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Most of the conversation surrounding Wednesday’s World Cup matches will be the big favorites. Portugal, Uruguay and Spain are all projected to win, with the latter two expected to win by multiple goals. That puts a microscope on what route to take with four high-end forwards the biggest decisions for your fantasy soccer lineups.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal vs. Morocco, $12,600 — Some will be turned off by Ronaldo’s price, but he also comes with the least amount of risk. If Portugal score, it likely will be through Ronaldo, while there is some unknown with the other forwards. Luis Suarez ($10,400) and Edinson Cavani ($10,200) might each get shots, but in cash games, the risk is in picking which one will score. There is less worry about Diego Costa ($9,900) after scoring a brace in the opener, but there’s a reason Isco ($9,700) had the most goals for Spain in qualifying. Spain’s short passing often leads to good chances for everyone in the attack. As for Ronaldo, he’s always on the ball in the attack, and that’s the guy teammates look for. His floor is automatically high because of shots, but the upside is also there as seen against Spain.
Other Options — Luis Suarez, Uruguay, $10,400; Edinson Cavani, Uruguay, $10,200; Diego Costa, Spain, $9,900
Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Iran vs. Spain, $5,500 — Taking a forward on a team that might have trouble getting 25 percent of the possession is a weird strategy, but if you go Ronaldo, you need to gamble somewhere. Jahanbakhsh at least takes corners and set pieces for Iran, so there is some hope in that aspect. Iran only had 32 percent possession against Morocco, and he still managed 8.8 fantasy points from two shots and three corners.
Other Options — Bernardo Silva, Portugal, $7,000; Goncalo Guedes, Portugal, $6,600; Ayoub El Kaabi, Morocco, $4,700
David Silva, Spain vs. Iran, $7,900 — After a mediocre first match, Silva’s price didn’t increase that much even though Spain are huge favorites. He still managed three shots and should have more opportunity against Iran, which will struggle to hold onto the ball after having only 38 percent against Morocco. Silva was key in Spain’s attack in qualifiers, finishing with five goals, five assists, 42 crosses and 30 shots in 12 matches.
Other Options — Isco, Spain, $9,700; Carlos Sanchez, Uruguay, $8,400; Giorgian de Arrascaeta, Uruguay, $7,500
Matias Vecino, Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, $4,500 — Vecino’s price is surprisingly almost the same as it was against Egypt. Uruguay are the biggest favorite of the day and should have a lot of possession and maybe more than the 15 shots they had last match. Vecino gets forward more than fellow central midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur ($3,900) and that led to a couple shots last match and 7.5 fantasy points. There’s also some score sheet upside if Uruguay pile on the goals against Saudi Arabia, similar to Russia.
Other Options — Moubarak Boussoufa, Morocco, $5,300; Joao Moutinho, Portugal, $4,600; Rodrigo Bentancur, Uruguay, $3,900
Guillermo Varela, Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, $5,400 — Varela doesn’t cost an overwhelming amount and should again play right back for the biggest favorite of the day. He had three crosses and three tackles in the first match and likely will be up the field even more against Saudi Arabia with assist potential. At a minimum, Varela will be good for a couple crosses and another clean sheet. If you need to save more money, Nacho ($4,900) is set to start at right back again for Spain.
Other Options — Cedric Soares, Portugal, $5,100; Nacho, Spain, $4,900; Martin Caceres, Uruguay, $4,500
Yasir Al Shahrani, Saudi Arabia vs. Uruguay, $3,800 — There aren’t many value defenders to back on this slate, especially ones on big underdogs. Al Shahrani is cheaper than teammate Mohammed Al-Burayk ($4,100) and Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi ($4,400) and has about the same floor as those guys. Al Shahrani had two of Saudi Arabia’s six shots last match and that upside is enough in what could be another ugly result.
Other Options — Jose Gimenez, Uruguay, $4,300; Gerard Pique, Spain, $3,600; Jose Fonte, Portugal, $3,500
Rui Patricio, Portugal vs. Morocco, $5,400 — Portugal have the worst odds of the favorites to win, but they also have the lowest over/under. And if you want at least one of the high-end forwards, you’ll need to save money at goalkeeper. Patricio had trouble against Spain in the first match, but Morocco couldn’t find the back of the net even with 13 shots against Iran. Patricio will get tested, but a clean sheet and win aren’t out of the cards against a side that doesn’t have a world-class striker.
Other Options — Fernando Muslera, Uruguay, $6,000; David De Gea, Spain, $5,800
Munir Mohamedi, Morocco vs. Portugal, $4,000 — In the same mold as Patricio, this match is expected to be the closest of the three and has the lowest over/under. Portugal will get shots, but all three of their goals against Spain were a rare occurrence. One was a penalty, the next was a goalkeeping mistake and the final one was a free kick. Morocco controlled possession against Iran and might be getting underrated somewhat after the loss. Mohamedi will get save opportunities, and there’s no guarantee Portugal score.
Other Options — Alireza Beiranvand, Iran, $3,700; Abdullah Al-Mayoof, Saudi Arabia, $3,600
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