The World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet, and FanDuel is offering daily fantasy contests throughout the tournament.
In the Round of 16, main slates will feature both of the day’s matches, which are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST. Knockout matches are a little different than all other matches. If a match goes to extra time, FanDuel contests continue through the conclusion of extra time. Nothing from a penalty shootout will be factored into scoring.
Netherlands (-115 moneyline) vs. United States (+350)
Over 2.5 Goals: +134 | Most Likely to Score: Depay (+180)
Argentina (-550) vs. Australia (+1100)
Over 2.5 Goals: -124 | Most Likely to Score: Messi (-125)
I'll just be honest with you guys -- I've been wrong on Argentina every time they've been on a slate. I was on them in their first two matches, and they struggled to create. I was light on them last time out versus Poland, and they played extremely well, generating a whopping 3.5 expected goals (xG), per FBRef. You've been warned.
But, man, they're in a smash spot on Saturday's two-gamer, and they're the clear-cut top attack on this slate.
Argentina are priced at -550 to win against Australia. They're a slate-leading -290 to go over 1.5 goals. No other side is better than +126 to do so. You want exposure to them, and I'll have at least two -- and oftentimes three -- Argentina attackers in nearly all my lineups.
Lionel Messi ($23; -125 to score) will be mega chalk. His draft percentage could be near 90%. Versus Poland in his last game, Messi showed why he's so scary to fade in DFS. He didn't score a goal or tally an assist yet still posted 36.3 FanDuel points thanks to five chances created and four shots on goal. His playmaking ability in addition to his goal-scoring prowess makes him similar to a dual-threat quarterback in the NFL -- he can rack up points in a variety of ways, giving him an unrivaled floor/ceiling combination. In a match in which Argentina should dominate possession, Messi, who is a laughable -340 to score or assist, is chalk worth swallowing.
Argentina started Julian Alvarez ($20; +140) at striker against Poland and moved Lautaro Martinez ($18; +130) to the bench. Given how well Argentina played and how sharp Alvarez looked, it's likely Alvarez is in there again. He netted a goal and amassed 31.3 FanDuel points in said Poland match. Angel Di Maria ($16; +200) has yet to have a big game at this World Cup, but if Australia sit back in a low block, Argentina may lean on Di Maria's playmaking and crossing. He's -125 to score/assist, and the salary isn't too high.
The US-Netherlands match looks yucky for DFS. Neither attack has been all that good through three games -- 2.7 xG for the Dutch and 2.6 xG for the Americans -- and the defenses have been stout. As such, the match is only +134 to go over 2.5 goals, and there might not be many clear-cut chances.
Holland's Cody Gakpo ($21; +270) has been a breakout star at this tourney, netting a goal in all three matches. He may wind up as the most popular non-Argentine on the slate. While Gakpo is a strong play, I'll more than likely fade him and get exposure to the Netherlands via Memphis Depay ($19; -+185), who has team-best goal odds and won't be as popular as Gakpo. Depay probably should've scored at least one goal in Holland's last match, and he's averaging 0.58 xG per 90 minutes -- well ahead of Gakpo's clip of 0.10, which tells you how dialed in and unsustainable Gakpo's finishing has been.
I also like Frenkie De Jong ($17; +1000). The goal odds stink, but De Jong has been pushing forward a decent amount from his midfield spot, totaling 0.30 xG per 90 minutes. He's a top-shelf passer, so if this match turns into the Netherlands dominating possession versus a pinned-in US side, De Jong's creative ability will be vital for the Dutch.
Christian Pulisic ($16; +490) has been good this tourney, scoring one of the Americans' two goals and assisting the other. If Pulisic, who exited early with an injury in the Americans' last match, is full go, he's the best way to get exposure to the US. If Pulisic can't play, it dings the outlook for all of the US attackers.
If you want to be different, roster an Australian attacker. Argentina are -227 to keep a clean sheet, so not many lineups will go with an Aussie in forward/midfield. Mathew Leckie ($14; +1100) has Australia's best goal odds.
Or you could take a different route and use midfielders Aaron Mooy ($13; +2000) or Jackson Irvine ($9; +1700) with the idea that they'll rack up defensive actions in a match in which Argentina figure to have a lot of the ball. That would be a fruitless strategy on bigger slates (where you need to aim for upside because there will be more goals), but on a two-match slate that might not have that many goals, it can work. And the salary savings are handy. Mooy scored 9.1 FanDuel points last time out -- all via defensive actions.
Marcos Acuna ($9) and Nahuel Molina ($10) started at full-back for Argentina in their most recent match. They should have chances to get forward against Australia, and they're quality pieces for Argentina stacks. Acuna is +280 to score/assist while Molina is +330.
I usually don't like using a lot of salary for a floor play, but I may make an exception to plug in one of Australia's Harry Souttar ($13) or Kye Rowles ($14). They should be incredibly busy versus Argentina, and we've seen this from them throughout the tournament. Souttar and Rowles are averaging 16.9 and 18.1 FanDuel points per game, respectively, and nearly all of that has come through defensive actions (or clean-sheet points). There is a good shot they are both around 15.0 FanDuel points on Saturday.
The Netherlands' Denzel Dumfries ($10) is a modest-salaried way to get exposure to a favorite. He's +330 to score/assist. Don't sleep on Virgil van Dijk ($12), either. As a center-back, his goal odds are sky-high (+1200), but he will be a threat on set pieces.
Sergino Dest ($10) is +550 to score/assist for the US. He got himself into dangerous areas fairly often in the group stage, but the end product was missing. Whoever starts at center-back for the US between Tim Ream ($9), Cameron Carter-Vickers ($8) and Walker Zimmerman ($8) should have a respectable floor and offers valuable cap relief.
Emiliano Martinez ($14) is the guy you want if you're after a clean-sheet win. His win (-550) and clean-sheet odds (-227) dwarf those of any other keeper's. He can get 17.0 FanDuel points from a clean-sheet victory before factoring in any save volume.
Speaking of save volume, that's one of the holdups with Martinez -- the other being his position-high (by $2) salary. Martinez offers very little save potential, so if Australia score a goal, the lack of save volume will give Martinez very little to fall back on. Still, his -227 clean-sheet odds speak for themselves.
Either keeper in the US-Netherlands match -- Matt Turner ($9) and Andries Noppert ($12) -- checks a few boxes. With this match expected to be a low-scoring affair, it's not a bad place to hunt for a clean sheet. The Dutch are +110 to keep a clean sheet, compared to +280 odds for the Americans.
Australia's Mat Ryan ($7) is a punt who does have a path to paying off -- as well as a path to a negative score. Ryan's path to being a quality play is through a crap ton of saves. If he can keep Argentina to just a goal or two while making a bunch of stops, he could have a solid fantasy day. Of course, Argentina could score four, and Ryan could end up in the red. But I will go here in some lineups.