Sometimes, fantasy football is brutal in its simplicity. It’s all about the captain, or at least that’s what it feels like when you pick several productive players but get the armband all wrong. In the first leg of the quarterfinal round, my Tuesday decision was between Mo Salah and Riyad Mahrez. I went with Salah, but it didn’t matter much because neither did anything. Then Wednesday my pick was between Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema, and we all know how my decision in favor of the former went as the latter scored a hattrick against a supposedly stout defense. Meanwhile, the explosive Bayern Munich attack blanked in Estadio de la Ceramica against a Yellow Submarine side struggling in 7th place of La Liga.
QUARTERFINAL ROUND, FIRST LEG RESULTS
I was glad not to miss out completely on Benzema’s hattie, but double credit would have been so much nicer. Benzema’s 18 points went a long way toward my pedestrian total of 56, as only four players scored five or more. My Real Madrid sniper was joined by Arnaut Danjuma, Joao Cancelo and Ederson. See all the ugly 1s, 2s and 3s scattered below:
QUARTERFINAL ROUND, SECOND LEG OPTIONS
So now what do I do for the second leg? MiQ has posted a handy MD-10 fantasy preview to help shape my thinking, and I’ve come up with a few different strategies. Let me know which one you like best.
OPTION A: USE MY THREE FREE TRANSFERS ON THESE PLAYERS
The simplest option. And often the simplest option is the best choice. Here’s what I’m thinking:
- Drop Ajax keeper Remko Pasveer (€5.0m), add Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rulli (€5.1m). Prioritizing other changes with my five free transfers ahead of the first leg, I kept Pasveer as dead weight, which worked out fine since my only keeper, Ederson, kept a clean sheet (albeit with a yellow card — Grrr...). Now that I have three free transfers, I should really give myself two bites of the cherry at the keeper position. I need to pick someone playing on a different day than Ederson, so my choice is between Thibaut Courtois (€6.7m), Edouard Mendy (€6.4m), Manuel Neuer (€6.4m) and Geronimo Rulli (€5.1m). I hate paying too much for an alt keeper, so right now let’s say Rulli. If I have money enabling me to upgrade after my other changes, I can do that. If not, no worries, I’ll have five FTs going into the semis.
- Drop Chelsea FC defender Thiago Silva (€5.9m), add Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich (€6.8m). After conceding three times at Stamford Bridge, it’s difficult to imagine the Blues keeping a clean sheet at Santiago Bernabeu. I should target a player whom I expect to go through to the next round. Dropping a defender I doubt for another I figure to be knocked out doesn’t make much sense... Given the outstanding offensive potential of Joshua Kimmich (€6.8m), he’s too attractive to pass up. But can I afford him? Let’s see.
- Drop Chelsea defender Reese James (€5.6m) for Atletico Madrid defender Felipe (€4.6m). James does offer solid attacking threat, and he was mostly rested domestically on the weekend, but with the Londoners on the road and now unlikely to advance, I think I’m better off shipping him out.
With a decent possibility that Man City and/or Bayern Munich could get knocked out, it’s better to keep flexibility should all five of my free transfers be needed going into the semifinal round. However, after adding Rulli and Kimmich, I have only €4.7m left over, so best laid plans, beggar’s can’t be choosers, etc. I probably just have to settle for the best budget defender regardless of whether I think his team will get through.
The only feasible options for likely starters look to be Villareal’s Juan Foyth (€4.7m) along with Atletico Madrid’s Stefan Savic (€4.7m) and Felipe (€4.6). I think Atletico Madrid at home has a better chance of keeping a clean sheet against Man City than Villareal does on the road against Bayern, so let’s go with Felipe since at least he has two goals plus an assist across all competitions this season, whereas Savic has nada. But with only €0.1m left over, there’s no way I can upgrade at keeper.
Given those three changes, this is what my team would look like:
OPTION B: MAKE THREE DIFFERENT TRANSFERS THAN PROPOSED IN OPTION A
This is a variation on Option A. Maybe you agree with the strategy of Option A, but have a different idea regarding the three players I should add. Is there a team I should load up on more than I already am, or a side I should target that I’m missing out on? Don’t be shy, let me know.
OPTION C: USE MY WILDCARD CHIP
I’ve still got my wildcard chip. Should I use it now? After all, the longer you wait to use it, the greater the chance of it sitting in your back pocket too long to no advantage. But then again, I don’t really need to use it, do I? Would it really improve my team substantially?
With Bayern going back to Allianz stadium and probably still being slight favorites to advance, I don’t want to drop my Bavarians. After winning the first game, Man City and Liverpool should have even more odds to go through, so I don’t want to drop my Citizens or Reds either.
We expect the likes of Lewandowski, Mahrez, Salah, Sane, Coman and TAA will do better in the second leg, don’t we? And while Real Madrid is headed home and should advance as well, do I really need to add anybody other than Benzema from Los Blancos? At least in fantasy, doesn’t Real Madrid kind of seem like a one man team?
Please feel free to tell me how I could completely refashion my team to great effect, but I just don’t see it. I really think I’m better off saving my wildcard for the semifinal when I can add more home players for the semifinal second leg. The huge benefit of holding onto the wildcard chip is that if I do have a lot of players knocked out in the quarterfinal second leg, I can use it in the semifinal first leg.
OPTION D: MAKE FOUR (OR MORE) TRANSFERS AND TAKE A POINTS PENALTY
This is the middle ground between Options A/B and C, allowing me to make a lot of changes while holding onto my wildcard chip. If my team were saddled with injuries, starting status doubts and/or players I didn’t expect to make it to the next round, I’d certainly strongly consider it. However, my team doesn’t seem to have those problems, so I don’t really see a need to take a -4 (or -8) point penalty. But feel free to disagree! Just tell me the players I need to add to justify the hit(s).
Right now my team is scuffling a bit. I’ve got 670 points, ranking #18,388 globally, #355 in the U.S.A. and #231 in the NMA mini-league. It’s not a disaster by any means, but I’m not faring quite as well as I’m accustomed to doing. I blame it all on not captaining Benzema! Here’s hoping for a strong finish, which starts now with any luck.
How do you rate my team for the second leg of the quarterfinal leg? How is your squad looking? Is there something going on with my side that you are looking to replicate? Is there anything you are doing that I should follow? Please answer the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section!
What do you think the best course of action is for my team?
This poll is closed
Option A: Make the three free transfers proposed
Option B: Make three different transfers than proposed
Option C: Use my wildcard chip and completely refashion my squad
Option D: Make more than three transfers and take a points penalty