Champions League Group Stage
Match Day 2- 10/27/20
What a great first week of Champions League football it was! A few upsets, a lot of great goals and a few surprising drubbings. Like I stated last week, UEFA went to having 2 early games on these group stages but we still get a tasty 6 game main slate. This time we get no real “epic clashes” like last Tuesday as the groups from last Wednesday now shift to Tuesday and vice versa. As always the importance in the UCL is goals since they come by the handful! TIME ADJUST!! This slate starts at 4pm EST due to Europe having Daylight Savings Time end before the US. Be sure to also join us in discord and get the premium soccer package for all our plays!
Let’s start by breaking down the current odds:
Atletico Madrid (-167) vs. Red Bull Salzburg
Borussia M’gladbach vs. Real Madrid (-111)
FC Porto (-167) vs. Olympiacos
Marseille vs. Manchester City (-303)
Atalanta (-125) vs. Ajax
Liverpool (-909) vs. Midtjylland
-We get a HUGE home favorite in Liverpool headlining this day while Manchester City are a large away favorite as well. Atletico, Atalanta and Porto are decent home favorite, Real Madrid a slight road favorite. Let’s jump into our Game by Game Breakdown for more info.
Atletico Madrid vs. Red Bull Salzburg-
Atletico got drubbed by the machine that is Bayern Munich last week while Salzburg drew to Lokomotiv 2-2. This is a big bounce back spot for both squads and both will be pushing to win.
The defense stalwarts looked stuck in the mud last Wednesday in Munich, as the Champions thrashed them 4-0. I still like Atletico in this matchup as Salzburg looked less than impressive in that Lokomotiv draw. Guys like Joao Felix ($16/$6700) is a great value play. Luis Suarez ($18/$7200) will lead the line again and this is a good bounce back spot. Saul Niguez should remain sidelined and the rest of the midfield is more defensive minded, the only other guy I’d consider is Yannick Carrasco ($9/$5200) but I think he’s pricey on DK. Defensively Kieran Trippier ($11/$5600) will be able to get forward much more this match and should be a problem for Salzburg. Felipe ($12) is a good play on FD only. Jan Oblak ($11/$5500) seems underpriced on FD as he should see shots but should be able to stop more than vs. Bayern’s barrage.
Red Bull Salzburg:
This team has been such a great “feeding squad” for the last few years… we’ve seen a lot of great young talent get snatched up from them (Cough, Erling Haaland, cough). Now you’d think that’d leave them a little light on talent but they keep finding these young up and comers. I for one do not see myself playing any RBS pieces but these are the ones to target if you want to get weird in GPPs: Dominik Szoboszlai ($19/$7900), Patson Daka ($20/$7800) and Zlatko Junuzovic ($14/$6300). Defensively Andreas Ulmer ($10/$5100) looks like the only guy I like and I would not play Cican Stankovic ($9/$4200).
-Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2 – Red Bull Salzburg 0
Borussia M’Gladbach vs. Real Madrid-
Madrid shocked us all by losing to Shaktar Donetsk at home (especially when it was Shaktar’s B squad since Covid ran through their locker room). Gladbach drew 2-2 at home to Inter with a last minute goal by Lukaku ruining their 3 points.
Gladbach beat Mainz on the weekend and have been pretty decent going forward this season. Defensively they aren’t as good and this game could have 4-5 goals. Alassane Plea ($18/$6800) is their best goal scoring forward and is pretty cheap considering Madrid’s defensive issues. Jonas Hofmann ($15/$8300) scored vs. Inter and on the weekend vs. Mainz so he’s as hot as he could be but is way too expensive on DK. Nico Elvedi ($8/$2500) is a solid punt this slate for both sites. 4 interceptions and 6 tackles and will be just as busy vs. Madrid. I don’t love Yan Sommer ($9/$4600) but he should see a good amount of shots.
Madrid rebounded really well on the weekend by winning El Clasico 3-1 over Barcelona. The biggest news here is that Eden Hazard ($5/$6500) has been included in the squad and while he is definitely not playing 90 minutes with the 5 subs still allowed, he’s min price on FD and pretty affordable for what he can do on DK. Karim Benzema ($22/$8800) didn’t start vs. Shaktar which threw off everything in my early only lineup but should be back this week. Luka Modric ($15/$6900) is hot, goal last week and on the weekend in sub- duty… good value and nice pivot off some of the other favorites. Defensively Sergio Ramos ($15/$4400) is always the guy since he has PK duty but is pricey. Marcelo ($14/$6000) is the more open play defender and has a higher ceiling. Thibaut Courtois ($12/$4900) is never in my player pool as he is a shell of his former self.
