This season FantasyBet launched their first ever season-long fantasy Premier League contest with a grand £100,000 prize pool. The contest attracted the attention of fantasy players worldwide with 3,378 managers backing themselves on the competitive stage.
The FantasyBet season-long contest runs just like traditional FPL, with a near identical scoring system and rules. The only clear difference being the exclusion of the chips (aside from the two wildcards).
In my 10 years of playing season-long FPL, I’d never really seen anything like it. In the 2017/18 season I won £350 in my mate’s cash league. I’ll take it, but it’s no £25,000.
I entered and finished 225th, but most importantly, I observed and documented what can only be described as one of the tightest fantasy league run-ins of all time.
So in a valiant attempt to preserve a piece of fantasy football history, I give you a recap of the inaugural FPL100k.
Setting the scene
As the season drew to a close, the FPL title looked firmly in the hands of Adam Levy, whilst over in the FPL100k, it was still anybody’s game. First place and the £25,000 prize were still theoretically in reach for the entire top 10, with just three points separating the leading trio.
Going into Gameweek 38, Crowder leads the overall leaderboard with 2404 points, just two points ahead of second place and three ahead of third.
It would be easy to assume that the top three arrived at the top of the leaderboard by owning the same players and adhering to the same tactics.
I’d already dismissed their success and passed them off as “bloody template teams”, so it came as a surprise when I learned that each manager played their second wildcard at a different stage in the season.
Perskar used his very early (Gameweek 23) and benefitted from the fresh squad, climbing all the way up to first place soon after. Whilst Michailovic (Gameweek 32) & Crowder (Gameweek 34) used theirs more traditionally in conjunction with the double gameweeks.
Therefore, going into the season finale there was plenty of variance amongst the leading lineups, but just a few points to separate them. In theory, those who wildcarded latest should have had teams best equipped for Gameweek 38, but with such small margins, the title was well and truly up for grabs.
The thousand dollar transfer
In the Fantasy Weekly podcast, James described Gameweek 38’s transfer as “being like a free hit, because you only own that player for one week”.
But who would your transfer be if there were thousands on the line? Would you play it safe, or would you go for a differential?
Fortunately, the FPL100k didn’t disappoint. There were -8 point hits, shrewd differentials and questionable transfers aplenty.
|Perskar||4||Laporte (8pts), Redmond (10pts), Mahrez (10pts), Ings (5pts)||Jimenez (2pts), Jota (2pts), Son (0pts), Shaw (0pts)||-8||+24|
|Crowder||2||Redmond (10pts), Aguero (6pts)||Son (0pts), Calvert-Lewin (0pts)||0||+16|
|Superfun||2||Redmond (10pts), Rashford (2pts)||Son (0pts), Calvert-Lewin (0pts)||0||+12|
|Nilsnor91||3||Redmond (10pts), Rashford (2pts), Deulofeu (5pts)||Son (0pts), Gray (1pt), Camarasa (0pts)||-4||+12|
|Vielinsky||2||Redmond (10pts), Rashford (2pts)||Son (0pts), Gray (1pt)||-4||+12|
|MrFlibbles||3||Arnold (15pts), Pogba (1pt), Ings (5pts)||Luiz (6pts), Jota (1pt), Murray (6pts)||-4||+6|
|Svet1607||1||Ings (5pts)||Jimenez (2pts)||0||+3|
|EazyEE||1||Fraser (2pts)||Son (0pts)||0||+2|
|Michailovic||1||Long (1pt)||Jimenez (2pts)||0||-1|
|Doddsey90||2||Wilson (2pts), B. Silva (2pts)||Jimenez (2pts), Son (0pts)||-4||-2|
Third place Perskar took the biggest risk going into the final week, making four transfers and incurring a -8 cost. It was a high risk, high reward strategy and his high risk was highly rewarded with a gain of +24 points. His shrewd selection of Mahrez was particularly impressive.
League leader, Crowder, also saw success from his transfers with a +16 gain. It’s important to note that the two players he brought in (Aguero & Redmond) were already owned by second place Michailovic. So whilst his transfers were effective, they only served to block his opposition.
“I familiarised myself with the teams of my closest competitors before the final week but I didn’t try to copy anyone – the other teams were too different. Instead, I played my own game. The only worry I had was the absence of Man United players in my team. As it turned out, I needn’t have been concerned!”
Two of the top 10 incurred negative returns from their Gameweek 38 transfer decisions. Second place Michailovic’s free transfer punt on Shane Long scored one point less than his original, whilst Doddsey90’s -4 to bring in Wilson & B. Silva was rewarded with as many points.
“Unlike my competitors, I didn’t have Salah in my team. It didn’t affect my transfer decision though, because I’d already decided to captain Aguero. Even before the final gameweek I was convinced that luck would be the deciding factor. If Salah scored just once I wouldn’t have won. Incidentally, my transfer [bringing in Long] was totally wrong too.”
Who do you trust with the armband?
As is often the case in fantasy football, a good gameweek hinges on the performance of your captain. A differential captaincy haul would be enough to propel 10th into first on the final day, whilst at the top, such small deficits add more importance to the multiplied score.
In Gameweek 38, it largely came down to a question of Aguero vs Salah. In the FPL100k, three went Aguero (12pts), three went Salah (6pts), and the remaining four took individual punts on Redmond (20pts), Sterling (10pts), Wilson (4pts) and B. Silva (4pts).
Just 13 points behind first place, Superfun took a gamble on Nathan Redmond on the final day and was rewarded with 20 points. At the other end of the good fortune table, EazyEEE and Vielinsky’s captaincy gambles on Wilson (4pts) and Rashford (4pts) didn’t pay off.
“It was close to impossible to find a unique decision that would propel me to first place. That’s why I chose Redmond as my captain – I aimed to win. On any other gameweek Aguero would’ve been my captain, of course.”
Elsewhere, Michailvoic correctly opted for Aguero (12pts) over Salah (6pts), unlike current leader Crowder who lost out on a vital 6 points doing the opposite.
The £25,000 FPL100K Champion is…
Michailovic managed to outscore Crowder by 5 points on the final day and clinch the £25,000 first place prize by 3 points. Crowder had a near impeccable run towards the end of the season and despite nailing his final gameweek transfers, captaincy choice was his only downfall.
The decision to captain Mohamed Salah instead of Sergio Aguero in Gameweek 38 ultimately cost Crowder £14,815.
“I had to choose between Sterling, Aguero and Salah. I chose Salah for numerous reasons; mostly because Liverpool faced an unmotivated Wolves at home and I felt the Seagulls would put up a better fight against City. I also knew that Salah was still in the race for the golden boot and, with Milner absent, the Egyptian would be on penalties too.”
Superfun’s decision to captain Redmond was enough to leapfrog Perskar and Doddsey90 on the final day and double his payout. An additional goal or assist for the Southampton midfielder would have seen Superfun climb from fifth to first on the final day.
The early wildcard turned out to be the downfall for Perskar. Despite gaining +24 from his transfers on the final day, it would seem the core of his squad struggled to make ground on those who had shaken up their squad more recently.
An overview of the final 8 weeks