Here we go, matchday six in the UEFA Champions League group stages. There is plenty of excitement going on today as we approach the final game in the group stages. As a reminder, the top two teams advance to the knockout rounds, and the third place team gets to go on in Europe League and still has a chance at a European victory parade. Of the teams playing today, several have already booked their trip to the knockout stages and could be without some key players, others are fighting for a spot and will look to pull out all the stops in order to get a win, and some others still have no chance to advance to the next stage, but can make some noise and advance to Europe League. These plays are focused on the most likely top performers of the day, of course, all is pending lineups being released and until we know who is in and who is out. As always, you can follow me on twitter @DFW_hambazaza, I’ll try to tweet out the latest lineups as they come in. Good luck.
Mitch Langerak, Borussia Dortmund $4,900 – Jurgen Klopp won’t confirm who is starting in keeper today until lineups are out, however, if the starting keeper ends up being Roman Weidenfeller, then I’m ok with that option too. This is more of a team pick than it is an individual keeper. BVB need to win this match in order to seal their place as the top team in group D, and for that, they will be in an all out attack especially in front of their fans at home. Langerak is a decent keeper who should secure the win. Anderlecht have nothing to play for as they have already secured their spot in third no matter the results of today’s competitions. Langerak is one of the safer options on the board today.
Keylor Navas, Real Madrid $5,500 – Draftkings has priced both Madrid keepers as the most expensive of the day, and that was to avoid having some extreme value play that ends up being owned by 100% of the field. Madrid is an extreme favorite to win this game and they are facing a weak team at home. If Navas gets the start, he’s easily the biggest favorite for the win and clean sheet bonus. I don’t expect many saves as Ludogorets shouldn’t threaten goal too often against the Spanish giants.
Danijel Subasic, Monaco $4,100 – Monaco are playing Zenit St Petersburg at home and are very slight favorites. This is a truly winner take all matchup and as such, Subasic cannot be recommended except as a GPP option. He won’t be highly owned since most people will gravitate to Leno, Moya or even Szczesny for a few hundred more as they have better matchups on paper. Monaco however have been a solid defensive outfit through the season in both the French Ligue 1 and the Champions League. Despite the suspension of their Center Back, Carvalho, the team has managed to put away Toulouse with a 2-0 result. I suspect that this will be a tight matchup and that Monaco, needing a win to qualify to the group stages, will pull out all the stops and reward Subasic with the win bonus, plus allow for a few save opportunities to bolster his fantasy production.
Other Keepers I Like: Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Juri Lodygin (Zenit St. Petersburg), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Carlos Moya (Atletico Madrid), Roberto (Olympiakos)
Lukasz Piszczek, Borussia Dortmund $4,000 – He’s been one of the most consistent fullbacks in the champions league so far with a game log that reads 16, 13, 11 and 12 in his last four. Unfortunately for us, Draftkings has corrected his pricing up to match his output making him a not-so-automatic play anymore. He is still very eligible for the clean sheet bonus if Dortmund can hold, as well as a likely candidate to deliver a few crosses and key passes that can lead to an assist or two.
Fabinho, Monaco $3,300 – As mentioned above, Monaco come into this matchup as slight favorites, Fabinho has the outside chance at a clean sheet, however, his value also lies in his ability to deliver crosses and the threat level he provides to his forwards. Monaco tend to be a slow it down team so there won’t be many chances for him to attack, however, he does carry the bonus of playing against a defense that allows a significant amount of flank attacking.
Anton Tinnerholm, Malmo $2,200 – Here’s the value play of the day on defense for GPPs, Tinnerholm plays for an overmatched Malmo squad that is looking to make some noise and try to defeat Olympiakos in Greece and make it into the Europa League. I can see Malmo playing deep into their zone packing the box and going for counter attacks. If Olympiakos is able to score sometime in the early second half, look for Tinnerholm and the Malmo attack to start getting more active, with Tinnerholm delivering some crosses and doing some deep runs into the opponents territory. This is a GPP play only as there are no guarantees that Malmo don’t get absolutely torn apart on defense and Tinnerholm produces a goose egg, however, for his price, it’s a chance I’d be willing to take.
Stephan Lichtsteiner, Juventus $4,000 – Juventus will be looking to win group A outright by defeating Atletico Madrid today, and playing on their home soil, the full backs will take chances and attack the visiting Spanish team. Lichsteiner is in a decent spot to bounce back after a lackluster performance in the Italian League that saw him get two yellow cards and an ejection. Lichsteiner will be looking to make right for his performance.
