he can rack up fantasy points in several ways -- goals, assists, shots on goal, and chances created.

He's been ridiculously dominant through six games, scoring at least 31.3 FanDuel points in each contest and amassing outputs of 39.0, 31.3, 36.3, 38.3, 41.0, and 38.0 FanDuel points.

The floor/ceiling combination is out of this world, and he'll probably lead the slate in scoring. Plus, with Kylian Mbappe on the slate, Messi's captain percentage shouldn't be as sky-high as it was in the semifinals -- though it'll still be high. He's +190 to score and -110 to score or assist -- both of which are slate-best numbers.

It's all systems go for the Argentine superstar, who can put a resounding stamp on his legendary career with a win on Sunday.

Kylian Mbappe ($15), France

For me, Mbappe feels like the pivot point on this slate.

If you're using him next to Messi -- assuming you're not outright fading Messi -- then you'll be pinching pennies everywhere else (just $19 for the other three spots), but stacking the two PSG stars gives you through-the-roof upside. If you don't use Mbappe, you have more salary available to pair two quality French attackers alongside Messi, creating a more balanced lineup that still has a gaudy ceiling.

In the past two France matches, I've faded Mbappe -- who can be somewhat goal-reliant in DFS -- to dodge his enormous popularity and banked on him not making the net bulge. It's worked, but on this slate, there isn't as much of a reason to worry about Mbappe's captain draft percentage being super high thanks to the presence of Messi.

After two poor fantasy outputs -- 11.0 and 3.0 FanDuel points in the semis and quarters, respectively -- Mbappe might actually go a little under-rostered in the multiplier spot. If it seems like Messi is going to be the runaway most popular captain, Mbappe is where I'll go as captain in a lot of my lineups. The French winger is +210 to score and +125 to score/assist.

While Argentina have been outstanding defensively, there's a chance this match is more open than the matches Argentina have played so far, especially if France score first and force the Argentines to be more aggressive in attack. That would play right into the hands of Mbappe, who has the pace to blow away Argentina's back-line on the counter.

Olivier Giroud ($12), France

Mbappe and Messi will account for a massive chuck of the draft percentage at captain. Going with anyone other than one of them as your top guy will be contrarian. If the slate's highest-scoring player is someone other than Messi or Mbappe and you hit on that player in your multiplier spot, it'll give you a significant leg up on the field. It's worth taking a shot on it in some lineups.

Giroud -- who is +310 to score and +175 to score/assist -- makes the most sense as a contrarian MVP, at least in my eyes. He's a goal threat who could give Argentina fits in the air. Giroud is extremely goal-reliant in DFS. He's scored 20.0, 32.6, and 43.0 FanDuel points in the three matches in which he's bagged a goal, and he's produced 2.6 and 4.3 FanDuel points in the two matches in which he didn't score.

But he's been on the end of a lot of chances, and his 2.6-point semifinal showing could've been much bigger if he converted on either of the two golden chances he had to score. His $12 salary is more than fair, so even if you don't want to put him at captain, Giroud is an excellent choice for a forward/midfield slot.

Julian Alvarez ($11), Argentina

Alvarez has been immense for Argentina since taking over at striker, scoring four times in the last four games, including a brace in the semifinals. His work when Argentina don't have the ball has been crucial, too, although that is more impactful in real life than in fantasy.

If Argentina stick with the same starting XI, Alvarez will be the only other attacker for them outside of Messi. He has to be on our radar. But I won't go here much.

Similar to Giroud, Alvarez does very little in DFS if you take away goals, but the difference between him and Giroud is that Argentina haven't created as many chances for Alvarez as France have for Giroud. And on top of that, Alvarez's two-goal outing midweek will likely make him more popular than he should be.

If Angel Di Maria ($8) joins Alvarez and Messi in a front three, I'll be super interested in him, but with how well Argentina played against Croatia, they'll probably keep Di Maria on the bench.


Antoine Griezmann ($13), France

Griezmann has been top drawer for France, and it's resulted in consistently good FanDuel outputs; he's tallied at least 19.6 FanDuel points in each of his five starts. He's done that despite not scoring a goal in the tournament and going without an assist in three of his starts. In the three matches in which he didn't notch an assist, he still posted 30.8, 19.6, and 22.4 FanDuel points.

