So after going through the first five rounds of the world cup fantasy football draft in my last two articles I decided to wait and do the rest as an overall review of each team. Being only a 7 team league all 7 teams are filled with players you would love to have in a starting line-up for any football team you were putting together. Just to recap the format: Each player was required to select a goalkeeper, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders and 4 forwards and the whole squad would score points throughout the tournament.
Here is the scoring system once again:
Fake Pigskin Exclusive: Join Monkey Knife Fight and Get an Instant 100% Deposit Match PLUS a Free $5 Game!
- Hat trick (3 goals) +5 points (as well as the points for each of the three goals)
- Assists: 3 points
- Penalty Miss: -2 points (Does not include shootouts!)
- Own Goals: -2 points
- Yellow Card: -1 point
- Red Card: – 3 points
- Player Rating on WhoScored: 0= -5 points, 1= -4 points, 2= -3 points, 3= -2 points 4= -1 point, 5=0 points, 6=1 point, 7=2 points, 8=3 points, 9=4 points, 10=5 points
- Penalty Save: +3 points (Does not include shootouts!)
- Each Goal Scored: +10 points
Defenders and Goalkeepers
- Clean Sheet (no goals conceded) +5 points
- 2 Goals Conceded -1 point
- Each Goal Conceded Over two goals -1 point
- Each Goal Scored (Defenders): +6 points
- Clean Sheet (no goals conceded) +1 points
- Each Goal Scored: +5 points
- Each Goal Scored: +4 points
I will do this in the order of the first round of the draft so Neil, Luke O, Matt, Regan, Ryan, Ben (me) and Luke T.
Fake Pigskin Exclusive: Join Monkey Knife Fight and Get an Instant 100% Deposit Match PLUS a Free $5 Game!
Goalkeeper: Buffon (Italy)
There isn’t much to say about many of the goalies as there were only 7 taken so there were not many weak ones. Personally Buffon is my 4th or 5th ranked keeper based on my fears Italy will make it no further than the Quarters. And, being that they are in the group of death, for him to be the second choice keeper is in my opinion a mistake when Casillas and Cesar were still available.
Defenders: Ramos (Spain), Lovren (Croatia), Janmaat (Holland), Bamba (Ivory Coast), Lichsteiner (Switzerland)
Ramos was the first defender off the board and rightly so. Lovren (9th), Janmaat (11th) , Bamba (12th) and Lichtsteiner (14th) were decent late pickups but I struggle to see any of them going further than the second round. Holland could ship a lot of goals to Spain and then potentially Brazil in the second round and that concerns me (Croatia are almost exactly the opposite with Brazil in the group and Spain in the second round). Switzerland and Ivory Coast shouldn’t concede many so could be really solid picks late on.
Midfielders: Di Maria (Argentina), Silva (Spain), Sterling (England), Zokora (Ivory Coast), Pjanic (Bosnia)
Di Maria had a great year but in their 4-3-3 line up he could be employed more defensively so scoring opportunities may be limited but he should get at least 2 or 3 assists with a great attacking group in front. Silva is a pick that is solid on the face of it but with any Spain player there is the risk he may not get into a stacked midfield, making this a risky pick in the 5th round. Sterling seems to be nailed on to feature for England at some point and could be one of the guys to take this world cup by storm but will he play enough to put up enough points to make him worth a 8th round pick? I think so. GREAT PICK. Zokora will not threaten the goal but could grab some clean sheet points but I think there were bigger goal scoring threats out there. Pjanic is a great playmaker for an exciting Bosnia team. Could have a number of assists and a goal or two and for a 15th round pick that is awesome.
Forwards: Messi (Argentina), Sturridge (England), Lens (Holland), Hernandez (Mexico)
Messi is the obvious number one choice and there is nothing more to say than that. Sturridge will start for England but I’m not sure how deep they go and they have Lambert who could step in if he falters making this a risky second round pick with Fred, Hulk and Müller still available. Lens played a big part for Holland in 2013 but I’m not sure he figures a great deal for Holland in the world cup making this a dangerous pick in the 7th round. Hernandez is a top class forward but Mexico may go with Peralta so there were better options out there at the time in my opinion.
Overview: Messi, Di Maria, Ramos and Buffon are solid starting points but I felt the team fell away after that with risky picks in the midfield and forwards. The defence is solid considering they were 4 of the last 6 picks apart from Ramos.
Luke O’s team
Goalkeeper: Romero (Argentina)
Last keeper selected and you cannot complain to get a guy potentially going to the semi-finals with an easy group.
