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Brazil highlights the start of Friday’s World Cup matches as a big favorite, but following them, the two other contests are almost even in terms of odds. That leaves Neymar with a huge price and a mess of players in the mid-range for our fantasy soccer consideration.
Neymar, Brazil vs. Costa Rica, $12,600 — Similar to the past couple days, most lineups will come down to spending on a star. Neymar is the man in question on this slate, especially after an ankle injury forced him to leave training earlier in the week, although all signs have him ready to start. He might not draw 10 fouls again, but he still will have a floor of around 12 fantasy points from free kicks and shots alone, and if you’re fine with that, he’s the play. If you don’t go Neymar, a trio of Brazilian attackers are the next choice.
Other Options — Philippe Coutinho, Brazil, $8,700; Gabriel Jesus, Brazil, $8,400; Willian, Brazil, $8,200
Victor Moses, Nigeria vs. Iceland, $7,800 — Moses was underpriced in the first match and proceeded to rack up three shots, five fouls drawn and 12 crosses for 17.5 fantasy points. Even if he doesn’t reach those numbers again, he should reach value. Moses will be plenty involved again as Nigeria play through him on the wing, and they should have more possession against Iceland, who play extremely defensive. Moses doesn’t cost a ton and is a great cash-game play with a high floor.
Other Options — Adem Ljajic, Serbia, $6,800; Alfred Finnbogason, Iceland, $5,800; Odion Ighalo, Nigeria, $5,400
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Iceland vs. Nigeria, $8,300 — All of the Brazilians are in play here, and Sigurdsson might end up being the least owned of the high-priced midfielders. The odds for this match are almost even, and while Iceland play defensive, Sigurdsson still managed three shots and five crosses against Argentina. In addition to taking set pieces, he again will be a large part of Iceland’s attack as they try to break down Nigeria.
Other Options — Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland, $8,000; Dusan Tadic, Serbia, $7,300
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Serbia vs. Switzerland, $4,800 — No one will look at Milinkovic-Savic after one fantasy point last match, but that doesn’t mean he played poorly, only that he committed four fouls with a couple shots. He’s a vital player in Serbia’s midfield and again will have an active role against Switzerland. He doesn’t have much of a floor — as seen last match — but the upside is there in GPPs as a creator in the central midfield.
Other Options — Alex Iwobi, Nigeria, $5,600; Blerim Dzemaili, Switzerland, $5,500; Wilfred Ndidi, Nigeria, $4,100
Branislav Ivanovic, Serbia vs. Switzerland, $4,900 — If it wasn’t for Aleksandar Kolarov’s goal, Ivanovic would’ve outscored him in the first match. Ivanovic might not have that free-kick upside, but he still has a decent floor as a right back that had four crosses last match. If you have money to spend, Marcelo ($6,200) is a notch above everyone with Kolarov ($5,900) next in line.
Other Options — Marcelo, Brazil, $6,200; Aleksandar Kolarov, Serbia, $5,900; Danilo, Brazil, $5,300
Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Iceland vs. Nigeria, $3,700 — Saevarsson is the cheapest Iceland defender even as a right back, and that makes him worth a gamble. Neither team is favored, and that could mean more attacking for Saevarsson on the wing. He averaged a couple crosses per match in qualifying, and this match should allow for more Iceland possession than the previous one. Even then, Nigeria aren’t a lock to score, so a clean sheet is possible, as well.
Other Options — Miranda, Brazil, $3,800; Brian Idowu, Nigeria, $3,500; Dusko Tosic, Serbia, $3,400
Alisson, Brazil vs. Costa Rica, $5,900 — If you have the money, spending up on Alisson is the way to go. Brazil are the biggest favorite of the day, and Costa Rica aren’t a great attacking team after getting three shots on goal against Serbia. It can be argued it was the same case for Alisson last match, but the Switzerland attack has a few more pieces than Costa Rica’s. You have to pay up, but Alisson has the best odds for a win and a clean sheet.
Other Options — Yann Sommer, Switzerland, $4,900; Hannes Halldorsson, Iceland, $4,800
Vladimir Stojkovic, Serbia vs. Switzerland, $4,600 — This isn’t exactly a “value” play, but with two even matches, only one goalkeeper is cheaper than Stojkovic. Outside of Brazil, Serbia are least likely to allow a goal, according to the odds. That’s reason enough to go with Stojkovic, who should also be in for a few saves against Xherdan Shaqiri and Switzerland.
Other Options — Francis Uzoho, Nigeria, $4,700; Keylor Navas, Costa Rica, $3,600
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