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Fantasy La Liga: Sunday Picks

Chris Henne

Chris is a former soccer player turned soccer handicapper and daily fantasy sports player. He's currently pursuing a PhD.


Diego Alves, VAL at SPG:
Taking road keepers in cash games on a regular basis is a recipe for disaster, but with the uncertain goaltending situation for Athletic Club and Villarrealís defensive woes at home, Iím really loving Valenciaís spot on the road against Sporting Gijon. Defense has been an issue for Valencia, and any time the 18th-place team in the table goes on the road itís easy picking for the hosts, but with Gijonís inability to score goals you have to love Alves here. Cesare Prandelli is taking over the Valencia bench and has preached defensive cohesiveness, which is only good news for Valencia. Gijon have mustered only two goals in their last four games and I doubt that Alves will be troubled as his team turns the page on their rough start to the season.


Yuri, RSO at ATH:
This isnít a spot I particularly like, but Yuri will likely play because of the injury concern for Hector Hernandez. This could be a nice spot to get a good defender low-owned in tournaments, but I am not expecting crazy production, just daring to be different.

Joao Cancelo, VAL at SPG: His price is getting up into the danger zone of more than I personally like spending on defenders, but looking at possible formations indicates there is a very good chance that Martin Montoya goes to right back and pushes Cancelo up to a midfield position. This is an incredibly dangerous spot for Cancelo, who is coming off a goal for Portugal playing the same role, and he gets to face a woeful Sporting Gijon club that have allowed 14 goals in the last four matches. Valencia are actually behind Gijon in the table, but I am looking for improvement in Cesare Prandelliís first match behind the bench.

Inigo Lekue, ATH vs. RSO: With Mikel Balenziaga suspended, Lekue should slot in at left back and is already priced to fit. I wish we could have bought a little bit lower on him, but he is expected to run a full 90 minutes and is Athletic Clubís best fantasy option in defense. If youíre a sucker for pain, you could keep chasing goals from Aymeric Laporte and save money, but Lekue has a much higher floor due to his ability to contribute on both sides of the ball. Heíll win you a few tackles, but also involve himself with crosses and maybe look at a shot or two. Surprisingly, Athletic Club defenders are not great for fantasy purposes, but after giving away an awful match last time out they will be locked in and looking to keep a clean sheet.


Nicola Sansone, VIL vs. CEL:
DFS players rejoice, I am officially done with the Alexandre Pato experiment! Iíll reiterate below, but Villarreal is still a two-pronged attack; itís just Sansone and Samu Castillejo with no sight of Pato anymore. If youíre interested in Villarreal this weekend, there really is no argument for not rostering both. Back to Sansone; I am hesitant to use him in a midfield slot in larger slates because he does have a surprisingly low floor for the upside he brings, but oh man that upside. He scores every other game in La Liga play and, lucky for us, heís hot off two fantasy points before the international break. I like this match for goals and he should have his opportunities.

Asier Illarramendi, RSO at ATH: Iím even starting to annoy myself with how often I find myself saying ďvalue matters on short slatesĒ but hey, hereís a midfielder who is in a pretty terrible matchup and is still way too cheap for the production heís capable of. Fantasy sports are so great because never would we be looking at Real Sociedad on the road against Athletic Club and thinking thereís value, but Illarramendi is an underrated distributor of the ball, and while he isnít a scoring threat (heís taken just three shots all season), he has made drawing fouls a Diego Costa-esque art form and will reach his floor with defensive play.

Moi Gomez, SPG vs. VAL: There is a reason that I havenít included many Sporting Gijon players, and the one I have included is a bargain basement midfielder, and that is the fact that they have scored twice in the last four matches; one goal every 180 minutes. This is not an attack we need to concern ourselves with until they begin to show marked improvement, but with no changes expected in the lineup it looks like Gomez will get his usual complement of minutes and should be able to hit his value given the small price. I noted Valenciaís struggles earlier, and though their new manager has emphasized defensive structure heading into his debut, there are always growing pains to be expected.


Samu Castillejo, VIL vs. CEL:
Just glancing at the highest-priced forwards on DraftKings, players are cheap and there arenít too many at the top that are worth playing for (or even expected to play), so rostering Castillejo is almost a must in this situation just to keep pace with the field. Villarreal might be the chalkiest team to roster, but itís justified. Undefeated in their last seven matches and winners of their last three at home, I am expecting a fun matchup between these two teams. There is no point in trying to choose between Castillejo and Sansone as to who is going to score, you have room for both.

Iago Aspas, CEL at VIL: I have been touting Villarreal as the side to be on for this slate, but with it being such a short slate I think it would be incredibly unwise to build any GPP rosters without some Celta Vigo action. Pione Sistoís minutes are too crazy for me (even in tournament play) and with Bongonda only forward eligible and having equally terrible minutes, Aspas is the play to get into the Celta Vigo attack. As much as the talk has been about Villarreal all week, how quickly we are to forget the four-goal outburst CV had against Barcelona? They have to travel, yes, but they are coming into a stadium where the home teamís supports seem to forget they have immense difficulty keeping clean sheets of late.

Willian Jose, RSO at ATH: After the Villarreal - Celta Vigo match, the forward position on DraftKings becomes the equivalent of the 12th round of a fantasy football draft where nobody cares anymore. However, I feel that Jose is still underpriced given his production in recent weeks. His minutes are leveling out and he is producing, not that this is surprising with his goal-scoring ability, but to have him this cheap on a short slate is a blessing. He hasnít scored since he routed Las Palmas (revenge game, anyone?) but it wasnít for lack of trying: he put four shots on net against Real Betis. Athletic Club is a step up, but at this price I am willing to take a flier on a really crafty scorer.

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.