This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.After a thrilling Tuesday slate of Champions League action that saw Robert Lewandowski bag a hat trick to increase his recent goal total to 10 in his last three games, we get another solid slate Wednesday.
It should be noted that one game, FC Astana v. Galatasary, is not included in the DraftKings slate, as that match starts at 12:00 p.m. EDT, whereas the rest of the slate starts at 2:45 p.m. So it goes in Kazakhstan.
Let's take a look at the odds table from Paddy Power (as of 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sept. 29) to find our target matches:
|Home (win odds)||(draw odds)|| Away (win odds) || Atletico Madrid (8/13) || 9/4 || Benfica (5/1) |
|Borussia Monchengladbach (14/5)||13/5||Manchester City (19/20)|
|CSKA Moscow (3/4)||29/10||PSV Eindhoven (7/2)|
|Juventus (10/11)||12/5||Sevilla (10/3)|
|Malmo (12/1)||11/2||Real Madrid (2/9)|
|Manchester United (5/6)||5/2||VfL Wolfsburg (7/2)|
|Shakhtar Donetsk (10/3)||13/5||Paris Saint-Germain (17/20)|
The star of the slate is Cristiano Ronaldo lining up against Swedish side Malmo, but fitting in his $13,500 salary will not be easy. Here are a few value plays at each position that may be able to fit him in:
Igor Akineev ($4,900)
PSV showed that they can score against a strong opponent when they bagged two goals against Manchester United in their opening Champions League match. Traveling to Russia is a different story than hosting the Red Devils, and CSKA are still win favorites, making Akineev an alternative to the higher priced keepers.
Diego Benaglio ($4,700)
A tough matchup for sure, but with two points per save, Benaglio could put up a nice score if he can keep Manchester United to just one goal, like PSV did in their opener.
Filipe Luis ($3,700)
Fantasy Premier League players may remember Luis from his brief stint with Chelsea, but he's back to getting regular starts with his return to Madrid. He already has 18 crosses in four league starts, and he lines up on the team with the best home win odds.
Serge Aurier ($3,800)
Having to travel to Ukraine isn't ideal, but PSG remain solid road favorites. Aurier will start opposite Maxwell ($4,600) but at a considerable discount. Additionally, he has sent in 29 crosses in six league games this season, giving him a nice fantasy floor if he can continue that in Champions League play.
Alex Sandro ($3,400)
Sandro is no guarantee to start, but he has been getting more playing time of late and could get the call if Juventus stay with a 4-4-2 instead of going with the 3-5-2 that they've tinkered with as well. He provides nice exposure to a strong home favorite, and he could rack up a decent number of crosses from the wing.
With Sergio Ramos ($5,600) out with a shoulder injury, Nacho appears to be in line to start next to Raphael Varane ($4,400). It's worth noting that Pepe ($3,600) could get a shot too, though he's been a minimal player of late. This play is more a clean-sheet search than anything else, as Nacho isn't likely to get involved in the attack and doesn't send in crosses from his central position.
Kevin De Bruyne ($6,400)
Despite finally cementing his spot in the Man City starting XI, De Bruyne continues to be significantly underpriced given his production and upside. The player of the year in the Bundesliga last year, De Bruyne is very familiar with Wednesday's opponent, Borussia Monchengladbach, and while he was unable to score or assist against them last season, this year's squad has been incredibly up and down, scoring seven goals in their last two matches after losing their first five (plus a 3-0 loss at Sevilla to open their Champions League account). David Silva (hamstring) is expected to play, which means De Bruyne is likely to play out on the wing, but he's shown in recent weeks he can still make an impact from out wide.
Julian Draxler ($6,000)
The man brought in to replace De Bruyne at Wolfsburg, Draxler has fit right into the starting XI, scoring against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League opener and then picking up an assist against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. Man United are working on back-to-back clean sheets, but they've come against Ipswich and Sunderland, which were preceded by allowing seven goals in four games.
Zoran Tosic ($4,600)
Tosic stuffed the peripheral stat sheet in CSKA's opening Champions League match against Wolfsburg, finishing with three shots, two on goal, three crosses and a foul drawn for nine points. It's a solid floor for a player who could be a tremendous value if he can find the back of the net against a PSV side that has allowed seven goals in their last four games in all competitions.
Mateo Kovacic ($4,000)
To be completely honest, I don't love this pick, but Real Madrid are without James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale, which opens up a big spot in the attack spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Isco ($5,500) will occupy his regular spot in the attacking group, but he doesn't score many goals nor get the appropriate peripheral stats to pay off in DraftKings, so Kovacic becomes the call.
Cristiano Ronaldo ($13,500)
This is the guy we're focusing on when we look for value plays. Ronaldo has an upside that is unmatched in fantasy soccer, though Robert Lewandowski clearly wants in on the conversation. Ronaldo had 47 points in Madrid's opening Champions League match thanks to a hat trick on 10 shots (three on goal), two crosses and two fouls drawn. The game before that, Ronaldo scored five times and picked up an assist. It's worth noting that he has failed to score in every other game this year, but he's taken 26 shots in his last three (including 14 in his last match), so if you want to fade him, do so at your own risk.
Edinson Cavani ($9,800)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($11,100) has two goals and an assist in his last two games, but Cavani has been solid as well, finding the back of the net seven times in the last six games. Both players have good goal upside, but I struggle to justify the extra $1,300 for Ibrahimovic.
Antoine Griezmann ($8,000)
Griezmann has four goals in his last four games, two of which came against Galatasaray in Turkey during their opening Champions League fixture. Teammate Jackson Martinez is $500 more, but it's the Frenchman who has more upside given his play.
Seydou Doumbia ($5,700)
Doumbia is on another level right now, scoring four goals and assisting on three others in his last four starts. A home match against PSV is certainly one worth targeting, and Doumbia is the headliner in attack.
Anthony Martial ($7,500)
Martial has fit in perfectly since moving over from Monaco, scoring four goals and assisting on another in his five appearances. Wayne Rooney has done little this year to justify paying $2,500 more than Martial.
Alvaro Morata ($6,000)
What does Morata have to do to justify a significant price increase on DraftKings? It seems all he does is score in big games, and he'll fit in quite nicely on winning rosters Wednesday. With Mario Mandzukic out with a thigh injury, Morata will likely get the start alongside Paulo Dybala, who also makes for a solid value play at just $5,200.