An introduction to Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Football, with a look at Game Week 1

It feels good doesn’t it? That feeling you get that Friday night at 19:45, Arsenal and Leicester will get the 2017/18 Premier League season underway, beneath the floodlights of the Emirates Stadium.

With the return of the football season comes the return of fantasy football, which of course will excite a lot of football fans. By now a lot of you will have your season-long teams set up and are eagerly anticipating your star striker scoring a hat-trick on opening day. What you might not have done yet is set up your daily fantasy team ready for Game Week 1.

If you are new to the format of Daily Fantasy Sports, it is quite simple. In Yahoo’s format, you get a £200 budget to select 11 players. Amongst those 11 players you must select 1 Goalkeeper, 3 Defenders, 4 Midfielders, 2 Strikers and an additional Utility player. The Utility slot gives you the freedom to pick one extra outfield player from any of the three positions. Instead of waiting until the end of the season to learn the fate of your team, you will find out by the end the weekend if you have done enough to win a contest. So how do you score points? See the Points Breakdown below for each position.

Points Breakdown

Goalkeeper

Win = 4 Points

Draw = 2 Points

Clean Sheet = 6 Points

Save = 1.5 Points

Penalty Save = 3 Points

Goal Conceded = – 2 Points

Own Goal = – 2 Points

Yellow Card = – 2 Points

Red Card or Two Yellow Cards = – 5 Points

Defender

Goal = 8 Points

Assist = 4 Points

Shot = 0.5 Point

Shot on Target = 2 Points

Successful Pass = 0.05 Point

Successful Cross = 0.5 Point

Corner Won = 0.5 Point

Foul Won = 0.5 Point

Tackle Won = 0.5 Point

Pass Intercepted = 0.5 Point

Block = 1 Point

Clean Sheet = 3 Points

Foul Conceded = – 0.5 Point

Penalty Kick Conceded = – 1 Point

Penalty Kick Miss = – 4 Points

Own Goal = – 4 Points

Yellow Card = – 2 Points

Red or Two Yellow Cards = – 5 Points

Midfield, Forward

Goal = 8 Points

Assist = 4 Points

Shot = 0.5 Point

Shot on Target = 2 Points

Successful Pass = 0.05 Point

Successful Cross = 0.5 Point

Corner Won = 0.5 Point

Foul Won = 0.5 Point

Tackle Won = 0.5 Point

Pass Intercepted = 0.5 Point

Block = 1 Point

Foul Conceded = – 0.5 Point

Penalty Kick Conceded = – 1 Point

Penalty Kick Miss = – 4 Points

Own Goal = – 4 Points

Yellow Card = – 2 Points

Red or Two Yellow Cards = – 5 Points

The pool of players you will have to select from will depend on which contest (also referred to as a “slate”) you enter. You can choose to enter one which includes all the games across the weekend or if you prefer a smaller list of players to choose from, exclusively the games that kick-off at 3pm Saturday or even just the limited amount of fixtures on Sunday. You can choose to take on hundreds or thousands of people or you can also go head-to-head, it is all personal preference. There are great cash prizes on offer and whilst there are a range of FREE contests to enter, there are also several paid contests (contest entry fees vary) enabling larger prize funds.

With this in mind let’s look ahead at who should make your line-up this week. As you have to stick to the salary cap of £200, it is imperative you mix those fantasy studs, a la Harry Kane (£29) with some value players also. Being week one, there is a great chance to add in some of the new signings who we are unsure yet how they will perform.

One big example of this is Tammy Abraham. Can the teenage sensation keep up the scoring form he showed at Bristol City last season, now he’s made the step up into the Premier League? If you think he can, he is the sort of the player you will love putting in your team, as he can be had for £16 this week, which may well look a bargain come Saturday evening. Of course with Daily Fantasy Sports, the salaries will constantly be changing, so if he scores a brace this weekend, expect his salary to take a huge jump in Game Week 2.

Here are a collection of options at varying price points for each position, who I believe could well score you some much needed points in the season opener.

Goalkeepers

The Stud:

Hugo Lloris (£16)

With an unsettled back-four in front on him on Sunday, Hugo Lloris may well be called into action on a few occasions, but luckily for Spurs he is vying with David De Gea for title of “best goalkeeper in the Premier League”.

Newcastle are not blessed with Premier-League level strikers, but their midfield is full of players with attacking intentions and may well test him from range. Saves like this can go in his stat column as we look for the Frenchman to stack fantasy points.

A clean sheet was almost a given for Spurs at certain points last season, especially at home and although they will travel to St.James’ Park on Sunday, they will go their hoping to come away with the win.

Whilst they will miss Kyle Walker and the injured Danny Rose, Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier (if fit) are ready to fill the void.

The Value Play:

Simon Mignolet (£14)

Often ridiculed and blamed for a large majority of Liverpool’s problems last season, Mignolet managed to turn his form around to an extent and will start the season as the undisputed No.1.

