UEFA Champions League Fantasy Tips For Matchday 1
UCL Fantasy returns this week with 32 teams competing across two days. Our UEFA Champions League Fantasy tips for Matchday 1 contain an explanation of the rules, bookies odds to progress, rotation strategy and some budget-friendly defensive/attacking player tips.
Before we get things started we’d like to invite all of our readers to join the Fplbet UCL Fantasy League. You can manually join by entering the league pin (19584HQ4) or auto-join clicking this link. We’ve also created a Twitter account that we’re going to populate with content specific to UCLFantasy, it’s called @UCLFantasyHelp and we’d really appreciate a follow. Now on to the article…
How do the UCLFantasy rules differ to Fantasy Premier League?
A number of rules are the same as the official Fantasy Premier League game. You must select a squad of 15 players (2 goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders and 3 strikers) and you have a €100 million budget to do so.
There is a limit of three players per team for the group stage (the same as FPL). This allowance then increases as teams are eliminated from the tournament like so:
Round of 16: Four players max from each team
The main difference between the Champions League fantasy game and regular FPL game is the ability to make substitutions during the match day. Similar to the Euro Fantasy game, this allows you to swap players on your bench or change your captain between Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s games. Any player substituted will then score 0 points while a captain will lose his captain bonus.
This gives players the luxury of swapping a player who has been sent off or changing a captain who has performed poorly, as long as the player they are substituting in has yet to play. The rules state however that you cannot change a captain who has been sent off.
As Groups A, B, C & D play on one day and E, F, G & H play another, it is a common tactic to spread your players over both match days and start everybody who plays on a Tuesday night, before swapping out your worst performers for those who are left to play. It’s also logical to have a strong captaincy options for both days.
If no changes are made then the game will automatically substitute inactive players.
Another way the Champions League game differs from its Premier League counterpart is in the amount of transfers players can make:
Before group stage: Unlimited transfers
Group stage: One per matchday
Between group stage and round of 16: Unlimited transfers
Before round of 16 second legs: Two
Before quarter-finals first legs: Five
Before quarter-finals second legs: Two
Before semi-finals first legs: Five
Before semi-finals second legs: Two
Before final: Five
Like the FPL, players are deducted four points for each transfer made outside their free transfer allowance however one wildcard can be played, allowing you to make unlimited transfers at no cost.
The majority of the scoring system is also familiar, with the only exceptions being that one point is deducted by a player conceding a penalty and there are no assists for a player winning a penalty or free-kick that is scored from.
UCLFantasy bookies odds to progress:
We’ve taken the bookies odds to qualify from the group and converted them into an implied chance percentage. It’s not necessary to focus on including players who qualify from a transfer point of view because you get unlimited transfers before Round of 16. However, this table helps picture group difficulty and which teams are expected to dominate.Notes from the table:
In Group A, PSG are expected to narrowly top the group ahead of Arsenal whilst FC Basel and Ludogorets have been highlight forecasted to be knocked out. Group B hosts are completely different state of affairs with Napoli the favourites and Besiktas & Benfica expected to battle for second place. Dynamo Kiev are the likely team to be dismissed from Group B, despite being ranked the highest of the ‘last place’ teams with 38.10% of qualifying.
Groups C, D & F have very clear projections with the implied chance percentages displaying strong favourites for all first, second, third and fourth. This makes the top teams from these groups worth backing, whilst the bottom ones not so much.
Groups E & G are more tightly contested like previously mentioned Group B. Tottenham are the favourites to top the group despite an implied chance of just 73.34% (lower than most teams forecasted to come second). Meanwhile, Leverkusen are forecasted second place. It’s a battle between Porto and Leicester in Group G as both tie on 75.00% chance of qualification.
Juventus are the clear favourites to top Group H with the rest of their group ranking in the bottom half of the table. Seville are predicted to qualify over Lyon, whilst Dinamo Zagreb have just 22.22% implied chance of qualifying.
How to utilise rotation within UCL Fantasy:
When constructing your team it’s important to heavily factor in player rotation. As we mentioned above, this happens during a Matchday (Gameweek) rather than over the course of many. If you field three defenders for day 1 and two of them blank, then you can replace them with another two who are playing on day two.
The table below shows teams who rotate (sorted into two columns). When constructing your team make sure you have a split of 3/2 defenders and 4/4 attackers (midfielders/forwards) who play on different days.
Best cheap defensive options for Champions League Fantasy:
Kiko Casilla (RM, 5.0) Currently Real Madrid’s number one as Keylor Navas recovers from surgery. Place will be at risk once the Costa Rican recovers but has a decent opening fixture at home to Sporting Lisbon.
Adrian Semper (DZ, 4.0) Possibly the only nailed 4.0 option. Has started Dinamo Zagreb’s last two games after previous first-choice Eduardo moved to Chelsea.
Presnel Kimpembe: (PSG, 4.0) Has played every minute for the French champions. Difficult opening fixture against Arsenal but plays on the Tuesday and can therefore be subbed.
Alejandro Grimaldo: (SLB, 4.0) Like Kimpembe, seems to be nailed on for the national champions, a Benfica side that often performs well in Europe, for only 4.0.
Stefan Savic: (ATL, 5.0) Currently keeping Jose Maria Gimenez out of the team in arguably Europe’s most solid defence. 1m cheaper than teammate Diego Godin.
Miguel Layun (POR, 5.5) With Maxi Pereira out for upwards of three months, Layun looks like a safe choice for the group stages. From left-back he scored 7 goals and made 19 assists during 45 matches in all competitions last season.
Best cheap midfielders and forwards for Fantasy Champions League:
Franck Ribery (BAY, 7.0) Needs no introduction. Seems to have forced his way into Ancelotti’s plans after making only 13 league appearances last season. Faces competition from Douglas Costa but could be a potential bargain for one of the favourites.
Andre Silva (POR, 6.5) Listed as a midfielder but currently playing up front for Porto. Fairly easy group with Copenhagen as the first fixture.
Emre Mor (BVB, 4.5) Dubbed the Turkish Messi by his fans, only been utilised in cup matches so far for Dortmund. Not nailed on but a budget enabling option at 4.5m.
Nolito (MCI, 7.0) The winger has got off to a good start for City with three goals and two assists in all competitions. Could play as striker in MD1 as cover for Aguero.
Ivan Rakitic (BAR, 7.5) Featured in every minute of Barcelona’s La Liga campaign so far, scoring the winner away at Bilbao in week 2.
Toni Kroos (RM, 7.5) Nailed on CM and a cheap route in the Real Madrid team. Two goals and an assist so far in La Liga.
Jamie Vardy (LEI, 7.5) Leicester are joint favourites to top their group and goals from their key man will be vital to their success in this competition.
Alexandre Lacazette (OL, 8.0) Six goals in three matches so far this season in Ligue 1. Lyon aren’t expected to progress, but the goal scoring threat of Lacazette could defy the odds.