I started playing fantasy football back when I was in secondary school - about ten years now? Give or take... In all this time I, and many others, have noticed an inevitable pattern. By the time the season is halfway through, every team has a squad that is 75% identical. Between your mini-league of friends, between every person's fifteen man squad, all players will, without fail, be derived from a pool of about thirty players (maybe about forty if you stretch it).
Think about it. Take last season (2012-2013) as an example. Less than 15 games in, the vast majority of players had most of the following: Robin Van Persie, Juan Mata, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Michu (what is his first name anyway?), Cazorla, Walcott, Benteke, Lukaku, Baines, Ivanovic, Begovic etc. About the only variation between teams came in the defensive department - an area where most players choose to field only three defenders anyway (something else that can be improved upon).
And it takes away from the enjoyment of fantasy football!* You have Van Persie in your team so you get excited when he scores. But wait, every one of your rivals has him as well except that one guy who hates him so much so you're not really gaining any sort of advantage over the field. And in fact, some have him captain so are earning double points from him... Hmmm... Maybe you should be rooting against him? Seems counterintuitive.
Well, some quick google searching revealed two things. What we are playing in the official game (and what all the sites seem to offer), is what they call salary cap fantasy football. Every player gets a predetermined budget with which to buy any players they choose to create a squad. The option that I was after is draft style fantasy football (familiar to the American sports fans as it is apparently much bigger there). But all my searching found no such game for the English Premier League in this format. The idea is that if a player has been chosen by one team (drafted in), he cannot be a part of any other team in that league.
A bunch of friend and I tried it using a spreadsheet last season. And it was AWESOME! The draft, believe it or not, is probably the most fun part of the entire season (a lot of dedicated articles coming up on this). During the course of the season, you know the players to root for and the players not to. You are constantly scouring match reports, analysing every game in the search for hidden talent and overall, a lot more involved. And best of all, when your player scores, the points are all yours, which means the trash talk you can dish out to everyone else is unadulterated.
There were a few drawbacks of the spreadsheet method. Lots of time spent doing 'admin work'. A few mistakes and arguments about who got who first etc. Well, when all was said and done, a mate and I decided to develop the idea into a dedicated website. So, here we are. This blog is the start. We're working hard to get up and running before next season gets under way. If you have any suggestions feel free to follow this blog, like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates.
Here's to some speedy site-building and a great season 2013-2014!
*Well, not completely. My addiction over many years is a good case in point. But my point is, it could be a lot better.
www.fantasyfootballrivals.com is launching a new game for this season. It's unique squads, so similar to the draft format, but every manager in the game competes in a huge pre-season cash auction to build their squad. Claims to be the only fantasy football game with unique squads where you don't need to run your own league with 10+ mates. Looks like it might be interesting - let me know if you want to play in a head-to-head league?
Sounds interesting. Not the only one - there are others where you can be in your own small-group league using a website. Ours at www.draftsoccer.com has been up for a couple of years and grew a lot across the world last year. This is draft not auction though. It's with the major euro leagues, including Champs and Europa, plus the domestic cups. Season will start in a few weeks - we're working on pre-draft default rankings currently. Anyone have questions or feedback, we welcome it all through the site.
Any recommendations for fantasy premier league with Auction Draft?
Hey everyone, I'm not sure if you know, but playtogga.com has forums now so, you can start communicating with other Togga players and get envolved with the community
Hey you guys, I've been using playtogga.com. Really cool game play and having the extra stats is really nice. Fabregas is on my team and he's killing it with the chances created points!
Mann_United - interesting, what is a "chance created" point? What stats do they pull for that? I'm in 2 leaguesso far - a public and a private league. We did our live draft over the weekend for the private league and had a blast, then uploaded it into the system right after. I got 5th pick so got a pretty decent team. Just waiting for the transfer window to settle down and for all the leagues and competitions (Europa, Champs, cups) to get up and going and then the fun really starts!
Chances created is when someone plays a ball to a player that then has a shot on goal. It says that they pull their stats from Opta (the stats monsters of the EPL). I got 4th draft in my league and managed to pick up Fabregas and Schurrle and both of those guys are just pillaging my league. ITS AWESOME! How many teams are in your leagues?
Interesting stat, wonder how accurate it is. Must be a nice gig working at Opta to watch games and collect these things I guess!
Both my leagues have 8 teams in them, but we allow between 8 and 12 teams in each league, whether Public or Private. I went heavier on the EPL players, but might switch a couple out for La Liga players before the transfer window closes.
