Welcome to a midweek Champions League Player Pool article where I run over some of the most important UCL selections not named Neymar on the DraftKings and FanDuel main slate for Tuesday, November 6th, 2018.
I think there’s some incredible games today, and some players that demanded their own article. Usually I don’t have time for midweek entries, but this Tuesday’s slate is a bit different. There are a few options all across the board that demand attention, and unless you are or have been paying attention they will go completely under your radar, holding you back from your best exposures.
In particular the Galatasaray v Schalke match should provide some extra salary relief, but in terms of the real deal this is a Neymar/Mbappe slate; make no mistake about it. However, with the information I’m about to provide you he should be one of the easier targets to reach on both sites.
Without further delay here are my selections. Good luck, have fun! And as always see you at the top!
Keeper, FC Porto
FC Porto’s Casillas is easily one of the better keeper options this slate. Porto are hosting a Moscow side who are travelling cross-continent and are a historically low scoring, poor away UCL team. It’s no surprise Casillas is one of the more expensive keepers this slate as he deserves it. Lokamotiv haven’t won away in ages, and even in hosting last slate the Russian side looked mediocre at best. Casillas has this slate’s best defensive option to stack with and can safely be used in either format. Casillas should be one of if not you main focus this slate, his clean sheet upside and stacking potential make him great in GPP, and Porto are one of the biggest home favorites of the slate. I do have some concerns over Porto’s lack of clean sheets, but in any case Get Casillas into your cards, he’s one of the few keepers who deserve their salary.
Keeper, Borussia Dortmund
My second favorite keeper option this slate is Dortmund’s Roman Bürki. Dortmund are one of only two teams still not to concede a goal, and while their group may not have lent to the idea of high scoring affairs, their defensive issues were also at play. However, after a rugged start to the season Dortmund have taken storm and lead the German Bundesliga by four points. They have looked excellent this UCL campaign and are looking to clinch progression with a victory. While I’m not excited about this being in Madrid, Atletico rarely score more than twice, so I’m not afraid of a blowout, and Bürki has some excellent stacking options. I don’t consider the win as safe in comparison to Casillas, but on DK Bürki is so under-priced he deserves ownership. Atletico are dealing with a plethora of injuries, in particular at the back, so I am fully expecting a similar this performance this midweek from Bürki.
Galatasaray’s keeper Fernando Muslera is square on my radar this slate. While Schalke have started to turn things around, there is no chance they will be back in European football again anytime soon so they may end up turning their focus domestically sooner rather than later. Why both teams are far from incapable, neither side are overly attacking and we can bet on this being one of the lower scoring games of the slate. Muslera is a world elite-level keeper and on DK he doesn’t deserve such a low salary. Muslera and Galatasaray may not be as safe as the above pair, but the salary savings are enormous. Plain and simple, he should never be this cheap, and Germany’s third worst team isn’t the side to cause that kind of value. Make sure to fire up some Muslera, though I am less bullish about that in cash.
Defender, FC Porto
Much like his keeper counterpart, FC Porto’s Alex Telles is easily the best defender play of the slate. He takes set pieces, penalty shots, he’s playing 90min at home, he has a great chance at a clean sheet, and his team is supremely stackable. Don’t worry about his salary; he carries the most upside of all the defensive options (by a country mile), he has the biggest (not to mention) safest defensive floor of the slate, and is playing at home in a clean sheet win scenario. He’s also great on both sites because of his set pieces/assist upside, so you can count on some chance creation. What’s not to love? Ownership. That’s what. In cash this won’t matter, but in GPP don’t be surprised if he’s one of the highest owned players of the slate.
Defender, Borussia Dortmund
DK continue their complete mis-pricing on Dortmund as we get a sub 5k defender who had enough talent to play on Real Madrid last season and is now playing on a team that hasn’t conceded yet this competition. Hakimi is also playing against a team that rarely scores more than once. He is easily worth 5.5k on DK and is an absolute steal. Hakimi works in either format, and when you combine him and Bürki, or even a third Dortmund defender you get insane value on a clean sheet opportunity. These guys are so under-priced DK has me looking over my shoulder wonder what I’m missing. Until I figure that out I’ll be using as much of the under-priced Dortmund defensive options as possible, starting with Hakimi.
Napoli’s Mário Rui is another player that is too under-priced, but unlike the previous two; since hes going up against PSG he should be lower owned. That’s the thing, this group has been a nightmare in terms of competition and Rui has still put out the same floor each time. In fact, including his domestic form Rui has one of the highest cross counts in all of the major European leagues. I can see less reason for him on FD as his chance creation is slightly capped due to PSG’s abilities. However, on DK I have no issue with Rui in cash, or you could even get away with him as a one off in GPP as his salary isn’t really demanding of much more than a decent floor. Don’t take him expecting Telles things, take Napoli’s Mário Rui if you are looking for someone sub 5k who isn’t going to ruin your day.
Martin Linnes/Yuto Nagatomo
The Galatasaray wing backs are firmly in play as excellent value defenders for this slate. If I was to compare these guys to anyone it would be the Huddersfield/Brighton wing backs like Bruno/Bong, or Hadergjonaj; where they cost less than 4k and won’t score you more than 2x. But, from (one of) these salaries in cash you are not only able to easily spend up to Neymar, but get a shot at a clean sheet as well. I wouldn’t talk you out of a Galatasaray clean sheet chase with these two and Muslera, but in terms of the most optimal way to deploy them it would be one or the other in cash, seeking 8fpts allowing you to spend up to Neymar and friends. While they are far from slatebreakers, they allow you to get slatebreakers. This slate make sure to use some form of Galatasaray wing back in some format, they are too cheap with their floors.
