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DraftKings head-to-head preview: Champions League last 16

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Football News

The Champions League is back and there are four very tasty fixtures taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Chelsea travel to Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica host Zenit St. Petersburg on Tuesday, while Gent face Wolfsburg and Real Madrid take on AS Roma.

If you're struggling with your DraftKings team, these two head-to-head comparisons should be of use.

Hulk - $7,500 (v Benfica) v Cristiano Ronaldo - $10,500 (v AS Roma)

It’s impossible to ignore Cristiano Ronaldo, who broke the record for number of goals scored in the Champions League group stages this season.

Eleven goals in six matches (58 per cent of Real Madrid’s goals scored during the group stages) was a magnificent return, even by the three-time Ballon d’Or winner’s remarkably high standards.

Ronaldo isn’t cheap - he’ll cost more than one-fifth of your overall budget if you want him in your team this week - but can you afford to be without him? In his last Champions League appearance alone, against Malmo, the Portugal international - who has scored 32 goals in 30 matches this season - recorded 66 DraftKings fantasy points after registering four goals and one assist.

He averages a ridiculous 35.8 DraftKings fantasy points per game (FPPG) and will surely fancy his chances of adding to his tally against AS Roma following a brace against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

But if you don’t want to fork out so much on one player - albeit the most effective player in the Champions League this season - it might be worth turning your attention to Hulk, who is a cool $3,000 cheaper than Ronaldo.

The Zenit St. Petersburg striker scored three goals and provided four assists in the group stages - it must be noted that he only featured in five of the six matches - and currently averages a hugely impressive 24.7 FPPG for the current Champions League campaign.

Hulk finds himself up against a Benfica side that shipped eight goals during the group stages, so don’t be surprised if the powerful - but, bizarrely, much-maligned - Brazilian adds another goal or two to his tally on Tuesday night.

But Ronaldo is due an away goal - his last on the road was against Eibar on November 29 - and leaving him out of your team is a risk that simply isn’t worth taking.

Willian $8,000 (v PSG) v Angel di Maria - $7,700 (v Chelsea)

Paris Saint-Germain v Chelsea is arguably the standout fixture of this week’s Champions League last-16 matches, so you’re probably wondering whether to pick Willian or Angel di Maria - the two most expensive midfielders available for selection.

Di Maria is $300 cheaper than the Chelsea winger and scored two fewer goals in the group stages - three, compared to Willian’s five - but is just as capable of racking up huge scores on DraftKings.

The Argentina international recorded 32.5 points against Malmo in September - scoring one goal and whipping in 16 crosses - and then registered 32 points against the same opponents two months later, scoring twice and testing Malmo goalkeeper Johan Wiland five times.

Di Maria averages 16.5 FPPG in the Champions League this season and will be determined to make an impact in the knockout rounds - particularly against an English club - after his ill-fated season with Manchester United left his reputation slightly tarnished.

The last time Di Maria featured in the latter stages of the Champions League - the 2014 final, for Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid - he was named Man of the Match following a sublime individual display. There’s every chance the world-class winger be just as effective against Chelsea on Wednesday night.

But PSG, in order to win the first leg, will need to play close attention to Willian, who scored five of Chelsea’s 13 goals (38 per cent) during the group stages.

Willian will head to the Parc des Princes full of confidence after scoring a goal and providing an assist in the Blues’ emphatic 5-1 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday, but breaching PSG’s rock-solid defence will be easier said than done.

Laurent Blanc’s side conceded just one goal during the Champions League group stages - pretty impressive when you consider Real Madrid were with them in Group A - and have only shipped in 12 goals in 26 matches in Ligue 1 this term.

As PSG have home advantage on Tuesday night, Di Maria would appear to be the sensible choice.

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Cristiano Ronaldo
UEFA Champions League
Paris Saint-Germain
Real Madrid
Angel di Maria

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