The Champions League comes back this week with some nice tournaments here at DraftKings, with a pair of strong slates to play on.
First of all, there are two slates on Tuesday: a two game slate that starts at noon Eastern, followed by a bigger six game slate at 2:45. This will focus on the latter, but for the noon slate look towards the midfield and attackers on both sides of BATE/Bayer Leverkusen, plus defenders Filip Mladenovic and Wendell. The Valencia/Zenit match should be a tighter affair; look towards Mikhail Kerzhakov, Domenico Criscito, Oleg Shatov, Hulk and Artem Dzyuba for the hosts. Valencia’s Sofiane Feghouli’s game is made for DK’s scoring system, while outside backs Jose Cancelo and Jose Gaya both are strong plays as well.
The main slate has a plethora of options, both from heavy favorites (Bayern, Barca) and a host of other players that you can supplement your lineup around the big names. Let’s start with…
In order to build up at midfield and attack, looking for value at keeper and defense is paramount. I like Asmir Begovic ($4,100) and Iker Casillas ($4,000) just as much as Petr Cech ($4,400), Manuel Neuer ($4,600) or Marc-Andre Ter Stegen ($4,300).
Honestly, I don’t see a value play worth using in most lineups to be created on this slate. But be willing to take a chance on an underdog to fill out a tournament lineup perhaps. While Maccabi Tel-Aviv has been lit up so far in the Champions League, Predrag Rajkovic ($2,500) is a minimum priced play facing a Chelsea lineup that isn’t firing on all cylinders in attack. Also, Lyon’s Anthony Lopes ($3,000) has a home start against a Gent side that will attack, but it’s a strong chance for a win and even a clean sheet. Myself, I wouldn’t use Dinamo Zagreb’s Eduardo ($2,800) or Olympiakos’ Roberto ($2,600); while they should see a lot of action, chances are both could get lit up pretty well.
There’s a lot of excellent options at defense; my favorite, however, looks to be out with David Alba likely sidelined with an ankle injury.
While his price went up, Miguel Layun ($3,600) has perhaps the highest floor of the assembled lot at defender because of his set piece duty. A home start against a lesser opponent is just icing on the cake. A mini-stack with Maxi Pereira ($3,400) isn’t out of the question, either.
At first glance, if Kieran Gibbs ($2,700) starts again for Arsenal in the midfield, it’s hard to look past the left back. But keep in mind he could be, like this past weekend, a likely substitute after 60 or so minutes. He gave just over 2x value against West Brom this past weekend, but most of that came from three shots. Don’t go in expecting a lot of crosses.
With Alaba out, there is some value to be had from Rafinha ($2,900) from Bayern’s backline.
It’s difficult because of the bigger pricetags elsewhere to include Jordi Alba ($4,300) or Dani Alves ($4,200), but both are strong plays, and Barcelona as you know are red hot and facing a Roma side that has not been top notch in defense.
A bit off the beaten bath, you have the Maccabi pair of Dor Peretz ($2,400) and Yuval Shpungin ($2,400); if you want to save money elsewhere, they’re strong options–especially if Peretz plays a midfield role. Eli Dasa ($2,000) is another option if he starts.
Lyon’s Jeremy Morel ($2,400) is our last value play; with Christopher Jallet out, Morel and Jallet’s replacement Rafael should get forward quite often. I like Morel’s price point a lot better.
There are a lot of different options to go with here at midfield; you can easily use all three slots and both utility spots from this pool.
Chelsea’s Willian ($5,200) is criminally underpriced for what he’s doing on the field for Chelsea. The Brazilian almost hit 4x value without a goal or assist to his name. While that’s unlikely to repeat to that degree, especially in a road start, that price tag is hard to avoid.
In the same game, Eran Zahavi ($3,900) is the fulcrum of Maccabi’s attack and they have little to lose from this match.
Porto’s side has a load of value on Tuesday. You can easily make cases for all three of Yachine Brahimi ($6,400), Ruben Neves ($2,800) and Andre Andre ($4,400); the last of the three is my favorite of the trio because of his mid-priced cost paired with the amount of crosses he’ll garner. Neves assumed some set piece duty while Brahimi was out hurt; with the latter back, it’s hard to see who will get those points in the run of play.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil ($5,900) has a decent price tag and should see a good amount of dead ball responsibilities for the home side. To hit his ceiling however, Ozil will need to get on the scoresheet via a goal or assist.
There’s a lot of cheap value from Gent/Lyon; all from Mathieu Valbuena ($5,100), Danjiel Millcevic ($2,700) and Thomas Foket ($3,000) are likely to return value.
Arjen Robben ($6,700) is expected to start for Bayern in a front three; if you’re paying up at midfield, he’s your man. Also with Thiago Alcantara out, Xabi Alonso ($3,500) and Arturo Vidal ($5,000) can be used if you’re filling up on Bayern options.
IF he continues in the starting lineup for Barcelona, Sergio Roberto ($3,600) is a very nice tournament play–while he does not have any set piece responsibilities, he’s had a huge part in the current run Barca is on and could easily find himself on the scoresheet.
Lastly, we have Roma’s Miralem Pjanic ($3,900). How many chances will the Bosnian set piece ace get in this one? It’s hard to see him hitting a 20-30 point ceiling without scoring, but Pjanic has an awfully high floor even in this tough matchup.
Let’s get this out of the way; any options from either Barcelona or Bayern are superb plays. All from Neymar ($8,700), Douglas Costa ($6,900), Robert Lewandowski ($8,600), Luis Suarez ($8,500), Thomas Muller ($7,600)–and if they start–Lionel Messi ($10,000) and Kingsley Coman ($4,400)–are all worthy candidates.
Of those, Neymar and Costa are the straightforward options because of their set piece duties. The rest of the mix are more dependent on goals, and Comas is the value option if he goes from the start.
Let’s go elsewhere; Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette ($5,500) should be low owned and could grab a goal or two–but that price tag is hard to shoe horn into, say, a utility spot when you have more sure options from midfield.
If you want to be contrarian to the Bayern or Barca avenue, you have the Premiership crew of Alexis ($7,800), Olivier Giroud ($6,500), Joel Campbell ($3,000, if he starts) and Diego Costa ($7,200). I’m more interested in the Gunners than Costa–especially after watching Chelsea on the weekend. Costa seemed very hesistant at times to make runs in the box to give his teammates a target for their passes.
Lastly, let’s look at Dynamo Kiev/Porto. Kiev’s winger Andriy Yarmolenko ($4,200) has a good floor because of the consistent crosses in his game, so even on the road against a better Porto side Yarmolenko has his merits. Porto’s Vincent Aboubakar ($6,300) is the lead dog in the attack, at home, and has a decent floor four an out-and-out striker because of the amount of shots he takes. Aboubakar’s ceiling is tied to him finding the back of the net; his salary makes it hard to fit him in alongside the big boys but he’ll be much lower owned.