After playing FPL for over 10 years, this will be my first season playing fantasy UCL. Matchday 1 was a baptism-by-fire as my team suffered two red cards, two yellow cards, a penalty missed, a penalty conceded, and multiple injuries. All told, the crew accrued 47 points and are sitting at an unfortunate overall rank of 789,673:
With my team on the edge of a barely assured starting XI, I’ve decided to change my strategy and use the Limitless chip for MD2. The recent news of Trent Alexander-Arnold not travelling with the team for the matchup against Porto was enough to tip the scales for me. I will almost certainly be using my wildcard in MD3 now unless the initial squad makes a miracle recovery.
This week’s approach is minimal: attacking players, mostly in front of home fans, hopefully leading to a big point return.
The team with differential picks preceded by *:
Thibaut Courtois ( €6m, 9%, home vs. Sheriff )
If this doesn’t end in a clean sheet, it should have.
*Yassine Bounou ( €5m, 7%, away vs. Wolfsburg )
Picked purely for the save potential with the hope of a clean sheet in case Real Madrid leak a goal or two.
This entire defensive strategy is ironically summarized by its value in attack. All of these fellas play at home and offer potential assists or goals, with a couple being *differential picks according to ownership. Intentional simplicity here with a high upside. Hakimi has a tough fixture but taking a punt just because.
*David Alaba ( €5.5m, 8%, home vs. Sheriff )
Achraf Hakimi ( €6.5m, 36%, home vs. Man. City )
Joshua Kimmich ( €6.5m, 25%, home vs. Dynamo Kyiv )
*Robin Gosens ( €5.5m, 7%, home vs. Young Boys )
Alphonso Davies ( €6m, 20%, home vs. Dynamo Kyiv )
Jude Bellingham ( €7m, 18%, home vs. Sporting CP )
Picking Jude as potential cover for a decent fixture if Haaland is a no-go, in which case Ronaldo will likely come in. Bellingham was bright in the opening fixture.
*Christopher Nkunku ( €7.5m, 6%, home vs. Club Brugge )
This is a pure gut pick. On fire recently and at home versus Brugge. We can’t ignore 3 goals against Manchester City in 81 minutes, no matter the excuses.
*Jack Grealish ( €8m, 8%, away vs. PSG )
As with everything Pep-related, this is a gamble, even more so against PSG in Paris. However, Grealish is fitting in the team and is physically fit, the two qualities being about all you can ask for when rolling the dice on City assets.
Mohamed Salah ( €10.5m, 24%, away vs. Porto )
Pick him in FPL. Pick him in UCL. Pick him to pick up your kids from school if you’re in a pinch. Pick him to give you advice on abdominal exercises. Pick him to be your cool uncle that buys you a beer. Just pick him. He’s a model of consistency.
Bruno Fernandes ( €10.5m, 16%, home vs. Villarreal )
Bruno made his awkward, arguably unnecessary public apology for the missed penalty. Make what you will of his motivation in this instance, but there’s no denying his competitive drive, especially with Ronaldo in the locker room. I’m including him for Ronaldo cover if Haaland does in fact start for Dortmund.
Karim Benzema ( €10m, 11%, home vs. Sheriff ) CAPTAIN~
11% owned?! This human in La Liga so far this season has: 7 matches played, 8 goals, 7 assists, 4 times chosen to a team of the week, on penalties, blah, blah, blah, boring exceptional stats, blah. Best striker in the world by the numbers. How is he a borderline differential?
Erling Haaland ( €11m, 59%, home vs. Sporting CP )
Sporting Lisbon allowed FIVE goals at home against Ajax. Sébastien Haller will haunt them for years to come. Replace Haller with Haaland in front of a thirsty crowd of home fans and it doesn’t look great for the Portuguese side. If Haaland was sure to be fit, he’d be my captain. As with all mid-week matches, wait as long as possible for updates and make changes accordingly.
Robert Lewandowski ( €11.5m, 24%, home vs. Dynamo Kyiv )
The toughest aspect of the limitless chip is the inevitable fear of picking the wrong captain with so many enticing options. The fear is real here.