Neymar (DK: $11,000): The first Must-Have for Tuesday and Wednesday’s Champions League slate is Neymar, the Brazilian superstar for Paris Saint-Germain. PSG faces off against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu in one of the marquee matchups for the Champions League Round of 16. Both clubs dominate globally and are two of the most recognizable clubs worldwide. Paris Saint-Germain announced their intention to challenge the top tier of European clubs by signing both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe over the summer. These high-profile signings have transformed the French club into a juggernaut that is trampling over its opposition in Ligue 1. PSG only has three losses this season (all competitions) with their impressive attack averaging approximately three goals per match. The French club is currently on a six-match winning streak, where PSG has outscored opposition 19-5. While Real Madrid has had success over the years, this season is quickly getting out of hand for the Spanish giants, currently sitting 17 points behind Barcelona in the La Liga table and are clinging on to the last Champions League spot. In addition, Real Madrid has been eliminated in the Copa del Rey, meaning that the season will be a massive disappointment if Madrid fails to deliver results in the Champions League. Real Madrid have won back-to-back Champions League titles and will need to be at their best against Paris-Saint Germain. Unfortunately, their defending has been a liability in the past and the same remains true this year. Real Madrid have only maintained two clean sheets over their last ten matches (all competitions), conceding to the likes of Numancia, Deportivo, and Levante. The fixture between PSG and Real Madird is expected to be the highest-scoring of the slate due to the potency of both attacks, with Neymar being instrumental in PSG’s attack. The Brazilian has been superb this season with 27 goals and 14 assists for the French club (all competitions). Unsurprisingly, he has contributed to the most goals for the club and leads PSG in assists, while being second in goals. In addition, Neymar possesses a high shot-taking volume evidenced by his average of approximately five shots per match. The Brazilian superstar also has a high fantasy floor due to his role on set pieces and ability to contribute points through peripherals such as fouls drawn. Neymar is the most expensive player on the slate but has huge upside, and we strongly recommend locking him into your lineups.
Taulant Xhaka (DK: $3,000): Our second Must-Have for the slate is Taulant Xhaka, the Albanian midfielder for FC Basel. Basel enter the match as the heaviest underdogs in their matchup against Manchester City, despite the first leg being at home. This is unsurprising given Manchester City’s incredible form this season; the English club has only lost two matches this season (all competitions). City are currently on a six-match unbeaten streak and will be riding high on confidence following a 5-1 rout of Leicester City in their last match. Basel, however, have had a successful season themselves and boast an impressive home record as the club has only suffered three home defeats this season (all competitions). The Swiss club has already pulled off a sizable upset against Manchester City’s cross-city rivals, Manchester United with a 1-0 victory in the Champions League group stage. The winter transfer window coupled with injuries will affect the starting eleven for the Swiss club. Notable departures for FC Basel during the transfer window include up-and-coming defender Manuel Akanji and midfielder Renato Steffen. In addition, Luca Zuffi is expected to miss the match due to injury. As a result, Xhaka will likely inherit set piece responsibility as both Zuffi and Steffen are not in the team picture. Xhaka’s price is appealing given his value with the Albanian midfielder being $3,000 and a minimum price play. Furthermore, we expect the midfidler to exceed value through his ability to contribute points via peripherals. Though a matchup against Manchester City is difficult, Xhaka’s price and floor makes him an ideal play in lineups and offers for flexibility to fit more expensive players.
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