Champions League Chatter

I will try to weigh in on the midweek Champions League slates to provide some insight into the games and some potential good picks.  I also review the games and expand on any lessons learned from them.

Gameweek 2 Review: What We Learned

Well the first week of Champions League football on Draftkings has concluded and some great lessons were learned.  The biggest of all was how important home field advantage is.  Whether it be piling on home favored teams, fading road favorites, or getting value from underdog unknown home sides.

The biggest mistake I made on match day one was picking up too many players on away sides that I thought were significantly better than the home side; Porto, Barca, Chelsea, Ajax.  It was the toughest slate all year so it is no surprise I struggled a lot.  Two massive factors that changed many of my lineups and ended up burning me badly were Shakhtar playing in a neutralish venue, and Jackson Martinez being sat.  Once I heard Shakhtar were playing away from home I dropped all their players and loaded up heavily on Porto in some lineups.  Come match time when Martinez was dropped for the starting LU I had to scramble and adjust too many lineups and it costly badly.  To add insult to injury Brahimi, who I was bullish on, missed a PK and then Martinez came on to spite me with two stoppage time goals.  Lesson Learned, be wary of road favorites.

I vowed I would not make this mistake again on match day two, and made sure to avoid some of the heavier road favorites.  There were two exceptions for this; one was Ronaldo, who for his price, was a must have this week because he can just so easily score multiple goals on that RM side.  I avoided the Juve/Atletico match all together as I thought it would be a stale mate (it was).  Vegas had the over under at 2.5 -140 which is a huge indicator it would be low scoring.  In addition to that both teams are extremely stingy defensively so I would of been shocked had the total been 3 or more.  Liverpool has basically looked fairly woeful since the sturridge injury, so I've been avoiding them like the plague all together in every competition.  Their fantasy work horse sterling has also started to look fatigued so it may be a good time to start fading him.  I did load up heavily on Madrid in one lineup, because I had to account for the fact they are basically a hand picked FIFA ultimate team that can go off for 4+ goals in any given game.  The other exception for this resided with Dortmund who were just too underpriced (Aubamayang and Schmelzer/Piszczek), to ignore in at least one lineup.  Dortmund is also a team that I feel can thrive on the road better than any other team, mainly due to their high tempo and ability to dictate the pace early on in the game.  That gamble definitely paid off abit and accounted for my second best lineup @ 133 pts.

Which brings me to the home teams.  When I saw the preview on rotogrinders completely ignoring the Malmo, Arsenal, and Bayer game I knew I had to make a lineup stack with them.  Bayer's front 4 were woefully underpriced and I talked myself out of stacking them too heavily because I was ending up with 5k+ left over.  Malmo has a very very good home defensive record, and Olympiakos never performs well away from home so I grabbed a defensive stack from them (Olsen ended up the highest scoring GK I believe).  I wanted to fit Rosenberg in, but ultimately couldn't as it would of meant dropping Kiessling who was basically in all but one of my line ups.  Arsenal I had Sanchez/Welbeck/Ozil together in one line up, and unfortunately swapped Welbeck out of two other of my lineups to get Bale/Sterling Exposure in my flex spot (oops!).  I actually wanted Calhanoglu instead of Ozil but that would of left me with almost 6k in the bank, so I talked myself into Ozil.  The other mitigating factor was I assumed Kiessling would be on PK duty, and had I known Calhanoglu had PK duty I would of bit the bullet and kept him instead of ozil.  That combination basically cost me winning everything and taking home about 5k additional unfortunately.  I was so excited when Kiessling got the penalty, then devastated when I found out Calhanoglu was taking it.  Bayer front four is going to be a must have vs Zenit as well I imagine as they just score goals for fun.

I feel a lot more confident after the second day in my ideology for picking come next week and will try to have a preview up for both slates by Monday night typically.  Hope you had as much fun as I did this week and stay tuned Friday for the weekend EPL preview!

Champions Leauge: Gameweek 2 (Tuesday Slate)

The main tournaments DK has this week are below:

$200 bi - 15k prizepool - 3k first
$27 bi - 15k prizepool - 2k first
$12 bi - 10k prizepool - 1k first
$5 bi - 7k prizepool - 1k first
$2 bi - 5k prizepool - 500 first

Game Slate (favored teams decimal odds listed):
Roma @ Man City (1.7)
Ajax (2.5) @ Apoel 
Barca (2.15) @ PSG
NK Maribor @ Schalke 04 (1.33)
Chelsea (1.73) @ Sporting Lisbon
Athletic Bilbao (1.85) @ BATE Borisov
FC Porto @ Shaktar Donetsk (2.6)

Brutal slate at first look with only 2 home favorites and one of them being against tough opponents (Roma @ City).  Unfortunately I've had a hard time finding data on many of the non popular teams, so I'm most likely going to be waiting till an hour before the game to build lineups so I'll know whos playing.  The research I have been doing is going to http://formation-y.com/en/ucl.html and looking at all the teams and using the Squawka Comparison matrix as well as who scored to compare data from players in the favorable positions that I like to pick.  

