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.
This post is in response to all the queries we have been having about when the site is going to go live. As some of you may know, we were going to do an in-house full-site review yesterday. Well, we did and after about 5 hours or so we have a mixed bag of news:
The bad:We won't be going live this weekend as the wild optimist in me had hoped
The good:The core features needed to get a working version of the site up and running live are mostly in good shape. I am fairly confident that we should have a beta version up and running towards the end of next week.
Overall:This has been a monumental task so far, and we are well aware that this is just the start of the journey. Looking back and seeing how far we have come and the challenges faced, I am quite happy, all things considered:
The Luis Suarez saga continues with John W. Henry openly coming out and saying 40 million is an understatement of Suarez's valuation. Liverpool's American owner took to twitter to vent his frustration. The Reds are asking a fee in the region of 50 mill for the Uruguan forward but Arsenal are reluctant to pay that price. Having had two bids of 30 and 40 mill rejected, it is reported by sources inside the emirates that Arsenal have tabled a third bid of 42.5 mill today in the hope of securing his services before the Emirates cup begins.
In all honesty, both clubs will be doing themselves a favor by reaching an agreement as soon as possible because it is unlikely that Suarez will be at Liverpool next season having made the champions league his priority and Arsenal desperately need to start their transfer activity having cleared a lot of the dead wood to get their team settled before the season starts. With Gervinho close to sealing a move to Roma, Arsenal WILL definitely need a big name in the striking department. With Higuain completing a move to Napoli, Suarez is the only realistic option for Arsene. I see the deal happening, just how quickly I don't know yet.
Norwich have completed the signing of Gary Hooper from Celtic. He had a good season with Celtic and has played in the champions league as well. Scoring 19 times and providing 6 assists, Hooper will play a big role for the canaries this season and should be one of your first draft picks. He will be a regular starter and Norwich fans should be excited with the 25 year old's arrival.
With all the talk about Gareth Bale leaving for Madrid, spurs have moved to complete the signing of Nacer Chadli. The 25 year old attacking midfielder started 14 games in the Eredivisie scoring 12 times for FC Twente in the 2012/13 season. Overall he scored 19 times in 27 appearances for both Belgium and FC Twente and should be a quality addition at white hart lane. There has been talk about Clint Dempsey leaving and Chadli would be a good replacement for the American. Tottenham still need a big name striker and Soldado from Valencia has been linked strongly with Spurs recently. Gareth Bale was not in the squad for spurs' pre season game yesterday with South China with AVB claiming injury being the reason. However, reports coming out of Spain today that Madrid have tabled a mammoth 85 million pound bid for the Welsh international. Whether he moves, it remains to be seen.
Continuing on the drafting strategy front, let's take a look at the group of players that will lead to most of the mind games over the course of the draft. We are referring to the 'under the radar' players that you would like to get in.
What defines such a player? Well, quite simply, this is a player that you expect will score well over the season but has a profile low enough for you to risk leaving him for the later rounds of the draft. This provides 2 obvious advantages: You get to draft in more sought after players in the earlier rounds while they are still available while getting a player you really want in the later rounds (where traditionally you would have to 'settle' for the best from what's remaining).
This is, of course, a high risk strategy as misjudging how far under the radar a player is, exactly, can be tricky (Michu still haunts me from last season!). So, the things you need to consider before gambling on leaving a player you really want till the later rounds:
Got any specific hidden talents in mind? Not that you're likely to tell us!
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.
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!
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 transfer merry go round continues as clubs work on strengthening their squads. With four of the top 6 changing managers, expect much more transfer activity to come but let’s see what’s been happening at the mid table clubs.
Emanuele Giaccherini has completed a move to Sunderland from Italian champions Juventus. The 28 year old becomes Paolo Di Canio’s 9th signing this window following a £8.6 million move. Having only made 17 appearances for Juventus last season, the winger was impressive for Italy during the confederations cup and wants to cement his place for the forthcoming world cup in Brazil. He scored 3 times and created 3 assists mostly coming off the bench but he should be a regular starter at the stadium of light and with only 1 yellow card last season, he has fantasy point potential.
Once linked with Arsenal and Barcelona, the much sought after Kenyan defensive midfielder, Victor Wanyama, has put pen to paper with Southampton on a £12.5 million deal. His impressive performances for Celtic particularly against Barcelona in the champions league have earned him a strong reputation. Being a defensive midfielder, his goal to game ratio for Celtic has been is 1 in 6 games and with a high number of passes and pass accuracy, expect a few assists as well from the 22 year old for your UFC team.
Maicon has completed a move to AS Roma from Manchester city where he played a bit part role making only 7 appearances. This loosens competition at the right back spot with only Richards and Zabaleta available. Micah Richards had an injury riddled 2012/13 season but is back fit and in training with the city squad. Expect Richards to play more and 20 appearances is the least you can budget for from the right back. He has solid assist and clean sheet potential and pellegrini has hinted Richards would be getting more game time.
In other news, Stephen Harper has finally called time on his Newcastle United career. Well, discounting his 6 loan spells in that time at least. The 38 year old has completed a move to Hull City on a free transfer and the veteran adds experience to their current squad. Harper will mainly be used as a back-up goal keeper but is worth a second-choice shot stopper for your UFC team.
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: