Telegraph Fantasy Football World Cup – Game Strategy by our TTF Pundit Stephen Troop


 Here’s a Telegraph Fantasy Football World Cup strategy article from our TFF pundit Stephen Troop.  He looks at tactics to employ to maximise your overall rank

Telegraph Fantasy Football World Cup – Game Strategy by our TTF Pundit Stephen Troop

With the world cup game being out a week I thought I’d write a few quick article to discuss strategy as in my opinion its very different to other formats of the game and requires you to have a plan. This article doesn’t look at specific players or stats

Basic Rules

As Geek has already done an article on all the rules I won’t go into detail with those. The important thing to remember is that you have 26 transfers to use in the group stages alone, and 20 thereafter in the knockouts (with unlimited transfers in between). That is a lot of transfers compared to other game formats and means that the skill element of the game is strategising how to maximise these transfers rather than researching teams/players/finding differentials/bargains.

Basic Strategy

Here are my basic tips for the group stages. Strategy will be similar after the group stages but obviously as teams get eliminated

1- Maximise games

As with (and even more so than) the standard version of the game, maximising the value of your transfers is made more likely by getting the most extra games. 26 transfers should mean 26 extra games. This means you should never transfer a player out for someone who plays before them in a subsequent round. For example, if you start with Ronaldo and then swap for Messi, you may then be worried about not having Ronaldo so you swap back and forth between the two through all three rounds.

This might seem the safe option but its not the best strategy as it takes 5 transfers for only 3 extra games (and thus you start on -4 vs the above strategy just on starting xi points). Instead use one transfer to make the swap in whichever round you think Messi has the best fixture and then stick with him. That way you only use 1 transfer. I’m not saying swapping back and forth won’t work out better in individual cases, but over 26 transfers its much less likely to overall.

2- Defence is key

The world cup is full of star players at premium prices that we all want or at least cherry pick for certain easy games. However its not actually in that many games you see lots of goals and if you do the points are usually very spread around the dominant team. It’s a very common strategy to use most transfers on swapping between block defences (full defence+goalkeeper of a team). I would heavily suspect that there will be a lot of teams starting the first night with a full Russian defence. Russia have lots of defensive problems but face the lowest ranked team in the competition first and we will know the full line up before the deadline.

This block will change to another block 4 or 5 times using the majority of their transfers. Each correct block chosen is a huge score boost. You won’t get it right every time but assuming 4 defenders and a goalkeeper, this way you’ll have 7 or 8 potential matches. 5 or even 4 clean sheets would be a huge points gain and potentially easier than selecting lots of attacking transfers as in the top teams goals can come from multiple attacking players so its hard to predict who will get the points.

You don’t have to use this strategy, however if you don’t its still well worth investing in a formation of 4 or 5 defenders as they are generally cheaper/better value and avoids scraping the bottom of the barrel for enablers. You could then choose semi-blocks (e.g 2/3 premium defenders/goalkeepers and 2/3 cheaper defenders/goalkeepers) and rotate the premium attacking options.

Analyse the Fixtures

Despite the fact we’ve talked about having lots of transfers etc analysing which teams have easier games and when Is still really important. If going with the defensive block strategy then identifying a team with 2 easy games in a row is important as at some point you will be using that block for two games. If rotating attackers you may not want Ronaldo when he plays Spain first but rather have an attacker in an early fixture for 2 games before switching to Ronaldo.


Figure out your strategy and stick to it. Most importantly make sure that you keep enough in the bank to carry your plan out. You don’t want to get to a stage of planning on getting the German defence in to find you are £0.3m short and having to make an extra transfer you didn’t want to in order to fund it. I will be making a plan and before the deadline doing a trial run of the transfers to double check this.

Pick the prize you are aiming for

With multiple prizes up for grabs including best starting xi and golden boot you will only be able to sensibly compete at one. The advice above only relates to going for the overall highest score prize. The starting xi prize will require more player research as well as gambling on which teams you think will go far (and keep clean sheets) and who will challenge for the golden boot. I still think defence is where the value is though.

Hope that this is helpful. I’ve not played many of the world cup/Euro formats so am interested in hearing about how you will approach the game. So leave comments on anything you think I have missed out or you will do differently.

The FFGeek Telegraph Fantasy Football World Cup League

The Telegraph have offered £100 in prize money for the FFGeek league.  That will be £75 for the winner and £25 for the runner up.

Entry is free but please note once you join my intention is not to remove anyone so be sure this is one of the 3 leagues you want to join.

Here’s the league details:

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10 thoughts on “Telegraph Fantasy Football World Cup – Game Strategy by our TTF Pundit Stephen Troop”

  1. Using the 26 transfers in various combinations the most appearances I get is 59. Is this the max or am I missing something?

  2. Yes Paul that’s correct providing your original 11 players play in all three group games(33) and 26 transfers….The hard bit is using all the transfers up because you have to wait until each player plays their 3rd group game before transferring him out and unless your whole team come from max 3 countries or the first two groups you’ll run out of transfer windows….it’s been doing my head in….good luck

  3. Hi Stephen

    Have you done trial run of transfers? Also do you have a follow up article based in your final plan yet?


  4. This block defence strategy has just blown my mind… I may need to comepletely rethink my approach! Thanks :)

    • I’m going to do one with and one without mate. Then I don’t need to think about which is best :)

      Cheers and good luck

    • The stuff I’ve seen seems to suggest you can’t which is pretty pathetic. On the plus side the first round isn’t a bad round to do it. Maybe worth getting in the premium players that have the best RD 1 fixtures so not Ronaldo for instance. Good luck and tell me if you work it out

  5. Sorry, this is going to sound like a really silly question to anyone who has played TFF before… the points for both the players I transfer in and out count during the round?

  6. Sorry Graham..just saw your question… bit late now but my strategy was to pick a team of definite starters in a 4-5-1 formation. Since the start I have just transferred the striker randomly which means out of the 59 possible games I will score in 57…that was the best idea I came up with on a purely mathematical approach…seems to be working.

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