The only game that has a team playing that was in a huge blowout is BATE who hosts A.Bilbao.  

Roma @ Man City (1.7)
This could be a tough game and I'm actually tempted to just completely fade it as I think Roma is very good defensively so it could be low scoring all together.  City at home is typically very very good, so Picking up some of their players could be a decent play.  Jovetic (6.7k) looks like he is cleared to play and I could see Aguero (9.4k) getting a rest here.  Dzeko is similarly priced at (9.4k) and looks likely to get the start.  In the midfield I quite like Navas(6.6k) if he gets the start and there is always Silva (8.1k), but like I stated in my last article I'm going to shy away from expensive midfielders and load up more on luxury strikers.  

On defense if Caballero(3k) gets the nod ahead of Hart(5k) he might be a must have at a bargain price.  On defense depending who starts city has some good options in Kolarov (4.5k) and Zabaleta (3.7k) but I'd personally look to other games to grab defenders.

From Roma I'd probably just fade them as I wouldn't be keen on taking anyone from any team playing on the road vs Man City.

Ajax (2.5) @ Apoel 
Shockingly Apoel held Barca to only 1 goal in their first champions league match, which could be an indication they might offer some value on defense.  They did however concede 18 shots so it is likely Barca was unlucky to not score more.  Ajax meanwhile is coming off a good draw at home to PSG and has a decent record in the Dutch league to start the season.  Schone (5.8k) and Sigthorsson (5.3k) both look like they could make an impact and have stats that indicate there may be some value there.  In defense and midfield I'm not sure I would take anyone from this game though.  Games with close odds either way are typically games I avoid especially if the road team is a slight favorite.

Barca (2.15) @ PSG
I'm very tempted to load up on Barca players as they've been one of the best defensive teams around the globe to start the year.  Alves(4.9k) and Messi (11.2k) will probably be must haves for this weeks slate as they have such a high production.  Neymar (10.1k). is also an option but it is unlikely you will be able to afford him and Messi.  Also they are on the road so going overboard with exposure is likely unwise.  PSG I would stay away from altogether as Zlatan looks to be injured, and that would leave Cavani(8.3k) as the only offensive option.  Given Barca's defensive record to start the season though I'd just stay away altogether.

NK Maribor @ Schalke 04 (1.33)
This game has the home team as a heavy favorite, which is something my strategy revolves highly around.  I'm thinking whoever starts as Schalke's striker is likely a must have  whether it be Choupo-Moting (6.4k) or Huntelaar (7.5k).  Draxler (4.9k) may warrant a look as a value midfielder but his stats don't really back it up.  On defense if you need to slot in a cheap defender Fuchs (2.6k) is a great option.  On Maribor Ibraimi(3k) has some great stats and is dirt cheap if you need a cheap midfield option, but since they are on the road I might avoid them all together.

Chelsea (1.73) @ Sporting Lisbon
This is an interesting match, Chelsea has been a fantasy gold mine so far this year, but they definitely lose some of their attacking prowess when Costa isn't playing.  So far it looks like Mourinho has chosen to rest Costa for their CL games, and when Chelsea play away from home they tend to be more defensive.  That means this is a good game to pick up Ivanovic(4k), and possibly fade their midfielders/forwards in Willian(6.1k),  Cesc (9.2k), and Hazard (9.6k).  For Sporting Nani(7k) looks like an appetizing pick up as his stats from their first game are really good as he scored very highly in fantasy.  With Chelsea looking to line up defensively he could get a lot of time on the ball in their half so he might be a must have. 

Athletic Bilbao (1.85) @ BATE Borisov
BATE got blown out by porto last week so this is a game I'm considering targetting for some really inexpensive options even though Bilbao has had a poor start to their league season. Ibai (3k) looks to be my value pick of the week and at 3k he won't need to produce much to earn his spot.  Aduriz(5k) and Munian (6k) offer some decent forward options, but if you are taking Ibai you won't have room for them on your team.  On defense De Marcos (3k) offers a good budget option for those tight on money and it could be a good place to try an get a shutout.

FC Porto @ Shaktar Donetsk (2.6)
Shaktar is typically very good at home so I'm tempted to not pick against them even though Porto has start off well and offers some really strong attacking options.  Brahimi (7.4k) had a monster haul last week with a hat trick and Martinez(8.4k) seems to like scoring quite a bit.  Queresma (3.4k) offers another good budget forward option if you decide not to pick up Ibai.  On Shaktar Teixeira(4.6k) and Costa(4.2k) offer good potential mid field options, and on defense Srna (3.6k) and Pyatov (3k) could offer a good stack option.

Sorry this wasn't more detailed, but I don't have much info on many of the teams and it is a pretty hard slate with so many of the better teams on the road.  Hope this helps in some capacity and you are able to make some informed picks.