Fantasy Football 2014

I am terrible at football. I misplace passes, bottle tackles and shoot with unfailing comedic flair, and the only thundering volley I have ever scored (an arcing, swerving, unstoppable beauty) found the back of my own team’s net. From the comfort of my armchair, however, I play a solid game of fantasy football.


Milan. Italy. Police in San Siro, football stadium, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

…As a result I spend the month before the new season begins planning an imaginary £100m shopping spree in painstaking, penny-pinching detail. I read blogs and dedicated websites, seek out YouTube videos of new signings and generally take the entire thing far too seriously. I am not ashamed.

For the uninitiated, it works like this: fantasy football players pick a squad of 15 real-world football players online at the start of the Premier League season, made up of two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three strikers. From this, they choose 11 players a week who they expect to score goals, set up goals or keep clean sheets, for which those players rack up points in the game. Managers – as we style ourselves – compete in mini-leagues with friends and colleagues, for weekly and annual bragging rights, and sometimes for each other’s cash.

Yet there’s more to the game’s appeal than boasts and prizes. Playing forces you to keep track of every week’s every result, and almost every team’s every player, which in turn equips you with the knowledge necessary to bust out some oddly convincing footy chat with the supporters of any Premier League football team. Plus it makes otherwise boring matches exciting, giving you a personal stake in the result of even a stodgy draw between Crystal Palace and West Ham.

Like betting, it makes you care about games between teams you don’t support; unlike betting, it only costs you time that you would be wasting anyway. I am hooked, and while it hasn’t made me any better on the pitch, I have learned quite a bit about how to play. Here are my golden rules for how to choose a squad – and who this year’s killer picks will be for the 2014/15 season.

1. Pick players who you know will play

2. Study the fixture list

3. Spread the quality around

4. Ignore your hunches

5. Do your research


For suggested picks and player names visit the link by clicking here.

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