Defenders: Alba (Spain), Alves (Brazil), Abate (Italy), Kombarov (Russia), Durm (Germany)
Alba should play for Spain at left back and will bomb forward giving the opportunity for assists and maybe even a goal. Dani Alves will start at right back for Brazil which is a positive and he will also bomb forward and could also grab assists and goals. Abate, Kombarov and Durm were the last three picks and Abate and Durm play for solid teams but their starting position is not assured. Kombarov is in a group where Belgium are the only threat in terms of scoring a number of goals so there could easily be a couple of clean sheets for him.
Midfielders: Iniesta (Spain), Pirlo (Italy), Schweinsteiger (Germany), Marchisio (Italy), Vidal (Chile)
Iniesta is one guy you can write in for Spain in pen in my opinion, so grabbing him is a good option because he will pop up with the odd goal. Pirlo probably won’t chip in any goals but could offer an assist or two and should get decent ratings in most games. Schweinsteiger is really good but the whole German midfield is and there may not be a space for him, but in the 8th round it’s a good gamble because Germany should be heading for the semi’s at least and he could chip in a goal or two if he plays. Marchisio’s value is limited by the fact I think Italy are going out in the quarters at best but as a ninth round pick you will take that. Vidal could struggle with injury in this tournament having only just had surgery but he is one of the absolute best box to box midfielders in the game right now.
Forwards: Ronaldo (Portugal), Higuain (Argentina), Hulk (Brazil), Muller (Germany)
Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the world’s best but at the #2 pick I have already stated I would take Neymar (slightly lesser player but better team) but that’s quibbling for the sake of quibbling (Ronaldo is struggling with an injury right now). Higuain may be the odd man out if Argentina go for two up front but I expect them to go for three throughout the groups at least and he should benefit from playing in a superb attacking team. Hulk was a great pick in the fourth because he will play for Brazil in every game and he will be a constant threat. Müller is another superb pick in the 5th as he is one guy I am counting on for Germany and he could yet be their sole striker.
Overview: Great forward group if Ronaldo is healthy that should score a ton of goals. A couple of risks in the midfield with Schweinsteiger and Pirlo as early as he was picked. A decent group of defenders with at least four having the chance to go to the quarters and three will probably go further.
Goalkeeper: Cesar (Brazil)
The fourth keeper off the board is pretty much right for Cesar in my opinion. Brazil will go deep into the competition more than likely but their defence isn’t quite as good as Spain’s or Germany’s.
Defenders: Garay (Argentina), Marcelo (Brazil), Hummels (Germany), Sagna (France), Boateng (Germany)
Considering there wasn’t a defender picked until the 8th round this is a pretty solid haul. I expect Garay, Marcelo and Sagna to start but they aren’t in the best defences in the competition but all three have the chance to make the quarters. Hummels and Boateng are likely fighting for the same spot in the German side (unless Lahm plays in midfield), so a solid tactic is to take both to ensure you have one of the starters for the best defense in the league. But at the same time it is a bad tactic because one may end up putting up zeroes whereas another guy may have scored the odd point.
Midfielders: Griezmann (France) replacing Ribery, Robben (Holland), Busquets (Spain), Mascherano (Argentina), Rakitic (Croatia)
A group of midfielders that is hurt by the loss of 5th round pick Ribery even though the addition of Griezmann is exciting but he may struggle to start the whole competition. Robben is a solid midfield choice in the 3rd round and should be a constant goal threat throughout the group stages but Holland may struggle to go deep in this competition. Busquets won’t be a goal threat and that will hold him back a bit as a midfielder but he should play most games for Spain. Mascherano is the same story but for Argentina and having two midfielders that offer no goal threat is an issue in a league this shallow. Rakitic will offer more of a goal threat but I would be surprised if Croatia go beyond the second round meaning that you will need to hope for points from him early.
Forwards: Neymar (Brazil), Benzema (France), Cavani (Uruguay), Pedro (Spain)
Neymar is my bet to be the top scorer in this fantasy game and with a backup of three really good attacking players it’s hard not to fall in love with this group of forwards. Benzema and Cavani will definitely start and will be constant goal threats. Pedro is likely to start for Spain however, it isn’t a guarantee but he will be a really big goal threat.
Overview: A really nice group of forwards but it lacks the backing of a real quality midfield due to the loss of Ribery and the selection of two defensive midfielders. The defence and goalkeepers should all go deep into the tournament but there is the risk that one of the German’s doesn’t play.
Goalkeeper: Neuer (Germany)
No surprise that Neuer was the first goalkeeper selected and it’s a good pick because Germany have a really solid team that shouldn’t concede to many goals. Personally, I prefer Casillas because I think Spain are as good or better defensively and they will go deeper.
