I love football games not just because they can be a good way to make money but also because of the connection it gives us to the game.
I can follow my own team rain or shine. And I have endured more rain than shine! I will come out as a Leeds United fan here (not sure I have ever revealed that for fear of vicious retribution from Manchester United fans but what the hell).
But I really enjoy having a reason to care about other games and other leagues too. When Football Index disappeared many of us lost not just money, but our hobby as well.
So are there other things that can fill that space? Of course there are, and there always will be. I’m looking at what other platforms offer and one of the ones I want to take a look at is Fanteam.
I’ll be doing a full product review of it next week where I discuss the details. But in a nutshell, this is a really accessible game which will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played Fantasy football.
It offers a chance to win and have some fun without having to trust anyone to hold huge sums of cash for long periods.
And it’s far less complicated than other platforms, which can be blessing or curse depending on perspective.
I’ll unpack all that more next week.
But today I want to do a fun article where I pick my team for tonight’s tournament which has a total prize pool of £45,000 with a stake of £18. There are also low stakes and high stakes versions that let you play for just £1.80 or up to £180 if you like, with rewards adjusted to match the stakes.
There is a very reasonable chance of winning with about 3,500 players and probably the top 700 or so at least getting their stake back, which I think is pretty fair. It’s competitive but we have a fair crack at it.
For transparency, to enable this review, Fanteam kindly put enough into my account to pay for a few tournament entries and also gave me this link. If you are planning to join Fanteam anyway I’d appreciate it if you do it through that link, as I get a little commission to support me and the running of this site at no cost to you.
However, none of this makes any difference at all to what I’ll say about the platform in my review.
You can play some kind of tournament most days but the weekly showpiece is the sensationally titled weekend “Monster”.
The deadline for this weeks tournament is 8pm tonight on the 23rd April and it runs until Monday giving us 8 games to go at.
Most weeks however it starts at 4pm on Saturday even if that means missing a game or two, to give everyone time to pick teams on a Saturday morning at a relaxed pace. I actually like that and I’ll cover that more in the full review next week.
The turning point of this game week will likely be Liverpool vs Newcastle. They have players in such great form in Salah, Jota and TAA up against one of the weaker defences.
This is so obvious in fact that this is almost certain to be a big part of the “template team”. And they are priced accordingly – if you go this route in Fanteam this week that is going to take a massive chunk of your budget and weaken your team elsewhere.
So we need to decide, do we go Liverpool heavy and captain Salah? Or do we go for a more “off-beat” team and hope the premiums flop?
When we’re competing directly against others in a single game week we have to think about this. If we go for the Liverpool heavy team with Salah captain then we increase our chances of more points.
But in a scenario where Liverpool do really well, we may get plenty of points but end up with quite similar teams to the majority. And therefore struggle to breach that top 10% where we want to be for the serious prizes.
If we risk a more maverick team selection then we could well sail into the top 10% with ease if our gamble pays off. But it’s less likely to happen and we could really crash and burn, with a decent chance of being mid-table or worse.
Tricky. But what the hell, it’s Friday.
In the FPL format where you are playing over a season I am usually much more boring and “template”. But in these one off game weeks, I like to be quite decisive.
I’m going to go the maverick route this week because Liverpool are so obviously the favourites and I expect too many people to back them.
My big decision therefore is that I’ll be shunning all Liverpool players and hoping that they underwhelm the big expectations. This is possibly absolute madness because I fully expect them to do really well. But if they don’t I am hoping I will be in a good position to attack the top 200 or so places.
Instead I will place my faith primarily in Leicester who have a great fixture on paper versus Palace.
I’ll back Chelsea against West Ham. Whilst this is expected to be a close game, West Ham have been vulnerable at the back recently. And West Ham’s good overall form makes Chelsea players quite reasonably priced this week.
And Brighton’s tie versus Sheffield is too good to pass up.
I’ll be “stacking” players primarily from these 3 favourable fixtures, as this is a good way to go for a really big score when trying to get towards the top of the table. Or implode and finish near the bottom. One of the two.
If we spread out more evenly across teams, we might have a better chance of finishing in the middle of the pack but that’s no good to us.
This is what I call Death or Glory Strategy. And I think it suits a weekly one shot game.
Here is what I came up with. All subject to monitoring team news over the day we don’t have it all yet.
I’ve gone big on Leicester and I won’t win if they don’t have a good week. We’ve doubled up on Vardy and Iheanacho with Vardy Captained. Both in great form, with a very kind fixture against Palace who I am hoping are half on the beach mentally with little left to play for.
Vardy has actually been blanking a lot in recent games but found form last game and even throughout that little dry spell he was getting good chances.
We’ve also got Castagne who has a solid chance of a clean sheet against Palace, currently the bottom ranked EPL team for chances created in the last 4 weeks. But he is there also because he has strong threat and assist potential for a defender which I always favour.
From Chelsea we have Mount and Havertz who I’m including in hope of Chelsea doing better than expected, at least in attack, versus West Ham who have been shipping goals and also could be without key men like Rice.
Chelsea are fairly kindly priced on Fanteam this week because West Ham are in good form generally. The way Fanteam price players means we’ll generally have to back some kind of upset like this, we can’t just pick all the favourites. That’s good for the game.
I’m also big on Brighton because they are defensively solid and play Sheffield who have been so poor and have little to play for. In goes Dunk, who has good goal threat for a CB. Welbeck has looked dangerous in the last 4 too and has good goal and assist potential.
Then we have Rodriguez from Everton as he is very kindly priced because of the tough fixture versus Arsenal. Arsenal have been giving away lots of chances recently. And Rodriguez has very consistent threat and assist potential in recent games.
The absolutely outrageous pick is Almiron from Newcastle. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, he’s dirt cheap and I could not afford better. Secondly, one of the small differences between Fanteam and FPL is that a cheap midfielder can actually hoover up a respectable 3-5 points without a goal or assist. Deeper midfielders are slightly more viable than we might be used to in other games.
And, Almiron may have blanked in 7 but he actually has regular chances. And this doubles down on my anti-favourite Liverpool strategy. If by some minor miracle Liverpool don’t win or concede, Almiron might have something to do with it. And that could mean a big swing in my favour as Liverpool points are taken off the board. I said Death or Glory.
We finish up with Saiss, who has a decent clean sheet chance and also offers threat from defence. And Meslier in goal for Leeds whose main benefit is he is very cheap. And, comes out very well for saves points so whilst I fully expect him to concede to Manchester United (which is fine because Leeds will clearly outscore them 🙂 ) he might get me a few points anyway.
So that’s me locked in for death or glory. All subject to final team news which we don’t have yet. Havertz has a question mark over his start so I may make changes if that is in doubt.
Next week I’ll do a detailed review of Fanteam as a game and also discuss how we got on with the above team for a bit of fun.
If there is interest in Fanteam from readers I may be able to arrange some kind of fun tournament for us possibly for the Euros (Fanteam has that ability to make our own contest) and I might be able to talk Fanteam into providing one or two additional prizes for us if I am lucky!
Let me know if you would like to play in that via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via Twitter DM. And if you are planning to give Fanteam ago, I’d appreciate you using the below link which as I say gets me a little commission and does not cost you anything at all.