Now that the World Cup Fantasy Previews are finally complete, it's time to turn our attention to playing the actual fantasy game we'll be playing for the next month. Hopefully the previews have been helpful in drawing some attention to some of the names to keep an eye on throughout the tournament, but without an understanding of where the points will come from it can be difficult to know who you should be selecting for your fantasy teams. Here's a brief run-through of the vital information (check out the official site for the full breakdown):
Just like an actual World Cup squad, you'll be choosing 23 players for your team. You'll have a budget of 100 units, which will make it a challenge to get 23 good players. A few fillers will be necessary. The number of players in each position is set to be the following:
- 3 Goalkeepers
- 7 Defenders
- 8 Midfielders
- 5 Forwards
You will be able to assign a captain, who will score double points. You'll choose a starting 11 from your 23-man squad, and you'll be able to make substitutions after each matchday is complete. This means you'll want to start off with your players who play in the earlier groups during the group stages, so you can sub them out if they underperform in the hopes of gaining more points with a sub who has not yet played.
For the group stages, you can select a maximum of 3 players from one team, so if you were planning on loading up on a team full of Brazilians (or Germans, Argentines, etc.), you won't be so lucky. Spreading the wealth is more fun, though, and more of a challenge!
While not as robust as the Yahoo scoring system that we're used to, the FIFA scoring is more fleshed out than the official EPL fantasy game. Points are awarded for a number of factors, including some of the more complex contributions like ball recoveries and blocked shots.
Points vary between positions (for example, goalkeepers receive 6 points for a clean sheet, while defenders receive 4 and midfielders receive 1), but the main areas points will come from are the following:
- The Basics - Goals, Assists and Clean Sheets
- Smaller Contributions - Saves, Blocked Shots, Balls Recovered (think tackles won/passes intercepted), Balls delivered into the penalty area (1 point for every 2; think successful crosses)
- Minutes Played - 1 point earned for each 30 minutes played, up to 3 points
- Negative Points - Every 3 fouls, every 2 goals conceded (GKs/DFs), Yellow/Red Cards, Penalties Committed, Own Goals, Penalty Misses
- Bonuses - If a player plays more than 30 minutes, they will be eligible for a bonus point, awarded by position for Save rate, pass completion or attempts on target percentage being above 80%
It appears as if you will choose your initial squad for the entirety of the group stages, and not each round, so please be careful when selecting your team for the group stages. With no ability to make changes to your initial squad until the Round of 16, it will be vitally important to review all the matches of the teams in the group stages and pick players you think will be consistent performers across their first three matches.
Once the Round of 16 is reached and teams are eliminated from the tournament, you will be able to make unlimited transfers at the beginning of each subsequent round. At this point, the maximum number of players you are able to choose from one team also increases, and by the semi-final you'll be allowed up to 8 players from any of the remaining four teams.
In order to be eligible to win the admittedly awesome prizes on offer by McDonald's and FIFA for the overall winner, you'll need to go through the registration process, but there are also private leagues within the game where we can compete against each other as NMA bloggers and commenters. As soon as they figure out how to open the game to everyone, I'll be sure to set up a league for everyone to join. If there's enough interest to warrant multiple groups, I'll set up as many as we need.
UPDATE: Beat the Bloggers 1 League is open! Search for "Beat the Bloggers 1" and enter "NMA_Fantasy" as the password. If you have any issues, please let me know!
I'm excited to get started and hope to see everyone around on the matchday threads! Keep an eye out for the first Player Picks post from Stall and, as always, good luck with your team!