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Portugal), Barzagli (Italy), Juanfran (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Coentrao (Portugal)
Alves scored for Portugal in the friendlies and Portugal have been solid at the back lately making this a sneaky good pick in the 9th round. There is a lot of faith put in that Portugal defense though especially considering they have a tough group that they could struggle to get out of. Barzagli should play for Italy but I am not sure they make it past the quarters and Juanfran’s team will go deep intot he competition but he may not feature at all making this a risky pick.
Midfielders: Götze (Germany), Paulinho (Brazil), Fabian (Mexico), Khedira (Germany), Willian (Brazil)
Götze should feature on the left for Germany to start the tournament especially now Reüs is out and will threaten the goal plenty through his own effort or assisting others. Paulinho is pencilled in to start for Brazil but he will play in behind Oscar and that will limit his goal threat but in this Brazil team he should still get the odd chance. Fabian is an odd pick because he isn’t a big name when there were other good midfielders there and Mexico will struggle to get out of their group and will definitely struggle to get through the second round. Khedira is another holding midfielder and after his injury hit season he could miss out on the team, so this pick feels a reach considering some of the options taken later. Willian will struggle to make the Brazil team regularly and if does he will play the holding role behind Oscar so that will limit his opportunity to score points.
Forwards: Suárez (Uruguay), Balotelli (Italy), Fred (Brazil), Emenike (Nigeria)
Suárez is a risky pick in the first round considering his injury worries, but then bouncing back with Balotelli in the second and Fred in the 3rd means there should be enough quality to counteract any big struggles from Suarez, who should still be serviceable as an early round pick. Emenike is a big gamble in the 4th because Nigeria are going no further than the second round at best in my opinion and I would be shocked if they get out of the group even.
Overview: A solid team but there are obvious weaknesses which I think will come back to bite this team. Emenike is unlikely to be as effective as other guys taken later, Willian will likely have a bit part role at best, two holding midfielders limits scoring opportunities and three Portugal defenders puts a lot of faith in one team who are in a tough group.
Goalkeeper: Courtois (Belgium)
I love this pick as I potentially see Belgium going to the semi-finals and they should keep a few clean sheets along the way with a relatively easy group. Possibly could have taken him later but if he is the goalie you want then taking him as the 5th keeper in a seven team league means you’re not taking a huge gamble
Defenders: Zabaleta (Argentina), Kompany (Belgium), Baines (England), Koscielny (France), Varane (France)
Zabaleta plays in a team that should go deep in the tournament and have a group that should see some clean sheets; he will also bomb forward and could get some assists. Kompany should be the rock for Belgium and as I said above there should be a few clean sheets. Baines is in a tough group but he should have assist chances with crosses and free kicks. Koscielny and Varane should both play for France and if they can get out of their group they could go deep in this tournament, a pair of solid picks.
Midfielders: Özil (Germany), Toure (Ivory Coast), Pogba (France), Bradley (USA), Kroos (Germany)
There are some rumours that Özil may not start for Germany but he is one of the best attacking midfielders and I think he plays, so there should plenty of opportunities for assists and goals in this German team. Toure was a beast in the Premier League this year and although he has injury concerns, he has the ability to take this world cup by storm. Pogba could be one of the surprise packages of this tournament so investing in him was a wise decision. Bradley may not go beyond the group stages as USA are in a tough group making this an odd pick for me. Kroos could actually find himself on the bench if Schweinsteiger is fit or they play Lahm in the middle so selecting him in the 7th is a big risk.
Forwards: v.Persie (Holland), Giroud (France), Sanchez (Chile), Dempsey (USA)
v.Persie will lead the line for Holland but they could be leaving the tournament relatively early so there won’t be many opportunities for games. However, he should be a constant goal threat in the games they do play. Giroud should start alongside Benzema and has been in great form lately. Sanchez plays in the team that many have as dark horses and if they are to spring a surprise he could be the main reason so this is a solid pick. Dempsey is unlikely to go very far and while he should score a couple of goals, he’s a big risk in the 7th round for a potential short return.
Overview: A solid defensive group with a good goalkeeper but the team is let down a little by the midfield where there are some risky picks in Kroos and Bradley. Upfront there is a lot of skill but at least three could easily be gone after the second round making this a risky team at best.
Ben’s (my) team
Goalkeeper: Casillas (Spain)
My top rated keeper so to get him as the third keeper taken and in the 8th round was an absolute bargain for me. Spain are going deep in this competition and they should keep clean sheets doing it.
Defenders: Pique (Spain), David Luiz (Brazil), Chiellini (Italy), Mertesacker (Germany), Alderweireld (Belgium)
Ideally I would have preferred Ramos but Pique is a happy settlement even if he is slightly less of a goal threat. Luiz will start for a team I have going to the finals and who could easily keep a few clean sheets. Chiellini and Italy could crash out in the quarters but they could easily keep 3 or 4 clean sheets getting there which is why I went after him. Mertesacker is my biggest worry among my defenders because he is ageing a little and could be dropped to allow a Hummels-Boateng partnership to blossom. Alderweireld in the 12 round to close off a strong defensive group is a pick I’m really pleased with. He should start at right back for Belgium who will keep things tight and have a pretty simple group.
