The Round of 16 of Euro 2020 is a day away, so it’s time to get busy with our fantasy teams!
Team building strategy
Chip strategy plays a vital role in building a squad for the Round of 16. Some managers emptied their chip tank in the group stage; others have preserved a chip or two for the knockout rounds. Starting the knockouts, fantasy managers find themselves in two common situations.
1) All guns blazed in group play
Managers who used both wildcard and limitless now have no chips for the rest of the tournament. After locking in the infinite free transfers that we all have for the Round of 16, the only way to fix a team will be free transfers (3, 5 & 5) and suffering 4-point hits. Check out the “Fantasy tips and tricks” article to know more about point hits.
When choosing your squad for Round of 16 with no chips left, you must look ahead to the quarterfinals, semifinals & final. The quarters will be the most difficult because half of the tournament’s players crash out and you will have a measly three free transfers to fill holes. The semis and final shouldn’t be as difficult with five freebies each round and no need for a bench in the final.
Here’s the quarterfinals’ fixture list by calendar day:
Quarterfinals potential Calendar Day-wise match ups
|Match||Calendar Day||Team 1||Team 2|
|Match||Calendar Day||Team 1||Team 2|
|1||1||France or Switzerland||Croatia or Spain|
|2||1||Belgium or Portugal||Italy or Austria|
|3||2||Netherlands or Czech Republic||Wales or Denmark|
|4||2||Sweden or Ukraine||England or Germany|
To learn more, see the UEFA Euros web site.
A small but important point when going into the knockout rounds with no chips is to pick goalkeepers who not only play different calendar days in the Round of 16, but are also likely survive and play different days in the quarterfinals. As you’ll see later, I’ve gone with Maarten Stekelenberg (€4.7m GK Netherlands) and Gianluigi Donnarumma (€5.6m GK Italy) who meet all those criteria. Setting up that keeper combo now could save a vital free transfer for the most-sticky quarterfinals.
2) Limitless used, Wildcard in pocket
This is the ideal situation to be in as a Euros fantasy manager, enabling the knockout stages to be attacked aggressively to gain points on less flexible mini-league rivals. To know when to use the wildcard, check out the Fantasy tips and tricks article.
If you saved your wildcard for the quarterfinals, you can maximize points for the round of 16 without regard for player-survival or future match scheduling.
The ELO Difference Index (EDI) can reveal teams to target for the Round of 16. The ELO rating is a dynamic method to assess a team’s performance. To know more about ELO, check out the Football ELO Wikipedia page. To keep track of the updated ELO ratings, make sure to visit eloratings.net
(Nerdy Calculation Ahead! Heads up!)
- The EDI for any two teams is their ELO rating difference divided by 100.
- The more positive the EDI, the easier the fixture.
EDI = ELO1 - ELO2 / 100
Consider R-16 fixture Wales vs Denmark
As of 25th June 2021,
ELO of Wales = 1860
ELO of Denmark = 1925
EDI of Wales = (1860-1925)/100= -0.65
EDI of Denmark = (1925-1860)/100= +0.65
Using this calculation, I’ve plotted the Round of 16 EDIs for each calendar day.
On calendar day 1, Italy has the easiest fixture with an EDI of + 2.65. Going into the game, the Azzuri defense looks rock solid, having not conceded a single goal this tournament. Although the Austrians have been inconsistent, their performance against Ukraine shows their ability on a good day. In the other fixture, the Danes are slight favorites to go through with an EDI of + 0.65. But the Welsh shouldn’t be dismissed as Kieffer Moore and Co pose a daunting aerial threat, and Gareth Bale is one of those players who can score from nothing.
Netherlands has the best fixture on calendar day 2 with an EDI of +1.78. It is an excellent idea to max out 4 players from the Netherlands as the Oranjes have one of the easiest routes to the final, making Depay and his teammates’ valuable fantasy assets for managers with no chips in the bank. Belgium has the second “easiest” game on day 2, with an EDI of + 1.18 when the Red Devils face off against Cristiano Ronaldo’s valiant Portuguese side.
