DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Wednesday UCL Picks

DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Wednesday UCL Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EST)

For detailed stats and odds, check out the DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Wednesday UCL Cheat Sheet.

FORWARDS

Lionel Messi, BAR v. BVB ($11,000): Barcelona are favored at home, which is probably enough to make Messi highly owned, even as the most expensive player on the slate by $1,100. The tricky fixture against Borussia Dortmund doesn't help matters, though there's no denying that Messi can do things that no other players can do. He has a shared role on set pieces, and his floor has been pretty ridiculous lately, averaging 4.9 shots, including 2.9 on goal, and 2.9 chances created over the past eight games, a span that also saw him score nine goals and assist four others. Ousmane Dembele ($7,800) could get some attention because he's the one sharing set pieces with Messi, but it's not nearly enough volume to give him a significant floor, especially since Barcelona don't even cross many of their corners. Luis Suarez ($8,900) is much more of a GPP play, which also applies to Antoine Griezmann ($8,400) if he starts, though his ceiling isn't even that high.

Emil Forsberg, RBL v. BEN ($7,400): Forsberg has taken on a much bigger role on set pieces recently, and he's coming off an excellent match against FC Koln

MATCHES (EST)

For detailed stats and odds, check out the DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Wednesday UCL Cheat Sheet.

FORWARDS

Lionel Messi, BAR v. BVB ($11,000): Barcelona are favored at home, which is probably enough to make Messi highly owned, even as the most expensive player on the slate by $1,100. The tricky fixture against Borussia Dortmund doesn't help matters, though there's no denying that Messi can do things that no other players can do. He has a shared role on set pieces, and his floor has been pretty ridiculous lately, averaging 4.9 shots, including 2.9 on goal, and 2.9 chances created over the past eight games, a span that also saw him score nine goals and assist four others. Ousmane Dembele ($7,800) could get some attention because he's the one sharing set pieces with Messi, but it's not nearly enough volume to give him a significant floor, especially since Barcelona don't even cross many of their corners. Luis Suarez ($8,900) is much more of a GPP play, which also applies to Antoine Griezmann ($8,400) if he starts, though his ceiling isn't even that high.

Emil Forsberg, RBL v. BEN ($7,400): Forsberg has taken on a much bigger role on set pieces recently, and he's coming off an excellent match against FC Koln when he bagged a brace on four shots (three on target), sent in seven crosses and drew three fouls. He's been sharing corners with Christopher Nkunku ($6,700, midfielder), who is a tough fit given that he's not forward eligible, and with Leipzig the second-biggest favorite on the slate, getting their set-piece taker isn't such a bad strategy. Rostering Forsberg doesn't take up much salary, but it's also not an upside play despite the two goals this past weekend. Ajax's Quincy Promes ($8,000) also has a role on set pieces, though Ajax's matchup away to Lille isn't quite as good as Forsberg's. In fact, if you want to stick with Forsberg's matchup, Timo Werner ($9,400) could be enticing, as he comes in with six goals on 14 shots (10 on target), six chances created and 17 crosses in this last three starts, but he also has the highest anytime goal scorer odds on the slate. Otherwise, you can pay up for the Liverpool guys, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ($8,100) the cheapest (if he starts), with Roberto Firmino ($8,600) much closer in salary than Sadio Mane ($9,700) and Mohamed Salah ($9,900). Messi's presence could lower their ownership a bit, though none of them have the floors for cash games. 

Patson Daka, RBS at GNK ($5,900): With Champions League star Erling Haaland ($9,200) dealing with a knee injury that's likely to keep him on the bench, Daka could be some fairly cheap exposure to the front line of the team with the second-highest team total on the slate. Hwang Hee-Chan ($7,500) isn't that expensive either, but Daka makes a little more sense if only because they both have low floors, so why spend up? If floor is what you're looking for, we could get a start from Antonio Candreva ($6,700) with a majority of set pieces, though that seems a bit unlikely given their past few games. Otherwise, Dries Mertens ($7,300) is in play if you think Liverpool lay an egg, but I'm not sure what would make anyone think that's happening, while Thorgan Hazard ($5,700) has a similar situation against Barcelona, but he at least provides some salary relief.

