Who says you have to wait until football season to participate in fantasy leagues? The United States may have missed the 2018 World Cup, but there are plenty of fantasy contests to keep you engaged.
The first step is to determine what kind of World Cup league you prefer. There are bracket contests where you just pick the winning teams. Sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are offering daily fantasy contests where you build a team of players based on each day’s schedule. Fans looking for more a commitment can look to fantasy leagues like FIFA is offering where you select a squad for the entire tournament.
For the true degenerates, why limit yourself to just one of these options when you can be keeping up with the teams that win, as well as the top goal scorers? Heavy is here to break down the top World Cup fantasy options. If you find a contest not listed that you love, be sure to leave the name of the game in the comments sections.
Here are the top fantasy World Cup games for 2018.
Best Fantasy World Cup Games
World Cup Fantasy Bracket Game
In a contest reminiscent of March Madness, soccer fans can make bracket predictions for the entire World Cup. MLSSoccer.com is offering the Ultimate Cup Bracket contest where you pick the top two teams in each group who you think will advance to the Knockout Stage.
Just like in March Madness, you are more heavily rewarded for correct picks the further along the tournament goes. Points range from 50 points for picking the right team to advance out of their group to 1,600 points for each team you correctly predicted to make the final. You can either join a public league, or create a league then send an invite to your friends.
DraftKings is offering their typical daily contests where you pick nine players using a salary cap structure. Each day new contests are offered featuring a player pool from that day’s slate of games. Contests range from just for fun to $150,000 of total prize money.
DraftKings is also offering a free game called The Real Shot where you adopt a team (sorry USMNT fans), and make picks each game regarding your team. Here’s how DraftKings describes the contest.
Pick the team that you’re rooting for to win. Choose wisely: The team you adopt will determine your Community Leaderboard.
Win points every time you pick the right outcome of a game. Gain bonus points by watching videos that also help you strategize your picks for the day.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel is offering their traditional DFS games for the World Cup in addition to a unique Pick ‘Em contest. For the daily games, you pick eight players using a salary cap structure using that days player pool. There are also contests for individual World Cup games where you pick five players with different bonus structures.
World Soccer Pick’Em is a free game where you can either pick the winners for each days game. There is also an additional component where you can predict the scores for a chance at the jackpot. There are over $135,000 in prizes.
FIFA World Cup Fantasy Leagues
FIFA is offering a more detailed game called FIFA World Cup Fantasy for your hardcore fantasy soccer fans. The format is similar to Premier League fantasy leagues as you pick a total of 15 players as well as the formation you wish to play. Like the DFS games, there is also a salary cap to work with. One perk, there is a Kia Sportage on the line. Here’s how FIFA describes the World Cup Fantasy contest.
You get a budget of €100 million (rising to €105 million for the knockout phase). You buy a squad of 15 players. You select 11 of them to play in each of the seven rounds. They score you points for assists, goals, saves, clean sheets and so on. You make substitutions. You make transfers. And there are a few little twists to make the McDonald’s FIFA World Cup™ Fantasy even more enthralling.
World Cup Survivor Leagues
These are more difficult to find, but can easily be set up on your own with a few friends. There are a few different formats. Similar to the NFL survivor leagues, you can have each person select one team from each group, and points are awarded based on how far they make it out.
My personal favorite format is to hold a fantasy snake draft with a handful of friends. Instead of drafting players, all 32 World Cup teams are up for grabs. Each person selects their group of teams, and earns points based on how far your teams advance. You can play for bragging rights, or perhaps the next office lunch.