The Hack: A foray into fantasy football

In the weeks building up to the new season in the English Premier League there was plenty of speculation and rumour-mongering regarding transfers.

I’m not even talking about those whispers in the press revolving around player movements and possible big-money signings. No, these whispers have been shared on social media and whatsapp groups with the deadline looming to get a team entered in the Fantasy Premier League and the host of pools one normally finds themselves in.

Forget focusing on your beloved club for the weekend and worrying whether or not they’ll claim three points – trust me I’m an Arsenal fan and it’s an all too familiar situation – and instead your weekend interest is blown wide open.

What? Leicester City are unbeaten in two games? Great for those who went the cheap route for their squad of 15. Not so much if you thought they’d struggle to adjust to life in the big leagues.

I’ve always been a fan of sports prediction games and they’re a lot harder to get right than a sports writer would care to admit.

A haul of 44 points means I’m sitting 1 359 633 in the overall pool after two weekends but it really has changed how much of an interest I have in a weekend. One free transfer a week means that you need to be a shrewd when it comes to swopping out players. Beware of those guilty of flash in the pan performances.

If you fancied yourself something of a strategist do yourself a favour and give it a bash. You thought a manager had a hard time picking from one squad to make a match day side? Try sifting though the list of players in the Premier League before making an informed decision – read guess – and taking the plunge.

Don’t forget to be dedicated to the cause either. It’s fun for the first six weeks, something of chore for the next few months and then there’s a frenzy towards the end of the season to try and avoid the dreaded wooden spoon. Thankfully, or not depending on how you look at it, the only wooden spoons I’ve encountered were in my childhood.

The best part of all is that it’s free. But then again, the value of holding the bragging rights at the next braai or poker night is immense.

Best believe that a large chunk of this weekend will be dedicated to following the players in my squad and how they fared in their respective fixtures. It might just be fantasy football but it’s a real challenge.

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