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2022 World Cup DFS Picks: Neymar, Bruno Fernandez Top DraftKings and FanDuel Plays

Jovanni Vidal

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World Cup DFS Picks Neymar Brazil

The 2022 World Cup main slate for Thursday features favorites and big names with Portugal and Brazil. The asking prices are high, so we will discuss which players make sense from each side for World Cup DFS picks. Goals look to be plentiful and chasing a brace could prove all the difference. The Uruguay game against South Korea features two big names from the EPL to discuss, and which makes sense for cash or GPP.

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World Cup DFS Predictions & Picks

Forwards / Midfield

Cristiano Ronaldo (DraftKings: $10,400; FanDuel: $21)

Bruno Fernandez (DraftKings: $9,000; FanDuel: $18)

Let us not be quick to write off Ghana despite Portugal coming in at -250 on the moneyline. Ghana has a tough defense with EPL talents Daniel Amartey and Mohammed Salisu. So why pay the heavy price tags for Bruno Fernandez and Cristiano Ronaldo at the attacking helm of Portugal? Ronaldo has turbulence with his club side Manchester United and they reportedly have parted. The form at his club level has not affected his status with his national side, and what could be his last World Cup will have him firing on all cylinders. Ronaldo averages 0.67 goals per start in recent form and is the all-time goal scorer for his nation with 108 across all competitions. He sees 5.29 shots per match in his national career and the on-target rate stands at 39.2%. A goal is a must, but the same goes for the attackers of Brazil to pay off their asking prices.

Fernandez looks to handle the set shares and averages 5.29 crosses in recent form. The time of possession and attacking pressure will lead to an uptick in the crossing attempts and his team-leading 1.74 drawn fouls per match. Keep in mind an increase in ballhandling without Digo Jota on the wings, who is at 2.30 drawn fouls per match. The surrounding pieces for Portugal are Bernardo Silva, who comes in with a high asking price and has taken a slight back seat, much like at his club team Manchester City, to the star power alongside him. Fernandez also benefits with more shot attempts to bolster the 2.86 per match without Jota. Rafael Leao looks to slide into the starting 11 in the absence of Jota, and his club form would suggest he has scoring upside. He comes in higher in salary than Fernandez and forfeits shot volume to Ronaldo, so he is hard to pay up for. Leao is strictly a GPP play and will garner south of 8% in GPPs. A one-off from Portugal is not out of the realm of possibilities to pair with a Brazil stack. Ronaldo makes sense in GPP, and for cash games the floor of Fernandez is the way to go.

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Neymar (DraftKings: $11,500; FanDuel: $22)

Raphinha (DraftKings: $10,100; FanDuel: $18)

It did not take long to jump to Brazil, which against Serbia mirrors Portugal on the moneyline odds. Neymar leads the charge for set shares on his side of the pitch and PK duties. He contributes on 41% of Brazil’s overall scoring via an even split of goals and assists. His 4.10 shots per match lead Brazil by a wide margin, and he hits the target at a 51.2% clip. Neymar also draws five fouls per match. The sky is the limit for Neymar in terms of upside, and Serbia is terrible on defense. Raphinha gets some love on his side of the pitch with corners and free kicks. He sees an average 2.34 fouls per match and 3.40 crosses with 3.19 shots per match. His on-target rate stands at 53%. A word to the wise on pairing the two in the same lineup: Neymar has eight assists in his past 10 matches for Brazil, and Raphinha has connected on just three goals, which ties Lucas Paqueta and Roberto Firmino. At the club level of Barcelona, how many full-match run has Raphinha ran? Well, it is worse than that with Brazil to the tune of a 59 minute average between seven matches, of which five were starting 11 appearances. This is not a knock on Raphinha but a praise of the depth of Brazil. On the other hand, Neymar has run the full match length in every one of his last 10 starts.

The pairing for Neymar can be found up front with Richarlison, who trails Neymar atop the scoring sheet for Brazil by just two goals. Richarlison offers a slight discount form Raphinha, who is worth consideration because he offers that floor in short run time whereas Richarlison needs a goal and north of the 2.20 shots he averages despite the 69% on-target rate. The value pairings for goal hunting come in the form of Lucas Paqueta, who is tied for third on the team sheet in goals and sees 2.17 shots per match. Neymar is a play in all formats, and the mix of the Brazilian attackers alongside are GPP plays. The leverage play is to pair Neymar and a defender below in Alex Telles or Marquinos for the crossing header upside, with Portugal’s offered discount in the form of Fernandez and wingback Joao Cancelo.

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Federico Valverde (DraftKings: $6,200, FanDuel: $15)

Facing Uruguay, the masses will look to set-piece monopoly from South Korea and Heung-Min Son. The asking price is hard to get to, and there is another goal hunting option form Uruguay to pay up for in Darwin Nunez. For cash games, a one-off option form this match is Son, while the GPP play is Nunez. On FanDuel, they come at the same salary, and Nunez has a massive advantage with shot volume and an on-target rate of 44% to mirror any created chance and crossing upside which will not benefit Son.

These two options are expensive. Value belongs to Federico Valverde, whose club form at Real Madrid is not a fluke and he stands to benefit leading the midfield with the expected absence of Nicolas De La Cruz. Keep in mind De La Cruz, Nandez, Arrazaceta and Facundo Torres all look likely to stay out of the starting 11. Filter indirect sets and open play crossing volume and created chances to Valverde, who has top targets up the pitch, with Nunez and some mix of Luiz Suarez and Edison Cavani. 

Other Options: Aleksander Mitrovic (DraftKings: $8,600; FanDuel $16); Jordan Ayew (DraftKings: $4,600, FanDuel $12)

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Defender

Joao Cancelo (DraftKings: $7,200; FanDuel $14)

Joao Cancelo is much involved in the attacking of Portugal. He pushes up on the wings, similar to his Manchester City role from a season ago. His open play crossing volume trails only Fernandez on the team sheet at 4.13 per match, and the defensive metrics will come into play with a team-leading 3.65 won tackles and interceptions per match. The shot volume stands at only 1.29 per match, but the created chances historically have been there, and a clean sheet bonus will help lift him past a 2x value.

The value plays at defender on DraftKings are Moon-Hwan Kim, who will have every opportunity to stack up north of 5.5 won tackles and interceptions and sits at the minimum price on the wing for South Korea. Martin Caceres seems mispriced at $3,000 in the wing back role for Uruguay with open play metrics including north of three crosses per match. Guilermo Variela is even cheaper at $2,900 should he start in place of Caceres. Kim and Caceres stand as the top value defenders on DraftKings at 2.45 and 2.23 value with 7.35 and 5.79 points, respectively. The total for the match between Uruguay and South Korea stands at +130 to the under 2.5, so a clean sheet is a possibility.

Other Options: Tariq Lamptey (DraftKings: $3,300; FanDuel $9), Alex Telles (DraftKings: $6,300; FanDuel $14)

We are supporting World Cup DFS 2022 with Stokastic premium content! Sign up now with code WorldCup2022 and get five weeks of Stokastic Soccer Weekly for $24.95. If you would like to add Fantasy Cruncher, use coupon code WorldCupFC for 31 days of Stokastic Soccer Weekly + FC for $54.95.

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Jovanni Vidal is accountant and finance analyst, with lifetime passion for fantasy sports. He has provided content and player analysis for season-long fantasy sites. He joined Awesemo to help new and current DFS soccer players learn new approaches to the game and how to succeed, with an overall goal to grow the DFS soccer sport and various league content offerings. You can reach him on Twitter @fluff_marsh.