This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
Brazil, the World Cup favorites, take the pitch Thursday and it presents an interesting conversation being the late match. Uruguay and South Korea open the day, while Portugal take on Ghana in the middle match.
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For the most part, it seems like the majority of people are focusing heavily on the first match of the day, as that will lead them to fewer questions going forward. That was seen Wednesday when a lot of Germany attackers were picked over the likes of ones from Belgium and Spain. However, that probably won't happen as much Thursday with Brazil being in the primetime spot.
Neymar, BRA vs. SER ($11,500): Everyone knows Neymar. Or at least everyone who is playing World Cup DFS has heard of him. He is the focal point of Brazil's attack as the main creator with set pieces, penalties and tons of fouls drawn. Despite being the max price, you'll need him in cash games when he has a floor of 20 points and then adds a goal or assist. No one has the same floor as him, making him a must in cash no matter the price.
Jordan Ayew, GHA vs. POR ($4,600): There are a lot of options at second forward, it just depends if you want to spend up or down. Cristiano Ronaldo ($10,400) will get plenty of looks because of name, but I'm not going near him in cash games. The same goes for Son Heung-Min at $8,700 and his price will also hamper other positions. I'm not sure you pay up for him in cash games as a large underdog and the same goes for Dusan Tadic ($7,600) against Brazil. At minimum, Ayew will have a split of sets for Ghana and while the matchup isn't great, you're not expecting 10-plus points from him like the others because of a nice discount. While Portugal are the biggest favorite, I don't think Ghana will be completely run over in this matchup and a few set pieces should help Ayew reach value. Notably, Jordan's brother Andre Ayew is cheaper and playing for a Qatar team at club level, so he's at least familiar with the elements.
If you don't want to spend down, Bernardo Silva ($7,400) stands out in terms of price and role in his side. Silva is a creator for Portugal and while he doesn't have set pieces, he's still fairly cheap on the biggest favorite of the slate.
Federico Valverde, URU vs. KOR ($6,200): At a minimum, Valverde will split set pieces for Uruguay and he seems to be safe due to a nice price discount. He's not in an attacking role, but Uruguay are favored and Valverde is always ready to sneak higher up the pitch, something that's resulted in eight goals and four assists across 19 La Liga and UCL matches this season. He's my first midfielder because he saves you a bit of cash if you want to spend up at defender or even goalkeeper.
Bruno Fernandes, POR vs. GHA ($9,000): A decision will likely come down to playing Fernandes at midfield or going up at forward. Given that a lot of the viable high-end forwards are on underdogs, I'd rather bank on Fernandes, who will be on the majority of sets for Portugal. He's probably too expensive in this spot and Bernardo Silva might have more open-play value for this team, but set pieces put Fernandes over the top.
Vinicius Junior ($7,700) and Lucas Paqueta ($7,000) are in the conversation because they play for Brazil with the former having more upside. There are rumors that Paqueta will play in a deeper role, so that's something to monitor when lineups are released if you're sitting in that $7,000 range.
Kim Moon-Hwan, KOR vs. URU ($3,000): I don't think there's a need to spend up at defender in cash games, as Joao Cancelo ($7,200) is probably too expensive and the Brazilian full-backs don't send in that many crosses. Alex Telles ($6,300) is familiar to regular soccer DFS players, but Brazil play through the middle more because of Neymar and the wingers take up a lot of the space outside as it is. It's a toss up to who will actually start at full-back for South Korea, but Moon-Hwan is projected. No matter, I'd still consider the Korean full-backs because Korea like to play with the ball and attack on the wings. Uruguay are favored, but their back line is below average in speed and I'm not sure they have what it takes to dominate the match.
Nuno Mendes, POR vs. GHA ($6,000): Left-back is a position to watch for Portugal unless you're paying up for Cancelo. It sounds like Mendes may not be ready to start and if not, Raphael Guerreiro ($6,300) could get the call. If you plan to spend up at defender, I'd rather go with the Portuguese full-backs than the Brazilian ones.
Lawrence Ati-Zigi, GHA vs. POR ($3,700): It's wild to suggest the cheapest goalkeeper on the slate, but none of the top guys really stand out. If you have money, Diogo Costa ($5,800) is the play with the best odds to win and secure a clean sheet. To get him, you'd likely have to spend down at both defenders and one of your forwards. Ati-Zigi isn't well known and could have a Keylor Navas-like performance, but Portugal are a team that loves to take shots from outside the box with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. There should be save opportunities and Ghana's back line isn't a pushover with both Daniel Amartey and Mohammed Salisu having plenty of experience against these Portuguese players.