Now that I’m covering multiple platforms, I’m keeping an eye out for high quality products in this space that readers might enjoy. Last time I looked at Sorare, today it is the turn of Fanteam! 

In my recent site survey, there were plenty of regular readers who wanted to play some form of football game. But they did not want to use anything that requires a long term bet or investment for obvious and understandable reasons.

Many of us may be fed up of worrying about a platforms business model. Is it too much to ask just to have a fun game with a fair shot at winning some cash? 

If that sounds appealling, Fanteam might have something to offer. I’ll share my thoughts on the game having used it for a few weeks now. I’m specifically looking at their weekly showpiece – the Football “Monster” tournament.

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 that makes any difference at all to what I’ll say about the platform in my review.

Quick Read Summary

What I like

  • Simplicity – instantly familiar to anyone who has played Fantasy Premier League.

  • No need to lock up large sums of cash for long periods of time or endlessly speculate about the viability of their business model, it’s very transparent.

  • The weekly format has some nice tweaks like automatic substitutions and (mostly) set start times that mean you can compete without spending hours pouring over team news and fixture spreadsheets.
  • Fanteam price players intelligently in the weekly game, meaning we can’t just pick all the favourites and have to find good value, using evidence or gut feel to bet against a few big names. This creates variety in team selections and breaks up boring “templates”.

  • The risk/reward balance feels right. I feel like I have a good chance of winning over time with some effort and skill. It’s not a too good to be true “everyone is a winner” league but equally it’s not so hard to win that you feel like things are loaded against you.

What I like less

  • For some, it’s greatest strength – simplicity – might be it’s biggest drawback. If we want a direct replacement for managing the long term complexities of a players career and navigating a market full of other traders? This isn’t it. But then it never claimed to be – it’s a different game and that’s just fine.

  • Multi-teaming. People can enter multiple teams which turns it into a game of throwing as many darts as possible at the board rather than placing your one dart perfectly. It’s fundamentally against what I think should be the spirit of the game which is that you have to pick your best team – not just cover as many outcomes as possible.

In-Depth Review

What is it?

Fanteam, at least for us, is probably best summed up as Fantasy Premier League with money.

It’s actually much wider than that because they also have games for NFL, Cricket, NBA and even e-sports which will undoubtedly be a massive thing in future. 

But I’m going to be focusing on the football here and particularly their weekly one shot “Monster” tournament. There is a seasonal version available which plays out very similar to FPL, and also an upcoming Euro 2020 tournament which I’ll definitely be playing.

What I like most about the weekly tournament is that unlike other products, Fanteam seem to have no problem knowing what their game is and who it is for. It’s designed to be a competitive but low stress experience.

They’ve made sure that you can play and compete whilst spending minimal time getting up to speed – anyone who has played FPL will be instantly at home. And it doesn’t require us to stress too much about keeping on top of team news. Which is really refreshing.

After all, many a nerd gets their real advantage in Fantasy Football not always from picking better players than the casual fan but from religious monitoring of team news and crawling over fixture spreadsheets. But that won’t help us much on the weekly Fanteam.

For example, if you can’t be bothered to check team news approximately 38 times before each gameweek deadline – you don’t really have to. 

If your player doesn’t start the match, the game will substitute in a similar player from the same team – so when in my team last week Havertz was benched I just got Pulisic instead. He didn’t do anything, but at least my gameweek was not over before it even began! I had the chance to fail spectacularly on my own as you shall see below!

This also means you don’t have to spend time picking 4 substitutes who are unlikely to play anyway. 

And in general too you’ll find a weekly deadline on Saturday even if that means the Friday night kick off isn’t included. Anyone who has been caught out by the Friday night deadline in EPL will get why.

I don’t particularly want to be picking out a Fantasy team on a Friday night, tired after work and probably wanting to relax and have a drink. But Saturday morning? That’s a perfect window to get a sausage sandwich and a cup of tea and enjoy picking out my team.

All these little things add up to making it a hassle free experience that I enjoyed playing.  

I also like the fact it caters to a variety of budgets, with low, mid and high stakes options at £1.80, £18 and £180. 

If you just want to try it out or have a bit of fun without risking too much, £1.80 is extremely reasonable and whilst it won’t happen every week, you’ve got a shot at very substantial prizes if you can make it to the top. For many, that might be enough to give ourselves a reason to cheer on other teams.

Most of the action, by the way, is centered around the EPL although there are tournaments around the Champions League and the other big European Leagues where we can make use of some of our more obscure football knowledge!

My Team from Last Week

Let’s have a quick look at my team from last week to show what playing the game is really like. And because it performed abysmally which is kinda funny.

I was pretty happy with my call to dodge the favourites Liverpool as they were expensive and they struggled, only Salah coming through. Poor reward for such a big spend. And that’s a huge factor on Fanteam – it isn’t as simple as just backing favourites we have to find value.

Instead I backed Leicester heavily as my premium assets, which averted total disaster. The decision of the week I regret is captaining Vardy rather than Iheanacho. Whilst Vardy did go close and it could have been different, Iheanacho was clearly the form player and I think this was lazy thinking on my part. I barely even thought about it. I picked Vardy as captain on reputation rather than form as some kind of comfort blanket. And I deserve a slap for that.

Castagne was there for his threat and he scored. Nice. I was hoping for the clean sheet too but fine.

I was right to think Chelsea might beat West Ham and they were decent value given West Ham’s good form. But West Ham looked vulnerable at the back, so I went for this. But unfortunately whilst both Mount and Pulisic went close they got no cigar. 

The goal went to Werner instead who was tough to back being so out of form. Unlucky but this is how it goes in a weekly game.

I also backed Everton to do well versus Arsenal, and James was at too kind a price to pass up. He had one reasonable effort but returned little in the end. 

