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The World Cup knockout phase is starting to take shape, so let’s take a closer look at the fantasy soccer implications with the top targets and values on Tuesday’s slate.
Lionel Messi, Argentina vs. Nigeria, $12,300 — The 2014 World Cup runners-up are on the brink of elimination, but they have a lifeline if they can muster up a convincing win over Nigeria. It’s a steep price to pay and Messi is goalless through two games, but considering Argentina need to score multiple goals to pad their goal differential, he’s in a smash spot here.
Other Options — Angel di Maria, Argentina, $9,000; Gylfi Sigurdsson, Iceland, $8,400; Victor Moses, Nigeria, $7,900
Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Iceland vs. Croatia, $6,400 — Gudmundsson missed out on Iceland’s loss to Nigeria with a calf injury, but reports suggest he could return to the starting lineup in a must-win game against Croatia. He was quiet in 63 minutes against Argentina, but with Iceland lacking options in the attack, he’ll be turned to for production if he’s back in the starting XI. He has the ability to rack up shots and crosses when he’s on the field; just be wary of the lingering injury concerns.
Other Options — Alfred Finnbogason, Iceland, $5,700; Ahmed Musa, Nigeria, $5,500; Tomi Juric, Australia, $5,200
Christian Eriksen, Denmark vs. France, $9,300 — Denmark are positioned to advance to the knockout phase, but Australia sit three points back and have an outside chance of overtaking them for second place in Group C. Eriksen has a tough matchup against group leaders France, but given the circumstances, I don’t expect him to take his foot off the pedal. He’s averaging more than 20 fantasy points per game through the first two games and has played a part in both of Denmark’s goals this World Cup.
Other Options — Antoine Griezmann, France, $9,900; Luka Modric, Croatia, $8,700; Kylian Mbappe, France, $8,500
Oghenekaro Etebo, Nigeria vs. Argentina, $4,300 — Etebo is averaging 10 fantasy points per game despite no goals or assists. He’s collecting points through shots, crosses and fouls drawn, and he even had a share of corner kicks in Nigeria’s 2-0 win over Iceland. Argentina will be pushing for goals, which plays into Etebo’s fantasy appeal, as he likely will be forced into action in what should be an exciting battle for a spot in the knockout phase.
Other Options — Aaron Mooy, Australia, $6,300; Christian Cueva, Peru, $5,500; Mile Jedinak, Australia, $4,900
Luis Advincula, Peru vs. Australia, $5,400 — Advincula managed 11.5 points in his most recent outing through a combination of defensive and attacking peripheral stats. Peru already have been eliminated but finish group play with their best matchup of the competition versus Australia. Australia have an outside shot at advancing if they can rack up goals and get some help from France, which could open up opportunities for Advincula to get forward on the counterattack and flirt with double digits once again.
Other Options — Lucas Hernandez, France, $5,100; Nicolas Tagliafico, Argentina, $4,900; Miguel Trauco, Peru, $4,600
Josh Risdon, Australia vs. Peru, $4,100 — Risdon hasn’t had any big fantasy performances through the first two games, but he’s looked good despite opening the tournament with a pair of tough matchups. Australia mathematically still are alive, but they’ll need at least three goals and some help from France. This gives Risdon a bump, as he’s more likely to join in the attack and swing crosses in from the wing as Australia have no other choice but to throw everything forward in this spot.
Other Options — Tyronne Ebuehi, Nigeria, $4,000; Birkir Saevarsson, Iceland, $3,800
Danijel Subasic, Croatia vs. Iceland, $5,100 — Subasic has yet to concede and faces an Iceland attack that has just one goal in two games. Iceland will be motivated to get a result with a spot in the knockout phase on the line, which should produce added save opportunities for Subasic as Croatia closes out group play.
Other Options — Franco Armani, Argentina, $5,500; Hugo Lloris, France, $5,200
Francis Uzoho, Nigeria vs. Argentina, $3,700 — Nigeria sit in second place but face a tall task in keeping Argentina at bay in a must-win game. Uzoho should be peppered with shots, and this is a spot where he could turn up with enough saves to offset any goals he lets in. While it’s a risky venture, Nigeria’s fate depends on him turning in a big performance, and if it happens, he could be a slate-changer in tournaments.
Other Options — Mat Ryan, Australia, $4,600; Hannes Halldorsson, Iceland, $4,500; Kasper Schmeichel, Denmark, $4,400
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is MONEYMACHiNE) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.