World Cup Daily Plays: June 19th, 2014
What’s up Grinders? It’s the luckiest-soccer-grinder-who-ever-did-grind here with your Thursday daily plays. Thanks mostly to a CARELESS Alex Song foul resulting in a red card, my (of all things) CROATIA STACK was able to dominate 10-man Cameroon, which helped me win the $5K Draftstreet Freeroll, the $500 Guaranteed GPP, and a couple other cashes here and there. I am on quite the heater now, so it’s up to you to decide whether to ride with me or assume that my inevitable cooler will come tomorrow. (Not-so-subtle brag over.)
Anyway, our choices are from the following matches: Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, England vs. Uruguay, and Japan vs. Greece. As of this writing, ALL THREE of those games are pick’em, and each has an over/under of 2.5, so our work is cut out for us. The sportsbooks and I agree that these are pretty close matchups. Another thing to consider is that Colombia and Ivory Coast are both 1-0, while all four of the other teams lost. I get the feeling that those last four teams will be a little bit desperate for a win, and hopefully that will translate into open/offensive games. Anyway, on to the picks:
Eiji Kawashima (JPN $16,983 DS / $22.50 SC) – If you haven’t noticed by now, GK has been pretty much a crapshoot so far on Draftstreet. Some of the ‘keepers in dominant, clean sheet performances have only had 1 or 2 saves, while other net-minders have given up 3 goals but had 7 saves. I’d mostly suggest filling out the rest of your roster first, and seeing which GK you can fit in with the budget remaining on Draftstreet. Things are different on SC though. Kawashima is my top play because I think he is facing the weakest offense out of the six teams tomorrow, Greece. Is he a lock for a clean sheet? No – but I think this World Cup has proven that no team is a lock for a clean sheet (except maaaybe whoever is facing Cameroon & Iran). I do think Kawashima has the best chance for one, though.
Orestis Karnesis (GRE $16,283 DS / $18.50 SC) – It’s tough to call someone a “value play” when they are $700 less than my top play on Draftstreet, with their pricing structure. Karnesis does come at a decent discount on Statclash, but he comes with additional risk. I think Japan will have the majority of possession and scoring chances in that game. If you need to save salary on SC, you can gamble that Karnesis will save the majority of those scoring chances, and maybe walk away with a 1-0 victory. It’s a risk that some may want to take.
Other Goalkeepers I like: Joe Hart (ENG) / David Ospina (COL)
Leighton Baines (ENG $8,210 DS / $19 SC) – If you’re paying up for defense, I think Baines might be the way to go. He had 4 crosses last game, which count on SC, and should take some of England’s free kicks. Uruguay is missing their starting RB from the last game for this match, so Martin Caceres (who is usually fielded at CB for his club team) will probably switch to RB. He’s played there before, but I think that fact is in Baines’ favor. He has a floor of a couple of shots and fouls drawn, and a ceiling of an assist/clean sheet.
Atsuto Uchida (JAP $6,120 DS / $17 SC) – At the next pricing tier, I think Uchida is a strong play. Both of Japan’s fullbacks are in play tomorrow, as they are good at joining the offense and whipping in crosses. Uchida gets the better matchup though – Greece’s LB Holebas is very attack-minded as well, and often leaves space behind him for counter-attacks. 2 of Colombia’s 3 goals originated from attacks down his side. That’s where Uchida will find space tomorrow.
Serge Aurier (CIV $4,417 DS / $16.50 SC) – If you need to save money tomorrow, Aurier is pretty much a must-play on Draftstreet at that price. He had 2 assists in his last game, is very involved on the offensive end, and is going up against fellow attacking fullbacks for Colombia who may leave space for him to make some magic happen. I think the CIV-COL game will come down to which team’s fullbacks have the best game. The only drawback is that I do not feel that he will get a clean sheet bonus. If he does, all the better!
Other Defenders I like: Glen Johnson (ENG) / Juan Zuniga & Pablo Armero (COL) / Yuto Nagatomo (JAP)
James Rodriguez (COL $14,938 DS / $22.50 SC) – He showed the world what he’s capable of in Colombia’s first game, and why PSG paid a massive transfer fee for his services prior to last year. He could put up similar numbers as the first game, so fade him at your own risk. One caveat I must add is to check the lineup before game’s lock tomorrow (Colombia is playing first so you’ll have time). If Colombia start either Adrian Ramos of Jackson Martinez as a second striker, that’s a sign that they might revert back to the 4222 formation that they mostly used in qualifying. If that’s the case, Rodriguez will be pushed to a left-sided role – where he’s still very dangerous, but he won’t get quite as many touches as he will in the center of a 4231 (like they used in their first group game).
Yaya Toure (CIV $15,123 DS / $20.25 SC) – While he had a pretty good game in actuality during Ivory Coast’s first match, it did not translate well for fantasy purposes. But if you’ve watched him play for Man City in the BPL the past few years, you know he’s capable of putting in a man-of-the-match performance.
Fredy Guarin (COL $7,979 DS / $15.75 SC) – Guarin missed the first game due to suspension, so MAKE SURE HE’S IN COLOMBIA’S LINEUP before putting him in yours. If you need the cap relief, Guarin has the best chance to put up positive points in midfield under $8k. He is a risk for a few FC, since he’ll likely be playing in defensive midfield, but he likes to get forward and could sneak a goal or assist. If he’s not in the lineup, you’re better off going slightly up the price ladder for teammate Juan Cuadrado, one of the fastest wingers in the World Cup, who showed what he’s capable of with a 2-assist performance against Greece.
Other Midfielders I like: Juan Cuadrado (COL) / Steven Gerrard & Raheem Sterling (ENG) / Cristian Rodriguez (URU)
Luis Suarez (URU $20,031 DS / $23.25 SC) – Suarez is an enigma. If he was 100% match fit, he would be an absolute LOCK in your lineup. He is not 100% match fit. He says he is, but he’s not. He did not even play 1 minute in a losing effort against Costa Rica in Uruguay’s first match, so I highly doubt that he has recovered 100% since that game. Luis Suarez at 90% is still the best striker playing on Thursday, but the problem is that we don’t know his exact health. A LOT of players will have him in lineups based on name recognition, and even if he’s hobbled, he could still have a double-digit day on Draftstreet. It’s the toughest call of the day, play or fade Suarez, and this is one call that I’m leaving up to you guys individually.
Daniel Sturridge (ENG $16,002 DS / $22.50 SC) – The prices are pretty reasonable for strikers tomorrow (other than Cavani/Suarez) and, as I’ve covered above, the matchups are fairly even. 2 of Uruguay’s starting 4 defenders from their first match will be missing the England match. Some would argue that’s a good thing, after they got soundly beaten by Costa Rica, but I think there’s strength-in-familiarity for defenses. Sturridge had a great season for Liverpool, scored a goal in England’s first match, and is facing a questionable Uruguay defense. He has a good chance of adding another solid performance.
Wilfried Bony (CIV $13,013 DS / $17.75 SC) – A lot of people expected the venerable Didier Drogba to start up front for Ivory Coast, myself included. Bony had a great club season, and followed it up with a goal in his (arguably) surprise starting performance, so look for him to continue that momentum here. It’s the first match of the day – so just to be sure, verify that Ivory Coast doesn’t revert to Drogba. I see no reason why Bony wouldn’t start again.
Other Forwards I like: Edinson Cavani (CIV) / Wayne Rooney (ENG) / Teofilo Gutierrez (COL) / Shinji Okazaki (JAP)