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The third round of World Cup group stages begin on Monday with eight teams in action. Cristiano Ronaldo towers over the slate, but with other top forwards available, he won’t have as high of ownership percentages as his previous two matches.
Mohamed Salah, Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia, $10,100 — Given the prices, Salah makes more sense than Cristiano Ronaldo ($12,900) since the two have the same goal odds, just above a 50 percent chance. Saudi Arabia played well against Uruguay, but they are still one of the least talented squads in the tournament and allowed five goals to Russia. With both teams already knocked out, expect an up-and-down match that should feature goals, hopefully on the foot of Salah, assuming he starts. If he doesn’t, Diego Costa ($10,300) is at a similar price with slightly worse goal-scoring odds.
Other Options — Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, $12,900; Diego Costa, Spain, $10,300; Luis Suarez, Uruguay, $9,400
Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Iran vs. Portugal, $5,700 — Jahanbakhsh came off the bench last match due to a minor knock and may be less owned because of that. He had two corners (three crosses) in the first match and if he starts again, should be on corners, giving him a nice floor. With Iran needing a win, they’ll likely have to press at some point and that will only help Jahanbakhsh reach value.
Other Options — Bernardo Silva, Portugal, $6,700; Artem Dzyuba, Russia, $6,400; Karim Ansarifard, Iran, $3,900
Isco, Spain vs. Morocco, $9,200 — Isco doesn’t have a goal or assist, yet produced 23.6 fantasy points in the first two matches from six shots and 14 crosses. He’s the best cash play in the midfield and this matchup doesn’t change that. Morocco don’t have anything to play for and could put more numbers forward in search of their first goal, which would only help Isco and Spain’s chances for a goal.
Other Options — David Silva, Spain, $8,200; Hakim Ziyech, Morocco, $7,500; Carlos Sanchez, Uruguay, $7,100
Salman Al Faraj, Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt, $3,600 — With four matches on the slate, there is an abundance of value plays in the midfield. The best of them may be Al Faraj, who has taken four of Saudi Arabia’s six corners. That’s reason enough to consider him at this price, especially with this being a more favorable matchup than the previous two for the Saudis.
Other Options — Abdallah El Said, Egypt, $5,600; Aleksandr Samedov, Russia, $5,100; Younes Belhanda, Morocco, $4,100
Ahmed Fathy, Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia, $5,400 — Fathy’s price is a bit extreme, but he’s been as good as any other defender on this slate even without clean sheets. Fathy has 17.6 fantasy points from 12 crosses in two Egypt losses. Now as a favorite, Fathy supplies a nice floor and should continue seeing plenty of the ball with Salah playing on the same side.
Other Options — Cedric Soares, Portugal, $5,700; Jordi Alba, Spain, $5,300; Mario Fernandes, Russia, $4,600
Diego Godin, Uruguay vs. Russia, $3,700 — After being priced too high in the first two matches, Godin is down to a reasonable rate. Teammate Jose Gimenez ($3,700) will be more popular due to his goal, but both center backs get up the field on corners so there’s little to separate the two. Godin provides the same floor and will be less owned.
Other Options — Ramin Rezaeian, Iran, $3,900; Osama Hawsawi, Saudi Arabia, $3,100; Ilya Kutepov, Russia, $2,800
Mohamed El-Shenawy, Egypt vs. Saudi Arabia, $5,300 — It’s hard to take either of the pricier goalkeepers mainly because their chances of a clean sheet aren’t much different than Egypt’s. El-Shenawy is at least a favorite and Saudi Arabia have only two shots on goal so a clean sheet is definitely in the cards. David de Gea ($5,800) still hasn’t made a save in the tournament and Rui Patricio ($5,600) is facing an Iran team that needs three points.
Other Options — David De Gea, Spain, $5,800; Rui Patricio, Portugal, $5,600; Fernando Muslera, Uruguay, $4,900
Munir Mohamedi, Morocco vs. Spain, $3,700 — Morocco’s mindset coming into this match is unknown as they’re already eliminated from the World Cup. But it can be argued they outplayed their first two opponents and will still be aiming for at least a point. Spain have 11 shots on goal and four goals so there should at least be save opportunities for Mohamedi. If he doesn’t produce, there’s little blame since he’s the cheapest option.
Other Options — Igor Akinfeev, Russia, $4,600; Alireza Beiranvand, Iran, $4,000
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