For me, betting on Premier League football games has always been rather tempting, simply because I like the idea of showcasing the knowledge that I have accrued on the sport that I love so dearly.
However, gambling with real money always comes with significant risks, the most serious of which is addiction, which can lead to a host of long-term health complications.
Subsequently, it is my belief that if you want to show your mates that you have a better idea of who is going to win the 3pm kick-offs than them – whilst also protecting your hard-earned cash – then creating a fantasy football league is the perfect way to do it.
Not only is there the joy of coming up with your team name – from ‘AC A Little Silhouetto of Milan’ to ‘Giroud Awakening’, there are some crackers out there – but the game itself is pretty darn good too.
The concept is simple. If you use the Official Fantasy Premier League app – which I do and would highly recommend – then you begin with a budget of £100 million. You use this to sign your starting XI and 4 subs (who will play if one or more of your first-teamers fail to feature for their respective teams in that Premier League gameweek).
With points awarded for goals, assists and clean sheets, among other stats, players in the team of the week will also receive bonus points.
You may want to use your transfers to rid your team of unwanted, injured or suspended players, but do be careful, as additional transfers beyond those permitted mean that you will forfeit valuable points.
Using some of your chips in these scenarios that are bound to pop up over the course of the season is always advisable, with the Free Hit chip enabling you to make temporary changes to your squad for a one-off gameweek and the Wildcard chip (which you get one of in each half of a campaign) facilitating a permanent overhaul.
The other chips you may want to save for when members of your squad are facing opposite numbers that you have identified that they can exploit. The Bench Boost chip will see your subs’ scores count for that gameweek in addition to those of your starting XI and your Triple Captain chip predictably can be used to treble your captain’s score. Both of these can lead to a huge weekly change in fortunes if used wisely.
Your weekly scores accumulate in a leaderboard such that, at the end of the season, your José Mourinhos are separated from your John Carvers.
Are you someone who will just deludedly claim to be the “best coach” out there, or can you really prove that you are a Special One?