This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.The biggest difficulty with playing DFS soccer in the final match of the Champions League group stage is that we will likely see significant lineup turnover because some clubs have already clinched their spot in the knockout round and could choose to give opportunities to some younger players or those that simply don't play as much.
Additionally, teams that finish third in their group get
stuck having to play on in the Europa League. While that can be beneficial for some of the lower-level clubs, it can be a continued hindrance for some teams in the top-5 leagues.
Here's a breakdown of what's at stake during Tuesday's eight-game slate:
Real Madrid v. Malmo
Paris Saint-Germain v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Real Madrid have won the group, while Paris Saint-Germain have clinched the second spot. They could both lose 10-0 and still advance in those positions. As a result, players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Kevin Trapp, among others, could be rested.
Shakhtar Donetsk need at least a draw to move onto the Europa League, while Malmo need a win to finish third.
PSV Eindhoven v. CSKA Moscow
Wolfsburg v. Manchester United
Wolfsburg will advance to the next round with a draw and will win the group if they beat Manchester United.
Manchester United will top the group with a win. A draw only gets them through if PSV Eindhoven beat CSKA Moscow.
PSV are through if they win and Manchester United draw or lose.
CSKA Moscow will finish third if they beat PSV.
Benfica v. Atletico Madrid
Galatasaray v. FC Astana
Benfica and Atletico Madrid have already clinched spots in the knockout round but the latter need to win in order to finish top in the group.
FC Astana have to beat Galatasaray to clinch third.
Manchester City v. Borussia Monchengladbach
Sevilla v. Juventus
Juventus and Manchester City are through to the next round. The only way Juventus does not take the top spot is if they lose to Sevilla and Manchester City wins.
Sevilla will finish third if they win and Borussia Monchengladbach does not. If Sevilla draw, they will finish fourth.
I know, it's a lot, but it's vital to understand the situations because significant lineup turnover can lead to giant value plays. With all of that, here are the odds heading into Tuesday's action:
|Home (win odds)||(draw odds)||Away (win odds)|
|Benfica (12/5)||21/10||Atletico Madrid (13/10)|
|Galatasaray (8/15)||31/10||FC Astana (11/2)|
|Manchester City (7/10)||16/5||Borussia Monchengladbach (7/2)|
|Paris Saint-Germain (4/9)||7/2||Shakhtar Donetsk (13/2)|
|PSV Eindhoven (8/11)||14/5||CSKA Moscow (15/4)|
|Real Madrid (1/10)||10/1||Malmo (20/1)|
|Sevilla (6/4)||9/4||Juventus (19/10)|
|Wolfsburg (7/5)||23/10||Manchester United (2/1)|
Given the potential for squad rotation, there will be players listed below that may not necessarily get the start. Only the managers know who will be in the first XI but it's important to recognize who may have a golden opportunity presented to them. As always, make sure you check the UCL lineups page before finalizing your fantasy rosters.
To the surprise of many, Kiko Casilla started Real Madrid's last Champions League match in what appeared to be a tremendous value at just $2,600. After allowing three goals to Shakhtar Donetsk, he finished with minus-1 point. However, with the possibility that he could start again, Casilla has seen his salary rise all the way to $4,200, just $300 cheaper than regular starter Keylor Navas, who also happens to be the most expensive keeper for Tuesday's slate. Madrid are highly likely to win, but there's higher upside elsewhere.
Salvatore Sirigu, PSG v. SDK ($2,900): Kevin Trapp ($4,400) is PSG's regular starter, but with the French outfit locked into the second spot in the group, he could be rested for Sirigu, who was their consistent man in goal last season.
Fernando Muslera, GAL v. AST ($3,800): Galatasaray need just a draw to clinch third in the group and face an Astana side that has scored four goals in five Champions League matches.
Jan Oblak, ATM at BEF ($3,600): Atletico Madrid are already through to the next round but a win would put them first in the group. They've been tremendous defensively lately, allowing one goal since Nov. 1, which came in a Copa dey Rey match last week against Reus (not Marco). That's one goal allowed in their last seven matches, including Champions League clean sheets against Astana and Galatasaray.
Alex Sandro, JUV at SEV ($2,900): Sandro picked up an assist in Juventus' last Champions League match, which came against Man City, and he finished with 22 points, a big payoff for a $2,400 salary. He's expected to get another start against a Sevilla side that needs a win, which could open them up on the counter.
Alvaro Arbeloa, RMD vs. MFF ($2,800): As discussed numerous times already, Real Madrid have already clinched the top spot in their group and could rest a number of regulars. That could include Marcelo ($4,700), who is dealing with a groin injury. There's also a possibility that Lucas Vazquez ($3,200) could start at right back but, unfortunately, he's listed as a midfielder.
