If you’re the sort of person who picks a fantasy league team in August and then forgets about it after the first few weeks, we’ve got the perfect game for you.
There have been plenty of occasions where we’ve lost interest in our FPL side early on, before returning at some point in the spring to find a disappointingly-low points total.
However, when I started running the Fewest Points Wins league, the aim was to put those who religiously study the game every week with those who can’t keep their concentration for even half as long.
So, first things first, what is the Fewest Points Wins league?
As you’ve probably worked out by now, the aim of the game is to get as few points as possible. Instead of cheering for goals, assists and clean sheets, you’ll be happy to see own goals, red cards and long-term injuries for your players.
Of course, if that was the extent of it, everyone would be picking the same players – those fringe players or long-term injury victims who are unlikely to play any part in the upcoming season. Maybe even a long-term loanee or three.
Essentially, then, we need some rules in place to make sure we don’t have hundreds of teams packed with the likes of Marc Navarro and Luke Amos, which means…
Put simply, there are only four rules.
Rule 1: the team with the fewest points at the end of the season is the winner.
Rule 2: you can make as many free transfers as you want up until the first deadline, as is the case with the ‘normal’ game.
Rule 3: after that, no transfers at all, free or otherwise.
Rule 4: you have to spend the full £100m budget.
The full gamut. Now, obviously this raises a few interesting dilemmas.
First of all, it’s impossible to pack your team with the cheapest available players on the game. Additionally, because of the ‘no transfers’ rule, you can’t pick an applicable team for Week 1 and then bring in the cheaper fellas after the Saturday games.
Yes, people have tried that before, and no, it doesn’t work.
Well, if you’re reading this now, you might be too late for some of the ‘best’ players. If someone’s available on the FPL database, you’re allowed to include them in your team for this game.
At the time of writing, Kieran Trippier is still available, while you might want to get your hands on some of the folks you expect to leave the Premier League before the transfer deadline passes.
Of course, there’s always the potential for players to leave on loan in August and then earn a recall in January, screwing up those best-laid plans of yours.
Last season, for example, those who smartly recruited Michy Batshuayi when his switch to Valencia was all-but wrapped up will not have been delighted to see him trade Spain for south London during the winter transfer window.
There are multiple ways to go about this, and – based on previous years – the most popular has been to take a punt on a couple of high-priced players failing to do the business.
If you put your (lack of) faith in Alexis Sánchez last year, for example, it probably worked out pretty well for you.
The alternative, though, is to pad your team with mid-priced players who you expect to be ‘just fine’, ensuring you don’t get weeks where your team scores next to nothing, but you also don’t have the risk of a player who hits the 200-point mark on his own.
A word of advice: backup goalkeepers are usually good places to pad your budget, but there’s always the risk of injuries or poor form resulting in more minutes than anticipated: think Asmir Begović’s 17 games for Chelsea in 2015-16, or Willy Caballero’s 16 for Manchester City the following year.
Elsewhere, there’s a bit of a guessing game when it comes to determining which big name from a big team will fail to hit his stride. Kevin de Bruyne was that man last season, thanks to a series of injuries, but if you gambled on Raheem Sterling suffering a similar fate then you were out of luck.
Sign up at fantasy.premierleague.com as usual, though if you’re also playing the normal version of the game then you’ll need to register with a separate email address for your fewest points team.
Once you’ve picked your squad of 15, you can enter the code ‘eruxy6’ to enter the Fewest Points Wins league – if you were involved last year and used the same email address, you might automatically be added.
I’ll be checking the teams in week one to make sure everyone’s playing by the rules, but once you’ve selected your team you can just sit back and wait until May.
Bad luck, everybody!
By Tom Victor