Not everyone has the financial backing of Bateson or Castro to spend thousands of dollars on FIFA Ultimate Team during launch week. I mean that literally, thousands of dollars. Bateson had 400,000 FIFA points, not coin, points. Last I checked on the market it’s 12,000 FIFA points for every $99.99 USD. You can do the math on that one, and he’s in England where the currency conversion is greater. But anyways, you don’t have to spend money in FUT to have fun. Unfortunately if you want to compete in Weekend League and play online then chances are you will. But let’s scrap that for a moment, let’s look at some lower rated players who are going to be great additions to your early season FUT 18 squad.

*Remember prices during pre-launch are going to be insanely high, everyone is trying to capitalize on the market at its peak. Things will die down once everyone can buy packs, participate in SBCs and accumulate coin. Each game played of FIFA yields about 500 coin give or take, so spending 3K or 4K on a player isn’t a huge investment. You won’t find anyone for under 1,500 right now. There just isn’t enough supply and too much demand. Those players will come later in FIFA once squads begin to turn over and gamers look for newer options.

Here are a few players I have my radar on (Spoiler – I’m high on French players this year)

Joshua King, 77 ST – AFC Bournemouth

If you’re building a Premier League squad (which most people do) having a pacey striker is a necessity. Enter Joshua King who is rated a 77 overall but has the ever important 90 pace. He has a respectable 77 shot rating and 75 dribbling. He’s a good option for breakaways and counter attacks. His finishing should be solid even with a less than desired two star weak foot. His Norway nationality won’t lend you for hybrid teams but he’s a great first option for a PL team. King takes a big jump to gold status where he started FIFA 17 as a 72 silver and received one In Form at a 74 overall but still silver. 

Serge Aurier, 81 RB – Tottenham

The newly signed right back from Paris St. Germain looks to be a very strong card in FIFA 18 with 84 pace, 78 defense, 84 physical and solid offensive attacking skills. The trick here is don’t overpay because I can see Aurier receiving multiple Team of the Week honors throughout the year which will drive his base card down later in the season. He’s also primed for a mid season upgrade as an 81 rating feels too low. He was an 83 last year and I think he’ll find his own at Spurs. If you can snag him early before people realize he’s the best right back option in the PL do it. Everyone is going to be transfixed on getting 83 Kyle Walker (90 pace, 80 defense), 83 Antonio Valencia (87 pace, 85 physical) or Hector 81 Bellerin (95 pace).

Marcos Alonso, 81 LWB – Chelsea

He’s not the flashiest card in the game but he’s basically 70+ across the board in all major categories. His Spanish nationality and Premier League connections make him a good hybrid option. He’s solid at taking free kicks, he has high work-rate on both sides of the ball and he’s got 90 stamina. If you’re a player who can play a controlled game and isn’t all about that speed abuse then Alonso opens a wide range of options. He received three In-Forms last season, a mid-season upgrade and was voted onto the Premier League Team of the Season. 

Martin Caceres, 77 CB – Hellas Verona

Not having Caceres in FIFA 17 nearly killed me but now he’s back and he’s going to slot right back into my Serie A team when the time comes. The last we saw Caceres in FIFA 16 he was an 81 CB with 83 pace and 86 defense. It was one of the greatest, if not thee greatest, defensive FUT cards I’ve ever used. His new card is a shell of that version with 74 pace (very good for a CB) and 79 defense. It’s a perfect starter card for any Serie A squad. You also have options with Uruguayan connections in the back with Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez and Sebastian Coates.

Josuha Guilavogui, 80 CDM – VfL Wolfsburg

Another perfect player for an early season hybrid team. Guilavogui is a rare connector that could lend itself to a French and Bundesliga team. When you look at his card stats it reads like a larger poor man’s version of N’Golo Kante.  His 70 pace is very good for the midfield and his 81 defense and physical stats are a big asset. Depending on what type of chemistry card you add you can mold him to the player you want. He’s more suited to be a holding defensive midfielder than an attacking mid. I would probably add “Artist” chemistry to boost passing and dribbling +10 each and he’s a pretty well rounded player sans his shot.

