It is arguably one of the most agonizing decisions any DFS player must make – who do you choose between two superstars who can provide near equal value in different methods when you can’t select them both?
That is the case for Saturday, when both Cristiano Ronaldo ($13,880) and Gareth Bale ($12,000) lead Portugal and Wales, respectively, into their round of 16 contests at the European Championships in France. Both have been a cut above everyone else among the six teams in action, and the Real Madrid teammates have been distinct in their methods.
Ronaldo willed Portugal into the knockout round, scoring twice in a wild 3-3 draw against Hungary that also gave him the plaudits of being the first player to score in four different Euros. He has taken 33 shots, but only eight have been on target and another crashed off the woodwork. Ronaldo also missed a penalty against Austria that would have made qualifying much easier than Wednesday’s goalfest in which A Seleccao had to peg back the Magyars three separate times to scrape through as one of the best third-place finishers.
By contrast, Bale has been a study in efficiency in matching Ronaldo’s three-goal haul and leading Wales to a surprising top spot in Group B. Eleven of his 16 shots have been on frame and perhaps more impressively, only two have been blocked as opposed to Ronaldo having 11 snuffed out by defenders. Three of Bale’s five free kicks have been on target, and a pair have found the back of the net. Ronaldo has only put one of his eight dead-ball attempts on frame.
But one factor in Ronaldo’s favor for selection in DFS lineups is the deeper talent pool available in the midfield, whereas Ronaldo stands head and shoulders above everyone in terms of production at the forward spot. There are plenty of quality midfielders _ Bale’s teammate Aaron Ramsey, Croatia’s Ivan Perisic, Ronaldo’s teammate Nani, Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Poland’s Grzegorz Krychowiak _ who can provide better cap flexibility than Bale to select CR7 and more importantly, offer opportunities for goals and assists.
Nani being listed as a midfielder for this contest provides some cover for selecting Bale since it figures the Fenerbahce winger will be just as involved as Ronaldo up front for Portugal against Croatia. And there’s plenty of value to be had with the Croats, even skipping over top playmaker Luka Modric after he sat out their 2-1 stunner of Spain due to a knock. For example, if you take Poland’s Arek Milik and Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri with the defenders and goalkeepers listed below, you have the space to add Perisic and teammate Ivan Rakitic along with Bale and Nani.
In the end, however, it’s your choice. Do you go with the superstar who has been steady throughout group play and now is unchartered waters with his country at this tournament (Bale), or do you ride the superstar who is coming off his best game of the tournament and feels the urgency to add to his legacy in what could be his last Euros (Ronaldo)?
Decisions, decisions, my friend. So choose wisely.
These are the picks for the matches being played June 25 at the European Championships, using a 4-4-2 formation and $90,000 salary cap as part of FanXT’s DFS rules.
Goalkeeper: Wayne Hennessey, Wales ($7,190). While opponents are finding space to take shots against Wales, not many are finding their way to the Crystal Palace keeper _ Hennessey has made only four saves in the last two matches and turned in a clean sheet against Russia. That pattern should hold true against Northern Ireland, which has attempted a tournament-low 17 shots. Given the flexibility needed to put at least one superstar in your FanXT lineup, Hennessey is a solid option with good potential for a clean sheet.
Defenders: Neil Taylor ($7,280) and Chris Gunter, Wales ($7,160). The two defenders from the Red Dragons are being selected here primarily for potential clean sheet bonus points, but Taylor has done a good job getting forward to this point _ he has a goal and his 11 crosses are second only to Ramsey. Gunter is third with nine crosses, and since Wales is expected to carry the match to Northern Ireland, both defenders have the potential for unexpected points offensively.
Darijo Srna, Croatia ($7,310). The old warhorse has been a favorite given his playmaking skills on the wings, and that should be no different in what could be a wide-open game against Portugal. He has yet to record an assist but it’s not out of lack of effort _ Srna has supplied a team-high 22 crosses and is second with eight corner kicks. And his veteran savvy turned Croatia’s fortunes against Spain when he relayed Sergio Ramos’ spot-kick tendencies to keeper Danijel Subasic. Srna may not get shutout points in this match, but he is an attractive value pick for the back line.
Artur Jedrzejczyk, Poland ($7,190). The Legia Warsaw defender has been one of the anchors of a defense that has yet to concede at the Euros, and against a Swiss team that has yet to find its offensive rhythm in this tournament, Jedrzejczyk makes for a good value pick who can provide bonus points for a shutout. He’s also shown the ability to get forward and is second on the team with nine crosses.
Midfielders: Nani, Portugal ($8,000). A must-have in the FanXT lineup, Nani will undoubtedly get scoring chances in what should be a back-and-forth affair against Croatia. He scored two goals in group play, including the first tally of Portugal’s 3-3 draw with Hungary that saw it through to the knockout round. When Ronaldo isn’t shooting, Nani usually is, and that makes him a solid selection.
Ivan Perisic, Croatia ($8,190) – Perisic delivered a stellar performance without playmaking partner Luka Modric in Croatia’s 2-1 upset of two-time defending champion Spain, scoring the winner and assisting on Nikola Kalinic’s first-half goal. The Inter Milan man has bagged goals in each of his last two matches, and even with Modric’s expected return, Perisic’s form is too good to pass up at this price against Portugal.
Aaron Ramsey, Wales ($8,880). In opting for Ronaldo over Bale, Ramsey is a good option to help round out a midfield for DFS play. He has been all over the midfield for the Red Dragons and has assisted on two of their four goals in the run of play. When Bale is not on the ball, Ramsey almost always is _ he has a team-best 15 crosses and has completed 121 of 147 passes thus far. The Arsenal man also has found the back of the net while putting five of his eight shots on frame.
Ricardo Quaresma, Portugal ($7,250). Quaresma is a bit of a maddening proposition _ it’s possible he’ll come off the bench against Croatia. But with the limited cap flexibility of building around Ronaldo, Quaresma still brings a lot of bang for the buck since he finds ways to get forward and create scoring chances. He assisted on Ronaldo’s match-tying goal against Hungary and has somehow provided 16 crosses and 14 corner kicks in just 114 minutes of action.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal ($13,880). Yes, this lineup has opted for the hot hand over the steady one in selecting Ronaldo after his spectacular performance to drag Portugal into the knockout round. With Bale playing a stubborn Northern Ireland squad and Ronaldo opposite a Croatia team that should be open to an up and down match, the hedge here is Ronaldo will continue to get scoring chances but also get them in transition, where he is less likely to have a shot blocked.
Arek Milik, Poland ($7,630). The Ajax striker rounds out this FanXT lineup because he’s been able to find space to shoot. He has one of Poland’s two goals, and the struggles of Robert Lewandowski up front makes Milik an attractive low-cost option in what should be a cagey match against Switzerland. He has four of Poland’s seven shots on target while taking a team-high 10 attempts.
Salary Total: $89,960, $40 left over
By Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73)