-Prediction: Gladbach 2 – Madrid 2
Porto vs. Olympiacos:
Olympiacos did exactly what we expected them to do vs. Marseille…. Slow the game down, make it ugly and score on a counter to steal the points… Porto meanwhile lost 3-1 in Manchester City in England and will need to bounce back quickly if they hope to advance out of the group stage.
Porto is an interesting squad; they have some decent talent but never seem to show out on the big stage. Similar to teams against Atletico Madrid, I don’t love teams vs. the Greek giants. But if you want a piece here is who to target: Luis Diaz ($14/$7400) who scored vs. City but only went 55 minutes… Moussa Marega ($16/$8100) has had success in the past and is a good forward option as well. Their defense is not DFS friendly… even in a matchup where they were on the back foot most of the day they did not rack up many clearances/interceptions or even tackles, and the offensive upside is limited like I said. Their goalie Agustin Marchesin ($7/$5300) is overpriced on DK but a solid value on FD as Olympiacos don’t score a ton, but save opportunities may be few.
Goalie revenge is the play of the game for me… Jose Sa ($12/$4000) is in a great spot and could steal another CS in Portugal. Offensively the Greeks don’t have a ton of upside, Mathieu Valbuena ($16/$9200) is the real deal and does just about everything for them, Giorgos Masouras ($12/$5500) is a nice mid-tier value who has double digit upside and a decent floor. Defensively Rafinha ($6/$4000) is still super cheap even after a great match last time out… Jose Holebas ($10/$4100) has similar upside but is pricier on FD. I’d probably lean the former Watford man over Rafinha on DK.
-Prediction: Porto 0 – Olympiacos 1
Marseille vs. Manchester City:
The Citizens travel to France and lost Sergio Aguero again, this time to a hamstring injury, but they do get De Bruyne back, so they should still feel like they are in a good spot. They won 3-1 pretty easily at home vs. Porto but still seem to be all over the place after a 1-1 draw to West Ham on the weekend. Meanwhile Marseille disappointed in Greece dropping the opener 1-0 in a defensive battle… which is not what we should find here.
I don’t mind a few Marseille attacking pieces as City are not clean at the back at all, but the issue is they don’t have a ton that do anything consistently. Dmitri Payet ($13/$6000) is probably my favorite while Florian Thauvin ($16/$7100) and Dario Benedetto ($10/$3600) who is DIRT cheap are both viable as well. Jordan Amavi ($7/$4200) is a do it all full back and definitely in play on both sites. Steve Mandanda ($8/$3800) is a GPP only type play as he is not anything special in net, but should see shot volume.
They continue to love “Pep Roulette” and while they struggled early in the game vs. Porto guys not usually stepping up like Ilkay Gundogan and sub Ferran Torres scored to secure the 3 points. Kevin De Bruyne ($22/$10900) is back and will take over everything for City. They are a different club with the Belgian at the helm. Raheem Sterling ($19/$9000) will probably play a false 9 and I never like him in that spot, he is much more dangerous out on the wing. Riyad Mahrez ($17/$8600) is definitely in play here and is very affordable on both sites even to pair with KDB. Then it’s who else do we see? Phil Foden ($16/$7700)? Ferran Torres ($14/$7300)? Bernardo Silva ($12/$6800)? It’s going to be tough to trust any of them, especially with 5 subs at Pep’s disposal. Defensively they are a mess, but Joao Cancelo ($8/$5300) can definitely be usable as he is the best looking full back they have on the roster currently. I never play Ederson ($13/$5700) and will continue not doing so.
-Prediction: Marseille 1 – Manchester City 3
Liverpool vs. Midtjylland-
Massive favorites, rightfully so as Liverpool went to Ajax and stunned them 1-0 but really didn’t look right… Salah, Mane and Firmino all came off at the hour mark… but then bounced back to defeat Sheffield United 2-1 on the weekend. But this is more about Midtjylland than ‘Pool… they got absolutely throttled 4-0 at home by Atalanta. Now, Liverpool don’t attack with as much fervor as the Italian’s , they should still control this game and put one or two away early and settle in for a game of keep away.