Other Defenders I Like: Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa(Real Madrid, if starting), Glen Johnson and Alberton Moreno (Liverpool), Bellerin (Arsenal)
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool $6,300 – Steven Gerrard should be getting up front more than he has been recently for Liverpool as they seek this very important win to keep their run in the Champions League alive. Gerrard has been the main free kick and penalty kick taker for the team. He should be a viable option for GPPs today, as his floor is low and that shouldn’t change in this matchup in which both teams will be afraid of making a mistake.
Hakan Calhanoglu, Bayer Leverkusen $6,700 – He is a very dependable player for the German side that is looking for guaranteeing their first place spot in the group playing a team with nothing to play for. Calhanoglu has consistently delivered crosses and shots on target throughout the German league and the UCL campaign to provide his fantasy owners with enough to payback his medium price tag. He’s a very safe option for any cash team you put together.
Koke, Arda Turan, Raul Garcia, Atletico Madrid – Depending on who gets the start, these three are very viable options for GPPs for a Madrid team playing on the road and looking to get their team ahead and leave their mark. Koke is by far the most expensive and likely the most reliable to get some production for his team. Turan and Garcia each have different appeals. If Garcia starts in the “10” spot then he becomes a heavy favorite for me to roster as his price is a mere $5,600 and has scored in his last two games in the UCL as well. Turan is the safe cash game option if you wanted just double digit points with limited potential for an assist or a score. He ranks as third on my list from the Madrid midfielders.
Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal $6,000 – For his potential production, his price is rather low, as Ramsey has the potential for a two goal game, he also has the floor of a two fantasy point game. It would be very tough to trust Ramsey as a cash game option, however, if you believe that Arsenal have it in them to handle the Turkish team the way everybody else in Europe has this season so far, then go ahead and put your faith in Ramsey. Ramsey is the most consistent midfielder for the gunners likely to start this match and he has just scored a goal this past weekend so he’s in “form”
Other Midfielder I Like: Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Chori Dominguez (Olympiacos), Magnus Eriksson (Malmo FF), Arturo Vidal (Juventus), Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Whoever starts in #10 spot for Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid $12,800 – With Sanchez, Benzema, Welbeck, and Reus all out today, Ronaldo is the only player out of the five top players in terms of salary available for selection. Even then, he is not expected to play a full 90 minutes once Real Madrid get their lead and guarantee their record setting 19th consecutive victory. So why should you roster Ronaldo? He just broke the record for most hat-tricks in the Spanish League ever, He is currently in a neck-and-neck race with Lionel Messi for the scoring record in the UCL. Finally, Ronaldo does what Ronaldo wants, and Ronaldo wants to score goals. Roster Ronaldo and don’t end up on the outside looking in to a 5-0 match.
Hulk, Zenit St Petersburg $8,100 – He’s the well known Brazilian forward that everybody loved playing in the world cup this summer, but in Champions League play he plays for underutilized Russian squad ZSP. He’s a pure GPP option as he is facing a tough defense that has kept things on lock down for the majority of the season. Hulk or his teammate Danny ($7,300 midfielder) are the two most likely to break the deadlock against Monaco, which makes him a GPP play at best.
Fernando Llorente, Juventus $6,800 – He’s playing at home and is the second striker to Carlos Tevez. Tevez and Llorente both scored last time out in the UCL, but haven’t scored since. They’ll be playing for first place in the group and The Old Lady will be looking to wrestle away the first place spot from Atletico Madrid. I expect Llorente to be heavily involved in the attack and to hopefully reward those who choose him with a goal or two.
Konstantinos Mitroglou, Olympiacos $5,400 – His price has come up from the rock bottom $3K he was at earlier, and he hasn’t scored in the UCL since week 1 of the group stages, I still believe that Mitroglou has a decent chance at coming away from this matchup with a score. Playing at home in what is a must win match for Olympiacos (along with a Juventus loss) for them to advance. He’s a GPP option for his cheap price.
Breel Embolo, Basel $5,300 – Here’s a GPP option alone as Embolo is playing on the road against a Liverpool team that has not found its way yet. Last time out in the champions league, Liverpool allowed Ludogorets to draw 2-2. Basel are currently in 2nd place in the group and looking for a win to qualify to the knockout stages, Embolo is the teenage sensation for the Swiss side and can score goals for them with regularity. Be careful though as there is a chance he may not start, so watch for the lineups.
Heung-Min Son, Bayer Leverkusen $7,500 – He’s coming off a bad match against Bayern Munich over the weekend, and didn’t score in the last match against Monaco, Son is a good play today as he’s scored once against this team in the reverse matchup on his way to 30 fantasy points. If he can duplicate half of that performance today he will be worth his price.
Other Forwards I Like: Adrian Ramos (Dortmund), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal),), Mario Mandzukic (Atletico Madrid), Carlos Tevez (Juventus), Rickie Lambert (Liverpool), Matias Delgado (Basel), Isco (Real Madrid)