Fantasy Premier League – How to play

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Fantasy Premier League for 2020-2021 season is around the corner and Fantasy managers are gearing up for another thrilling season of critical decision making and all the consequences that come with it. Since the actual Premier League season will commence on 12 September 2020, Fantasy managers are expected to set up their teams one hour before kickoff of the first match.

In the just-concluded 2019-2020 season, Fantasy Premier League witnessed massive new managers-players who joined the league all across the world. According to the official website of the Premier League, the season ended with 7.6 million managers which is the highest since the game began.

History of Fantasy Football and the FPL

Fantasy Football started in the United States of America. It was the brainchild of American Will Winkenbach who created the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (GOPPPL). The creation of this body kick-started the first fantasy league.

This form of leisure activity enjoyed wide acceptance in the US, especially in the 80s. The popularity attracted the interest of gamers in Europe which led an Italian, Riccardo Albini, to create Fantacalcio which is also known as Italian fantasy football in 1990.

Within a year, the game found its way to England. The success of the game in the United States inspired Briton Andrew Wainstein to start his own fantasy football in England known as Fantasy League Ltd. in 1991.

The game began to gain acceptance in the United Kingdom which inspired Telegraph Newspaper to go into partnership with Andrew Wainstein prior to the 1993-1994 football season. Since there was no internet at the time, the fantasy managers had to make do of newspaper holes to arrange their teams. Some used telephone lines while others send their decisions through posts. Telegraph would then publish their points in their latest publication after the gameweek.

After the internet was invented on January 1, 1983, developers began to think of a way to bring the game to the internet. CBS sports in the US became the first owner of an online fantasy football platform in 1997. In less than two years after, Yahoo joined in creating an online fantasy platform in 1999.

The Premier League embraced the revolution prior to the 2002-2003 season. Hence, before the season started, the league was able to inculcate a fantasy football platform to the league’s newly launched site. Despite the fact that the 2002-2003 season was the first season of the game, about 76,000 registered for it.

Fast forward to 2020, FPL (Fantasy Premier League) has become the biggest fantasy league in the world with over 7.6 million users as at the just-concluded season.

The game has suddenly gone beyond being a platform for leisure but almost like a part-time career to so many and has created jobs for content developers, YouTubers, and bloggers who have taken it as their niche.

Everything you need to know about Fantasy Premier League (FPL)

Fantasy Premier League starters set up page.
Fantasy Premier League starters set up page.

Now that you know the origin of Fantasy football and the FPL, let us dive into the nitty gritty of the game.

What is Fantasy Premier League?

Fantasy Premier League is the digital version of the actual English Premier League. It is an online game where you have the power to create your own team, manage it by buying the right Premier League players that will earn you points.

Once you join FPL managers via Fantasy. Premier League.com, you will be given a budget of £100 million fictional funds to set up your squad for the season. As a starter, you are allowed to sign 15 players. While doing that, you have to understand that your squad must consist of two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders, and three forwards.

More so, as an FPL manager, you have the permission to select at most three players from a particular Premier League club. This means that you might end up supporting a club you don’t support to win or score just because you have a player in that club in your fantasy squad.

How to select your team on FPL

Fantasy Premier League template
Fantasy Premier League template

Just like in reality, your team must consist of 11 players selected from your 15 players one hour before the commencement of the first match of a gameweek. No matter the formation you intend to use ahead of the gameweek deadline, you must ensure that your team consists of at least three defenders, two midfielders, one striker, and one goalkeeper.

How to score points on Fantasy Premier League

Fantasy football in general is about scoring points. So, you have to bear this in mind whenever you are selecting your team. You have to select the players that will earn you points by scoring goals, providing assists, keeping clean sheets, playing full 90 minutes, and that would not be awarded a yellow card or red.

The number of saves your goalkeeper in your fantasy squad makes, in reality, will determine the number of points you will earn from that aspect. The number of goals your defenders or keeper concede will also determine your points, the assists your midfielders make and the number of goals your forwards score will also determine your points.

