Everything you wanted to know about Fantasy Premier League, but were afraid to ask

It’s that time of year again when Premier League fans start obsessing over their Premier League fantasy football team.

Fans will be scouring the comings and goings at each of the 20 clubs in search of that new signing who will be the ‘differential’. This player from promoted clubs who plays every game but only costs 4.0.

Fantasy Premier League (FPL) has grown exponentially since its inception. For the 2007/08 season, there were less than 2 million players. By the end of the 2021/22 season, that figure had risen to over 9 million.

IT’S BACK: The Premier League kicks off this weekend with Manchester City looking to retain their title. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

What makes the FPL so popular?

The fact that it’s free to play is a huge factor. All you need to play is an email address. The prizes offered are also tasty. This season’s winner will get a 7 night break in the UK including VIP hospitality at two 2023/24 Premier League matches. A week of experiences at popular tourist attractions courtesy of Visit Britain. Includes travel and 7 nights accommodation.

They will also receive a Hublot connected watch, a copy of FIFA 23, a sim-free laptop or smartphone, noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones (in-ear or over-ear), a Nike manager jacket and an FPL goody bag consisting of a bag backpack, t-shirt, mug, water bottle, stress ball, pen, notepad and key ring.

It is not only the winner who will receive a prize. The finalist and those who finish in 3rd to 5th place also receive prizes. There are also regular monthly and weekly winners.

So how do you play?

Well, once you sign up, you will be asked to select your team. It is made up of two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards.

Just like in real life, you will choose your first 11 in whatever formation you choose. The best advice is to fill your bench with four cheap but consistent performers. A player who will not cost you much but who is always chosen for his team.

You will be given a budget of 100 to play with and each actual player will be given a value proportional to their anticipated value. Perennial FPL favorite Mo Salah is the most expensive player in the game this season at 13.0.

And before you think you’re just going to fill your squad with players from Manchester City and Liverpool, there’s a maximum of three players allowed per club.

It sounds simple enough, but how do your players score points?

Well, goalkeepers earn points for keeping the sheets clean, as well as making saves and penalties.

Defenders also earn points by keeping clean sheets and can score big by scoring goals. Any FPL enthusiast will remember John Lundstram as a gold mine in this regard a few seasons ago.

Midfielders earn points by scoring, keeping clean sheets and creating assists. While attackers get fewer points for scoring goals, they tend to get a lot. They also score points for helping, but not for clean sheets.

Any player who misses a penalty, receives a yellow or red card or scores an own goal will be awarded points.

And each week, you select a captain and a vice-captain. Your captain scores double points – so choose wisely.

I’m a newbie, help me out with some great deals

Okay, we’ll give you a tip for each position, but then you’ll be on your own.

SAFE HANDS: Gavin Bazunu in action for Southampton in a pre-season friendly.  The Irish goalkeeper is likely to be Southampton's number one and costs just 4.5.  Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
SAFE HANDS: Gavin Bazunu in action for Southampton in a pre-season friendly. The Irish goalkeeper is likely to be Southampton’s number one and costs just 4.5. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Goalkeeper: Irishman Gavin Bazunu recently left Manchester City for Southampton. He is in direct competition with Alex McCarthy for the number 1 jersey. The smart money is on Bazunu and he is very cheap for a potential starter at 4.5.

GOAL THREAT: Arsenal's Oleksandr Zinchenko shoots during a pre-season friendly.  Goal-scoring defenders are valuable assets in the FPL.  Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
GOAL THREAT: Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko shoots during a pre-season friendly. Goal-scoring defenders are valuable assets in the FPL. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Defender: Defenders who play in midfield are gold dust in FPL. Like Lundstram above. Arsenal signed Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City this summer. He played as a left-back for City last season but plies his midfield trade for Ukraine. It can be acquired for 5.0. The suggestions are that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta sees him as a midfielder. FPL has set him as a defender for the season so he can be good value.

GOOD FORM: Liverpool's Luis Diaz (left) attempts a shot on goal during the FA Community Shield match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.  Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire.
GOOD FORM: Liverpool’s Luis Diaz (left) attempts a shot on goal during the FA Community Shield match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Midfielder: You have obvious candidates like Salah and Son, but they won’t come cheap. A better value player might be Liverpool’s Luis DΓ­az at 8.0. The Colombian made a brilliant start to his career at Liverpool after joining in January. He carries a goal threat and looked fit in the Community Shield win over Manchester City.

NEW ARRIVAL: Gianluca Scamacca in action for Italy against Germany in the Nations League.  It could be a bargain at just 7.0.  Photo: Claudio Villa/Getty Images
NEW ARRIVAL: Gianluca Scamacca in action for Italy against Germany in the Nations League. It could be a bargain at just 7.0. Photo: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Striker: West Ham United have spent €35m on bringing in Italian striker Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo. The Italy international scored 16 goals in 35 Serie A games last season. At only 7.0 in FPL, it could turn out to be a bargain.

But with over 9 million players, the chances of me winning anything are painfully slim.

Well, that’s where the Irish Examiner can help. You can join our mini-league. We will be giving away monthly prizes for that month’s top scorer.

And we will have an overall prize for the player with the most points in the Examiner Sport mini league at the end of the season.

The code to attach is w3l8h4. Start studying and good luck!

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