The popularity of fantasy football leagues have refused to die and, with a massive European Championship on the horizon, fans across the country are gearing up to claim the bragging rights with family and friends.
UEFA Euro 2020 is less than a week away and fantasy football squads across the country are being carefully built, with the finishing touches to your fantasy starting XI being added ahead of the opening group games, with the group stages presenting the opportunity to steal a march on your fellow competitors. But which players can no squad be without over the next few weeks?
We’ve compiled a list of the most picked players from the fantasy league in each position to give you an idea of you can expect to see in your pals’ team.
How do I play?
Easy. Head to the official Euro 2020 fantasy football site, pick and manage your own dream team all the way to tournament glory, and you’ll receive points based on your players' real-life performances throughout the tournament.
There are unlimited free transfers right up until the first game kicks off. Which is Turkey v Italy at 8pm on Friday 11 June and the deadline for all team picks.
What is my budget and how do I pick my squad?
To get started, you’ll need to pick a squad of 15 players, with a total budget of €100 million.
You can pick two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards then, on match day, you must pick a starting XI in any formation, from your squad of 15.
When the competition reaches the knockout stages, your budget will increase to €105 million.
Who are the most picked goalkeepers?
You have to be shrewd to win a fantasy league and it appears many players have opted for a back up goalkeeper that is unlikely to play in order to splash the cash further forward.
Finland’s second choice goalkeeper Lukáš Hrádecký is the most popular pick in the nets for fantasy players, with 34% placing the Fin in the number one slot.
Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois is the next most popular choice, with 27% of players going with the Real Madrid stopper between the posts, closely followed by Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, Denmark’s Kasper Schmeichel and Germany’s Manuel Neuer.
Who are the most picked defenders?
There are some interesting and clever choices out there, with some players paying close attention to the stats.
Top of the pile is Manchester City’s Portuguese Premier League player of the season, Ruben Dias picked in 42% of teams despite being in a group with the likes of Germany and France. Dutch centre back Mattias De Ligt comes in right behind him, with 39% of teams including the former Ajax youngster.
Dias’ City team mate João Cancelo is the third most popular, being picked in 23% of teams.
Denmark’s Simon Kjær is perhaps the most interesting name on the list, with the 32-year-old picked 23% of the time. While not the most well known name at the tournament, his country are dark horses of the tournament and come into Euro 2020 with one of the best defensive records in the qualifying stages. At €4.5 million, he is well worth a look as a shrewd signing.
Last on the list is England left back Luke Shaw, who is in 18% of all fantasy league sides.
Who are the most picked midfielders?
Bizarrely, Hungary’s midfielder Loïc Négo is number one in the list of my picked midfielders. The midfielder, who made one appearance for League One side Charlton Athletic back in 2013, is chosen in 42% of fantasy sides for the tournament, despite not being a guaranteed starter for his country.
However, the rest of the list makes far more familiar reading. France’s serial trophy collector N’Golo Kante comes in second, featuring in 40% of teams, with Belgium’s key player Kevin De Bruyne coming in at 33%, despite his lofty €10.5 million fee.
Following the Belgian superstar is England’s Mason Mount (32%) and Germany’s Joshua Kimmich (23%).
Who are the most picked strikers?
It’s no surprise to see fantasy league fans playing it safe when it comes to their forward line choices, with a host of golden boot winners leading the list of most picked.
England’s Harry Kane (43%) and Romelu Lukaku (42%) are the most picked at the tournament, closely followed by France and Paris Saint Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe, who comes in at 34%.
Global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is just six goals away from breaking the record for most international goals going into the tournament, and 20% of fantasy league players think he will score goals for them at Euro 2020, while Robert Lewandowski slots in 16% of teams despite turning out for unfancied Poland.
All percentages correct at time of writing, Monday 7 June.