Fantasy football strategy: ‘Chains’ & ‘Nukes’


For those of you who read the title and were expecting the synopsis of some kind of “Fifty Shades Of Grey” novel set in a sadist’s Middle Eastern basement, then stop reading now. Sorry. For those of you who wanted to read one man’s thoughts on fantasy football strategy, you might be in luck.

“Chains” and “Nukes” are strategy terms I use for large-field entry tournaments (commonly known as GPPs). Guaranteed Prize Pool events generally give a large return on a small buyin and offer a weekend of excitement for little outlay.

In the US, people are regularly winning $1,000,000 in a gameweek, and that could eventually happen in the UK too (although maybe in £). MondoGoal hosts a weekly £2 entry tournament, with a £10,000 guaranteed prize pool and £2,000 up top for the winner.

There are many different ways to construct teams for GPPs, however in this article, we will look at two that I like to use.


For this strategy, we look for the teams with the greatest chances to score multiple goals. We’re paying particular attention to the big teams but also any team currently showing good attacking form.

Of equal importance is the team (and defence) that each of our attacking players will come up against. Is that team likely to sit back and be happy to defend, or will they “go for it”?

If it’s the latter, there’s a chance the game could turn into a goal-fest, and that is exactly what we’d love to happen. We want our attacking players to be involved in explosive games, and the more open and attacking the game is the more chance this might happen.

To “Chain” we want to pick three to four attacking players from each team we favour. So the midfield and forward lineup could look something like this:


Picture taken from the Mondogoal team selection screen

If both Chelsea and Manchester City decimate their opponents, then this kind of team could score huge, which is of course the aim of the game.

You can chain together multiple scorers and assisters for that ultimate score. You can hedge a little and take a maximum of three players from each team with another standout favourite for the remaining slot.

Chaining also works for defensive picks. There are not that many clean sheets about, so chaining together a defence that keeps a clean sheet will earn a lot of points. The picks obviously change depending on what the scoring system of the game is, but we could end up with something like:

chain southYou can play around with the teams according to budget and players/teams of your preference. A clean sheet and two good scorelines will propel this kind of lineup to the top of the standings.


Nukes are the opposite of Chains. We want to drop bombs on our opponents.

You are generally looking to select one attacking player from each game that you think will score well (having two from time to time can be fine, too).

This does not have to be most expensive player from each position, a big price indicates huge potential, but you can never “buy” a goal or an assist.

This strategy is more effective when multiple variations are entered into the same contest. If you make a list of the players who you think can get good scores out of the matches, with a limit of one per team, then combine them in different ways.

If the matches are low scoring, or even better, one player hogs all the points, then having a few of these in combination could pay off big time.

When we enter multiple teams with this strategy in mind, it allows us to score bigger overall scores (for the week) as we can hedge on some match-ups.

For example, Leicester vs Arsenal could have a few point scorers, and because we don’t want our players to play each other, we can have some “Nuke” teams that feature Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez, and similar ones that replace those players with Santi Cazorla or Theo Walcott.

When it comes to defence, there are “attacking defenders” that score well even if their team does not keep a clean sheet. The idea here is to identify the best combinations of defenders that allow you to have the best combinations of attackers.

Opportunity cost comes into play here a lot. Alexsandar Kolarov is an expensive acquisition in most games – is selecting him going to be the difference between having a Jesus Navas or a Kevin De Bruyne?

Crossing over defenders and attackers from the same team in this strategy is OK, as you are identifying the player on individual merit, not on the overall likelihood of their team winning.

Chained Nukes

Here we combine the two strategies, we will take an entire defence from one team that we think will keep a clean sheet (more often than not) and we combine it with our individually selected nukes. It’s really simple and there is not too much to say about it, but it works.

Here’s an example of what the “chained nuke” strategy might look like;

chained nukesThis strategy has done well for me in recent weeks, having been in the top ten of the MondoGoal £10k four weeks out of six, including a win and two second places.

I hope this article inspires some thoughts about strategy for fantasy sports GPPs. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, or if you are able to successfully apply these strategies in your games.

Good luck!


About Author

Seasoned poker and Fantasy sports player and enthusiast. Former VIP player manager at PokerStars.