After the main course of the Champions League, Thursday night gives us the pleasure of the Europa League for the third time this season. DraftKings has split the tranche of games up into two separate slates: an early selection and a late one. This article focuses on the best players to pick from the early selection with options at both ends of the player pool. As always, you can hit me up on Twitter @JamieHinksDK.
Andriy Pyatov – ($5,900) – Shakhtar Donetsk – Shakhtar are one of three sides yet to conceded in this season’s Europa League Group Stage and the Ukrainian team are on a 13-game unbeaten run. The fact that 11 of those are wins plays further into the hands of Pyatov, who is the overwhelming choice as top goalkeeper on this small slate.
Stanislav Kritsyuk – ($4,700) – Krasnodar – Another side with an exceedingly strong home record, Kritsyuk is averaging a decent 8.5 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in this season’s Europa League. Krasnodar are favourites in this game and there is no one else that looks better above this price.
Fraser Forster – ($4,500) – Southampton – Forster used to love European nights for Celtic and he has resumed that role at current club Southampton, keeping two clean sheets out of two so far. It means he has 12.5 FPPG in the competition this season and will get close to that this week, against an Inter side that is bombing in the Europa League.
Yoan Cardinale – ($4,300) – Nice – Even through a start to the campaign that has included two straight losses in the continent’s number two competition, Cardinale has managed to make 4.5 saves per game. Red Bull Salzburg have also been in rotten form and at the lower end there is no better ‘keeper than Cardinale.
Darijo Srna – ($6,200) – Shakhtar Donetsk – It would be silly to leave out Srna from a targets article, so here he is! The Croatian right back loves to get forward and showed his attacking prowess in Euro 2016, where he averaged 11.5 crosses per game. Expect the same for Shakhtar, especially in a game where they face a substandard Gent side.
Cuco Martina – ($4,800) – Southampton – There’s a lack of options at the top of the defender pool, which means we dip down $1,400 for Martina. Southampton’s full back corps have been ravaged in recent times and it means a bigger role for Martina. In both Europa League games, he has reached double digit fantasy points and offers performance across a range of categories, namely crosses and tackles. Throw in a possible clean sheet and he is good value at a sub-$5,000 price.
Benedikt Howedes – ($4,500) – Schalke – Howedes is averaging 16.5 FPPG after two rounds in the Europa League, and he has 2.5 tackles won and 5.5 interceptions per game this campaign. The German international popped up with a goal on Matchday One and will have a busy night against an attacking Krasnodar side.
Artur Jedrzejczyk – ($4,500) – Krasnodar – Jedrzejczyk’s appeal does not come from his defensive play, instead the Polish full back pulling in the attacking points. He already has two assists in this season’s Europa League and is in a free scoring side that is unbeaten in Europe this season. Another assist? Please!
Antonio Candreva – ($8,700) – Inter – Candreva gets to face a Southampton back line that is bereft of its first choice full backs and this gives me confidence that Candreva will be back to his best. On Matchday One, Candreva managed a herculean 16 crosses in just 32 minutes. In his most recent Serie A game the Italian winger had 17 crosses and on home soil Candreva will be back to his reliable cash game best.
Joaozinho – ($6,400) – Krasnodar – When you take price and point scoring potential into account, there are very few players close to Joaozinho this midweek. The attacker averages 27 FPPG in this competition and already has three goals and one assist in 2016-17. On Matchday Two, against APOEL, Joaozinho hit 40 fantasy points and is an absolute steal at this price.
Johannes Geis – ($5,000) – Schalke – Geis is Schalke’s creator-in-chief and had a cash game friendly 13 crosses on Matchday Two, something that earned him 14 fantasy points without a goal or an assist. He does a similar job for the German side in the Bundesliga and don’t be surprised to see a good return on Thursday.
Danijel Milicevic – ($4,900) – Gent – In a throwback to last season’s Champions League Knockout Phase, Milicevic is back and is still in the colours of Gent. Milicevic had a goal and an assist in the Europa League and averages six crosses per game. It feels like he’ll make double digits if only due to the fact that he is the only real top player left at a club that had a fire-sale in the summer.
Eder – ($8,400) – Inter – Eder has scored double digit fantasy points on both his appearances in the Europa League this season and that’s despite the fact he only has one goal in the competition. The Italian international averages 3.5 shots per game in the UEL and is the only Inter forward that is guaranteed a start in continental competition.
Bertrand Traore – ($8,100) – Ajax – The Chelsea loanee has 16 FPPG in the Europa League this season, thanks in no small part to a goal and an assist. Traore also manages to contribute a fair amount of points in various other categories. It means you can expect a smattering of crosses, shots, tackles and fouls drawn. For cash game players, he’s a tidy pick.
Charlie Austin – ($7,800) – Southampton – Austin is showing just why he is one of the best strikers in England when fit, bagging six goals so far this season. His latest two-goal effort came on Sunday against former club Burnley. He also had eight shots, scored 33.75 points and was rested for the final 20 minutes. The only question with Austin is whether or not he starts. If he does, you will see yet another goal from the former non-league player.