I’ll be honest, I only started looked at the World Cup properly yesterday. Can I just say, THANKGOD for that. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Let’s get straight into my team analysis…
Firstly I’ll just give you an idea of the foxsports layout. It’s the same squad of 15 you pick for fpl (2 GK, 5 DEF/MID, 3 FWD) with a budget of 30m. This may sound like a lot, but here’s how I simplify it. The easiest way to get an idea of how expensive a player is priced is to find out what percentage of the budget they take up. For instance somebody priced at 9.0 takes up 9% of your fpl budget. In this case, someone priced at 270k represents the same value. Someone priced at 150k is the same as 5.0 in fpl, so on and so fourth.
We’re picking our initial squads for the first 3 gameweeks, which is basically the group stages. When we reach the knockout rounds we can re-shape our teams entirely. We also have a wildcard to use at some point during the tournament, which I will touch on later.
There’s been two keepers I’ve been tossing up, and it really comes down to value. France’s draw is as soft as anything, so Lloris must come into contention at 150k. However the Greeks tend to park the triple decker bus if that’s even a thing, just imagine in this case it is. Karnezis is their number 1 keeper and at 120k, you could save the cash and spend it elsewhere. However the budget isn’t very tight, so I’ll be going with Lloris. Hopefully France can keep comfortable clean sheets against Honduras, Ecuador and possibly Switzerland. My backup keeper is Zemmamouche who should start for Algeria, but who cares. He’s priced at rock bottom. Come to think of it he may score in the negatives in any case. I don’t see the need for a back-up keeper, it usually ends up in tears.
It seems to me that players are priced fairly cheaply in this format, so I’ve had no problem in selecting 4 solid defenders without breaking the bank. This will be handy with rotation. I’m locking in Debuchy at 135k as he’s a lock at RB for France when fit. I say when fit as he got substituted at half time in their last friendly, however he should be good to go. Just have a back-up plan ready. I want to trust Varane but guys like Mangala and Sakho are knocking on the door. Evra should start at left back but Digne is a threat, whilst Koscielny is a safe option for an extra 15k. De Sciglio is my second selection, at 120k he should be an absolute steal! He will be italy’s number one left back and although their group is tough, they should be able to keep a clean sheet against Costa Rica and possibly even England. Durm is my next selection, he’s a pretty straight forward pick for me. With Schmelzer out he’s nailed on at left back for none other than Germany, who face an out of form Portugal before playing Ghana and the USA. At 135k he looks a bargain, he doesn’t mind pushing up the pitch either (He was a striker before moving to Dortmund). Any attacking returns are a bonus. At this stage my final rotation is Papastathopoulos, yes that was copy and paste and no I can’t pronounce it. However he’s locked on at CB for Greece and that’s good enough for me. If you thought Chelsea parked the bus, wait until you see these blokes. Greece have an open group and could well pick up a clean sheet or two, at 135k he looks solid value. They held Portugal to a 0-0 bore fest yesterday. Finally I’m throwing Vyntra in my 5th spot for no apparent reason other than he’s basement price at 110k. He also comes from Greece. My point has been made.
This is surely the toughest position to pick with so many options available! Narrowing them down to 5 was incredibly hard, but I think I’ve been successful. Basically my team structure comes down to whether Ronaldo is fit to play, something I will touch on when we get to the forwards. For now I’m presuming he will get up, and this is the structure I’ve gone with. Oscar is locked for me at 270k, he’ll be vital to their World cup chances playing in behind the striker. I can see him having a great tournament. Muller is another lock in my side, he just loves playing for his country and I’m sure many of you will remember his last world cup display. Germany will go deep into the tournament and he will be at the heart of everything. He’s also priced at 270k. Rodriguez is my next selection, at 215k he’s certainly priced under what he’s capable of. With Falcao out he’s their next best player and they’ll look for him to shine. He had a great season domestically notching 9 goals and 12 assists, I can see him putting his name on a lot of radars this World Cup. My final starter is going to be Pjanic (175k). I was tossing up between this bloke and Cuadrado, who incidentally is also great value at 150k, however he is yet to prove himself on the international stage. No time like the present, but I had to side for the Bosnian. Pjanic will be a key contributor is they are to make it out of the group stages, and games against Iran and Nigeria should allow for plenty of goals. Playing in an attacking role behind Dzeko, this kid is set for a big tournament after a great domestic season. He scored 3 and assisted 5 in their recent qualifiers from 8 appearances. I won’t be rotating in midfield, so I chose the popular Spurs spud Bentaleb to sit on my pine and collect some splinters at 110k.
Finally we reach the forwards, this is where the competition will be one or lost (in fantasy terms). There shouldn’t be any need for me to explain my selections. First picked was Messi at 360k, he’s still the best player in the world and will shine in Sau Paulo. Secondly I went straight for Neymar, the Brazillian wonder kid is priced at 340k, but has scored 11 and assisted 9 in just 9 qualifying appearances. Need I say anymore? It’s time for him to live up to Pele’s billing. Finally I’m going for Ronaldo (350k), slight fitness concern or not he’s still Ronaldo. The World Cup only comes around once every 4 years and I can guarantee you he will be playing, and scoring. If he is set to miss Portgual’s first group stage match, then RVP is next on my radar at 295k. He has a great international record. If you chose to go away from the big 3, good luck.
So that’s my squad complete, here it is in picture:
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Everyone will be after their own little POD’s, so Baysie, Nick and I will put up 3 players we just couldn’t fit into our teams but may explode on the big stage.
Blind (Def, 135k) – If you’re in need of a value defender, then look no further. Blind is priced at 135k and should line up out of position in Netherlands central midfield. Don’t expect too many attacking returns from him, however grabbing a starter from such a quality team at this price can’t be ignored. He’s a great little pick.
Shaqiri (Mid – 205k) – It really hurt for me to leave him out, and he’s not out just yet. I have 3 players vying for that 3rd midfield spot currently occupied by Rodriguez. Valbuena (205k) and this bloke. Valbuena is a great one to watch playing on the right hand side for France, especially with their easy draw. However this bloke is more exciting. He was on the radar of a number of top clubs after single handedly tearing Manchester United apart in the UCL whilst playing for Basel, before Bayern snapped him up. He only managed 10 appearances but still managed to score 6 goals. He’s a lock in Swaitzerland’s best XI, scoring 2 and assisting 3 in 9 appearances in qualifiers. Switzerland will come up against France, Honduras and Ecuador and will be confident of making it through the group stages. His value could spike if he performs to his potential, a great one to watch.
Drmic (Fwd – 205k) – Finally I’ll take another Swiss striker as a possible bargain sliding under the radar. Josip Drmic had an outstanding season domestically, notching 17 times for Nuremberg. He returned from injury to score a brace in Switzerland’s friendly against Croatia, before scoring yet again on the weekend. He will be Switzerland’s main man up front and he could enjoy a huge world cup is Switzerland can make it further than the Group stages. I’ll say it again, Honduras and Ecuador. Keep him on the radar.
There will be some of you who are playing the McDonald’s official fantasy game as well, here’s my tip. Make a 15 man squad of similar players to foxsports, then just chuck a bunch of plebs in the extra slots. Seems a bit pointless, the idea is you can’t make trades for the group stages. I much prefer the foxsports version…
So that’s it from me, hopefully this has helped many of you get started! Don’t forget to join our leagues, the code can be found in my previous post. Feel free to post your team in the comments and ask us any questions! Baysie and Nick will bring you their team reveals tomorrow. Get excited, only 2 sleeps to go!