The Champions League group stage kicks off today with an absolutely stacked slate. Neymar and Kylian Mpabbe make their UCL debuts for PSG, Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea are in action and Barcelona squares off against Champions League runners-up Juventus. From a strategy perspective, there are four favored teams that have very potent attacks: Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and PSG. Building a fantasy team on DraftKings will have to be a true balancing act, as one of these teams will likely score multiple goals.
Manuel Neuer – $5,900 – Bayern Munich – Most, if not all, of the best goalkeepers in the world, are available on this slate. Buffon, De Gea and Courtois are all in action, but Neuer may be the safest option at the top. Manuel Neuer and Bayern are at home and heavily favored against Anderlecht. There is nothing inherently creative about this selection – Neuer will likely record a win and has a strong chance at a clean sheet. While you likely won’t benefit from Neuer racking up saves, his salary reflects his safety. For upside, look to some of the names in the value section.
Others to Consider – Thibaut Courtois ($6,000), David de Gea ($5,800)
Jan Oblak – $4,700 – Atletico – Oblak is regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in the world, and has ample Champions League appearance. Offering a $1k-plus discount off the top goalies available on this slate due to a trip to Italy to face Roma, Oblak is still in position for a win and should face more shots than the highest priced goalies.
Others to Consider – Gianluigi Buffon ($4,400), Craig Gordon ($3,900)
Joshua Kimmich – $5,400 – Bayern Munich – Kimmich has been having a productive season thus far for Bayern, and is involved in set-pieces and the flow of the attack. He has 30+ crosses for Bayern thus far and is the safest, most versatile defensive option.
Others to Consider – Marcos Alonso ($5,900), Dani Alves ($5,700), Daley Blind ($5,200)
Georgy Schennikov – $4,200 – CSKA Moscow – Offered at a discount from the top-tier, Schennikov delivered in CSKA’s two UCL qualifiers (22 and 10 DraftKings Fantasy Points). Consider him a place to start in your hunt for cheap defensive alternatives. In the names to consider below, see which of those are confirmed starters and can help you afford the top options.
Others to Consider – Nelson Semedo ($4,100), Kieran Tierney ($3,500)
Lionel Messi – $9,800 – Barcelona – While this isn’t the best matchup for Messi compared to some of the other star M/F options, he’s still one of the two best players in the world. He’ll be needed as much as ever for Barcelona to have a chance to win the Champions League with the departure of Neymar and the addition of young Ousmane Dembele ($7,100). The best strategy may be to avoid Messi, and piece together a value midfield based on which star forward you begin your squad with.
Others to Consider – Thomas Muller ($8,600), Paulo Dybala ($8,000), Antoine Greizmann ($7,800)
Cesc Fabregas – $7,100 – Chelsea – Fabregas will likely be on set-piece duty for Chelsea in a plum matchup against Qarabag. Comparably, the Chelsea M/Fs are all slightly underpriced to the other top teams. Keep an eye out for the Chelsea lineup as Willian ($7,600) could be another option as well.
Others to Consider – Pizzi ($6,200), Marko Marin ($4,800)
Neymar – $10,300 – PSG – It’s strange to think that Neymar is now a PSG man, and even stranger to see him priced above his former teammate, Lionel Messi. The pricing is mainly due to the matchups, but still, Neymar will have his chance to shine as the PSG top dog, and he should have ample opportunity against Celtic. Don’t forget his teammates, Edinson Cavani ($9,200) and Kylian Mbappe ($8,300).
Others to Consider – Robert Lewandowski ($9,500), Romelu Lukaku ($9,400), Alvaro Morata ($8,500)/Michy Batshuayi ($7,700): This is an absolutely stacked slate, with some of the highest per minute scorers in the world all available for selection. To afford multiple high-ceiling forwards, the obvious roster construction lends itself to spending down at defender and goalkeeper.
Jonas – $7,000 – Benfica – Benfica is a strong team at home and Jonas is a nifty pivot off the obvious studs in the top tier of the price range. Now 33 years of age, Jonas has several years of Champions League experience under his belt, including a five goal season with Valencia a few years ago. Any option that is away from the big-four teams on this slate is one that will likely be under-utilized in tournaments.Others to Consider – Marcus Rashford ($7,500), Diego Perroti ($6,100), Vitinho ($5,300)