What is fantasy football? How can I play? Your top questions answered

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Using Google Trends data, Goal provides responses to the queries you are most commonly asking as the new fantasy football season approaches

The new Premier League season is nearly upon us.

And with real-life squads now close to being settled ahead of the campaign's first kick-off at Arsenal on Friday night, fans across the country are making the final tweaks to their fantasy football teams in anticipation of gameweek one.

Fantasy football: The complete guide

To lend a helping hand to those virtual managers and anyone waiting until the last minute to sign up this year, Goal has taken a look at Google Trends data to answer the questions most commonly being asked about fantasy football.


1. WHAT IS FANTASY FOOTBALL?


Gabriel Jesus Manchester City Premier League

Fantasy football is a game that has been played for decades, originating from the fantasy golf and baseball equivalents that emerged in the United States in the 1950s.

The basic premise of most such games sees a group of participants each pick teams of players from a certain league and compete against each other, with points earned based on the real-life performances and statistics of those players.

Fantasy sports exploded in popularity with the development of the internet. Whereas previously the management of leagues had been a time-consuming exercise, requiring someone to monitor squads and keep score, online platforms automated much of the process and made communication between players much easier.

As of 2015, it was estimated that fantasy sports had become a $2 billion industry.

In the UK, millions create a fantasy football team every season. Those are usually centred around the Premier League, with each player assigned a value and 'managers' then given a set transfer budget with which to build a squad.

Those players are then awarded points each week based on their real-life performances in terms of goals, assists, clean sheets and other statistical categories.


2. HOW DO I PLAY FANTASY FOOTBALL?


Goal Fantasy Football is already up and running for the 2017-18 season - and it's free to play. You can download the mobile app through this link to create and update your squad on the go.

We are currently running two different varieties of game: the English Premier League, which, as the name suggests, is based on the English top flight, and the Goal Super League, which features players from the top clubs across Europe.

A Champions League game will also be added later in the season.

New players and kits have already been added, with signings such as Bernardo Silva and Mohamed Salah available to include in your 2017-18 team and unlimited changes allowed until the first weekend of the season.

You can also invite your friends to play and start creating custom leagues as well as proposing head-to-head challenges.

There is also a popular version of fantasy football run on the Premier League's official website, with over four million players signed up.

In addition to their usual format, the Premier League have introduced a new draft game this season. Instead of selecting whichever players they want within their transfer budget, fantasy managers instead take turns to pick players one by one.

Once one team has selected a player, he is taken off the board and unavailable to the rest of the league.


3. WHO SHOULD I PICK FOR FANTASY FOOTBALL?


Philippe Coutinho Liverpool

To give you a hand in selecting your team this year, Goal has put together position-by-position guides for the new Premier League season. Check them out at the links below.

The best fantasy football goalkeepers

The best fantasy football defenders

The best fantasy football midfielders

The best fantasy football strikers


4. HOW DO I WIN FANTASY FOOTBALL?


Fantasy football leagues are won by selecting teams that accumulate more points based on their players' real-life statistics than the others competing with you.

In this year's official Premier League game, points are scored as follows:

Action Points
For playing up to 60 minutes 1
For playing 60 minutes or more (excluding injury 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

To qualify for a clean sheet, players must be on the pitch for at least 60 minutes. Goals conceded after they have been substituted do not affect their clean sheet points.

Beyond selecting your squad astutely, making sure you check your team before each matchday is also important. The managers who are most consistent in selecting the right captain and making appropriate substitutions and transfers will often have the edge.


5. HOW DO I CHANGE MY FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM NAME?


Harry Kane Tottenham

On the official Premier League fantasy football game, you can change your team name on the 'team details' page while logged into your account.


6. HOW DO I JOIN A FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE?


Once you have signed up for an account and selected a team on Goal Fantasy Football or the official Premier League fantasy football game, you will automatically be entered into the public rankings.

You can also create custom leagues in order to compete with your friends. Simply follow the instructions within either game and share the league code you are given with those you want to invite to participate.


7. WHEN DOES FANTASY FOOTBALL START?


Alvaro Morata Chelsea 2017

Both Goal Fantasy Football and the Premier League's official game are available to play now in advance of the start of the new season.

The latest summer transfer rumours

You will be able to make unlimited transfers to tweak your side as you see fit right up until kick-off on Friday, August 11, when Arsenal start the new campaign against Leicester City.


8. HOW DO YOU DELETE A FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM?


You will have to delete your entire account (via your account settings page) on the Premier League's website in order to wipe a fantasy football team. Most users just let their teams fade down the league tables if they lose interest.


9. WHAT DO YOU GET POINTS FOR IN FANTASY FOOTBALL?


As mentioned above, the Premier League fantasy football game allocates points as follows:

Action Points
For playing up to 60 minutes 1
For playing 60 minutes or more (excluding injury 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

To qualify for a clean sheet, players must be on the pitch for at least 60 minutes. Goals conceded after they have been substituted do not affect their clean sheet points.


10. WHAT IS A FREE HIT IN FANTASY FOOTBALL?


Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal

'Free hit' is one of the new chips added to the Premier League's fantasy football game this season.

These chips give managers the chance to do something on a one-off basis to boost their team. One existing example is 'triple captain', which lets you pick three captains - who will score double points - instead of one for a particular gameweek.

'Free hit' will allow managers to make as many transfers as they want for one gameweek before their previous squad is restored the following week.

That should prove useful if you find yourself riddled with suspensions or injuries and want to make temporary changes, or if postponements or a double gameweek make players from certain clubs briefly more valuable than others.

It can only be used once per season and replaces 'all-out attack', which allowed managers to play a 2-5-3 formation for one gameweek.

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