DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday World Cup Picks
DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday World Cup Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EDT)

10:00 a.m: France v. Argentina
2:00 p.m: Uruguay v. Portugal

FORWARDS

Ricardo Quaresma, POR v. URU ($7,700):Cristiano Ronaldo ($11,600) is obviously the big name for Portugal, and he comes in with the best anytime goal scorer odds on the slate, even if they aren't that great. However, Quaresma is the better cash play if he starts because he'll likely be on all set pieces, other than direct free kicks (those are the ones that Ronaldo smashes into the wall of players in front of him), and he's one of the most prolific open-play crossers in the tournament, as we saw when he sent in 11 crosses in 70 minutes during Portugal's 1-1 draw with Iran to close out the group stage. Quaresma didn't start Portugal's first two matches and isn't guaranteed to get the call against Uruguay, but if he's in the starting XI then he should get plenty of consideration for cash lineups. If not, combining Ronaldo and another high-priced forward is definitely an option, and given the lack of scoring expected on the slate, it certainly makes sense to roster the guy most likely to score, even if it costs you a floor point or two elsewhere.

Lionel Messi, ARG v. FRA ($10,800): Of all the high-priced options on this slate, Messi makes the most sense for cash games because of how dependent Argentina are on him, which has resulted in plenty of shots, crosses and fouls drawn. The matchup against France is really difficult, and it's not often that we see Messi go into a game as an underdog, but he's still one of the two best players in the world and likely to come out swinging against a France side that hasn't really been tested by a strong team this World Cup. Adding on to Argentina, Cristian Pavon ($4,800) has taken almost every corner when he's on the field, so he certainly deserves consideration because of his price, though he is not expected to start. The guy who might start ahead of him, Angel Di Maria ($6,800), has an excellent game log while playing for Paris Saint-Germain, but he's burned me 17 too many times because he just doesn't seem to shoot enough or draw enough fouls or send in enough crosses when Messi is in. If I wanted to pivot off Messi for GPPs because of his high ownership, I'd be more inclined to move toward center-forward Sergio Aguero ($7,400) thank Di Maria.

Antoine Griezmann, FRA v. ARG ($9,400): If you're adamant about fading Ronaldo and/or Messi, Griezmann is the most reliable floor player left, assuming Quaresma doesn't start. There was a lot of talk on our Saturday preview podcast about using Kylian Mbappe ($8,200) or Ousmane Dembele ($7,100) in cash games because they're a little cheaper, but when it comes down to it, Griezmann still has the higher floor due shots, fouls drawn and crosses, even if Dembele has a role on corners. It's unclear if Olivier Giroud ($7,000) gets a start, but he could definitely make for a nice GPP option given that he's unlikely to be highly owned and he'll be leading the line for one of the two favored teams. In fact, he has better goal-scoring odds than Mbappe and Dembele, as well as Aguero and anyone from Portugal not named Ronaldo.

MIDFIELDERS

Ever Banega, ARG v. FRA ($5,400): The Argentina lineup continues to be a mystery, but Banega has a nice situation and a very reasonable price if he keeps his spot in the first XI. His 10.75 fantasy points against Nigeria were boosted by an assist on Messi's goal, but he still took both corners Argentina had before Pavon came on, and he won four tackles. His upside is going to be limited to assists, but it's tough to find a set-piece taker on this slate for a salary in this range.

Carlos Sanchez, URU v. POR ($6,800): Sanchez could be back in the starting lineup to take most, if not all, corners for Uruguay against a strong Portugal side that probably won't be dominating possession. Like Banega, Sanchez's upside isn't really that high because he's not a consistent shot-taker, but sending balls into Luis Suarez ($8,700, forward) and Edinson Cavani ($8,100, forward) could certainly put him on a nice path. If Sanchez is replaced in the starting XI by Giorgian de Arrascaeta ($6,300), I would happily pivot there, with the small worry that Sanchez would be ready to come on if he struggles. Or, if Uruguay go with a similar lineup to what they played against Russia in their last group stage game, both Sanchez and de Arrascaeta could be on the bench, which would leave corners to Lucas Torreira ($5,200), who is also definitely worth considering due to his lower price and pedigree for winning tackles and drawing fouls in addition to his crosses.

N'Golo Kante, FRA v. ARG ($3,200): There is nothing sexy about the fantasy prospects of a defensive midfielder, but for fantasy players looking to spend up in the attack, Kante could be a nice salary-saving option. Depending on tackles won and interceptions isn't the most exciting, but Kante will be facing an Argentina side that has struggled to link up consistently, allowing opponents to intercept 60 passes in three matches, the most of any team in the tournament (Egypt is second with 54 and Germany next at 44). Interceptions don't lead to a ton of fantasy points, but only one other player in the knockout round had more interceptions than Kante in the group stage (Uruguay centerback Jose Gimenez), and he should have enough opportunities for tackles and fouls drawn to pay off his paltry salary.

DEFENDERS

Djibril Sidibe, FRA v. ARG ($5,200): Sidibe is France's most attacking right-back, as we saw when he sent in six crosses and created three chances in their draw with Denmark to close out the group stage. He was on the bench for the two first two games, and head coach Didier Deschamps could go back to Benjamin Pavard ($4,000) if he wants to play more defensively, but Sidibe is definitely the upside defender play for France. If you're looking to save money and think France hold Argentina scoreless, you could clean sheet chase with Raphael Varane ($3,200), who is about as cheap as it gets and has a floor close to zero, unlike Argentina's Marcos Rojo ($3,100), who moves up in the attack more than most centerbacks.

Raphael Guerreiro, POR v. URU ($4,600): Guerreiro makes more sense if Quaresma doesn't start because he'll be one of the players responsible for providing width in the Portugal attack. Fellow fullback Cedric Soares ($4,700) hasn't been quite as active in terms of crossing, and his five tackles won against Morocco look more like the outlier than the norm, so saving the $100 for Guerreiro seems to be the more optimal play. I wouldn't touch the centerbacks, especially with Pepe ($3,100) always a red card risk, so if you don't want to pay up for Guerreiro, I'd probably end up paying down on another team.

GOALKEEPERS

Rui Patricio, POR v. URU ($4,700): Every goalkeeper on the slate has a big task ahead of them, but with the expectation that the Uruguay forwards will be the lowest owned of the elite players, at least in cash games, Patricio makes the most sense. The biggest favorite on the slate is France's Hugo Lloris ($5,100), and while Argentina have been pretty poor in the tournament overall, you're taking the goalkeeper responsible for keeping Messi out of the net.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Andrew M. Laird plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kingmorland, DraftKings: andrewmlaird, Yahoo: Lairdinho.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Senior Soccer Editor and a fantasy football contributor. He is a seven-time FSWA finalist, including twice for the Football Writer of the Year Award.
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