Yahoo DFS Soccer: Single-Game Preview for Belgium vs. Canada

Yahoo DFS Soccer: Single-Game Preview for Belgium vs. Canada

Wednesday's single-game Yahoo slate features what figures to be an exciting group-stage matchup between two popular national squads: Belgium and Canada. The Red Devils are nearly a 63-percent favorite to win outright, but the Canadians arrive in Qatar experiencing their own strong run of form and will be looking to advance over the likes of Croatia and Morocco.

Cash Game Strategy

Although Kevin De Bruyne ($30) will dominate set-piece duties for Belgium and likely pace his squad in both crosses and corners, Michy Batshuayi actually has the second-best goalscoring odds for any player in this matchup and is priced reasonably at $22. Usual Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out for the first two group stage matches, so Batshuayi should vacuum up a considerable amount of scoring volume in his absence. Jonathan David, the striker counterpart for Team Canada, is significantly more expensive ($29), so I prefer the value that Canadian forward/winger Alphonso Davies ($24) provides for five dollars cheaper. Davies is reportedly back to full fitness following a brief thigh issue and he'll largely playing up front for Canada despite holding a more defensive role for Bayern Munich.

Belgian midfielders Leandro Trossard ($20) and Timothy Castagne ($19) have both enjoyed solid league seasons and they'll likely compete for time on the flank during the World Cup. One of the two wingers should find the starting XI versus Canada and that's who I'll be including within lineups. Trossard has been particularly impressive during league play for Brighton and could be an effective attacking alternative if De Bruyne receives extra defensive attention. Castagne is generally more defensive-minded and pulls down more of his points with tackles and clearances, but he's also an excellent crosser should the matchup be contested out near the touch lines.

Even if one decides to pay the premium to get De Bruyne in the lineup, it feels rather prudent to also lean heavily on Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois. Courtois ($20) isn't priced unreasonably and, provided he starts, offers significantly lower risk than primary Canadian keeper Milan Borjan ($16). Borjan hasn't been completely healthy of late and could conceivably be boat-raced for three or four goals in a game that holds an expected total around three goals. Courtois, on the other hand, has been extremely steady within both La Liga and UCL competition for reigning European champions Real Madrid and it's far more likely he comes away with a clean sheet in a match Belgium may well win comfortably.

Tournament Strategy

As far as tournaments are concerned, you're likely going to have to fade De Bruyne as your Superstar (1.6x pts) if you want to come away with the top prize. If we assume KDB actually turns out to be the top fantasy performer in this match, it's also to be expected that somewhere around half of all other entries "Superstar" him, so you'll need to be effectively perfect setting the rest of your lineup. I believe the aforementioned pieces and prices actually fit together quite nicely for purposes of optimizing Wednesday's outcome, but the desire for an alternative is also understandable.

Accordingly, although he doesn't present the best pure value for lineup building purposes, Jonathan David will probably be under-utilized relative to his +320 goalscoring odds. Goals are particularly valuable in Yahoo competitions, so those expecting a more defensive affair might want to look in this direction. DFS managers hoping for contrarian exposure in bigger fields could do far worse than running out a mini-Canadian stack with Davies, Borjan and David Junior Hoilett (+500 to score), hoping the Maple Leafs are able to surprise a shuffled Red Devils XI in the group stage opener.