The Champions League knockout stages continue this week and there are some particularly tasty ties between some of the big boys of Europe.
On Tuesday evening, European champions Barcelona go to Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger's men will be hoping to repeat the heroics of 2011 when they claimed a 2-1 win against the Catalan club. In the day's other showdown, Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich side take on Juventus in the Italian's back yard.
On Wednesday, Manchester City will look to return from Ukranian with a win against Dynamo Kiev, and Atletico Madrid go into their game against PSV Eindhoven after a strong campaign to date, which has seen them replace Real Madrid as Barcelona's biggest threat in La Liga.
Some of the world's best players will be strutting their stuff this week, but who should you pick for your DraftKings 1-day fantasy football lineup? We've taken some of the trickiest head-to-head conundrums for the week, crunched the numbers to help you make the perfect pick.
Paulo Dybala $4,900 (Bayern Munich @ JUVENTUS) v Douglas Costa $7,100 BAYERN MUNICH @ Juventus)
There're two ways of looking at this question; do you go for the guy who has a history of performing well in the Champions League to date, or the wildcard that could explode?
Costa is very much the tried and tested performer in this instance. He’s averaging a shade more than 20 fantasy-points-per-game (FPPG), has two goals, two assists and 16 shots in five games and is part of a team that’s strolling to the Bundesliga title in Pep Guardiola’s final season. Plus his price really isn't unreasonable at all.
Dybala is a tempting prospect, however. The former Palermo man has 11 goals in his last 19 games, plus he’s a whole $2,200 cheaper than Costa. In a week where Barcelona’s prized forwards are commanding huge fees, that could be key.
Bayern Munich have shipped just three goals in their last seven Champions League outings which potentially limits Dybala’s output, however, there are question marks over the fitness of the German club’s defence, with Jerome Boateng, Medhi Benatia, Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber all injured. That could make the 22-year-old a very interesting under-the-radar prospect indeed.
If you’re comparing the two directly, Costa is the man. But if you want to take a walk on the wild side and free up cash for elsewhere - plus go for a pick with low ownership which has its own, obvious benefits - Dybala is the man for the job.
Neymar, $9,000 v Lionel Messi, $10,400 (Both BARCELONA @ Arsenal)
It’s a battle of the heavyweights. Most DraftKings 1-day fantasy football players will be looking tentatively at their salaries and wondering which one of Barcelona’s star-studded front line to sink a good chunk of their budget into.
Either one of these two, and, of course, Europe’s leading scorer Luis Suarez, are capable of huge points - especially against an Arsenal side fresh off an uninspiring draw against Hull in the FA Cup. There’s been an average of almost four goals in these two teams' last five meetings, so there should be plenty of points to plunder in this fixture.
Neymar is the cheapest of the trio (a full $1,400 cheaper than Messi) and is perhaps the most interesting of the group.
The Guardian’s Sean Ingle ran some stats on the Brazilian in his column this morning and it made for interesting reading. His headline numbers are impressive; 18 goals in 22 La Liga games, and he creates 3.6 chances per 90 minutes, the seventh highest across Europe’s top five leagues.
However, an advanced metric showed that the quality of Neymar’s assists are the joint-best in Europe. Simply put, he puts the ball on a plate for others to score more regularly than anyone else, and that spells big points if his team-mates put them away.
Messi has been a little down on his usual ridiculously high standards this season, although he's been hindered by injury. The Argentinian has historically struggled in England, and that’s enough to make us opt for Neymar. Now, please Leo, don’t make us look silly.
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