UCL Wednesday September 30th Picks
Welcome back to another great UCL slate! It seems Tuesday went fairly well for most of you as almost everyone shifted from Muller to Lewandowski once the news came out about Muller starting on the bench. Lewandowski was the easiest pick of the day and was only 40% – 50% owned, so having him put you in a great position to succeed. Wednesday’s slate is very similar, but the top choice is a lot more expensive.
The number one decision you need to make before choosing a lineup in this slate is whether or not to roster Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is $13,500, which is $2,400 more than second highest priced Zlatan Ibrahimovic. That’s a lot. He’s also one of the best two players in the world and is by far the best player in this slate, so his price is not completely out of the question. But should you roster him?
% Chance to Win
|vs Malaga||La Liga||88||14||2||0|
|vs Ath Bilbao||La Liga||56||4||1||0|
|vs Granada||La Liga||93||8||5||0|
|vs Espanyol||La Liga||74||7||5||5|
|vs Betis||La Liga||91||6||5||0|
|vs Sporting||La Liga||78||10||4||0|
This chart shows Real Madrid’s seven fixtures this year and Ronaldo’s Shots, Shots on Target, and Goals in those seven matches. As you can see, he’s only scored in two of them, but in those two, he scored a combined eight goals. The percentage chance of Real winning is a bit inflated here because it’s not normalized (It doesn’t take into account the sportsbook “rake”), but it’s enough for us to see that Real Madrid were huge favorites in each one of those matches.
There’s also the fact that Real Madrid have been fairly poor in their last three games. They’ve only scored three total times in their last three, and all of those have come from Karim Benzema. Now, despite this relative “struggles”, I expect Ronaldo to be owned heavily. People who don’t watch La Liga will only remember his three-goal appearance against Shakhtar and they’ll see his 46.5 Fantasy Points in week 1. One more reason I don’t love Ronaldo is Malmo’s pitch size – the club have trimmed their pitch about a meter on both sides in an attempt to tighten the match and force Madrid into errors.
All of this wants to make me avoid Cristiano Ronaldo, but you can’t just fade someone that good all the way, and in fact, I think he should played in cash games. I’d recommend having Ronaldo in about 30 to 40% of your GPP lineups, while having him in cash is a good idea due to his extremely high floor and extremely high ownership percentage.
Simply put: Ronaldo in 30% of GPPs, in 100% of cash lineups. Let’s move on to the rest of the slate, starting with chances to win.
Keylor Navas ($5,600) – Navas has the highest chance at a win and the highest chance at a clean sheet. Easy choice.
Igor Akinfeev ($4,900) – I like Igor Akinfeev mainly due to his price. It’s a bit lower than the top options while CSKA have as good if not a better chance at a clean sheet against PSV. I also really like the home field advantage Russian teams have with the cold weather and the long distance flights. PSV have at least a three-hour flight to Moscow, which can be quite tiring in midweek after just having a match on Saturday night. There are no cheap starting goalkeepers in this slate like there were on Tuesday unless we get some late announcements, so we’ll have to look for value elsewhere.
Atletico Madrid wing-backs – The Atletico Madrid wingbacks are all fairly priced so we’ll have to wait and see who starts to have a crack at them. I would advice slotting in Juanfran and Guillherme Siqueire and if Jesus Gamez or Felipe Luis end up starting, you can pivot easily without having to make any other changes. They are all generally active down the flanks and have a great chance at a clean sheet, so I like the upside in all of them.
Dani Carvajal ($4,300) – Carvajal has been starting for Real Madrid as a right-back and provides enough crossing to justify his fairly mid-range price. He also has fantastic clean sheet potential, so use him with confidence.
Serge Aurier ($3,800) – Van Der Wiel had nine crosses in PSG’s first match this season but is injured and Aurier is expected to start in his place. Aurier is just as active in attack and comes at a discount. He’ll be one of my most heavily owned defenders. Bonus: Aurier averages 1.3 shots per match, a nice little bonus to his already five crosses per match.
Total Flier – Nacho – ($3,300) – Nacho is very likely to get a clean sheet, so if he starts for Real Madrid at center back, he could be considered in lineups where you have to fit in Cristiano Ronaldo. I wouldn’t use him in more than 10-15% of lineups as he plays center-back and his floor is very low. He has the ability to blank if Real Madrid concede.
Unlike Tuesday, there is a ton of solid midfielder options in this Wednesday slate.
Angel Di Maria ($10,200) – He’s expensive but Di Maria has been playing great for PSG averaging 3.4 shots and 1.6 key passes per match in Ligue 1, even though two of his appearances have been off the bench. If you remember from his time at Manchester United, his crossing and shooting tendencies give him a very high floor, and even though he’s playing away from home, Shakhtar are horrible and I expect Di Maria to be great on Wednesday. He’s a fantastic cash game option.
Paul Pogba ($6,100) – I know Pogba is not a superstar when it comes to fantasy, but he averages a respectable 3.8 shots and 0.8 key passes per match. He also crosses almost three times per match, and those are enough for him to be considered in a home match against Sevilla. Juan Cuadrado is also an option if he starts.
Zoran Toric ($4,600) – Tosic is a great choice for your Cristiano Ronaldo lineups as he comes at less than $5k. He averages the most shots on that CSKA team and has three goals and two assists in ten matches on the season in the Russian Premier League. His floor is good for cash games and I prefer him over Alan Dzagoev.
Kevin de Bruyne ($6,400) – The English teams haven’t been good this season but de Bruyne is on a roll right now and that can’t be ignored in a game they’re expected to win. His combination of crossing, through balls, shots, and chances created offer a great upside in tournament play and a good floor in cash games.
Karim Benzema ($9,800) – Price taken into account, Karim Benzema is my highest rated forward of this slate. He has as many goals as Ronaldo and is actually in form, while his price is much lower. You can have him while still rostering a number of other players and he plays arguably the weakest team in the slate. It’s a good day to play Benzema.
Antoine Griezmann ($8,000) – Griezmann is also someone I LOVE in this slate. He has tremendous upside and put up an insane four shots on target in Atletico’s first match. This isn’t new for him either, as he had 22 goals in 37 matches last season in La Liga. The numbers all point towards Griezmann being a top option and he should be heavily utilized.
Seydou Doumbia ($5,700) – Doumbia is really good. He didn’t start last match but he should be ready to go in this one and should be fired up after missing the opener. Doumbia has four goals and three assists in six matches, and I like him to increase that number on Wednesday.
There’s a ton of great players in this slate and these are just some of the ones I like. Don’t be afraid to explore further and do your own research. Feel free to ask questions on Twitter or in the comments below. As always, try to stick to teams that are favorites to win.