World Cup 2022 fantasy tips: Best players, budgets & how to play FIFA game

All you need to know about the official FIFA World Cup fantasy game, including the best players for your own team, tips on how to beat your friends, prizes and much more!

With anticipation building for what promises to be a unique World Cup in Qatar this winter, you can make every game enjoyable by getting involved in the official fantasy football game.

Many of you will be familiar with Fantasy Premier League as that particular game grows in popularity. FIFA have launched their own version with some subtle yet distinct differences.

So why not get involved? Playmaked is here to tell you everything you need to know, such as which players to choose, the best strategies, and information on prizes (if you should be so lucky).

This is a beginner’s guide. We have worked hard on a complete fantasy guide to all groups with expert analysis of the 32 teams. You don’t want to miss it — THE COMPLETE WORLD CUP FANTASY GUIDE

All the best World Cup 2022 fantasy tips

FIFA World Cup Trophy

What is FIFA World Cup 2022 fantasy football & how to play it?

Pretty obviously, it’s a fantasy football game for the World Cup this year in Qatar and includes teams and players from all 32 nations participating.

You choose a formation and pick a 15-player squad which is made up of:

  • Two goalkeepers
  • Five defenders
  • Five midfielders
  • Three forwards

This must be done while staying within the budget of $100 (which increases when the tournament goes into the knockout rounds). Therefore budget enablers are essential to a well-balanced and flexible team.

You are limited to a maximum of three players per team in the group stages. This quota increases as the tournament progress as the number of teams are whittled down.

You score points for positive actions such as appearances, goals, assists, penalties won, clean sheets etc., but equally, you can lose points for negative actions such as yellow and red cards, penalties missed, goals conceded and own goals.

You can sign up to play World Cup 2022 fantasy football by going to the official FIFA website or downloading the World Cup 2022 fantasy app, available on iOS or Android devices.

Best players to include in your starting lineup in World Cup 2022 fantasy

Spain manager Luis Enrique


We have selected the best 15 players for your World Cup fantasy team here

The most valuable of all World Cup 2022 fantasy tips: The best players to pick in your Matchday 1 squad are those who are likely to get goals, assists and clean sheets, as these are the actions that will get you the most points. It might seem obvious, but following this tip rules out selecting a lot of great footballers who are crucial for their team but don’t contribute fantasy points.

Additionally, playing time is crucial. You want to pick players who are guaranteed to start, especially if those players score or assist a lot for their teams.

A classic mistake those new to fantasy make is to try to make a team they think would be perfect in real life. However, this is not the optimal strategy when playing fantasy football.

For example, you may consider Casemiro a brilliant player and essential to Brazil’s success at the tournament. Still, he is unlikely to score or assist as he plays as a central defensive midfielder.

Playmaked presents some of the best World Cup 2022 fantasy squad options to aid you in your matchday choices.

Neymar (Brasil)

Potentially Neymar’s last chance to get his hands on the FIFA World Cup Trophy, the 30-Year-old mercurial Brazilian will be the talisman for his team’s success. Scoring 8 goals in qualifying as well as providing 8 assists, the PSG winger offers an attractive option.

Heavy favourites to top their group, there will be plenty of chances for Neymar to find the back of the net, and we’re backing the Brazilian to do just that.

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Quite simply one of the greatest players to play the game. Lionel Messi can cement his status as the GOAT if he delivers Argentina to the promised land for the first time in 36 years.

After heartbreak in Brazil in 2014, losing finalists to Germany, Argentina had a disappointing showing in Russia in 2018, beaten by eventual champions France in the round of 16. But this Argentinian team looks revitalised under Lionel Scaloni and has a good mix of youth and experience.

Coming second in qualifying with Messi scoring 7 goals in 15 matches, the captain will surely be in with a chance of scoring vs the likes of Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

Kylian Mbappe (France)

So often France’s hero since making his debut in 2017 at 18, Kylian Mbappe turned villain for Les Bleus in Euro 2020, missing the crucial penalty as France went out in a shock defeat to Switzerland.

The young superstar will be looking to right that wrong, and will be buoyed by a fantastic start to the domestic season scoring 7 goals in 7 games for Les Parisians. Looking to add a second World Cup to his list of accolades before 24, Kylian Mbappe is a very safe pick in your Matchday One World Cup 2022 fantasy squad.

Harry Kane (England)

Read our analysis of England’s group here

Just 3 goals off Wayne Rooney’s all-time England goalscoring record, Harry Kane will be desperate to cross that threshold on the biggest stage. Golden Boot winner at the last World Cup in 2018 before following it up with a second-place finish to Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2020, the Spurs striker seems well suited to tournament football.

The main goal-scoring outlet for Southgate’s side, with penalties to boot, Harry Kane is an excellent choice in your squad.

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)

Man City’s magician Kevin De Bruyne will be hoping to drag Belgium to their first piece of major silverware. The unfulfilled potential of Belgium’s golden generation has left many a football fan underwhelmed by their performances at recent tournaments.

One thing is for sure, though, if Belgium do score, this man is usually involved. Whether he’s playing defence-splitting through balls, laser precision crosses or belting in a long-range effort De Bruyne has so many routes to points.

Memphis Depay (Netherlands)

12 goals in qualifying make Memphis Depay the joint top scorer in all of the UEFA qualifiers. The Barcelona forward is ruthless in front of goal and has selfishness that we fantasy managers just love.

