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UCL Fantasy — Rate my team: Timo Werner to haul?

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An exclusive data analysis for NMA readers!

Manchester City v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

It’s here! The most anticipated game of the season — The UEFA Champions League final between Man City and Chelsea will bring down the curtain on what has been an enthralling 2020-21 club season.

This also marks the end of UCL fantasy. With the final deadline of this season’s UCL fantasy fast approaching, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and give our teams the final push to achieve higher rank. Here is my strategy to hopefully end up with an excellent score in the final match-day. Please let me know what you think.


UCL Semis 2nd Leg Recap:

The second leg was bittersweet for me. From my 1st leg semifinal team, I transferred out De Bruyne, Kabak & Nat Philips to bring in Di Maria, Ramos & Marquinhos. Bringing in Di Maria was an easy decision at that point as he looked brilliant in the first leg. I roped in Ramos & Marquinhos for their attacking threat. Taking out De Bruyne was a massive gamble as he had very high ownership and any return could have backfired.

As it played out, dropping De Bruyne didn’t hurt me much as he earned a measly 3 points. However, replacing him with Di Maria didn’t go to plan, as the Argentine finished with a score of -1 after receiving a red card. Bringing in Marquinhos and Ramos was a no-brainer at that point as the eliminated Kabak & Philips had to be replaced. Having Mahrez in my team would have taken my rank “To the moon” as Elon Musk would say. Welp, we can’t have them all I guess!

Owning Pulisic and captaining Mason Mount turned out to be the best decisions I made in the game week, both getting decent returns. That Chelsea vs Real Madrid game was a nervy watch from a fantasy point of view, but it all turned out okay with Mount’s late winner, assisted by Pulisic. With a score of 53, my national rank surprisingly remained unchanged at #43. My overall rank went up to #1419. I’m hoping to finish top #1000 overall and top #20 in India. Let’s see what the Fantasy gods have in store for me.


Stat Analysis

Players with high point returns are the holy grails of fantasy football. To pick the players with the best chance of scoring, assisting, and keeping clean sheets, statistical analysis would help make an informed decision. But this is cumbersome, so I have done that for you. The data plotted is for all likely starters in all positions barring keepers. It’s about to get real nerdy now — Strap in!

The below graphs plot Chelsea and ManCity players’ points per game over the course of the UCL 2020-21 season. The plan is to transfer in and hold the starters who have the highest ppg.

Points per 90 minutes-UCL Fantasy final 20/21: Potential starting 11- Midfielders
Points per 90 minutes-UCL Fantasy final 20/21: Potential starting-11 Defenders
Points per 90 minutes- UCL Fantasy final 20/21: All potential starting-11 players

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To find the best value option, we can consider another statistic which is the Attacking Value Index (AVI). The AVI measures a player’s attacking return (goals + assists) over the entire 2020-21 season (league, cups & UCL) versus his UCL pricing. In simple terms, the higher the AVI, the better the player value.

Attacking value index-Potential starting - 11 Midfielders
Attacking value index: Potential starting-11 Defenders
Attacking value index: All potential starting-11 players

Cancelo has the highest ppg in UCL, and Phil Foden is the most valuable attacking asset to own.


Key points

  • Buy & hold players with high ppg.
  • If your budget is tight, fit in players that have a high AVI.
  • Save transfers only after the lineups are out.
  • Although it is good to have the stats analyzed to make the best fantasy decision, past performance is not a guarantee of future profits.

Transfers

  • Timo Werner in, Neymar Out

As the only forward likely to start, bringing in Timo Werner for the eliminated Neymar is as obvious as a move can be before lineups are confirmed. Werner is in good form coming into the finals with two goals and three assists from his last five starts. He looks like a potential candidate for a differential captaincy, so for now my armband is on him!

  • De Bruyne in, Di Maria out

De Bruyne has the highest ppg among midfielders. Going without KDB in the previous leg was a huge risk, but I got away with it. Don’t think I’ll get lucky twice. He comes straight in for Di Maria.

  • John Stones in, Ramos out

John Stones has the second-highest AVI among defenders and also a decent ppg. Stones’ threat from set-pieces makes him an excellent fantasy asset.

  • Thiago Silva in, Marquinhos out

The high ppg and his ball recoveries make Thiago Silva a reliable UCL fantasy defender. Thiago Silva’s knack for scoring important goals makes him an attractive option. It’s a straight swap between him and Marquinhos.

  • The Undecided Transfer

I have 1 free transfer left and already have a full playing 11 for the finals. I’m contemplating going down 3 possible routes :

a) Ziyech in for Pulisic

b) Mahrez in for Pulisic

c) Stick with Pulisic and abandon the free transfer.

If Ziyech starts, I’m leaning towards option ‘a’ as Ziyech has an excellent record against Man City. Ziyech has been Chelsea’s most prolific goal-scorer against City this season, scoring twice in his three games against the Citizens. If Ziyech doesn’t start, I’m leaning towards scrapping the transfer and sticking to Pulisic, who was fantastic in the semifinals. Leaving out Mahrez could come back to haunt me, but surely he isn’t scoring again, is he?

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For more fantasy European-tournament fun after the UCL is over, be sure to join NMA’s fantasy Euros mini-league!

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We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section. Which option would you choose? Am I taking too much of a risk by captaining Werner? Who is going to win the UCL Final?

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