Transfer Tips for UCL Fantasy Round of 16
In our latest Champions League Fantasy article, we look at the players under consideration as UCL Fantasy managers take advantage of unlimited transfers before the Round of 16.
Perhaps the biggest dilemma facing Champions League fantasy bosses ahead of the round of 16 is the boost given to them by the unlimited changes rule.
Essentially a wildcard, managers can use this to their advantage by loading up on players whose teams are likely to compete deep into the latter stages.
Looking at bookies’ odds, managers using Barcelona (7/2), Bayern Munich (4/1), Real Madrid (5/1) and city rivals Atletico (10/1) for the bulk of their roster may have to use fewer transfers later on.
Squads can now feature a maximum of four players from any one club, while substitutions (both captain and player) within a matchday carry greater significance with fewer teams to choose from.
So, which players look like good prospects as the Champions League embarks on the knockout stages?
Best Goalkeepers For Champions League Fantasy
The first chunk of last 16 games sees Bayern Munich pitted at home against Arsenal. Bayern start as favourites to progress and featured as our best tip for a clean sheet this week.
Therefore, the imposing presence of Manuel Neuer between the sticks is a sensible choice.
Given Leicester City’s terrible recent form, managers could also pick Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico, who will face the Foxes at home next week and is the second-highest scoring keeper (34) so far.
Atletico Madrid boasted the most watertight defence of the group stages, conceding just two goals, but with star goalkeeper Jan Oblak currently out injured his likely replacement Miguel Angel Moya might prove to be a bargain buy at just €5m. Atleti play Bayer Leverkusen away next week.
Best Defenders For Champions League Fantasy
Sevilla have been handed a good draw in Leicester and their defence, already featuring some high-scoring players, looks set to be flush with points next week.
However, a slight caveat sees the likes of top-scoring defender Sergio Escudero (37) and Gabriel Mercado (27) in danger of missing out through injury and suspension respectively.
UCL fantasy bosses could instead look at Mariano Ferreira (33) and Nicolas Pareja (29) to add to their impressive points tallies and feature in the quarter-finals.
Viable alternatives include Atletico Madrid’s Stefan Savic, Bayern’s Mats Hummels or Barcelona’s Gerard Pique for managers aiming for long-term options.
Best Midfielders For Champions League Fantasy
There are a plethora of midfield choices available for UCL fantasy bosses and most managers will have Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich players in their squad.
Real’s Toni Kroos, Bayern’s Arturo Vidal or Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic are strong foundations for a midfield which should also contain players from attacking teams such as Napoli, Monaco and Porto.
Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik have been on fire for Napoli in Serie A and the Champions League this season, while Monaco star Bernardo Silva has enhanced his reputation with five goals and five assists in Ligue 1.
But Porto’s Andre Silva (41) is second only to Arsenal’s Mesut Özil (44) in the UCL points stakes this season and represents good value at just €6.9m.
Best Forwards For Champions League Fantasy
UCL fantasy managers can’t go wrong in picking two world-class attacking players.
Any duo from usual suspects Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski or Antoine Griezmann will rake in the points.
Credible differentials include Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang plus PSG frontman Edinson Cavani who at €9.3m is the cheapest on the list despite scoring 41 points in six games – a total only bettered by ten-goal Messi (58).