Football is back, and while we know many of our fellow Joes couldn’t think of anything worse, we absolutely love our fantasy football. Yes, it may ruin games where your team is involved but it also gives West Brom v Swansea some much needed meaning, and is far cheaper than heading to your local bookie.

Beginners Guide to Premier League Fantasy

Although there’ll no doubt be some seasoned pros among our readers (in which case head over to our 2017/2018 Fantasy Tips), there will be some Joes who have always avoided the Premier League’s fantasy game through fear of the unknown. So for all the Joes (and Janes) who’ve been forced into their office sweepstake, this one goes out to you. Read on for our beginners guide to Premier League fantasy.

The Basics

So, the basics. Each player will receive a fictional £100 million to bag yourself 2 Goalkeepers, 5 Defenders, 5 Midfielders, and 3 Forwards. You can choose any player in the Premier League from any team but you can only choose a maximum of 3 players from a club. Players vary in price with the top players costing more than the rubbish ones… obviously.

You can join Public Leagues which will put you up against everyone from your country, the team you support etc… but you can also set up a Private League for just you and your mates/work colleagues. They’re easy to set-up and you just need to send everyone the code.

Each Gameweek (meaning a round of fixtures), you’ll receive 1 free transfer. If you don’t use said transfer, it will roll over to the next Gameweek (the maximum amount of free transfers you can have in a Gameweek is 2). Any extra transfers over your 1 free transfer will cost you 4 scoring points per transfer.

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Scoring

Points are given to players in your team based on how they perform in real life fixtures. You can check the complete scoring system on the website but as a rough guide; 1 point for playing, 2 points for playing 60 mins+, 4 points per clean sheet/no goals conceded (Goalkeepers and Defenders only), 3 points per assist, and 6/5/4 points per goal scored (Defenders/Midfielders/Forwards). The best 3 players in each game will also receive bonus points (1, 2, and 3 points).

Each week, you’ll also need to choose a Captain and a Vice Captain for your Gameweek. The Vice Captain is purely in case your Captain doesn’t play because of an injury or the like, but your Captain will receive double points for that Gameweek. It might not seem like it on paper, but your Captain can make a massive difference on low scoring Gameweeks.

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Building a Team

Still with us? Good. Each Gameweek, you choose 11 players out of your 15 man squad to play. This can be based on a combination of factors like who’s in form, the difficulty of their fixtures, or a dreaded hunch. But choose carefully as the players you don’t use won’t count towards your score no matter how many points they receive.

Picking a balanced squad is important. As much as we’d love it, no player can play Hull at Home every week, so you’re going to need options. Picking a player such as Sergio Aguero will obviously give you a greater chance of getting points ahead of say, Troy Deeney. But when you take into account that Deeney is around £6mil cheaper, you can see how getting value for money is important. *A good tip is to always check the % of teams who’ve selected a player to ensure you’re not missing a bargain.*

Always Look Ahead at Fixtures

This is why checking the fixtures of potential players you want in your squad is Fantasy 101. Say Deeney’s next two fixtures were Bournemouth and Middlesbrough, both at Home, while Aguero had United and Chelsea Away. There’s an argument that Deeney is a more attractive option, without even mentioning the cost of each. Naturally a player like Aguero is important in Fantasy, but the example illustrates how important looking ahead at fixtures is.

This is especially the case when it comes to Goalkeepers/Defenders who are naturally more likely to not concede at Home to teams in the bottom half of the table. Remember; a clean sheet for a Goalkeeper/Defender is as many points as a Forward scoring. And a team managed by say West Brom’s Tony Pulis keeps their fair share – especially at Home.

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Don’t Let Club Affiliation Get in the Way

When we first started playing Fantasy, we refused to pick Cristiano Ronaldo. Partly because he’s a wally but mainly because we supported Chelsea and refused to believe he’d win United the title. That season Ronaldo notched up more points than anyone in Fantasy history and we lost our fantasy league. You dig?

You should also remember that nobody knows your club like you do. And if just *know* you’re getting battered that week, don’t be afraid to Captain your opponent’s Forward. If anything, it might even soften the blow…

Playing Your Wildcards

The main thing you should always remember about Fantasy is it’s a proverbial marathon and not a sprint. So if all looks lost for a couple of Gameweeks – especially at the beginning – fear not, there’s 38 Gameweeks to claw things back.

And one of the main ways you can do this is by playing your Wildcard. While every transfer over your weekly 1 free transfers costs your 4 points, if you play your Wildcard, you can make as many transfers as you like in that Gameweek. We’re talking a complete overhaul of your squad if need be.

Each player gets 2 Wildcards; 1 which can be used whenever, and 1 which can only be used in January to accommodate for the real-life transfer window. That’s not many but it could save your season. Our tip; use your Wildcard within the first five Gameweeks or so when you can start to see line-ups and form teams/players. That is unless you’re smashing it, of course!

And with that, you’re ready to play Premier League Fantasy!

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