For a long time now, sports fans have been able to pick their own fantasy sports teams for some of the world’s top men’s professional football leagues and competitions, such as the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, and Serie A. These same sports fans can also now pick their favourite UEFA Europa League (UEL) fantasy teams to score points and, hopefully, win some exciting prizes at the end of the event.
It’s free to play, and you can create your ideal team by choosing your favourite players from a total of 48 top European clubs. The Europa League may not be as glamorous as the UEFA Champions League, but in recent years, we have seen some of the biggest European clubs, such as Manchester United and Barcelona, competing in the tournament after failing to qualify for the Champions League.
What is Fantasy Football?
Fantasy football is a game that puts you in the role of a fantasy football manager, controlling a team that you pick. The real-life players can then score points for you based on their performances in the games they play over the course of a season or tournament. You will be given a budget of, for example, €/£100 million, and you start by selecting 11-15 players from the available selection (the number of players that you can select depends on which Fantasy Football website you sign up to).
If you’re based in England and sign up to Sky Sports Fantasy Football, the points that your team earn would only be relevant at this website and would not count at any other Fantasy Football websites, such as the Daily Telegraph Fantasy Sports League, the Sun Fantasy Sports League, or the official Premier League Fantasy Football website. In other words, your Sky Sports Fantasy Football team would only appear in the Sky Sports Fantasy Football League.
Some of the leagues are free to join, and others require an entry fee. You can join national leagues, or you can create your own private league(s) with your friends and relatives. Picking a team is really easy, and you can use player stats to better hone your squad. If you already have an idea of who you want in your team, choosing your team of European superstars and creating a team can take less than a few minutes. Some websites also now allow you to click on a ‘random selection’ that picks 11-15 random players for you, which is like picking a lucky dip lottery ticket. All you need to do once you have selected your team is watch as your players earn points.
How do you earn Fantasy Football Points?
Your goalkeeper and your defenders can earn you points for keeping a clean sheet (which means letting no goals in throughout the 90 minutes of play). You can earn points when your players score goals, plus bonus points for scoring hat-tricks (3 or more goals in a game), as well as points for assists (when a player makes a direct pass to his teammate that leads to that player scoring).
Some of you may be familiar with loot boxes and might be wondering if you can get loot boxes in Fantasy Football, and others may be asking what are loot boxes and how do they work? Loot boxes are consumable virtual items which can be redeemed to receive a randomised selection of in-play virtual items. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, loot boxes are not available for purchase in Fantasy Football leagues. They can only be purchased within some of today’s most popular video games, such as Fortnite.
Don’t forget that you can also lose points when your players get yellow cards or red cards. At the end of each game, you can see your overall position in the league you have joined based on the points that you earned in the game. Your points will carry through to the next game. You will keep on building up until the end of the Europa League tournament.
Each website that currently offers Fantasy Football leagues has its own point scoring system. The scoring system is relevant to that site alone. Don’t forget that the main aim is to try and collect as many points as possible. You want to be the manager with the most points at the end of the tournament.
Team Selection Process
When you select your team, you need to include a goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and forwards/strikers. Depending on which formation you select will determine exactly how many of each of these players you can choose. For example, if you go for a 4-4-2 formation, you could have four defenders, four midfielders and four forwards in your team. If you go for a 3-4-3 formation, you could have three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards, and so on.
The good news is that you can generally tinker with your Fantasy Football teams throughout the season. You’ll never be able to during a game. You have right up until just a few minutes (or possibly up to just one hour) before kick-off to change your team around with some last-minute decisions. Some Fantasy Football websites also allow you to have substitutes in your squad. So, if your player is injured that week, you can bring in a sub. Hopefully, your sub will earn you points.
If you think you have what it takes to be the best Fantasy Football manager and win either a cash prize, tickets to sporting events, the latest gadgets or some serious bragging rights, then you may want to take part in an upcoming Fantasy Football league.