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Fantasy Premier League: What is FPL and how does it work?

Fantasy Premier League: What is FPL and how does it work?

Fantasy Premier League: What is FPL and how does it work? Pervis Estupinan of Brighton & Hove Albion controls the ball during the Premier League Summer Series match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United at Red Bull Arena on July 28, 2023 in Harrison, New Jersey.

(Image credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images for Premier League)

FPL is back – and you’ve been invited to participate in a Fantasy Football league but you have absolutely no idea what it is or how it works. You don’t want to ask your mates because you’ve already said yes and now you’re desperately trying to find out what it is you’ve subjected yourself to…

Luckily for you, FFT is here to help. We might not be Magnus Carlsen (you’ll laugh at that joke someday) but we do know how to play the game. So grab yourself a cup of tea and let’s get cracking – you’ll be arguing over when to best use your wildcard in no time and working out how to get ahead in your league early on.

N.B. this explanation is based on the official Fantasy Premier League website version of the game. Other websites exist and may have slightly different rules, so be sure to check which version you are playing and adapt these lessons accordingly. 

FPL: What is Fantasy Premier League?

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, smiling

(Image credit: Getty)

Fantasy Premier League is an online game in which players collect points based on how real-life footballers perform each week. Simply put: you choose a virtual team of Premier League footballers, and if their real-life counterparts do well, you get points

For example, if you have Raheem Sterling in your FPL team and the real Sterling scores a goal for Manchester City, you will be rewarded. If you have Jordan Pickford as your goalkeeper and the real-life Pickford keeps a clean sheet (doesn’t concede any goals), you get points. 

As you may have noticed from the above example, you need to fill your team with all the positions a real team would have – you’re not allowed to simply buy 11 strikers who score goals every weekend. You need goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders too, plus one substitute for each position. 

How do the points work?

Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Each position on the pitch comes with its own points system. The goalkeepers and defenders are most commonly rewarded for things such as saving a penalty (5 points) or keeping a clean sheet (4 points); midfielders for setting up a goal (3); and strikers for scoring (4). However, players in different positions can be rewarded for different things and you need to check how much each real-life action is worth. 

For instance, a defender can also score in real life. It is rarer, though, and this is reflected in the points (6, instead of 4) a defender will earn if his real-life counterpart scores. A midfielder, meanwhile, also plays a part in defending, and will earn points for that too. They aren’t quite as important as the defenders in that regard, however, and only get one point if their team keeps their opponents at bay.

It’s also worth noting that players can lose points for negative actions in real-life, such as getting sent off (-3 points) or missing a penalty (-2). 

Your captain each week will get double points. So if your captain is your striker and he scores, he will get eight points for the goal instead of the usual four. You vice-captain will take over should your captain not play for some reason.

Buying and selling players

Tottenham striker Harry Kane

(Image credit: Getty)

At the start of the game, you are given £100m to spend on your team. This has to cover the cost of all 15 players (including subs), so spend it wisely! You can’t simply buy the best players as that will be too expensive. You need to balance your team with hotshots and cheaper buys. If this is too daunting to begin with, you can also ask the game to “auto-fill” you a team to get you up and running. Even some top players do this, to give them some ideas to begin with. So use it if you feel you need to. 

Each week, you are allowed to make a transfer by selling a member of your squad and buying a new one. Each player has a value, based on how many points they tend to score (Harry Kane and Mo Sarah are very expensive, for example, while the third-choice Bournemouth goalkeeper will be very cheap). But remember that you will need to replace a striker with another striker, or a defender with another defender. If you make a transfer and have money left over, don’t worry. This will be kept in your bank balance for the next time you make a change. 

A reason to make a transfer might be that one of your players gets injured; is sold to a foreign team or isn’t getting selected to play very often. You don’t have to make any trabsfers if you don’t want to, though. 

You can make more than one transfer each week if you like to bring in better players, but it will cost you points (four per change) if you make more than one. So be careful. 

Bonus chips

There are four bonus chips which you can use once each throughout the season. These are as follows:

Wildcard: The Wildcard lets you permanently change your entire team without incurring any points deductions. It is best saved for when you are at least a few weeks into the season, and have better idea about who is performing well and who isn’t. 

Free Hit: A Free Hit is exactly the same as the Wildcard, except your changes will only last one game week. Your team will go back to how it was before once that game week ends. 

Triple Captain: Does exactly what is says on the tin – Triple-captaining a player will get TRIPLE points that week, instead of double. 

Bench Boost: Use your Bench Boost and all players on your bench (who don’t normally score points unless a member of your starting XI misses the match) all score points as well for one game week. 

You can play Fantasy Premier League online on the Premier League website, or on the Premier League app, which is available on iOS and Android.

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Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany’s national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.

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