Eliaquim Mangala, 79 CB – Manchester City

When selecting a defensive player it’s almost as important to find someone with speed than a high defensive rating. In previous editions of FIFA a quick defender could hide the sins of a defense, I’m not so sure about that in FIFA 18 from my time with the demo. If the precedence does hold then once again the pacey defender will rule. Mangala looks like an absolute horse on defense. He has 70 pace, 79 defense and 85 physical ratings. Buried within that 85 are 88 strength, 89 aggression and 86 jumping. He’ll once again be a solid defender and shouldn’t cost much. I already grabbed him for 1,300 coin.

Kingsley Coman, 79 RM – Bayern Munich

I fell in love with this card last year and I don’t see any reason to hate it this year. It’s a pure offensive, attacking, speed play and there’s nothing wrong with that. Last year Coman was positioned on the left, now he’s on the right but it’s the same thing. Coman’s 92 pace and 82 dribbling make him a lethal threat to sprint and attack from the winger position. If you’re all about fancy footwork then he’s a skiller’s delight with 4 star skilled moves. There are other options who can do the same thing but do they have a rat tail with rasta beads? No. 

Wyland Cyprien, 79 CM – OG Nice

The more I look at Cyprien’s ratings the more I’m wondering how he’s only rated a 79 overall. We all know the overall rating means less than the individual sub traits but still this seems exceptionally low for someone who is +73 across the board. He’s got 3 star weak foot and skilled dribbling with 86 stamina and no holes in his game. A calculated chemistry card and he’s performing as well as someone who’s 82+ rated and hopefully for a fraction of the cost. He’s a very good midfielder for OG Nice and he’ll provide a nice link with Seri. A lot of ways to go here whether it’s a beginner Ligue 1 squad or mixing him right into a France team.

Eder, 80 ST – Inter Milan

When I first packed an Eder card last year my initial thought was “Why is Joey Tribbiani in Ultimate Team?” On the surface it looks like a nothing card because he’s 80 rated and a another boring Italian on a declined Inter Milan team but don’t be fooled. Eder is a very good option for your Serie A team because he’s one of the few strikers with very good pace (85). The only 80+ rated strikers in the Serie A with 85+ pace are Dries Martens ($$$) and Alejandro Gomez. Eder’s card is weighted pretty light so his availability should be plentiful. With 80 shooting, 85 ball control, 80 shot power and 85 positioning he’s worth a look this early on. 

Michy Batshuayi, 80 ST – Chelsea

You need to grab Michy Batshuayi if for no other reason than he’s a huge FIFA fan and he’s a great follow on Twitter. Michy is frequently jabbing at EA Sports over his rating and when they tell him to score more goals he’s very quick to joke about their servers. Batshuayi isn’t a pace driven striker nor is he a bull like a Diego Costa. He’s a crafty striker who finds ways to score and always seem to be in the right place at the right time. I think of him as an accelerated version of Danny Welbeck without the awkwardness.  With 79 pace, 83 shot power and 82 strength he’ll net you plenty of goals early on.

Any Goalkeeper, 81-83 GK

I think the biggest mistake anyone can make is break the bank for a goalkeeper. There are so many things that go into a goalies performance that spending a ton of coin on one doesn’t guarantee success. If you’re terrible on defense and your goalkeeper is constantly bombarded with shot attempts there’s only so much he can do. Sure you want the best available keeper so when that moment does arrive you have a shooter’s chance but there are no guarantees. Whether it’s not botching a corner or how they perform one-on-one in a breakaway I feel like you’re at the mercy of whatever the FIFA gods are going to allow happen. I’ve guessed right and blocked a shot only for it to deflect under my arm and still go on. We’ve all seen the ball that bounces off the post hits the keeper and then goes in.

So my advice is the following:

  • Links up to 9 Chemistry (non-negotiable, never put someone at less than 9 at GK)
  • Pick a GK that doesn’t cost a ton (shouldn’t be Top 5 most expensive player on your team)
  • Pick a GK you are comfortable with (it’s all mental but pick someone you don’t hate)
  • Pick a GK who can fit on multiple teams – if you do end up spending a moderate amount on a keeper have them be available for more than one squad. It’s the reason I always go with Hugo Lloris because he fits into multiple teams.