Fantasy football is back, rejoice!
The new season kicks off on August 10 when Man United host Leicester as we buckle in for another Premier League campaign full of thrills and spills.
The season might not have started yet, but Dream Team – the UK’s biggest fantasy football game – is already up and running and waiting for you to get going.
Although the lengthy fantasy football season sees you pit your wits against and lock horns with fellow Dream Team managers, you do share a certain bond between each other.
This bond means that you have a number of things in common with your deadly rivals…
1 Picking a funny team name is the most important thing
Whether it’s Phantom of the Chopra, Mirror, Signal, Malouda or Men Behaving Chadli, making your mates chuckle with good pun is vital.
A good name is like putting in a big tackle in the first minute, you’ve got to let them know you’re up for it.
2 Resisting the temptation to pick too many of your own team’s players
Just because you’ve got a poster of Connor Wickham on your wall doesn’t mean you’re obliged to put him in your team.
Gaffers have a habit of favouring the team they support.
That’s fine for those who follow one of the title contenders but if you spend every Saturday at Vicarage Road you should know there are better options than Younes Kaboul and Heurelho Gomes.
Don’t let your heart drown out your head.
3 You have to be prepared to sleep with the enemy
United fans, as much as you despise Man City with every fibre of your being, the fact is Sergio Aguero is pretty much guaranteed to score big points.
Nobody is going to judge you, just stick him in and watch you rise up the mini-league.
4 Bargain players make the difference
Because we’re such a generous bunch we give you lot £50million to spend on your Dream Team.
That allows you to pick plenty of top-priced players but it’s the two or three bargains where the game is won and lost.
We’ve done the hard work for you already and provided an extensive list of the best bargain players available in this year’s game.
5 The sheer delight in recognising the Dream Team darlings
It’s not always the biggest names who score the biggest points.
In previous seasons, Daley Blind and Christian Fuchs have all tickled the algorithm’s fancy, despite not being the most glamorous pair on the pitch.
Your mates mocked you for transferring in Fuchs during the first transfer window.
But then the assists, clean sheets and Star Man points started rolling in. Great job.
Unexpected points are the best kind.
6 The agony of a long-term injury
Sure the physical pain of non-stop injuries would have hurt Santi Cazorla a fair bit, but the emotional pain of having him in your team with no emergency transfer available was truly agonising.
Every time you log in and see his points tally on the same number as before a twinge of sadness makes itself known.
How hard is it to just stay fit, lads?
7 The joy of checking the scores and realising you’re in for a mountain of points
On the rare occasion life gets in the way and you don’t spend your Saturday afternoon glued to Soccer Saturday there’s nothing like checking the scores and finding out two of your forwards have bagged hat-tricks.
Cue gloating messages to the lads WhatsApp group.
8 The shame of having to match your mini-league rival transfer for transfer
Sometimes you’ve got to play dirty to win.
If you’re leading the way and your main rival makes an emergency transfer the temptation to match him, therefore negating any possible advantage, is sometimes too strong to resist.
These tactics are frowned upon but they get results.
It all depends what kind of person you are; a good sportsman with a strong moral fibre or a winner.
9 The gratification of a sucessful rogue transfer
Your best mate: “You brought in Pascal Gross? Surely Brighton will go down?”
You: “Just wait.”
Your best mate: “I bow to your superior football knowledge.”
10 The tension of the title race
The last few weeks of the season can get stressful for those in the title hunt and those trying to avoid the drop but it’s Dream Team gaffers who do the most nail biting.
Every point counts in squeaky bum time.
11 The difficulty of collecting your winnings
Dave says he put a tenner in the pot around Christmas.
Tom reckons it was only supposed to be a fiver.
And Jack doesn’t think he needs to pay because he hasn’t looked at his team since the first week.
Ah well, it’s not about the money, it’s about the pride.