I played my limitless chip in MD-2, meaning that when the final whistle blows on today’s action, my squad will revert to this:
So I’m now faced with a decision: Are my two free transfers (plus maybe 1-2 more for hits) enough to salvage this team for MD-3? Or should I wipe the slate clean with my wildcard chip? To answer that question, I need to evaluate the prospects of the players who are currently in my team.
Out of Tournament
While we can all breathe a sigh of relief that Christian Eriksen has fully recovered from his on-pitch cardiac arrest, the tournament is over for him. Therefore I need to move him out.
Could be Rotated
The Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium have already qualified for the Round of 16, and the Netherlands has already sealed first place in Group C, so these teams (especially Holland) could rest key players.
That means Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum could be rotated for the tasty meeting with North Macedonia. But what it means for Owen Wijndal is a toss-up. Benched for MD-1, the meaningless MD-3 game could be an opportunity for him to get minutes.
Lukaku is also at risk, as he was not among the several players (including Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard) whom Roberto Martinez name-checked as starters for Monday. But Thomas Vermaelen was, meaning Jason Denayer’s spot is also in doubt.
Finally, Italy’s Domenico Berardi could be granted a breather for MD-3 too. The Azzurri are already through to the knockout rounds, so Roberto Mancini may decide to grant Federico Chiesa a start.
I feel pretty good about the prospects of my other players, but I’m still left with seven who are risky for MD3. And only Berardi plays for a team whose lineup we will see ahead of the MD-3 transfer deadline (those teams are Italy, Wales, Switzerland, and Turkey).
That’s more holes than I can plug with free transfers and hits, so I feel compelled to play my wildcard. Spending it now means I’ll go into the quarterfinals with only three free transfers, but I’d rather do that than approach MD-3 with a patched-up version of my MD-1 squad.
Besides, fantasy teams will increasingly converge towards similarity as the tournament reduces the number of teams, so the group stage represents my best opportunity to separate myself from the pack.
Edit: And since I forgot to make my MD-2 subs while I was writing this article, I now need to be extra aggressive!
So wildcard for MD-3 it is.
Teams to Target
With MD-2 still incomplete as I write this, for now the teams I’m targeting are as follows:
Group A: Italy and Switzerland
Italy will top the group with a win or draw against Wales, and Switzerland will be out if they lose to Turkey. Plus we’ll have the benefit of confirmed lineups for these teams ahead of the transfer deadline.
Group B: Denmark
If Denmark wins and Finland loses, then Denmark could finish in second depending on goal differential.
Group C: Austria and Ukraine
The winner of the Austria-Ukraine match will finish second.
Group D: Scotland
Scotland must defeat Croatia to survive.
Group E: Spain
After drawing with Sweden on MD-1, Spain heads into today’s match on just one point, so it is likely to have more work to do against Slovakia.
Group F: Germany
Today’s victory ties Germany with Portugal in 2nd, and just one point behind France. Germany can therefore seal qualification by beating Hungary. And the more goals they can score the better, since Germany, France, and Portugal all have the same goal differential.
While neither Portugal nor France is guaranteed to go through as things currently stand, they face each other in a clash-of-the-titans fixture that I think I’ll sidestep (but may enjoy watching!).
Since we’ll have confirmed lineups for Italy and Switzerland ahead of the deadline, these two teams offer us a chance to field players who are certain starters in an otherwise uncertain MD-3. I will certainly take the three maximum from Italy, and I could take one or two from Switzerland. For now I’ll go with Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK, £5.5), Manuel Locatelli (MID, £5.5), and Ciro Immobile (FOR, £10.0) as placeholders from the Azzurri.
I don’t rate Russia’s offense, so Simon Kjaer (£4.5) is a good low-cost option in Denmark’s defense. The Danes will need to attack MD-3, which means wing-back Joakim Maehle (£4.5) is expected to bomb up the left flank. Forward Yussuf Poulson (£8.0) is also a viable option.
Both Austria and Ukraine should be pushing forward too, so midfielders such as Marcel Sabitzer (AUT, £8.0), David Alaba (AUT, £5.5) and Andriy Yarmolenko (UKR, £8.5) are attractive, as are forwards Roman Yaremchuk (UKR, £7.1) and Marko Arnautovic (AUT, £7.0). Arnau’s minutes have been tightly managed, but he’s coming off suspension.
Andrew Robertson (£5.5) is the only viable fantasy option from Scotland, in my opinion. Much of the offense goes through him, and he also offers the potential for full clean sheet points.
Spain’s match-up with Slovakia is cherry. Goalkeeper Unai Simon (£5.0), defender Pau Torres (£4.5), and middies Ferran Torres (£8.0) and Dani Olmo (£7.0) all appeal to me.
From Germany’s side, left wing-back Robin Gosens (DEF, £5.0) is a no-brainer. He’s priced kindly, and his goal plus two assists against Portugal demonstrate that he is as involved in the attack as any German middie or forward. Joshua Kimmich (MID, £6.0) and Thomas Müller (FOR, £9.0) are other options.
Finally, although I am not targeting Belgium due to the specter of rotation, Roberto Martinez has kindly confirmed that Kevin De Bruyne will start. In my book that makes him a must-have.
So from this menu of options, my wildcard MD-3 team could look something like this:
This team is tentative for now, but I do like it. And I’ll still have £3.8 in the bank for countdown-hour shuffling based on injury reports, team news, and confirmed lineups. My captain cascade would likely be Immobile (or some other Italian if he doesn’t start) to De Bruyne to Robertson to F. Torres.
Hopefully my thought process has given you some ideas, but for even more please see Sravan’s MD-3 Player Picks article!
Will two free transfers be enough to fine-tune your MD-3 squad, or will your side require an overhaul? Are you taking hits or playing a chip? What do you think of my MD-3 plans? Please share your fantasy team lineup for the final round of the Euro 2020 group stage, and rate my team!