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Tuesday’s World Cup schedule wraps up group play for Group A and Group B, highlighted by the all-important Iran-United States matchup at 2:00 p.m. ET. Since the final games of each group will start simultaneously, all four games on Tuesday’s schedule are on the main slate at DraftKings.
In Group A, the host country, Qatar, has already been eliminated ahead of their match with the Netherlands, who can move on with a win or a tie. Ecuador can also advance with a win or a tie, while Senegal needs to win to advance since both the Netherlands and Ecuador have a better goal differential.
In Group B, England can advance with a win or a tie against Wales and could even advance with a loss due to their strong goal differential. The United States can join them with a win over Iran, but a tie or a win by Iran will eliminate the Americans, with Iran moving on to the knockout stage.
England and the Netherlands both bring plenty of star power to the slate, and each has something to play for. The other two games are where the real drama will be, though, since they are basically win-to-advance scenarios.
Since we’re seeing all these teams for the third time in the tournament, the stats and models have a little more to work with. There are definitely some great picks and values to consider on this three-game slate.
Inside our soccer Player Models, you’ll find median and value projections, along with our Lineup Builder and Lineup Optimizer. The Lineup Builder is great for those of you that like to hand-build your teams — or you can utilize the Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 300 lineups.
Now, let’s get into the slate!
World Cup Forward DFS Picks
Top Play: Christian Pulisic, $9,000
The Dutch (Cody Gakpo) and English (Harry Kane) have some of the best goal-scorers in the world available at the top of the salary structure, but they may not be especially motivated to pile up goals due to their position in the table. Although each of those players comes with a high ceiling, I’m going to try to lean into the two situations in which teams have to win and advance in Ecuador-Senegal and U.S.-Iran.
If the United States is going to move on, it will likely be on the back of strong play from Pulisic, who seems to be in the middle of all their best chances and is also regularly involved in set pieces. Pulisic assisted the only goal the Americans have scored in the World Cup against Wales while hitting 13 crosses and drawing four fouls on his way to 21.7 DraftKings points. In his second game against England, Pulisic took four shots, assisted another host, and piled up seven crosses on his way to 12.4 DraftKings points.
Pulisic has the second-highest projection of all forwards and midfielders on this slate, only behind Gakpo, who has been brilliant. Pulisic is definitely not a sneaky “under-the-radar” play, but he brings a nice upside at only $9K and is projected to post a big total as he tries to rise to the occasion for the United States.
Top Value: Famara Diédhiou, $3,900
The only forward in the four games projected to return over 2.0 points per $1,000 of salary is Diédhiou, who did not play in Senegal’s first game but moved into the lineup as the Lions of Teranga went for a more offensively potent lineup against Qatar. Diédhiou provided his team with a nice target up top and had a goal on three shots on his way to 14.1 DraftKings points.
He is a little goal reliant since he doesn’t get very involved in the midfield buildup, but since Senegal will have to attack again, look for the 28-year-old to play a pivotal role once again. I expect that he’ll start, but even if he does not, he could still be a sneaky late sub to consider since Senegal needs a win to move on, and he is one of their top goal-scoring options.
World Cup Midfielder DFS Picks
Top Play: Cody Gakpo, $10,600
Gakpo has been excellent for the Dutch in their two games and has the highest projection at both midfield and striker. It’s possible to stack him and Pulisic in one spot or the other or split them up since both bring the positional versatility to allow you to structure your roster in a wide variety of ways.
In the opener against Senegal, The Oranje dominated play and broke through on Gakpo’s header in the 85th minute. The 23-year-old breakout star didn’t wait nearly that long before scoring in the team’s second game, scoring in the sixth minute. Sine Pulisic hasn’t been able to score, Gakpo’s two goals give him the edge, and he’s similarly involved in everything his team is trying to do on offense.
