Next up in our list of fantasy formats for the 2019-20 Premier League season are Never Manage Alone’s Fantrax leagues. Fantrax is for those of us who enjoy increasing the ways we can watch our fantasy points roll in during the weekend. Based on the traditional rules of the much loved and much missed Yahoo Fantasy Premier League, our Fantrax leagues offer managers a game with unlimited transfers and many more ways to score points than in the official FPL system.
Renewed from last year are NMA-11 (was “standard”) and NMA-17 (was “+bench”). In addition, we have an experimental league this year to try out a new feature to see if it works.
NMA-11 Fantrax League
Pick exactly 11 players each week, all of whom count (or fail) for you:
NMA-17 Fantrax League
Pick 11-17 players each week, of which the best at each position will earn points for you:
In addition, Jeff has created an experimental NMA-sub league to try out Fantrax’s relatively new reserve and auto-substitution features. If you’re willing to comment on the playability of these features (especially if you are an experienced Fantrax manager with high expectations):
Features in Common:
All of our Fantrax leagues are set up to use exactly the same points system. There are around 20 categories, including successful crosses, tackles won, penalties won, fouls suffered, earning a corner etc. If you like some meat on your fantasy game bones (and if you think that stars in defensive midfield deserve at least some recognition for interceptions etc), then these are the formats for you.
Watching live games takes on new meaning as you cheer a corner won by Harry Kane or shout at your TV as your Raheem Sterling misses the blooming target from just six yards, spoiling between 3 and 10 fantasy points. When your Saturday pick-up Paul Pogba makes a tackle that takes man and ball, your first worry is, will it count as a tackle won? (1pt whooo hooo!). You’ll also discover the roller coaster that is one of your players scoring a goal (goal + shot on target = 10 points, brilliant!) and then seeing him whip off his jersey to celebrate it (automatic yellow card, -3 points, what an idiot!).
The complete points chart (and all league settings) can be seen at Fantrax under OTHER -> League Rules Summary for each league you join.
Our Fantrax leagues also allow unlimited transfers, and there are no restrictions on the number of players from any one club, so the format is nice and simple to play. Sounds like the tactics would be simple too, but they’re not. Player prices move after each scoring / lineup period (usually one weekend), and sometimes they jump significantly. You will often be faced with keeping a form player at an introductory price but facing a tough opponent versus paying full price for a player with the softest opponent in the coming week. Sell the form player, and you may never be able to afford to buy him back. Hold discounts for too long (through loss of form or change in role), and you may watch more flexible managers overtake you with a more fluid strategy.
Also be on the lookout for players with dual roles (e.g. “D, M”). These can be bought into either role and later moved if need be. It’s also possible for an out-of-position player to gain his as-fielded role during the course of the season (but roles are never taken away).
Bonus: We’ve set our Fantrax leagues’ deadline time to 15 minutes before the first match in each scoring period. That means we always get to see at least one pair of confirmed lineups in time to make hasty changes during that deadline hour. And if a mid-winter snow postpones the first match(es), we get to replace any or all of our idled players if we want while FPL fantasy managers pull out their hair!
Join us in the comments to our latest blog article each week (usually a Pre-deadline Chat expressly for the purpose, but our weekly Fantrax Player Picks article can serve). There we share the latest news and our reactions to those pre-deadline confirmed lineups. On the final Sunday of the season, all ten matches kickoff at the same time, so we’ll see all twenty lineups in our final chat!
In the standard NMA-11 league, you’re limited to 11 players on your roster, but you can vary your formation. You may have 3-5 defenders, 3-5 midfielders and 1-3 forwards (plus you must buy exactly 1 keeper). In a fantasy format that rewards all manner of player-actions, you may find value-for-money at both ends of the pitch, so don’t assume you must pack the front.
In the expanded-roster NMA-17 league, the formation is more fixed. Your best keeper, best 3 defenders, best 4 midfielders and best 3 strikers each week will count toward your cumulative score for the season. If you have the budget for it, you can buy an extra keeper, another striker, two more defenders and/or two more midfielders as cover, or as injured reserve (holding onto discounts), or for whatever tactical reason you discover. If you’ve been burned by real-world managers who rotate their players and rest “sure” starters with no warning, then this format is for you.
The experimental NMA-sub league is like the NMA-17 league in allowing an expanded roster in order to protect against rotation, injury etc. However, the mechanism is different. Instead of always scoring the best earnings at each position, you must sort your players between starting-XI and reserve (bench). In addition, if a player is flagged as injured, then you may move him to injured reserve, effectively expanding you roster by up to two further slots. Each week, if one of your starters fails to appear, then Fantrax’s computers automatically sub in the bench player with the highest earnings that maintains a legal formation (allowed formations are the same as in NMA-11). We’ve never used these reserve and auto-sub features before, so we don’t even know if they work as advertised. Please share your observations in comments to our Fantrax, Chat or How Did You Do? articles. The league itself also has a chat section where bugs may be reported to commissioner Jeff.
Other than roster size and flexibility, all NMA Fantrax leagues are alike, with the same scoring, salary generation factor*, player roles etc.
*Salaries will vary slightly (but systematically) between leagues because Fantrax scales salaries to allowed roster-size so that managers can afford the same relative strength of players in each league.
When make-up games mess with the schedule later in the season, our Fantrax leagues will adjust scoring periods in tandem. They’ll always have the same deadlines as each other, and those will almost always fall into line with Official FPL. However, we have already set the final scoring period to isolate our simultaneous final-Sunday kickoff from any make-up games that might land in the week prior, and we won’t do anything to derail it.
By the way, if anyone notices a bizarre scheduling period looming on the horizon (especially any divergence from the Official FPL schedule), please bring it up in chat as soon as you can. Jeff and I will look at it and your comments (and lead time). We’ll make an announcement in plenty of time to plot strategy in the week(s) preceding whatever grief the Premier League and Official FPL schedule-adjusters throw at us.
All season long, we will have articles on Fantrax strategy, tactics and player picks, so even if you haven’t played before, you’ll be an expert in no time. Get on board now so you don’t miss week #1!
See you in the comments section.