Fantasy football offers millions of fans of the beautiful game excitement and competition, as they battle it out online each season.
Learn everything you need to know about playing fantasy football at popular sites including Fantasy Premier League and The Sun's Dream Team. We'll teach you how to set yourself up for success and earn those all-important bragging rights.
Fantasy football is an online game played across multiple sites which sees fans create virtual teams made up of real-world footballers. They enter their teams into leagues to compete against family, friends, and fellow supporters. The fantasy football season runs alongside the actual Premier League campaign. Players prove their knowledge and skills by collecting the most points.
Fantasy football players gain or lose points based on the real-world performances of the Premier League footballers picked in their teams. Your running points total is compared against your rivals' to determine the league standings. Rules vary depending on the format you're playing, but some ideas are consistent across the board. Below is a look at what you need to consider.
You cannot exceed the amount of money you are given to spend on players at the start of the season.
You have to pick the minimum number of players for each position – goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, forward - and therefore fill every space in your squad.
You must pick no more than the specified number of players allowed from a single Premier League team.
You need to maintain your squad for each gameweek and keep in mind deadlines for team selection and transfers.
You cannot exceed the number of transfers allocated to you unless you wish to incur a points penalty or use a special game chip.
The points awarded to players are impacted by their real-world performances, how long they are on the pitch for, and the positions they play in.
You must select a captain for your team each gameweek and their points tally is doubled. The armband and points multiplier passes to your vice-captain if your captain does not play.
Smart fantasy football players get the best value out of their whole budget to ensure they show the competition who's boss. A squad – not just a starting XI - makes a season. So don't just pick a cluster of the biggest names in the Premier League and leave yourself with fringe players making up the numbers. Go for regular starters from teams across the league to help pick up more points. Here's a breakdown of how to pick your team.
The most expensive shot-stoppers are among the best in the world but there is value to be found in keepers who are kept busy at smaller clubs with solid defensive records.
Don't worry about having the perfect back three, four, or five. Players earn points as individuals, so a defence of impactful full-backs can be as good as one made up of centre-halves.
A key fantasy football tip is to prioritise players who get into the final third over defensive-minded stars, with goals and assists from midfield worth more points than clean sheets.
Resist the temptation to just fill your frontline with Golden Boot candidates. It'll leave the rest of your squad short and effectively cancel out the efforts of your free-scoring strikers.
Avoid players who are prone to multiple lay-offs over the course of the season. Poor disciplinary records can hit your points tally and regularly weaken your team too.
You already know a strong squad is crucial to success in fantasy football, but there is more to it than that. You need to think smart and dig deeper to get the edge on your rivals and then blow them away. There's no point having the same players as everyone else – unless you want to finish mid-table. Here are a few tips guaranteed to boost your chances in whichever game you choose to play.
Making your mark in a fantasy football league is how you earn bragging rights over your rivals. Nobody remembers the team which finished second. You will be automatically enrolled into some public leagues based on your location and favourite Premier League team. Private leagues require you to have codes for access and below we run through how you can join them, as well as public leagues.
Get the relevant league code from a family member or friend if you want to join a private league.
Select the 'Leagues' option on the homepage of your chosen game.
Select the option which allows you to 'Join a new league'.
Select the option which allows you to 'Join an existing league'.
Select the option which takes you to a 'Private league' or a 'Public league'.
Enter the league code if you selected private. Or select the league format if you chose public.
Setting up your own fantasy football league is a great way to challenge fellow fans over the course of the Premier League season. You can start the league so it runs alongside the real-world campaign from gameweek one. Alternatively, you can begin it a few gameweeks in. You will be in control of who can join the league and we explain how you can get one started below.
Select the 'Leagues' option on the homepage of your chosen game.
Select the option which allows you to 'Create a new league'.
Decide on a league name and select the gameweek when scoring starts.
Select 'Create league' once you have filled in these details.
Select the newly-created league on the 'Leagues' page of your chosen game.
Select the option which allows you to invite players to the new league and share the code provided with whoever you want to join it.
