World Cup single-game DFS preview for United States vs. Wales
The United States open their run at the 2022 World Cup against Wales on Monday at 2:00 p.m. ET and come in as slight +145 favorites. This United States team is unproven but have the chance to show that they are here to compete at the World Cup in a winnable opening match. As interesting as the United States are, the roster also poses a plethora of questions. From the defense through to the attack, the USA starting XI is far from set.
The Welsh side is kind of the opposite, as it's mostly the same team seen for over a decade. There's certainly some new pieces and some young talent, but that doesn't change Wales from being largely Gareth Bale and friends.
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CASH GAME STRATEGY
Christian Pulisic ($27) is one of the priciest options on the slate, but he still has the potential to be a large portion of the Superstar (aka captain) picks. The winger has seen reduced playing time with Chelsea but will be a nailed-on starter for the United States and took a heavy majority of the set-pieces during the World Cup qualifiers. Giovanni Reyna ($20) has also been active on set pieces and actually has better goalscoring odds than Pulisic, at +300 compares to Pulisic's +320.
Wales offer fewer players with a guaranteed floor, but Gareth Bale ($30) is impossible to ignore, with the best goalscoring odds at +188 and a guaranteed role on penalties. Bale found his footing and fitness in the back half of the MLS season with LAFC on his way to an MLS Cup win and is always a threat. Another striker who stands out to me is Jesus Ferreira ($19), making him the sixth-most expensive US player, despite his +188 goalscoring odds. Ferreira projects to start up top for the favored United States making him worth consideration.
I didn't particularly want to single out Weston McKennie ($30), but he comes into this match as the most expensive player on the slate despite his goalscoring odds of +450. The midfielder missed his final four matches before coming to the World Cup and has just one goal and assist in Serie A. With no role on set pieces, it's nearly impossible to justify paying up for McKennie in cash games.
Matt Turner ($19) could draw some interest with +165 odds for a clean sheet and the same could be said for Wales' Wayne Hennessey ($18) and his +195 clean sheet odds. With limited floor options across the board there could be a path to success with either goalkeeper as the Superstar. Brenden Aaronson ($16) could be another mid-range option with his +350 goalscoring odds and occasional duty on set pieces. That said, Aaronson has only gone a full 90 once with the USMNT in 2022 and is a prime candidate to be brought off early in the second half. Neco Williams ($16) will be the right wing-back to start, but he loves to get forward and has come inches away from goals multiple times domestically as well as showing some excellent deliveries into the box.
There's some appealing options at the low end of the price range, as well. My favorite of the cheaper players is Daniel James ($14), as he'll likely take the majority of set pieces for Wales and with Harry Wilson ($13) not expected to start, he could have an impressive floor. James also boasts similar goalscoring odds to Christian Pulisic, who comes in at nearly twice the price.
Overall, there are interesting options all over the slate, especially in the opening match with both teams carrying some uncertainty for both starting chances and roles on set pieces. With that in mind, avoiding some of the bullishly priced top-end players such as McKennie could provide some salary relief to help pick up more of the mid-range options in what could be a mixed match.
The uncertainty around both teams, though especially the favored Americans, opens up multiple interesting options in tournaments. Pulisic and Bale will certainly be popular Superstar options with Ferreira also likely seeing some play there. Somebody like Kieffer Moore ($22) with his +210 goalscoring odds and four Premier League goals in just eight starts could be a difference maker in the Superstar spot.
On the flip side of that is Matt Turner, as the Welsh attack isn't exactly anything to write home about, and he could see play in constructions targeting a USA 1-0 win. That type of construction could be relatively popular, opening the door for some potentially less rostered players, perhaps someone like Aaron Ramsey ($25), whose +350 goalscoring odds and higher price could see him avoided in most lineups. Ramsey has shown an eye for goal throughout his career and has stepped up in the past for club and country, and he would have penalty taking duties if anything were to see Bale off the pitch.
Somebody who could fly under the radar in tournaments is Reyna. With Pulisic in the lineup, Reyna won't have much of a role on set pieces or penalties. That said, Reyna has been electric for Borussia Dortmund when fit, with four goal contributions in just six starts. While his minutes might be uncertain, Reyna has one of the highest ceilings in the match.
The USA team is surrounded by question marks on the pitch and for fantasy managers, but as favorites it's possible to stack American attackers and even Turner alongside a low-price option like James, one of the few Welsh players with a safe floor.