World Cup fantasy football is here and with it comes a selection of new chips (boosters).
In addition to the traditional Wildcard, the 12th Man and Power Captain chips debut.
While change is exciting, for some fantasy managers these new chips are a little confusing.
Their concepts are simple enough, as we outline below, but it’s when the optimum time to use them, if indeed there is such a time, is the question.
Before we dive deeper into the strategy behind each, here is a summary of World Cup fantasy chip:
- Wildcard: Make unlimited transfers between a specific Matchday (Not before MD1 or MD4)
- 12th Man: Select one additional player who isn’t already in your squad – this player cannot be substituted, captained, or transferred (budget and team allocation doesn’t apply here)
- Power Captain: Whichever player gets the most points from your starting 11 will automatically be given the captaincy
Once a chip (booster) has been confirmed it cannot be reversed, so only enable it when you are sure!
Now the basics are out of the way, let’s discuss booster strategy.
World Cup Fantasy Wildcard
Many fantasy managers will be familiar with the Wildcard. The World Cup one works similarly to FPL.
The best time to use the World Cup fantasy Wildcard is in MD2.
Doing so essentially gives you two lots of unlimited transfers, before MD2 and MD3. We’ll explain below.
If you activate your Wildcard before the first MD2 kick-off (Wales vs Iran), you’ll be able to select an entirely new team for MD2.
After this is where things get interesting.
Because of the transfer rules surrounding locked and unlocked players (you can transfer an unlocked player for another one and have them active within the same matchday), due to the active Wildcard, you can do this without point penalties.
So, for the entirety of MD2, you can transfer out any players that for whatever reason don’t make the starting 11 (as long as you do so before that player’s match kicks off) for a player whose team has yet to play.
There’s more though.
During the final match of MD2 (Portugal vs Uruguay), when all players are locked, you can still transfer them out because you still have unlimited transfers.
It’s important to note your MD3 Wildcard will need to be completed before MD3 starts which is around 10 minutes after Portugal vs Uruguay finishes.
Therefore, you essentially get two Wildcards in one if you’re on top of your team.
Note: This is our and the fantasy football community’s interpretation of what the Wildcard can do based on the official World Cup fantasy rules.
12th Man Chip
The strategy for the 12th Man chip is a little simpler.
Use it whenever you think you can generate the most points from a player who is not already in your squad.
Make sure your 12th Man is a player who is definitely going to start. After all, they can’t be substituted or transferred.
We’ll assume you’ll be Wildcarding in MD2 which logically leaves MD1 or MD3 to use it.
This is because teams will have harder fixtures in the knockout stages (MD4 onwards) and therefore the 12th Man is less appealing.
Read More: World Cup Starting Lineup Predictions
Also, there could be rotation in MD3 and more substitutions, making the 12th Man riskier.
So, that leaves us with MD1.
MD1 is more predictable whereby you know premium players are almost certainly going to start.
For example, you may not fancy France against Denmark in MD2. That might have stopped you from picking Kylian Mbappe.
However, France plays Australia in MD1, which is a great fixture. A 12th Man on Mbappe would let you get France vs Australia but not need to remove him for MD2 in the tougher fixture.
The optimum strategy for the Power Captain booster is less clear.
There isn’t a matchday that is a poor time to use it.
The argument to use it sometime in the group stage would be players are likely to have a higher points ceiling.
This is due to the quality gap between teams being greater.
Predicting the highest point scorers in the group stage is easier, though, negating the need for the Power Captain somewhat.
Read More: World Cup Goalscorer Odds and More
The counter-argument is to use it in the semi-final or final.
It’s difficult to predict the highest point scorer when there are only a couple of games in a matchday.
So, if you use the Power Captain at the end of the tournament you’ll likely get one of the two or three best performers from that matchday as captain.