This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
Welcome to another edition of Champions League soccer coverage curtailed toward DraftKings. Your total available salary is $50,000 to build your best squad of eight players, which includes one goalkeeper, two defenders, two midfielders, two forwards and one FLEX. Points are awarded on DraftKings as follows:
Goal = +10 PTs
Assist = +6 PTs
Shot = +1 PTs
Shot on Goal = +1 PTs
Crosses = +1 PTs
Fouls Drawn = +0.75 PTs
Red Card = -1 PTs
Saves (GK) = +2 PTs
Goal Allowed (GK) = -2 PTs
Clean Sheet (GK, D) = +5 PTs
One Goal Allowed (GK, D) = +2 PTs
Win (GK) = +5 PTs
Penalty Kick Save (GK) = +3 PTs
With that out of the way, here are the available GPP contests for Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday:
$6K Equalizer ($1,200 first prize), Entry Fee: $27
$5K Golden Boot ($2,000 first prize), Entry Fee: $200
$4K Striker ($300 first prize), Entry Fee: $3
$2K Striker ($150 first prize), Entry Fee: $3
$2K Equalizer ($470 first prize), Entry Fee: $27
$2K Upper 90 ($700 first prize), Entry Fee: $100
$1K Stoppage Time ($200 first prize), Entry Fee: $12
$1K Upper 90 ($500 first prize), Entry Fee: $100
$300 Quarter Arcade ($43.50 first prize), Entry Fee: $0.25
and many more…
The following games are included:
Bayer Leverkusen at Atletico Madrid
Arsenal at Monaco
Manchester City at Barcelona
Juventus at Borussia Dortmund
The second set of Champions League second legs has an interesting dynamic in that none are currently tied, with a team up one on aggregate in all but on of the ties – the exception be the 3-1 aggregate deficit Arsenal finds itself in. Based on the away goals principle, Arsenal will need at least three goals Tuesday to go through. Manchester City is in a similar boat, needing at least two goals. The other two games would be tied by a home-team goal. The games included happen on two separate days, so keep this in mind when putting your lineup together. Having a backup plan if a player you have for the Wednesday games happens to not get the start is a wise decision. I often use the flex position for a player under this classification, so if needed he can be subbed for a player from any position. With a litany of fitness questions, being sure to pick players in the starting 11 is essential. There is a bit of guesswork in projecting lineups until they are actually announced, so every recommendation comes with the same warning label: check the starting lineups page upon their announcement approximately one hour prior to kickoff.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen ($5,100)
It is assumed that Barcelona will stay with Ter Stegen in goal, as he has been throughout Champions League play, with Claudio Bravo designated for everything La Liga. Barcelona is a hefty favorite at Camp Nou against a Manchester City side that was embarrassed at the weekend losing to Burnley. Taking the Barcelona keeper is the safe choice, the logical choice, but it's the Champions League and things often end up being unpredictable. To steal from another sport, March Madness very readily applies.
Danijel Subasic ($3,900)
Outside of the hopeless Joe Hart, Subasic is the cheapest option among the starting goalkeepers. Subasic has a pretty clear goal: keep Arsenal from scoring three times. Accomplish this, go through. The reverse side will see Arsenal in an all-out Gunning frenzy. Subasic is unlikely to come up with the win, as Arsenal is in good form at the moment, but he's been in spectacular form and has large upside if he keeps up his high save rates seen in recent outings. Subasic will have the opportunity to rack up the saves, but of course if the goals outnumber the saves (a legitimate risk) Subasic quickly becomes a poor choice.
Wojciech Szczesny ($4,300)
This is assuming Szczesny gets the look in goal after the abysmal outing David Ospina had last time against Monaco, despite his recent domestic success. Szczesny is a favorable price and Arsenal, as already stated, will be going hard for a win. They will be prone to the counter-attack (see Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco's late goal in the first leg), and in this is the risk. Counter-attacks often result in high-percentage goal rates, and shots harder to make saves on.
With the given prices and scenarios, the other two games provide a little bit less to love. The next best two options are Roman Weidenfeller ($4,600) of Borussia Dortmund and Moya ($4,900) of Atletico Madrid. Gianluigi Buffon ($4,600) of Juventus isn't a terrible choice either, but he's third in the pecking order.
Marcel Schmelzer ($3,300)
Schmelzer has been the more upwardly mobile of the Dortmund fullbacks, and his price may very well offer the best value to be found on the defensive end. Dortmund goes through with a 1-0 victory, and they'll be aiming for just that result. His price is still his most attractive feature.
Layvin Kurzawa ($2,900)
Kurzawa is very active from the wing, typically sending in at least four crosses. The biggest concern for Kurzawa is that his side will lay back and play an overly-defensive approach. Still, at $2,900 there is much to like.
