This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
Welcome to our first Champions League coverage curtailed toward DraftKings contests. Your available salary is $50,000 to build your best squad of eight players, which includes one goalkeeper, two defenders, two midfielders, two forwards and one FLEX. Points are awarded by DraftKings as follows:
Goal = +10 PTs
Assist = +6 PTs
Shot = +1 PTs
Shot on Goal = +1 PTs
Crosses = +1 PTs
Fouls Drawn = +0.75 PTs
Red Card = -1 PTs
Saves (GK) = +2 PTs
Goal Allowed (GK) = -2 PTs
Clean Sheet (GK, D) = +5 PTs
One Goal Allowed (GK, D) = +2 PTs
Win (GK) = +5 PTs
Penalty Kick Save (GK) = +3 PTs
With that out of the way, here are the available GPP contests for Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday:
$20K Bicycle Kick ($2,000 first prize), Entry Fee: $20
$10K Treble ($3,000 first prize), Entry Fee: $300
$4K Nutmeg ($500 first prize), Entry Fee: $2
$3K Upper 90 ($1,000 first prize), Entry Fee: $100
$1.5K Corner Kick ($175 first prize), Entry Fee: $5
$1.5K Stoppage Time ($200 first prize), Entry Fee: $12
$1K Slide Tackle ($500 first prize), Entry Fee: $50
$250 Daily Dollar ($50 first prize), Entry Fee: $1
$250 Quarter Arcade ($36.25 first prize), Entry Fee: $0.25
and many more…
The following games are included:
Chelsea at Paris Saint-Germain
Bayern Munich at Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Porto at FC Basel
Real Madrid at FC Schalke 04
The Champions League is as good as it gets in terms of club soccer. As always, projecting the starting XIs are guesswork until the lineups are announced, but be sure to check our UCL lineups page before kickoff. Beyond just starting is the question of where a player actually plays on the pitch. Players usually have their grooves carved out on their respective squads, but it nonetheless merits watching. Willian played central midfielder for most of Chelsea's match with Everton last week, but upon Cesc Fabregas' introduction onto the field late in the second half, Willian moved to the wing and immediately made a major impact by hitting crosses and, most importantly, scoring the match-winning goal. So, every recommendation comes with the same warning label: check the starting lineups approximately one hour prior to kickoff. This week of Champions League features group winners traveling to group runners-up, meaning if the underdogs are going to capitalize, this is when they need to do it.
Manuel Neuer ($5,400)
This is not a creative pick, but it's nearly impossible to pass up. The biggest worry in this matchup is the game taking place in war-ridden Ukraine, though Shakhtar won't truly get a home game as their home is in the midst of dangerous times. So, Lviv, which is actually midway between Munich and Donetsk, hosts the Round of 16 match. Shakhtar got through a weak group and now faces European superpower Bayern Munich, a favorite to take home the Champions League trophy. Shakhtar hasn't been able to practice or play normally with the chaos at home, and really doesn't look to stand much of a chance with Bayern coming off an 8-0 thumping just this past weekend. Any saves Neuer has the opportunity to make are simply a bonus, and getting him cheaper than Real Madrid's Iker Casillas makes him a no brainer.
I can't truly recommend any other keepers. If you want Casillas ($5,500) with his injury ridden back line and less than stellar form of late in Spain, go for it. He will likely be required to do more work than Neuer, so if he does keep a clean sheet, there's a decent chance he'll score more than the Bayern keeper. If you have a strong opinion in the Chelsea-PSG game, all the power to you. I'm looking for a potential high-scoring affair in what looks to be possibly the most entertaining two legs of any matchup in the Round of 16. Chelsea could go with either Petr Cech ($4,800) or Thibaut Courtois ($4,700), with Cech's midweek display against Everton possibly giving him an edge. PSG will go once again with veteran Salvatore Sirigu ($4,500). The best I can tell you of the remaining keepers is Fabiano ($4,800) of FC Porto. It's worth spending money on your keeper this week.
Alex Sandro $2,800
Getting a fullback as good as Sandro at a price this cheap is way too good to pass up. Clean sheet or not, Sandro is a strong contributor to Porto's offense. Teammate Danilo ($4,700) is favored to score more points due to his free-kick and shot-taking abilities, but the price disparity between the two is hard to defend. If you do want to give Fabiano a try, pairing him with both of his fullbacks is wise.
The most expensive defender for good reason, Marcelo makes a solid claim to be the best fullback in the world. His ability to get up field is matched by few, if any. He is truly a spark within the Real Madrid offense. Who will be on the opposite side of the pitch is a question, as usual partner Fabio Conetrao is out with a calf injury. It appears it will be either Dani Carvajal ($3,900) or Alvaro Arbeloa ($4,000). The Real Madrid defense has been inconsistent lately, but those choosing Casillas as their goalkeeper would do well to match him with whoever the starting fullbacks end up being. I favor Arbeloa of the two candidates looking to start opposite Marcelo.
David Alaba ($4,700)
Alaba is assured a spot in the starting lineup. His talent and ability to get up field is undoubted, with the concern lying with how much he will actually be asked to get up field. Either Juan Bernat ($4,000) or Rafinha ($3,800) are poised to start on the opposite side. The starting fullbacks for Bayern all make sense to be paired with Neuer, but questions of production away from the defensive end do exist.
