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How assists are calculated and their complicated relationship with fantasy football

There seems to be some confusion about how assists are judged.

And much of the uncertainty stems from the contradictions between how assists are perceived in the similar-but-different worlds of real football and fantasy football.

To skip ahead to the conclusion, players are often credited with assists in fantasy football that don’t meet the necessary requirements in the real-world version of the sport.


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Exhibit A

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Exhibit A

Take Man United’s equaliser against Southampton on Sunday for example.

Initially, it looked as if Bruno Fernandes’ wild shot cannoned directly off Edinson Cavani’s forehead before hitting the net — a surefire assist for the Portuguese midfielder, right?

Well, actually, no.

Replays showed the ball deflected off Kyle Walker-Peters before making its way onto the Uruguayan forward’s noggin.

Officially, the Saints defender’s slight intervention denied Fernandes the creative acknowledgement.#

Football statisticians only credit players with an assist if the ball travels from their foot (or head, thigh, etc) to the goalscorer without any interference from another player.

Any perceptible touch that disrupts the path of the ball means an assist can not be officially awarded.

Some may see this as harsh as there can be no doubt that Fernandes’ effort significantly contributed to his side’s second goal at St Mary’s — but this is how assists are consistently calculated.

It’s worth noting that this is not a Dream Team ruling, it is how players are officially credited with assists in the Premier League, Champions League, and most other major competitions.

Here’s where it can get confusing…

He’s got enough point without being gifted bonus assists

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He’s got enough point without being gifted bonus assists

Some fantasy football games have decided to waver from this methodology in an attempt to enhance the overall experience for their users.

Take Fantasy Premier League for example, they awarded Fernandes an assist on Sunday.

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And yet the Premier League’s official statisticians didn’t agree with their colleagues’ assessment, as they are bound by the aforementioned interpretation of assists and noted the deflection off Walker-Peters.

The official Premier League match summary does not credit Fernandes with an assist

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The official Premier League match summary does not credit Fernandes with an assist

In the spirit of consistency, Dream Team follow the official methodology when it comes to assists, hence why Fernandes did not get the additional two points some may have expected.

A similar thing occurred with James Maddison in the Europa League on Thursday night, his pass deflected off a defender before landing at his team-mate’s feet for Leicester’s second goal against Braga.

We understand this can be frustrating at times but this approach ensures consistency and aligns with the official methodology used to determine assists.

 

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