How to Win FanTeam Euro 2020 (Part 1)

Introduction

Hi Again. 

My name is James and I was briefly 12th place halfway through the FanTeam seasonal long PL game, before ultimately drifting back to a solid (and profitable) 300th. It was my first season playing this game and I learned a few things that you may find useful as we look ahead to the lucrative Euro2020 game.

This first piece will mainly cover overview and strategy while the following one will look at the teams & players to target and then apply everything into picking a team (or teams!)

In fact, now that I’ve done a bit of research ahead of writing these articles, I’ve realised that I’m probably going to win. Seriously, there’s some absolute gold coming up and the only reason I’m willing to share it is I’ll probably represent quite a large % of views this article gets and my future self will thank me for keeping me on the right track. You’re welcome. Thanks.

$hit got real

As a beginner, I found Fanteam a bit of an annoying game to play. I felt disorientated playing it – it’s a cluttered website with a million other games I’m not personally interested in. Monster this and Satellite that. Daily Fantasy, Matchups and Pick’ems and don’t get me started on all those American sports. Whatever.

Once I found the season long game I was looking for it took me weeks to get used to the interface, what screen to go to review my team and make transfers. I had 2 teams in the season-long game and I managed them as identical teams for 10 weeks because I didn’t know how to do otherwise! And then there were the price differences and the player position differences, the points scoring differences and the rule differences compared to FPL. Sheesh. 

But there is of course one major redeeming feature. One key motivating factor. The main reason we’re all here. The moolah. And it’s visible right there on the leaderboard – how much you stand to win, how much you’ll win if you get a few more points to climb a few more places. Halfway through last season I was 30 points from 200,000 euros and I find that certainly helps focus the mind. 

There’s no getting away from the prize aspect, it changes the psychology completely. There’s more of a rivalry and definitely a more closed community when it comes to sharing advice and cheering you on. The multi-teamers are also daunting – you wonder how you can possibly compete with others who’ve covered all the bases! 

My advice is forget all that and play how you know best. Stick with your natural game, put your fantasy prowess to the test and you’ll likely get rewarded for it. Around 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 people will win a prize that at least covers the entry fee.

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”

I’m not going to hand hold you through all the basics, I’m just gonna skip to the good stuff. A couple of key differences to FPL and how to best exploit them. 

Rule 1 – No bonus points, but some other stuff instead…

  • Mids & Fwds get +1pt for completing the full match
  • Players gain +0.3 pts or lose -0.3 pts if their team won or lost while they were on the pitch 
  • Players get points for Shots on Target: 0.4 pts for mids & forwards, 0.6 pts for defenders
  • Keepers get 0.5 pts per save

Exploits 

  • Firstly, cheaper keepers can easily rack up the points that bridges the value gap to their more expensive counterparts
  • Now adjust your thinking – just look at these simple rules and think of the likely players as the new ‘BPS Magnets’ 
  • In general Goals are worth a bit less compared to FPL since they don’t corner a few bonus points as they do in FPL for me this affects the value equation for high price forwards
  • Defenders not getting 1pt for finishing games is a bit of a compromise but still a slight advantage for those who attack (freekick takers, CBs who come up for headers, OOPs/Wingbacks)
  • Stalwart mids & fwds for teams who will likely win matches are a really useful edge
  • The best attackers tend to have avg. 2-3 shots on target per game – but beware, they don’t get the extra points for SOTs that go in!
  • All in all, those trigger happy, ever presents for top teams like Ronaldo, Kane, Depay, Wijnaldum, Lukaku, Griezmann, Mbappe, Eriksen, McGinn – these are your new ‘BPS magnets’
  • Even then, rotation is going to be a major issue in the group stages – with 5 subs allowed and a relatively low bar for teams to qualify and many big teams will be able to rest big names more frequently

Rule 2 – You can enter late and start GW2 midpack with the average points

  • … wait … say that again!?
  • You heard right.

