Following on from my review of the 1st round of the Fake Pigskin World Cup Fantasy Draft (#FPWCFantasy) here are my takes on the next 28 picks (well 24 takes and 4 explanations of why I did what I did).
Before I begin one aspect of #FPWCFantasy game I did forget to introduce is that three teams are owned by Englishmen, three by Americans and one by an Irishman (I promise the Irish do play football they just aren’t very good at it so chances are many of you in America won’t have heard of their team!) so make sure you back your fellow countrymen (or if you are neutral the person/team you like the most) as I am sure this will turn into a battle of national pride at some point!
Pick 8: Eden Hazard (MID) Luke T
He has had a great year for Chelsea and this Belgium team is full of talent. I expect them to go deep and Hazard will be a big reason. Will potentially be the most valuable Midfielder in the World Cup.
Pick 9: Sergio Aguero (FWD) Ben
I nearly took him in the last round so I was delighted when he fell to me with the 9th pick as I feel he is a top 5 player. Argentina should go deep into the tournament and an Aguero-Messi combination could be the most potent in the tournament
Pick 10: Mesut Özil (MID) Ryan
Özil has had an up and down year for Arsenal but he is a truly class player. The issue is there are so many quality Germans it is hard to be sure he will play every game but then that is counter balanced by the fact that they should make the semi-finals at the very least. A solid pick but I can’t help but feel there were players taken after him who will put up more points.
Pick 11: Mario Balotelli (FWD) Regan
Fake Pigskin Exclusive: Join Monkey Knife Fight and Get an Instant 100% Deposit Match PLUS a Free $5 Game!
Balotelli is sometimes the forgotten man in these things because Italy are not considered an attacking threat but in the Euro’s he was superb and they have a really good team capable of making the quarter finals. They do have a tough group but I am fairly sure they will get through it and Balotelli will need to be the man with the goals for them. Awesome pick.
Pick 12: Karim Benzema (FWD) Matt
Has really shown his quality this year with some stunning finishes for Real Madrid and as long as he starts he should score a few. They do have a tough group with Ecuador and Switzerland and the French do have a history of melt downs. A nice if unspectacular pick.
Pick 13: Gonzalo Higuain (FWD) Luke O
A really good player in a really good team should surely make him a solid pick here right? Well actually my answer is maybe not because chances are he will have to watch the Aguero Messi show. That means he may only play 20-30 mins a game and that’s an issue for me. Again there were better people out there.
Pick 14: Daniel Sturridge (FWD) Neil
I am a big fan of Sturridge but I am also a pessimistic Englishman and I am not sure how far they go and that limits his value. Add in that Rooney is the star man meaning that if Sturridge doesn’t click with him he could soon find himself on the bench. Another case of a player who could have been taken later.
Pick 15: Sergio Ramos (DEF) Neil
Before I say anymore: I LOVE this pick. Ramos plays for a team I have going to the final, who don’t concede many goals and earn their fair share of corners and free kicks which he score for fun from. I expect him to be the top defender in the world cup and I would be stunned if he wasn’t top 5 at least. GREAT PICK.
Pick 16: Andreas Iniesta (MID) Luke O
Another nice pick because Iniesta will play every game and will likely be rated highly in all those games. The one that he may not offer that other midfield options here would have is goals but then again Spain will score goals and someone has to get them.
Pick 17: Arjen Robben (MID) Matt
Robben makes it three nice picks in a row in this round because he is a talented player who will score goals and assist more. My only issue with him is that Holland could easily be knocked out in the groups or the second round as they have a tough start but I feel he is worth the risk.
Pick 18: Fred (FWD) Regan
A Brazilian striker surrounded by creative playmakers is something that most people will salivate about even if the striker isn’t considered one of the world’s best. Don’t get me wrong Fred is a good player but he isn’t world class and in this team he doesn’t need to be because he will get chances on a plate for him from all those creative guys. A really good pick in this position because he will go deep in the tournament and score plenty of goals.
Pick 19: Yaya Toure (MID) Ryan
An injury concern but if he can fight through them then he could have a great world cup in a team full of good players and confidence. Toure has been a beast in the premier league this year and he has a chance to repeat that on a world cup run. Chances are they don’t get past the second round but he could already have 4 or 5 goals by then the way he has been playing. Another really nice pick.
