They've been around forever. Every team has at least one, most of them two. The defensive midfielder.
Cornerstone of a successful real-world team. Bane of a successful fantasy football team.
They rack up the cards and the minus points that go with them. They rarely assist and might go the entire season without scoring a goal. And they try and tempt you with their guaranteed minutes.
Well, no more! We feel it is time that defensive midfielders came to be as important in fantasy football as they are in reality. Not least because it will suddenly make half the league's midfielders viable options - this is especially true for our draft style game as the Gareth Bale's and Theo Walcott's will be snapped up really quickly.
So, we've set up our player classification and points scoring systems somewhat differently. Every midfielder in the league will be classified as either a DM or an AM (obviously standing for defensive vs attacking midfielders). The points they score will be dependant on what their classification is!
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.
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.
Likelihood of happening - 90%
Reasons for likelihood:
Up until last season, Arsenal have always had a 'main' striker that has been a firm favorite in fantasy squads throughout. The reasons are clear:
Amongst the Higuains, Rooney’s and Suarez’s, it is often easy to overlook the smaller transfers flying around. And yet we see, time and again, players from the smaller clubs become some of the most coveted in the league. Imagine picking up the likes of Michu last season. I had him in my sights before somebody else drafted him in and every single Michu goal last season hurt me deeply.
Here is a transfer round up focussing on mid table clubs
During the 2012/13 season, Kone produced 13 goals and 7 assists for a struggling Wigan side. Having started all but two games, expect him to be a regular for Martinez’s Everton side. In terms of fantasy football, Kone provides a strong option as a secondary or third choice striker. He is a regular starter, was NOT booked throughout last season and offers a strong physical presence. Along with some sharp finishing ability, we can expect him to blossom from the better supply of balls he will get at Everton. He is a hidden gem that requires a close eye during the draft.
The hot topic in the transfer market is Luis Suarez and you can't question that after the bombshell he just dropped. In an exclusive interview with the guardian and the telegraph, he clearly indicates that he want out. With Madrid prioritizing Bale in their ₤100 million pursuit, Rooney edging for a move to Chelsea and Man City having recruited their strikers, Arsenal are his only option for champions league football which is what he wants. We do not need to go into why Manchester United is not a likely destination for the Uruguan but the 26 year is most likely heading to the emirates stadium.
Question is, are Arsenal clever and quick enough to sign him and start their transfer activity. Wenger's only recruit so far has been Sanogo and let's be honest he's not the name fans have been craving for. The number of departures at Arsenal need a replacement and the board have done the right thing in getting the dead wood off in Squillaci, Arshavin, Gervinho, Denilson and Santos to name a few. But a centre back, a defensive midfielder and a top class forward still need to be brought in for Arsenal to remotely challenge for the title. Suarez fits the bill, but does he?
Positives- His statistics:
Playing a draft style fantasy football game is extremely fun in itself but with Unique FC, there's an added dimension of defensive and attacking midfielders who are scored differently as opposed to the standard format. In the official game, midfielders are classed as one i.e if Flamini (DMF) and Young (AMF) both scored a goal, they would receive the same number of points.
It is fair to say the most people would opt to pick Young in their teams as he is more likely to score so that is a drawback which often leads to template teams. Unique FC's draft format brings the appeal out of DMF's and suddenly picking Arteta and Duff seems more appealing than picking Oscar or Eriksen. Here's why:
To put this into perspective, imagine with the goal scoring prowess of Fellaini and his defensive role at Man Utd, he suddenly feels like a first draft pick because he's certainly capable of both clean sheets and goals. *hint hint*
And that's not the end. Defenders get 5 points per clean sheet as opposed to 4 in the official game and for Tim Howard supporters, keepers get 15 points per goal scored so I'd want to be optimistic about my keeper scoring.
1) First up, go to www.uniquefc.com, and register as shown in the image below.
2) Either join an existing league, join a random league or create your own new league as shown in the image below.
3) Invite friends either via email or by proving them the league code as shown in the image below.