Midfielders: Oscar (Brazil), Xavi (Spain), Luis Gustavo (Brazil), De Bruyne (Belgium), Rodriguez (Colombia)
Oscar will create a ton of chances with three strong attacking players around him and should get the opportunity to score a few of his own. Xavi may play more of a holding role but he is always a goal threat in this Spanish team and could provide plenty of assists with his creativity. Gustavo is almost guaranteed to be another holding midfielder so he and Xavi as a combination does concern me a little but I think they get enough assists to make it work. De Bruyne plays as one of Belgium’s more attacking players and should provide assists and goals. Rodriguez value is hurt a little with the loss of Falcao but his creative ability should give him plenty of chances to assist and score even without Falcao.
Forwards: Lukaku (Belgium), Aguero (Argentina), Dzeko (Bosnia), Schurrle (Germany)
Lukaku is one of the biggest, scariest strikers around right now and with the attacking talent Belgium has he should get plenty of goal scoring opportunities. Aguero was very nearly my first round pick but I was held back by the thought they could use Higuain instead if they go for two strikers instead of three. However, I think that is unlikely so I had no qualms about picking him in the second round because I think he will score a fair few and assist the odd goal. Džeko was my pick to replace Falcao and he was someone I was ecstatic to get. Bosnia play attacking, pretty football and Džeko could easily get the Golden Boot even if they get knocked out in the second round. Schürrle was my very last pick and I went for him because with Reüs out I think could play a key part either as the false nine or as a winger with Müller shifted inside.
Overview: I love this team and I feel it is stacked with potential goals in the midfield and forwards and backed up with a solid defensive and goalkeeper group. Then again if I didn’t love the team I would be concerned as I drafted it!
Luke T’s team
Goalkeeper: Hart (England)
Not a bad shout but England’s defense has been leaky occasionally and they could potentially fail to progress past the groups. The other worry is that they concede a few vs Uruguay and potentially a few against Spain or Brazil in the quarters and there could be negative points involved.
Defenders: Silva (Brazil), Lahm (Germany), Vertonghen (Belgium), Vermaelen (Belgium), Fernandez (Argentina)
Silva and Lahm should keep a few clean sheets in teams going deep so there not much more to say there. I’m a big believer in Belgium and these two should start so these are two astute picks that should pay dividend in a strong Belgium defense. Fernandez will start for Argentina who could also go deep in the tournament but their defense is a little more suspect.
Midfielders: Hazard (Belgium), Draxler (Germany), Gerrard (England), Podolski (Germany), Lallana (England)
Hazard could be a sneaky bet for player of the tournament so investing a second round pick in him was a wise choice. Draxler was a choice to replace the injured Reüs and is the weak link in this team as he may not play a minute in the tournament. Gerrard will play every game for England but how many games that is and how many points he will score in them games is up for debate. Podolski is another German who may not play and he will be a bit part role at best so this was an odd pick in my opinion. Lallana is expected to start but hasn’t looked exciting in the build-up. However, he is a really good player who I expect to score a goal or two.
Forwards: Rooney (England), Martinez (Colombia), Costa (Spain), Villa (Spain)
Rooney’s selection has been debated heavily in the English press but while I think he plays I am not sure he will score that many points. This is a pick that could pay off handsomely or could be a wasted 3rd round pick if he struggles and gets dropped early in the tournament. Martinez will have more of a chance with Falcao out and could step up and be really effective but they have a tough group that could see them struggle to get much further. Costa is another man who could be player of the tournament but he has a huge injury concern right now that may limit him early and could lead to him struggling to get into the team. Villa is unlikely to be more than a bench player in my opinion but could be effective if he comes on.
Overview: I love the defence and the goalkeeper is serviceable. The midfield could have two players that don’t play a minute, two more players out by the end of the second round, and then one player who could score a handful but one good point may struggle to balance out a load of zeroes from Podolski and Draxler. Upfront Villa is a wasted pick in my opinion because he won’t get a look in to start and is a bench player at best but the other three could score a number of goals between them. It’s a slightly risky forward group but it could pay dividends in huge amounts.
So there we have my review of fake pigskins first ever football draft of any kind and hopefully the first of many. Judging world cup players is a lot tougher than judging premier league players where every team has a set amount of games and there is less risk of luck playing a big part. As I said above I am ecstatic with my team and I cannot wait to see how this all plays out. We will be posting the scores and standings of our league on a regular basis so please do follow along and get behind the team you think will win!