This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
10:00 a.m: Uruguay v. Frane
2:00 p.m: Brazil v. Belgium
Neymar, BRA v. BEL ($11,200): Friday's slate has a number of very good fantasy options, but not a single one of those players has taken more shots than Neymar in the World Cup, no one has sent in more crosses and no one as drawn as many fouls. He has scored at least 21.50 fantasy points in all four games, and while he has two goals and one assist in that span, no one in the tournament has a more reliable floor. It also doesn't hurt that he comes in with the highest anytime goal scorer odds – he's tied with teammate Gabriel Jesus ($7,000), who always makes for an interesting GPP play given he leads the line for the Brazilians. Speaking of Neymar's teammates, Philippe Coutinho ($8,500) and Willian ($7,300) could also be considered, though Coutinho makes for the better GPP play because of his shooting upside, while Willian is more of a cash option because of his role on corners. However, I don't think pairing Neymar and Willian in the same lineup is the optimal play, even against a leaky Belgium defense, which kind of leaves Willian out in the cold.
Eden Hazard, BEL v. BRA ($8,200): The Brazilian defense has been better than Belgium's, but that doesn't mean we can't try to get some fantasy production on the other side of that game. We're getting close to seeing peak Hazard in Russia, as he has two goals on 11 shots (five on target) and two assists on 11 chances created in three matches (he was rested for Belgium's last group stage game), and his 14 fouls drawn are only fewer than Neymar, who has played an extra game. Given his relatively reasonable price, we could see a lot of Hazard and Neymar cash lineups, and while both players are solid GPP options as well, they have alternatives like Romelu Lukaku ($8,000) and Dries Mertens ($6,800), in addition to the Brazilian attackers.
Ousmane Dembele, FRA v. URU ($6,500): Dembele could find his way back into the starting XI in place of the suspended Blaise Matuidi ($3,000, midfielder), which could provide a fairly cheap path to some of France's set pieces. It's no guarantee he starts, but the positive is that France play in the first game of the slate, so we'll have time to pivot. I don't think you necessarily need to have a French set-piece taking forward for cash games, so it's not like if Dembele doesn't start you need to automatically pivot to the more expensive Antoine Griezmann ($8,300). And while he had a great game against Argentina in the round of 16, Kylian Mbappe ($8,600) still profiles much more as a GPP play. Speaking of which, Olivier Giroud ($6,200) is likely to be the lowest-owned of the French attackers even though Griezmann, who is on some corners, is the only one with higher goal odds. On the other side of this game is the dangerous duo of Luis Suarez ($7,500) and Edinson Cavani ($7,700), though the latter is batting a calf injury that could hold him out. Both should absolutely get some GPP consideration, though I think Suarez's upside lessens if Cavani doesn't play because the French defense can then solely focus on stopping him.
Kevin De Bruyne, BEL v. BRA ($7,000): We saw a vintage De Bruyne game Monday against Japan, as he took two shots and sent in eight crosses en route to 10.0 fantasy points. It was a vintage De Bruyne game in the fact that he reached double-digit floor points but he also failed to get on the scoresheet despite creating four chances and Belgium scoring three goals. There aren't many good midfield-only options at the top of the salary scale, so it's definitely possible you could be playing at least one forward-eligible player in a midfield spot. De Bruyne's upside is more assist-based than all of the players he's been trying to set up, but he's still theoretically a decent cash play, even if he's burned a few fantasy players this tournament.
Paul Pogba, FRA v. URU ($5,800): Pogba shouldn't be a consideration for cash games, but he could provide solid upside depending on what manager Didier Deschamps decides to do in place of Matuidi. Using Dembele, as referenced above, would keep Pogba more centrally in midfield, but if he decides to use the more defensively stout Steven N'Zonzi ($3,000) or even Corentin Tolisso ($4,000) to partner with N'Golo Kante ($3,300) then Pogba would surely become a more attacking player in their setup. It's also possible that Thomas Lemar ($6,900) is the one called into Matuidi's spot, and while he could get a share of corners, his price is high enough that I'd probably just side with De Bruyne instead.
Lucas Torreira, URU v. FRA ($4,200): If Uruguay stick with the 4-1-2-1-2 formation they've used the past two games, Torreira figures to retain his role on corners. It hasn't led to a breakout of crosses, as he only had five crosses over that span, but he's still an active midfielder capable of drawing fouls and winning tackles. There are a plethora of lineup builds that require a cheaper midfielder, and while Torreira is kind of at the top of that grouping, he's probably still more reliable than guys like Tolisso and N'Zonzi (if they start) or Paulinho ($4,300) and Fernandinho ($3,200). You could also try to squeeze every last dollar out of the Uruguay midfield with Rodrigo Bentancur ($3,500), Matias Vecino ($3,200) or Nahitan Nandez ($3,400), though we've learned (or at least should have learned) that they don't provide much at all.
Marcelo, BRA v. BEL ($5,700): If he's able to recover from the back injury that held him out of Brazil's quarterfinal match against Mexico, Marcelo would be the best attacking defender on the slate. Belgium's wingbacks make Marcelo look like a shut-down defender at times, which is saying something because the only reason to like Marcelo as a fantasy play is because he attacks first and defends second (third?). Sure, he may need to defend more because the Belgian attack has plenty of weapons too, but if attacking prowess is what you're looking for in the defensive spots, Marcelo is at the top of the list.
Thomas Meunier, BEL v. BRA ($4,900): Meunier hasn't been that great in Russia, but he does have one assist in each of his past two games, creating six chances over that run. He is probably the second-best attacking defender on the slate, and the price difference from Marcelo is big enough that he could make for a viable pivot. Belgium need the ball a lot more than they've had it for Meunier to really rack up the crosses, but his upside is definitely decent because of how much he's used in the attack.
Samuel Umtiti, FRA v. URU ($3,200): Friday's slate is a tough one for those looking to pay down for a centerback in hopes of some cheap clean sheet points, though France's chances do get better if Cavani is unable to play for Uruguay. The upside is pretty low with Umtiti and Raphael Varane ($3,100), as neither does much to fill the DraftKings game log, but the clean sheet seems more likely than we'll see in the other games, even if Brazil somehow has a better chance at holding Belgium out of the goal.
No clean sheet odds are that great, and no one would be surprised with any of the four teams winning Friday, so just go with whoever fits or isn't facing your goal-scoring players. With most people not playing Suarez and/or Cavani in cash games, Hugo Lloris ($5,300) makes sense, though his high salary may be too much for some lineups. If that's the case pay down for...anyone else. Seriously, I can't take a stand on any keeper, and any of the teams could light up the scoreboard or they could be shut out. I just don't have the crystal ball to figure out which ones are which.