SOC | Must-Haves: WCQ EU | 10/10/17

Ricardo Quaresma (DK: $8,200): The first Must-Have for Tuesday’s European World Cup qualifying slate is Ricardo Quaresma, the winger for Portugal. Portugal faces off against Switzerland in arguably the most important match of the slate. The final match for both countries in Group B has significant implications for the path to competing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Both countries have been dominant in the group stage with Switzerland having a perfect 9-0-0 record, and Portugal notching eight wins with their only loss coming at the hands of the Swiss in the first match for WCQs. The difference between finishing first in the group and second is quite simple; the winner of the group automatically qualifies for the World Cup in Russia, while the second place country will have to go through a playoff and fight for their place spot. Due to Portugal’s superior goal difference, a victory against Switzerland will see Portugal winning the group. On the other hand, Switzerland win Group B with any result. Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for 45 minutes in Portugal’s last match for this very reason, as manager Fernando Santos did not want to risk the availability of his talisman. With the match being played at Portugal’s home, the defending Euro 2016 champions enter as favorites. Portugal’s 4-4-2 formation with Cristiano Ronaldo and Andre Silva has been successful, particularly due to the presence of Ricardo Quaresma out wide. Quaresma is a reliable fantasy contributor because of his high crossing volume, and given the aerial superiority of Ronaldo, we expect the Portuguese winger to continue with his output in a match that Portugal will be on the front foot for a victory. In addition, Quaresma takes a bulk of the set pieces, adding to the attacker’s floor. Quaresma’s output was evidenced in his performance against Andorra, as the winger sent in a whopping 15 crosses. Though he did not notch an assist in that match, Quaresma leads Portugal with assists in qualification. The Portuguese winger’s price is only $8,200 and has not seen any considerable increases. Due to his consistency, we strongly recommend locking in Ricardo Quaresma in your DraftKings lineups.


Ilja Antonov (DK: $3,300):
The second Must-Have for the slate is Ilja Antonov, the Estonian midfielder. Estonia will match up against Bosnia & Herzegovina in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia), though the match will have zero importance apart for the respective pride of both countries. Both countries from Group H are eliminated on their road to qualifying for the World Cup in Russia, and though Bosnia & Herzegovina has the possibility of finishing 2nd in the group with a victory against Estonia, their point total is too low to advance to the playoff. Estonia started off their World Cup qualifying campaign slowly, with only four points through their first six matches, but they have bounced back and notched seven points in the three subsequent matches. Meanwhile, Bosnia & Herzegovina have performed well during the campaign, but a crucial loss to Cyprus will make the difference in their qualification. Estonia suffered a blow in their latest victory after their key midfielder, Konstantin Vassiljev, exited early with an injury. Vassiljev typically takes set pieces for Estonia, and had assisted on a corner kick before his substitution. As a result, Antonov was asked to step in, and he made the most of his opportunity by tallying two assists against Gibraltar. In an earlier match against Cyprus where Vassiljev was on the bench, Antonov notched a start and tallied six crosses due to his role on corner kicks. The midfielder’s price is only $3,300 and offers tremendous value given Estonia’s latest performances and the expectation for the match. Furthermore, the injury to Vassiljev only adds to Antonov’s value. On a slate featuring heavy favorites such as France and Belgium, Ilja Antonov provides perfect salary relief in accommodating the more expensive players of the slate. We strongly recommend locking Antonov in your lineup as the second Must-Have. As always, reach out on Twitter by tweeting and following me @sid_v11 for any more questions.

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