When we think of fantasy football, we think of two things. There is the popular game, often organised by media outlets, that is played amongst friends maybe for fun, maybe for a small prize, and the money wagering game that is growing increasingly popular in the UK. This article aims to look at both.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Understanding Fantasy Football Betting
With fantasy football betting, a team of 11-25 players is created by selecting real life footballers from a league, in this case The Premier League. The selected 11 then earn points for the team by way of their performances on the pitch in actual football games. In the played between friends, points are awarded or deducted according to goals scored, assists, clean sheets and referee cards issued, for example. Over the season, you will normally be allowed a set amount of transfers to compensate for injuries and such like.
For the wagering game however, players can pick a side for a particular round of fixtures or place real money bets on their team’s performance against that of their rivals and friends. Selecting your fantasy 11 in fantasy football betting requires having a great deal of sports knowledge, since you have to pick the players that you think will perform best and earn you the most points.
Also in fantasy football betting, players can be selected by way of a draft in which players are selected for a team during one session and in which no player can own the same footballer as another player. This is in contrast to the Fantasy Football game in which all players have a price tag and each manger has a budget. Here, all players are available to everyone.
Playing Fantasy Football Leagues For Fun
The non-gambling Fantasy Football game casts you in the role of a team manager in a league where there is normally a prize for a high place finish. Typically, these have been run by websites, newspapers and broadcasters.
At the beginning of the game, managers are assigned a budget with which to select a squad of between 11 and 15 real-life players, with one player being nominated by you to be your team’s captain. Points are awarded on how well these players perform on each matchday and, in the longer term, over the whole of the football season. Captains score double points and can be changed after each matchday. The more points you score each week, the higher up the table your team will climb.
Fantasy Football Winning Strategies A guide to successfully playing the game
How To Pick A Fantasy Football Team
In order to be a successful Fantasy Football League manager, it really is worth doing some research before making your picks if you still want to be in with a chance of winning by the time May comes around. While most sites keep registration open all year round, it is obviously going to be better for your chances if you register your team over the summer, before the season gets underway in mid-August.
In this case, have a look at pre-season form and who has been playing regularly and how well they have done over that time. Go back over recent seasons and look at the fitness records of the players you are considering giving a starring role in your new team. Pay close attention to youngsters who might have broken into the first team squad as they will likely represent the best value.
Pay attention to players with poor disciplinary records, how well are they thought to get on with the manager, have there been any publicised issues, etc? Basically, any potential influencing factor that you can think of, is worth investigating further as it could end up costing you points further down the line.
Fantasy Football Management Dos
Over the course of the football season, it would be wise to rotate your goalkeepers and defenders. For this reason, don’t be tempted to select one world class goalkeeper and pair him with a cheap backup. Instead, pick two top class goalkeepers which you can rotate depending on who the real-life player’s team is playing against that week. This way, if he’s playing against Manchester City, for example, you can drop him for a week and bring your equally good number two who, with any luck, is playing against lesser opposition. By doing this, you should give yourself more chances of picking up clean sheet bonuses across the season. The same advice also applies to defenders.
Speaking of defenders, it is worth spending heavy here. While many players skimp on this section of their team, packing their defences with several cheap options in order to afford more expensive midfielders and forwards, in actual fact this is a mistake as defenders have the chance to earn much more points with a clean sheet bonus. Plus, the right defender can also weigh in with goals which in most leagues count as double points.
Take the high assisting Liverpool fullback pair, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, two very good examples of this. These two players have the highest assist rate in the Premier League most seasons and so are well worth considering, although as you might expect neither player will come cheap.
In some cases, players have been listed in the wrong category. When Mo Salah and Sadio Mane first signed for Liverpool they were considered to be midfielders. While this has likely been updated by now, it goes without saying that midfielders – for whom goals usually count double – that score a lot of goals are incredibly valuable in a Fantasy Football League competition so these two top scorers are invaluable.
