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Fantasy Champions League 2013 Week 2: Projecting Optimal Lineup

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Fantasy Champions League 2013 Week 2: Projecting Optimal Lineup
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If you're not getting enough of a fantasy fix keeping tabs on the Barclays Premier League, a visit to Week 2 of the UEFA Champions League draw might do the trick. 

We're still in the group stage of the 2013-14 European tournament, but the player pool is far and wide with 32 clubs all vying for table positioning in October. 

Tuesday and Wednesday will feature 16 matches on the docket, giving you ample opportunity to decipher which players are going to have favorable matchups from a fantasy perspective. 

On a budget of 100 and needing to fill 15 roster spots, here's an optimal lineup for Week 2 in Champions League fantasy soccer. 

*Player values according to ESPN

 

Goal: Christian Abbiati, 6.5

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Abbiati might not be the popular choice in the net this week, but he does have 13 saves in six Serie A starts, and he managed to record a clean sheet against Celtic in AC Milan's Champions League opener. 

The 36-year-old recently became the club's most capped goalkeeper of all time, as reported by Football-Italia.net. He is fresh off a scoreless performance in Milan's 1-0 win over Sampdoria—the match in which he broke the record. 

Facing an Ajax Amsterdam side that was pummeled by Barcelona (4-0) in their first UCL match, Abbiati has value as a starting keeper. 

 

Defenders: Girard Pique, 6.5; Ashley Cole, 6.5, Juan Camilo Zuniga, 5.5; Omer Toprak, 4.5

Michael Regan/Getty Images

While defence is the weakest position on this roster by total price, Gerard Pique and Ashley Cole are hardly strangers to the effort it takes to perform well in European competition. 

Pique helped Barcelona stifle Ajax in September and adds another bit of value as an attacker—he scored a goal in that 4-0 win. The Barca defender is already on record as saying his club won't lose to Celtic, upping the stakes for a big game. 

Cole is in a good position to see the field for Jose Mourinho's outfit versus Steaua Bucuresti

Napoli defender Juan Camilo Zuniga provides strong value; he has three assists in 12 total starts this year and recently helped his Serie A side keep a clean sheet against Genoa. 

Speaking of value, Omer Toprak at 4.5 could be a steal. Bayer Leverkusen face a Real Sociedad side that scored only three goals in the month of September (six matches). Toprak also had a goal in Week 1 and was a strong performer for Leverkusen last year in Europa League action. 

 

Midfielders: Arjen Robben, 8.5; Mesut Ozil, 9; Mohamed Salah, 5.5; Frank Lampard, 7.5

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arjen Robben thrives in the Champions League, following up his four-goal, two-assist performance last year with another goal and assist to open up play in September in a 3-0 win over CSKA Moscow. 

Ozil has been a hot name in fantasy circles since joining Arsenal, and will look to record his first goal as a Gunner when taking on Napoli. Lampard's résumé speaks for itself; he had an assist against FC Basel but will be motivated for more after Chelsea failed to earn any table points in Week 1. 

Mohamed Salah is the player of value in this section. Just 21, he scored his first UCL goal in that Basel win and is an emerging star for his outfit. Building on a strong Europa League performance last season, Salah is a threat to score again against Schalke 04. 

 

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, 12; Neymar, 10

David Ramos/Getty Images

Ronaldo and Neymar are pricey additions to any roster, but both will be well worth it.

Real Madrid are slated to face FC Copenhagen in Week 2, and Ronaldo is fresh off a hat-trick performance in his club's first UCL game this year. He already has six goals in seven La Liga matches, and is a safe pick for captain on your roster.

Neymar isn't the best striker on the Barca roster, but you will benefit in fantasy by adding him to yours. Lionel Messi is expected to miss the Catalan club's match with Celtic, as reported by the Press Association via The Guardian on Monday. 

Though he has just one goal in four La Liga starts, this could be Neymar's coming-out party. 

 

Bench: G Fraser Forster, 4; D Lars Jacobsen, 4; M Daniel Royer, 4.5; F Leo, 5  

EuroFootball/Getty Images

On the bench, Celtic goalie Fraser Forster is a value add and solid depth behind Abbiati. He had six saves in Celtic's first UCL match. Leo is also nice depth as a striker; the Atletico Madrid forward scored his first goal for the Spanish club as a sub against Zenit Saint Petersburg

Lars Jacobsen and Daniel Royer are emergency fill-ins, but the former is a veteran presence for his Copenhagen side and the latter will see his fair share of chances to contribute to Austria Wien's attack. 

 

Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter. 

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