Almiron was my shot to nothing budget pick. Meslier I had for save points and felt fortunate to get a clean sheet out of that. 

Brighton and Wolves were heavy favourites in their match ups and these upsets really scuppered my weekend. Since I had dodged Liverpool, I could afford to back them. You would have to be actually high to expect a Chris Wood hatrick and assist against Wolves who have been solid defensively. But it happened anyway. 

And Welbeck should have been loving life versus Sheffield United in theory. And he had a great chance that he didn’t quite reach with a diving header.

Football would be boring if it always stuck to the script! And anything can happen in these weekly games which is what makes it exciting. It’s a bit like poker though, keep playing good hands and eventually you should get rewarded over weeks and months.

Actually, even though I felt this game week went really badly, this is actually just 10 points  away from being a winning team. That’s a Vardy goal (and he had his chances) plus 2-3 more points from elsewhere. So even in what felt like a grim week, it wasn’t too far away. 

I felt like I had a fair chance of doing pretty well in this game. There is something that feels right about the difficulty level – if you play it well I think you can be rewarded. But it’s not so easy that everyone can be a winner. As it should be.

What about safety and security?

Those of us who have spent countless hours and thousands of words debating the financial viability of one product or another can probably breath a sigh of relief here.

It’s a really simple model. They aren’t promising anything beyond a few weeks ahead. You deposit just enough to play, which for most will be £1.80 or £18 for the weekly tournament. You enter the tournament at your price point, which has a guaranteed minimum prize pool for that week. It could be more, but it won’t be less.

The weekly Monster might have around 5k players in the £18 League. And something like the top 25% winning a prize (at least what they put in and always a bit more). It’s not exactly easy to get in there but it is achievable with good consistent selections.

Once you get into the top 100 finishers or so the prizes start to look very substantial, £76 to £4,500 for the top player from an £18 stake last week for example. Again not easy and with Fantasy you always need a bit of luck as well as skill, but it does not feel outrageously difficult. 

And if anything goes wrong with the platform? Well, it’s a much less risky business to run than more complicated products for a start, so Fanteam should in theory have a much easier time staying on the straight and narrow. 

But there is no need to trust that theory too much, the important thing is that if anything does go wrong, there is no reason to be holding large sums of cash in our balance anyway.

Of course it is still a betting product and we should use it responsibly or not at all. I could see it being very possible to lose a good deal of money if you were bad at it. 

It may have casual user friendly tweaks to make it easier for people who aren’t religiously checking team news etc, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to make consistently good choices if you hope to profit!

 

What's wrong with it?

For some, I think it’s biggest strength – simplicity – might also be it’s biggest weakness. It doesn’t have the complexity of other games, so for those of us who enjoy thinking about players over their entire career, multiple matches, and finding an advantage from trading direct with other players… Fanteam is not going to scratch that itch.

But I wouldn’t say that is a bad thing – and I don’t think Fanteam should change and try and “fix” that. It’s never claimed to be that game and I think they are doing just fine by sticking to what they are doing and not getting side tracked by trying to be all things to all people.

It’s not a direct replacement for FI, it’s a far simpler game. But that’s fine, I think Fanteam have done a good job of picking a target audience and then sticking to it, a lesson I wish other products had learned a long time ago. 

Weak management teams often just keep pandering to whoever is shouting the loudest on social media – and it results in a disjointed game that feels like it has no identity. I don’t see that problem with this product which is great.

I have one irritation – people being allowed to enter multiple teams. 

Some people might like this. And I totally understand why Fanteam allow it, they aren’t going to be turning away money every week. But I’m a stickler for fair play and competitiveness and this is not for me.

I think this should be about nailing your colours to the mast and saying “this is the best team I can think of this week”. And winning and losing because I’m right or wrong, with a bit of luck either way most weeks. 

However if I start picking 2-4 teams (and some people put in dozens!) then I’m now not really skilfully picking my best. I don’t really need to work out what the most likely outcome might be anymore – I’m starting to play a game of chance more than skill, hoping to cover enough outcomes to get at least one team up there no matter what happens.

And this is fundamentally against the spirit of the game in my view. 

It’s also a bit grim when it comes to the social aspect. I’ve seen quite a few boastful screenshots of “winning” teams that are the result of making objectively awful decisions and getting lucky. 

It’s all very well posting the self congratulatory screenshot of a team topping the leaderboard because they captained a very unlikely gamble that paid off – but what happened to your other 5 teams buddy?! Nothing good, probably.

There is something ever so slightly off about someone winning because they threw 50 darts at the board to someone else’s 1. A bit like that guy in your FPL mini-league who has his “son” in the League when you all know damn well it’s his second team!

This is something I would like Fanteam to change but given what a money spinner it is likely to be I do not live in hope. If I was running Fanteam – I’d rather try to get 10k individual players than 3k individual players with 3/4 teams each! And I don’t think I will be alone in finding this a little off putting. 

So I could probably make a case for why changing this might help Fanteam grow in future.

Final Thought

Overall I’d say this is a spot on implementation of the Fantasy Football with money concept.

I think particularly for those jaded by all the headaches that more complicated platforms can bring, Fanteam could be a great way to scratch that itch for a greater connection to games without having to lock up huge sums of money. 

And it has good value price points where you can play for just £1.80 too.

I’ll still use more complicated products but I also expect to keep playing Fanteam’s weekly too.

And I’ll also be playing the Fanteam Euro 2020 tournament which is coming up as well where I am looking forward to deploying my obscure knowledge of Turkish football to devastating effect.

Thanks for reading and if you do plan on using Fanteam, I’d appreciate it if you did so via the link below which gets me a small commission and comes at no cost to yourself.

Best,

Adam.

 

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