When international tournaments arrive, the job of a fantasy football manager gets that much harder. In the main, this is because there’s no real way to compare the expected performances of a team in advance. Of course, we can take the sum of its parts, namely the players, but will they perform the same way they do in their respective leagues? How do you compare leagues? Can we safely say that good performers in the Bundesliga, Premier League and La Liga are equal? Looking at the time it takes transferred players to the Premier League to adjust, I would say not.
In many ways, the place to start with all fantasy games is the scoring criteria and the rules. These constraints should govern about 90% of your approach to player selection.
For the UEFA / McDonalds Euro 2012 game, there are three key rules for choosing your first team. The first is that you can only have 2 players from each team, the second is that you get to change your team in its entirety at the end of Matchday 3 and your third is that you are restricted to one free transfer for each of the first 3 «Matchdays».
This means in essence that your best strategy is to look at the teams that have the best chance of success over the three days without concerning yourself too much on who will progress past the initial stages.
Using an un-named bookmaking site, I have created a list of the total odds on each teams success through the first three matchdays. The results are:
If I work through the figures a little further, it comes to light that there are 8 teams that figure in the top 8 for each «Matchday» either twice or three times, they are (in order): Spain, Germany, England, Russia, Netherlands, France, Italy & Czech Republic. As some teams have a greater chance of success in any given week, I would suggest the following approach to team selection – Matchday 1:
2 each from Spain, Germany, England, Russia, Netherlands, France and Italy; 1 from Poland.
Sell Polish player, buy Portuguese player
Sell Portuguese player, purchase Czech player.
This approach should bring you the optimum initial team but beware, the bookmakers dont always get it right so be ready to adjust your strategy if a team plays markedly better or worse than anticipated.
I’ll return shortly with the second of my guides, detailing how to use the scoring restrictions to pick the perfect players for your Euro 2012 Fantasy Football Team.
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