Fantasy football is a game in which the participants assemble a team of real life players and score points based on those players' actual statistical performance or their perceived contribution on the field of play. Usually players are selected from one specific division in a particular country, although there are many variations.
The original game was created by Fantasy League Ltd., and was first played the UK in 1991. It came to national prominence during the 1993/94 Premiership season when it was licensed as the UK's first-ever national fantasy football game in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
In smaller leagues played by a small group of people, players are bought by bidding between the rival managers rather than for a set amount of money. This means a particular player can only play for one team, and thus any points he accrues are credited to that team only.
Typically, most leagues offer the chance to transfer players in and out of the team as the season progresses, in case of injury, suspension or loss of form.
Points are then gained or deducted depending on players' performances. Points systems vary between games but typically, points are awarded for some or all of the following achievements.
As well as the above, points can be deducted for some or all of the following:
The number of points each achievement or offence is credited with varies between different games.
The Times Newspaper and their website Times Online launched a different type of Fantasy Football game for the 2006–07 season entitled PlayTheGame. It was billed as "Fantasy Football with Brains" and was a new approach to the well established format.
PlayThegame is based around a mini league, where you compete directly against your friends rather than the rest of the world. Within each league you have a unique squad, so only one player in your mini league can have a given player. Player allocation happens through an NFL style draft, so you might not get everyone you want, but should still end up with a strong squad and then the opportunity to transfer players around.