This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Soccer series.
For detailed stats and odds, check out the FanDuel Fantasy Soccer: Tuesday-Wednesday UCL Cheat Sheet.
Lionel Messi, BAR v. LIV ($14,500): There are two types of lineups: those without Messi and those with Messi. If you don't have Messi, your lineup will be more balanced at midfield with more consistent defenders. That's a fine strategy, but on a two-match slate with the highest floor and upside, it's hard not to use Messi. He's made the scoresheet in every home start this season, and that usually means multiple goals or assists. Liverpool have good defensive numbers, but they rarely keep a clean sheet away from home. Prior to giving up one goal each to Bayern and Porto, they lost four straight Champions League away matches. Even if Messi doesn't make the scoresheet, he's still averaging 3.01 shots on goal and 3.15 chances created per 90 minutes in the Champions League, and that floor surpasses everyone on the slate. Some will think to fade Messi and turn to Luis Suarez ($11,500), but he still hasn't scored in UCL play and managed 11.2 total fantasy points in two matches against Man United.
Fernando Llorente, TOT v. AJA ($9,000): There's a small range of forwards to consider on this slate. I'm not touching whoever starts for Liverpool, while spending on both Messi and Suarez likely hampers the rest of the lineup. If Llorente starts, he's my preferred play, though Dusan Tadic ($10,000) is worth using if you can find reasonable values in the midfield. I'm picking Llorente over Lucas Moura ($8,000) because he's more likely to score and usually has a higher floor. Since his hat trick against Huddersfield, Moura has managed just five shots and five chances created. He gets the benefit of starting those matches, but Llorente is more of the point man and more likely to score on a header from a set piece. If you prefer a higher floor, Tadic may be the play, though he still costs more.
Hakim Ziyech, AJA at TOT ($9,000): After Mohamed Salah ($10,000) and Sadio Mane ($9,500) had floors below 10 points against Porto, I'm not sure you can use them at Camp Nou. I'll stick with Ziyech, who has been one of the more impressive players of the tournament, averaging 5.35 shots (2.12 on goal), 2.00 chances created, 2.12 tackles and 1.45 interceptions per 90 minutes. That's led to at least 15 fantasy points in every match, and this isn't an impossible spot. Tottenham lost in their new stadium to West Ham last match and Ajax already beat Real Madrid and Juventus away.
Christian Eriksen, TOT v. AJA ($8,000): Only slightly behind Ziyech in terms of a floor is Eriksen, who has hit double-digit fantasy points in his last 10 starts in all competitions. With Harry Kane injured, he's been taking more shots, with 20 (six on target) in his last five starts, and that at least gives hope for upside, especially with Son Heung-Min suspended. While Ajax beat both Real Madrid and Juventus, those teams got plenty of opportunities and that's something Eriksen can benefit from on set pieces. Unlike Ziyech, I'd rather trust a favored Spurs player over Donny van de Beek ($8,500) and Lasse Schone ($8,000).
Victor Wanyama, TOT v. AJA ($5,500): There's not much to differentiate between defensive midfielders, as most of their floors are at or below 10 points. Wanyama has at least 10 fantasy points in his last three starts, with one shot on goal, two chances created and 12 tackles. This isn't a safe play, but Wanyama should see a lot of defensive action as Ajax have allowed the most interceptions and second-most tackles in the tournament. Eric Dier ($5,000) could be more popular since he's cheaper, but his defensive floor is slightly lower with fewer tackles. Otherwise, there's little reason to spend on any of the mid-range midfielders unless you know which one is going to make the scoresheet.
Kieran Trippier, TOT v. AJA ($7,000): If you don't get Messi, Trippier is one of the possible pivots. He's creating 3.60 chances per 90 minutes in Champions League and has at least 16 fantasy points in his last six starts in all competitions. He has slightly more upside than Jordi Alba at the same price, and his tackle numbers have also been more consistent, averaging 2.64 per 90 minutes. That should be good for at least 15 fantasy points, but if you want to save money, Virgil van Dijk ($6,500) should have a similar floor from defensive stats. I'd still be tentative to spend on a defender because while Trippier is on set pieces, he has just three assists in 25 Premier League starts.
Joel Matip, LIV at BAR ($4,500): Alongside van Dijk, Matip comes at a value price. His clearance numbers have dropped in recent starts, but he's expected to be more active against Messi and company. Barcelona have given up the most tackles and second-most interceptions in La Liga, and that's where Matip should benefit the most, averaging 2.24 tackles and 1.81 interceptions per 90 minutes in domestic play. The problem is that if he doesn't start, you could be screwed because Liverpool play Wednesday and Dejan Lovren is $500 more. If you use Matip, make sure to have some extra cash or roll with Daley Blind ($4,500) instead.
Toby Alderweireld, TOT v. AJA ($5,000): If you don't want to play games with a $4,500 defender, there are a few choices at $5,000. It's another question about who will start between Joel Veltman ($5,000) and Noussair Mazraoui ($4,500), but at least that's the Tuesday match. Alderweireld is the other option, and he's been consistently unexciting, providing at least 10 fantasy points in seven of his last eight UCL starts. He accrues stats in a variety of ways and that helps his floor stay safe no matter the matchup. Plus, Ajax love to attack and have forced the most interceptions from in the Champions League, 30 more than the next team.
Andre Onana, AJA at TOT ($4,500): Trying to get both Marc-Andre ter Stegen ($6,000) and Messi into the squad won't be easy, as you'll likely have to roster two defensive midfielders. I'd rather take a chance on Onana, who has secured positive fantasy points in all but one match this tournament (home against Juventus). As long as he can make a couple saves, he should hit that mark again because Tottenham don't feel like a team who are going to smash in three goals this match; they've scored just one goal in their last two home matches against Brighton and West Ham.