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Join NMA’s 2020-21 Fantrax EPL Leagues

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With phantom points galore, these are as close as we can come to recreating the old Yahoo game.

Fantrax logo screens
Fantrax EPL returns for the 2020-21 season
Fantrax.com (tm)

Welcome to Never Manage Alone’s Fantrax leagues. Fantrax is for those of us who enjoy diversifying 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-17 and NMA-11:

[If new, please register at Fantrax and then...]

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NMA-17 Fantrax League

NMA-17 allows you to expand your roster to as many as 17 players. Each week, your best 3 forwards, best 4 middies, best 3 defenders and best keeper that week will add to your cumulative season earnings.

Join Fantrax EPL’s NMA-17 and start shopping NOW!

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NMA-11 Fantrax League

NMA-11 limits you to exactly 11 players, no subs. However, you may choose from a range of allowed formations.

Join Fantrax EPL’s NMA-11 and start shopping NOW!

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Scoring:

All of our Fantrax leagues are set up to use exactly the same points system. There are about two dozen, 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, -2 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. The explanations of scoring categories is in OTHER -> All Options... Scoring Glossary.

Fantasy managers returning from past years will notice some new scoring categories added for the coming season (on top of all our old favorites):

  • Assist to the Assist
  • “Big Chance” Created
  • “Big Chance” Missed
  • Effective Clearance
  • Clean Sheet for Midfielder
  • Error leads to Goal
  • (GK) Long Ball to Attacker

Note that not all scoring is positive. I encourage you to look at all the rules, and please feel free to discuss any of them in the comments.

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Other Features in Common

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 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 acquire his new 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 just 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!

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The Differences:

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 add to 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 felt burned by real-world managers who rotate their players and rest “sure” starters with no warning (e.g. “Pep Roulette”), then this format is for you.

Other than roster size and flexibility, both NMA Fantrax leagues are alike, with the same scoring, salary generation factor*, player roles etc.

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Known Issue:

Fantrax calculates player prices based on past performance, but some players are new to the league, so they have no past. Such players enter Fantrax at a default price. NMA-11 defaults to $7, and NMA-17 defaults to $6. Since most (but not all) players on newly promoted clubs are new to EPL, they’ll have the default price during preseason and until the first recalc, which is after the first game-week.

Here’s the issue: The first few recalcs can be weird for players with almost no history in the Fantrax DB. In recent EPL seasons, the Fantrax recalc has forgotten all about the preseason default price, suddenly treating all those new-boy players as if their histories are full of zeros, so at the end of GW-1 their prices tend to crash to the minimum.

And that’s exactly why I set the minimum so high at the start of each season (NMA-11’s min is $4, and NMA-17’s is $3.40). As the season progresses and new players build some point history, their prices crawl up to sane levels (and I gradually ratchet down the minimum until it’s only $1 by Christmas).

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve written to Fantrax begging them to replace null data with default pricing instead of zeros, but it hasn’t happened (yet). Expect all new-boys to be min-priced going into GW-2 (you’ve been alerted).

So for Fantrax, the newly promoted clubs and transfers from outside the EPL are mostly a watch-list-building exercise looking ahead to a bargain-bin frenzy in the GW-2 player picks. The exceptions would be transfers who bring EPL performance history with them (e.g. salvaged players from last season’s demoted sides, loans from top-6 teams etc).

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*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 will 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. We will look at it and your comments (and lead time) and 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.

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What happened to the NMA-sub league?

NMA-sub was an experiment that won’t continue unless I hear from Fantrax that some bugs have been fixed.

The most noxious is that subbing can make your roster illegal in ensuing weeks. When schedule congestion causes quick turn-around, there can be no window at all to repair the damage — The subbing happens at deadline time, which can unavoidably wreck a roster through no fault of the manager. Several managers quit the league, and I got very tired of having to use the commish powers to make things right for those who soldiered on.

So that’s a long way of saying that the experiment showed that Fantrax’s subbing feature is (or was) not yet ready.

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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! And after you join, please invite your friends!

See you in the comments section!

Jeff

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