Collecting as many points as possible each gameweek is the key to success in fantasy football. Positive on-pitch actions, such as scoring a goal or keeping a clean sheet, gain points. However, your players will lose points if they pick up a red card or miss a penalty. Points also vary depending on the position of the player. Below is an example of a fantasy football points scoring system.
|For playing up to 60 minutes||1|
|For playing 60 minutes or more (excluding stoppage time)||2|
|For each goal scored by a goalkeeper or defender||6|
|For each goal scored by a midfielder||5|
|For each goal scored by a forward||4|
|For each goal assist||3|
|For a clean sheet by a goalkeeper or defender||4|
|For a clean sheet by a midfielder||1|
|For every 3 shot saves by a goalkeeper||1|
|For each penalty save||5|
|For each penalty miss||-2|
|Bonus points for the best players in a match||1-3|
|For every 2 goals conceded by a goalkeeper or defender||-1|
|For each yellow card||-1|
|For each red card||-3|
|For each own goal||-2|
Bonus points are only used in the Fantasy Premier League game format and are awarded to the best players in a match. A range of statistics determine each player's bonus points system score and the three top-scoring players are awarded the bonus points. Three points are added to the highest-scoring player's gameweek tally, two are awarded to the second best, and one is given to the third.
Joao Cancelo, John Stones, and Gabriel Jesus collected bonus points when Manchester City beat Fulham 3-0 in the Premier League.
Fantasy Premier League is the most popular fantasy football game and is enjoyed by more than two million UK-based players. It's free to play online and a host of great prizes are up for grabs each season.
Signing up and creating a 15-player squad is simple. There are a range of league options and a draft format to get involved with. Plus, the game features wildcard, free hit, bench boost, and triple captain chips, so familiarise yourself with these to improve your chances of success as you battle your rivals.
Fantasy Premier League is hosted within the official Premier League App, which is easy to use and updates quickly. The App is available across a wide range of mobile devices.
Dream Team is The Sun's version of fantasy football and it's proven hugely popular with fans across the UK. It's free to enter your custom-made team online and there's a £100,000 prize on the line for the winner.
You can quickly pick an 11-player team using your £50m budget and it's easy to set up a league and challenge your rivals. Transfers are limited and there aren't as many special features as in Fantasy Premier League. But, with the option to enter up to 10 teams, it's a great starting point to get to grips with fantasy football, test yourself, and flex your knowledge.
Dream Team has its own dedicated App, which is user friendly. The Sun Dream Team App is available across a wide range of mobile devices.
Telegraph Fantasy Football has stood the test of time with tons of Premier League fans playing The Daily Telegraph's game online. It's free to sign up and there's a prize pot of more than £10,000 on offer.
You can spend up to £50m on an 11-player team and set it up in any of six formations. You are allowed to choose as many players as you want from a single club, have 40 transfers a season at your disposal, and can make up to five per gameweek. You can enter five separate teams, allowing you to test what works best without fear of failure.
Unfortunately, there's no Telegraph Fantasy Football App these days. However, the main game site is accessible on mobile devices, making it a worthy rival for the other formats.
Sky Fantasy Football is run by Sky Sports and offers fans yet another opportunity to try their hand at fantasy football online. You can get involved for free and prizes include £50,000 for the overall winner.
You have £100m to spend on an 11-player team and pick a captain whose weekly points tally will be doubled. You can make up to five transfers per gameweek but are limited to 40 a season so must use them wisely. You will be entered into a league based on your favourite real-world club and can set up prize leagues with real money on the line for added spice.
Sky Fantasy Football has its own dedicated App, which is easy to get to grips with. The App is available across a wide range of mobile devices.
Fantasy football is hugely popular across the UK. More than two million people played the Fantasy Premier League game alone over the course of the 2020/21 season.
Fantasy football seasons run parallel to real-life campaigns. The Premier League starts in August and ends in May, so the fantasy football schedule will follow these dates too.
Most fantasy football leagues run from August to May but you can start your season whenever you like. The points from the gameweeks you missed just won't be included in your total.
Fantasy football fans across the UK play the game on a host of apps. The official Premier League App, which hosts Fantasy Premier League, is the most popular on the iOS and Android stores.
Fantasy football games have a 'Pick team' page in which you can change your formation and rotate the players in your squad. But you must follow the rules on the minimum number of players for each position.
Fantasy football games have a 'Pick team' page, on which there will be a link to 'Team details'. Use this to change your team's name.
Fantasy football games have a 'Leagues' page. On there you will have the option to leave a specific league by using the 'Options' link connected to it.