Well we have a four game slate divided up over two days ahead of us, we have some marquee matchups between Chelsea-PSG, Porto-Basel, Real Madrid-Schalke, and Bayern Munchen-Shakhtar. With Madrid and Porto coming in with the upper hand and Chelsea and Bayern returning home with a slight edge but still with the door slightly open for an upset from their opponents I believe these matchups will be very exciting as these teams must score to win. The only team that has a comfortable lead is Real Madrid and they are one of the most prolific offensive teams in the world, so goals won’t be a tough get for them today. With the lineups slightly in flux make sure to check the starting XI about an hour before lineups lock to make sure your players are all starting, you can also follow me on twitter @DFS_Hambazaza and I’ll be sure to tweet out the lineups as they become available.
Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munchen $5,600 – The German national is starting in goal again this week against a Shakhtar side that managed to escape from its first matchup with Bayern with a draw and hold out hope that they’ll be able to advance to the quarter finals. The Ukranian side will likely be parking the bus and relying on the counter attack in order to score a winning goal or any attempt on target. While this is a high risk play as his ceiling is very limited, I believe that Neuer will probably face two shots on target and will likely save them both along with the win and the clean sheet putting him close to 14 fantasy points on the day, which you will take any day of the week from your keeper.
Fabiano, FC Porto $4,900, At $4,900, the Porto keeper should be one of the highest owned keepers as well as one of the top scoring keepers on the slate. Basel is coming into this matchup as a slight underdog and their backs are against the wall after giving up a late goal that cost them a home win against the Portuguese side. I expect this match to play very slow to start and to open up early if either team manages a score. This will result in plenty of opportunities for Fabiano to make some saves unlike the first match. Alternatively, if you believe that Basel will manage to secure a goal but keep a clean sheet, I don’t mind going with the Swiss side’s keeper Tomas Vaclik as he should also expect plenty of supply of shots to turn into saves but he is at a disadvantage as he is not a favorite for the W or the CS.
Other Keepers I Like: Iker Casillas – Real Madrid $5,700, Petr Cech – Chelsea $5,200, Tomas Vaclik – Basel $4,200, Salvatore Sirigu – PSG $4,000
Marcelo, Real Madrid $5,700 – It would be an understatement if I said that Marcelo is the safest defender with the highest floor on the slate. Marcelo plays the type of game that can result in double digit scores in the first half let alone the entire game. and with Madrid expected to be exceptionally heavy favorites at home Marcelo could find himself getting in on some of the action. Insert into your lineups and watch the crossing points pile up.
Alex Sandro, Porto $2,800 – If you’re going to go with the expensive defender, you need to balance him out with some cheapiers and Sandro provides just that, he was a popular play last time around with 6 fantasy points and I expect him to eclipse that output in this slate leading him to at least double digit points and if Porto does indeed come through with a goal or two, Sandro’s involvement in either would be a nice bonus.
Rafinha, Bayern Munchen $3,800 – Bayern has to attack in this match and score some goals, Rafinha and Bernat are likely to drift up front to help with the attack and would be called upon to deliver the crosses and attempts into the box for the forwards to try to score. Look for Rafinha to be the higher owned player due to his price being $700 less than his full back counterpart.
Other Defenders I Like: Dani Carvajal – Real Madrid $3,900, Behrang Safari – Basel $3,200, Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea $3,900, Branislav Ivanovic – Chelsea $5,000, David Luiz – PSG $4,200, Juan Bernat – Bayern Munchen $4,500
Arjen Robben, Bayern Munchen $9,600 – He’s the dynamo that runs the German machine and he’ll be looking to get his side rolling in this one. Bayern didn’t manage a goal in the first leg, but since that match they managed 15 goals and Robben has scored three goals and added four assists in league play in that period. What’s interesting is that Robben hasn’t scored in Europe since the 7-1 demolishing of Roma back in October. So look for Robben to get back on track to ensure that his side move on to the quarter-finals.
Yacine Brahimi, Porto $8,400 – Porto will be looking for a win in this matchup and to secure a move to the quarter-finals, however, I wouldn’t be that surprised if Brahimi ends up playing a bit deeper with Porto looking to secure a safe 1-0 win and playing more conservatively. If Basel manage a goal tho, look for Porto to open the match up and for Brahimi to be the main facilitator from the midfield. In their last matchup he managed only 1 shot and 1 cross, which led to his low scoring output, however, I believe that he’ll be more active today as part of a game plan.
Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea $7,200 – Hazard will be defended by Marquinhos most likely and the Brazilian defender will probably make things very difficult for the Belgian to work his magic in the midfield, this will open up more opportunities for creativity for Cesc Fabregas as he will carry the torch in the midfield, and we all know that the Spanish international has managed the most assists in the Premier League this season so he is very capable of managing the midfield and controlling the pace of play. This could be a high output day for Fabregas.
Other Midfielders I LIke: Lucas Zufi – Basel $3,000, Gareth Bale – Real Madrid $9,400, Juan Cuadrado – Chelsea $6,700, Blaise Matuidi – PSG $5,700, Toni Kroos – Real Madrid $5,100, Frank Ribery $9,400
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid $12,800 – It will take some guts to not put Ronaldo on any rosters you build today as Ronaldo is by far the most talented striker entering todays games and he’ll likely get several shots on target and his floor is very high even if he doesn’t score. He does however carry a very high chance to score goals as he’s entering this match with a lot of issues in the domestic La Liga, but I suspect that Madrid will be leaving all those issues behind and the team will look to secure its spot in the quarters with a big win today against the German side. It will require creativity to roster Ronaldo, but if you can fit him in, you will not regret it.
Cristian Tello, Porto $6,100 – between Tello and Aboubakar Porto will be looking to get a goal today. With Aboubakar playing the CF role, plenty will be on him as he is also cheaper than Tello, however, Tello has form on his side as he’s scored four goals in his last two matches including a hat-trick on March 1st against rivals Sporting. Make it an all Cristian-o day and roster both these forwards and move on.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke 04 $7,100 – Huntelaar will be underowned simply because most will ignore all of Schalke’s players when building their rosters bc of the expected Real Madrid hype, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if Madrid’s defense slips up a bit and gives Schalke a chance at scoring a goal and making this a game. Huntelaar is a tough choice to make as he hasn’t scored a goal in 2015 yet, however, what bigger stage to open your goal account than the Champions League.
Other Forwards I Like: Diego Costa – Chelsea $9,300, Thomas Muller – Bayern Munchen $9,800, Zlatan Ibrahimovic – PSV $9,500, Marco Streller – Basel $5,500, Vincent Aboubakar – Porto $5,500, Shkelzen Gashi – Basel $5,100