I’ve been playing Fantasy Football for a while. About 13 years from memory, on a number of different sites and formats. The one thing that has kept me coming back year after year – to have another go – has been the fervent hope that this year, I’ll beat my mates. Thrash them. Wallop them. Humiliate them. It’s the dream…it’s always the dream. However in fantasy football, as in life (how deep is that?), dreams don’t always come true.
But there are rules that I am here to insist you follow next season, when we ‘go again’ and battle our mates to the death (or the end of the season, whichever comes first).
Rule 1: Appoint your most trusted friend to be your league Administrator
This one is tricky. You need someone with integrity. Someone who can’t be bribed. Who is selfless, fair and has strong morals. When you can’t find anyone among your rabble like that, pick the man or woman who is the least treacherous among you.
This person will set a date where all of your teams will be uploaded and entered into your Private League at the same time. Together as one. Each persons team will be their own unique idea of the best team for the season to come. The plan is to prevent the ‘mirror defence’, where your mates see you’re smarter than them, and mirror your inspired selection (like, outright copy you, the b*stards).
If your Administrator is lazy, unorganised or just plain corrupt, teams will be loaded into the league all willy-nilly, and everyone will see who everyone else has picked. However, an organised Admin will load all the teams at once, as late as possible to the deadline. Problem solved…for now.
Rule 2: Gloating is mandatory
We’ve all seen it. That ‘friend’ who picks an ‘out-of-left-field’ player at the start of the season who plays like Messi, scores points quicker than Phil Taylor, and gets your friend into the Top 50 in the world rankings.
A friend of mine once picked 64-year old Teddy Sheringham up front when he played for Portsmouth. Oh, how I laughed at him…until Teddy got 5 goals in the first 3 games. Thankfully my friend didn’t have Teddy as Captain, or I would have had to tip-off the ‘match-fixing’ branch of Scotland Yard, understandably.
But the gloating. Oh sweet lord, the gloating. It never stopped. All season, long after Teddy had reverted to a geriatric has-been, I was reminded daily of my friends ‘brilliance’, his ‘foresight’, and his ‘ability’. The spoofer. I knew (and he knew I knew) that he had a few million left after picking his squad, and picked Teddy just to make up the numbers. He got lucky. But the gloating is what it’s all about. Respectful commentary? No thanks. A good winner? Stuff it. A gloating winner is essential. Why? Because one day it will be YOU. And it will feel goooooood…..
Rule 3: Follow The Leader? Or The Chasing Pack?
Transfers. The ultimate gamble. They can turn mere mortals into Gods. It can turn Gods into a laughing-stock. I’m not talking about the ‘Wildcard’ here. I’m talking about those weekly single or double transfers that keep your team finely honed (or reflect your sheer desperation). But there needs to be a rule that all your friends need to stick to…
The leader in the Fantasy Football league cannot ‘copy’ the transfers of those below them for 3 weeks. Without this rule, you will have a repeat of the ‘Mirror Defense’ I referred to earlier. The leader won’t care about bettering their team, they’ll only care about protecting their lead. If they copy the new players their rivals draft in, then they won’t get caught. The old maxim of ‘Anything you can do I can do better’ becomes ‘Anything you can do I will do too’. And it’s INFURIATING.
Without this rule, friendships will end. The ‘banter’ will stop. Players will disappear every Saturday morning, load up their laptops, prepare their transfers and purchase atomic clocks to ensure that they can make their weekly transfer with mere seconds to spare to the deadline – all to prevent their ‘mate’ from copying them. Of course, that will only work for 1 week, so the odds of catching your mate are slim, unless your transfer is Captain and scores five.
This rule needs to be a ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ clearly. Or knowing my mates, more of a ‘Charlatan’s Caveat’. But it’s worth sticking with as it rewards ingenuity, luck and/or insider trading.
So there you have it. If you think any other rules are worth knowing, let me know. Good luck with the new season, and remember – if it’s your year, don’t forget to LORD IT over all your mates.