Fifa World Cup fantasy football 2018 picks and tips: which players should I transfer before round 2?

See which players are scoring big points in Russia, and who you need to drop from your squad, ahead of the second round of fixtures

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 1:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 1:25pm

Well, it’s time already – the first round of group-stage fixtures is nearly over, so get ready to make your World Cup fantasy football transfers.

Nearly every team in Russia has played their first game, with only Colombia v Japan to come tonight followed by Poland v Senegal in group H.

But here’s the rub – for some bizarre reason, the fixture schedulers at Fifa have decided to then have Russia play their second game of the tournament, against Egypt, tonight too.

That means you’ll want to start getting your changes done now.

Fifa’s official McDonald’s fantasy game allows you to make one free transfer between each round of group games, but if you want to make other changes you will incur a penalty of -4 points per transfer.

You can start making early changes by clicking the ‘Round 2, Manage Team’ tab on your team page. If you’re looking for suggestions, here are the South China Morning Post’s tips:

Which players are scoring points?

Unsurprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo (12 million, 16 points) is the most transferred in player according to Fifa’s official fantasy statistics, with over 90,000 people picking up the Portugal superstar after his hat-trick against Spain.

Diego Costa (9 million, 10 points) helped himself to a couple of goals in the same game, and accordingly more than 58,000 users have transferred the Spain striker in.

World Cup wallchart 2018: download your free printable predictor with all the fixtures and groups in Russia

Russian pair Denis Cheryshev (5.5 million, 13 points) and Aleksandr Golovin (6.5 million, 13 points) shone in Russia’s easy 5-0 romp against hapless Saudi Arabia.

Cheryshev scored two goals, and as a result has been transferred in by over 47,000 players, while Golovin smashed in an added-time free kick after making two assists – but the Russian midfield pair may find the going tougher against Egypt.

Jose Gimenez has also been attracting attention, with more than 43,000 fantasy players transferring the Uruguay defender in after his winning goal and clean sheet against Egypt.

Andreas Granqvist (5.0 million, 12 points) was the most valuable player of the first round. The Sweden defender was worth 2.4 points per million, just ahead of Cheryshev (2.3 points per million), while Aleksandar Kolarov (5.5 million, 12 points) was another steal at 2.1 points per million, the same as Gimenez.

Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa was (5 million, 9 points) was another star performer after a clean sheet and a string of saves in the 1-0 win against Germany.

Kasper Schemichel (5 million, 8 points) had a good time of it between the sticks as well, with a clean sheet for Denmark in their 1-0 win over Peru, and Iceland’s Hannes Halldorsson (5 million, 9 points) saved a penalty from Lionel Messi.

While some big-name strikers have flopped so far, Premier League stars Harry Kane (11 million, 10 points) and Romelu Lukaku (10 million, 10 points) both lived up to their billing with two goals each against Tunisia and Panama respectively.

Antoine Griezmann (€10 million, 8 points) was another star name who didn’t disappoint, scoring a penalty for France against Australia, while Luka Modric (9 million, 8 points) also found the net for Croatia against Nigeria.

Which players should I take out?

You might think it’s mad to doubt Lionel Messi (12 million, 0 points) but nearly 53,000 fantasy players have ditched the Argentina superstar after his missed penalty in the 1-1 draw with Iceland.

Neymar (€12 million, 2 points)) was another costly first-round flop after a quiet showing in the 1-1 draw against Switzerland, and over 39,000 users have cut their losses on him to free up some cash.

2018 Fifa World Cup fixtures in Hong Kong time

Marco Asensio (6 million, 0 points) looked primed to have a breakout tournament with Spain but he didn’t even get on the pitch against Portugal, and nearly 30,000 players took him out.

And if you’ve selected Mohamed Salah (8.5 million, 0 points) you’ve got a dilemma on your hands whether to stick or twist after he didn’t even make it off the bench in the defeat by Uruguay. Is he fit enough to play a part against Saudi Arabia in the second group game? At that price, he may be worth a gamble.

Uruguay’s expensive star strikers Luis Suarez (10.5 million, 2 points) and Edinson Cavani (9.5 million, 2 points) had stinkers against Egypt, missing a string of chances, but you might fancy sticking with them because they could fill their boots against Saudi Arabia.

There were a few poor performances among the Germany team, too. Timo Werner (9.5 million, 2 points) did nothing of note against Mexico, and coach Joachim Low could turn to Mario Gomez or Marco Reus for the match against Sweden.

Mesut Ozil (9 million, 2 points), Toni Kroos (9 million, 2 points) and Thomas Mueller (9.5 million, 1 point) were all expensive flops too for the defending champions.

You may want to ditch Andre Silva (€6 million, 0 points) who didn’t feature for Portugal at all, despite having a great goalscoring record in qualifying.

Danny Rose (5.5 million, 0 points) and Gary Cahill (5 million, 0 points) had been expected to start for England too but missed out against Tunisia, and may not be worth sticking with.

Anyone who had Russia’s Alan Dzagoev (7 million, 1 point) should switch him out after his hamstring injury against Saudi Arabia.

Danish defender Andreas Christensen (5 million, 6 points) also picked up an injury against Peru and is doubtful to play their next match.