France has the most favorable fixture on calendar day 3 with an EDI of +1.93 when Les Bleus play Switzerland. Spain is a close second with an EDI of +1.58 when La Roja plays Croatia, who have “burst onto the scene”, as Micah Richards would say, with their recent performances.
On calendar day 4, Sweden has the easiest fixture on paper, with an EDI of +1.11. England has its hands full against Germany with a tiny net positive EDI of +0.39.
In terms of the overall Round of 16 EDI, Italy has the easiest fixture on paper, with an EDI of +2.65 with France and Netherlands having the second & third easiest fixture respectively. Austria, Switzerland & Czech Republic have the toughest fixtures for this round.
My current draft
As things stand, this is where my head is at.
I used both wildcard and limitless during group play, so as a consequence, the above draft is built with a look ahead to later rounds.
I’m happy with the Stekelenberg (€4.7m GK Netherlands ) + Donnarumma (€5.6m GK Italy) keeper combo for the reasons discussed earlier. Spinazzola (€5.6m DEF Italy), Maehle (€4.5m DEF Denmark), and Dumfries (€5.6m DEF Netherlands) are in the team for their attacking prowess and high clean sheet potential. Man United cornerstone Maguire (€5.5m DEF England) is the most nailed on starting defender for England; he’s in my team for the decent clean sheet potential and an outstanding aerial threat from set-pieces. Pavard (€6m DEF France) makes the team as France is expected to have a deep run this tournament. Pavard’s attacking threat gives him a high ceiling.
The Dutch attack is built around creating chances for Georginio Wijnaldum (€8.1 m MID Netherlands), making the future PSG star a valuable fantasy pick. Lorenzo Insigne (€8.6m MID Italy) has been Azzuri’s creator in chief and seems to have regained his goal-scoring mojo. His compatriot Domenico Berardi (€6.2m MID Italy) also makes the team as the Sassuolo winger is a fantastic value pick with a fine goal threat. Emil Forsberg (€7.7m MID Sweden) is the main attacking outlet for Sweden (and takes PKs), making him an exciting fantasy asset to own. Bayern Munich winger Kimmich’s (€6.2 m MID Germany) assist potential makes him one of the best options at his price point.
Kimmich and Maguire face each other, which means at least one will need replacing in the next round. But it’ll also mean that one of them certainly goes through (hopefully uninjured). The winner of Germany vs England will then have one of the easiest routes to the final, facing either Sweden or Ukraine in the quarterfinals. That’s a relatively juicy fixture to target for fantasy returns, so I would certainly not want to go into the next round without a good selection of German or English assets.
Memphis Depay (€10.1m FWD Netherlands) makes my team as the Oranjes have one of the easiest routes to the final and Depay is their talisman. Romelu Lukaku (€11.2m FWD Belgium) is one of the best fantasy assets to own as the Inter star is backed by a creative midfield looking to put the ball on a plate for him to finish. Although Portugal is a tricky fixture, the Red Devils are favorites to go through, making Lukaku a quality pick. Benzema (€10m FWD France) makes the cut for his goal poaching abilities. The Madridista is also France’s main penalty taker which rises his stock as a fantasy asset since Mbappe & Co are expected to win a lot of penalties.
I’m not completely satisfied with the Kimmich pick as I have a slight inclination towards England making it through to the quarters. I have an additional €0.4 m in the bank. I could upgrade Kimmich to Sarabia (€6.5m MID Spain) who was magisterial in Spain’s 5-0 win over Slovakia. But I’m not sure if Sarabia is a nailed-on starter for Spain, as Luis Enrique has several other options.
- How you would use the extra €0.4m?
- Would you upgrade Kimmich to Sarabia?
- Which essential player is my team missing?
- Is maxing out on Italy and Netherlands a risk worth taking?
- Is your team in a different situation from any I mentioned?
- Which team is set to shock the world this time?
- Will Wales reach another semifinal?
Please let me know in the comments section below. I’m curious to see your response. Cheers!
What are your thoughts about my draft
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