Pick 20: Oscar (MID) Ben
Part of my decision making was made by the fact I have watched this guy play for the last two years and he is amazing and then when you put him in a team full of the talent Brazil have it became a no-brainer. I actually debated him briefly over Aguero in the second round but there was no way I could pass Aguero up so I am over the moon to get him here.
Pick 21: Wayne Rooney (FWD) Luke T
Right I am calling this a round of really good picks! Rooney is an awesome player who could easily grab a couple of goals just in the group stages meaning that if England do falter he will still have been a really nice pick. However, he has had temperament issues in the past and red card could make him a really costly pick up this early. Ah stuff it! The potential rewards outweigh the risks, so another good pick!
Pick 22: Tiago Silva (DEF) Luke T
Silva plays for a team that could go deep in the tournament but I am not sure about their ability to keep clean sheets consistently so that holds him back compared to the Spanish guys. Even with that though this is a solid pick.
Pick 23: Gerard Pique (DEF) Ben
I was happy to snap up Pique as my number 1 defender as I have Spain going to the finals and I think there will be a fair few clean sheets along the way. Would have preferred Ramos is I could have got him but Pique was my #2 option.
Pick 24: Paul Pogba (MID) Ryan
A really good young player but on a volatile team and that worries me. Pogba himself though is capable of scoring goals and in a stout French team there is potential for a clean sheet bonus. Still a solid pick but I would have preferred him a little later.
Pick 25: Emmanuel Emenike (FWD) Regan
This pick completely surprised me as I had considered Emenike nothing more than a late round flyer in a deep league but the logic behind the pick is that they have a group they could get out of and they are in the better half of the draw in terms of potential second round/QF opponents. He will more than likely score most of their goals making this an intriguing pick but this is one that could have waited for another 5 rounds or so when the value was right.
Pick 26: Edison Cavani (FWD) Matt
With Suarez injury concerns many believe Cavani could be aided by that but I actually think it will hamper him because all the attention will be on him. He is a really good player but he is also capable of fluffing his lines (see his chances in the Champions league QF against Chelsea) and that means he may not be as spectacular as you would hope. Add in the fact that he could bow out in the group stages and this is another guy I would have thought could have been waited on.
Pick 27: Hulk (FWD) Luke O
I love this pick because Hulk will be one of the first names on the team sheet for Brazil and he should get plenty of goal scoring chances.
Pick 28: Angel Di Maria (MID) Neil
He has had a stunning season and is a must for the Argentina team. He could have double figures assists and a few goals in that team in a really easy group. LOVE IT.
Pick 29: David Silva (MID) Neil
Spanish midfielders scare me more than they should (same as the Germans) because they could play any combination. Silva is awesome but could end up coming off the bench for most of the tournament. A brave pick because the rewards if he does start should be high.
Pick 30: Thomas Muller (FWD) Luke O
LOVE this pick. Muller will be one of the German wide men and is one of the only sure things to start in an attacking position for the Germans. Oh and he should score a few on their march towards the semis as well.
Pick 31: Franck Ribery (MID) Matt
Another really good attacking player but as with Pogba the French scare me in tournaments and that is why this value is about right in my opinion.
Pick 32: Mario Gotze (MID) Regan
Same issue as with Silva in that he is really good but he could miss out due to the sheer talent they have in that side. Tough one but the reward could well be high.
Pick 33: Olivier Giroud (FWD) Ryan
Had a great game the other day in a warm up fixture but will he start is the question? If they play two up top I think he will but Benzema would be my first choice. Also, see Pogba for my thoughts on French players in general.
Pick 34: Radamel Falcao (FWD) Ben
Yes he hasn’t played for 6 months and yes he is still technically injured but if he does play he could easily return top 5 value. If he doesn’t make the squad I will just replace him and because this league is so shallow (only 28 forward will be drafted) I can replace him fairly easily. Worst case scenario is he makes the squad only to play a minor bench role early on and they get knocked out in the groups but that is definitely a worst case situation
Pick 35: Philip Lahm (DEF) Luke T
What a way to finish out round 5. Lahm is a quality player who is classed as a defender but could play midfield meaning he could see the benefits in more assist/scoring opportunities while getting the clean sheet rewards of a defender.
Ok so that is it for the first 5 rounds of #FPWCFantasy. From here on in I will focus more on the teams that are being built than the actual positions of the picks as I have for the first two articles and break down why people did what they did where they did.