I can’t speak for everybody, but I will speak for myself. Playing Togga Perfect XI is a lot of fun, I enjoy it! It has two attractive elements that particularly stand out, combining a simplicity of playing with a comprehensiveness in scoring.
As for ease with respect to managing, all you have to do is pick 11 players — any 11 players fit into a 4-4-2 line-up from the entire Premier League — for each game week. No salaries, no bench, no waiver wire, no complications. Regarding the player scoring, Togga offers points for a variety of statistics — tackles, crosses, clearances, etc. — really taking into account a player’s wide-ranging contributions, rather than other scoring systems which rely almost entirely on goals, assists and clean sheets.
On top of that, managers can compare themselves against the entire Togga universe (as well as leagues within, such as the NMA “Beat the Bloggers” league) in a given game week or for the season. Indeed, Togga Perfect XI has an awful lot going for it! Or rather, sadly, now it looks like it HAD an awful lot going for it.
From what I have heard from Togga support, while not official, it seems unlikely that Togga will offer its beloved Perfect XI format for the 2018-19 season. Instead, it appears that Togga will focus on its draft league option. If you have played Togga’s draft league, or a draft league in a different Premier League platform or another sport entirely, you know what it is all about. If not, you will surely want to learn the important details. The draft league format is certainly a lot more time and effort than Perfect XI, but it is still an awful lot of fun!
If you’d like to read the official rules, you can head straight to the source. I’ve compiled a handy primer below with some insights and strategic thoughts.
HOW DOES THE DRAFT LEAGUE WORK?
Each league has someone designated as the commissioner who creates the league, invites managers to join, sets a draft date/time, and runs things during the season.
HOW MANY TEAMS ARE THERE IN EACH LEAGUE?
That’s up to you! But keep in mind that there is a limited supply of Premier League talent. The fewer teams in the league, the more superstars each manager can grab. The more teams in your league, the smaller the number of big-time studs on each roster. As such, if you don't have many teams, it can feel like everybody has an overloaded all-star roster (like the “Big 6”). If there’s an awful lot of teams, things can feel too diluted (like the Championship).
A middle ground may be the best answer, perhaps somewhere in the range of 8-12 teams. You don’t want to make things too easy for everybody, but you don’t want to make them too difficult either. On that latter end, it can be frustrating if managers feel that too much of their roster is occupied by absolute scrubs. It’s always fun for all managers to feel good about their teams by having two or three true stars each, but also to make it so that managers who make savvy decisions are allowed to shine. If everybody has a roster stocked with superstars, it’s difficult for managerial talent to make much of a difference. I played in a 10-team league last season, and that felt about right.
Of course, if you only have five friends/co-workers/family members who want to play, or if you have 20 people banging down your door, that may make the decision for you!
HOW DO TEAMS PLAY DURING THE SEASON?
Teams play each other head-to-head each game week, in a randomly assigned order. The higher scoring team wins and the lower scoring team loses, and a tie is possible if they score the same number of points. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss.
There are two ways each league may choose to award the title:
- REGULAR SEASON ONLY: At the end of the 38 week season, the team with the best win/loss/tie points (not necessarily the most total scoring points) wins.
- PLAYOFFS: The regular season ends after game week 35 if your league chooses to have playoffs determine the champion. The quarterfinals are held in Week 36 (#3 vs. #6, #4 vs. #5), the semifinals in Week 37 (#3/#6 winner vs. #1, #4/#5 winner vs. #2), and the final championship game happens in Week 38.
Ideally, with teams playing each other, you will want an even number of teams. However, if you do have an odd number of teams, that’s not a problem. In that case, the odd team out will “play against” the league scoring average.
There are no salaries, so every player is equally up for grabs by each team in the league. Unlike Perfect XI where everybody can have anybody, in the draft format only one team in each league may have a player, and that of course starts with... the draft!
The draft can happen at any time during the season, so while it is best to do it before the season starts, if you miss out on setting it up before the first game week, don’t worry, you can get things going any time later.
You will want to schedule your live online draft for a date/time when everybody (or as many people as possible) can be available. Avoiding days when people are at work, holidays when people tend to go on vacation, and times when families tend to spend together is a good plan. Ideally you will want to have it close to the start of the season, since then everybody will have the most up-to-date transfer/injury/rest news on players and teams as possible. This year, the EPL’s transfer window closes before the season begins (buying, though not selling), so you can even know who and where at least most of the players are before your draft!
If you have managers who live all across North America in different time zones, then you could probably do it on a weeknight in the evening. If there are those who are spread across the globe, then a weekend would likely be more inclusive.
For managers who cannot be present for the live online draft, it’s no problem. They can make a list ranking players in their preferred order, and the Togga system will pick them accordingly. If managers choose not to make a list, that is not a problem, as the players will be auto-picked according to Togga’s default rankings.
Selection order is assigned randomly by Togga shortly before the draft. The draft is done in “snake” fashion. That means that the manager with the first pick in the first round gets the last pick in the second round, then the first pick in the third round, the last pick in the fourth round, and so on. The manager with the second pick in the first round gets the second-to-last pick in the second round, and so forth.
