As we documented in this space recently, RotoWorld is teaming up with Yahoo on Yahoo’s Fantasy Premier League game. In that same article, we also described some changes that are being built into the Yahoo game heading into the 2013-14 Premier League season. Because there is so much newness going on between RotoWorld’s Premier League section, Yahoo’s redesigned game and the partnership between the two companies on the Premier League front, we thought it would be a good idea to write an Introduction to the Yahoo Fantasy Premier League Game post. For readers who are new to Yahoo’s game overall, this will be a great way to get yourself oriented. For veterans of the Yahoo game, it will be another chance to get familiar with the changes that have happened between last season and this season.
Selecting a Team Name
In the official instructions that you get from Yahoo, you will be told that part of the process is to pick a name for your team. Many people only take it as seriously as that but a fantasy team name says a lot about you. You can tell the fantasy world that you’re clever with a name like Pleased to Michu. You can tell the world which team you support with a name like The Special Ones. You can tell the world you’re up on the latest news from around the footballing world with a name like Odemwingie’s London Adventure (OK, that isn’t really current anymore but it would have been pretty funny in early February). You can even tell the world where you get your fantasy news by appending the name of your favorite source after your team name. If you’re particularly clever, you can do all of the above in one fell swoop with a name like Schurrle You Jest [RW_PL].
Whatever you decide, don’t take this step lightly. If you happen to show up on the leader boards you want to be proud of the name you chose.
Selecting a Team
Team selection is going to be significantly different this season due to some changes that Yahoo have included in the game for this season. When you choose your team, you will be picking eleven players as starters and four as bench players. One player in the starting line-up and one player on the bench must be a goalkeeper. The rest of your squad can be configured in a variety of ways depending on how you feel your budget is best used. You will always have 3 defenders, 3 midfielders and 2 forwards as starters but depending on budget, match-ups and a variety of other factors, you may allocate the final two outfield spots in any way you see fit (e.g., 4-4-2, 3-4-3, 3-5-2) with the caveat that you can have no more than 4 defenders, 5 midfielders or 3 forwards in any valid line-up.
HINT: When selecting your team at the beginning of the season, you will want to consider the unique nature of the bench within the framework of the Yahoo game. In some games, most notably the one found at www.premierleague.com, prices don’t fluctuate too much from week-to-week and new players are priced with an eye toward what the game producers think their worth will eventually be. In the Yahoo game, players new to the Premier League are typically undervalued dramatically and your bench will be a great place to “buy low”. There will be obvious cases of players who you will want to buy at the low price and start from the beginning of the season – like Michu or Santi Cazorla last season – but there will also be a few players you’re just not sure about starting right away but you’d definitely like the option to have them cheaply if they start producing. Everton’s new loan signing Gerard Deulofeu is a great example. He’s obviously very talented but he’s young and might be eased into the line-up. You’d hate to lose out on him at a cheap price but you probably won’t be willing to start him Week 1 in the event that he only comes in for the final 20 minutes at the start of the season. This could also be a strategy for someone like Swansea’s new forward Wilfried Bony. He will likely be a popular pick among fantasy managers but he has a Week 1 match-up against Manchester United. If you want to make sure you get him at a low price for Week 2 but don’t want to risk a PL newbie against the defending champions then the bench will be a great place to stash him.
Starters vs. Bench Players
Why is starting vs. the bench important? Only points generated by your starters will count toward your weekly score. Points generated by bench players will NOT count toward your weekly score UNLESS one of your starters does not play. In the event one of your starters does not play, you will prioritize the players on your bench in the order that you would like them to substitute in for a starter who doesn’t feature. If one of your starters doesn’t feature then the first player on your bench will move in. If two don’t start, the first two off your bench will come in, etc. The exception to this is the goalkeeper position. If your starting keeper doesn’t play, your substitute will automatically be inserted.
What Do I Need To Know About The Scoring System?