And of course, up front it is important to pick the best strikers you can find. As you might expect, going heavy at the back might not leave enough spare change to throw in Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero or Tottenham’s Harry Kane so pick the best you can. In the case of Harry Kane, it is important to note how well he takes to his club’s mid-season manager switch and a likely far more pragmatic style of play. See? We told you there was a lot to consider.
Fantasy Football Management Don’ts
As much as there is a list of Fantasy Football League management do’s, equally there is a list of Fantasy Football League managements don’ts. One key trap that players fall into is picking players purely on reputation or the points tally they accrued last season. This is not to say don’t pick players who performed strongly the previous year, simply that you need to take into account much more than simply previous displays.
Leave club bias behind, it’s easy for players to cool on footballers that ply their trade with a hated rival but that would be a mistake. Fans of Liverpool are unlikely to wish Manchester United defenders well on a Saturday afternoon so either leave them out of your team altogether or simply suck it up and hope that the old enemy doesn’t concede.
This also works in reverse. It is an extremely common mistake to pick as many players as possible from the big six clubs, on the entirely reasonable assumption that they win more games, score more goals and let in less. But, these teams also have the biggest squads and play the most fixtures, running deep in the knock out competitions. For this reason, squad rotation applies much more with the top six teams than it does with the league’s other teams and your expensive new signing might miss out.
If you can, select your backline from as few clubs as possible. While we understand that its is tempting to pick from seven different clubs in the hope that one of them might keep a clean sheet, in reality, you are actually reducing your chances of getting a high score as the odds on all seven teams keeping a clean sheet is slim to non-existent.
Finally, be cool with the summer’s intake of players brought in from abroad. It is always exciting to sign players from overseas but remember the Premier League is the toughest around and there is often a settling-in period for new foreign signings while they adapt to the English game. Sure, there are exceptions and these might well turn out to be very good signings in the long run, but a rush to sign them could cost you valuable early season points.
Selecting Your Captain
When choosing who will be your captain, pick players that actually play and change them regularly. Choosing a Fantasy Football League captain is very important as they usually receive double points which means that they play a very important role in points allocation. Look out for the following factors when choosing your team captain for any given week. How consistent a player is this week’s captain proving to be, who is he playing against this week, how many points did he pick up last season, does he score or assist regularly enough, will poor discipline result in unwanted referee reprimands and cards?
Things To Consider
Make constant changes to your first eleven. True, this is fairly hard to stick to as many people pick their team and then ignore it (a sure fire way to lose). But, only attentive players tend to succeed at this game so be sure to invest a little time before each game week to make certain that you are rotating your players effectively. Remember to consider, player opponents, injuries, suspensions, etc.
Also, know your set-piece takers and how effective they are from dead ball situations. While the game hosts are likely wise to the player’s set piece brilliance, often these players can be employed with smaller clubs so it’s worth checking who’s been taking set-pieces and penalties during the recent pre-season. It will also serve you well if you research to find out who’s been taking corners for the various teams during pre-season. Also, look into which team gets the most penalties and which of their players is normally on spot kick duty.
Opening A Fantasy Football Account
Fantasy football players can start selecting their squad at any time of the year but it obviously makes sense to begin playing before the new season starts in August. Daily Fantasy players can get started today however as these games run daily rather than across the whole season. Either way, signing up is easy.
Pick your chosen site and the correct game, and register an account including all of your personal details. From here, players are required to select their squads of up to 15 players and a budget somewhere in the region of £100 million. Your squad will normally be comprised of two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three strikers from which you will pick your preferred formation. Next, you must choose a captain from your squad of 15 who will be awarded double points and finally, assign your team a team name.
In terms of opening a Fantasy Football account with a DFS site, this is simply a case of choosing the site you wish to play with and opening up a betting account. From here, you can pick a game either by start time or by buy-in and, much like online poker, wait for your chosen game to begin.
Top Fantasy Football Sites
Paddy Power Fantasy
In 2018, popular US DFS site FanDuel was acquired by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power as part of their ambitious plans to conquer America’s burgeoning betting market. Part of that deal means that Paddy now has the platform to offer fantasy games alongside its first rate sportsbook. While Paddy Power Fantasy isn't the only DFS site on the market, it is definitely one of the best and comes complete with a £20 cash back bonus if you don’t win a prize.