Chelsea and PSG both have their share of competent fullbacks. Branislav Ivanovic ($4,800) will be the more dominant of Chelsea's fullbacks, while Gregory Van Der Wiel ($3,900) will do so for PSG. Cesar Azpilicueta ($3,900) will likely start opposite Ivanovic, while Maxwell ($3,800) complements Van Der Wiel. My pick of the crop is Van Der Wiel at his affordable price, but obviously if you're brave enough to pick either team's keeper, the corresponding fullbacks will be good picks.
The trio of Oliver (FC Porto), Luca Zuffi (FC Basel) and Tranquillo Barnetta (Schalke) all go for the minimum $3,000 price tag. Looking to save some money for the expensive midfielders and forwards, whoever starts of the trio stands as a decent choice. Oliver, on loan from Atletico Madrid, has made his impact felt at FC Porto and is second on the team with six league goals this season. Zuffi has been Swiss Super League-leading Basel's most productive midfielder with three goals and six assists. Barnetta is most questionable of the trio to actually get the start for his Schalke side, but in limited playing time in the Bundesliga, he has managed three goals and three assists. All three have been at least fairly active in putting in crosses as well.
Arjen Robben ($9,400)
Robben is leading Bayern to what looks like yet another Bundesliga title, carrying the brunt of the goal-scoring with 14 league goals (tied for tops in the league). He takes an obscene number of shots and plays a large number of crosses. He's a stat-staking machine.
Cesc Fabregas ($7,200)
Fabregas is the center of the Chelsea attack and appears to be on his way to a Premier League record in assists this season. He missed some time due to any injury, but his entry into last week's Everton match points to all systems being a go.
Of the top-priced midfielders, Real Madrid's James Rodriguez ($9,000) appears to be the only scratch, as he is out with a broken foot. Porto's Yacine Brahimi ($8,300) played in all but one of Porto's Champions League games thus far. The Algerian will be a hot commodity come summer, but also had four goals in the group stage of the Champions League. Chelsea's Eden Hazard ($8,900) and Oscar ($7,300) shouldered a good amount of the goal load while Diego Costa served his domestic suspension. Costa is back, but both players will still be threats. Bayern Munich's Mario Gotze ($9,200) had three goals in the group stages. He shouldn't be overlooked, but $9,200 is a hefty price tag.
Cristiano Ronaldo $12,800
He's the best player in the world. You could argue his recent form isn't of his lofty stature, and I wouldn't completely disagree with you. I'd counter with the facts that Schalke's top goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann (knee) is out, backup Fabian Giefer is a game-time fitness test, and eighteen year old Timon Wellenreuther is next in line. Even with Giefer in goal, you favor Ronaldo, and if it's Wellenreuther, Ronaldo will be licking his chops at every free kick and goal-scoring opportunity. If Ronaldo is out of your price range, teammate Karim Benzema ($10,500) is a replacement. I wouldn't say fitting replacement, as he's no Ronaldo, but he is certainly a replacement.
Shkelzen Gashi ($5,100)
Gashi has been tearing up the Swiss Super League with thirteen goals and three assists in seventeen matches. He's actually listed as a midfielder on their team site, a stat that exemplifies his ability to get an obscene number of crosses. If Basel is to continue their unlikely run, it is likely to be because of Gashi.
Ezequiel Lavezzi ($7,200)
The winger of PSG is one of the best at what he does. With pace and ability, he will hope be the catalyst to lead PSG into a very difficult matchup with Chelsea. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani are viewed as PSG's main goal-scorers, but Lavezzi is a looming threat by his own right and is the most likely to be on the assisting end among his teammates.
Jackson Martinez ($8,500)
The Liga Portugal's leading scorer will look to lead his squad in a favorable matchup against Basel. He will be one of the summer's most sought-after transfers, but as of now the Colombian will look to bring his top-notch form into the Champions League.
Chelsea's Diego Costa ($9,800) and PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($10,000) will each look to lead their respective sides forward. Ibrahimovic has been very good in Ligue 1 since returning from injury, while Costa will be making his first start since serving suspension. Costa is the more rested of the two, but Ibrahimovic is in excellent form. As a soccer fan, this is a match that gives just about everything one could want and should be mightily entertaining. Edinson Cavani ($9,500) is Ibrahimovic's counterpart and could benefit if the latter is toughly man-marked. He also led his team with five goals in the group stages.
Bayern Munich's front line is headed by Thomas Muller ($9,600) and Robert Lewandowki ($9,500). Muller has been having the better Bundesliga season with more goals, assists, and is much more likely to spread wide and earn crosses, all of which make him the more advisable of the two. He is designated for penalty kicks too, just to add conviction to what's already been said.
Of the rest, there is Porto's Ricardo Quaresma ($5,800), who stands as yet another component of their explosive offensive side. He's a fairly safe play with his propensity to cross the ball from the wing. Real Madrid's defense has been decimated by injuries, including to Sami Khedira, with Pepe still a concern. Schalke has a tall task, but it seems very plausible Madrid's defense could look porous. Madrid's backups are still world class, but maybe Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting ($7,000) can carry his team-leading nine goals into a big one at home against Los Blancos.