The points your team will score for the gameweeek will be determined by the performance of the players in your first eleven. The good thing is that, if you feature a player in your first eleven that ended up not being used, the points the first player on your bench earns will be added to your total points for the gameweek.

Hence, you have to strategically select your first eleven and your substitutes with your projected points in mind. You must also have a captain and a vice-captain for your team. Whatever points your captain scores will be doubled. In case your captain doesn’t play, whatever point your vice-captain scores will be doubled.

You can play FPL in Private and Public leagues

As an FPL manager, you can join or create leagues where you can compete against friends and other players across the world. A league that is said to be public contains randomly assigned teams while a league that is said to be private is a league you or your friend created and contain only a circle of friends you know.

You can be a part of over 20 private leagues with the same set of team and you can also participate in a maximum of three public leagues.

A major difference between a private league and a public league is that you know those that are competing in a private league but those that are assigned to you in a public league are random teams. Also, no limit of teams in a private league but a public league consists of 20 random teams.

How transfers are done on Fantasy Premier League

The strength of your team is mostly determined by the caliber of players in your squad. Hence, going into the transfer market is sacrosanct if you still have a good budget.

However, you have access to one free transfer every gameweek. You have to switch the new signing with one of the players in your 15-man squad. The good part of the free transfer is that you can carry over a free transfer you decide not to use. That’s if you decide not to sign your free transfer for gameweek one, you will have two free transfer for gameweek two. But it can not exceed two free transfer per gameweek.

To make an additional transfer in a gameweek, you have to have enough budget to carry out the deal and you have to be ready to lose at least 4 points for any additional transfer you make in a gameweek.

The prices of Fantasy players in FPL

Just like the value of the prices of real players changes, so does the value of fantasy players. However, the value of fantasy players is not determined by the value of real players.

A player may start the season being valued at £7million and end the season being valued at £8million. What determines this progression is the number of FPL managers that have such a player in their squad and the number of points the players garnered.

The Chips on Fantasy Premier League

Every gameweek, FPL managers have access to play only one chip. As far as the FPL is concerned, there are four chips you can select from to help you do well in the season.

The most powerful chips in FPL is the Wildcard. The wildcard gives the FPL manager the opportunity to completely change all the players in his/her squad for free without losing any point. A manager can play this card only twice in a season, one in the first half of the season and the other in the second half.

Other chips are:

Triple captain – played once in a gameweek to triple the points of your captain.

Bench Boost – played once in a gameweek to enable you to earn points from your non-playing substitutes.

Free Hit – this is used to temporally reset your team for a week.

Top points earning players in the 2019-2020 season:

Kalvin De Bruyne – the Manchester City star earned 251 of FPL points. His fantasy transfer value is £11.5m

Mohamed Salah – the Liverpool star earned a total of 233 FPL points. His FPL market value is £12m.

Sadio Mane – the Liverpool star earned 221 points. His value is £12m.

Jamie Vardy – the Leicester City striker garnered 210 FPL points. Its value is £10m.

Alexander-Arnold – the Liverpool star had 210 FPL points. His current market value is £7.5m.

Aubameyang – the Arsenal star provided 205 FPL points. His current value is £12m.

Raheem Sterling – The Manchester City star provided 204 FPL points. His current value is £11.5m.

Martial – the Manchester United star provided 200 points. His FPL transfer value is £9m.

Ings – the Southampton striker provided 198 points. His value is £8.5m.

Jiménez – the Wolves star provided 194 points. His current value is £8.5m.

What you can win for playing Fantasy Premier League

The commonest thing you can win for being an FPL manager is bragging rights. It is also a fun game and another way to exercise your brain and improve your decision making and analytical skills.

Besides that, you can become the overall winner of the game by accumulating more points than any other FPL manager at the end of a football season. If you achieve such a feat, you can win a lot of prizes from the Premier League and its partners. The prominent among the prizes you could win are seven-night break in the UK and two VIP tickets to Premier League matches in the following season.

The winner of the overall prize for the just concluded 2019-2020 season is a 29-year-old Oxford University mathematician, Joshua Bull.