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Football season is just around the corner, and preparation for the new fantasy season has been in full-swing for months.

What? Football season started 2 weeks ago? And so did fantasy?

Ah, you mean the Premier League. Soccer. I don’t bother with that anymore. I’m talking about American football. That’s my fantasy.

Yep, the greatest show on Earth – and the best fantasy football on Earth, is about to start again, and I can’t wait.

This is my fourth fantasy football now, and I doubt I could live without it. There are 2 major differences around the format of this, when compared to the Premier League fantasy. First up, a league of anymore than 12 would be practically impossible. This is due to the second major difference, no multiple players across teams. So, for example. If me and you are in the same league, we can’t both have Zlatan. And let’s face it, I was wrong – we would both want him. So who gets him?

Quite simple, whoever takes him first. You are set up in an order. A draft order. Decide this however you want, we go with whoever finished bottom last season and work our way up. Just like the NFL draft works. So, if you’re first, and you decide Zlatan is the most important player available to you, then you take him. And nobody else can! Don’t panic, if it doesn’t work out, you can always trade him to another team, if you can strike up the right deal! Prepare for some unfair and often bizarre trade discussion though!

And for fucks sake don’t forget you need to draft a squad. Last year saw 2 kickers and 4 tight ends go to one team. Six. Breaking it down to soccer terms again for you – would you use 6 picks on right backs and left backs  in a squad of 15? No, and this is even worse than that.

So, you’ve spent the last few months breaking everyone down by position. Looked at all the stats from last year. Checked the predictions for the news season. Made a mental list of your old favourites, and the new kids on the block you like the sound of. Practiced mock drafts daily for a few weeks. You’re ready. You’ve nailed it over and over. Fuck it, you’re ready for Draft Day.

Draft Day. You’re ready. You’ve got a little reminder list of your targets, and a sketchy plan b, in case someone has the same plan as you. Few drinks, and some food on the BBQ. A few shots of some of the strongest shots the World has had to offer over the last few months of summer holidays. Creeping around the boys, see if you can squeeze some of their draft plans out of them. Bluffers all around.

It’s time. Time to draft. I’m usually pretty drunk by this point. And it’s only gonna get worse.The picks start rolling in, you can pretty much call the first few picks, all the studs fly off the boards. Your Zlatan. Your Aguero. As it gets closer to your pick, you get a little worried. Has the guy before me seen the same as me in his plan? Is he going to take my man? I hope he doesn’t. Wait, why wouldn’t he? Is he stupid? Am I stupid? Fuck.

Now. I’ve experienced this twice, from both sides of the fence. When you blow another coaches plans out of the water, unravelling months of his work, and making him switch to his sketchy plan b for the rest of the draft, that’s the best feeling in the World. Unlucky sucker. Pick up the pieces from that. And i’ve got 14 more picks to go.

However, when you’re the other coach who has to revert to your sketchy plan b because another coach has actually seen what you have over the summer, destroying a summer of hard work in one fucking sticker, that sucks. A lot. I had no intention of using the plan b.

Anyway, draft continues. Drinks continue. Shots continue. Over the space of about 3 hours, you are tasked with assembling the strongest, most versatile squad you can – whilst getting drunker and drunker – that can lead you to fantasy glory. Easy, right?

Truth be told it’s luck of the draw. Sure, you’ll get your studs in that always deliver. But that’s not enough, you need to score from everywhere on your squad. You need to find the best average players you can deep down in the rankings. Someone is going to have to have Ben Watson from Watford in their squad. Joe Ledley from Palace is going to be picked by someone. In simplest terms there are 12 teams of 15 players. So, 180 separate players will be picked from the ones available.

Now the rest sit on the wire, available to everybody. And you can take them whenever you want – but keep your eye on them and be fast, because everyone else is watching too!

Once you’ve finished draft, steaming drunk and you find a little corner to have a look at who the fuck you’ve picked in the last 3 hours, you’re either gonna be delighted or devastated – but don’t worry, once the season starts you can make some moves.

Like I said before, you can trade players if you can strike a deal with a fellow coach. And you can take a free agent off the wire for one of your bums too. Let’s say you draft Luke Shaw and he’s either shit or injured. You need to get rid of him. It’s OK, unexpectedly Neil Taylor has been tearing it up for the Swans, and is on the free agents. Swap Shaw out, swap Taylor in. You’re not guaranteed him, shittest team always gets first pick. Let’s hope they haven’t seen you need a left back and swapped Taylor in for trade purposes! It’s a dog eat dog World.

And finally, don’t fuck up the flex.

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