UCL Fantasy tips: Fixtures, chips, captaincy and being ‘aggressive’

The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League (UCL) begins on Tuesday – and so does the competition’s official Fantasy game.

We’ll have plenty of coverage on UCL Fantasy over the next day in preparation for the big kick-off, as well as articles throughout the season.

Here, one of our Pro Pundits, FPL Milanista (aka Obay), shares some expert tips on the game. Obay knows what he’s talking about, too, with finishes of 141st and 31st in the last two seasons.

The FFS Pro Pundits 31

The most prestigious club football competition is now only few hours away, and it’s this time of the year that we start talking about the UCL Fantasy game.

If you are new to this game, it would be highly advisable to go through Neale’s article that was published a few days ago as he provided a very detailed piece that explains the main features of the game and its similarities as well as differences to FPL.

In this article, I would like to focus on few strategies that I’d advise you to incorporate into your game, which could prove handy and allow you to reap significant rewards in this season’s competition.

BEING AGGRESSIVE

First of all, you need to know that the UCL competition is based on 13 Gameweeks (unlike 38 Gameweeks in FPL), and if that hints at anything, it clearly shows that being an aggressive manager in picking your squad is the way to go. By aggressive, I mean you have to put enough study and play the fixtures, apply chips early on (will be discussed later), as well as not fearing any double/triple-ups.

FIXTURES

Let us first talk about fixtures, as fixtures are king in these kind of Fantasy games. The UCL includes Europe’s elite teams, as well as second-tier clubs, all across the continent, and this is enough to create huge gaps in team levels and offer us opportunities that need to be properly utilized if we are aiming at a strong finish. Imagine an FPL Gameweek where Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea play teams that are possibly not as good as the 20th-ranked Premier League team? We would be all over them, and that is the case here as well – in the group stages, at least.

CHIPS

The group stages are key. That is where you need to be so aggressive and where all chips must be played, in my honest opinion. This is again due to the fact that this is the round where we should expect huge results from big teams as they face the less fortunate teams in their group. As teams start getting knocked out, the gap between the remaining teams lessens and the lower tier teams will disappear, hence an overall reduced opportunity to score big on a Wildcard/Limitles.

From my first look at the fixtures, there is no obvious best strategy, however, I am quite sure that my chip strategy will be to use the Wildcard just before Gameweek 3 and the Limitless chip in either Gameweek 2 or Gameweek 5. The Wildcard is usually best used just before Gameweek 3 as that allows you to target the Gameweek 3 and 4 fixtures in one hit as they are identically the same, while big teams who already qualified by Gameweek 6 will rotate heavily in that round and it makes the use of the Limitless chip less appealing.

The obvious advantage in using the Limitless chip in Gameweek 2 is that it allows you to focus your attention on Gameweek 1 fixtures only when creating your initial squad, hence not worrying about the difficulty of fixtures beyond that stage. However, I do think that the majority of the teams that we will be looking to target in this chip are playing at home in Gameweek 5, not Gameweek 2.

In case you decided to go with a Wildcard in Gameweek 3, Limitless in Gameweek 5 strategy, then you will have to take into account the first two fixtures (Gameweeks 1 and 2) for all teams when selecting your squad, with teams like Real Madrid, AC Milan, Chelsea, and probably Tottenham Hotspur catching the eye here. Another good plan for people implementing this strategy is to bring in Barcelona’s assets for Gameweek 1 with a pre-defined plan to switch them to PSG/Inter players using the two free transfers.

THE SPLIT ACROSS TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY

One of the key points that barely gets talked about is the split of players across Tuesdays and Wednesdays. With manual substitutions in place, and although this is not a crystal clear method, statistically and from my own experience, it is much better to have more players playing on the earlier day (Tuesday) as this allows you to see more points to know whom to keep and whom to manually substitute. The fewer Tuesday players you have, the more tricky decisions that you have to make on the next day, and sometimes you may have to substitute a 4-5 pointer which could turn out to be a bad decision as your Wednesday player fails to even match it.

There is no need to be obsessed by this point as in its own, it doesn’t turn a great pick bad simply because he plays on a later date. However, I do tend to always pick the earlier day player when I’m 50/50 between two or more assets. To put that into context, a squad of 9-10 Tuesday players and 5-6 Wednesday players is probably the ideal mix that I would like to enter the season with. This can also be an 11/4 mix if I am quite sure that I will be using a chip in Gameweek 2, as teams’ fixture alternate (a team playing on Tuesday in Gameweek 1 will play on Wednesday in Gameweek 2, and vice versa).

CAPTAINCY

Another key piece of advice that I would like to share here is captaincy and its importance in UCL Gantasy. Again, this is a concise competition and any lost captaincy points could kill what you would have assumed to be a decent week.

Therefore, one of the main strategies that you must implement, both in your starting squad as well as in your future transfers, is to ensure that the best captain choice in each matchday (both Tuesday and Wednesday) is in your team. This ensures that you are securing at least the points of the most explosive assets of the round.

Does this necessarily mean that we should only captain the obvious choice every day? Not really, as I do sometimes fancy a differential captain on a Tuesday, especially if I know that my best captaincy option on Wednesday is capable of rescue if needed. So again, it’s all about risk vs reward but with manual substitutions/captaincy changes, the game encourages some bold moves in one` way or another.

That’s it for now. Please be reminded that the UCL Fantasy deadline is not over until the first game of the week kicks off, and this means that we will definitely have some line-ups on hand before finalizing our squads – look at them and try to maybe pick up that explosive differential, especially that you already know that even if he fails, you will get a chance to substitute him with a player on your bench.


Good luck everyone, and hope you all smash it in Gameweek 1!