Optimized squad from UCL Group Stage
Champions league fantasy managers are waiting for 18th February when UCL round of 16 kicks off. There is still long time up to this date but many of them have already started to think about the selection of their fantasy football squads. Using optimization techniques – the same I am using in FPL optimization – I prepared for you the optimized team: the team that scored the highest points total in the group stage with the constraint of 105m (well, basically 105m minus bench), the budget we have available in R16. I considered only players, that will play in R16.
This is how the best UCL fantasy team looks like:
(5,7m | 34 points)
(5,8m | 47 points)
(5,7m | 41 points)
(6m | 38 points)
(5m | 37 points)
(11,3m | 46 points)
(9,7m | 44 points)
(11,1m | 40 points)
(6,1m | 37 points)
(10,8m | 53 points)
(8,5m | 39 points)
Lets look closer at every position in this UCL fantasy football squad.
There was not too much value in cheap goalkeepers. Alex Meret (4,4m) scored 26 points but it is not enough to get him into optimized fantasy team. Many times these cheap goalkeepers offers great route to the points because of the save points. But not this time. It is Keylor Navas, the top scoring premium goalkeeper, that is in the goal in the optimized squad.
It is not really a surprise that Achraf Hakimi made it into optimal UCL fantasy squad. With four goal and 6 points from 21 balls recovered in the group stage, he was superb asset for his owners despite the lack of clean sheet (just 2 CS). Dortmund face PSG in the round of 16 – a tough fixture, so his owners will be hoping for another attacking return rather than a clean sheet.
Mainly thanks to 5 clean sheets in the group stage, there are two PSG defenders in this team – Bernat and Marquinos. The former was constant attacking threat and collected 2 assists. The later had no attacking returns but 30 balls recovered added extra 7 points to his tally.
Napoli showed a solid defense in the champions league and offered UCL fantasy managers a cheap route to clean sheet points. Govanni Di Lorenzo added 2 assists to 4 Napoli clean sheets and ended up as 4th highest scoring defender in the group stage.
Big guns in midfield. No surprise. With 5 goals and 2 assists Raheem Sterling was the top scoring Midfielder during the group stage. He done brilliantly for his owners (and captainers) mainly in the first 4 four rounds. Heung Min Son was another great asset to have and he rewarded his owners with 5 goals and 2 assists too. With just one goal less, Mohamed Salah made It into the optimal squad.
These three attacking players scored just 3 points for balls recovered together (Sterling 2, Son 1, Salah 0) and attacking returns was their main source of points. Ilkay Gundogan was the opposite. 30 balls recovered meant 7 points from balls recovered and he was able to rack up other 16 points from goals and assists.
Forwards (and captain)
53 points in 5 matches. 10,6 points per match. 10 Goals. Yes, that is Robert Lewandowski. The captain of the optimized XI. He was unstoppable in the group stage and one of the best captain choices in every matchday. His partner up top is Dries Mertens, who scored 5 goals and one assist.
What we can learn from the UCL "best" team?
There are 3 main lessons learned from this optimized squad.
1. Value in defense
The most scoring team shows us that there is great value in expensive defenders and that they worth their price. They contribute amazingly to the global optimum of the problem with relatively low price (comparing to premium midfielders or forwards). And new feature in balls recovered adds to their appeal.
2. Balls recovered
This new feature really helps defensive players to rack up points. Ilkay Gundogan is the good example. So find some players that have not just attacking returns but also a lot of recovered balls and consider bringing them into your team.
Optimized XI also shows us the optimal structure of our teams. It shows us how we should spread our money in our squad. So take an advantage of that knowledge when picking players into your UCL fantasy squad.