Marcel Schafer, WOB vs. MUN ($2,500): Schafer started two of the last three games for Wolfsburg, though it should be noted that Ricardo Rodriguez ($3,400) started their match this past weekend against Borussia Dortmund. Schafer is a high-crossing fullback and is absolutely worthy of consideration if he can get into the first XI against a Manchester United side that has really struggled to find consistency in their attack.
Gregory van der Wiel, PSG v. SDK ($3,400): There is no guarantee that van der Wiel, who is dealing with a back injury, will get the start with Serge Aurier ($3,700) fit, but if he does he's almost a must play. He is a solid crosser who gets heavily involved in the attack. Yes, PSG have nothing to play for, but that doesn't mean they don't have the talent to score goals.
Ever Banega, SEV v. JUV ($4,000): With Sevilla likely to attack heavily Tuesday, Banega stands a good chance of being involved in a potential score, as he has three goals and two assists in his last five games, including two goals and one assist in his last three. He's also sent in multiple crosses in every Champions League match he's played this season, though he's definitely more of a high-ceiling play than a safer low-floor one.
Alex Teixeira, SDK at PSG ($4,700): Shakhtar need some kind of result to qualify for the Europa League, while PSG have nothing to gain by winning. Teixeira has been excellent all season, scoring 22 times in 15 Ukrainian Premier League matches, and he's been especially good of late, scoring three goals in his last two Champions League matches, and six goals in his last four in all competitions. If Shakhtar score against a likely second-rate PSG side, it'll be because of Teixeira.
Darijo Srna, SDK at PSG ($4,000): Yes, two midfielders from Shakhtar, though Srna is actually a right back. He loves to get involved in the attack by crossing the ball, which is the perfect recipe for a DraftKings contest. He was suspended for their last Champions League tie, but he sent in 25 crosses in the two prior ones.
Lars Stindl, BMG at MCI ($4,300): Stindl made a huge splash in the last Champions League gameweek when he bagged a brace and picked up an assist against Sevilla, finishing with 37 fantasy points. Since then, he assisted on a goal against Hoffenheim and scored one of his own during last weekend's giant 3-1 win over Bayern Munich. Stindl doesn't produce a ton across the stat sheet, but he's in excellent attacking form.
Nicolas Gaitan, BEF v. ATM ($4,700): Benfica need just a point to clinch the top spot in the group, which may be more important to them than Atletico Madrid, who will not be allowed to play Real Madrid or Barcelona in the round of 16 (though they could still get stuck with Bayern Munich). Either way, Gaitan will be at the center of the Benfica attack and sending in plenty of crosses. In the reverse fixture back in September he scored and assisted, finishing with 22 DraftKings points.
Gabi, ATM at BEF ($4,000): Atletico Madrid send in a ton of crosses, and while you could pay up for Koke ($5,800), you could end up with the same amount of production from Gabi plus $1,800 to work with elsewhere.
Every Champions League gameweek that includes Real Madrid inevitably comes down to whether or not to fade Cristiano Ronaldo. At $10,400, he is the highest priced player on the board. He has scored over 40 fantasy points in three different Champions League matches this season; his upside is nearly unparalleled. But with Real Madrid having nothing to play for, it's entirely possible that Ronaldo does not start, which would certainly put an end to any discussion about whether to play him. He's electric on the field but a big part of me hopes manager Rafa Benitez makes the decision for us.
As mentioned above, a number of Real Madrid and PSG attackers could sit Tuesday, so here are a few other names to consider:
Paulo Dybala, JUV at SEV ($4,800): Dybala continues to be criminally underpriced for what he can do. While many, including myself, had him in their Champions League lineups during the last gameweek against Manchester City, when he had just 11 fantasy points, he's been very solid otherwise, scoring three goals in his last five games while also picking up an assist. Juventus are through with a draw, while Sevilla need a win to clinch a Europa spot, so this one could be pretty open, which would allow Dybala to do some damage.
Yevhen Konoplyanka, SEV v. JUV ($5,000): Sevilla need all three points to clinch a spot in Europa, and if there is a club that understands the importance of that tournament, it's Sevilla, who won it last year to qualify for the Champions League this season. Konoplyanka is the defintion of a stat-sheet-stuffer as he's likely to finish with multiple shots and crosses, among others. He's had at least 13 points in four of five Champions League matches this season, and Sevilla are likely to attack heavily in an effort to nab all three points.
Antoine Griezmann, ATM at BFF ($7,000: Griezmann bagged a brace against Galatasaray in the last Champions League gameweek and then scored against Espanyol and Granada in the last two games. Atletico Madrid need all three points to win the group, and while it's not quite as important for them than Benfica, making sure you avoid Bayern Munich is always a plus.
Others to consider:Mario Mandzukic, JUV at SEV ($6,300); Foxi Kethevoama, AST at GAL ($3,300); Luuk de Jong, PSV v. CSK ($4,500); Seydou Doumbia, CSK at PSV ($4,500); Jonas, BEF v. ATM ($6,500); Lukas Podolski, GAL v. AST ($5,400); Raffael, BMG at MCI ($4,200)