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Less is rarely more at Christmas time, and it’s certainly not going to be that way with this year’s festive football schedule.
Tapping into the busiest of players over that time frame will be key across all Fantasy games, with Football Index no exception.
Football Index (FI) is a kind of stock market where people use real money to bet on football.
You buy shares in individual players whose value can rise or fall depending on their performance both on and off the field.
I’m actively using FI this season with more than a nod to Fantasy Premier League (FPL), seeing which aspects of each game marry up, and which don’t.
And the one that’s marrying up more times than Henry VIII at present is the continued supremacy of Bruno Fernandes (£8.64).
Above: Media Dividends winners over the last five days
The Manchester United midfielder has taken Fantasy Premier League (FPL) by storm since arriving from Portugal last winter.
He managed eight league goals and as many assists from his first half a season and hasn’t let up this campaign. He already has six goals and three assists and only four players in FPL have more points.
And since mentioning him in last week’s article, his price in FI has shot up by £2.
Above: Fernandes has been in the running for Match-Day Dividends in each of his last three games
Dividends are driving Fernandes’ popularity. He’s led the way in the Media Dividend standings twice in three days this week and backed that up with a Match-Day Dividend based on Saturday’s win over West Brom.
When you factor in players also earning traders In-Play Dividends for the first 30 days after the share purchase, then it’s no surprise many are now bumping up his price by surfing the Fernandes wave.
And seeing as he’s some way off his FI peak price of £11.34 in July this year, there’s evidence to suggest he still has much to give.
Man United have no fewer than 11 fixtures to play between now until January 2, 2021, ten of which – the Premier League and Champions League games – are eligible for In-Play and Match-Day Dividends.
Fernandes may not feature in all of those games, but he’s clearly the key man for United and will start most.
A win at home to Paris Saint Germain would secure a place in the Champions League knockout stages, freeing up one final group stage fixture for major squad rotation by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Fernandes has appeared in one of the team’s two League Cup fixtures, but being rested for the quarter-final tie against Everton would also make sense ahead of three games in eight days across Christmas and the new year.
One interesting twist emerged from this week’s win in Europe over Istanbul Basaksehir.
Solskjaer has been sparing, to put it mildly, in his use of new signing Donny van de Beek (£1.83) this season.
But he started both the former Ajax man and Fernandes in midfield against the Turkish team and they worked very well together, with de Beek impressing in a deeper role.
If the manager continues with that line-up, de Beek looks under-priced, particularly as he is also the obvious player to fill the Fernandes role when the Portugal international is rested.
These selection conundrums will, of course, be played out across the Premier League and especially regarding teams with European commitments. But those extra fixtures also to offer the potential for even more FI returns.
With that in mind, Liverpool’s Diogo Jota (£2.68) could be worth monitoring.
He’s only started four league games this season, but crucially that includes three of the last four, and he’s still managed four goals from 392 Premier League minutes – Sadio Mane (£2.02) has the same returns from 707 minutes.
Jota also has four goals from three Champions League appearances and his value, which has risen nearly £1 in less than a week, should continue on that upward trend with the Reds’ domestic schedule looking so enticing:
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