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Fantasy Champions League: Key stats to know for the round of 16

AP

With the group stage in the books, the UEFA Champions League moves on to the Round of 16 with first leg matches starting February 12. Here are some key stats to consider for the top fantasy options ahead of this round's matches (stats are through games of Feb. 7).

Forwards

Among Tier 1 forwards, Juventus' Cristano Ronaldo has scored 60 career knockout-round goals (20 more then Lionel Messi), but is coming off a 2018-19 group stage in which he had just one goal in five games. He and Juventus face a tough road test against Atlético Madrid on February 20. Atlético have allowed the fewest goals per game at home in Champions League history by a team with at least 10 home games played (0.6 per game in 40 games). It gets even better in the Diego Simeone era, allowing just 0.3 goals per game at home in 29 home games since he took over in 2011.

Also in Tier 1, Lionel Messi and Barcelona visit Lyon on February 19. Barcelona have tended to fare well against French clubs, averaging 2.22 goals per game against French sides (40 in 18 games), their highest average against a specific top-five European league. As for Messi himself, he is averaging 1.5 goals per game in UCL play thus far this season, the best rate in the competition.

Another potential Tier 1 choice is Manchester City's Sergio Agüero, who faces Schalke on February 20. Agüero has six goals over his past five games, while Schalke has averaged 2.0 goals allowed per game in 16 UCL knockout stage matches.

When PSG visit Manchester United on February 12, Kylian Mbappé could be worth a Tier 1 selection. Over his past five games in all competitions, Mbappé has five goals and four assists.

Also worth consideration in Tier 2 is Real Madrid's Karim Benezma, whose side visits Ajax on January 13. While kept off the score sheet in Real's draw with Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, Benzema had six goals in four games prior.

Midfielders

As injury-riddled Tottenham prepare to host Borussia Dortmund on February 13, Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen might be a player to avoid in fantasy. He has no goals and one assist over his past six games in all competitions. On a more positive note, Eriksen did create six chances in a February 2 matchup against Newcastle after creating just five in his previous five games combined.

In more positive form heading into the Round of 16 is PSG's Ángel Di María. Over his last five games in all comps, Di María has three goals, two assists, has created 16 chances and completed 78 percent of the passes he has attempted in that time frame.

Another Tier 1 midfielder to be aware of is Liverpool's Sadio Mané, who will face Bayern Munich on February 19. Mané has goals in each of his last three games in all competitions. However, he created just three chances in that same span while averaging less than 67 touches per game.

Turning to Tier 2 midfielders, Tottenham's Son Heung-Min has goals in each of his past two games and eight goals in his past nine contests for Spurs. In the middle of that, though, Son had just a single assist in three games for South Korea at the Asian Cup.

While not much of a scorer recently, Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho has created 13 chances during his past six games in all competitions and completed 87 percent of his pass attempts over that span as well. Meanwhile, Sancho's Dortmund teammate, Marco Reus, has goals in each of his past four games and completed just over 85 percent of his passes over his past six games in all competitions. Either could be worth a selection when Dortmund face Tottenham.

Defenders

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos could be a Tier 1 defender to consider when Real visits Ajax. Over his past seven games in all competitions, Ramos has recorded 26 clearances and 12 pass interceptions.

Another Tier 1 defender from La Liga who might be worth a lineup selection is Barcelona's Gerard Piqué. In his past six games in all competitions, Piqué has completed 46.5 passes per game while recording a 91 percent completion rate. He also recorded 25 clearances and six pass interceptions in that same stretch.

Among Tier 2 defenders, Borussia Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi might be worth a play. Offensively, Hakimi has scored twice and completed 283 passes over in his past three games, while in the defensive half of the field he has nine pass interceptions in that same span, including five in a Feb. 5 DFB-Pokal match against Werder Bremen.

Goalkeepers

While facing a potentially (even sans Neymar) strong offensive side in PSG, Manchester United's David De Gea has been in good form of late. Over his past five games in all competitions, he has recorded three clean sheets and stopped nearly 89 percent of opposing shots on target in that span.

De Gea's cross-city rival, Ederson, has also looked good as Manchester City get set to take on Schalke. Over his past seven games in all competitions, Ederson has notched five clean sheets. However, he has not been overly tested in that span, having faced just eight opposing shots on target in those seven contests.