So the start of the new English Premier League season is just around the corner.
Barring the furore over the new season's skyrocketing cable TV prices, you'll have to admit the excitement around this season is much more palpable than in previous years.
For one, Fergie is no longer in charge (or is he still?) of Manchester United and the jury is out if his acolyte David Moyes is up to the task. Chelsea's Jose Mourinho aka now "The Happy One" is back at his happy hunting ground and knowing the Portuguese, he'll make things extra spicy. Add to that, Chilean mastermind Manuel Pellegrini is now in charge of multinational Manchester City, and you know you've got all the elements of a drama-packed campaign fulls of twists and turns. Let's not forget (my) Liverpoool, Arsenal and Spurs who are all desperate to break into the top bracket, and you know just why excitement is bubbling this time of year.
So what better way to get stuck into all the twists, turns, drama than by checking out Yahoo's new Fantasy Premier League game (La Liga fans, you're up next :)).
For readers who are newbies to the game, this will be a great way to get yourself oriented. For Fantasy Football veterans , this is a chance to check out the new features of our game and take on the challenge -- you won't be disappointed.
How to play
The premise of the game is simple. You are given a budget of £150M to pick a team of 15 Premier League players to manage. Each of your players will score points depending on how he performs in real-life once the season starts. The more points you score, the better. If you start or join a league with your friends, you get bragging rights for topping the league. Before every round of new fixtures, you have the ability to buy/drop adjust your team based on how they performed the previous game.
Selecting a Team Name
Pick a name for your team. Many people only take it as seriously as that but a fantasy team name says a lot about you. Whatever you decide, don’t take this step lightly. If you happen to show up on the leaderboard, you want to be proud of the name you chose.
Selecting a Team
Team selection is going to be significantly different this season due to some changes that we've included in the game for this season. When you choose your team, you will be picking eleven players as starters and four substitutes. One player in the starting line-up and one player on the bench must be a goalkeeper. The rest of your squad can be configured in a variety of ways depending on how you feel your budget is best used. You will always have three defenders, three midfielders and two forwards as starters but depending on budget, fixtures and a variety of other factors, you may allocate the final two outfield spots in any way you see fit (e.g., 4-4-2, 3-4-3, 3-5-2) with the caveat that you can have no more than 4 defenders, 5 midfielders or 3 forwards in any valid line-up.
HINT: When selecting your team at the start of the season, consider the unique nature of the substitutes bench within the framework of the the game. In some games, prices don’t fluctuate too much from week-to-week and new players are priced with an eye toward what the game producers think their worth will eventually be. In our game, players new to the Premier League are typically undervalued dramatically and your bench will be a great place to "buy low". There will be obvious cases of players who you will want to buy at the low price and start from the beginning of the season – like Michu or Santi Cazorla last season – but there will also be a few players you’re just not sure about starting right away but you’d definitely like the option to have them cheaply if they start producing. Everton’s new loan signing Gerard Deulofeu is a great example. He’s very talented but he’s young and might be eased into the line-up. You’d hate to lose out on him at a cheap price but you probably won’t be willing to start him Week 1 in the event that he only comes in for the final 20 minutes at the start of the season.)
Starters vs. Subs
Why is starting vs. the bench important? Only points generated by your starters will count toward your weekly score. Points generated by bench players will NOT count toward your weekly score UNLESS one of your starters does not play. In the event one of your starters does not play, you will prioritise the players on your bench in the order that you would like them to substitute in for a starter who doesn’t feature. If one of your starters doesn’t feature then the first player on your bench will move in. If two don’t start, the first two off your bench will come in, etc. The exception to this is the goalkeeper position. If your starting keeper doesn’t play, your substitute will automatically be inserted.
The Scoring System
Our Fantasy Premier League scoring system is more complex than most games that can be found online. Of course the typical statistics – goals, assists, yellow cards, red cards, and clean sheets – are counted but we have added a wide variety of secondary statistics that are a little more unique.
Statistics like Shots on Target, Corners Won, Successful Crosses, Blocked Shots, Tackles Won, and Saves mean that players who may not contribute a great deal in the way of goals and assists can turn out to be extremely valuable in this format. Wingers and fullbacks who take a lot of set pieces tend to be more valuable in this format than in others.
The important thing to note are that half points (categories that have been awarded half points in the past versions of our game have been adjusted to a full point) and both Corners Won and Last Man Saving Tackles have been eliminated. Otherwise the scoring system is intact. Here is the scoring table:
Transfers and the Salary Cap
A feature of our game and one that differs from most fantasy formats – is that transfers are unlimited. You can switch out your entire 15-man squad every week or even multiple times per week as you try to find the right combination. This makes for far more fun than agonising over one or two potential moves each week in leagues where transfers are limited.
[PLAY THE NEW YAHOO! FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE]
Just because transfers are free, doesn’t mean that they don’t come with some consequences. When you buy a player in the Yahoo format, you keep that players purchase price so long as you keep him on your squad either as a starter or a reserve. The consequence of selling a player is that when you go to buy him back you must pay the current retail price (if the retail price goes down, the game automatically credits you with the balance and restores it to your free budget). Unlike other games, you do not see the surplus, or any percentage of it, added to your salary cap which stays fixed for the season.
What this leads to is difficult decisions when injuries and longer-term suspensions arise. Do you keep a player at a discount and take up a spot on your squad or do you sell that player and lose what might be a deep discount on a very good player? The presence of the bench feature will help make this somewhat easier this season but it still won’t be an entirely simple situation. For example, if you have an expensive player like Robin van Persie at a substantial discount and he is out for six weeks, do you keep him and the discount while tying up a significant portion of your budget or do you release him knowing that his price will be higher when you go to buy him back once he’s healthy.
The presence of unlimited transfers makes it very tempting to sell players you have at a discount to free up budget and places in your squad. There are valid circumstances where this is a good idea and valid circumstances where keeping a discount will help you more over the course of a long season. These are the kinds of questions that we will be here to help you with throughout the season.
One of the major additions to the game is the presence of a captain. The captain earns double points so it is critical that you choose a captain that you are extremely confident will start each week.
Create/Join A League
Once you've picked your team, create or join a league and let the fun begin. Email invites to friends will be sent out to join your league. You can also start chat discussions under your league -- here's where you find out a you're a complete zero as a manager or you've got the makings of a Singapore Fergie.
So with that, you've got just under three weeks (season starts on August 17th) to start picking your team. Check out the game and spread the word.
What would you do with £150m to build your dream team? Click here to play the new Yahoo! Fantasy Premier League now.