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Champions League, Draft Kings Style

The Champions League group stage gets underway tonight and with it comes plenty of opportunity to get a lineup in on Draftkings.

FC Barcelona Training Session and Press Conference Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

The rules are exactly the same as they are in the Premier League, except that the Champions League features teams from different leagues across Europe. One of the biggest differences between Champions League games and a Premier League slate is that there are games in which teams are huge favorites. There is far more parity in the Premier League than when FC Rostov visits Bayern Munich. This means that there are certain matchups and players that we simply cannot ignore when picking a lineup. The other great aspect of playing the Champions League on Draftkings is that all of the games occur at the same time. This makes for a really exciting two hours with plenty of ups and downs. So let’s jump right in!

Pick the big boys on Bayern Munich and Barcelona

This is good advice for almost any matchup, but is especially true for tomorrow’s games. Both these teams enter the day as the two biggest favorites by far. Barcelona is home against Scottish Premier League giants Celtic, and although Celtic is typically at the top of their domestic leagues they have almost no chance against Barcelona. The most likely score according to the betting world is a 3­0 or 4­0 win for Barcelona, so we know they are going to put up goals. The question becomes who will score them? You really can’t go wrong picking Neymar ($9,600), Suarez (10,800), or Messi (11,000). Neymar is enticing at a lower price, but I personally would spend the extra one thousand bucks or so in order to grab either Messi or Luis Suarez. Bayern Munich is in a similar position as Barcelona, facing off against Russian Premier League’s FC Rostov. Again they are heavy favorites to both score plenty of goals and not give up many. There are so many talented players on Bayern and their front three is not set in stone like Barcelona’s, so it is important to pay close attention to who is starting. If Douglas Costa ($9,000) starts he is a great player to have in your lineup. He picks up all the peripheral stats such as crosses and fouls drawn, and is also very capable of racking up goals and assists. In addition to him it is never a bad idea to add Robert Lewandowski ($10,700) to your lineup. He is more than capable of putting up a hattrick. My advice on how to pick between all of these guys is fairly simple. I would look to draft two of these guys from either Bayern or Barc and then try to find value players in the rest of your lineup. Goals are going to be really important so I would suggest taking Lewandowski and Suarez in hopes that both guys explode

Find Value in the other Matches

Now that we have spent big bucks on our forwards we still need to fill our lineups with our goalie, defense, and midfield. Although we are going to be a little strapped for cash, there are plenty of hidden value plays that we can find to help solidify our lineup. For goalie I really like Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak ($5,400). Atleti is traveling to PSV Eindhoven in a matchup that is slightly favored to Atleti. Madrid have consistently had the best defense in Europe over the past three years, and almost always have a great chance at keeping a clean sheet. Another thought to keep in mind is that when they do give up shots, they typically come from outside of the box in low percentage scoring areas. This helps pad Oblak’s stats, and although it will be difficult for Atletico Madrid to pull of the victory I love their chances to not concede and for Oblak to rack up some saves. I would also pair Oblak with center back Diego Godin ($3,900). Godin is one of the best defenders in the world and also regularly scores goals off of corners and set pieces. He provides cheap labor with a decent chance and scoring and a great chance of earning clean sheet points. Another defender worth having a look at is Presnel Kimpembe ($3,100) of PSG. PSG are home against Arsenal, and any time an attacking team such as PSG have such a cheap fullback it is worth it to take. Once again make sure he is starting, but if he does I would take the risk.

Midfield and Utility

The only problem with taking such expensive forwards is that all other positions take a bit of a hit in terms of how much cash we have to spend. The formula that is typically followed with Champions League fantasy is to spend big on the forwards and try to find value elsewhere. One guy I really like is Lucas Moura ($6,400) of PSG. He should be starting on the frontline for Paris and has enjoyed a good start to the season. He takes some corners, crosses the ball, and has already scored two goals in Ligue 1. It’s not the easiest matchup against Arsenal, but they are still favorites at home. Manchester City have a decent matchup against Bundesliga’s Borussia Muchengladbach, but I still would not suggest spending any serious money on City’s stars because their prices are too close to Bayern and Barcelona’s forwards. One player to take a look at though is Fernandinho ($4,200). He is not usually the most involved in attack but does have the capabilities of scoring and should put up stats such as interceptions and tackles. For my utility I have under 6,000 left, so we have to decide what to do. Rather than taking a weak forward or an average midfielder, I think a smart tactic would be to take an expensive defender. The best option available is arguably Filipe Luis ($5,500) of Atletico Madrid. This means we would be rewarded heavily if Atletico are able to keep a clean sheet, and Filipe Luis puts up stats as much as any defender. The leftback consistently gains points through crosses, interceptions, tackles, and even assists. We’ll be throwing a lot of eggs in one basket with Atleti, but in a GPP style contest this can yield big results at the end of matches and be just enough to win money.