And we’re back for a second year of the Premier League’s draft game format! For many of you, the draft format isn’t a new concept since it has been a staple of NFL, MLB, NBA, and other fantasy landscapes for years in addition to the debut on the Premier League site last year and in a few other places focused on the Premier League a year or two earlier. For others, this may be the first time you’re encountering draft as a fantasy format. As a veteran of 20+ years of draft fantasy games, I love the format and hope you enjoy it as well.
To coincide with the release of Year 2 of the Premier League’s game, we here at Rotoworld are releasing a series of articles to prepare you for success if you decide to take the dive into this format. The balance of this article will cover some of the basics of why you might want to try out draft instead of or in addition to the more traditional salary cap format and cover the basics of game play and drafting. Other articles will cover the following:
- Likely Sources of Draft Value: Seeking Gylfi - COMING SOON
- Draft Strategy Tips: Scarcity and Streaming and Handcuffs (oh my)
- Scoring by Team - Aggregate | By Position
- How to Win: What to do after your draft - COMING SOON
- Position Analysis: Goalkeepers | Defenders | Midfielders | Forwards
- Rankings – COMING SOON
- Mock Draft – COMING SOON
We’ll also point you to key resources that will help you keep abreast of the latest news throughout the season with an eye toward how that news might impact your draft or your squad depending on where we are in the summer/season:
Why Draft Premier League?
The first thing I want to make clear is that I don’t consider this an “either/or” scenario. Those same people telling you that you can’t love the Premier League along with the NFL, MLB, IPL Cricket, Rugby Union, or whatever else might get you excited are probably the same people trying to force an artificial argument between fantasy formats like Salary Cap, Daily, Season-long, Draft, etc. Frankly, I enjoy just about any fantasy format that you can think of if it enhances my enjoyment of the matches I watch. Draft, in particular, because you can’t pick the same players as other managers in your league also helps inspire me to get to know more about players, teams, statistics, and strategies.
All that said, I love the draft format because it is truer to the sport that it is derived from. In the Premier League teams don’t own the same players, they compete directly against each other with their unique squads, and they get weekly feedback in the form of wins and losses that end up determining who wins the league at the end of the season.
The challenge of unique ownership means that managers really have to dig in and get to know most, if not all, of the regular starters and key reserves in the league. After all, if you have a 10-team league each with 15 players on their rosters that means that 150 players will be rostered in your league each week. Given that only 220 total players can start in a given Premier League match week that’s a high proportion of the league to get to know.
After 25+ years of playing various fantasy sports in draft and auction formats, I’ve learned a few things about what makes for a great league and what to try to avoid. Here are some quick thoughts:
- Have a Prize – Whether it be an elaborate trophy, cash entry and payouts for 1st only, 1st/2nd/3rd or just a silly token of winning the league it’s great to have something tangible to shoot for that you can take a picture with and send to the rest of the league after the season ends.
- Talk Trash/Banter – Whatever you happen to call it wherever you come, frequent and public communication back and forth as weekly matches unfold or people make dubious choices in adding/dropping players.
- “Watch” Together – Whether it is in person at a pub, in someone’s living room or online if members of the league don’t live close enough to congregate in person fantasy games are about enhancing something that is already fun, in this case, watching extremely talented people try to put a small round ball in a net.
- Be Active – This is an individual decision rather than a league decision but if you’re going to play, keep at it all season. Change your line-up, drop players who are out for the season, pick up promising players on waivers in other words, keep competing throughout the season because nothing undermines a league like knowing that there are multiple “easy wins” on the schedule because one or two managers have stopped trying.
- Meet New People – One nice feature of the PL.com draft platform and many other platforms as well is the ability to join a draft league of people you don’t know. For people outside of the UK where there’s a far lower density of Premier League fans potentially interested in a fantasy league this is a great way to dive into draft even if you don’t have enough Premier League-loving friends to create your own private league.
- Have a Fun Name – Whether it be your league or your personal team, showcase some creativity and stay away from YourName FC or YourTown FC. If you have Fabregas on your team and like the Red Hot Chili Peppers go with BloodSugarCescMagic. If you’re a cynical Arsenal supporter go with Holding Pattern. You get the idea, have some fun with it and see if you have what it takes to get a laugh from your fellow managers.
This article has mostly been about why you might want to play and some suggestions for how to make it a great experience. Check out the links above as I fill them in over the upcoming week for more about strategy and player analysis.