Exploits 

  • If you’re going to multi-team (even just 2 or 3) then you might seriously considering holding one bullet back for late entry
  • You’re only going to see the lineups for 1 game (Italy v Turkey) for the first round of fixtures and so you’ll potentially learn a hell of a lot by sitting back, watching, taking notes and laughing at those mugs who’ve jumped in blind
  • With a wildcard after group stages – this approach leaves you the simple job of navigating the final 2 group games with a better picture of who needs what to qualify and what teams and players are looking the most likely to play a big part
  • This will work especially nicely if it’s a relatively tight, perhaps predictable set of 1st round results – leading to a bunched leaderboard. Even though your team won’t be in play yet – you can cheer a lot of the action that goes favourable, you just don’t want popular differentials banging hat-tricks

What to do, what to do?

First thing you need to do is decide your aim. Are you going all guns blazing for the big money or are you going to play steady and see what platform that gives you? As I said above, I strongly encourage you to do what you feel most comfortable doing. I really don’t enjoy managing multiple teams so I will likely only enter 1 and give it my best shot. Although I may go for 2 or 3 (max) if I have 2 or 3 coherent strategies or clear dilemmas that I want to cover bases on. 

Many will think about entering multiple teams to cover off various defensive double/triple ups and there’s no shame in that either. For me this is probably the best single reason to attempt 10-20 teams. But in my experience of this and many years of playing TFF, single teamers can easily mix it with the multi-teamers.  

Next we need to look at how the game is set up, some bullet points should help us rattle through it.

  • Wildcard after group stages means we only need to think about group stages
  • Group stages split into 3 simple gameweeks
  • We only get 2 transfers, 1st after GW1 and 2nd after GW2
  • We’re going to need to pick a deep squad to cover all the uncertainties
  • We’re going to need to really consider our criteria for taking hits
  • It means price changes are just a distraction, we can’t do much about them – but perhaps leave some flex if you identify any pre-planned rotations

Considering all of the above, I think there are some evident choices, or at least we can really thin down the options. I would encourage you to start with the obvious before you try to layer in your own particular brand of special, uniqueness that your mother keeps banging on about. At least, when I last saw her.

D’uh.

Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, England, Spain all look in very strong positions in their groups. Clean sheets and goals are absolutely on the table and each of those squads presents great triple A options in all positions. And you can afford a decent few of them. And you should absolutely rubber up and dive in! But before you know it those teams will be qualified and resting your beloved heroes for the juiciest fixtures. Rage! You just need a plan.

Part of that plan is considering that although France, Germany and Portugal have to play each other, they also get to play Hungary. And hopefully it also means less opportunity to rotate. You might be laughing if you’ve stashed up a few big hitting Germans for their 3rd round must win v Hungary while others are hitting themselves out of contention just to field an XI. 

Another good option is to go for some astute punts from mid-table teams. What you’re looking for is talismen from the teams fighting for 2nd in their group or the teams who are simply too naive to roll over to clearly superior opposition. As an aside, I forgot to mention John McGinn, who is a steal at 4.5m and plays a far more attacking role for Scotland. Don’t believe me? Just check out his recent stats and read his and Steve Clarkes comments. Anyway, the obvious talismen from 2nd tier sides include Yilmaz 4.5m, Kramaric 5.5m, Eriksen 7.0m, Bale 6.0m, Pukki 5.0m, Dzyuba 5.5m, Lewandowski 9.0m. Doesn’t hurt if they are on pens either.

Conclusions

Next time we’ll take a closer look at how to navigate the fixtures and where the points are going to come from. Once we’ve identified the targets we’ll see how best to fit them together in a squad with a plan. For now I leave you with some takeaways.

  • Money changes things. Acknowledge it and figure out what you’re aiming to achieve – but ultimately you need to stick to whatever fantasy manager approach that feels most natural to you.
  • Adjust your thinking about which players the scoring system favours (compared to Bonus Points in FPL for example) – think talisman.  
  • Seriously consider the benefits of entering a team in week 2, especially if week 1 results have created a relatively bunched field! Don’t forget to get your money’s worth by cheering on the week 1 events that confirm this opportunity (and cursing the events that screw it up). 
  • Focus on the group stages. Understand the fixtures and the potential rotation. Aim to build a squad with a depth of reliable options. Not just the sexy ones. 

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