FF

What’s This All About?

A few years ago I took part in Premier League fantasy football game with a difference. There were only 16 teams and each real life player could only be in one fantasy team, so no filling the league with Aguero, Sanchez, Hazard etc and everyone having similar scores each week. Each team had squads, not just 11 players, so you had to stay on top of injuries & suspensions etc to maximise the points scored each week. The squads were built before the start of the season using a blind auction. (Don’t worry, more will be explained later, keep reading.)

Each ‘matchweek’ the teams faced each other in head-to-head matches, meaning that even if your squad looked rubbish on paper, you still had a chance of 3 points every week. It also meant that there was much more interest added to games like Stoke v West Brom if you or your opponent had players involved, especially if you were watching live or watching Match Of The Day after avoiding the scores!

For the last couple of seasons I’ve hosted a similar competition with friends and family rather than total strangers, you’ll know some of them. There’s no prizes at stake, and no heavy duty commitment needed, just a bit of fun and entertainment, good laughs and added tension all season long!

How Does It Work?

There’s a private forum on my website where every team has their own page for posting starting XIs each week. This is where you’ll find details of when and how to bid for squad members and will also be the place where I list the fixtures, results and league table each week.

Who Decides The Scoring?

The Telegraph, for a couple of reasons. First of all, their player list is comprehensive, including a lot of youth and reserve players who would usually be ignored in fantasy games but could be important in order to fill out our squads. Secondly, The Telegraph’s point scoring is easy to keep track of online and is also quite thorough. For example, instead of the usual Assist points for the last player to have touched the ball before the goal scorer, The Telegraph awards points to players who make “Key Contributions” to goals. This could be a rebounded shot for example, or getting brought down for a penalty, it also means that sometimes more than one player gets Assist points. (More detail on point scoring in the forum)

How Big Is A Squad?

20-25 players, consisting of at least 2 goalkeepers, at least 6 defenders, at least 6 midfielders and at least 4 forwards. You can make up the rest however you like.

Each week, you select which 11 will start in one of the 7 following predetermined formations: 5-4-1, 5-3-2, 4-5-1, 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 3-4-3, 3-5-2.

So How Do We Build Our Squads?

Very soon we will start building our squads in a series of blind auctions. Each team starts with a fantasy budget of £150m. For each position you will fill out bidding forms stating which players you are bidding for and listing 3 separate bid amounts. You will have your opening bid, a secondary bid and your maximum bid. The minimum bid is £3.0m, the bidding intervals are £0.1m and there is no maximum limit. No-one else will see your bids, only the winning bids will be displayed at the end of each auction. The bids are explicit, not eBay style maximum bids, in other words the amount you bid is the amount you pay.

Example 1:

Mourinho bids £3.0m, £8.3m and £12.5m, Wenger bids £4.0m, £7.5m and £10.0m. Mourinho wins the player for £12.5m

Example 2:

Conte bids £5.0m, £6.5m and £7.1m, Klopp bids £3.0m, £3,8m and £4.5m. Conte wins the player for £5.0m.

The idea is to bid tactically. If you just go for all the star players you will have to spend big and will run out of budget. You need to either get lucky or get clever and win some players that no-one else has bid for. If you do go over budget though, or if you keep losing bids and don’t have enough players, transfers between clubs are allowed. More details to follow when the time comes.

But Won’t We Miss The End of the Transfer Window?

No, we’ll start squad building soon but bidding will continue past the start of the season and overlap the end of the transfer window to make sure we can get any last minute big name additions in our league.

How Much of My Time Will This Take Throughout the Season?

Not as much as reading through this page has!

During each bidding phase, you will have two days to register your bids. If you already know who you want, that will only take you a couple of minutes each time. There will then be a one day gap before we move on, for me to sort out the winning bids etc.

Throughout the season, the time put in is up to you. It really doesn’t need to be a lot, you could get away with 10-20 minutes a week, just as long as it takes for you to decide on your players each week and list your lineup on your forum page for me to score. It can be done with minimal commitment, but the more you put in the more you’ll get out of it. You can post your lineups at any time before the kickoff of the first match each week. If you miss the deadline or forget to post a new lineup, the last lineup you posted will carry over.

ARE YOU UP FOR IT?

I hope so, it’ll be a laugh and will enhance your football viewing pleasure this season!

If you’re in, press the word to send me an email and I’ll reply with login details for you.

We’ve got 11 or 12 teams from last season going for it again, so we just need a few more. Once we have the right amount of people signed up we’ll get stuck in!