Two ways of thinking on this one… Liverpool need to find form and they use this as a warm up and thrash the Nordic champs… or they continue to not fully click and look more to control the pace and flow and capitalize on a few errors and take the CS/Win and move on with 6 points out of 2 games. I think more so the latter… and I may look to only have 1-2 pieces in my lineups. Mo Salah ($23/$8700) almost scored in impressive fashion on the weekend but VAR go him… he’s still looking to find his shooting boots. Sadio Mane ($20/$8400) looked a little more lively on the weekend too, and while all the big guns were held down by Ajax… that is nothing to be worried about as Ajax are an excellent defensive squad and it was in the Netherlands. Roberto Firmino ($16/$5800) finally scored on the weekend is a cheap piece of the biggest favorites on the slate. Jordan Henderson ($13/$4600) is always viable for this squad as they play better with him controlling the midfield. Defensively it’s the two fullbacks… Andrew Robertson ($15/$6500) and Trent Alexander-Arnold ($14/$6300) who does the damage and both should be able to push up a lot more in this one. Fabinho ($8) was a madman as a makeshift CB at Ajax (33.4 Fanduel pts!) and is certainly viable here although don’t expect those types of numbers. Adrian was outstanding in net but Alisson ($14/$5800) came back on the weekend and should take over the job… this is a easy win but ask Barcelona about guaranteed clean sheets… things happen. I don’t love him for how expensive he is.
Not much to love from this squad… Liverpool should suffocate them out and if you want a play… Evander ($13/$6800) is the only guy I like offensively. No defense plays on DK but on FD Erik Sviatchenko ($7) racked up nearly 20 fpts vs. Atalanta. Jesper Hansen ($6/$3600) isn’t as nearly as good of a GPP punt as last week as Liverpool do not fire at will like Atalanta where he saw 10 shots on goal and saved 6 of them.
-Prediction: Liverpool 3 – Midtjylland 0
Atalanta vs. Ajax-
Probably the best game of the slate, two teams who are very good and have very contrasting styles… or do they?! Ajax won 13-0 on the weekend…. Yes you read that correctly… 13-0!! They took 45 total shots, 23 of them were on target… holy record breaking day. We know Atalanta let it fly with the best of them too… this could be fun!
Coming off the impressive but expected performance at Midtjylland, they look to take aim at Ajax who dropped 3 points at home to Liverpool and will look to quickly get back in the race to advance out of the group. Duvan Zapata ($19/$9100) was the man in that one, with a goal and an assist but Alejandro (Papu) Gomez ($20/$9300) does a lot of the heavy lifting as well. Mario Pasalic ($16/$6300) came on as a sub and looked great and if he starts is a solid play. Defensively all the Atalanta guys look good after the drubbing, but Berat Djimsiti ($9) and Rafael Toloi ($7) are the safer plays and should be a little busier than last time. Marco Sportiello ($10/$5100) was min price on FD last time in the easiest matchups and put up a big score… this is not a safe matchup and I don’t see him scoring very well.
They scored on their own net vs. Liverpool then took out their aggression on VVV- Venio in that 13-0 historic beat down… hopefully they saved some for Atalanta! They clearly have offensive fire power and Atalanta is not a solid defensive team, so goals should be plentiful here. Dusan Tadic ($18/$7500) is the man for Ajax and should be active in this matchup for a reasonable price. Quincy Promes ($15/$5900) is the other guy offensively I like and is lightning fast down the wing. Lassina Traore ($7/$4200) scored 5 on the weekend and is super cheap if he gets the nod, while defensively Lisandro Martinez ($14/$3100) came on and scored as well. Noussair Mazraoui ($10/$3800) had 5 tackles vs. Liverpool and should be busy again for cheap. Andre Onana ($7/$4400) might be my favorite GPP play… he will see plenty of shots and if he looks as good as he did against Liverpool, he has a chance at a monster score as only Tagliafico could score on him. (D’oh.)
-Prediction: Atalanta 2 – Ajax 2
I hope you enjoyed this breakdown and will join us on the DFSKarma discord channel when lineups release around 3pm EST!