Also a part of the Paddy Power family, Betfair’s betting exchange platform also provides a fantasy offering while happily providing tips, news and updates to keep your game razor sharp and on track. New customers can also find up to £100 in free bets at Betfair making it a great choice for those looking for somewhere to play.
Popular online sportsbook, Betway have an impressive customer base of more than 2 million users across Europe. This is largely because they can boast top of the range gambling products that include sportsbook and a casino plus a quality e-sports betting platform. Along with a strong welcome bonus, Betway also provide a Fantasy Football competition that puts up £300 worth of prizes each and every month.
Different variants of Fantasy Football
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Fantasy football has been around for a long time, particularly in the US where it has been common place for years. Unlike the British game played between friends, this version can be played for money. American fantasy football is slightly different as it can be played on a daily basis. This way, bets can be placed in the morning with participants collecting their payout in the evening.
Another difference is that daily fantasy sports bets are played online with thousands of other players, all contributing a buy-in to the league which helps fund the prizepool. Millions of dollars of DFS transactions are processed each year with people betting on games taking place in the EPL, , MBA, NHL, PGA, etc and even e-sports too!
Drafting Your DFS Team
Drafting a Fantasy Football team for a DFS competition is very different to the British Fantasy Football league team selection. For instance, players can only be purchased by one team manager and is selected through auction. There are lots of different approaches for an EPL draft strategy but no set rule.
One good piece of advice however would be to go into the draft with a strategy for which positions you want to fill at which points in the process, while also being adaptable to overcome setbacks, should you miss out on a top target. The drafting process works in numerical order before reversing and going back the other wat in order to make the draft order fair for everyone.
When you have made your first round pick, you have to wait until all other managers have picked their first-round player as well. The other managers will then go first, picking their second round players before you get to pick again. Generally speaking, this kind of draft, known as a snake draft, works out pretty fair no matter where you draft in the order.
The idea is that if you pick wisely in the order, you should get an elite player in the first round before nabbing a good player by the time the second round comes around. Picking in the middle rounds of each draft should reward you with either an elite player or a very good player in the first round plus a high standard player in the second round. Drafting in the final picks of the order should bring you a very good player in the 1st round plus another in the 2nd round.
Position wise, drafting a top-quality passing midfielder who scores goals in the early rounds is recommended but make sure you don’t follow the temptation to waste a high draft pick on your goalkeeper as strategically, due to DFS points accumulation, this is unlikely to payoff.
Fantasy Football FAQs
💡 Is DFS the same as Fantasy Football?
No, these are not the same games although they require similar skills and will appeal to the same players. Basically, if you like one, then you are likely to enjoy the other.
🇨🇭 Can you win money playing DFS games?
Yes, because of the contribution based prizepools there is a great deal of money to be won playing DFS. Fantasy Football League on the other hand, are more recreation based games that do have an end of season top prize.
🙋 Does it cost to play Fantasy Football games?
It depends on who you are playing with. In most cases, no. typically these games are free to play. You do need to pay a pre-designated buy-in to take part in a DFS game however but, like most bets, things are settled quickly and you can potentially win large amounts.
📱 Can you bet on other sports with a DFS site?
Yes, it isn’t just football. Because this type of wager is rooted in the US, American sports are popular for DFS games but you can also find markets on sports like and , where you pick a tournament’s top performers, too.
🔢 What happens if my player leaves the Premier League?
You have a few options in this case. The player can remain in your squad but he will continue to earn 0 points. If you want to remove him permanently, then you will need to swap him with either a free agent or put in for a waiver request.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
Whichever type of Fantasy game you decide to play, you are sure to be in for a treat. Perhaps, even try a free play version of a DFS game if you are curious about trying it. Remember, that while free to play Fantasy Football games and buy-in based are largely different, there are many transferable skills that will stand you in good stead should you decide to give Daily Fantasy Sports a try.