There is a 90 second limit for selection from each draft spot, so you have some time to think about each choice you make, but not so much as to make the draft last for hours upon hours.
I’m not going to lie, the live online draft is a huge rush! Watching the player you desperately wanted get snatched up by the manager drafting before you, then agonizing over whom to pick when it’s your time, and hoping that the manager slotted after you feels just as hosed by your choice, it just doesn’t get much better than that. Well, actually it’s a lot better if the manager picking before you makes a horrible reach and allows you to get exactly whom you want.
Each team has 16 roster spots, and there are maximums and minimums by position.
GOALKEEPERS: Three maximum, one minimum
DEFENDERS: Eight maximum, three minimum
MIDFIELDERS: Eight maximum, three minimum
FORWARDS: Six maximum, two minimum
Generally speaking, while there’s nothing wrong with having the minimum one player at the goalkeeper position, you’ll want at least one more than the minimum (and usually two or three more) at the other positions for cover.
Each week you select 11 starters and five bench players. You can pick from seven line-up types, from 3-5-2 all the way up to 5-3-2. You can pick the line-up based on a combination of who are your best players with which players have the best match-ups. You are allowed to put players in your starting line-up right up to when their games start, so will want to be sure to check the actual starting line-up. Sometimes you may want to front-load your line-ups with players who have earlier games if you are worried about the fitness (or start-worthiness) of players with late games.
There are 18 different scoring statistics used for players, so while the players who rack up goals, assists and clean sheets are the priorities, you can also benefit from well-rounded players who contribute in multiple ways. Players good at racking up key passes, shots on target, crosses, successful dribbles, interceptions and tackles won should be on your radar alongside the obvious stars who rain down goals, assists and clean sheets.
On the other hand, there are several statistics that bring negative points — own goals, dispossessions, yellow cards and red cards, defenders & keepers conceding goals — so you’ll definitely want to devalue players with discipline problems.
Opta, not Togga, supplies the official stats.
ADDS/DROPS DURING THE SEASON
The draft will determine in large part how your team looks. Of course, things will change a lot during the season. You’ll drop players due to injury, poor performance, tough schedules or other reasons, picking up new players along the way.
Players not initially drafted, players dropped and new-boys transferred into the league are put on the waiver wire. If you want a player on the waiver wire, you make a claim on that player (contingent on selecting a player to drop), and then wait until waivers clear to see if you get that player (that is, if you are the manager with the highest waiver priority who made a claim on that player).
A player who clears waivers without being selected is a free agent, and may be claimed by any manager at any time, first come first served (again while simultaneously dropping a player).
The league waiver priority is initially set after the first game week via inverse standings. The commissioner may choose to have it reset every week accordingly (standard), or to have the waiver priority order continuously determined thereafter by whether managers make moves or not (rolling). In my opinion, the rolling format is fairer. After all, constantly artificially helping teams at the bottom and penalizing the top teams week in, week out over the entire season does not seem particularly just, now does it?
In the rolling style, a savvy manager is rewarded by not making moves and being patient, which allows for a rise up the waiver priority order that can result in being able to add a big transfer, literally “the one you’ve been waiting for.” That said, sometimes it’s better not to wait if you’ve got a rash of injuries combined with poor match-ups and just have to make a move (or more than one)!
You can also make trades with other managers in your league. The important thing when it comes to trades is to do them honestly, rather than colluding with another team. There’s nothing that can destroy a league — and your reputation — easier than cheating for your benefit or to help out a buddy.
Another thing, and sadly something I’ve actually experienced in a fantasy draft league: Trades are not loans, trades are trades! Don’t collude with a team to borrow a player when you’re thin at a roster spot and need him, then send him back when you don’t any more, while returning the favor to the other manager.
The commissioner or other managers may vote to nix a trade that is pending between two teams, but if you choose to do so, be absolutely sure that it looks like collusion. Keep in mind that no trade is perfectly equal, that nobody can get something without giving up something, and everybody values different players differently and has different needs based on their team make-up. People will often disagree on who “won” or “lost” a trade; on top of that, sometimes that completely changes from when the trade is made compared to the weeks or months afterward in retrospect. Keep your nose out of it unless it truly smells fishy.
That said, don't be shy about trading! It’s fun! There is a trade deadline that the commissioner can enable a short while before the end of the season, so be sure to get all of your trading business done before then. Also keep in mind that if you make an uneven trade, say you give up two players and get three players in return, you will have to drop a player on your roster to make room for the extra player coming in.
So are you playing Togga draft league? Please answer the poll question below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Are you playing Togga draft league Premier League fantasy in 2018-19?
This poll is closed
Yes, I played draft league last season and will play again this season!
Yes, I played Perfect XI last season and will play draft league this season for the first time!
Yes, while I have never played Togga before, the draft league will be my first time playing Togga!
No, I played draft league last season but will not play again this season
No, I played Perfect XI last season but will not play Togga at all this season