Like everyone (I hope), I am looking forward to the "Beat the Bloggers" Fantrax league being renewed for the 2016-17 EPL season. However, as I mentioned a few times last year, I kinda missed having a "bench" to protect against surprise player scratches., On at least one occasion, I even promised that in the coming year, I would create a parallel Fantrax league that has one. Well, here it is (the best I can do with the features that Fantrax offers):
Fantrax BtB + Bench League (League ID = xvs3eirriqldaer7 | password = NMA_Blog )
Since Fantrax does not offer quite the same substitute-for-absentee feature as Yahoo had, I had to fuss with something called "Use Best". It will always use your best 3F, 4M, 3D and 1G. That means that if you can afford 4 forwards and one doesn't play, you still score 3 who do. However, it can't change "formation" in the process (e.g. A spare mid will never fill in for an absent forward). Unfortunately, if all players at a position play and one goes negative, the negative score will be dropped, so this Fantrax feature compensates for more than just AWOL players. Oh well, it's the best I could sort out from the available features as I understand them. If anyone knows better, then please comment.
Even with its limitations, it looks like this feature will succeed in presenting managers with the intended dilemma of whether to put all of one's salary cap into 11 sure starters or spread it out among an expanded, possibly "risky" roster hedging against "surprises". Managers may also sweat whether or not to carry dead-weight (injured and/or suspended) players in order to preserve discounts. YMMV.
BTW, It looks like Fantrax added a couple new scoring categories this year, so I took advantage of a couple. One is the "fantasy assist", which credits an assist for things like rebounds and causing an OG that the EPL does not recognize officially. Another is "RC rescinded", which gives back most of the fantasy points penalized by an in-game red card, which are never indemnified even if rescinded. See what I've done with all of the scoring stats (to the best of my rusting memory), and feel free to comment.
Note: My new league is not the "official" BtB league, but I hope that many of the Fantrax players from NMA will join in addition to the official one. Y'all are invited, and my league is already up and open, so you may come on over and start drafting your initial roster right now.
Good luck everyone!