That's an impressive level of production, and he's doing it via chances created -- 19 across his five starts -- while adding in a decent amount of defensive actions.

Griezmann -- who takes a lot of corners and some free kicks -- is +420 to score and +175 to get a goal or assist. He's an excellent play but not an ideal captain due to the lack of goal-scoring upside.

Ousmane Dembele ($10), France

Dembele is someone I'll have a lot of. The salary is kind, and he gets you exposure to France's front three. He's registered two assists in the World Cup and has scored at least 9.9 FanDuel points in all but one game.

Admittedly, his +500 goal odds leave a lot to be desired, but he's a respectable +195 to score/assist. He fits well as a stacking partner with Giroud or Mbappe, and Dembele's blistering pace could be an issue for an Argentina defense that doesn't have much speed.

Enzo Fernandez ($7), Rodrigo De Paul ($6), and Leandro Paredes ($5), Argentina

These three started in midfield for Argentina in the semifinal, and no matter what kind of build you're going with, odds are you may need to plug in one of these guys as a salary-saver. If you're trying to jam in both Messi and Mbappe, you may need two of them.

There's almost no upside here as none of the three is better than +950 to score or +420 to score/assist. Using any of this trio is mostly about cap relief and hoping for somewhere close to 10.0 FanDuel points.

Of the three, De Paul is the one I'm most into. He offers the best blend of defensive work and attacking juice. He's created at least one chance in four straight matches, and he's put two shots on goal in that span. Any of these guys recording a shot on goal on Sunday would be huge, and if any of them happen to get an assist -- which is way more likely than a goal -- they'll almost surely get into the optimal lineup.

Lautaro Martinez, Argentina ($9)

Using a substitute isn't viable on normal-sized slates, but it can work on single-game slates, especially in the knockout round of tournaments since there's a chance for extra time, meaning a sub who comes on midway through the second half could end up playing around 50 minutes.

Martinez has lost his starting gig to Alvarez, but if Argentina are tied or chasing the game, he'll likely come on. His +320 anytime goal odds are the second-best on the team. If he comes off the bench and factors into a goal -- either by scoring it or assisting it -- he could be a great leverage play, particularly if it's a low-scoring match.

Of course, there is an obvious risk in using any sub. There's a chance Martinez is on the pitch for only five minutes, or if Argentina are trying to protect a lead, Martinez might not play at all. But subs aren't a total cross-off on this slate, so it's at least something to think about.


Theo Hernandez ($10), France

Hernandez, France's left-back, has the best attacking upside at defender on this slate, and assuming most people will sell out to get the best forward/midfield foursome they can, he probably won't be too popular. He has spent a lot of time pushing forward all tourney and usually finds himself in space as defenders on his side are occupied with Mbappe. Hernandez has a goal and two assists, scoring the opener in France's semifinal.

I will mostly stay away, though. I'll be one of the people getting the best attackers I can, and that means saving salary at defender. Plus, Hernandez is just +330 to score/assist, and he probably won't have as many chances to bomb forward in this match with Messi roaming on his side.

Jules Kounde ($6) and Raphael Varane ($5), France

Between this pair, France will likely give us two low-salary starting defenders. I think Kounde is worth the extra $1. A center-back who is playing right-back, Kounde has been fairly active defensively, and while he doesn't get forward as much as a normal right-back would, he hasn't been a zero going forward, registering two total shots on target and creating one chance. He's scored at least 8.9 FanDuel points in all four of his starts.

Varane, on the other hand, is averaging just 6.2 FanDuel points per match for the tourney -- although he's a bigger threat on set pieces than Kounde is.

Marcos Acuna ($5), Argentina

Acuna has been Argentina's first choice at left-back. He was suspended against Croatia, and Argentina wound up playing their best match of the tourney without him, so it's not a lock he comes right back into the starting XI. But if he does, Acuna is easy to get behind at this bargain-bin salary. He'll have some work to do defensively versus France, and he's not bad going forward, priced at +650 to score/assist. This is mostly about the salary savings, though.

If Argentina stick with their lineup from last game and opt for Nicolas Tagliafico ($5) over Acuna, Tagliafico would be a fine value target, as well. He generated 14.1 FanDuel points last time out. Center-back Cristian Romero ($6) is also an acceptable low-salary play and may have a slightly higher floor than Tagliafico and Acuna do.