How to play fantasy football
Tips for for fantasy picks this season
A new Premier League season means another season of Fantasy Football and the opportunity to get one over on your friends or colleagues.
Fantasy Football gives you the chance to manage your team to glory. You must pick a squad of Premier League players who score points for your side based on their performances in their matches.
And you can get very creative with funny fantasy football team names, too. Whether it’s ‘When Harry met Alli’ or ‘Willian Dollar Baby’, it’s all about bagging a laugh.
What are the rules?
Fantasy Football rules are fairly simple. You must select a squad of around 15 players from the 20 Premier League teams.
There are three key areas – defence, midfield, and attack. A squad generally consists of two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders, and three attackers. And you are restricted from picking more than three players from one Premier League team.
Budgets can vary depending on the league. But generally, you’ll be handed around £100 million to build your squad.
Some leagues can restrict you to transfer windows over the campaign. And these are the only set points in which you can change your line-up.
How do you score points?
Fantasy Football leagues tend to have different scoring systems. But, in general, most points are awarded for playing matches, scoring goals, keeping clean sheets and earning assists. And in some cases, you can notch points for winning a Man of the Match award too.
The more goals your player scores in his actual Premier League team, the more points he’ll score for your Fantasy Football team. You’ll get more points if a defender scores a goal, compared to a striker, but of course, they’ll never score as many.
It’s also important to note that you can lose points if your players are booked or get a red card, or concede goals.
In some Fantasy Football leagues, you can select a captain each week. This allows you to pick one player and if they score points, they end up being doubled.
Strategy is key when it comes to Fantasy Football. How you spend your budget will play a large part in how you do over the season.
£100m may seem like a lot, but it can get eaten up pretty fast. Attackers tend to cost a lot more than other players, because they generally score you more points.
A lot of Fantasy Football enthusiasts tend to take a ‘rock and pebbles’ approach. That means allocating large portions of your budget to a handful of expensive-but-important players and then filling in around them with cheaper stars.
Attackers score you major points so players like Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah are king in Fantasy Football. Kane is 2/1 to be the Premier League Top Goalscorer this season with Salah at 5/1. Expect those two players to be hugely popular in fantasy teams.
But it’s also important that you pad out your squad with players who will play regularly for their sides, too.
How formations work
Formations are just as important in Fantasy Football as they are in the Premier League. However, in Fantasy Football, it’s imperative to pick an attacking formation.
You need to pack your side with players who are going to win you points. But also, you need to consider a formation whereby players won’t cost you points.
If you’ve spent the majority of your budget on expensive attackers, you need to pick a formation to get the best out of them.
Usually, a 3-4-3 formation is utilised. But a 3-5-2 formation also allows you to get plenty of midfielders and attackers in there, too.
Play it safe, or take a risk?
When it comes to Fantasy Football, there are very obvious players to buy. For example, Harry Kane and Mo Salah are going to bag you a lot of points over the season. But those kind of stars don’t come cheap. Your rivals are likely to have them too, which will remove your advantage.
And there are always diamonds in the rough, just waiting to be snapped up. Brighton and Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray managed 12 Premier League goals last season. The veteran striker would have been a bargain-bucket signing.
Huddersfield and Brighton were favourites for relegation before the start of last season, but some strong defensive displays and twenty clean sheets between them saved the debutantes from returning back to the Championship. Perhaps this season’s relegation favourites can defy the same odds.
It’s important to strike a nice balance between expensive stars and hidden gems who won’t cost you a lot of money.
Tips and tricks
When it comes to tips and tricks, everyone wants a piece of the action. And there are plenty of strategies to eke out some extra points, too.
In Premier League Fantasy Football, there are Double Gameweeks that give you an opportunity to score extra points in quick succession.
A key consideration is the fixture list. It’s very important to keep a keen eye on when the Premier League revise fixtures so that you’re always maximising your points’ potential.
Also, bear in mind defenders and midfielders who score goals. For example, Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso scored seven goals last season. Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal scored six.
Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic is the Eagles’ penalty-taker. The Serbian ace scored 10 league goals last season and wouldn’t have cost as much as someone like Christian Eriksen.
It’s all about being as savvy as possible!