Cristian Ansaldi ($4,100)
With Guilherme Siqueira a doubt, we may get to see the offensive winging presence of Ansaldi. In his Champions League debut against Olympiakos, he had a remarkable 14 crosses and an assist, and a couple months later in the same matchup he had seven and yet another assist. Atletico Madrid has a high ceiling for crosses, and Ansaldi, if he does indeed go, is a prime example. Teammate Juanfran ($5,500) is a good option, but he's also the most expensive one. He has three assists in his last six Champions League games, and has a high competency for crosses.
Dani Alves ($5,000)
Alves has a high ability for crossing and has a good matchup against Manchester City. Teammate Jordi Alba ($5,300) is a fine choice as well, but Alves is cheaper and is just as able to cross the ball at a considerable rate.
Other Options: The Arsenal fullbacks are always a question of who actually starts. If you go the direction of an Arsenal keeper, the starters between Calum Chambers ($4,400), Kieran Gibbs ($4,300), Hector Bellerin ($4,000) and Nacho Monreal ($3,900) are all fitting. Juventus will once again go with Stephan Lichtsteiner ($4,300) and Patrice Evra ($4,000) at the fullback positions, and with Andrea Pirlo doubtful to play, they will receive even more responsibility in crossing the ball.
Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco ($4,500)
In just 14 minutes in the first leg, Ferreira-Carrasco had three shots on target and a goal. He should be able to get the start Tuesday and will be able to show off his crossing and foul-drawing capabilities too. His price is fantastic.
Raul Garcia ($5,300) / Arda Turan ($5,300)
The Madrid midfielders are both likely candidates to start out wide, and therefore strong contenders for crosses on top of what is already proven capabilities for attacking forward. The Madrid side must score to overcome being down on aggregate, and these two are very competent contenders to push the attack from the wings.
Kevin Kampl ($3,500)
In a three-way competition for two spots, Kampl provides substantial value if given the green light as a starter. He typically goes on the right wing and has shown a high ability to both cross the ball and attack the goal; especially for someone at this price.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($7,800)
The striker is listed in the midfield. He's a pacey and competent goal scorer, and he's comfortable coming out wide and servicing crosses, while still being a prolific goal scorer. The Dortmund attack is strong, and he's the head of the spear.
Other Options: The Arsenal offense will be extremely active in their dire need for a great quantity of goals. The source of the goal scoring could come from a number of midfield players. Mesut Ozil ($7,600), Santi Cazorla ($7,400) and Aaron Ramsey ($5,200) all are goal-scoring threats. Juventus isn't in the dire straights Arsenal finds itself in, but has similar concerns in wide spread midfield production between Paul Pogba ($5,800), Artuto Vidal ($5,600) and Claudio Marchisio ($5,000).
There are a great number of options at the striker position. Nothing particularly cheap, so save your money on the other positions and spend here. There isn't much to get creative about.
Lionel Messi ($13,000)
Messi is Messi. Since the last time these two teams met, Messi has six goals and two assists in four matches. He's impossible to stop, and if you focus on him too much, he has two of the best forwards in the world around him in Luis Suarez ($9,700) and Neymar ($10,300). The Barcelona offense is a pleasure to watch, and Manchester City has no answer.
Alexis Sanchez ($10,100)
When Arsenal needs something, Sanchez is the man to provide it. He probes, pushes, touches, gives, takes, you name it. He's all over the field, and in a game where Arsenal needs so much offense, he'll be delegating, moving and doing everything he can. Teammate Olivier Giroud ($8,900) has played well since the last leg, where he was impossibly poor. In four games since then he has three goals and one assist.
Marco Reus ($9,100)
Reus hasn't scored since a minor injury forced him off the field at the beginning of the month, but he scored in five consecutive matches before that. In a game where his side is in need of a goal, Reus is their most prolific threat on that front. There's a chance Ciro Immobile ($7,200) could get a start alongside Aubameyang up front, and he offers decent value at his price.
Mario Mandzukic ($8,400)
The Madrid striker is among the best headers of the ball in the world, something that is a strong spur to the crossing machine that is Atletico Madrid. He's fresh after getting a rest at the weekend and will look to push his side to the next round being down one on aggregate after the first leg. Antoine Griezmann ($7,000) will partner with Mandzukic and provides a pacier option that has actually bagged more league goals than Mandzukic, finding himself sixth on the league-scoring list.
Other Options: I've been consistent with my dissent of Juventus in this leg, but would be naïve to overlook Carlos Tevez ($7,900) and Alvaro Morata ($6,200), who are providing such good value at the forward positions. If you want Sergio Aguero ($9,400), go for it, but there is little question in the herculean task ahead for his side.