The Fantasy Premier League is a truly wonderful game in which football supporters aim to score the most points from players who collectively cost no more than a virtual sum of £100million.
Alongside the two or three star players which find their way into every team, the key to the game is finding the best differentials, much lesser-picked players who provide good value for money.
Players of the game can make transfers, use powerplays and change their captain from week to week to maximise their points, but what if the entire aim of the game was flipped?
Well, Planet Football’s very own Tom Victor has done exactly that and created a league in which the target is to score the fewest points possible.
And it’s not as easy as it may sound.
His rules state you need to spend the full £100m available – so you’re not just signing a bunch of players who won’t play – and you aren’t allowed to make any transfers once the season starts.
I've brought back the Fewest Points Wins fantasy league this year. Rules are as follows:
1. You need to spend the full £100m
2. No transfers allowed during the season
3. The team with the fewest points wins
4. It's at https://t.co/cmghvRJVLs, sign-up code 624289-136790
— Tom Victor (@tomvictor) July 17, 2018
Of course, we had to give it a go ourselves, and trust us when we say, it’s bloody hard.
Here are the 15 players we selected up to a total value of £100m, with some explanations of our choices.
A standard selection, we think. Pope is set to be out injured for a good chunk of the season, and when he’s back he’s now faced with a battle against two experienced Premier League stoppers – fighting them not only for a place in the Burnley squad but probably in the national set-up too.
Pope cost £5.0m, with the most expensive goalkeeper coming at £6.0m, so we don’t think we’ve done too badly here.
Also at £5.0m, Karius is another relative shoo-in. Very unlikely to play at all this season after a series of howlers both last term and in friendlies.
A decent start, with two of the most expensive goalkeepers we could possibly get at £10m.
Only five defenders are priced higher than the £6.0m Moses, who looks set to miss out on a starting role this season as new manager Maurizio Sarri is set to play four at the back.
He accrued 131 points last season, making him the ninth-highest scoring defender, but £6.0m for a player who seems extremely unlikely to make a high number of appearances is too good to turn down.
That said, he’s been used as part of a front three during pre-season so this one could come back to haunt us.
Now that we've seen that chelsea boss Mauricio Sarri is going to play four at the back. Let me ask again, is Victor Moses going to play as a right back or right winger?
If he's a right winger – he's got Pedro, Willian all ahead of him, yea?
— Ediye (@iamOkon) August 5, 2018
Koscielny was carried off 12 minutes into the second leg of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid in May with a ruptured achilles tendon, which required surgery.
He’s expected to return to training in December, but new manager Unai Emery may well have settled on a different partnership in central defence by then. The Frenchman also comes at a costly £5.5m, eating up more of this hefty budget.
Another £5.5m punt is Manchester City full-back Danilo, who has missed the entirety of pre-season after sitting out the World Cup with damaged ankle ligaments.
Obviously starting the season injured is a big positive in terms of scoring no points, but Danilo also finds himself down the pecking order, especially with Benjamin Mendy back fit.
Baines turns 34 in December, and with the arrival of Lucas Digne from Barcelona, he can be expected to play second fiddle in his 12th season at Goodison Park.
The left-back also came at a cost of £5.5m, a fairly pricely sum for a player who amounted 82 points last term, finding himself way down on the second page of defenders in order of points scored.
£5.0m for a defender who appears to have completely burned his bridges with his manager is ridiculous – or for us, absolutely wonderful.
Once again based on the premise that he is unlikely to play, with Ashley Young and new signing Diogo Dalot ahead of him in Jose Mourinho’s mind, Shaw gets the nod to take our spending on defenders to £27.5m – with the maximum possible spend on five defenders £32.5m.
Manuel Lanzini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Two players potentially out for the season, two players for £6.5m and two players we couldn’t wait to shove right into this team.
Lanzini might make a return at some point but surely West Ham have splashed the cash so they don’t have to rush anything, as they have with the Argentine before.
Get your marshmallows out, because you can toast them on this hot take. It’s caused some debate in the office and we’re certainly not convinced about it, but we needed at least one £10m+ player, so we’ve gone for Sanchez.
He has admittedly looked promising in pre-season, but his slow start to life at Old Trafford last season combined with United’s lack of signings and the defensive demands Jose Mourinho asks of his forwards makes him overpriced in our eyes.
And there are a good number of forward who could replace him at any moment should be upset Mourinho for any reason.
Another controversial one – the gaffer fancied Raheem Sterling as City’s odd one out – but we’ve gone for summer signing Mahrez.
£9.0m is a good amount for a player who hasn’t had a great pre-season, and has plenty of competition for his place in the starting line-up. Plus it’s one of those transfers that a player waits ages for and and then never lives up to expectation.
Liverpool have signed a good number of midfielders, and Lallana just seems to be on a continual slide down the pecking order at Anfield.
He turned 30 just before the World Cup, having not really been in with a sniff of Gareth Southgate’s squad, and Lallana could be expected to find himself well short of game-time this term, having scored just 13 points last season when he struggled with injuries.
A bold call, but our simple reasoning behind this is that, in general, strikers that Newcastle sign tend to turn out rubbish.
They’ve also signed Salomon Rondon on loan, and a number of predictions have Rafa Benitez leaving early in the season and Newcastle potentially capitulating as a result. Muto came at a fairly cheap price for a striker, however, costing only £6.0m.
Another fairly bold call, but Morata disappointed last term and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Sarri going in a different direction – especially with the wingers Chelsea have available and how well it worked for him putting Dries Mertens up front for Napoli.
He cost us £9.0m, basically the most expensive of the strikers we can realistically envisage scoring under 10 goals this term. Sarri has also promised Michy Batshuayi that he is firmly in his plans, while Tammy Abraham hasn’t gone anywhere else on loan.
As per many of the reasons stated above, we’ve shoved £8.0m Giroud in here as well, and let’s be brutally honest, he’s a budget Morata.
With the pace of the other attackers Chelsea have available, it’s hard to see Giroud having too much of an impact in Sarri’s first season at the helm. Another relatively expensive striker who has a longer list of cons than he does pros.
Games swing on small margins.
He’s still got it.
He was told to train with the “loan group”.
He’s not been one to mince his words.
Bordeaux have suspended their manager after this.
Very well said, Jurgen.
There’s 56 to get. Easy.
How to become a hero at a club.
Chelsea average under one English player per game.
Get ready to cringe like mad.