AFC Asian Cup Fantasy 2023 is about to begin and FPL Karhumies shares his picks on the best player picks including budget picks and booster strategy to help you get started.


AFC Asian Cup Introduction

The AFC Asian Cup is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men’s national teams of the members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), determining the continental champion of Asia. It is the second oldest continental football championship in the world after Copa Amรฉrica. The winning team becomes the champion of Asia and until 2015 qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup. Since the Summer Olympic Games and the European Football Championship were also scheduled in the same year as the Asian Cup, the AFC decided to move their championship to a less crowded cycle. After 2004, the tournament was next held in 2007, when it was co-hosted by four countries in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Thereafter, it has been held every four years.

The Asian Cup has generally been dominated by a small number of top teams. Initially, successful teams included South Korea (twice) and Iran (three times). Since 1984, Japan (four times) and Saudi Arabia (three times) have been the most successful teams, together winning seven of the last ten finals. The other teams that have achieved success are Qatar (2019 current champions), Australia (2015), Iraq (2007) and Kuwait (1980). Israel won in 1964 but was later expelled and has since joined UEFA.

Australia joined the Asian Confederation in 2007 and hosted the Asian Cup finals in 2015, winning the competition in the final against South Korea. The 2019 tournament was expanded from 16 teams to 24 teams, with the qualifying process doubling as part of the qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The hosts Qatar, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Iran they are all seem strong while it can be added that Uzbekistan is one to watch out for. Anyways below are my player picks.



AFC Asia Cup Fantasy Budget Picks

 

Goalkeepers
  • 4M – Filip Nguyen (Vietnam)
  • 4.5M – Nawaf Al Aqidi (Saudi Arabia), Joe Gouci (Australia, if Ryan is out), and Ernando Ari (Indonesia)
  • 5.0M – Zion Suzuki (Japan)

 

Defenders
  • 4.0M – None
  • 4.5M – Lucas Mendes (Qatar), Cameron Burgess (Australia, Bos, Miller & Jones rotate), Rustamjon Ashurmatov (Uzbekistan), Lee Ki-je (South Korea, OOP mid), Awn Al Saluli and Hassan Tambakti (Saudi Arabia), Kholmurod Nazarov (Tajikistan), Vas Nunez (Hong Kong), Hussein Ali Haider (Iraq), Mohamed Adel (Bahrain), and Aizar Akmatov (Kyrgyz Republic)

 

Midfielders – Reverse OOP
  • 4.5M – Merchas Doski (Iraq, left-back), Camilo Saldana (Palestine, left-back), and Yue Tze Nam (Hong Kong, right-back)
  • 5M – Mus’ab Al Battat (Palestine, right-back)
  • 5.5M – Zayed Sultan (UAE, right-back)

 

Forwards – Reverse OOP
  • 4.5M – Hazaa Ali (Bahrain, center-back/right-back)

 

AFC Asia Cup Fantasy Mid-range Midfield Picks

  • 6.0M –ย Faisal Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia), and Endo/Morita (Japan, defensive midfielders with heavy rotation risk)
  • 6.5M – Connor Metcalfe (Australia), Ali Jasim (Iraq), Abbosbek Fayzullaev (Uzbekistan), and Liu Binbin (China)
  • 7.0M – Mostafa Meshaal (Qatar)
  • 7.5M – Oston O’runov and Otabek Shukurov (Uzbekistan)

 

AFC Asia Cup Fantasy Premium Midfield Picks

  • 8.5M – Kang-In Lee (South Korea) and Ibraheem Bayesh (Iraq)
  • 9.0M – Takumi Minamino (Japan) and Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia)

 

AFC Asia Cup Fantasy Premium Midfield Picks

  • 5.5M –ย Homam Ahmed (Qatar), Saud Abdulhamid (Saudi Arabia), and Ehsan Hajisafi (Iran, rotation risk)
  • 6.0M – Ramin Rezaein (Iran)
  • 6.5M – Harry Souttar (Australia, good but very expensive)