Ryan Donk (FD Only)
Very quickly on Ryan Donk, he plays as a midfielder but is listed as a defender on FD. While he isn’t dirt cheap, in GPP he makes an incredible ownership pivot and gets you a clean sheet chance without actually earning it. He’s also been known to play as a forward, and while none of this is a script to chase in cash, for FD Donk is one of my favorite GPP defenders.
Coutinho (If no Messi)
Really straight forward, without Messi, Coutinho is the vocal point of the attack and is 2k too cheap. Now, if Messi plays this holds way less to no cash relevance, but without Messi, Coutinho should be one of your highest exposure players for this slate, in either format, on either site.
Midfielder, Schalke 04
Even though I’m bought into the Galatasry value narrative, Schalke are at home and aren’t completely inept. It also so happens they have one of the more reasonable floor players in Daniel Caligiuri who has played in literally every second of every fixture this season. What’s most impressive about Caligiuri is when you are glancing over his totals you would assume he is scoring and assisting at a solid rate, turns out he’s just incredible at DFS production. You can use him in either format because his floor is very solid and if he happens to (finally) do anything his fantasy score will be slate breaking. He isn’t as appealing on FD, but on DK sub 7k salaries are always great. It just so happens Schalke’s Daniel Caligiuri is even better than great. I prefer him for cash, but if he hits, it’s GG.
Younes Belhanda (If no Emre Akbaba, DK Only)
Someone that should be as near a cash lock status as anyone this slate is Galatasary’s Younes Belhanda. Now, I don’t expect a lot from this game in terms of high end ceilings, but in the case of Belhanda and his salary (especially on DK) he is one of the more solid ways to achieve Neymar and friends. This game should feature a ton of fouls and crossing opportunities, so while Belhanda may not look like much, there’s more than meets the eye. With Akbaba set to miss again Belhanda should take over set pieces. Considering we are expecting an uptick in set pieces, getting ahold of Belhanda’s salary in cash should be paramount.
Dimitri Barinov (FD Only)
Midfielder, Lokomotiv Moscow
To quickly finish up the midfield, find Barinov on FD and look on in awe at the biggest mis-pricing of the slate. I thought there was a decimal in his score the first four times I looked. Need to Afford Neymar AND Rues? Well, here’s how. It’s important to note where he is playing on the field, but his salary is so ludicrous on FD it demands exposure.
Forward, PSV Eindhoven
PSV’s Hirving Lozano is one of my favorite GPP forwards for this slate. Spurs have been absolutely atrocious at keeping clean sheets, and since this past World Cup Lozano has been arguably one of the best forwards on the planet. He is priced 2-2.5k too cheaply, and while I wouldn’t write home about a multi-goal upside, I also wouldn’t discount it. There will be SO MANY Spurs homers thinking PSV will be a cake walk, it should be everything but. This could be one of the higher scoring games of the slate, so today getting PSV’s Hirving Lozano into your GPP exposure would be a solid idea.
Forward, Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund’s Marco Rues checks all the boxes to be a multi-format lock, however he hasn’t found a way to directly correlate his amazing real life play into DFS production. What’s more frustrating is Rues handles most of if not all the Dortmund set pieces, so while his scores haven’t been a disaster, they also haven’t been a ceiling which he deserves. Rues is still viable in either format due to his set pieces, team role, and salary. He’s one of my first cash choice forwards, and should be excellent this slate. If there was anyone who had a 20+fpts game coming, I seee it as Marco Rues.
Forward, Inter Milan
It’s the guy who Messi won’t let on the Argentinian national team playing against a non-Messi Barcelona. Barca haven’t been conceding at a rate to use Icardi in cash, but if there was anybody we could count on for multiple shots on net it’s Icardi. Outside of Edin Dzeko (Roma), Icardi is a close second in goal attempts from inside the box. Simply put, he hasn’t been converting, and if he does it’s hattrick material. Again, this isn’t a cash play, but when you are looking for a supreme low owned GPP option it doesn’t get much better than Inter’s Mauro Icardi.
Forward, FC Porto
To finish up the article we have my favorite forward play of the slate and someone I would have used as the cover photo if anybody had any idea what he looked like; FC Porto’s (only) forward Moussa Marega.
There’s tons of ways to approach this. He’s playing at home on one of the biggest home favourites of the slate. He is the only active forward who has played serious minutes as the only other legitimate forward has been out for months with an ACL or MCL injury. So, we are getting the biggest home favorite forward for 90min. But wait, there’s more? On both sites he is 2-3k too cheap. Considering his salary discount, Marega is borderline cash viable in this script. You can use him to finish off a Porto stack, use him as a one off fill, in cash or GPP, and on either site. One of my favourite aspects about Marega is he has been the main “sharp play” this UCL campaign. Given everything I’ve gone over it’s easy to see why, not to mention he’s had an excellent UCL too. Get Moussa Marega into your cards today. He works in either format, especially on FD when you need to save a few dollhairs up front.