Looking to play Qatar World Cup fantasy? Picking a winning side can be overwhelming, with 32 teams and 832 players to choose from.
We’re here to help. This complete guide will arm you with knowledge of all groups. Our experts have analysed the key players from every team and awarded them one to five stars based on their potential as point-scorers in your side. In addition, we present an exciting budget or differential pick from every nation.
What to expect from our Qatar World Cup fantasy guide:
- A close look at every group.
- Expert analysis of all 32 teams.
- Player rating and recommendations from every team.
- A look at hidden gems and differential player tips.
If you want to make the World Cup even more exciting, we also have hand-picked selected bets that we believe represent good value.
If you are new fantasy manager you can also check out our collection of World Cup 2022 fantasy tips
Group A Teams
The Netherlands go into this group as heavy favourites to come out on top. Senegal are odds on to come second, having won the African Cup of Nations earlier this year. Their opponents, by contrast, look very much to be making up the numbers. Ecuador just scraped through the last qualifying place in the CONMEBOL qualifiers, and Qatar took their place as hosts through automatic qualification.
Ecuador and Qatar look to set up with defence as a priority and can be solid at times, though both will struggle in an attacking sense.
Ecuador gave a good account of themselves in qualifying, holding Brazil and Argentina to 1-1 draws at home.
Must-have Qatar World Cup fantasy player from Group A
Denzel Dumfries, DEF ($6m)
The right wingback proved a great asset at his debut tournament in Euro 2020. Netherlands’ opponents are weak in attack, and Dumfries has a high goal threat which makes him too tempting an asset to pass up.
After a disappointing Euro 2020 campaign, the Netherlands sacked then manager Frank De Boer of Crystal Palace infamy. Instead, Louis van Gaal (of Manchester United infamy) took the reins for the World Cup qualifying campaign. After opening day defeat to Turkey, the Dutch breezed through the rest of the group with relative ease, thanks in no small part to the return from injury of Virgil van Dijk.
The Netherlands play a 3-4-3 formation with both wing backs given licence to get forward and score goals. More defensively solid since Van Dijk’s return means both wingbacks have points potential at both ends of the pitch.
Scoring 33 goals in qualifying, the Dutch have added killer instinct to their attacking play, with Memphis Depay often the beneficiary.
The Netherlands offers outstanding potential with a solid defence, lethal attack, and a relatively easy group.
Best fantasy players from the Netherlands
Denzel Dumfries, DEF ($6m) ★★★★★
The attacking wingback is often involved in the goals for the Dutch and is a great pick in your Matchday 1 squad.
Memphis Depay, FWD ($8.5m) ★★★★★
With 12 goals in 10 games in qualifying, the Barcelona man has the ruthlessness and selfishness to make him a great fantasy option. Add penalties to that, and he’s an easy set and forget.
Virgil van Dijk, DEF ($6m) ★★★★☆
The stoic central defender is a rock at the back for both club and country. His dominant aerial ability also makes him a menace at set piece time — a safe and reliable pick.
Matthijs de Ligt, DEF ($5.5) ★★★☆☆
For a slightly cheaper route into the Netherlands defense, Matthijs De Ligt looks a safe and secure option. The Bayern Munich central defender is rock solid along side his center back partner Van Dijk.
Differential/budget player from the Netherlands
Davy Klassen, MID ($6m)
Scoring 4 goals from midfield in qualifying, Klaassen could be a decent budget pick in the midfield. His ability to arrive late into the box and pounce on loose balls means he could pop up with a goal or two.
Under the management of national legend Aliou Cisse, Senegal have gone from strength to strength, winning AFCON earlier this year after beating Mo Salah’s Egypt on penalties and then a few months later doing it all over again in the World Cup playoff.
Undefeated in the World Cup qualifying group, they then went through AFCON, conceding just two goals in the tournament. A well-organised and solid defence, backed up by Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy, means you can expect clean sheets from the two more comfortable games in this group.
Up front, however, the attack can sometimes be laboured and lacking in cutting edge, being held scoreless three times in their AFCON campaign. Their trouble finding goals is made worse by Sadio Mané’s late injury to keep him out of the World Cup. His absence is a huge blow for coach Aliou Cisse, who has been forced to make late changes to his squad travelling to Qatar.
