We take a look at the best players in each position including value picks in our World Cup Fantasy player rankings for matchday 1.
|1||Kylian Mbappé||FRA||AUS||$11.5M||One of the best forwards in the tournament against arguably the worst team in the league. And the injury to Benzema actually raises Mbappé's ceiling because now he will be on penalties and he also pairs better with Giroud who is a dream partner for any forward because of the amount of space that he creates.|
|2||Lionel Messi||ARG||KSA||$10.5M||This man needs no introduction. He wasn't at his best last season but his form this season (12G, 14A in 19 matches for PSG) should squash any doubt.|
|4||Antoine Griezmann||FRA||AUS||$8.5M||If you want to double down on the best fixture of the matchday.|
|5||Gareth Bale||WAL||USA||$8M||USA fans don't have much hope from their defence and I don't blame them. Long's inclusion to the World Cup squad, let alone the starting XI is questionable considering his recent performances for the team. Wales probably have the fastest front three in the tournament and it is possibly the worst matchup for Berhalter's high line USA team.|
|6||Richarlison||BRA||SRB||$7.5M||Richarlison's club form isn't the best but it is hard to ignore him if he hasn't blanked in his last six games for NT with seven goals and two assists in the same period. He is also $4M cheaper than Neymar and plays as the striker for the team.|
|7||Cristiano Ronaldo||POR||GHA||$10M||Keeping his bad form and off the pitch issues aside, he is still the focal point of the team's attack and don't underestimate the ability of the Portuguese players to win penalties. There might be a few of them and I would back Ronaldo to score every time.|
|9||Harry Kane||ENG||IRN||$11M||Other than their last game against Germany which ended 3-3, England have scored just one goal in their previous five matches. Teams that park the bus are their kryptonite and sitting back and defending for most of the game happens to be Iran's biggest strength. The upside isn't there to rank him over other premium forwards.|
|10||Breel Embolo||SWI||CMR||-||Massively overlooked but Embolo has been on fire in France with 7G+2A in 15 matches in Ligue 1. He also has the highest goal conversion rate among those with over five goals (41%, tied with Neymar Jr.) and he could be a good differential *IF he gets added to the game* but it wouldn't surprise me if he is never added because the chaos that this game has brought has drained me of my optimism.|
|1||Christian Eriksen||DEN||TUN||$8M||Locked on all set-pieces for Denmark and should rack up plenty of bonus points throughout the tournament.|
|2||Kevin de Bruyne||BEL||CAN||$11M|
|3||Angel Di Maria||ARG||KSA||$8.5M||I'm a Di Maria believer and I believe he will be the most important player for Argentina in attack along with Messi. Yes, his record in the World Cup isn't the best (2G in 13 games) but he is predicted to play OOP up top and has six goals plus two assists in his last eight games for NT.|
|4||Jamal Musiala||GER||JPN||$8M||People should be talking more about Musiala for a player who has 16 goal involvements in 14 Bundesliga matches at just 19. I think that he will be the star performer for Germany this tournament and there will be a lot more talk about him once the World Cup ends. That being said, I think Japan will make it hard for Germany to score like Oman did so his ceiling does seem limited.|
|5||Steven Bergwijn||NED||SEN||$7M||Netherlands is a team that is expected to surprise and I think Bergwijn is one player that will turn into a fantasy favourite. He has six goals and an assist in his last nine games for NT against teams such as Denmark, Germany and Poland. Bergwijn is also priced generously at $7M and will be playing up top against Senegal.|
|6||Leroy Sané||GER||JPN||$9M||Sané will be playing in his favourite left-wing position for NT where he has seven goals and three assists in just nine games so I am hoping that he can replicate his UCL form in the tournament.|
|7||Bruno Fernandes||POR||GHA||$9.5M||A bit split between him and Bilva but I think Fernandes will be more involved in attack and will also have a higher floor because of bonus points for key passes and tackles which gives him a slight edge.|
|8||Pablo Sarabia||ESP||CRC||$7.5M||Every Spanish attacker seems out of form but if I had to pick a differential from the team it would probably be hero of Euro 2020 - Pablo Sarabia.|
|9||Adrien Rabiot||FRA||AUS||$6.5M||It might seem absurd until you realize that Rabiot is having a career season with 5G and 2A in 16 games this season across the Serie A and Champions League. And if you are expecting France to thump Australia by 3-4 goals or more then why not?|
|10||Luka Modrić||CRO||MAR||$8.5M||A bit pricey and you can probably find differentials with more potential but he does have four goals and two assists in his last nine starts for the team.|
|1||Denzel Dumfries||NED||SEN||$6M||If you've watched Dumfries play at the Euros, you know how lethal he is in front of goal. Despite being a defender, you will often see him in the box with the forwards while attacking and Van Gaal has tweaked his tactics to accomodate for Dumfries bombing forward so often.
