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Fantasy La Liga: What can we expect from Barca?

We've reached the second-to-last week of the La Liga season, and there is still plenty on the line. Atletico Madrid haven't clinched second place over Real Madrid yet, Getafe are trying to lock up fourth and a spot in the Champions League next season, and five teams -- Girona, Real Valladolid, Levante, Villarreal and Celta Vigo -- remain at risk of relegation.

All 10 games this week will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Spanish time on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET), so we'll be able to see all the starting lineups before making our final fantasy decisions.

The big question is what kind of performance will we see from Barcelona? The league champions suffered a devastating defeat Tuesday, losing 4-0 at Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals and blowing their 3-0 lead after the first leg.

Barcelona have nothing to play for, other than to restore a little pride after such a historic collapse. The bookmakers believe in them; they've made Barca the second-biggest favorites of the weekend at home against Getafe.

If Lionel Messi starts, he'll be my Tier 1 forward and captain. Despite what happened Tuesday, Messi has had a brilliant season, with 34 goals in 32 games -- 13 more than any other player in the league.

If Messi doesn't start, my backup plan is Iago Aspas. The Celta Vigo star is tied for fifth with 17 goals, despite making only 25 appearances so far this season. That includes seven goals in his past seven games.

Valencia are currently in fifth, three points behind Getafe, and still trying to achieve Champions League qualification. They are the biggest favorites of the week at home against 10th-place Alaves.

Dani Parejo has been quite consistent this season. He has nine goal and five assists. He is third in the league in chances created, with 78, and ninth in passes completed, averaging 52.4 per game. He'll be my Tier 1 midfielder.

Late surge?

It has been a disappointing season for Gerard Moreno. He scored 16 goals for Espanyol last year and was subsequently signed by Villarreal. But he has only seven goals so far in his first season with the Yellow Submarine.

However, Moreno had a monster game last week: one goal, one assist, four shots (three on target) and six chances created in a 3-2 loss at Real Madrid, finishing with a season-high 32.7 points. His xG (expected goals) total of 12.65 is much higher than his actual tally.

Villarreal are still trying to secure their safety and are solid favorites at home against 11th-place Eibar. Just make sure Moreno is in the lineup (or follow me on Twitter) because he isn't a lock, making only 24 starts so far this season.

The ball scores

Real Betis have been one of the more disappointing teams in the league, currently in 13th place after finishing sixth a year ago. They've won just one of their past nine games. And yet I'm planning to have three of their players in my lineup this week. Here's why:

First of all, Betis are solid favorites at home against last-place Huesca, who have already been relegated. What's more, Huesca conceded six goals at home to Valencia last week.

Giovani Lo Celso finished with only 2.6 points last week, but that's because he failed to convert a penalty kick in Betis' 1-0 loss to Eibar. The fact that Lo Celso's on penalties is a big plus, and he hit a post with his other shot of the game. Lo Celso had four goals and an assist in his previous four games and will be my Tier 2 midfielder.

As a team, Betis have had 62.3 percent possession this season. Only Barcelona have had more (64.2 percent). This is proof that possession isn't as important as many people think when it comes to winning soccer games. But possession is still very important fantasy-wise because it means more passes completed.

Andres Guardado averaged 64.8 passes completed in his past five games, prior to last week. He had only 32 against Eibar but had two shots on target, so he finished with a decent score. He'll be my Tier 2 midfielder.

Marc Bartra is fifth in the league in passes completed on the season, averaging 60.8 per game. Betis had 66.2 percent possession against Huesca the first time around. Bartra is my Tier 1 defender as of now, but that could change if Gerard Pique or Jordi Alba start for Barcelona. Stay tuned.

Other picks

Daniel Wass, Valencia (Tier 2 defender): Wass lined up as a wide midfielder against Huesca last week and picked up a goal and an assist. But check his status on Sunday, too, because Wass has started only 24 league games this season. Plus, Valencia have a Europa League semifinal second leg against Arsenal on Thursday, which could lead to lineup changes.

Neto, Valencia (Goalkeeper): Valencia have conceded 34 goals in 36 games; only Getafe (31) and Atletico Madrid (26) have conceded fewer. Alaves, Valencia's opponents this weekend, have scored 36 goals; only Girona (35) and Real Valladolid (30) have scored fewer. That sounds like a recipe for a clean sheet to me.