In the end Mignolet kept 11 clean sheets last season and if Liverpool can eventually land long-term target, Virgil Van Dijk, Mignolet may become an even better option as the season goes on.

This week though, Mignolet is just fine against Watford this weekend, saving you some valuable Salary Cap room and still not giving away too much, if like me, you expect Liverpool to come out on top this weekend.

Alternative:

Jordan Pickford (£15)

Pickford, a huge £30m buy for Everton earlier in the summer will be keen to prove his worth early on, as he makes the step up from relegated Sunderland to top-6 contenders Everton this season.

The young Englishman was a fantasy stud last season, despite being part of a poor Sunderland side and with a better defence and team in general in front of him, he may well flourish. A good shot-stopper, Pickord was regularly called into action last season, giving him the chance to score well.

Stoke City are not without their problems and they seem to lack a prolific scorer this season, so there is every chance The Toffees will keep a clean sheet this weekend, which will be essential for Pickford’s scoring.

Defenders

The Stud:

Marcos Alonso (£17)

A must-start this week is Chelsea left wing-back, Marcos Alonso. Many chuckled when the former Bolton Wanderers player was brought into Stamford Bridge for big money but he proved any doubters wrong, week-after-week putting in exceptional performances.

A big part of Antonio Conte’s system, Alonso reaped all the benefits of being part of a title-winning side and was in fact very unlucky to be snubbed for the PFA Team of the Year.

Burnley have very little in the way of an attacking threat, after selling their star forward to Watford in the form of Andre Gray and I find it difficult to see them breaking down a strong Chelsea defence. With that in mind you are potentially looking at points for a clean sheet, before you take into account what Alonso adds going forward, regularly looking to get balls in the box.

He is tied for the most expensive defender this week, but for very good reason and there is value elsewhere to allow you to spend the money to put him in your side.

The Value Play:

Charlie Daniels (£13)

Charlie Daniels was one of many positives things about Bournemouth in their second season in the Premier League and another season on there is every reason to expect more of the same.

Almost an Alonso-lite, Daniels wasn’t far behind the elites in terms of fantasy scoring last season, averaging 7.0 points a game. Alonso averaged 8.9 but that far exceeded most and the next-best was James Milner at 7.9.

For £13 you are getting an attack-minded full-back in a side that enjoy playing good football. The Bournemouth defence did ship a lot of goals last season (67) but they play a West Brom side who are not the most potent attacking force, so a clean sheet is a distinct possibility this week.

Alternative:

Andrew Robertson (£14)

Liverpool have improved a problem-area for them this summer, bringing in Scotland’s, Andrew Robertson who should make the left-back spot his own, replacing Alberto Moreno.

Robertson is attacking by nature as are Liverpool, so it looks a match made in heaven. Better defensively than his predecessor, Liverpool increase their chances of  a clean sheet with Robertson in the side instead of Moreno.

Hoping to get off to a big start to the season, Liverpool will be expecting a comfortable win over The Hornets and Robertson will be desperate to prove that the Merseyside club were right to plump for a player who was part of a relegated side (Hull City).

Midfielders

The Stud:

Sadio Mane (£25)

Mane had a very good debut season for Liverpool last year despite limited appearances and they will be expecting more of the same from him this season. Mane could only manage 27 league appearances during his first year at Anfield due to injury and the African Cup of Nations, but he still managed to score 13 goals.

Despite a lack of appearances, such were the quality of his performances when he was on the field, he managed to now only be picked as the club’s player of the season but was also named in the PFA Team of the Year.

With Coutinho looking likely to head for the exit door, Liverpool will be looking to Mane, Roberto Firmino and new signing, Mohamed Salah to make things happen going forward.

Mane scored twice against Watford when The Hornets travelled to Anfield but Mane was not involved in the reverse fixture. Playing at Vicarage Road shouldn’t bother him though and there is every chance he can improve on his efforts last season, given how impressive the attacking trio of Firmino, Salah and Mane have looked in pre-season.

Watford conceded 68 goals last season, with only Sunderland (69) and Hull City (80) conceding more. They have signed a right-back in the shape of Kiko Femenia but otherwise this is a similar looking defence that struggled badly last season.

Liverpool will be expected to win this game and really it is just a case of which attacking player of their’s to put in your side this week. Firmino and Salah are both cheaper at £24 each but there are plenty of forwards to chose from this week. With some big-name midfielders missing in Game Week 1, Mane may be the spark you need in your midfield to lead the way in your respective contest.

The Value Play:

Matt Ritchie (£17)

Ritchie enjoyed a great first season in the top-flight with former side Bournemouth, before moving to Newcastle last summer, to the bemusement of many. Still, he vindicated his decision by making the immediate return to the Premier League that everyone associated with Newcastle expected, and he will be looking to make an impact at the highest level once again.

