When one of the two best players in the world is playing on a matchday with only two games, it’s real simple _ get him in a DFS lineup and build around him at all costs. That’s the scenario Tuesday in the European Championships as Cristiano Ronaldo leads the line for Portugal against Iceland in their Group F opener.
The other two teams in the group, Austria and Hungary, face each other and play a vital role in creating a quality starting XI because there’s value to be had with the objective of making sure the best player in each match is in your lineup.
These picks cover the matches for June 14, using a 4-4-2 formation and salary cap of $90,000 as part of Fan XT’s Daily Fantasy rules for the European Championships.
Goalkeeper: Robert Almer, Austria ($7,060). Seen by some pundits as a potential darkhorse quarterfinalist in France, Almer represents a value pick in the Hapsburg derby against an unfancied Hungary side making its first Euros appearance since 1972.
Defenders: Christian Fuchs, Austria ($7,280). The Unsere Burchen have some championship pedigree on their squad in the form of Fuchs, the starting left back for Premier League-winning Leicester City. Capable of delivering inch-perfect crosses and pushing forward, Fuchs’ inclusion here is with an eye on potential offensive production as well as the belief Austria should win this match.
David Alaba, Austria ($9,810). Alaba is worth every penny of his high price tag, and he’ll likely be the best player on the pitch in the match versus Hungary. Though listed as a defender in this contest, Alaba usually stays in the midfield and has license to roam wherever he likes. The Bayern Munich man is an up-and-coming star, and the focal point of Austria’s attack.
Bruno Alves, Portugal ($7,140). The veteran of Portugal’s back line, Alves should find opportunities to maraud forward against Iceland wide on the left, where A Seleccao like to funnel their offense. He has 10 goals in 85 caps and is set for his third Euros.
Sebastian Prodl, Austria ($7,250). Picking a third Austrian for defense is more about cap flexibility, with the hedge that the Magyars will be little dangerous beyond set pieces like they were throughout qualifying.
Nani, Portugal ($8,000). Somewhat lost in the wilderness with two inconsistent seasons at Sporting CP and Fenerbache following his departure from Manchester United, Nani will likely serve as Portugal’s primary playmaker when Ronaldo doesn’t have the ball at his feet. This makes him a value pick for the midfield and a threat to score goals.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Iceland ($7,690). Another player who seems underpriced here, the Swansea City playmaker is the catalyst of all things offense for Iceland. Sigurdsson is one of the best players Iceland has ever produced and the primary reason Strakarnir Okkar are at a major tournament for the first time in history after losing in a playoff to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Birkir Bjarnason, Iceland ($7,160). Bjarnason and Sigurdsson are a quality tandem in the midfield for Iceland, and the understanding both players have for each other’s game make the FC Basel midfielder a value pick here who could create scoring chances.
Laszlo Kleinheisler, Hungary ($7,020). While the primary reason to include the 22-year-old Kleinheisler is cap flexibility, he’s also going to be the Magyars’ primary offensive threat. In a match that could be swung on one play between teams who don’t want to lose their opening match to maintain hopes of reaching the round of 16, the Werder Bremen youngster may provide some points.
Forwards: Marko Arnautovic, Austria ($7,500). While Arnautovic’s strike partner Marc Janko could also be used here, the Stoke City forward is the more healthy of the pair. Additionally, Janko serves as a target forward at 6-foot-5, which means Arnautovic should be able to find pockets of space around the penalty area for scoring chances.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal ($13,880). After scoring the decisive penalty to give Real Madrid its 11th Champions League title, Portugal’s all-time leading scorer with 58 goals is prime to add to his haul in what likely will be his final Euros appearance. He will also match Luis Figo for the most caps for A Seleccao against Iceland with his 127th appearance. Ronaldo still has the pace to give defenders fits, the smarts to find holes in any back line and is always capable of delivering the one incredible moment that swings a match.