With a kind group (Qatar, Ecuador, & Senegal) and many creative players around him, Depay will have ample opportunity to find the net for the Oranje.

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

After a disappointing spell at Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku has returned to his much-loved Milan, where he spearheads the Inter attack once more.

In Euro 2020, he proved a fantastic asset as a flat track bully scoring four (three of which came in the group stages). With the likes of De Bruyne, Hazard and Tielemans proving him with good quality service, the goals are never far away for Lukaku.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Like Messi, Ronaldo will be looking to take his place as the greatest player of the modern (or any) era with a World Cup winners medal in his locker. The five-time Ballon D’or winner is quite simply a goalscoring machine. He won the golden boot at Euro 2020 despite Portugal being eliminated in the quarter-finals and is another flat-track bully that will score well in the group stages.

With a point to prove, having come in for criticism at Manchester United, it would take a brave man to write off Ronaldo just yet.

Alisson Becker (Brazil)

Alisson could be a great number one in your World Cup 2022 fantasy team

Alisson Becker is one of the most expensive goalkeepers in the game (as well as Courtois, Lloris and Neuer), and it’s not hard to see why.

The Liverpool man is an elite shot-stopper, especially in one-on-one situations. With a centre-back pairing of Marquinhos and Thiago Silva in front of him and a relatively kind group, the odds of Brazil keeping 2 or 3 clean sheets look good.

With only 5 goals conceded in qualifying and 13 clean sheets, Alisson Becker is a safe pair of hands between the posts in your Matchday One World Cup 2022 fantasy squad.

What are the best tips to beat your friends in World Cup 2022 fantasy?

Most will tell you fantasy football is a bit of fun, a way to make the tournament more exciting and give you something to root for while watching Qatar vs Ecuador.

But I assure you it is so much more. It’s bragging rights for the next four years. A way to show your friends your elite football knowledge and have them bound down to your superior fantasy footballing abilities.

Here are some top World Cup 2022 fantasy tips and tricks to help you beat your friends and win your mini-leagues.

1. Keep up with the news, use your transfers and don’t miss deadlines!

Most people select a matchday 1 squad and immediately forget all about the game before checking back in a few weeks later to see they are dead last of all their mini-leagues before promptly giving up.

World Cup fantasy is even more intense than season-long games. To win, you must move on out-of-form players and bring in those on hot form or plump fixtures. Especially in the condensed schedule of a tournament, things change quickly, and you need to react.

2. Use your boosters wisely

During the tournament, you have three opportunities to use “boosters”, also known as “chips” for Fantasy Premier League players. For the FIFA 2022 fantasy football game these three opportunities are the Wildcard, Power Captain and 12th man.

Wildcard allows you to completely and permanently change all 15 members of your squad.

Power Captain takes the headache out of selecting a captain. Instead, whichever of your 11 players scores the highest points double their score.

12th man allows you to select one additional player in your team in a matchday. You can select any player to be your twelfth man. Budget or team restrictions do not count here!

In addition, you can make unlimited transfers before the round of 16, so there’s no need to play the Wildcard ahead of round 4. Save the Wildcard for later in the tournament.

Power Captain should be played early when a big favourite is up against a weaker team.

3. Choose differential players

A differential is a player with very low ownership compared to other squads. If you choose a team with a strong template of big hitters and one or two well-thought-out differentials, you can catapult yourself ahead of the pack without risking being left behind.

Finding a great differential should take some research — if not, everyone else would pick him. Luckily, you can check out our complete guide to all World Cup teams to find inspiration.

4. Get the goalscorers

Maybe the most obvious of all World Cup 2022 fantasy tips, but it needs saying. The hardest thing in football is putting the ball in the back of the net, therefore goalscorers are golden in fantasy football games, so get as many as you can in your matchday one squad. Consider penalty and dead ball specialists also.

Even in a defensive context, choosing centre-backs like Virgil Van Dijk, who are good at getting on the end of corners, is a viable strategy, as well as getting in players like Reece James, who swing lots of crosses into the box to get assists.

5. Be Captain Obvious

Especially early on, always captain the most obvious goalscorer. When you captain a player, their points for the Matchday are doubled, and this is often one of the most crucial decisions a fantasy football manager will make on a matchday. Yes, it will look impressive if you captain Granit Xhaka and he bangs in a brace but sticking the armband on Cristiano Ronaldo is a much safer bet. There’s plenty of time for bold calls later on but for now, just keep it simple.

How many transfers can I use before each matchday?

Tournament StageTransfer Allocation
Before start of Matchday 22 transfers
Before start of Matchday 32 transfers
Before start of Round of 16Unlimited
Before start of Quarter-Finals4 transfers
Before start of Semi-Finals5 transfers
Before the Final6 transfers
Transfers available before each Qatar World Cup gameweek

What prizes can you win by playing World Cup 2022 fantasy football?

If you follow our World Cup 2022 fantasy tips (and with a massive amount of luck), you might be in with a chance to win some of FIFA’s prizes! You can win prizes each round and prizes for the best managers overall. For example, last World Cup, the overall winner received a Kia Sportage and a signed captain’s armband from the winning team. 

The runner-ups won merchandise from the World Cup sponsors, including a TV.

Ready to play World Cup fantasy? We have published a complete fantasy guide to all 32 teams in the World Cup.

Do you play Fantasy Premier League? Check out our ultimate guide to FPL

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