This article is part of our Daily Fantasy Soccer Cheat Sheet series.
Diego Lopez, ESP v. ATH: I will be the first to admit that I haven't been very bold with my goalkeepers lately. I love a good hot take and while my goal-scorer hot takes have been hitting, I need to step my keeper game up. Lopez is a workhorse for Espanyol and a quality netminder; I am thinking Espanyol keep the clean sheet here. Oscar Duarte will be missing from the back four, but Diego Reyes is a good replacement and I like the combination of Marc Roca and Javi Fuego in center midfield. With injury concerns for Benat and Mikel San Jose, and with Raul Garcia one booking away from suspension, this could be a more passive game than usual from an Athletic Club team that has stumbled recently.
Sergio Escudero, SEV v. BAR: Even though Escudero is probably the best player that is defense eligible for fantasy purposes, the matchup against Barcelona should leave him largely under owned. Barcelona will probably score, sure, but what are we really losing? A clean sheet bonus that Escudero will more than make up for in crossing volume alone? Given that Escudero is the go-to dead ball man in addition to the crosses he will send in during open play, the possibilities are endless for where he can rack up points depending on your fantasy site's scoring.
Mario, VIL v. BET: Another week of La Liga picks, and another week of being exasperated at Villarreal's inability to keep clean sheets. If Einstein is to be believed when he says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then I should have been locked up a long time ago but bear with me; I really do like this spot for Villarreal's back four. They have been woeful, yes, but historically they play very low-scoring matches against this Betis team that have only scored twice in their last four. Although Mario isn't a goal scoring threat, he's got that crossing floor that I love to target and was rested up during the midweek international contest to help finally get that clean sheet.
Fontas, CEL v. VAL: So, you want to play Messi, Neymar, and ter Stegen, huh? If you want to go down that 'Barcelona stack' route, Fontas may just be the key to making that all work out. Celta Vigo will be minus Hugo Mallo and Sergi Gomez due to suspension and will certainly need to turn to Fontas in league play after how well he has performed for La Celeste in Europa League action. I wouldn't expect him to repeat his goal-scoring effort against Ajax, but he's solid, should play 90 minutes and costs less on DraftKings than one of those fancy coffees you buy in the morning.
Rafinha, BAR at SEV:Rafinha is a bit more expensive than I was hoping to get him, but with Andes Iniesta out we would be foolish to not get some cheap and easy exposure to the Barcelona midfield. Even though I am not a particular fan of this matchup, it is still hard to overlook the quality of this attack and the potential for any player to have a breakout game. Rafinha has five goals in his last five La Liga matches; show me why it can't be him? Any time a scorer of this quality gets meaningful minutes in a side as talented as this we need to have as many shares of ownership as possible.
Pablo Piatti, ESP v. ATH: The main problem with Piatti is that he will be subbed off at some point, so we are a bit at the mercy of the flow of the game when we make this selection, but at this price he is definitely worth it. He is rounding into some of the best form of his career, with a goal and two assists in the last three matches (all of which he has started), and he has sent in 17 crosses to boot. He can do a bit of everything and, again, I love Espanyol in this spot as a sneakier attack to find some savings.
Franco Vazquez, SEV v. FCB: Again, this plays into the whole 'don't fear the matchup' narrative that I mentioned briefly, but also I am looking at the injury troubles that have plagued Samir Nasri recently. Vazquez should be in the starting XI regardless, but with no Nasri, his attacking duties will be magnified and he should get the majority of the looks in the final third. When given a full complement of minutes, he proved he can be an effective scorer in Italy, and given the fact that he will pitch in with crosses and drawn fouls, he's an excellent midfield option with upside at this price. If Nasri is out entirely, Joaquin Correa is a cheaper option who may benefit by moving into the lineup, but his ceiling is quite limited.
Neymar, BAR at SEV: I think we're really beginning to split hairs when we have to have a discussion about why Neymar is a better choice than Lionel Messi or Luis Suarez, but with Barcelona in poor away form and Sevilla playing very good soccer, I don't think it's as mandatory as usual that you need two of these three. Neymar has the safest floor for me, and though he doesn't have the 50+ point upside of Messi, he is involved in almost every decision on the field and has many more assist opportunities than Suarez will see, while being a goal scorer of equal quality.
Iago Aspas, CEL v. VAL: I keep rostering Aspas, and people keep calling me crazy. I feel a bit bad for him because this seems to be one of those situations where no matter how well someone performs, you know they will never get the recognition they deserve; but hey, if it keeps his price down then I am happy. Aspas IS the Celta Vigo attack lately, with five goals in his last three appearances (including a goal and an assist in just 19 minutes during the week he scored more fantasy points than minutes played). He's scored in four of the last five, and while the floor can be low, there is absolutely no reason to ignore one of the hottest players in this league right now.
Nani, VAL at CEL: While I do like Celta Vigo players here, I think this match could be more wide open than given credit for, and I would not shy away from looking to some of the Valencia forwards/midfielders for some good value. Nani is M/F eligible on DraftKings and like all good fantasy forwards, he takes a ton of shots. Many of them go off target, but we're still piling up points. He has taken at least four shots in five of the last seven matches, and he has a goal and three assists in the last five. He is the most creative and comfortable with the ball in the Valencia attack and will be my go-to for cash games. Rodrigo is another solid option at the position if you are looking for slightly cheaper Valencia exposure.