 

AFC Asia Cup Fantasy Mid-range and Premium Forward Picks

 

  • MD1-3 – Cho Gue-Sung/South Korea/9.5M
  • MD1-2 – Jalolidin Masharipov/Uzbekistan/8.5M, Igor Sergeyev/Uzbekistan/9M, and Mitch Duke/Australia/10.5M

 

AFC Asia Cup Fantasy Matchday 1 Differential Picks

  • 7.0M – Joel Kojo (Kyrgyz Republic) vs Thailand
  • 7.5M – Daizen Maeda (Japan) vs Vietnam and Mousa Tamari (Jordan) vs Malaysia
  • 8.0M – Keito Nakamura and Ayase Ueda (Japan) vs Vietnam
  • 8.5M – Takuma Asano and Junya Ito (Japan) vs Vietnam and Jzan Al Naimat (Jordan) vs Malaysia

Matchday 2-3 – Saleh Al Shehri/Saudi Arabia/9.5M

 

Possible Captain rotation for MD1-3:

  • C1: ๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ
  • C2: ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บor๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟ
  • C3: ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต
  • C4: ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท
  • C5: ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

MD1 and MD2 – ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท v ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต for C3

MD3 – ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท v ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ v ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟ for C2

MD3 – ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท v ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ for C4

MD3 – No C5 at all



Asian Cup Fantasy Premium, “Sub-premium” and Team Composition

  • Premium = 10.5-12.5M
  • “Sub-premium” = 8.5-10.0M

Premium list length is similar to AFCON (6 FWD + 1 MID). But since Mitoma 10.5M is injured, there are no premium mids in the game. I repeat: all premiums are forwards!

With manual sub-rule + a terrible cheap mid pool, especially compared to AFCON Fantasy = we will struggle to get three premiums into the team. So we’ll pick two players out of the premium forwards list for captaincy. Group stage transfers will probably focus on rotating premium forwards.

Sub-premium forwards: I count 35x 8.5-10.0M forwards. We are going to ignore almost all of them because the forwards slots are so valuable to use for the premiums forwards. The third forward slot is open for grabs. Some of these are wingers who should be midfielders in my opinion.

 

Some third forward options:

  • Saleh Al Shehri/Saudi Arabia/9.5M
  • Hee-Chan Hwang/South Korea/10M
  • Cho Gue-Sung/South Korea/9.5M
  • Junya Ito/Japan/8.5M
  • Ayase Ueda/Japan/8M vs. Daizen Maeda/Japan/7.5M

If Son plays as a winger, whoever plays as CF for Korea is a good pick)Whoever is JPN CF will cook MD1. But is it Ueda or Maeda? J.Ito = winger but higher xMins. There is budget pressure to pick a cheap-ish 3rd fwd (if such a thing exists in Asian Cup Fantasy), as in 8M or below, to afford upgrades in mid & defense. Preferably a player on penalties facing poor defenses in the group stage. So it’s “talisman” versus JPN punt 3rd fwd IMO.

 

AFC Asia Cup Fantasy Sub-premium Midfield Picks

 

There are a few, but nowhere as many as forwards. So even in the subpremium category, the mid pool has been robbed into forwards.

  • Salem Al Dawsari/Saudi Arabia/9M is heavily picked. Best C5 choice?
  • Kang-In Lee/South Korea/8.5M plays for a good team and is nailed.
  • Takumi Minamino/Japan/9M is great if he starts.

Once we’ve picked three very expensive forwards (probably 2xpremium + 1x”sub-premium”) and one “sub-premium” mid, we will struggle to fill the other four midfield slots with any decent players. We will probably have 1-2x 4.5M fodder mids on the bench just to afford 2-3x 6.5-7.5M mids.

The game’s scoring and mid-pricing both encourage picking premium defenders over “sub-premium” mids. No MVP or bonus points, mids only get 1p for CS while defenders get 4p. So for a 4.5M mid, we are looking for reverse OOP LB/RB who could get +1 CS point. 5.0-5.5 mids are just as bad.

