No matter what site you use, or what league you’re playing in, the rules are largly similar. Sure, there may be small differences like the decimals for player value, and there may be some different selection rules and automatic substitutions, etc. Generally, you are managing a team of 15 players selected from the total player pool – made up of every real-life Premier League player – and you need to fit your squad in under a Salary Cap. It might be 100 units or $100,ooo,ooo.oo – but for purposes of using this site it really doesn’t matter. While we will discuss values in our articles the information we provide can be used regardless of your league’s Cap.
This primer is about the way to play; a macro for finding a bit more success. For a more indepth look check back often and subscribe to our twitter @FantasyGaffer to be alerted on all the news and whenever a new article posts here. With that out of the way we wanted to tackle the two biggest mistakes that fantasy managers make:
1) Setting your opening day lineup too soon, and;
2) Failing to account for schedule changes later in the season.
Just like the real season, fantasy footy requires constant attention over a long period of time and the difference between the top of the table and the drop can be luck (picking the wrong captain) or the inability to realize when a player will no longer provide returns. However, the two mistakes above are wholly within your own control. Selection of the first side of the season locks you into a team that will have very little flexibility and smart managers make sure their opening day lineups have enough depth to withstand a bump or bruise, as well as allow for a bit of rotation as more difficult opponents send your star players to the bench in favor of a better match-up. By selecting a team before you absolutely need to you, are playing with one hand tied. Make sure you utilize your league settings well. For example, the Official Fantasy Premier League game allows unlimited free transfers until the opening day – so even if you like your roster, make sure to check back before it locks and ensure you’ve got the squad you want.
If you’re a veteran manager of those tough mid-table campaigns, you already know how valuable free transfers are and how much it hurts to pay the penalty for every other move you make. By taking the time at the start of the season to plan for the first three or four weeks, you don’t just give your team the best chance to score now, but you set yourself up for success throughout the year.
If you’re new to this style of fantasy sport, making moves throughout the year is much more important than in a tradtional ‘draft’ or ‘auction’ style league. Since everyone can own everyone, each manager must continually shape their roster to maximize return. Fantasy leagues typically allow one free transfer per week, with each additional transfer costing a penalty (for the Official Premier League game it’s 4 points for each additional move). However, for each week you do not transfer, you can ‘bank’ that for a future week. Each manager also gets two ‘wild cards’ – one that may be played at any time and one that must be used during a ‘transfer window’ (check your leagues specific rules to find out how the wild cards work). The use of a wild card too early in the season will substantially impact your ability to make free moves throughout the rest of the season.
Wild Cards and free transfers are most important late in the year when continental and cup fixtures cause matches to be moved. Teams will have gameweeks when they have no matches and other gameweeks where they have two, or even three, matches in a single gameweek. Managers who fail to capitalize on these golden opportunities are handing their opponents a massive advantage. By utilizing transfers to augment your squad with players who get two matches you eliminate some of the risk while increasing the potential reward.
Check in with FantasyGaffer and we’ll keep you up to date on schedule changes and get you advice on starting lineups, captains selections and setting your reserves. We will let you know when players have seen their minutes cut back, lost their penalty taking responsibility or are sitting down with a league suspension.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How are points scored?
Different positions accrue points differently. For a goalkeeper, earning a clean sheet, amassing saves and saving penalties are the typical statistics that generate points. For a forward, obviously scoring goals and providing assists. Most leagues provide a point discrepancy for goals scored by position – for example, a goal scored by a forward is worth 3pts but a goal from a defender is worth 10pts. Points are also frequently deducted for yellow and red cards and for goals allowed. Some leagues penalize for missed penalty kicks and some leagues award points simply for minutes played.
Can I change my formation?
You are not required to play one formation every game week. If you prefer a 3-5-2 one week and a 5-4-1 the next, you’re able to change tactics simply. Some leagues do require that you play at least 3 defenders each week, and some require at least one forward as well – this means running out the Spanish 4-6-0 likely is not possible, but most other formations can be selected each week.
When I sell a player, how much money do I get?
In the Official Fantasy Premier League you recoup current price of the player less a 50% sell-on fee. The sell-on fee is based on the difference between your purchase price (assume £5) and your sale price (assume £5.5). In that case you would receive £5.3m from your sale which is calculated simply (5.5 – 5 = 0.5. 50% of that is .25, rounded up to the next tenth .3). In the ESPN game, you receive the entire sale price – so in our example you would receive all £5.5. Check your leagues specific rules for transfers to determine how much you will earn. Note, this means if you buy
How do transfers work?
Each game week you have the ability to sell members of your squad and buy players from the player pool. Each of these moves constitutes one (1) transfer – in other words, selling Torres and buying Tevez is one transfer, not two. In the ESPN game you are allocated x transfers to use anytime you like. In the FPL you are given one (1) free transfer to use per week. You may choose to save that transfer for one week, giving you two free transfers the following week. You may only save, or ‘bank’, two free transfers at one time. Any transfers you make in excess of your free transfers will cost you a transfer fee – these are points deducted from your total score. Moving a player from your reserves/bench into your starting XI will not cost a transfer. Only selling a player from your squad and buying one from the player pool will cost a transfer.
What is the Wildcard?
The Wildcard is used in the FPL – and there are similar tools in othe formats – where a fantasy premier league manager is able to make unlimited free transfers for one transfer period – the time between the conclusion of a gameweek and the start of the next. You are only allocated two Wildcards per season in the FPL so use them with care. Check the rules to determine when the Wildcards can be used and, if you play outside of the FPL, check you leagues rules for a similar tool.
What is the Captain (or ViceCaptain)?
The Captain, or vice-Captain, is a player that you chose before the start of play each game week. That player will earn 2x the points for the game week. In the FPL, if your selected Captain does not play then the vice-Captain will earn 2x their points for the game week. Captains can be changed from week-to-week. Typically, and again check your formats rules for scoring – the midfielders and forwards have the greatest chance for individual points – goals and assists – while defenders and goalkeepers are reliant on their teammates to help provide a clean sheet. For that reason players who frequently score or provide assists are selected as Captains. This is not a requirement, and you are free to select any player(s) in your starting XI as Captain.
How are Bonus Points earned?
For the FPL, EA Sports Player Performance Index assigns a game score to each player – top three game scores (and ties) earn bonus points. The EAS PPI is a proprietary formula, but it does look at a number of statistics including passes, shots::shots on target, and others. It also weights for position, so a defender goal will count towards a higher PPI rating than a forward goal. Last season very few goalkeepers earned bonus points, even when keeping clean sheets and saving penalties. The scores are measured against the rest of the match, not across all matches for a game week so if Joe Hart keeps a clean sheet with three saves, and Augero scores twice – Aguero’s game score is going to be higher than Hart, and thus Aguero will be the more likely to earn bonus points.
We all know that it takes a lot to lift a trophy. Check back often and we promise there will always be something new to read, another point to consider or another advantage to be gained. Please feel free to send questions via email or twitter and good luck with your season.