DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Friday World Cup Picks
DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Friday World Cup Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

MATCHES (EDT)

8:00 a.m: Brazil v. Costa Rica
11:00 a.m: Nigeria v. Iceland
2:00 p.m: Serbia v. Switzerland

FORWARDS

Neymar, BRA v. CRC ($12,600): Despite being limited in training this week because of an ankle injury, Neymar will start Friday against a Costa Rica side that is well organized defensively but will still be overwhelmed by the Brazil attack. To be honest, I was hoping Neymar wouldn't play because his salary, which is nearly $4,000 more than the next highest player, is so high and without it we could build some really fun lineups. If you're interested in playing the set piece game with Brazil then Willian ($8,200) comes into the picture after taking a few corners in their opening match, but I would rather pair Neymar with Philippe Coutinho ($8,700) because of his reckless shooting that could always end up with a goal, as we saw against Switzerland.

Victor Moses, NGA v. ISL ($7,800): Moses was one of the best values in the first round of matches, as he scored 17.50 fantasy points without a goal or assist against Croatia at a $6,500 salary. Three shots, 12 crosses and five fouls drawn were the foundation of his success, and there is little reason to think he can't get close to matching those totals against Iceland, who play a very defensive style that should allow Nigeria time with the ball. There are actually a number of forward-eligible players on this slate who are potentially good for cash games, but Moses' floor may be just as high as any of them and his salary is the lowest of the group.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, ISL v. NGA ($8,300): If you're skittish about having too much Brazil exposure after they disappointed in their opening match, Sigurdsson is a solid cash option against Nigeria. Iceland had only 22 percent possession against Argentina in their opening match, but Sigurdsson was still able to score 13.25 fantasy points without a goal or an assist. This match is expected to be very close, and with neither side expected to dominate possession, it seems ripe for plenty of fantasy peripheral points.

MIDFIELDERS

Xherdan Shaqiri, SUI v. SRB ($8,000): I think paying this much for Shaqiri in cash is nuts when you can have Sigurdsson, Coutinho and Willian all slightly more and Moses slightly left, especially since all of them can be played in a midfield spot. However, those options should push Shaqiri's ownership down in GPPs, and the same can be said for Dusan Tadic ($7,300). Shaqiri is expected to share set pieces with Ricardo Rodriguez, and Tadic isn't likely to take any for Serbia, but both players are important attacking wingers for their sides who have put up big games in the past. Again, I wouldn't roster either in cash games, but their ownerships should be low for GPPs and they definitely have upside.

Oghenekaro Etebo, NGA v. ISL ($4,500): Etebo was excellent in Nigeria's opening match, taking two shots, creating two chances, winning two tackles and drawing eight fouls. Admittedly, fouls drawn isn't the most predictive or consistent stat, but Etebo and Moses are both players who are willing to take others on in open play, and they'll be facing an Iceland side that committed 15 fouls against Argentina. This game could have a lot of peripheral points in it and Etebo's salary makes him a nice target.

Emil Hallfredsson, ISL v. NGA ($3,300): Hallfredsson wouldn't be in consideration for me even $200 more, but his salary is a fraction of some other guys and makes paying up at the other positions possible. Does he have goal upside? No. Is he a crosser? No. Does he win a lot of fouls? Sometimes, I guess. Is he a tackle machine? Not really. So, have I sold you on him yet? Hallfredsson should have plenty of opportunities for those defensive stats Friday against Nigeria, who could try to control possession, but ultimately we're playing him for his low price and hoping for four or five points. Anything else and we should consider ourselves lucky. Paying down at midfielder could be key on this slate, especially with forwards and defenders worth paying up for, and if you're looking for more than just Hallfredsson, I'd also consider Wilfried Ndidi ($4,100), Luka Milivojevic ($4,000), John Obi Mikel ($3,400) and Nemanja Matic ($3,300). I understand people also considering David Guzman ($3,700) because he is expected to take a few corners for Costa Rica, but they come in as one of the biggest underdogs in the entire World Cup.

DEFENDERS

Ricardo Rodriguez, SUI v. SRB ($5,400): First things first: Rodriguez takes penalties for Switzerland. He was underwhelming in Switzerland's opening match, though facing off against Brazil is significantly harder than the Serbia team he'll see Friday. Don't get me wrong, Serbia are good, but Rodriguez should be able to move up more in the attack. As mentioned above, Shaqiri will likely share corners with Rodriguez, but if you're targeting a few of those Switzerland dead balls, wouldn't you rather pay $2,600 less? The difficulty with paying up for Rodriguez is that it makes it tough – not impossible given certain lineup constructions – to also roster Marcelo ($6,200), who has no role on Brazil's set pieces but has arguably the highest open-play floor of any defender. Oh, and there's always Aleksandar Kolarov ($5,900), who didn't take any corners in Serbia's opening match and sent in only two crosses but still managed to score nine fantasy points without a goal...except he did score a free-kick goal, leading him to 19.0 fantasy points. The goal shouldn't be expected, but he could certainly attack more against Switzerland.

Miranda, BRA v. CRC ($3,800):Miranda is mostly a clean sheet play, as he won't come close to attacking as much as Marcelo because of his role at center-back. However, I don't see a reasonable difference between Miranda and Danilo ($5,300), who doesn't attack nearly enough for that price and they'll both earn the clean sheet points if they keep Costa Rica out of the nt.

Leon Balogun, NGA v. ISL ($3,100): Balogun is expected to start once again for Nigeria, and while his center-back position doesn't scream upside, Iceland are far from an attacking team and the clean sheet could be in play. For this price, a few tackles won, interceptions and fouls drawn will get us enough value, but really the best thing Balogun does is allow us to pay up elsewhere. I also wouldn't ignore Dusko Tosic ($3,400) after he put up 8.5 points in Serbia's opener with a mix of peripheral stats, though they're all fairly unreliable in terms of future production.

GOALKEEPER

Alisson, BRA v. CRC ($5,900): The most expensive goalkeeper on the slate by $1,000, Alisson's win and clean sheet odds are just so much higher than the others that it makes sense to try and lock in those 10+ points. It's obviously possible that one of the other keepers outscores him, but with those two matches expected to be so close, I don't see a justifiable reason to prefer one goalkeeper over another. The bold will surely go for Costa Rica's Keylor Navas ($3,600) because he's more than $1,000 cheaper than the pick 'em keepers, but the possibility of Brazil going off likely scares me away.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Andrew M. Laird plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kingmorland, DraftKings: andrewmlaird, Yahoo: Lairdinho.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Head of DFS Content and Senior Soccer Editor. He is a seven-time FSWA award finalist, including twice for the Football Writer of the Year Award.
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