MIDFIELDERS

Hakim Ziyech AJA at LIL ($9,000): I actually don't think Ziyech is a great play on this slate, but it's impossible to have him as an option and not discuss his viability. He's the second-most expensive midfield-only player, sitting $100 behind Marcel Sabitzer, who is priced like he has a monopoly of set pieces, which he doesn't anymore. Ziyech doesn't have them either, and he's not much of a favorite away to Lille, but it's really difficult to say he's not a good play when he finds a way to score double-digit points anytime he's on a slate. Whether he's taking shots, creating chances, drawing fouls, winning tackles, etc., Ziyech's all-around production keeps him as one of the highest floor players. He's pretty difficult to pair with Messi, but there will certainly be people who try it while hoping their low-priced players can score enough points to keep them afloat.

Yusuf Yazici, LIL v. AJA ($5,800): Yazici has been a really consistent player, scoring at least 9.9 floor points in each of his last five starts. His role on set pieces for Lille puts him in position to send in crosses and create chances, and while they are underdogs Wednesday, at least they're at home. Yazici is one of a few mid-priced midfielders who could be interesting for cash-game players because of their roles on set pieces, with Dominik Szoboszlai ($5,200) a more cost-effective way into RB Salzburg's attack than Zlatko Junuzovic ($6,200). Pizzi ($6,400) could also be an option, though Benfica away doesn't seem like the ideal time to utilize him. The better option could be Nicolae Stanciu ($6,900), who seems to have a tough matchup against Inter, though Slavia Prague are the strongest underdog. Otherwise, paying down for Genk's Bryan Heynen ($4,600) isn't crazy, as RB Salzburg are great at scoring goals but also give up plenty, including two to Genk in their first match. 

Eljif Elmas, NAP at LIV ($3,200): Speaking of paying down, we could get a start for Elmas, who obviously has a tough matchup, though he's shown in limited time that he can provide fantasy points in a number of different ways. You really can't expect much down in this salary range, but the cost relief could be very helpful for those looking at paying up at multiple spots.

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV v. NAP ($7,000): Alexander-Arnold figures to be one of the most popular players in cash games because of his role on set pieces and Liverpool being the biggest favorite on the slate. There's not much more to say other than he crosses a ton and creates plenty of chances, enough so that he's safer than possibly any other player on the slate.

Alejandro Grimaldo, BEN at RBL ($5,000): Grimaldo has scored at least 9.2 fantasy points in all four Champions League starts this season, none of which included a goal, assist or clean sheet. He has a decent role on set pieces, and while the matchup away to Leipzig isn't ideal, he does more than enough to justify his price, more so than the guys around him like Nicolas Tagliafico ($5,100) and Raphael Guerreiro ($4,900). If anything, paying slightly down for Cristiano Biraghi ($4,500) seems like a more viable play given he's been taking some corners recently.

Zeki Celik, LIL v. AJA ($3,700): While Lille are underdogs, they should still try to attack a bit since Ajax can play a pretty open style. Celik is expected to start at either right-back or a right wing-back, and he's shown multiple times this season that he can create chances, send in a few crosses and win some tackles. He could be one of the cheaper fullbacks on the slate, but as always with the Champions League, make sure you check lineups when they're announced a little more than an hour before kickoff in case we get some cheaper options.

GOALKEEPER

Jakub Markovic, SLP v. INT ($4,300): Markovic could get the start ahead of Ondrej Kolar ($4,400), who made at least four saves in three of four starts during the Champions League, including four against Inter in Italy. Either one gives us the home goalkeeper in the game with the lowest total, and Kolar has shown that he can make enough saves to stay positive.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Head of DFS Content and Senior Soccer Editor. He is a nine-time FSWA award finalist, including twice for Football Writer of the Year.
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