Private Leagues: Yes
* It’s free
* Extensive scoring system may appeal to hardcore football fans
* Fluctuating player prices introduce additional strategy
* Private leagues are easy to setup
* Dedicated blog giving weekly tips and advice
* Scoring rules can be bewildering
* The wealth of stats is off-putting to casual players
* Plays like a weekly player form prediction league
* Option for full weekly transfers give hardcore players advantage
* No prizes
* Website is a little clunky
Managers first select a formation from the 4 available and then select their initial lineup of 11 players. Each player is given a unit value that rises and falls based upon a “Yahoo! Sports algorithm” that reflects that particular players achievements each week. Your initial lineup must be within the 100 unit budget. Your lineup can be changed, in full, each gameweek.
Points are scored for a whole range of actions on the pitch. These include the standard point scorers – 7 points for a goal, 3 for an assist and 4 for a clean sheet. However, these are supplemented by a whole string of additional point scoring actions including points for a shot on target, blocks, interceptions, last ditch tackles and successful crosses. There’s simply too many to list here.
Yahoo’s game is something of an odd fish. It possesses by far the most complicated scoring system of any Fantasy Football game – a system which will appeal to those looking to flex some new Fantasy Football muscles but for the majority it will reveal itself as being too complex for its own good.
Yahoo’s game also feels different to play in comparison to other fantasy games. It feels more like a weekly prediction league, where managers select players based on their likely week performance rather than their long-term form. This is created by the option for managers to scrap their entire team and start from scratch each week. This enables manager to address fluctuating form from week to week. Again, this sounds like a fantasy feast for the football fanatic, but this design can alienate those who cannot commit a weekly session trawling the wealth of stats and weekly fixture list.
The fluctuating player values are so important to this game. In simple terms, as players rise and fall in form so their player value fluctuates. This means that although you pick your original lineup to a 100 unit budget, your players can increase or decrease in value whilst in your team, according to their form. While you’ll never have less than 100 units with which to select a team each week, the fluctuation in player values means you’ll need to snap up players that come into form early on to avoid playing an increased fee for them
Only the Premier League game offers a similar fluctuating player value market and that game actually caps the amount you can “earn” from rising player values. In this game it’s not so much about profiting from smart signings but about making the right signings at the right time. If you can snap up a player just as he recovers from a dip in form then you can find yourself a bargain. The skill is in identifying those opportunities and knowing when to keep faith with a player and when to let go.
When you register a team here, you get placed in a public group ( a kind of mini-league ) along with other managers who have specified the same favourite real-life club as yourself. A nice touch. In addition you can also join up to 6 private groups to compete with mates. However, this game is definitely not the best option if you’re looking to set up a private league, as it’s doubtful just how many fellow managers you’ll find for your league who are hands-on and keen enough not to be put off by the elaborate scoring system and the stats at the core of this game.
Yahoo get their stats via Opta and they clearly wanted to get value for money – there’s a huge number of them. Analysing them might appeal to those looking to hammer home their knowledge of who makes the most last ditch tackles in the Premiership but, come week 4 when you’re loads of points behind, the bewilderment of stats can often kill the interest of all but the hardened Fantasy Manager.
Strangely, for a game more suited to solo play, it offers no prize money. This ensures that multi-entrant managers are kept away and, coupled with the fact that it perhaps calls on more detailed knowledge of player performance, the Yahoo game is a clear choice for the solo Fantasy manager looking to gain kudos rather than prize money.
The Yahoo game is certainly not a soft option. The scoring system changes the dynamic if you’re used to the simple goal/assist scoring of other games. It’s a real challenge and because of that it certainly has some appeal. Even if you’re not considering playing this game as a full-time investment, it can still be worth registering. It is, after all, free, and if you’re a more dedicated Fantasy Football manager, you may find the stats a useful tool to help you with your alternative games. Certainly the stats such as shots on target and the fluctuating player prices will give you a heads up on player form which is always useful. Plus the game has one of the few, regularly updated blogs dedicated to it that offers useful advice and information.