 

For reference:

 

AFCON

  • 6x premium: 2x fwd + 4x mid
  • 10x sub-premium: 4x fwd + 6x mid

No manual subs so a cheap bench is okay.

 

AFC Fantasy

  • 7x premium: 6x fwd + 1x mid (injured)
  • 51x sub-premium: 35x fwd + 16x mid

Manual subs so we would like an expensive bench if possible.



AFC Asia Cup Fantasy Booster Strategy

 

We have two boosters available – Triple Captain and Bench Boost.

BB: Our bench is going to be full of 4.5M mid-fodder in the group stage due to high mid-player pricing. Therefore, using BB in the top 16 after we get a +5M team budget seems optimal to me.

TC: We want to use this in the group stage. MD3 is not optimal because good teams that are qualified for playoffs can rotate their players to avoid injury. So either MD1 or MD2.

As far as I understand, rotating captaincy works as usual when the TC chip is active. So we want at least three good C options for the TC chip in MD1/MD2. Preferably even 4-5 options.

  • Day 1: ๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆAlmoez Ali – MD2 v๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฏ better than MD1 v๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ง
  • Day 2: ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟ/๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ – they play ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ/๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡พ MD1/MD2 = even
  • Day 3: ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ทTaremi, ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต, ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ชMabkhout all same day
  • Day 4: ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท MD1 v ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ญ & MD2 v ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด both favorable
  • Day 5: ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Salem/Al-Shawri – MD2 v๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ better than MD1 v๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฒ

-> TC2 preferred if you have players from Bahrain or Saudi Arabia.

 

Ali Mabkhout (UAE) has a better fixture MD1 vs Hong Kong than MD2 vs Lebanon. Japan also have a better fixture on MD1 vs Vietnam than MD2 vs Iraq. so C3 in MD2 could be Mehdi Taremi (Iran).

Even though TC2 in MD2 seems slightly better based on Qatar and Saudi fixtures overall, if you think that JPN will absolutely cook Vietnam in MD1, TC1 can still score more than TC2 if you pick the right Japan player for captaincy.

 

The Shortlist of Best Players for TC1/TC2

 

Day 1

๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ12.0 FWD Ali Almoez

๐Ÿฅˆ๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ5.5 DEF Homam

๐Ÿฅ‰๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ11.0 FWD Afif

 

Day 2

๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟstarting forward

๐Ÿฅˆ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ10.0 FWD Duke

๐Ÿฅ‰๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ6.5 DEF Souttar

 

Day 3

๐Ÿฅ‡Any ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต mid/fwd

๐Ÿฅˆ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท11.5 FWD Taremi

๐Ÿฅ‰๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท6.0 DEF Rezaeian

 

The Shortlist of Best Players for TC1/TC2

 

Day 4

๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท12.0 FWD Son

๐Ÿฅˆ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท9.5 FWD Cho

๐Ÿฅ‰MD1: ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด8.5FWD Yazan Al Naimat & ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด7.5FWD Tamari v ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ

Honourable mention: ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท4.5 DEF Lee Ki-Je

 

Day 5

๐Ÿฅ‡MD2: ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ9.5FWD Al Shekri v ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ

๐ŸฅˆMD1: ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ7.0 FWD Kojo v ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ

๐Ÿฅ‰MD2: ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ5.5 DEF Abdulhamid v ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ

Honourable mention: ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ9.0 MID Salem

 

Thanks to all of you for reading. Best wishes to all of you who are playing Asia Cup Fantasy – @karhumies.


You can find additional AFC Asian Cup Fantasy resources for the 23/24 season here.

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Wilson
Wilson
1 month ago

Any MD2 suggestions?

Trevor Baretto
Reply to  Wilson
1 month ago

FPL Manual just published his differential picks for matchday 2 – https://fantasytipsters.com/afcon-fantasy-top-differentials-for-matchday-2/

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