The Dawg Pound: Macro-managing World Cup DFS (Part Three)

We’re getting pretty close, ladies and gents! Games start tomorrow on Statclash and Friday on Draftstreet.

::Borat voice:: I am very exciiiiite.

Here’s what I’m covering today:

How the table/standings will affect our choices,
Monitoring position eligibility,
“Me Gusta/No Me Gusta” (A very generalized guide to who I’m targeting and fading throughout the WC.

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On playing the Table.

In soccer, what other sports refer to as the standings is called a table. Let’s get that out of the way. That’s what I’ll be referring to it as for this article. World Cup DFS is going to be very much driven by the table. Because the World Cup is a tournament, every game matters. In the group stages, a loss will make it very difficult for teams to advance. As I’ve mentioned previously, top teams will start off group play cautiously against other good teams, often content with just the one point from a draw. But top teams that face minnows will be thirsty for blood, and try to get the leg up on competition with goal difference and 3 points.

The further along the group stage goes, the more the table will affect teams’ tactics, and our DFS targets. We want to target players on teams that NEED to win. And, given a choice between similar targets, we may want to fade the players on teams that already have advancement wrapped up. If team X has 6 points and a superior goal difference coming into a game versus another team that has advancement wrapped up, there’s a good chance that the game will be low-scoring. If team Y NEED 3 points to advance, I will choose similar players on team Y as opposed to team X (in group stage, that is). This echoes my previous point about matchups, but we want the players on the teams that will be driven and attacking.

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On monitoring position eligibility.

Friendlies are over, but in some cases they gave us a glimpse into certain players lining up in different positions than expected. Both Draftstreet and Statclash have some players/teams listed for their games, but not all. There may be cases where a player is listed as a defender or midfielder, but in reality will be playing much further up the pitch. Therefore, they are capable of scoring offensive points from open play. Many teams are employing “wingbacks,” which are defenders that will be shuttling back and forth, up and down the pitch, on their flank. Many of these wingbacks will be involved in the offense. Notable examples should include Dani Alves of Brazil, Ricardo Rodriguez of Switzerland, Daley Blind of the Netherlands, and Miguel Layun of Mexico (among MANY others). We will discuss and target more wingbacks as the daily matchups come along.

On Draftstreet, Tim Cahill is listed as midfield (on Statclash he is a forward). He will be leading the line for Australia, so he has a good chance to snag several shots on goal, and maybe a goal or two. Andres Guardado is listed as a defender on both sites, but is likely to be playing in the midfield during these World Cup games. This will increase his chances at shots, goals, and assists. Both of these players are potential targets, and display the greater sense that we need to be aware of any possible position eligibility advantages we can take.

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“Me Gusta/No Me Gusta”

That’s Spanish for “I like/I don’t like” for the linguistically challenged.

Me Gusta!

1 – Attacking fullbacks/wingbacks. Mentioned several times, but players like Dani Alves and Jordi Alba will get chances at goals and assists, as well as fouls-drawn, since they handle the ball a fair amount in possession.

2 – Bosnia attackers. Bosnia lit up many a defense in their road to qualification, fielding 2 strikers – Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic. It sounds like they may go more cautious in the World Cup, but Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic (plays midfielder, miiiight get listed as a forward on Draftstreet) should be viable targets and put up some points. If Bosnia goes out early, it will probably be swinging. (Well, kicking.)

3 – Team Switzerland. A lot of people have been talking up Colombia, Chile, and Belgium, but Switzerland has a very advantageous group to make it out of, and put some some DFS points while doing so. They have good young attackers in Xhaka, Shaqiri, and Drmic, who are all targets in the right matchups. They also have 2 excellent fullbacks in Ricardo Rodriguez (not the WWE guy) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (be forewarned that Licht can be a hothead and may give out a few fouls). I will be targeting all of the above fairly often throughout World Cup DFS.

4 – Defenders playing AGAINST Iran and Greece. Both teams are likely to have a defense-heavy approach. They will try to nick a goal or two from set-plays, but are happy to “park the bus” and concede possession. That’s going to lead to low-scoring games, where some cheap defenders might have a chance at clean sheets.

No Me Gusta!

1 – Forwards and midfielders playing AGAINST Greece. The inverse of the above point. I don’t see the team giving up more than 2 goals in any game this tourney, and many will be clean sheets. (I want to include Iran here, but they will be facing Bosnia and Argentina. It will be a very “unstoppable force-immovable object” vibe in those matchups, but Messi and Dzeko MIGHT be matchup proof.) Given the choice, I’ll be targeting elsewhere.

2 – Goalkeepers/defenders against Chile, Argentina, and Bosnia. These teams will be the among highest scoring teams in the group stage, and I will rarely target their defensive opponents.

That’s it for now. I’ll be helping the RG team with some Daily Plays throughout the tournament along with 2 other RG members, and will still post some personal analysis when I’m able.
Good luck Grinders! – PD

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