For £17 you are getting a player who is involved in a lot that is good about Newcastle going forward, and they may well lean on him more this season to get goals, as their look short of Premier League quality up front.

In his first season in the league with Bouremouth, he showed some good quality and now another two seasons on he may well improve on that first top-flight outing. Under the guidance of a manager of Rafa Benitez’s quality you are bound to progress as a player and if Newcastle are to stay up, one would imagine Ritchie will be heavily involved in that happening.

Spurs would have looked a very difficult season-opener when the fixtures came out, but with the loss of Kyle Walker and Danny Rose’s injury and off-field concerns, the North London side are now unsettled at the back. Kieran Tripper and Ben Davies are both capable replacements as previously stated, but Ritchie will enjoy running at Davies all the same.

Ritchie is also a set-piece taker for his side, which is always a huge plus for fantasy purposes.

Alternative:

Wilfried Zaha (£20)

Huddersfield will have to travel to Selhurst Park to start their Premier League campaign and it is unclear how the newly promoted side will get on.

Of course there is uncertainty at Palace at the moment, with the newly appointed Frank De Boer looking to take the Premier League by storm. A graduate of Ajax’s system both as a player and a manager, De Boer will undoubtedly look to introduce a more attractive style of play, which will suit the skillful Zaha.

Zaha had a very good season last year, even when Palace were struggling and as a result was linked strongly with Tottenham Hostpur, as well as former side Manchester United. For now though, Zaha looks set to stay put and if he is given the freedom in De Boer’s system, he could flourish once again.

Huddersfield have spent plenty of money in the summer in a desperate bid to stay in the league, but Palace will still look to give them a reality check at the first opportunity.

Zaha seems to be at the focal point of anything good at Palace and if he carries that momentum from last season, into the first week of this one he could well score big on Saturday.

Forwards

The Stud:

Romelu Lukaku (£28)

Expensive he is, but for good reason. Many expect Manchester United to contend for the title this year, which they do most years and now they have a goal scorer of Lukaku’s quality in the side, they are that bit stronger once again.

It is not just the quality of his club though, Lukaku has an outstanding record against West Ham, scoring 9 goals in 12 appearances and those 9 goals came in 9 consecutive games whilst in an Everton shirt.

West Ham struggled last season and whilst they are expected to pick up this year, an opening day visit to Old Trafford is certainly not what they would have hoped for, even if Javier Hernandez will relish in the chance for redemption.

Simply put, Lukaku is amongst the league’s elite strikers and now playing in a team of United’s quality he should only improve and given his track record against the Hammers, he and everyone associated with the club will be expecting him to score at least once this weekend.

The Value Play:

Tammy Abraham (£16)

As mentioned previously, Abraham was in red-hot form in the Championship and whilst we have seen in the past that these strikers making a step up in league can struggle, I fully expect Abraham to make a big impact in this Swansea setup.

Paul Clement may well have used his ties at previous employers, Chelsea to get this loan deal completed and the striker who has just signed a 5-year deal at his parent club will be keen to impress at the first time of asking in the top-flight.

There are question marks surrounding Southampton this season and with Virgil Van Dijk out through injury and probably not returning as he looks for a move to a top-4 side, The Saints may well struggle in defence this season. Abraham can exploit this weakness on his competitive debut for Swansea, using his pace and clear goal scoring ability to make his mark.

Whether he is partnered up front with Fernando Llorente in the long term, or whether they go with one striker remains to be seen but if it is the latter, Abraham may have to settle for limited minutes off the bench over the course of the season. Long term doesn’t matter in this game though, this week he is worth chancing at a modest price, as Llorente is ruled out with a fractured arm, which he sustained whilst cycling over the summer, making Abraham an even better prospect.

Ultimately, until proven otherwise we are looking at a striker with an eye for a goal and the world at his feet.

Alternative:

Michy Batshuayi (£18)

New signing Alvaro Morata may well need time to settle into the side and with Diego Costa disenchanted there is a chance for last summer’s signing, Michy Batshuayi to get an extended run in the side.

The Belgian international scored four goals in his last three games last season and he will look to carry that form over to the new season and get a goal in the opening fixture at home to Burnley.

Burnley struggled terribly on the road last season, winning just once and losing 14 times and whilst they can only really improve on that, I don’t expect them to start that improvement here.

Only Hull City and Sunderland lost more away games (15) all season and I cannot see their fortunes reversing this weekend at Stamford Bridge, so this Chelsea side should come in with every confidence of securing a good result. This should give Batshuayi the freedom to go out and play his game, which saw him score plenty of goals in France, before arriving in England.

Even if Morata is thrust straight into the starting XI, he will no doubt be eased in, so we could see Batshuayi at the very least get 20/30 minutes at the end of the game, especially if Chelsea are leading. This makes him a viable option as either your second forward or at the Utility spot.

 

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