Tournament time. Euro 2020 first draft team.

Tournaments are my favourite form of fantasy football. Short, sharp hits of football fun which could end with a trophy for England and a sackful of cash heading our way.

Well, that’s the pre-tournament hopes at least.

As regular readers will know, the last Euros represented my biggest fantasy football success. I haven’t entered the same game this time but I figure this is the last opportunity to post my big cheque pic as it remains the previous Euros until this summer. 

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This year, I’m playing Dream Team, TFF and the official Euros game. 

UEFA Euro 2020 game

I will look at the official game today, because I am guessing more people will be playing it and it is going to be the one followed most closely by all the podcasts.

A lot of what I am going to write will be valid across formats but each game has very different rules. With a tournament only lasting for a very limited number of matches, making sure you tweak your teams based on the rules of individual games is absolutely vital.

I mentioned in my end-of-season FPL blog that I find gimmick chips annoying and a bit rail-roading in terms of strategy for clued-up players. In many ways, this game is the worst around for that. We pick an initial squad. We then get a free wildcard ahead of the knockouts. As well as that, we get to choose all the best players in the tournament for one round AND get another wildcard. Effectively, we get to pick four fresh teams for seven rounds of matches. That’s just ludicrous.

But we are where we are, as they say round here. So what’s the strategy? Most people seem to be suggesting set up for match weeks 1 and 3 and use the unlimited pick anyone you like chip in match week 2. There’s one massive problem with that. It ignores the fact that this bizarrely bloated tournament only reduces by 8 teams between Round 1 and Round2. Match week 3 could have several teams that have already qualified for the knock-outs and have very little reason to play their first XIs. This is very likely to be true of the teams we actually want to pick players from. So my initial thought is to just look at GW1 in splendid isolation. Try and get the best score I can from that and then make a judgement. The number of chips means you are unlikely to be left in a real mess just playing week to week and tournament play always means more upheaval than a regular FPL game week. If you were to hold a gun to my chest I’d suggest I intend to try to negotiate the second round of fixtures with my two frees and to use the unlimited chip on teams in the third round of games that have something to play for and a decent fixture. Wildcarding into the QFs to set yourself up for the run-in seems entirely sensible.

So… today I’m only thinking about the opening fixtures. With that in mind, it seems a bit of a no-brainer to make sure you have at least 3/4 slots aimed at the opening fixture. We will see the team sheet, we will make sure we have points on the board. Italy v Turkey is a tasty Friday night starter for the tournament. Italy’s form has been super recently and they are a team I would expect to go far. That combined with it being a single match day means I have not considered any options other than three Italy players. My only question is whether to hedge by also picking a Turkey asset.

The rest of my plan is to ensure I have a decent captain option each day. To ensure I have 15 players I think will start and to avoid France v Germany. 

So here’s the draft.

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Goalkeepers

I had a wobble once people started suggesting Spain and Holland may have 4.5m keepers. But I’m not struggling for cash too badly so I went back to my first plan. Gianluigi Donnarumma will be my goalkeeper through all games until Italy are out. I don’t like spending transfers on goalkeepers and he’s not overpriced. In this game, I will be backing up with Lukas Hradecky but would hope not to have to use him. 

Defence

I’ve seen a lot of talk about just ramming a ton of cheap defenders in. I don’t see the need and I think you’re missing out on potential points by doing this. I’m doubling up on the Italy defence and doing so with Alessandro Florenzi. He’s top class, on a top team, and is only 1.5m more than a random guy. I’m also spending 5.5m on Ricardo Rodriguez. He’s playing against Wales in the first game and is on set pieces. I think he’s being overlooked because he doesn’t play for one of the fashionable teams.  5m is going on Coufal. He’s been so good this season and can continue his form against Scotland. My cheap options are Egzijan Alioski and Simon Kjaer. Kjaer looks a solid option with a good game and Alioski is my Leeds fan captain punt. I’m going to stick the armband on him v Austria if my first two don’t fire and hope for the best. He is on set pieces and has a fantastic record for N Macedonia.

Midfield

This is where I have saved money and it looks weak. I guess I may have to revisit the Donnarumma idea… I’m going for Chiesa to complete my triple Italy and am also delighted to be able to pick Torres. But then it’s cheap. Soucek completes my Czech double v Scotland and I like the look of Alaba of Austria. I’m hoping one of him or Alioski scores well in that game, if not both. Then I hope I can leave Rodri on the bench. He’s very cheap for a reason. But I needed to save cash because of…

Forwards

Someone posted on Twitter that we’ve all got Ronaldo because he’s playing on the final day of the round and we might need a cap. If you don’t have him, your captains have failed and he scores… your Euros are over. I don’t mind a punt but not going with Ronaldo seems a punt too far for the first match. I will likely swap him out for Kane ahead of England v Scotland.

I’m also going for Lukaku. He’s a beast of a forward and the obvious captain pick for next Saturday. The forward line is finished off by Memphis Depay. He looks in superb form and is the obvious captain for Sunday. I’m still planning on going for Alioski, mind.

Captains

Chiesa – Lukaku – Alioski – Torres – Ronaldo.

 To be honest, looking at this, if you get to Ronaldo with no decent return, the Euros are probably over anyway. I will take a look again before next Friday and will post again if I make changes.

Good luck.

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