It’s Champions Tuesday and once again we’ve got a number of excellent games on tap here for the Tuesday/Wednesday slate. This week I’ll try something different, I’ll try to go back and review my top picks before going into this week’s selections. I find that when I go back and critique my choices it helps me make better decisions for the future, plus, it can help you, the reader understand the thought process. We do have some big GPPs in store today on DraftKings, we have the $6,000 Equalizer for $27 entry, the $5,000 Golden Boot for $200 entry and the $4,000 Striker for just $3 entry fee.
Week In Review
Last week we had the first set of round of 16 matches and it featured my beloved Chelsea dropping out of the Champions League title race thanks in no small part to the horrible corner defense and some sloppy play from most of the players. As for my own picks presented in this very space, for Keeper I highlighted Michael Neuer and Fabiano, both keepers earner the Win and the clean sheet with Fabiano gathering four saves to boost his point total to 16 on the day. At Defense, Marcelo of Real Madrid was not picked as a starter, while the other two picks I made were Alex Sandro (10 fantasy points) and Rafinha (20.75 fantasy points) had excellent outings. In the midfield, I chose Bayern Midfielder Arjen Robben, unfortunately he was injured early in the game and only played 19 minutes which limited his productivity and precluded him from the goal fest that happened in Munich. Brahimi was my second choice at midfield and he managed a goal and an assist in a 4-0 victory for Porto, while my last selection for the midfield was Cesc Fabregas who had a bad game, with only 2 fouls drawn and a single cross, he severely disappointed despite having plenty of touches and playing generally forward. Chelsea just couldn’t manage possession in the midfield and Fabregas was largely to blame for that. As for my forwards, I chose the trio of Ronaldo, Tello and Huntelaar, Tello left the game injured even before Robben had a chance to leave and Ronaldo and Huntelaar both starred with two goals a piece and more than 25 fantasy points.
Overall, it was a good showing last week from my picks, there were some misses at every level, but there was some good fortune in several of the selections managed a goal or assist. Now lets see if we can carry the momentum forward to this week. As always don’t forget to check out the starting XI as they come out about an hour before lineups lock, I’ll be tweeting out the lineups as they become available. Good Luck.
Moya, Atletico Madrid $4,900 – Moya and his squad suffered defeat in the first leg of this champions league encounter with Bayer Leverkusen. That match featured their Central Defender Godin thrown out with two yellows and Tiago, the central midfielder received a yellow card that resulted in his suspension for this match. Moya may have his hands full due to the back line having its hands full. However, they are at home and facing a deficit, so his team should be in full attack mode. The oddsmakers also feel that Atletico Madrid is a sizeable favorite in this match leading me to believe that they should pull off the win. With the loss of some key defenders and resorting to some backups, Moya should get a few saves to supplement the win bonus and for that, he makes an elite play despite his high price tag.
Danijel Subasic. Monaco $3,900 – The price is excellent on Subasic and after a 3-1 win away from home against the gunners, Monaco enters this matchup in the drivers seat with Arsenal desperate to mount a comeback. This pick comes with some trepidation as Arsenal managed to find the back of the net nine times in their last four matches since losing to Monaco. However, we know that Monaco is an excellent defensive squad that has little trouble controlling the ball and ensuring that their opponents don’t score. In their home stadium, Monaco has only allowed a single goal total since December 2nd 2014. That is a run of 12 games with just a single goal allowed. Moreover, this is a team that doesn’t give up leads very often, as opponents have had lots of trouble coming from behind. I believe that Arsenal will control this match from the midfield and will get some shots on target to try to come back in this one. But I would not be surprised if the defensive power house that is Monaco manage to hold Giroud, and the gunners goalless while absorbing the attacking waves that will come at them.
Other Goalkeepers to target: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Barcelona $5,100), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund $4,600), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus $4,600)
Juanfran, Atletico Madrid $5,500 – If you choose to go with an expensive defender today then Juanfran should be on your radar. On the season he averages close to 4 crosses a game between Champions League and the Spanish La Liga. He spends the majority of his time as a player roaming up and down the right flank and delivering crosses. He has a high floor and if one of his crosses is delivered accurately (which he does a third of the time) that can lead to a potential goal and reward him with the assist. Moreover, Atletico is one of my teams that I have pegged for the win, and potential clean sheet, which puts Juanfran in play there as well.
