So with the official FIFA Fantasy Football Game released on Thursday 7th June, I tasked our FY resident Oxford University Brainbox @JamesMartin013 to read through the rules of the game and try to make sense of it all.
Exactly the right man for the job and nothing to do with me wanting to sit out in the garden, enjoying the sunshine whilst guzzling cheap fruit cider by the bucketful…
Anyways – We have a free mini-league which you join HERE or use Code: CTQVGSBE if asked.
If we’ve missed anything in this How To Play article – feel free to reach out and let me know!
McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy Football: How To Play
Written by @JamesMartin013
After a long and painful wait of more than three weeks since the end of FPL, fantasy football is back with FIFA’s official World Cup game. There are plenty of similarities – right down to the starting budget, which is the same except for valuation in euros rather than pounds – but there are some minor differences that could catch out the unprepared manager. Here is a quick look at what you need to know.
The starting point will be familiar to anybody who has played the Premier League game. Fifteen players must be selected, with a maximum of three players from any one team; each player has been assigned a value, and there is an initial 100 million euros to spend.
Out of these fifteen, eleven must be selected for each round in a recognised formation. A captain can be selected to score double points for the round.
So far, so familiar. However, the workings of the bench are where things start to get complicated. Unlike in FPL, there is the possibility for manual substitutions within a round – if a player has underperformed, he can be replaced with a bench option who is yet to play in that round. So, for example, if Mo Salah was restricted to thirty minutes for Egypt against Uruguay (GROUP A) and failed to score, a manager could replace him with Bryan Ruiz in anticipation of a points haul for the Costa Rican against Serbia (Group E).
It will be noted that this example involves swapping a forward for a midfielder: this is allowable, provided the formation stays within the valid options. The same thing applies to the captaincy, which can be shifted from player to player throughout the round if the initial selection does not do as well as hoped.
With this in mind, it makes sense to ‘front-load’ the starting eleven with players who will feature early on in a round, in the knowledge that they can be removed later on if necessary.
- Padded out the squad with a Saudi Arabian defender? Stick him in.
- Worried about Salah’s game time? Captain him anyway.
Even if it seems highly unlikely that players in the earlier games will score particularly well, it is nonetheless worth starting them, in the knowledge that they can be swapped out for a more promising option if they do indeed fail to produce.
The only drawback of this is that it requires managers to be very much on the ball – it is all too easy to stuff the team full of Russians only to forget to take them out. If this sounds like you, then take note: there is a system of automatic substitutions, but it only comes into effect if you have made no manual captain switches or substitutions within the round.
In other words, if you do not have time to continually check back in with your team during the tournament, it’s probably best not to do any mid-round tinkering at all; the safety-net of auto-substitutions for players who did not feature is likely to be more useful, but will not come into effect if you have made any manual changes.
That’s the really hard part out of the way. Other differences include tweaks to the rules once the group stage ends. The budget, for example, increases by 5 million euros for the knockout stages to account for the fact that many budget options will have been eliminated. Transfer rules also change: there is an amnesty when the group stages end, during which unlimited transfers can be made without incurring a points hit.
Player prices are also adjusted at this point to reflect their performances. Aside from this window, the transfer procedures are fairly similar to those of FPL – there is one free transfer per round in the group stage, any transfers beyond this limit cost four points, and there is one “Wildcard” that can be deployed at any time in order to make unlimited free transfers before the next round.
Notably, free transfers increase to three per round prior to the quarter-finals and semi-finals, and then five before the final round (which includes the third-place playoff). It is also important to flag up that free transfers cannot be saved: if a manager opts not to make a free transfer before a round, he simply forfeits that transfer.
There are also two chips to talk about. The concept is borrowed directly from FPL, but only one chip works in exactly the same fashion: this is the “Bench Boost“. This must be played before the start of a round, and serves to count the points from all fifteen players in the squad rather than just the eleven starters. The other chip, which also has to be deployed prior to the start of a round, is slightly more interesting.
It is called ‘Maximum Captain’, and works by assigning the captaincy to whichever player ends up scoring the most points in the round. This would be a tantalising prospect in FPL; in the World Cup game it is of slightly less significance, in that the aforementioned scope to change the captain midway through a round already increases the chances of making a good captaincy, but it is nonetheless a powerful chip. Each chip can only be used once during the tournament; the rules somewhat unhelpfully fail to state whether they can be used in conjunction, either with each other or with a wildcard, but if it works in the same way as FPL then this will not be possible.
It only remains to sketch out the scoring system itself. It may seem odd to relegate this to the bottom of the article, but the rules here are almost identical to those of FPL – anybody who has played that game will be highly familiar with the vast majority of the system. In short, points are awarded for appearance, scoring, assisting and making saves; they are deducted for conceding, scoring own goals and getting carded. There are only a couple of slight differences.
There is an additional mechanism whereby players earn two points for winning a penalty, regardless of the outcome of the spot kick, and lose a point for giving away a penalty. Handballs are excluded from this calculus. There is also no bonus points system. (Ed: Happy F****** Days) If a knockout game goes to extra time, points scored in this period do count. Penalty shootouts, however, are excluded.
Hopefully this has been useful in establishing what you need to know about FIFA’s official World Cup fantasy football game. Best of luck!
Written by @JamesMartin013 – Drop him a follow on Twitter…
In addition to this “How to Play” guide we’ve produced previews for all 8 World Cup Groups with the @BangAveragePod.
The previews are all free to view and include key players, potential starting lineups and potentially useless information about a variety of nations that you probably don’t need to know
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— #WorldCupFantasy YIRMA (@FantasyYIRMA) June 14, 2018
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