Here’s our Euro Fantasy Quarter Final Tips article where Rob Reid reviews his Round of 16 points and shows us his team for the quarter finals as well as giving some player suggestions for your Euro Fantasy team
Euro Fantasy Quarter Final Tips – Rob Reid’s Team
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Round of 16 Review
RD 16 pts: 71 Tot Pts: 279 Overall Rank: 2,328. Wildcard and Limitless Chip used
A rather paradoxical round on the fantasy football front. Pleasing in terms of my round score – 71 points is pretty good when looking at what other people were getting. I had 7 returns and again managed a nice Captain score of 20 points, this time from Benzema. The other big plus is that I’ve again taken a good jump up the overall rankings, into the top 2500. The big trade-off to this though was the number of players I now have eliminated from the tournament.
With no Wildcard left I had hedged on Italy, Netherlands and France as the 3 teams with the best odds in terms of progression, with 9 players from these teams in my squad. In terms of the actual spectacle, it was great to see the Swiss and the Czechs upset the odds. The Czech Republic v Netherlands game hinged on a couple of mad second half minutes at 0-0 where firstly Malen managed to blow a one-on-one which was quickly followed by the De Ligt sending off. After that, there only looked like being one winner. Sadly for my Fantasy team, that was 3 players knocked out.
Then there was Magic Monday. Croatia v Spain was incredible enough – at 3-1 I thought Spain were coasting through and Sarabia was going to be safely into the next round, but then the comeback. Thankfully Unai Simon showed great resolve in extra-time to put his howler behind and keep Spain alive so they could finish Croatia off again. But then came the evening match. Again, France had it won and with a few minutes left I started to relax, supposedly safe in the knowledge that I’d now have enough players through. But what a comeback from the Swiss and I knew as soon as Mbappe stepped up to take the key 10 penalty that Sommer had his number. Another 2 players out.
Yet still, I could have ended up with enough through had Sweden not conspired to blow a great opportunity as well. Forsberg could have had a hat-trick, but alas the game turned on another red card and it was Ukraine who managed to conjure a winner to set up a Saturday night showdown against England in Rome. Forsberg did at least part with a goal though which added nicely to Pickford’s 7 pointer from earlier in the evening. Oh and I won’t mention the triple Italy clean sheet wipeout in extra-time in too much detail – painful!
I’ve 6 outfield players through then as well as my 2 keepers. 4 Italians – Donnarumma, Bonucci, Spinazzola and Berardi; 2 from Denmark – Maehle and Damsgaard along with Sarabia from Spain and Jordan Pickford. Berardi is also a selection doubt after Chiesa put in a strong performance so I’m up against it.
First of all, let’s have a look at the 4 fixtures, the timings of the games and the prospects for each team. I’ve also included bookies odds to qualify for the next round and a note on which fantasy assets are on yellow cards (note there is an amnesty for suspension after this round.)
Friday early game – Spain (4/6) vs Switzerland (5/2)
– Spain are the favourites on paper and are also joint 2nd best this round for clean sheet odds at 5/4. This game also has the added bonus of us seeing the line-ups before the deadline. Spain still don’t seem to know what their best line-up is and the centre of the defence looks all at sea on a cross ball. I think Switzerland are a nice differential and if you’re on a Wildcard, I would be tempted to gamble on someone like Seferovic or Shaqiri. For me though, I’ll probably only consider attacking assets for Spain here. Please also note that if you’re looking at a Spain defender, Pau Torres and Jordi Alba are both on a yellow card.
Friday late game – Belgium (11/10) vs Italy (4/6)
The bookies surprisingly for me have Italy as favourites to qualify, I thought it would be the other way around. I’m expecting a tight game here – both defences look good and Italy will be bolstered by the likely return of Chiellini. De Bruyne and Hazard also both look like they will be fit for Belgium. I can see this one going to extra time, or perhaps being won by the odd goal. Di Loroenzo, Pessina, Vermaelen, Alderweireld and T.Hazard are the notable players on yellow cards here from a Fantasy point of view. I’m already committed to 4 Italians here.
Saturday early game – Czech Republic (6/4) vs Denmark (1/2)
I’m surprised to see Denmark at such short odds to win here, again I thought it would be closer but they are favourites for me. They are also level with Spain on clean sheet odds at 5/4 -pre-tournament they were very tight at the back, but they only have 1 clean sheet so far in the competition. The Czechs surprised me with a 2nd clean sheet of the tournament, but they had given up some big chances prior to De Ligt’s red card. From the Fantasy perspective. Wass and Damsgaard are notably on a yellow for Denmark with Coufal notably on a yellow for the Czechs. I’ve got 2 Danes already and might consider a third.
