Euro 2016 Fantasy Guru: Tips and guidelines to pick your first Fantasy team
As the world waits for the commemoration of Euro 2016, football fans around the world are busy finalising their final squad for the official Euro 2016 fantasy league named McDonald’s Fantasy ’16.
For those familiar with Premier League’s popular ‘Fantasy Premier League’ (FPL), the basic rules of the Euro fantasy league are self-explanatory. For those who are not, here is what you have to do.
You are initially given €100m and using this you need to pick a squad comprising of 15 players. This squad has to have 2 goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders and 3 forwards.
Like in FPL, you can only pick 3 players from one team. However, this limit changes to four players for the Round of 16, five players for the quarter-final, six for the semi-final and eight for the final.
During group stage you can only make one transfer at the end of each matchday. At the start of the round of 16 you have unlimited transfers, for quarter-finals you have four transfers, for semi-finals and the final you have 6 transfers each at your disposal.
Users are also given a wildcard that they can use once during the tournament. This will allow them to make unlimited transfers before the next matchday or knockout phase without any deduction in points.
You can view the complete rules here.
Choosing your formation:
This is the most important part because before you pick your team, you should decide on the formation you want to play. This is important as you will invest in players in different positions based on this.
If you want to go for a very offensive formation, then your best pick is the 3-4-3 formation. If you want to rely on defenders who score and can maintain clean-sheets, then a 5-2-3, 5-3-2 or 5-4-1 is your best choice.
I personally prefer a team which is balanced and thus, I’ve chosen the 4-4-2 formation.
How to pick players:
The squad I’ve picked for the first match-day is given above to help you understand the squad selection.
Before you pick your squad, you should know about how the teams performed in the qualification phase, how they performed in the friendly fixtures prior to Euro, who are the sure starters and who the set-piece takers are. Always keep in mind that you are picking a team for a full stage and not just for one matchday.
Goalkeepers: Obviously you have to play one goalkeeper, so try not to be stingy with this selection. The best bets are the keepers of one of the tournament favourites like Germany or France. The advantage is that these teams are likely to keep a few cleansheets along the way and if you keep them, then chances are that you will be able to save a transfer in the latter stages.
For your substitute keeper, research on teams that have very good defensive records in qualifying stages and have keepers who are not very costly. For example, Romania had the best defensive record during the qualifying phase as they conceded just two goals. So picking the Romanian keeper wouldn’t be a bad idea. Similar are the cases for Wales or Austria. However, before you pick your keeper, make sure you look at the groups as some groups can be very difficult.
Defenders: Whenever you pick a defender, pick one that is likely to score a goal or provide an assist. Goals scored by a defender can fetch you 6 points. The best picks are full-backs who love to bomb forward and join the attack. Some examples of such full backs are Christian Fuchs, Danny Rose and Ricardo Rodriguez.
You can also pick defenders who are set-piece specialist and Ricardo Rodriguez of Switzerland is the first name that comes to mind.
Defenders like Jason Denayer of Belgium are ones that most players should have in their team. Denayer is very likely to start for Belgium as a full back or as a centre-back and he costs just €4.5m. Another player you can pick is Eric Dier. Dier is likely to start for England, but he will start as England’s midfielder even though he is listed as a defender. The advantage this gives is that you will get points for every clean-sheet England has and because Dier plays in midfield, the probability of him having a goal or assist to his name is more.
One main thing to keep in mind during the group stage is to try and avoid picking two or more defenders from the same team or even one defender from the same team as your goalkeeper. This is because in case their team concedes a lot of goals, you will get a lot of negative points for all those players. So try to pick players from different teams.
While picking midfielders, always go for attacking midfielders or wingers as they are likely to score or assist than central midfielders. You can pick central midfielders in two scenarios. Firstly if he is cheap and takes the set-pieces for his team and secondly when he is a starter who is very cheap and he can fit your budget. But try to put such players on your bench and not in your starting XI. One such option is Renato Sanches of Portugal.
Go for players who have been in very good form for their club or country last season. Some good options are players like Ozil, Payet and De Bruyne.
Forwards: I strongly advise that you pick one of Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in your team. Both players have been terrific for their country and their groups are not the toughest. My personal pick would be Ronaldo as Portugal have one of the easiest groups.
For fans of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, I would advise against picking him as Sweden has a very tough group.
Some other good options below €9m are Giroud, Kane, Shaqiri, Mandzukic and Milik. I would advise against picking Romelu Lukaku as he hasn’t been doing that well for Belgium recently and he costs €9m. Another player you shouldn’t be picking is Wayne Rooney as he costs €9.5m and he is likely to start in midfield than upfront.
Picking your captain:
Pick your captain according to the fixture. If one of your defenders is playing a team against which his side are likely to keep a clean-sheet, then making him captain is not a bad idea. The chances of a team keeping a clean-sheet are more than the probability of a player scoring a goal.
However, if one of your forwards or midfielders (preferably wingers or attacking midfielders) is playing a minnow who are likely to concede a lot, then go ahead and make him your captain.
For the first matchday, I’ve picked Shaqiri as my captain because Switzerland are playing minnows Albania and the Stoke City man is one of the main goalscorers for his country.
So good luck picking your teams for the Euro 2016 Fantasy!