Now with star player Mané being ruled out for Senegal (he was involved in 10 of the last 19 or 52% of the goals for the team), I think there is a good chance that the Netherlands keep a cleansheet in every group stage game.
|2||Benjamin Pavard||FRA||AUS||$5M||The cheapest France defender and also has the most attacking potential since Theo Hernández is expected to be benched.|
|3||Kieran Trippier||ENG||IRN||$5M||On set-pieces and has a favorable group with a good chance of keeping a cleansheet in every game. It might also be a good time to remind you that England conceded just two goals in the entire Euro 2020 tournament. Once against Denmark in the semis and against Italy in the final.
Fun fact: 9/12 goals scored by England in the last World Cup when they were managed by Southgate came from set-pieces.
|4||Joakim Mæhle||DEN||TUN||$4.5M||You thought Dumfries was the most attacking defender? Denmark have lots of big names in their squad but the top-scorer for the team under the current coach is none other than Mæhle with nine goals and five assists in 30 matches from left wing-back. He was also the joint top-scorer in Group F of European World Cup Qualification with five goals as Denmark kept a cleansheet in 8/10 games which was also highest among teams in Europe.|
|5||Nicolás Otamendi||ARG||KSA||$5M||Otamendi has some goal threat from set-pieces but still not as much as left-backs Tagliafico or Acuña who are not nailed. Argentina are the bookmaker's favourites to reach the final so you might want to fill your quota of players from the Albicelestes.|
|6||Jordi Alba||ESP||CRC||$6M||Spain haven't recorded less than 60% possession in a match since 2020 against Germany (59%) so I think they will make it tough for Costa Rica to even create chances let alone score,|
|7||Timothy Castagne||BEL||CAN||$5.5M||Belgium's backline might be aging but Canada's frontline aren't doing too great themselves in terms of recent form.|
|9||Borna Sosa||CRO||MAR||$3.5M||Sosa is in top form right before the tournament with four assists in just his last five Bundesliga games so it is hard to find a better enabler at the price.|
|10||Felix Torres||ECU||QAT||$4M||A bit unconventional especially when everyone is expecting the game to end Ecuador 0-1 Qatar because of some reason I won't mention but it is worth noting that Ecuador have kept a cleansheet in each of their last six games so they aren't as easy to score against as you would think. They also had the most shots (70), goals (8) and xG (7.57) from set-pieces in qualifying so I think Torres could be a big goal threat in the box.|
|1||Hugo Lloris||FRA||AUS||$6M||Best cleansheet odds by far but might not have a lot of shots to save, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.|
|3||Emiliano Martinez||ARG||KSA||$5.5M||The best keeper that plays early.|
|1||Lautaro Martínez||FWD||ARG||KSA||$8M||A cheaper alternative to Messi and had the same amount of goals in qualifying.|
|2||Andreas Skov Olsen||MID||DEN||TUN||$6M||He was the star for Denmark during the qualifiers with five goals and three assists from just 10 games. Even at a club level for Club Brugge he has 12 goal involvements in 21 games and this could be the tournament that puts him on the map.|
|4||Sergio Rochet||GKP||URU||KOR||$4M||The best budget keeper. Also plays on the last day of matchday 1 if you want to sub him in.|
|5||Akram Afif||FWD||QAT||ECU||$4.5M||If hosts Qatar were to somehow get a dodgy goal, you would think it has to be the homegrown hero Afif who has to score.|
|6||Matt Turner||GKP||USA||WAL||$4M||According to Opta, Matt Turner has the best post-shot xG among all keepers playing in the tournament. So you can expect saves if not cleansheets at least.|
|7||Daichi Kamada||MID||JPN||GER||$5.5M||Flick is yet to find his best defence and hopes aren't high so if I had to pick a possible cleansheet buster against Germany it would be Kamada. He is at the peak of his career with 12 goals and four assists in just 22 games this season. Will also be on set-pieces.|
|8||Mohammed Kudus||MID||GHA||POR||$6M||You might remember him from his exploits in the UCL. He is the biggest talent that Ghana has and when he has been paired with forwards that haven't scored for the NT in months and even years, he will have to shoulder a lot of the responsibility if they are to get out of their group. I also expect him to be good for bonus points considering his high work rate.|
|9||Abdulelah Almalki||MID||KSA||ARG||$3.5M||The only midfielder in the game priced at $3.5M and somehow predicted to start too.|
|10||Boualem Khoukhi||DEF||QAT||ECU||$3M||The cheapest starting defender in the game.|
|Bonus||Andries Noppert||GKP||NED||SEN||$4.5M||LVG seems like he might start Noppert but any of the Dutch keepers could start and I won't try to get into LVG's head too much.|
You can find additional World Cup Fantasy resources for the 22/23 season here.
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