Yahoo’s Fantasy Premier League scoring system is more complex than most games that can be found online. Of course the typical statistics – goals, assists, yellow cards, red cards, and clean sheets – are counted but Yahoo adds a wide variety of secondary statistics that are a little more unique. Statistics like Shots on Target, Corners Won, Successful Crosses, Blocked Shots, Tackles Won, and Saves mean that players who may not contribute a great deal in the way of goals and assists can turn out to be extremely valuable in this format. Wingers and fullbacks who take a lot of set pieces tend to be more valuable in this format than in others. This also applies to players like old favorite Mido who never met a shot he didn’t like. He wouldn’t actually score that many goals over the course of a season but he tended to get a lot of shots on target that were saved – it didn’t help his real team very much but it definitely helped his fantasy managers as well as those of the goalkeepers he was facing.
Transfers and the Salary Cap
Perhaps my favorite feature of the Yahoo game – and another one that differs from most fantasy formats – is that transfers are unlimited. You can switch out your entire 15 man roster every week or even multiple times per week as you try to find the right combination. This makes for far more fun than agonizing over one or two potential moves each week in leagues where transfers are limited.
Just because transfers are free, doesn’t mean that they don’t come with some consequences. When you buy a player in the Yahoo format, you keep that player your purchase price so long as you keep him on your squad either as a starter or a reserve. The consequence of selling a player is that when you go to buy him back you must pay the current retail price (if the retail price goes down, the game automatically credits you with the balance and restores it to your free budget). Unlike other games, you do not see the surplus, or any percentage of it, added to your salary cap which stays fixed for the season.
What this leads to is difficult decisions when injuries and longer term suspensions arise. Do you keep a player at a discount and take up a spot on your squad or do you sell that player and lose what might be a deep discount on a very good player? The presence of the bench feature will help make this somewhat easier this season but it still won’t be an entirely simple situation. For example, if you have an expensive player like Robin van Persie at a substantial discount and he gets hurt and is out for 6 weeks. Do you keep him and the discount while tying up a significant portion of your budget or do you release him knowing that his price will be higher when you go to buy him back once he’s healthy.
The presence of unlimited transfers makes it very tempting to sell players you have at a discount to free up budget and places in your squad. There are valid circumstances where this is a good idea and valid circumstances where keeping a discount will help you more over the course of a long season. These are the kinds of questions that we will be here to help you with throughout the season.
I’ve been having a blast playing Yahoo’s Fantasy Premier League game since 2001. There are a lot of reasons that I’ve enjoyed it but two stand out above all of the others:
Connecting With Friends – I was invited to join a private league in 2001 by friends from an amateur soccer team. Some of them I knew well and others I didn’t know as well. Twelve years later, despite the fact that the soccer team no longer exists and the members of our private league have relocated all over the US and the globe, I know all of them much better for having competed in and talked trash about Yahoo’s fantasy game. In the bargain, I became much better friends with Jeremy with whom I started our original blog and continue to work with here at RotoWorld. If you’re looking for ways to keep the competition between friends in private groups alive, I’d recommend choosing a prize. Jeremy and I used to bet a Premier League replica jersey of the winner’s choice paid for by the loser each season. It had the benefit of being both affordable for 9+ months of entertainment and something that the winner could wear in the presence of the loser to mock them without saying a word.
Meeting New People – Just as rewarding as the strengthening of existing friendships has been the meeting of new people both virtually and in the real world. A common interest in the Premier League in general and Yahoo’s game specifically has led to great live chats where regular participants get to share the ups and downs of fantasy games together while we all watch the games in our various locations around the world. I can’t imagine another way I would have gotten to know people in Egypt, Japan, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Australia, France, the UK and a wide variety of other places. There is a great live chat at www.nevermanagealone.com (our former home) during matches that we will continue to drop in on as often as we can.
One of the major additions to the Yahoo game that we mentioned in the previous introduction to the changes is the presence of a captain. The captain earns a 2x bonus on any points produced so it is critical that you choose a captain that you are extremely confident will start each week.
Unfortunately, Yahoo has yet to include the scoring table in their release but we here at RotoWorld are here for you with the full listing. The important things to note for those returning to the game from previous years are that half points (categories that have been awarded half points in the past have been adjusted to a full point) and both Corners Won and Last Man Saving Tackles have been eliminated. Otherwise the scoring system is intact. Here is the scoring table:
|Match Winning Goal||WG||2||2||2||2|
|Set Piece Goal||SPG||3||3||3||3|
|Shot On Target||SOT||3||3||3||3|
We'll be back on this topic shortly with some of the rules that we live by as fantasy managers - we hope you find them valuable as well.