Group Stage kicks off for the UCL with a six game main DFS slate, including top clubs the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain on the card. The salaries of the top players from these clubs are high and hard to pair with each other. There are two clubs of interest to me are Benfica and Red Bull Leipzig. Let’s get into their outings and how to prioritize the attackers from the teams in favorable spots.
DraftKings & FanDuel UCL DFS Picks Today 9/6
Goncalo Ramos (DraftKings: $8,200, FanDuel $18)
Joao Mario (DraftKings: $7,500, FanDuel $21)
Benfica is in an interesting group stage with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. They will likely come in as underdogs when battling those sides and they need all three points at home against Maccabi. Benfica sits atop the Portuguese league and has dominated their previous two UC opponents, recording more than two goals in each outing. The lead striker for the club has been Goncalo Ramos, who recorded a few goals in the qualification rounds. He needs a goal contribution and comes in discounted from the top targets from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City. His club also has a significant advantage in the matchup. Ramos leads the club in shots at 4.15 per match and hits target at a 35% accuracy clip. Ramos comes in as the second highest value play at 2.82 with a projection of 23.11 DraftKings points according to the Stokastic UCL projections. He is the highest projected value forward on FanDuel with a value of 16.95 and FanDuel projections of 30.51.
Alongside Ramos is David Neres, who comes in high on the asking price. Neres averages 2.73 shots per match and is a threat on the wings. While being a scoring threat, I would pivot to an over $1,500 discount spot on the other side of the pitch with Joao Mario. Mario sits atop the club sheet in total goals across all competitions and mirrors Neres in crossing volume and shot volume on a per-game basis. In GPP a few shares of Neres will offer leverage but in Cash and SE, Mario’s savings allows for one more goal hunter in your rotation.
Timo Werner (DraftKings: $7,800, FanDuel $19)
RB Leipzig have a home match against Shakhtar. They cannot write off Celtic in their group and surely cannot fancy their chances against Real Madrid. Similar to Benfica they will need to secure three points in this match. Timo Werner has returned after a disappointing spell at Chelsea and has contributed one goal and averages 1.73 shots per match. There has been an adjustment period for the German international in his return but let’s not forget he was a brace upside in his previous run with the club and this is a spot to reclaim some of that scoring threat. He is a cheaper way to get a piece of the -435 (BetMGM) favorites with Christopher Nkunku carrying a high asking price. Nkunku would look to be a pivot down from Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City’s attack if targeting the high range. He leads the club in scoring and averages 3.40 scoring chances with three shots per match.
The midfield is in question with Dani Olma recently injured and it is Emil Forsberg or Dominik Szobozlai as the central attacking mid. Either one would fit a stacking piece for goal hunting with Nkunku or Werner. They are GPP plays and you would not need much more than a one-off for Cash or SE considering the slate of games and high-cost options to spread the ownership.
Noah Okafor (DraftKings: $5,600, FanDuel $16)
Nicolas Seiwald (DraftKings: $3,800, FanDuel $13)
Red Bull Salzburg has a tough matchup at home against AC Milan. The interest here is that they are home and a team that can match goals with a few clubs. AC Milan is defending champions of Serie A and a team I do not like to target against, but they are coming off a hard-fought victory against Inter Milan where the big boys of the club ran enough to see a slight hangover with this quick of a turnaround.
Noah Okafor comes in cheap enough for goal hunting. He needs to score and has done so for the club in their early season. He is strict GPP play and if you need a salary relief punt play, Nicolas Seiwald does enough with crossing volume and interceptions in the midfield to warrant a look. You won’t need much more than his average 4.77 crosses and 2.83 interceptions per match to pay off the asking price, despite having a tough matchup. As for the offense, you can mix and match Okafor with Fernando or Benjamin Sesko. Keep in mind just two of these are leverage enough and a full stack is too bold for my liking, unless MME and pairing with some big names below.
Kylian Mbappe (DraftKings: $11,500, FanDuel $20)
Paris Saint-Germain sees a home matchup against Juventus. Paris looks on a mission to run over the competition and put the UCL disappointment of every season behind them. Kylian Mbappe will not go unnoticed and the high salary is warranted. He averages 6.30 shots per match with an on-target accuracy clip of 51.7%. The French superstar also sits atop the club sheet with Neymar, with seven goals a piece. A goal is expected from Mbappe and two would surprise no one. He is the top salary play even over the attackers of Real Madrid and Manchester City. Manchester City has the depth to mix and match, which makes playing them a concern for me. Lionel Messi cannot be ignored with a contribution rate of 39% as a pairing with Mbappe. Real Madrid has a tough road matchup against Celtic, despite being favorites, and they historically start the UCL group stage doing just enough to get by to the big moments.
Other Options: Joan Jota (DraftKings: $5,200, FanDuel $15), Isco (DraftKings: $3,000, FanDuel $12), Filip Kostic (DraftKings: $6,200, FanDuel $12), Enzo Fernandez (DraftKings: $7,000, FanDuel $12).
David Raum (DraftKings: $6,500, FanDuel $14)
Alejandro Grimaldo (DraftKings: $6,000, FanDuel $15)
David Raum and Alejandro Grimaldo lead their respective clubs in set shares and corner takes. We already went over the favorable matchups for both home sides of Benfica and RB Leipzig. Raum and Grimaldo come with high asking prices but still fit with an attacker or two from each side and one spend-up French superstar above, should you punt two spots. That seems like a nice Cash build. In GPP, one or the other will work and Grimaldo comes in slightly higher on the priority list for me.
Other Options: Andreas Ulmer (DraftKings: $4,100, FanDuel $9), David Alaba (DraftKings: $3,900, FanDuel $13), Gonzalo Montiel (DraftKings: $3,600, FanDuel $8), Greg Taylor (DraftKings: $3,900, FanDuel $7).
Peter Gulacsi (DraftKings: $5,800, FanDuel $13)
Bono (DraftKings: $3,900, FanDuel $7)
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