Patrice Evra, Juventus $4,000 – The slightly cheaper option at defense from the two Juventus fullbacks is my choice here. I could have gone with one of the two fullbacks from Barcelona, but both have very high prices and make for excellent plays, however, Evra is my choice here. Along with Lichtsteiner, Juventus relies on Evra to facilitate the attack down the middle and through the wings. The wings get populated by the full backs while the defensive midfielders fall back to cover the ground left wide open by their forays. This allows the fullbacks a chance to stay up front a bit while the attack is ongoing. In their last matchup a few weeks ago Evra managed 45 total touches but most of them were in the opponents half further cementing the idea that he will be an active participant in the attack for Juventus.
Marcel Schmelzer, Borussia Dortmund $3,300 – The third option at defense comes from Borussia Dortmund, Juventus’ opponent. This is a game that is tough to peg down but I like the potential activity from both sides. Schmelzer is cheap enough that he gives you the potential to roster other players that may cost too much (like a certain forward from Barcelona, more on that alter).
Other Defenders to target: Roberto Hilbert (Bayer Leverkusen $2,700), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus, $4,300), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund, $3,300), Jordi Alba (Barcelona $5,300), Dani Alvez (Barcelona $5,000), any Arsenal fullbacks who end up starting.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Borussia Dortmund $7,800 – He’s a forward that is listed as a midfielder, I Will keep listing him so long as Dortmund is still in the tournament. However, if Immobile is starting then that usually pushes Aubemeyang down to the midfield where he is overpriced as his shots and his goal attempts drop significantly. If that is the case, I would look to Mkhtirayan ($6,400) as the choice at midfield from Borussia Dortmund.
Koke, Atletico Madrid $7,700 – Koke has the potential for a huge game any time he’s on the field for Atletico. He is coming off of two decent performances, one of which saw him score the only goal for Atletico against Valencia. If the team is to progress to the next round, they’ll need some help from Koke and the attacking side of the ball will have to get some work done as the team needs at least one goal to progress without conceding any from Bayer.
Santi Cazorla, Arsenal $7,400 – Mesut Ozil is another option here as both are capable of providing crosses, shots and goals. Cazorla gets my pick as he is fresher having come off the bench last time out for the gunners, also, Cazorla is $200 cheaper than Ozil. For Arsenal to progress from this round they’ll need to overcome a very tough 3-1 defeat at home and absolutely dominate Monaco. As mentioned earlier, Monaco has been stalwart at home making this task incredibly hard for Arsenal, however, they will try, and for that, Cazorla should be rewarded with a few stats that will help increase his floor for this week’s games.
Other Midfielders I Like: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal $7,600), Paul Pogba (Juventus $5,800), Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco (Monaco $4,500), David Silva (Manchester City $7,100), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen $7,500), Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund $3,000)
Lionel Messi, Barcelona $13,000 – You can’t escape it, him and Ronaldo have been absolute beasts this season and they will continue their torrid run throughout the next few years as we watch this rivalry bloom into one of the ages. Messi enters this matchup looking to overtake Ronaldo as the all-time goal scorer for the Champions League and he’s facing a Manchester City squad that has all but fallen out of the Premier League title race after losing to Burnley last weekend. Since failing to score or assist on a goal against Manchester City last time out, Messi has managed six goals and two assists en route to bringing his total goal tally to 40 on the season and total assists to 16. Messi is arguably the best goal scorer and the best assist man in the world today and fading him is playing with fire.
Josep Drmic, Bayer Leverkusen $3,300 – After scoring two goals over the weekend, Drmic is emerging as a top striker for the Leverkusen team. He’s only 22 years old so he’ll have some days where he doesn’t deliver, and he’s playing on the road, but for his price, if he manages to net a goal or two then he’ll more than pay up for it. If he is on your squad, I would however make sure that you don’t include Moya in as keeper as well, as these two contradict each other.
Luis Suarez, Barcelona $9,700 – If you decide that you can’t find a way to fit Messi into your lineups because of his high price tag, Luis Suarez is a fine option. You can also go with Neymar as all three have equal chances at shaking the net. Neymar carries the least potential in my opinion as he tends to fall back and allow the other two strikers to dictate the action. Suarez plays as the arrow-head option which gives him the most opportunities and chances. For his price, he may be a better play than Messi but that is purely a function of price, not potential or skill.
Other Forwards I Like: Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund $9,100), Sergio Aguero (only if Bony doesn’t start) (Manchester City, $9,400), Neymar (Barcelona $10,300), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal, $8,900), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal, $10,100), Dimitar Berbatov (Monaco $6,900)