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Fantasy La Liga: Alternatives to Lionel Messi

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Here are some key stats you need to know for your fantasy lineups ahead of this weekend's La Liga matches.

With Tier 1 forward Lionel Messi's status less than certain for Wednesday's Clásico in the Copa del Rey, you should use caution in setting your lineup for this weekend's La Liga action. Messi, who is dealing with a quad strain, has scored in nine straight games and is one shy of tying his career-long streak with club and country.

The first Tier 1 forward you should consider in Leo's stead is Antoine Griezmann, whose 149 fantasy points and six goals since December 15th trail only the aforementioned Messi among La Liga players. Griezmann faces Real Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday against a tired Real Madrid team playing in their fourth game in 10 days. Meanwhile, it will be just Atlético's second game in 14 days. The Frenchman will also look to set a personal best with a goal in five straight La Liga home games. Griezmann's compatriot, Wissam Ben Yedder, is also worth a glance in Sevilla's home tilt against Eibar. The Basque side has allowed 13 goals to opposing forwards on the road this season, tied for the most in La Liga.

Brazilian Tier 2 forward Willian José has been lights out for Real Sociedad since the New Year. José is averaging more fantasy points per game (17.1) than any other non-Tier 1 player in La Liga since January 1st. José also averages over 10 fantasy points per game in his La Liga career against Valencia, who will be on short rest due to the Copa del Rey semifinal against Betis on Thursday.

Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov recently penned a letter to Philippe Coutinho, urging the 26-year-old to be patient and stay with the Catalan club at season's end. While Coutinho may not have lived up to expectations, from others and himself, thus far at Barcelona, the Tier 1 midfielder should be in your starting lineup come Sunday against Athletic Bilbao. Coutinho actually leads all midfielders with 15.3 fantasy points per 90 minutes this season (among midfielders with at least 200 minutes played this season). Bilbao have also allowed seven goals to attacking midfielders this season, three more than any other club.

Tier 2 midfielder Rodrigo is worth playing this week in the Madrid derby. With Koke possibly out and Saúl Ñíguez missing three of the team's past four La Liga games, the 22-year-old will be relied upon to play a large role. Rodrigo is averaging 14.5 fantasy points in games that Koke has missed this season and just 7.4 points in all other games.

Huesca's Moi Gómez should be considered for this week's Tier 3 midfield spot after putting up over 20 fantasy points against Valladolid last week. Huesca travel to Catalonia on Saturday to face Girona, that have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to midfielders this season.

Spain's starting central defenders, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué, will face each other on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey, which could bring their starting availability into question this weekend in La Liga. Ramos is the likelier to play considering Real Madrid could leapfrog Atlético into second place of the La Liga standings with a win. Ramos' 10 goals are third-most for Real Madrid in all competitions this season and are tied for his most in any club season of his career. If both Ramos and Piqué are rested, Girona's Bernardo Espinosa has fresh legs after serving a suspension last week and faces an underwhelming Huesca side that have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing defenders in La Liga this season.

Espanyol's Tier 2 defender David López has a solid chance to net another double-digit performance against Rayo Vallecano at home on Saturday. López is averaging over 10 fantasy points during his past four La Liga games, creating four scoring chances in that span. In his previous 13 games this season, López created just one scoring chance.

Barcelona's Marc-André ter Stegen and Getafe's David Soria are prime candidates for goalkeeper this week. Ter Stegen and Soria have the most fantasy points among goalkeepers since the start of December and each has an enticing matchup this week. Barcelona face Athletic Bilbao, who have scored a total of 23 goals in 22 games this season. Getafe have a home match against Celta, who may finally be able to count on the return of Iago Aspas, who has missed each of the past five games and will need to shake off some rust before he returns to form.