As the void of preseason stretches out before us1, our minds inevitably turn away from the horror of our current football-less existences and towards the future. And as teams frantically2 barter their best and worst assets, the familiar comfort of building completely unrealistic fantasy teams sweeps through football fandom.
I’ve managed to create one fantasy football team in my life, which I remembered to check in on for two whole weeks, so naturally I feel equipped to advise my fellow void-gazers on how to select the best players for maximum points through the season.
1 Some preseasons. The NWSL is going on right now and they air their games on YouTube, giving you very few reasons to be staring into the abyss instead of at your computer screens.
2 I’m refraining from making a Wenger joke here.
Select your team name
You can go ahead and call your team whatever you like, but there are a few classics in fantasy football. Why not support your local team and go with the Hounslow Harriers? Or if you’re feeling particularly heavy-handed, Team Evil and Team Shaolin are both perfectly decent names. You could always go with Deportivo Amaranto if you’re building a powerhouse, or go for the classics and settle on Walford Town. The point is, it’s up to you, and there’s a whole Wikipedia page to help you out with your selection!
You’ve got 15,212,981.74 galleons to spend on all your players!3
Remember! You can’t just pick the names you recognize. Sometimes, they come with a really expensive price tag and you end up without a single defender4.
3 This is usually the equivalent of 75 million pounds, but at the current exchange rate, you probably have the equivalent of 100 million pounds
4 The magazine that I’m referring to for guidance on how to create a fantasy football team just informed me that if you have good defenders and a solid goalkeeper, that’s a good thing. We’re all learning something today.
You should definitely get one of these. You can apparently earn a tonne of points during a fantasy football game for clean sheets, and this sounds like a good thing, so definitely pick a solid goalkeeper5. Your best options are probably the Librarian or Ron Weasley. I would personally err on the side of the Librarian. He’s got incredibly long arms that are perfect for stopping penalties, and very few people would be inclined to red card him for violent behavior. Ron Weasley is probably the more obvious choice, however. The bonus with selecting him is that you already have a song to sing, both when he makes a save and when he fumbles one.
5 This is a terrible position for ghosts.
Apparently, you can also earn points for your defenders if you keep clean sheets! The things you need to remember when selecting your defenders are:
- Do they defend well?
- Can they score a goal?
If they do score goals, you apparently get a lot more points, so it may be worth foregoing the whole ‘defense’ thing and just stacking your team up with strikers6. If you’re still keen on sticking with defenders, it’s probably worth also avoiding people with tempers. I would personally go with a back four of Keladry of Mindelan, Cheery Littlebottom, America Chavez, and Peggy Carter. All four are incredibly reliable, with amazing track records defending. While Keladry and Cheery are calm and controlled in their responses to whoever they are facing, America and Peggy would be incredibly fast on the wings and definitely able to get up front to score when they see an opening. You should probably be warned, though, that both America and Peggy are likely to pick up cards7.
6 The Sergio Ramos approach, if you will.
8 People may think Gandalf would make a good goalkeeper, but always remember: it’s safer to stop passing outside the penalty box rather than just in front of goal.
9 A square Groot, if you will
Midfielders only get you points if they score, so you should definitely select attacking midfielders who are creative and intelligent. If you want midfielders who can control the game and play with verve, look no further than Inara Serra10 and Andrea Pirlo as the heart of your team. I’d personally put Faye Valentine or Harry Potter on the wing, and consider swapping Poe Dameron11 in deep midfield if you’re changing your formation. Faye and Harry are both incredibly fast and would be incredibly powerful feeding the ball up to your striker. Inara and Poe both have the imagination you want in the midfield, and the command and respect of anyone they play with.
Pirlo is just what fantasies are made of.
10 Look. Science fiction and fantasy have very easily blurred lines, okay?
11 OK, I just really like sci-fi, too
You’ve got some solid service coming in from Faye and Harry, so who are they passing to? Your choices are nearly unlimited. Personally, I would settle for Brienne of Tarth as a solid Carli Lloyd-esque striker, with either Ginny Weasley or Chrestomanci in a Number 10 position. Ginny and Chrestomanci both have a ridiculous amount of flair and would probably create some truly outrageous goals. If anyone can score with a bicycle kick, it’d be one of them. Brienne is solid and would make an extremely reliable finisher.
If you’ve somehow managed to secure a lucrative investment12 and suddenly find yourself with more galleons in hand than you had at the start of this exercise, you could think about investing in a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque player. You can’t really go wrong with Buffy or Han Solo. If you’re okay with really drastic mood swings, you could also go the Sauron route13.
12 The fact that you can’t rely on a sudden windfall when selecting your fantasy football teams is the most fantastical thing about this entire endeavour, quite frankly
13 This is not the most advisable of choices, but why would teams have Player Liaison Officers or a PR team if they aren’t going to use them?
So you’ve cobbled a team together, but what if you haven’t been able to stretch your galleons far enough? Let’s take a look at your other options: players who’ll earn you points that no one else thought to select?
You could go with Angus or go all out with Famine’s horse. I’d save a spot on my squad for Mister Ed or Binky, personally, but it really just comes down to who you’d feel most comfortable with when they’re trotting out on to the pitch.
Remember to research your players before you select them. Make sure you’re not going to be caught off guard with a sudden temper tantrum14 or illegal use of broomsticks.
If you can manage it, cheat. Tell everyone you’re playing against that you should select teams while in the same room, then peek over others’ shoulders to see who they’re buying.
Don’t just select your team based on your favourite characters. You may really love Hermione15 but she’s not going to be great at a sport she probably doesn’t even like.
Don’t panic buy16.
Seriously. Don’t panic buy.
Most importantly: the best way to win at this seems to be to actually watch games. Prioritize.
Good luck. May glory be yours.
14 Or that you’re at least anticipating the temper tantrum and can deal with it when it happens.
15 Who doesn’t?
16 I’m REALLY refraining from making a Wenger joke here.