After a whirlwind of matches, round one of the World Cup has now come to a close. Unfortunately for fantasy players, a lot of big teams failed to live up to their expectations and many high profile players laid duds. The flip side of that coin is that a lot of teams performed far better than most anticipated. Mexico is the obvious choice in real life, but it’s Russia that has stolen the show in Fantasy.
On the back of a double gameweek, in which they won both matches, Russian players account for 45 per cent of our Team of the Week, including the entire midfield. Denis Cheryshev is probably the most surprising star at the tournament thus far considering he didn’t even make the host’s starting XI in their first match, yet came on as a super sub and all but propelled his nation to the knockout rounds. The only drawback to their double gameweek is that they will not have a scheduled fixture in round two so, in the meantime, you may as invest your time and budget elsewhere. Now, let’s see who made the cut.
GK: Guillermo Ochoa - Mexico - 1 Game, 9 Saves, 1 Clean Sheet = 11 Points
Germany came into this match as favourites to win the World Cup, but couldn’t even win their first match due, in large part, to Ochoa. He saved a tournament-high nine shots (four points) en route to an heroic clean sheet against on of the tournament’s most dangerous attacks. His next opponent, South Korea, had the worst expected goal rate in round one (.19 xG) so buying in on the low-priced Ochoa looks a terrific investment.
DF: Aleksandar Kolarov - Serbia - 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points
DF: Andreas Granqvist - Sweden - 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points
Granqvist captained Sweden to a 1-0 win against South Korea in which they, incredibly, did not allow a single shot on target. Not only did he keep the clean sheet but he also scored from the penalty spot which helped him finish level with the most points among defenders in the Goal game. The fact that Granqvist takes penalties for Sweden makes him a very interesting Fantasy asset but, with an angry Germany next on the schedule, it may be best to avoid him for now.
DF: Jose Gimenez - Uruguay - 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points
DF: Mario Fernandes - Russia - 2 Games, 1 Assist, 1 Goal Conceded, 1 Clean Sheet = 11 Points
MF: Denis Cheryshev - Russia - 1 Game, 1 Substitute Appearance, 3 Goals = 21 Points
The injury to Alan Dzagoev looked a damaging one for Russia’s chances to advance, but Cheryshev certainly had something to say about that. His influence on their attack has been incredible with the hosts averaging a goal every 22 minutes with the former Madrid product on the pitch. His three goals, albeit over two matches, has not been bettered by anyone at the tournament and, at just £6.0m in the Goal game, he looks a must own for round three.
MF: Aleksandr Golovin - Russia - 2 Games, 1 Goal, 2 Assists = 16 Points
MF: Yuri Gazinskiy - Russia - 2 Games, 1 Goal = 10 Points
The big question surrounding Ronaldo heading into this tournament was if we’d get the qualifying edition or previous World Cup edition of him. The answer came fairly quickly as he scored in the fourth minute against Spain and was thoroughly settled when he scored an 88th-minute free kick that saved a point for Portugal. His remaining matches against Morocco and Iran will likely not be as easy as some may think but, at this point, can anyone stop Ronaldo?
FWD: Artem Dzyuba - Russia - 2 Games, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 16 Points
FWD: Harry Kane - England - 1 Game, 2 Goals = 12 Points