Saturday late game – Ukraine (7/2) vs England (2/11)
This looks the most straightforward match to me and I’d very surprised if England don’t make the semis. Ukraine had a hard R16 tie and there are doubts on the fitness of several players including key creative influence Yarmolenko who limped off in extra-time. England are also the bookies favourite for a clean sheet this week at 8/11 – not surprising when you consider they’ve yet to concede in the tournament. It looks sensible to load up on England assets as they also look the best bet to go through to the semis too. Maguire and Foden are notably on yellows as is Yarmolenko for Ukraine.
To Hit Or Not to Hit…
I’m going to need at least one minus 4 points hit to have 11 players eligible to play so I guess this begs the question as to whether this is worthwhile in such a short tournament. For me, there a few things to consider.
1) What is your ultimate goal in the game? If you are chasing a mini-league win then what is your rival doing? If it is overall rank, then consider the impact your hits are having on this.
2) How many hits do you need? 1 or 2 I think are fine in this short format as they are effectively only a -2 if you’re replacing a non-player with someone you know is going to play. Once you are getting into the realms of 3+ hits though I think you need to think carefully.
3) What players are you needing to bring in? Midfielders probably have the highest weekly ceiling with the extra point available for goals, clean sheets and shots from range. Defenders with limited attacking potential probably have the lowest ceiling as a clean sheet is their only means of return. Also can you cover both gamedays with a decent Captain option?
4) If you’re taking a hit, you should be bringing a player in you back to get to the final. That way the hit can pay dividends over 3 rounds instead of just the 1.
With this in mind, I think taking one hit to get me up to a full quota of outfield players is worthwhile, especially as I think Berardi will at best only come on as a sub in the Italy game. I also have to bear in mind that I’ve had my full quota of strikers wiped out and these are players with a decent points ceiling. The good news is that budget has pretty much become irrelevant not with a number of the top-priced premium assets out of the game.
My Quarter Final Team
Now I’ve got all that out the way then here’s what I’ve come up with plan-wise.
Plan A is to gamble on which 4 teams I think will qualify. I’m already committed to Italy with 4 players and pretty much committed to Denmark with 2 players. It is therefore the other fixtures that become more important in this regard. I have Pickford from England and I think it makes sense to back England heavily to reach the semis. They have the best game on paper and are heavily favoured by the bookies so this plan would involve bringing in 3 English players. Kane and Sterling would be the first 2 – they are both gametime secure and Sterling is in great tournament form.
My 3rd English player would be a defender. Maguire is my favourite in terms of marrying up gametime security and attacking returns, but the risk with him is he is a booking off suspension. Shaw I think has the best ceiling as he offers potential of attacking returns, but he’s not 100% gametime secure. I’d then use my other transfer on a Spanish player, taking advantage of seeing their team pre-deadline – likely a striker. Dare I say it, I think I’ll end up with Alvaro Morata. I would then Captain my Spanish forward on Friday and likely Kane on Saturday.
If either England or Italy qualified with this plan, I would then only need one of Denmark or Spain to qualify to put me in a position where I can get 11 players for the semi-finals. If all four qualified of course, then I’m quids in. The down side is that if all 4 got knocked out, then I’m fielding a 5-a-side team in the semis! The upside is great, but the potential for disaster is very real.
Here’s what it would look like
Plan B is to hedge my bets a bit more – I’d bring in 2 English players and 2 Belgians (probably Lukaku and Meunier.) This would guarantee me at least 2 players through from the Belgium v Italy fixture so I then have more of a buffer if any of my other backed teams get knocked out. The downside of this is that I could still end up quite short if the other 3 fixtures don’t go my way. For now though, I think I favour Plan A, so this would give me a team of: Donnaumma, Spinazzola, Bonucci, Maehle, Maguire/Shaw, Sterling, Damsgaard, Berardi, Sarabia, Kane and Morata with my Captain plan as stated above.
Here’s how this team would look
This is certainly going to take some mulling over though and as usual I’ll post my final line-up on Twitter before the kick-off of Spain vs Switzerland.
Good luck folks and I hope you enjoy the games.