Well Opta totes itself as being the leading provider for stats for the EPL. My playtogga.com leagues is about get crazy. Just got an email that they're going to be releasing new players mid week next week. GOTTA GET DI MARIA!!!
haha, yeah, Di Maria will be an interesting pickup. He's been drafted in pretty much all the leagues that I've seen (mine and friends), but at different rounds for sure. Will be interesting to see if he is more popular with managers that drafted him for la Liga / Real games or for EPL / Man U games
http://draftfantasyfootball.co.uk/ best one available atm
Hey Dukes, I'll have to check that one out soon. We're using draftsoccer at the moment - we have out offline draft party coming up really soon and so excited about that. The draft party is a blast for us and a great opportunity to talk footy and give each other general abuse about what the other people know and don't know about picks!
Hi all, looking for a bit of help, i'm trying to get my ffl to enter a draft based league this year.
Basically i want to be able to trade players between managers and also from the bank of non picked players. Also just BPL not Italian and spanish leagues.
Does anyone have any site suggestions for the above? I've been on togga and drafsoccer, (togga seems like multi league only and draftsoccer.com has the word soccer in it so wont be taken seriously, i'm trying to convince some pretty avid officail barclays fantasy premier league player to see the light and switch camps.
Heskey, playtogga.com is only for EPL and updates are happening to site daily. It is draft format and will allow for trades and the ability to pick up non drafted players. We encourage feedback so please let us know what we can be doing better.
Hi Heskey, it's a tough set of criteria. I thinkk http://www.fantasyleague.com/ mightttt work (but I am not completely sure). It is just a site that somebody mentioned to me a while back (might be in one of the replies to one of these blog posts). But it is a toughish set of criteria you have!
UniqueFC would have been perfect for you! While we won't be going ahead with it ourselves, there is a small chance one of our readers might crowdfund it to keep it going...
Alternatively, you could do a spreadsheet version (which is admittedly time consuming and cumbersome!) If you do and you have any space then I would be very keen on joining (and we could use this blog to communicate effectively).
are you going ahead with league this season? What's your website please?
Hey All, excited to join this thread. We have been working tirelessly to create the first draft style game for the EPL at www.playtogga.com. You can sign up and play around with our beta and keep in mind that what you see now will look and function way different in the weeks to come. Our seasoned team is all about making our game the best fantasy experience so please give us feedback as you have it. -Scott
You come to a blog on a website that offers draft fantasy football and claim to be the first draft fantasy football site out there? :D
Pretty blatant means to put your name out there, clearly. Not that I mind. I'm happy to share info and resources with my readers, but I do hope that there is more honesty and transparency behind your site than your post.
Hemal, sorry for the delay in my response. You are right, I did not realize that this blog was an extension of your product and genuinley had not seen another functioning draft EPL site out there. I sincerely apologize as that was not tactful on my part!
Sure.. No worries mate. Good luck
Agree. Interesting and bold claim there! Especially as the draft based game on www.fantasyleague.com/pro has been running since 1991, starting out offline and moving on to the web in the mid 90's. Are you able to substantiate these claims of being the original and first premier league draft game?
Not too long to go before we are ready to launch. That means we should all start thinking about our drafting strategy. This will vary from league to league and a lot of it will come down to the makeup of your competitors although a few of the key concepts will apply in every scenario. Over the next few articles we shall go over the obvious and less obvious drafting tactics. As we have mentioned before, the draft will make or break your season so you had best go in with a plan!
We will kick this off with going over the strategy that will come as a first instinct to pretty much everyone. Basic stuff but important:
The Fantasy Stalwarts
We all know these players. You can rely on them every season to bring home the bacon. They are consistent, fixture-proof, good captain material - the all-stars of the fantasy football world. In salary-cap leagues, they are without a doubt the players present in every squad. If you have them, you are able to keep up with those around you, if you are silly enough not to have them (the differential heroes amongst us), then 9 times out of 10 it leads to you losing serious ground on your rivals.
That entire concept changes dramatically in draft style leagues. The first round or two of the draft pick will be littered with these fantasy stalwarts and for good reason. Load up your priority lists with these guys quick and try and snag as many of them as you can. They are season keepers.
Its been two years now since the start of my fantasy football league. When I first started, I knew nothing about football. My first draft was a mess - I used a cheat sheet I found in the July issue of ESPN magazine. I drafted a defense with my 10th round pick (everybody knows you only draft defenses and kickers with the last two picks). Worst of all, I was in a league full of sports junkies, guys who watch every game every Sunday.
This season I’m 2nd place, with the best season record. I’ve made around 7 trades. I know the names of most teams starting players, and a few of their backups.
I guess it takes something as trivial as fantasy football to show me that improvement is a long and slow process, but improvement happens. Too often I look at things and get disappointed because of the results. I’m so focused on improvement that frustration quickly swells up. Why am I not getting better? I expect so much from myself that I can’t see small progress for what it is: a tiny bit improvement.
But everything takes time.
Even if it takes years, I know that I’ll reach my goals eventually. And if i can get good at fantasy football, something I don’t care and didn’t even try to get good at, then of course I’ll be good at something I poured sweat and tears into.