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Thursday 21st Sep 2017

During the UEFA Championship League Stage Group phase, the starting rotation was always guesswork. As a DFS player, I am glad we have moved on to the Round of 16.

DraftKings fantasy lineups consist of only eight players. If a couple of players from your fantasy team are left on the bench, all the fun goes out the window. All of that pain and anger is no more. Round of 16 will begin in a few weeks. The fixtures are set up. We know the matchups, which is the key concern when drafting players in fantasy soccer. In DFS baseball, it is important to be familiar with the characteristics of individual players. For example, I would never pick hitters who will be facing Clayton Kershaw. In DFS soccer, with a few exceptions, the matchup is the primary factor. You obviously want your goalkeeper to give you a clean sheet. In that case, you wouldn’t pick the fellow facing Barcelona strikers, right?

With that in mind, let’s take an early look at the UEFA CL Round of 16 matches, the odds as set by the English bookmakers and our analysis of goalkeepers, defensive, midfield and forward lines from which you want to draft players. Our recommendations with individual names will be published the week the matches are scheduled to be played. At that time, we will know about the most recent injuries and about January transfers.

The team expected to move on to the Round of 8 is in bold. The position from which we recommend selecting players is in parenthesis following the team name.

PSG (Midfield) vs Barcelona (Midfield, Forward)

Even facing Barcelona, Verratti and Di Maria cannot be ignored. Of the Barcelona NMS trio, each having a hefty salary, the only one to consider without breaking the bank would be Lionel Messi.

Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund (Midfield, Forward)

Borussia has scored a record number of goals on the way to the Round of 16. More of the same is expected against Benfica.

Bayern Munchen (Goalkeeper, Defense, Midfield, Forward) vs Arsenal

Bayern Munchen is the favorite and Neuer has been voted best goalkeeper overall.

Real Madrid (Goalkeeper, Defense, Midfield, Forward) vs Napoli

Real Madrid is the odds-on favorite. Unfortunately, most of its players are expensive. It will be extremely difficult to place more than two Real players on your fantasy team, but we should try considering that Napoli is its opponent.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Atletico Madrid (Goalkeeper, Midfield, Forward)

Instead of expensive goalkeepers, I am going to go with the very capable Atletico’s Jan Oblak.

Manchester City (Midfield, Forward) vs Monaco

With Manchester City highly favored to move on, pile on from City.

Porto vs Juventus (Goalkeeper, Defense)

The quality of the Juventus back line is the key here. My fantasy team may have both defenders from the Italian team.

Sevilla (Defense, Midfield, Forward) vs Leicester City (Forward)

Proceed with caution and do not underestimate Ranieri.

Follow Pasko on Twitter @varnica123. His essays about sports in ancient Roman times can be found at SportsInAntiquity.com

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