We are just a day away from the return of Champions League action and our fantasy expert is back to share his personal XI ahead of the Round of 16.
There are some notable exceptions such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah, who filled up the scoresheet both in real life and Fantasy in this competition last season.
Unfortunately, neither have really been able to hit their stride in the Champions League this season, having scored a combined four goals despite both being top five in shots (28 and 24 respectively).
Throw in their exorbitant prices and the fact that both will be facing very tough defences, and they look more must-avoids than must owns.
The other interesting trend in this team is the willingness to forgo high-priced midfielders and instead opting for cheaper, high-upside options and spending that excess money on stronger forwards and defenders.
GK: Ederson Moraes - Manchester City, £6.5m, owned in 11.49% of teams
The Brazilian keeper has not been as incredible as he was last season, but he still has the second most clean sheets in the Premier League and will face a Schalke side in the Round of 16 who are 13th in their own league in goals scored.
DEF: Joshua Kimmich - Bayern Munich, £6.8m, owned in 19.93% of teams
Only two players have more assists in Europe’s top five leagues (Hazard, Messi) and while Bayern’s opponents (Liverpool) still have the same players that so nearly took them to Champions League glory last season, they aren’t even in the top 10 in goals scored in this competition this campaign.
DEF: Aymeric Laporte - Manchester City, £6.5m, owned in 11.13% of teams
Laporte has quickly become one of the best defenders in Europe, offers a decent goal threat as a centre-back, and, like Ederson, will come up against a Schalke defence this week that scored fewer group stages goals that any club that advanced (six).
DEF: Raphael Guerreiro - Borussia Dortmund, £6.2m, owned in 7.25% of teams
His ownership and price are both shockingly low considering he led all defenders in goals, clean sheets, and points during the group stages and he could actually do even more in the Round of 16 as he has been playing as a winger since November.
MID: Raheem Sterling - Manchester City, £7.5m, owned in 17.31% of teams
An asterisk should be used here as we obviously have no idea who manager Pep Guardiola will play by the time this match rolls around but, considering City boast the second-most Champions League goals this season, you’re going to want/need some Manchester City cover in your team.
MID: Dusan Tadic - Ajax - £7.0m, owned in 9.31% of teams
Tadic was a sneaky pick in my Expert XI at the start of the tournament and considering he only went and led all Champions League midfielders in points with 48, I’m going to stick with him so long as Ajax are in the competition, regardless of opponent.
MID: Son Heung-min - Tottenham, £6.9m, owned in 4.06% of teams
This may be a surprise to some of you considering the defensive stats mentioned for Guerreiro, but Son has been on absolute fire in the Premier League (8g, 3a in the last 10 matches) and has scored eight goals in his nine matches against Dortmund earning him his “Beekiller” nickname.
MID: Memphis Depay - Lyon, £7.0m, owned in 9.53% of teams
Depay was another player that I picked at the start of the season and he keeps his place as well as no Champions League player has provided more domestic chances created (76) or accurate crosses (56) than the Dutchman this season.
FOR: Lionel Messi - Barcelona, £8.4m, owned in 43.79% of teams
He’s the most owned player in the game, and for good reason seeing as he finished with the second most goals in the group stages… despite starting only three of Barcelona’s six matches.
FOR: Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich, £8.7m, owned in 22.34% of teams
Lewandowski has been unstoppable in the Champions League this season and if you think Liverpool will be the ones to do it without Virgil van Dijk or Joe Gomez available, think again.
FOR: Marcus Rashford - Manchester United, £7.1m, owned in 2.98% of teams
With differential darling Chalov no longer selectable, Rashford steps into the team as a high-upside play and, considering his recent form (5g in last 6 starts) I’m willing to trust his form over his fixture (PSG) for the Round of 16.