Week two of the champions league kicks off today with a full slate of games. The big game is obviously Borussia Dortmund at home against Real Madrid. These are two of the most powerful teams in Europe and deserve plenty of attention, but there are other games and value players we’ll need to keep our focus on. Let’s get right down to business and see if we can’t build a winning lineup.
Igor Akinfeev ($4,400): CSKA Moscow’s keeper makes for a really good play if you are looking to save some cash for other player’s in your lineup. Rather than pay $1,000 more for a keeper in a more favorable matchup, I think it might be worth taking a risk on Akinfeev. A lot of the English and eastern European teams usually have a lot of trouble going to Russia and playing matches in the middle of the week. They certainly are not guaranteed a win or a clean sheet, but he should be able to put up a few saves while still giving you a chance for those ever-coveted bonuses.
Rui Patricio ($5,800): If you are a little hesitant on taking a risk on Akinfeev, Patricio could be your guy. Sporting CP’s goalkeeper faces a really good matchup against a Polish side in Legia Warszawa that got hammered by Dortmund in week 1. Right now Sporting are favored -450, which are really good odds especially for a team that will not be as recognizable to the average player. This should give us an advantage in some of our later picks.
Jefferson ($3,800)- My first defender to look at is another Sporting CP player, as I talked about before. Jefferson has only played once so far this season, but there is a good chance he gets the start tomorrow at left back. Although there is not a ton of information on him so far this season, throughout his career he has been an attacking fullback with good crossing capabilities. With the added bonus of a probable clean sheet, he enters into must play territory with his price tag if he starts.
Ludwig Augustinsson ($4,600)- This one is pretty simple. FC Copenhegan’s left back has put up really good numbers so far in the Champion’s League, and with a favorable home matchup against Club Bruges, he’s a guy you want to seriously consider starting. He takes corners for the team, which should add to his upside. At a fairly reasonable price, Augustinsson provides you with a high ceiling and the potential for double-digit points.
Alex Sandro ($5,000)- Juventus face what should be an easy away fixture against Dinamo Zagreb. Sandro typically plays left-wing back in Juve’s back five setup which means he can bomb forward even more so than a typical fullback because of the extra cover. Sandro regularly puts up high crossing numbers, which are crucial when choosing a full back. His price tag is slightly higher than some of our other options, but Sandro gives us the best chance at picking up points in the assist and goals categories, while also having a high likelihood of a clean sheet bonus.
Miralem Pjanic ($7,000)- The Juventus newcomer is starting to find himself playing regularly for the team, which is a good thing for us fantasy folk. Pjanic will be the guy pulling the strings for Juventus, and is more than capable of scoring big points for us. What I love about him is that he has a relatively high floor, and still has plenty of upside with a high ceiling as well. He should be taking some corners and have freekick duties, which means he’ll be scoring points all game, but he also gives us the potential for goals and assists. Last season for Roma he had 10 goals and 12 assists in 30 Seria A matches, so for his moderate price tag we have a guy capable of really going off tomorrow.
Bryan Ruiz ($5,600)- Another player for Sporting CP to look at for your lineup is Bryan Ruiz. He is projected to start up top as a striker along with Bas Dost (we’ll get to him soon). Ruiz has 1 goal and 3 assists so far in Portugal’s top league. He also puts up plenty of peripheral stats, which make his low price tag all the more appealing. He should also has a relatively low ownership, which makes him that much more appealing. You could also look at Gelson Martins ($5,400) of Sporting, he has two goals and three assists so far and is another guy that could have huge upside for our lineup.
Ousmane Dembele ($7,600)- If you want to field a player in the big Real-Dortmund game, Dembele is a really strong option. While Pulisic is getting most of the attention back home, there is another teenager on Dortmund tearing it up as well. He crosses the ball frequently, and plays constantly on the front foot on the left side for Dortmund. I have a sneaky suspicion that Borussia Dortmund could really expose Real’s backline; they’re a fast paced team that will definitely come out and attack Real Madrid. Dembele isn’t a back breaking in terms of his price, and the potential is certainly there to put up goals and assists. Keep him in mind.
Bas Dost ($7,100)- This is the guy I think is a must own for tomorrow. Sporting CP’s top striker has a great matchup at home, and Dost looks poised to go off. He’s got a better chance to score than guys like Ronaldo and Aubameyang, and costs over two grand less than both of them. So far in Portugal’s top league he has four goals in two appearances, and seems to be the focal point of Sporting’s attack. Tons of potential for a multi goal game, cheap price, not much more to say about him.
Gonzalo Higuain ($9,800)- Here’s a guy that might fly under a few people’s radar. Juventus’ big summer signing has starting picking up his play of late, and has a great opportunity to put up points tomorrow. He’s floating around the same price as Ronaldo, but faces a much easier matchup. Although it may be tough to ignore the big game in Dortmund tomorrow, I think the smart play is to look elsewhere at games that are less of a tossup.
Chicharito ($8,700)- I would not suggest him if you’re playing a cash game, but if you’re looking for a guy to take a risk on I would say Chicharito is your guy. Bayer Leverkusen has a weird tendency to get into high scoring Champion’s League matches, and tomorrow could be no different against Monaco. It is an even matchup on paper, and Leverkusen are away, but if Chicharito goes off like he did on the weekend you can certainly put up big points.