FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Champions League Final Targets

FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Champions League Final Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.

Manchester City are decent favorites despite losing each of the last two meetings, with an implied goal total of 1.51 compared to .92 for Chelsea (those numbers change by the hour). 

These teams played each other May 8, but neither put out top squads. Most notably, Pep Guardiola used a formation he hadn't used all season (3-1-4-2) and while Man City lost, they scored the first goal and had a missed penalty, while Chelsea got the winner in the final minutes. None of Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden started. As for Chelsea, they had more regulars in the squad, but Mason Mount and Thiago Silva were left out.

When they met in the FA Cup on Apr. 17, Man City controlled most of the match, totaling 11 shots and six corners compared to three and three, respectively, for Chelsea. However, Hakim Ziyech scored early in the second half and that was enough to advance in the competition. Again, Man City didn't use Guardiola's preferred XI, as Mahrez, Foden and John Stones didn't start.

The biggest questions for this matchup are the statuses of N'Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy. The loss of a goalkeeper can be dealt with, but Kante is one of the main reasons Chelsea are in the final. He dominates the midfield, and that led to a Man of the Match performance against Real Madrid.

Cash vs. GPP Decisions

As the most-expensive player, Kevin De Bruyne ($15) is the no-nonsense captain in cash games. He returned after a three-match absence in the Premier League finale and did what he wanted, scoring and assisting, as well as racking up seven chances created. His floor hasn't been as consistent this season, which is why he disappointed against Paris Saint-Germain, but if this match goes according to the odds, he's most likely to hit a floor of 20 fantasy points. In addition to upside in a possible forward role, he may have the highest floor, making him an easy captain selection.

For tournaments, anyone else can be used, though Phil Foden ($11) and Riyad Mahrez ($14) are the most reasonable. There have been numerous times when both were better than De Bruyne from a fantasy perspective. Mahrez was awesome in both PSG matches and braced en route to 58.5 fantasy points in the second leg. Foden hasn't hit that upside, but he's made the score-sheet in eight of his last nine starts between the Prem and UCL. There isn't anything that separates the two, as both take some set pieces and get off shots and create chances. I prefer Mahrez because he may be most likely to make the score-sheet twice, though Foden is cheaper and might not be as popular in the captain spot.

Otherwise, no matter who else starts, it'll be hard to use them, especially at captain. That said, it wouldn't be surprising if Bernardo Silva ($8) scored the lone goal in the match. It's happened before and while that's rare, it's something to consider in GPPs. Ilkay Gundogan ($7) will also get attention after scoring 16 goals this season, but a lot of those came when De Bruyne wasn't in the squad. As for Rodri ($6), he's only there to save money as a punt.

For Chelsea, anyone can be considered in tournaments because they're an underdog. The downside is that none of their guys will have much of a floor, meaning it'll be hard to spend on them in cash games. Even in their most recent win against Man City, Chelsea managed just 12 shots, while none of their players created more than two chances. 

If you think Chelsea get more opportunities than prior contests, you could captain Mason Mount ($12) in cash games. He's been consistent even without set pieces, hitting a floor of at least 15 fantasy points in his final three matches of the league season. Still, he has just one goal in his last 10 starts in the Premier League and UCL, meaning he's probably not the best GPP option. Timo Werner ($13) and Christian Pulisic ($10) are better used in GPPs, assuming they start over Kai Havertz ($9) and Hakim Ziyech ($8).

My tournament play for Chelsea would be Werner because while he's not scoring, the opportunities have been there. Over his last seven starts, he's hit at least nine fantasy points in every match, while supplying 23 shots and 12 chances. He gets a lot of flack for not scoring more, but he's been solid to close the season. Then again, he could stay unlucky, allowing Pulisic to be the better play.

If Kante isn't healthy enough to start, Mateo Kovacic ($4) will likely be in the XI and possibly a popular punt play. He doesn't present much, but he's three bucks cheaper than Jorginho ($7), who will be rostered because he takes penalties.

There isn't anything that stands out at defender unless you want to bank on a goal or assist. Joao Cancelo ($10) is always in play, but his price could force you away from multiple forwards. Even then, it's not like this matchup will produce a ton of opportunities for defenders. The same goes for Cesar Azpilicueta ($9) and Ben Chilwell ($8) on the other end, while Reece James ($7) will get attention because of set pieces, but his floor has struggled to surpass 10 points over the last month.

I'd either bank on tons of defensive stats from someone like Thiago Silva ($6), or aim for a clean sheet and a few defensive stats from Ruben Dias ($6) or Kyle Walker ($5). While this game isn't expected to be high scoring, I'm not sure fading the top forwards and spending on defenders is the best move. Maybe it'll lead to a GPP win if a center-back scores the lone goal, but even in that situation, you have five choices and only a couple are cheap.

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. Adam Zdroik plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: zdroik, DraftKings: rotozdroik, Yahoo: StreakMaster.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam, a 2019, 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's assistant soccer editor. He also runs RotoWire's Bracketology, as well as writes on other various college basketball content. He has previously worked at ESPN and Sporting Kansas City, and he is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate.
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