Given the expansion of the European Championships to 24 teams and what is essentially an extra knockout round since only eight teams get eliminated following group play, FanXT DFS players are in for a difficult stretch as the groups conclude their group play.
Some teams, such as France, has already clinched a spot in the round of 16 but still need a point to clinch first as Les Bleus face Switzerland, a team likely to qualify even with a loss since it already has four points. Romania has only one point but a very winnable match against Albania, which technically isn’t out of it despite a pair of losses.
The dilemmas arise as coaches chose to rest players, whether it’s fatigue or to prevent them from picking up a second yellow card to avoid missing the round of 16. France coach Didier Deschamps has both such issues to deal with, and he’s also served notice he’s not afraid to make those changes after bringing in Paul Pogba and Thomas Griezmann off the bench in France’s 2-0 win over Albania after the pair started versus Romania.
For the three other teams, it’s all hands on deck in a bid to reach the round of 16, with the worry of the price to pay coming only after passage is secured.
These picks cover the group matches for June 19, using a 4-4-2 formation and salary cap of $90,000 as part of Fan XT’s Daily Fantasy rules for the European Championships.
Goalkeeper: Ciprian Tatarusanu, Romania ($7,310). Tatarusanu is due to have some good luck come his way. Two of the three goals he’s yielded have been thunderbolts _ first by Dimitri Payet that condemned Romania to a 2-1 defeat to France and then Admir Mehmedi’s volley that left Romania to draw 1-1 with Switzerland. Needing three points and facing an Albania squad that has yet to score, the Fiorentina goalkeeper is a high-value, low-cost choice here.
Patrice Evra, France ($7,130). The 35-year-old left back has shown some moments of slippage in defense for the host Bleus, but he also has done a solid job getting forward _ Evra’s eight crosses are second on the team to Payet. There’s a chance coach Deschamps rests the Juventus wing back, but even 45 good minutes from Evra should result in a scoring chance or two.
Razvan Rat ($7,500) and Cristian Sapunaru ($7,020), Romania. With it being win or else for Romania to have any hopes of advancing, playing both wide backs against Albania is a smart play that provides some cap flexibility for the rest of the lineup. The pair have shown the ability to get forward and can possibly stretch an Albanian defense that has conceded 39 shots thus far.
Ricardo Rodriguez, Switzerland ($8,560). Though the Swiss are likely through to the knockout round on four points, there’s the small matter of revenge on their minds. The teams met in group play in the 2014 World Cup, where France scored the first five goals of the match and administered a 5-2 beatdown. Rodriguez was on the pitch for that disaster, and the Wolfsburg defender will be keen to make amends.
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, France ($11,060). Picking any of France’s attacking options in this match comes with a risk given Les Bleus have already qualified for the knockout round, and N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud are the most likely absences since they’re both carrying yellow cards. That leaves Pogba, who responded to his benching following France’s group-opening victory in the best way possible _ by scoring a goal to wrap up a 2-0 victory over Albania. It wouldn’t be surprising if he or any of Deschamps’ other first-choice options are lifted after 60 minutes, but the influential Juve midfielder seems back on track.
Granit Xhaka, Switzerland ($9,920) – Like Rodriguez, Xhaka was on the field in Brazil two years ago when the Swiss were overrun by France. Xhaka did get a consolation goal in that match, but Arsenal’s biggest splash in the transfer market thus far has yet to really leave his stamp on either match. Keeping France from dominating the middle of the park is a tall order, but Xhaka should be up to the challenge.
Gabriel Torje, Romania ($7,270). After a brief appearance as a sub against France, Torje acquitted himself well in playing the full 90 against Switzerland and nearly caught Swiss keeper Yann Sommer napping with a well-placed free kick from 40 yards that went on goal. The Osmanlispor midfielder will have to be at his best to help Romania get a win that should see it through to the knockout rounds with four points.
N’Golo Kante, France ($8,250). This pick comes with potential risk as Kante is carrying a yellow card and would miss the round of 16 match if he is booked versus Switzerland. But the hedge here is the Leicester City midfielder will play a heady game, and Deschamps could quickly burn his first substitution on Kante if the match gets out of hand in either direction. Despite being a defensive midfielder, Kante has pressed forward on occasion to try his hand on goal.
Forwards: Dimitri Payet, France ($8,440). Looking more and more like a bargain with each passing match, the West Ham striker has notched goals in both matches. And when Payet’s not scoring goals, he’s trying to create them with almost every touch _ he’s sent in 31 crosses and 11 corner kicks. Since no one is untouchable in Deschamps’ squad _ evidenced by his sitting of pogba and Thomas Griezmann from the starting XI against Albania _ it is possible Payet may come off the bench here as Deschamps tries to avoid relying too much on him. But it would be pure folly to leave him out of any starting XI for DFS purposes.
Bogdan Stancu, Romania ($7,250). Stancu has delivered what is asked of a forward _ two goals in two matches as he has slotted home a pair of penalties. He is a low-cost and potential high-reward player in this game given Romania’s must-win situation, and while Albania has been proven difficult to break down offensively in this group, the Genclerbirilgi front man should at worst serve as a target forward for some chances and could conceivably get another chance from the spot should things break Romania’s way.