World Cup fantasy is here!
The month-long tournament is a welcome distraction for FPL managers while the Premier League goes on a break.
The transition from FPL to the World Cup format isn’t easy though.
There are a lot of differences in how the matchdays are structured, points are scored, and most importantly, how different the strategy is.
In World Cup fantasy there are many intricacies that need close attention. Understanding these is imperative.
To help fantasy football managers that have never played fantasy football outside of domestic leagues, here are our top 10 World Cup fantasy tips.
Fantasy Premier League managers will be used to selecting a starting 11, and 4 substitutes, and seeing them come on in the event a member of their starting 11 doesn’t play.
Substitutions work differently in World Cup fantasy.
While there are automatic substitutions, relying on them isn’t advisable.
Instead, it’s vital to structure your team so that subs play toward the end of the matchday.
This way if a player performs poorly from earlier in the matchday (a player from Argentina or England for example) then you can sub them out.
So, regardless of how expensive they are, make sure players with a fixture at the end of the matchday are on your bench.
Subs can be made between actual days – not to be confused with matchdays which designate each round in the fantasy game.
Arguably the important part of World Cup fantasy is your captain.
It is almost guaranteed that the managers who finish at the top of the global rankings will understand how captains work perfectly.
Again, another massive difference between FPL and World Cup fantasy is that you can select two captains in a matchday.
Conversely, in FPL you select a captain and vice-captain every gameweek that are fixed.
Captained players score double points. If you switch the captaincy the player that was captain will score their usual points (1x).
Don’t get too greedy though, if your captain does haul (10+ points), consider keeping them.
Many World Cup fantasy managers will get greedy and risk their captain returning very little.
For full clarification on how the captaincy works, check out our Fantasy World Cup captain guide.
3. Take Risks
Due to how substitutions and the captaincy works, you can be riskier with your picks – at least early in the matchday.
If a particular player isn’t guaranteed to start or they’re the type that can score big or score nothing, then playing/captaining them early in the matchday isn’t a problem.
This is because you can sub them out or switch the captaincy.
So, if you’re going to take a risk do it with players that feature in the early groups.
Make sure your players from the later games are more reliable, however, because you will need them to start and score points.
4. Bench Fodder
While you can take risks on players that might not start, don’t bother with players that definitely won’t.
Some players are as cheap as $3m which will of course make buying premium players easier.
However, due to how substitutions work, as discussed above, you want to make a good attempt at getting points from all players.
It’s better to have two mid-range players than a premium and bench fodder player.
The same goes for ultra-cheap players that will start but have no chance of getting points.
So, for example, avoid defenders from the likes of Costa Rica and Saudi Arabia.
Costa Rica average a 13% chance of a clean sheet across each group game and Saudi Arabia 14%. It’s not worth it.
5. Goalkeeper Picks
Goalkeepers are always a tricky position to get right but do not make this simple mistake.
You need to select two goalkeepers – make sure they are not playing on the same day!
If they are, you cannot sub whichever one you selected.
Also, make your ‘first-choice’ goalkeeper the one that’s playing later in the matchday.
That way you can take a punt on a cheaper option and switch to your first-choice should he not do well.
6. Focus on ‘Big’ Teams
The gap between the best and worst teams is bigger in the World Cup than it is FPL.
All Premier League teams have a place in FPL but unfortunately, some countries are just too limited in what they can achieve at the World Cup.
That’s not to say there won’t be a big underdog reach the quarter-finals with a player or two of theirs massively exceeding expectations.
However, when the tournament finishes, it will be players from the likes of Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, England, Germany, etc that will score the most points.
Don’t fall for the cheap prices.
7. Transfers (Same Matchday)
You get two free transfers between group stage matchdays, before unlimited transfers become available between MD3 and MD4.
Exceeding the two transfers results in only a three-point penalty. This is one less than in FPL.
This is one major part of transfers in World Cup fantasy to take advantage of though.
Traditionally, if you make a transfer that player won’t score points until the following matchday. In fantasy World Cup that isn’t true, at least under a certain condition.
If you transfer out a player whose team hasn’t played in the current matchday with a player whose team also hasn’t played in the current matchday, the transferred-in player will score points in the current matchday.
Let’s repeat that with an example so it’s clear.
If England have yet to play in MD1, and you transfer out Foden for Antony, and Brazil have yet to play in MD1, then should Antony play, Antony will get points for MD1.
The biggest advantage to this rule is you can see if a player is going to start and if they don’t transfer them out in the same matchday.
8. Don’t Ignore Defensive Midfielders
Defensive midfielders are largely ignored in FPL. This is because midfielders primarily score points for attacking-based actions.
However, due to the scoring criteria in World Cup fantasy, there is a place for more defensively minded midfielders.
Midfielders get a point for every three tackles and another point for every two key passes.
Therefore, they’re rewarded more for overall play rather than purely goals and assists.
This means if there is a defensive midfielder who is reasonably priced and has decent defensive and passing statistics, then they could outscore their more attack-minded counterparts.
9. Get Your Forward Picks Right
There are 53 forwards priced $7m or more in World Cup fantasy. That’s a lot to choose from!
Therefore, there is a lot of mid-range to premium players that you’ll have to go without.
Being able to only select three of them means you’ll be watching a lot of games where you’re desperate for particular strikers not to score.
It’s easier than done, of course, but being without the forward that scores a hat-trick in MD1 will be hard to come back from.
Is it worth taking a punt on Sterling when the likes of Kane, Mbappe, Messi and Neymar are there? Probably not.
Boosters, known as chips in FPL, are special use perks that can be used in a matchday.
They can only be used once and one per matchday.
There are three of them which are as follows:
- Wildcard: Allows you to make unlimited transfers between a matchday
- 12th Man: Select any player in addition to your 15-man squad – they cannot be transferred, substituted, or captained
- Power Captain: Automatically captains the player that scores the most points in your 15-man squad
Here is an in-depth guide for the best World Cup fantasy chip strategy.
Following the optimum strategy will likely be the difference between winning a mini-league and not.
Now, you know more than the average fantasy football World Cup manager, you need to select your squad.
Here is some further help: