[Ed. note: Please welcome our other new writer, John Montgomery, on the occasion of his first article at NMA!]
Following weeks of speculation, emoji tears were wept across the Twittersphere as Togga announced its hiatus from the Fantasy Football World. Whilst they may make a return at some point in the future, founders Scott Faust and John Wallin (along with the rest of the team) recommended that their 120k user base move their accounts over to Fantrax, a long established fantasy sports provider that has clearly invested time and money to build an EPL offering worthy of being a Togga bridge.
Part of the attraction of moving to Fantrax is that they have been working closely with the chaps at Togga to offer a league-options preset that will provide a fantasy format nearly identical to what Togga had available. This means that users can jump straight into a format with the same scoring, transaction, and team selection rules that they had at Togga without having to customize everything themselves.
That being said, the enormous number of customizable settings made available by Fantrax (pretty much everything can be amended) should not be ignored; even the most hardcore of Togga fans should consider some of the additional options made available to them under this new provider. Here are a few that are especially worth contemplating:
One of the biggest challenges of moving from Official Fantasy Premier League to Togga was explaining to half of your mates that they couldn’t play, since the number of players was limited to 12 per league. Fantrax has solved this by allowing a whopping maximum of 200 per. Obviously this would be a ridiculous number in a draft-exclusion format, but the ability to set up divisions means that Togga commissioners can now create that dream promotion/relegation structure that they have always craved.
Stat correction handling
Not that it happened very often, but there were undoubtedly instances in previous seasons where fantasy head-to-head match-ups have been lost due to debatable assists or questionable goal claims. These stats were often corrected by OPTA (note: LLC will provide Fantrax stats) shortly after the matches had finished, but that was frustratingly after the Togga match-up stats had been frozen. Fantrax allows commissioners to set the time at which the stats will be frozen. Whether it is one hour after each game or six hours after the game-week ends, you can decide if you want to permit your league the time for some corrections to take effect.
[Ed. note: NMA’s two Yahoo-analog Fantrax leagues both employ this feature, setting it to 7 days after each match, including end-of-season Final Sunday matches. So when “Hairy” Kane begs midweek credit for another glancing header goal, it and the assist will be reflected in our fantasy production. Retrospective and rescinded red cards also figure prominently among stat corrections.]
Trade voting system
Harry Kane for Harry Maguire?! You’ve got to be kidding! Have you ever sat by and watched a rogue trade completely change the dynamic of your league? Then the voting system option in Fantrax may be the solution to your problems. With this option in place, each trade will be forwarded for the review of the league where it will be approved or vetoed accordingly.
The voting requirements can be modified (i.e. 4 votes against to cancel a trade or 60% of the league need to approve) and a time limit can be applied for voting to be cast. Trades will no longer be negotiated and approved in private but will be scrutinized in broad daylight by the league before they are confirmed.
Failed claims/drops viewable by league
This option won’t change or add much in the way of how the game will be played, but it will give you an insight into what transactions other managers have been eyeing up. Following the processing of the waiver wire each week, any failed waiver claims will become public. Gone will be the days of comments such as “I’d never have taken him”.
Bidding waiver wire
Togga offered two different approaches to waivers, one where waivers reset every week to the reverse league order, and another where the order was fixed to reverse draft order with waiver exercizers moving to the end of the queue each week. Both have their disadvantages. The 38 game season is too long for reverse league order as it provides a strong advantage to those who start the season poorly. The reverse draft order method will see early waiver holders retaining their waiver position until January, allowing them to pick up an additional marquee signing in the next transfer window.
Bidding waiver wires eradicate both of these problems. Each manager will start the season with a budget they can use to bid on available players. Highest bid wins. The testing part here is determining how much of your budget you should use on players to avoid leaving yourself short as the season unfolds. This helps create a far more realistic approach to transfers and signings, adding a skill element, rather than luck of position, to the waiver wire.
Those familiar with NFL fantasy games may already be accustomed to Keeper and Dynasty leagues, but EPL fantasy veterans have likely not come across them before. These options are designed for those who play with the same managers year-in and year-out, helping to apply a level of consistency for a league over the course of many seasons.
Keeper leagues allow managers to designate particular players whom they wish to lock for the following season so that they cannot be drafted by anyone else (the number of players that each manager can ‘keep’ can be set by the commissioner). A dynasty league means that whole fantasy squads will carry over to the following season intact, requiring managers to plan for the long term as well as the season ahead.
Allow trading of draft picks
Another option which brings a longer term view to the fantasy format is the ability to trade draft positions. By allowing this function you can trade future picks for players (next year’s 4th and 5th round picks for Sane perhaps?) or other draft positions (I give you my 1st round pick this year for your 2nd and 6th round pick next year?). Again these options are for the dedicated leagues with stable team ownership.
In addition to these options there are also a number of scoring customizations which are worth considering. Our league has included last-man tackles, errors led to goals and big chances created in addition to the Togga-recommended scoring, but there are also many more available that could add value.
The Togga community are all extremely disappointed that their favorite Fantasy Football format will not be making a return this season, but the customization ability of Fantrax should provide a base for an enjoyable (and in some instances, improved) experience for 2018-19.
Have you started the transition process from Togga to Fantrax yet? Which customizable options are the most attractive to you? How is everything going for you and for any other managers in your leagues? Do you still have any questions? Let us know in the comments!