Fantasy Premier League Manager Axes Self

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It’s a headline many of us likely wish we could write – taking the red pen to a squad sheet of Premier League players every Friday evening has many more valley than peaks. For fantasy premier league managers, the agony of defeat can be every bit as real as the sting of watching your club give up a late equalizer. But with the recent proliferation of EPL fantasy, there are millions willing to risk defeat in the pursuit of glory. This risky method is leaving people keeping a close eye on fantasy soccer news, articles and more – fanduel.

On Monday night the Saints traveled to Villa Park to take on a side which had scored a paltry five goals in the opening 11 weeks of the 2014/15 Premier League season. With Christian Benteke still absent through suspension and Andreas Weimann (3) and Gabby Agbonlahor (2) combining to score all five of the Villans’ goals this term, Paul Lambert’s side does not boast much firepower. And, armed with that knowledge, more than 50% of FPL sides deployed at least one member of the Saints much vaunted rearguard in their own XI expecting a clean sheet.

When Agbonlahor latched onto a poorly defended longball early in the first half, beating Fraser Forster to the ball and slotting into an empty net, it sucked the life out of many neutrals and sent the rest scrabling for a caluator and a quick glace at their squad sheet.

Perhaps as many as 1.5 million people had banked their fantasy fate on Ronald Koeman’s side keeping a clean sheet, earning precious fantasy points in the process. Gone are the days when neutrals hoped for an early goal to breathe some life into a match, as goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders in their own starting XI take the hit for goals allowed and the lost clean sheet.

It is, of course, not just the neutrals that feel the sting. Few experiences are as agonizing as rooting for Segio Agüero to stick one past Simon Mignolet while wearing an LFC scarf. And fantasy soccer managers the globe over now watch every match, ticker and twitter update with rapt attention to determine the immediate impact on their fantasy side. Accounts like @WhoScored (448,000 followers), @FourFourTwo (347,000), @Squawka (366,000) spit out statistics, graphics, chalkboards and more granular, behind the numbers, information. The various Opta accounts – headlined by @OptaJoe (598k) – provide statistics, trivia and streaks. And countless dozens of websites, twitter touts and podcasts tear into the game to find an edge.

The newest evolution of the game is draft EPL fantasy. In traditional salary-cap leagues, each manager buys a team based on pre-set values and each player in the Premier League can be (and frequently is) owned by millions of users, each competing against each other. What sets the draft format apart is the ability to create 100% unique rosters of seventeen Premier League players. A live draft engine allows leagues of up to 12 users to conduct online drafts from anywhere on the globe. Users select from more than 450 real-life players, set tactics and engage in the transfer market. Some formats, like Togga, have evolved to include more statistics in the scoring. Now real-life players score fantasy points in 20 different statistical categories, better reflecting the action on the pitch. Just as a players on-field value is measured in all phases of the game, scoring can occur anywhere on the pitch with crunching tackles, explosive runs and pinpoint crosses all earning fantasy points. In Togga’s format – which is powered by data licensed from Opta – users are not tied to goals, with scoring that values the contributions made by players in every position.

With more and more people across the globe joining fantasy leagues daily, the line between supporting your club and supporting your club is getting blurred and supporters in every country are enjoying the most interactive way to watch football outside the terrace.