With the Champions League upon us this week, it's also time to start setting your lineup for fantasy Champions League.
With the top players in Europe to choose from and only a £100m budget, it's easy to go through your options like a child in a toy store. You might add all of the expensive goodies into your cart without a thought toward the money you actually have to spend.
Thus, I've decided to share with you some of my favorite value buys for the first match week. Hopefully, these players will allow you to splurge on some of the other big-name players you crave.
Note: All prices via ESPN Fantasy Champions League.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal, Forward
You could spend £12m on forwards like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie (and honestly, owning one of them is probably smart). But you could also get a player who has scored five goals in his first six games in all competitions this season, Olivier Giroud, at £8m.
There's no reason to think Giroud can't add to his account against Marseille. He's fresh off scoring a goal and adding an assist against Sunderland, and is a great value buy for fantasy Champions League players.
Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund, Midfielder
In seven appearances for Borussia Dortmund this season, Marco Reus has scored four goals and tallied three assists, and you can add him into your midfield for the reasonable price of £8m.
Few players combine his pace, devastating shot from distance and dexterity on the ball. And you can bet he'll have an impact on Dortmund's matchup against Napoli—he has a WhoScored.com match rating of 8.11 in Bundesliga play, fifth best in the league.
He's a stud, and a very smart buy.
Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City, Defender
Zabaleta is currently the second-highest-scoring defender in ESPN Fantasy Premier League with 29 points, trailing only Everton's Seamus Coleman (34 points).
While his £6.5m price tag means that only eight defenders are more expensive, his strong start to the season makes him the most appealing player from the second tier of defending options.
Though you might want to take him out of your lineup once City plays Bayern Munich...
Helton, FC Porto, Keeper
Porto have given up just one goal in four Portuguese Liga games, and have a group they should be competitive in against Atletico Madrid, Zenit St. Petersburg and FK Austria Wien. If you want to save a few bucks on your keeper, go ahead and add Helton for £5.5m.
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