Fantasy Football Blog

Your guide to Yahoo fantasy football for the 2014/15 Premier League season

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INTRODUCTION
Welcome to the revamped Yahoo fantasy football game for the 2014/15 Premier League season. If you've never played the Yahoo Fantasy Premier League game before and want to find out a bit more about it then you've come to the right place. And if you've been playing Yahoo's game for years but want to discover what's new for this season's game, then you're in luck, as you'll find all that information here too.

Those of you familiar with fantasy football games for the Premier League will know that most offerings allow you to set up a squad in August before making minor adjustments prior to each game-week, with a couple of windows to make major changes at certain points in the season. These games award players points for goals, assists, clean sheets, and deduct points for cards and goals conceded, but not much else. The Yahoo Fantasy Premier League game is different, with a set of rules and scoring system to make it one of the most immersive fantasy sports experiences available.

HOW TO PLAY
This year Yahoo have launched a slick new App which makes picking your fantasy football team (and checking how well it's doing) more convenient than ever before. The App is available for both IOS and Android and can be downloaded now from the relevant App store here

The game can also be accessed from a standard web browser by visiting https://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/fantasy/soccer/premier-league

You can read the detailed game rules from within the App, but I've run through all the important info below ...

YOUR SQUAD
Once registered, every fantasy manager has £100million to spend on a squad of 15 players. This is a significant reduction in comparison to last season's budget, so player prices have been adjusted accordingly. Your squad must consist of:

2 keepers
5 defenders
5 midfielder
3 strikers

You can select the players you want in your squad by navigating to the  'My Team' tab, and you can save your squad by clicking 'Done'. If you do not have a saved squad of 15 players when the weekly transfer deadline passes, then your team will score ZERO fantasy points for the game-week, so please make sure to remember this rule at all times. Believe me, it is not an enjoyable experience to find you left an empty spot after the deadline has passed.

There is no limit to the number of players you can select from any one Premier League club. If you want to pick 15 Leicester City players you are free to do so, provided it fits within your £100million budget.

Returning fantasy managers will notice that last season's 'captain' rule, which saw you select a captain to receive a points bonus, has been removed from this season's game.

FORMATION
From the squad of 15 players you must select a starting 11, leaving 4 substitutes on your bench. The formations on offer for your starting line-up are 4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 3-4-3 and 4-5-1. You can change your team's formation by dragging and dropping players from your bench. For example, to move from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2, drag a midfielder from your bench and drop him over the defender you would like to remove from your starting line-up.

SUBSTITUTES
If a player in your starting line-up does not play in a game-week for any reason he will be automatically replaced by a player on your substitutes bench, provided you have a sub who got some minutes on the pitch. Bench priority runs from left to right, so you can order your subs as you see fit by dragging and dropping. The player in the left-most position on your bench will be the first player automatically subbed in provided his introduction will still form a valid formation. If not, the second player will be subbed in, and so on. It goes without saying that your two goalkeepers are only interchangeable with each other.

SCORING
Yahoo has one of the most rewarding scoring systems around. Obviously you gain fantasy points for the standard stuff - goals, assists and clean sheets - but you can also pick up points for a variety of attacking and defensive contributions. These include (but are not limited to) shots on target, successful crosses, corners won (yes, it has returned!), blocked shots, tackles won and passes intercepted. Players can also lose points for conceding goals, committing fouls, missing penalties, scoring own goals and picking up yellow or red cards.

As well as making things more interesting than other fantasy football games, the scoring system adds a whole new dimension to watching live Premier League action involving a player on your fantasy team, as every single match incident has the potential to see you gain or lose fantasy points. I'm not ashamed to say I've watched a Spurs match in a pub and found myself celebrating the three points brought by a Gylfi Sigurdsson shot on target, much to the bewilderment of people around me.

The fact players are rewarded for all sorts of positive contributions means you need to think beyond who will keep a clean sheet, or who will score when picking your fantasy team. Identifying players constantly involved in the play - set piece takers, all-action full-backs, committed central midfielders and attacking wingers - is vital if you want your team to be successful.

TRANSFERS
Here's where it gets really interesting. In Yahoo Fantasy Premier League, every fantasy manager has unlimited transfers available to them for each and every game-week. There is no penalty for making multiple transfers; you can make zero, one or fifteen transfers ahead of a game-week deadline. This feature of the Yahoo game gives you unrivalled flexibility when it comes to preparing your fantasy team for the week ahead.

As mentioned earlier, you have £100million to spend on 15 players, and player values fluctuate after each match based on individual performance.

If you buy a player, and that player's price goes up after a good performance, then you continue to hold him in your squad at the price you paid, and you sell him at the price you paid.

The advantage of owning a player who has increased in value comes when a fellow fantasy manager is forced to pay the increased price if they wish to buy the same player later in the season. Once you sell a player, you lose any discount you may have built up for him. If you suddenly realise you want to buy that player back you'll have to pay full price, so you must be absolutely sure of your decision(s) before hitting the 'Done' button to confirm your transfers.

If you buy a player, and that player's price drops after a poor performance, you continue to hold him in your squad at the price he drops to, with the difference added back to your transfer balance to spend elsewhere.

When selling a player, you always sell at the price you own him at, which means your budget for spending will always remain at £100million. To reiterate an earlier statement, player values change based on performance, which leads to players becoming less or more affordable on a weekly basis throughout the season.

Judging the right time to buy a player, to keep a player at a discount, or to sell a player is absolutely key.


WEEKLY TRANSFER DEADLINE
For the 2014/15 season, the weekly Yahoo transfer deadline will always fall one hour before the kick-off of the first match in that game-week, so the . Once the deadline passes, the next game-week's transfer window opens, so you can start making your transfers immediately.

LIVE SCORING
Yahoo provide a live-scoring feed so you can see how your players are performing as it happens, with point updates this season expected to show on your team page within 60 seconds of any relevant match incident.

THE BARNDOOR
Credit to my Rotoworld colleagues Neal Thurman and Jeremy Spitzberg for the naming of this feature of the Yahoo game, which essentially refers to "the barndoor being left open". Let me explain ...

Once a Premier League match ends, Yahoo's whizzkids require approximately one hour to verify the match statistics and resulting fantasy points from that match, before officially awarding the points to each individual player and adjusting player value accordingly. As the transfer window is already open, fantasy managers are free to make their transfers for the following game-week BEFORE player values are updated. Did Robin van Persie just scores a hat-trick, and does he have an easy looking fixture next weekend? Well his value is going to rise once his fantasy points are awarded, so you can move quickly on "the barndoor" to bring the Dutchman in to your squad at his current price.

You certainly don't need to take advantage of "the barndoor" to be successful, but it can help save you transfer funds, and accessing the game to make your transfers quickly will be made all the more easy by the new IOS and Android apps.

PRIVATE LEAGUES
Access the 'Friends' tab to set up private leagues for you and your mates. Each private league can contain up to 100 teams.

That's more than enough information to get you going. I'll be back here every week with my top five player recommendations, which will hopefully help give you the edge over your fellow fantasy managers. You can read daily fantasy news, statistics, injury updates and feature articles focusing on Yahoo's Fantasy Premier League game over at Rotoworld (http://www.rotoworld.com/sports/bpl).

Start selecting your squad and I'll see you back here in mid-August for the big kick-off.

Nik Argiropoulos
Twitter: @nikarg

Please also follow @YahooUKFantasy and @Rotoworld_PL on Twitter.

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