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Fantasy Football 2012-13 guide

Fantasy Football Blog

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Fantasy Football 2012-13 is here, so let's start the countdown to the big kick-off with a recap of the basics to help you build a winning team.

We will be kicking off our weekly Friday chats tomorrow, with detailed injury reports to start next week.

Why not sign up now?

FANTASY FOOTBALL BASICS

What is Fantasy Football?
Really, you don't know? Well, okay, if you insist. It's a game that allows you to pick a fictional team made up of real players, who then score you points based on what they do on the pitch in actual Premier League games. The aim - it should be patently clear - is to score as many points as possible.

How do my players score points?
The Yahoo! Eurosport game has a relatively sophisticated scoring system that we explore in more detail below. Basically, you get credit for positive things like scoring a goal or keeping a clean sheet. You lose points for things like yellow and red cards or if your team concedes a hatful of goals. The rules are here.

So, players who are good in real life are good in Fantasy Football?
That's the idea. The star players from each of the big sides will perform best, logically enough. But the correlation does not always work - defenders who like to get forward are especially valuable in Fantasy as they get credit for attacking points. Often players who are thrown into midfield by their coaches are listed as defenders, which is always a bonus. Also, defenders get points for clean sheets and can pick up extras if they take set-pieces, thus becoming points machines.

What's to stop me picking the whole Manchester City team?
In theory, nothing. In practice, you probably won't be able to afford it. The crux of the game is this: you have a budget limited to £100 million. Aguero and Silva's combined value is pretty huge, so you have to give up a large chunk of your budget to get them. It is up to you whether you decide to buy three superstars and a load of chumps, or spread your money more evenly.

How many players do I pick?
Eleven. There are no subs in this game. If the players you select do not play, tough. So it is important to keep an eye on injuries and suspensions because if your players are affected you will definitely lose points.

Are there any other restrictions?
No. You can have as many players as you want from a single team - the entire Southampton XI is yours if you want it (no cost worries there). And if you are in a league, there is no rule against more than one team having each player.

Can I change my team?
Absolutely. There are unlimited transfers - just make sure you have them registered by noon each Saturday. But it's not in your interest to chop and change too much.

Why not?
Because players' values fluctuate according to their performance and popularity. If you sign a player for £5m who then scores a hatful of goals, his value could rise to £10m. If you sell him you will only get the £5m you paid, but if you want to buy him back again you'll have to shell out the £10m market price. So you're better off hanging on to him at his cheaper value. If you pick that bargain player nice and early, hang on in there through any lean spells.

Can I play against my friends?
Of course, that's the point. It's all about boasting really. It is easy to set up a league and invite your mates, then watch in horror as the bloke who knows nothing about football cleans up.

Right then, sign me up!
With pleasure. Just click here. Do it.

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HOW TO SCORE POINTS

A surprising amount of people pick their Fantasy team without having any real idea how the game works.

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It should hardly need saying that a player who is good in real life is not necessarily going to excel in Fantasy.

So, without further ado, let's find out how your players actually get points on the board.

A full list of scoring categories can be found here.

ATTACKING: A goal might officially be worth seven points, but in reality you get more than that, as there is an additional three for a shot on target to make 10.

Furthermore, you get two more if it is a match-winning goal - if a player scores his team's second in a 3-1 win that is considered the 'winner' - and if a player scores direct from a set-piece it is three more.

So a match-winning free-kick gets you a whopping 15 points.

The three points for a shot on target is important, particularly for players such as Frank Lampard who enjoy letting fly with relentless regularity from midfield.

But it's not all about goals. The traditional assist is worth four points, and there is also plenty of reward for those tricky midfielders even if they are not regulars on the scoresheet.

Win a corner or complete a cross and you get a point; win a foul and it's half a point.

These scores really tot up, making the likes of Mikel Arteta and Ashley Young among the most valuable players in the game.

DEFENDING: Gone are the days when you just picked whatever defender was likely to get forward. Although the men at the back are eligible for 'attacking' points, they also get credit for their work repelling the opposition.

They get a six-point bonus for keeping a clean sheet, but all-action defensive displays can earn points regardless of the result.

A blocked shot is worth two points, as is a last man saving tackle. Each interception and tackle won gets you an additional half a point.

These points apply to all players and are also worth considering for your midfielders.

However, you lose half a point for each foul committed, while cards are a serious business - minus three for yellow, minus six for red.

Your players also lose three points if they are hapless enough to concede a penalty or score an own goal.

GOALKEEPERS: As in real life, Fantasy goalkeepers are a law unto themselves. They are the only players whose scores are directly influenced by the result of a match - four points for a win, one for a draw and minus two for a defeat.

Like defenders, they get six for a clean sheet, but unlike defenders they lose three for every goal conceded - meaning it is a nine-point swing when they concede the first goal.

Every save is worth two points - meaning it is often better to sign a 'busy' keeper like Michel Vorm than one from a better team who spends his matches smoking a pipe and talking to the crowd.

Keepers can earn themselves a massive eight points if they save a penalty. And, again as in life, they are blameless if they let a spot-kick in.

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It is head scratching stuff but also immense fun so why not sign up now?

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