Okay, so as asked by a couple of people, how were we playing this using spreadsheets before? Well, I'll outline the process here, while trying to find a balance between keeping it short and sweet and still providing enough detail.
1. Use Google Docs!
It's free, and it allows everyone to connect at the same time. Also, as it's in the cloud, it is always up to date. You can look back at past revisions if necessary and is the ideal tool (short of a fully dedicated site) to play fantasy football in this way. Sample: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiNH-JHpkhe8dFVVX2RiaDNyNUdZTFdieHliaUtUemc&usp=sharing
2. Decide between doing the entire game manually vs using an existing salary cap based fantasy game
Personally, none of our group could be bothered going through the hassle of creating a point scoring system, updating each player's scores manually, keeping track of transfers/team sheets and scoring the entire game manually which is why we went with the second option.
We used the official game (fantasy.premierleague.com). There are drawbacks to this (see below), but it allows you to avoid the hassle of all the admin work.
3. Find a way to keep everyone constantly in touch
This mainly applies to the draft, which can be a very slow process. You will have to find a way to communicate during this time in a way so that the person whose turn it is knows it is their turn. The draft process will be made slower if the players in your league come from different countries and are in different time zones (between the mates/cousins I have been playing with, we span across 4 countries and 8 time-zones!).
I highly recommend using the community post feature on this blog (top right hand corner) to make a thread for your league - This will allow a dedicated area to discuss your league, all players will get email notifications whenever an update is made etc and it generally makes it easier keeping everyone connected. You can also use a facebook group for this although I found that it tended to get lost amongst all other 'facebook noise'
4. Use an online random list generator to set the selection order
This is to set the order of the draft. Just google random list generator and pick any one (http://www.random.org/lists/ is one I have used in the past and works well but any will do).
use the first sheet for the draft. Make a table with the number of rows corresponding to the number of players in your league, and 15 columns (each corresponding to one draft round). Insert the list generated above into column 1, reverse the list order for column 2 and replicate the lists for the rest of the rounds (all odd numbers will be identical, all even numbers will be identical).
5. Set a draft start time and begin!
That's about all there is to it with regards to the draft. Make sure you all agree to the rules beforehand so that there is no confusion and everything is clearly laid out.
6. Collate the draft information
Once the draft is complete, collate the information into a second sheet which will effectively summarize each player's team. This sheet will be referred to prior to any transfers being made to check whether the player being brought in is available.
7. Player trades
Use a third sheet to track player transfers. Any transfer's made are logged here allowing all players to see who transferred who when. A comments section allows for players to write if a transfer is a part of a trade.
The drawbacks (and pretty much the whole reason we decided that a dedicated site for this is something worth making):
Well, that ended up being much longer than I was expecting. I wonder if anyone managed to get all the way through. Meh. If you did and you have any suggestions to improve on the above system, then put it in the comments below!
Link to the sample again: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiNH-JHpkhe8dFVVX2RiaDNyNUdZTFdieHliaUtUemc&usp=sharing
Seems that you came across the same issues that I assumed you would have in relation to running the game manually.It could work, but it's not as straight forward as it should be. Having 2 players in the same team, making transfers only to find that you are over budget or have too many players from the same team, etc would be irritating to say the least.
I'm going to sit tight and wait for this game to be released. The fact you are experienced with how the game operates when done correctly gives me confidence that you will get it right.
How did the testing go last week? Any major bugs so to speak of?
Having played fantasy football draft style using spreadsheets in the past, take if from me, the drafting process is simultaneously the most fun part of the game, as well as the most important. Your league season will be defined by decisions you make at this stage.
We'll break down the drafting procedure here and have a follow up article highlighting the key areas to think about when determining your drafting strategy.
▪There are no limits to how many players you can have from a single team
▪There are no prices/budgets. Salary cap leagues require this as a means to ensure that not all squads are the same collection of 15 superstars (even though, with the salary cap, they often end up being similiar collections of superstars/value players). The underlying principle of draft style fantasy football removes the requirement to have a salary cap.
I read an article recently (which I can't currently find) that talked about the evolution of English soccer/football. The English Premier League is arguably the most competitive of the major European leagues (La Liga in Spain, Ligue 1 in France, Bundesliga in Germany, Serie A in Italy, Eredivisie in Netherlands). However, the quality of international play has suffered. As of this post, the English national soccer team is ranked #14 in the FIFA World Rankings. Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands are in the top six.
Critics have pointed to the dominance of the English Premier League as the cause of the demise of the English national soccer team. The argument is that so many foreigners have come to the league that they have pushed the local English out. More than two-thirds of the players in opening matches in the Premier League were foreigners. Club owners rightfully want the best for their club. If they have the option to chose between a star foreign player or an Englishman a little worse, the former will be chosen. This has caused Englishmen not good enough to play in foreign leagues or those below the Premier League. The quality of play in these leagues are often second-tier and so these players do not experience as high quality play as they could be.
Now personally, I'm all for keeping the Premier League the way it is. I don't think it's the main reason of the demise of the English national soccer team. The Premier League is a global brand, and it needs to stay that way. It's the Mecca of world football. Germany's Bundesliga and Spain's La Liga mainly feature local players, but the Premier League is the most recognized worldwide because of its diversity. To be honest, this benefits England more than the national team's success. Club soccer is bigger than international. Honestly, there are very few hardcore fans of an international team. And by that, I mean the fans that religiously follow the team year-round (not every fourth year during the FIFA World Cup). They should not sacrifice the popularity of the league at the expense of the international team.
Also, the increased quality of play in the Premier League simply means that the English players in that league compete against stronger opposition. Theoretically, this should mean they play a higher quality game and improve more than second-tier players. They are playing the leaders of most international teams on a weekly basis during their club fixtures. Shouldn't this be adequate preparation? I mean, if most of the players in the Premier League were English, the players would be at a disadvantage when they play international teams because they are used to only competing against their own countrymen and not the top players in the world.