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WATCH: Why Uruguay has a ‘good’ shot at making the Final
The most prestigious tournament in all of sports kicks into full swing with Friday’s three-game fantasy soccer slate. Let’s take a look at the top players and values to target in Friday’s World Cup contests.
Luis Suarez, Uruguay vs. Egypt, $10,000 — Uruguay are the biggest favorite on the slate, with Suarez and strike partner Edinson Cavani ($9,800) tabbed by the oddsmakers as the top two players most likely to score Friday. Both should have multiple opportunities against Egypt, and if you’re entering multiple tournament lineups, having exposure to both is recommended on a three-game slate where goals could be hard to come by. If I had to choose one, Suarez does a little bit more for me across the board, but it’s mostly a coin flip trying to determine which one of Uruguay’s hitmen emerge as the top point-getter.
Other Options — Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, $11,500; Edinson Cavani, Uruguay, $9,800
Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Iran vs. Morocco, $6,200 — Despite the lack of marquee names, the Iran vs. Morocco match is where we can look for value. Both nations know this realistically is their best opportunity to grab a win, so I’m expecting a big effort on both ends. Identifying which players to take from this game is key, and for starters we’ll want to target set-piece takers to earn cheap points through crosses. Jahanbakhsh has a role on set pieces, and he showed off his goalscoring exploits by scoring 21 goals and winning the Golden Boot in the Dutch Eredivisie this season.
Other Options — Nordin Amrabat, Morocco, $5,700; Sardar Azmoun, Iran, $5,600
Hakim Ziyech, Morocco vs. Iran, $8,700 — Zayech is a pivotal piece in the Moroccan attack, and with Group B powerhouses Spain and Portugal looming, he’ll need to deliver against Iran in the opener. Look for Zayech to stand over a sizable share of set pieces and, given the matchup with Iran, he’s in a good spot to open the tournament with a goal or an assist.
Other Options — Isco, Spain, $9,200; David Silva, Spain, $7,400; Georgian de Arrascaeta, Uruguay, $7,100
Abdallah El Said, Egypt vs. Uruguay, $4,200 — If star midfield/forward Mohamed Salah (shoulder; $9,300) isn’t ready to go in the opener, look for El Said to stand over any set pieces that come Egypt’s way. That’s not to say he’s going to rack them up in a tough matchup against Uruguay, but at this price, El Said is worth a look if he’s the primary set-piece taker.
Other Options — Moubarak Boussoufa, Morocco, $6,000; Ashkan Dejagah (if he starts), Iran, $5,200
Achraf Hakimi, Morocco vs. Iran, $5,300 — Achraf is one of the standout names on this Morrocan team with the 19-year-old plying his trade at La Liga giants Real Madrid. He’s active on the wing and can rack up crosses when he gets going, and with Morocco pushing for the full three points, it would be no surprise to see Achraf have an impact on both the attacking and defensive end versus Iran.
Other Options — Jordi Alba, Spain, $5,100; Raphael Guerreiro, Portugal, $5,000
Ramin Rezaeian, Iran vs. Morocco, $4,300 — Rezaeian gives Iran an attacking bump on the right side of the field, giving us cheap-ish attacking upside at one of the two defender slots. His crosses could fall somewhere in the 3-5 range depending on game flow, which combined with any other peripheral stats he collects, should be enough to bring some value to our lineups at $4,300.
Other Options — Diego Godin, Uruguay, $4,500; Martin Caceres, Uruguay, $4,100
Fernando Muslera, Uruguay vs. Egypt, $5,600 — You’ll have to pay all the way up if you want the safety of rostering the goalkeeper of the biggest favorite on the slate. If everything goes according to plan, he’s in a good position to score 10 points through the win and clean sheet bonuses alone.
Other Options — David De Gea, Spain, $5,300; Munir Mohamedi, Morocco, $5,000
Rui Patricio, Portugal vs. Spain, $4,100 — Portugal are the only team in Group B that pose a threat to Spain, and while I don’t expect them to win, I do think it’s a tightly contested tournament opener for both teams. Spain will find a way to test Patricio, and if he’s up to the task, he could end up with multiple points through saves.
Other Options — Alireza Beiranvand, Iran, $4,500; Mohamed El-Shenawy, Egypt, $3,900
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.