Gakpo had 24.2 DraftKings points in the opener and 15.1 DraftKings points in the Netherlands’ second game. The breakthrough star is setting himself up for a huge payday if he chooses to leave PSV Eindhoven, and he’ll look to continue his stellar form by getting his team past an overmatched Qatar squad.
Top Value: Weston McKennie, $3,600
McKennie is the only midfield in the projections expected to return 2.0 Points per $1,000 of salary in the later two games, and he’s second overall in that category behind only Idrissa Gueye or Senegal.
McKennie’s salary is extremely low for a player who is so vital to the U.S. attack. McKennie played a quiet 66 minutes against Wales in his first match back from a thigh injury, but he lasted 77 minutes against England and seemed to be much more involved in the offense. Part of the reason was a shift in formation that moved him more to the outside, and part of it could also be that he needed that first contest to shake off some rust.
Against England, the 24-year-old had two shots, an assisted shot, and a cross for 5.7 DraftKings points. He’ll be a good value play if he matches that performance, but his real value is the upside he offers if the U.S. can get a few goals and he is as involved in the flow of play as he was against England.
McKennie’s fun-loving attitude and carefree personality can be both endearing and maddening at times, but his good form raises the ceiling of the young American offense and also can be great value for your fantasy squad.
World Cup Defender DFS Picks
Top Play: Kieran Trippier, $7,000
As they have in each of their contests so far this World Cup, Trippier and his teammate Luke Shaw ($6,800) come with the top two projections of the defenders. Both get very involved in England’s attack, and both provide crosses and attempted assists, giving each of them high ceilings if England starts to pile up goals.
Trippier has the slightly higher projection in this contest and has posted 11.2 and 8.3 DraftKings points in the two games that England has played. Both he and Shaw are good plays, but Trippier isn’t that much more expensive, so pay up for his ceiling if you can.
Top Value: Milad Mohammadi $2,700
The only defender who matches Trippier’s projected 1.9 Points per $1,000 of salary on this entire slate is Mohammadi, who has played extensively in both games for Iran despite being extremely affordable. He had just 0.6 DraftKings points against England, but he stepped up with 6.7 DraftKings points in Iran’s clean sheet against Wales playing all 90 minutes.
If you are looking for a punt play at defender or trying not to go to all-in on the United States, Mohammadi offers a bit of a safety net since if the U.S. struggles, he will be playing well. The 29-year-old plays his club soccer for AEK Athens, so he’s no stranger to top-flight competition.
World Cup Goalie DFS Picks
Top Play: Andries Noppert, $5,900
Noppert has looked solid for the Netherlands and is in an ideal matchup. The keeper, who plays his club soccer at Heerenveen, is in his first World Cup, and he had a clean sheet in his debut against Senegal, totaling 18.4 DraftKings points. Ecuador’s Enner Valencia beat him for one goal in the Netherlands’ second game, though, so he only managed 4.6 DraftKings points in that contest.
In this matchup, he’ll face the home nation, which has already been eliminated from moving to the next stage. Qatar did score a goal in their most recent game, but they are +1400 to finish under 0.5 goals in this contest, showing just how high a mountain they’ll have to climb to get a goal against the Dutch. Noppert should be poised for a win and has a good shot at the clean sheet bonus as well.
Noppert has the highest projection of all the goalkeepers on the slate by a wide margin.
Top Value: Matt Turner, $5,400
Turner’s only goal allowed in the World Cup so far was on a penalty kick against Wales. He had five saves and 4.4 DraftKings points in that 1-1 draw, and he followed it up by posting a surprisingly clean sheet against England. He had three saves in that contest and earned the five-point bonus for the clean sheet to finish with 11.4 DraftKings points.
If the U.S. is to survive, Turner will have to continue to have success. Iran has proven that it can score with two goals in each game so far in this tournament, and the U.S. may have to get aggressive and come out of its defensive shell if they are not ahead late in the match. However, despite that risk and the matchup, Turner can bring good value if he can come up large again for the United States.
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