Best fantasy players from Senegal
Edouard Mendy, GK ($5m) ★★★☆☆
World-renowned Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy is a brilliant shot-stopper. He can sometimes get into trouble with the ball at his feet, but he won’t be expected to do that for Senegal. He’s a solid choice between the sticks.
Ismailia Sarr, FWD ($6.5m) ★★★☆☆
At his low price, Sarr offers a good alternative with Mané out of the squad. His lethal finishing and brilliant dribbling ability make him a hard man to stop.
Differential/budget player from Senegal
Famara Diédhiou, FWD ($5m)
Senegal’s top scorer in qualifying, Diédhiou, missed AFCON due to Covid. The striker is served by two great talents in Mane and Sarr; frequently, those two make runs to the byline and square the ball for a simple tap-in.
With three previous appearances at the World Cup, Ecuador come into the 2022 edition more in hope than expectation. A campaign marred by allegations of fraud and forgery of birth certificates, La Tricolor, can consider themselves lucky to even kick a ball at Qatar 2022.
On the pitch, Ecuador struggle for goals, their top scorer from the qualifying campaign Michael Estrada scoring just 6 goals in 18 games. Brighton fans will know their midfielder Moises Caicedo who shields the defence well and progresses the ball with driving runs from midfield. It’s what you do at the top end that counts, though, and Ecuador find it hard to score away from home. They failed to score against teams that qualified above them away from home.
With 19 goals conceded in 18 games in qualifying, their defence also leaves little to be desired.
Best fantasy players from Ecuador
Enner Valencia, FWD ($6.5m) ★★☆☆☆
Ecuador’s captain and all-time top goalscorer (35 goals in 72 games), formerly of West Ham United, Enner Valencia, could also prove great value for money as a Qatar World Cup fantasy asset.
Michael Estrada, FWD ($5m) ★★☆☆☆
Ecuador’s top scorer in qualifying with 6 goals, he appears to be his national team’s primary outlet. At rock bottom price, he could be good value.
Differential/budget player from Ecuador
Moises Caicedo, MID ($5.5m)
A powerful runner from midfield, Caicedo likes to get forward for both Brighton and Ecuador. A rocket of a right boot and an eye for goal make Caicedo a good differential pick.
Perhaps the hardest to judge of all the teams in this group, due to a lack of a qualifying campaign, Qatar qualified automatically as hosts. Having relied heavily on naturalising players born elsewhere, they have moved away from such practices in recent years.
They play a 5-3-2 formation that’s very much defence first (think Burnley but less ambitious). They set up with two banks, the midfield shielding the centre of the defence to push attackers wide where they swarm the ball with two or three defenders at a time.
They keep two strikers up top that they punt long up to and hope they can do something (anything!) with the ball, relying heavily on current top scorer Ali Almoez’s long-range efforts.
Their lack of ability in attack, combined with their tenacious defending, makes their games incredibly dull affairs.
Best fantasy players from Qatar
Ali Almoez, FWD ($4.5m) ★☆☆☆☆
Qatar’s current top scorer (35 goals in 72 games), he is definitely classified as a punt. If you really feel like going differential, he’s your man.
Hassan Al-Haydos, FWD ($4.5m) ★☆☆☆☆
Qatar’s current second top scorer (33 goals in 163 games) and captain is an even bigger punt and an even bigger differential. A true hipster pick.
Differential/budget player from Qatar
Abdelkarim Hassan, DEF ($3.5m)
The Qatari left-back has scored 15 goals in his international career. With Qatar’s defence first approach combined with Hassan’s eye for goal, he is the defender of choice from the host’s side.
Make the World Cup more exciting!
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- Qatar under 3.5 points in group stage — 2.65
- Ismaila Sarr to be Senegal’s top scorer — 11.00
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Continue to our analysis of GROUP B
Check out our expert’s best World Cup fantasy team here
Odhrán Brennan is a data journalist for a sports data company, living in Finland. He’s been playing FPL since the 06/07 season and is a long-suffering fan of both Arsenal and the Republic of Ireland national team. You can follow him on Twitter here