How to play FPL: A beginner’s guide

Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is back for another season so Fantasy Football Scout, once again, are here to help.

Perhaps you’ve never played FPL before and have been roped into a mini-league by one of your overly keen friends.

Or maybe you’re one of those die-hard Fantasy managers who need a complete guide to show your clueless colleagues, to make sure they definitely sign up for your mini-league?

Whoever you are, we hope this comprehensive guide explains everything you need to know about FPL.

WHAT IS FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE?

FPL is a game that casts you in the role of a fantasy manager. Your task is to pick a squad of players who then score points based on their real-life performances.

DO I NEED TO PLAY IN A LEAGUE?

The game can be played solo, with managers pitching their team against millions of others around the world. However, the more exciting option is to enter your team in private mini-leagues alongside your friends or colleagues.

HOW DO I PICK MY TEAM OR SQUAD?

FPL hands you a £100m budget to spend on your 15-man squad. If you’re new to the game, this budget may seem generous but once you start selecting players, it will start getting eaten up pretty quickly. You will find that the most expensive players will be the attacking options of midfielders and forwards.

With 11 of your squad starting each Gameweek, it’s up to you to decide which four to leave on the bench and in which order. They will replace any starters that do not participate at all.

CAN I MAKE CHANGES TO MY INITIAL FPL SQUAD?

Before the start of the Premier League season, you can alter the squad as much as you want.

However, once the first deadline has passed you are limited to one free transfer per Gameweek. There is always the option to carry it over into the following Gameweek but be aware that no more than two free transfers can be collected.

After these, additional changes can be made but at a cost of four points per transfer.

The deadline for each Gameweek is always 90 minutes before the first kick-off. For example, if the opener is on Saturday at 12:30 pm (UK time), the deadline will therefore be 11:00 am.

HOW DO I ALLOCATE MY BUDGET?

Maintaining some squad balance is advised, with a healthy mix of premium stars and cheaper assets throughout.

This balance makes it easier to purchase exciting, in-form players and helps when you’re confronted with an injury or suspension.

Ideally, aim for a situation whereby one or two free transfers can fix any potential problem. Investing heavily in one area of the team may jeopardise this, should you run into some bad luck.

OKAY, SO WHICH PLAYERS DO I PICK?

At the early stage of the season, it’s harder to say which assets will be the most important, but we will always have plenty of content available to help you pick an initial squad and make transfers through the season. So make sure you stick around!

Click here for all of our pre-season coverage.

HOW DO I SCORE POINTS?

There are lots of different ways to score points in FPL, with goals, assists and clean sheets the most important match events.

Each Gameweek requires selecting a captain to score double points. By also picking a vice-captain, you have a back-up in case that captain doesn’t make an appearance.

Below is a grid which details how to score with players from different positions.

Action Points scored
Playing up to 60 minutes 1
Playing more than 60 minutes 2
Each goal scored by a goalkeeper/defender 6
Each goal scored by a midfielder 5
Each goal scored by a forward 4
Each assist 3
Clean sheet by a goalkeeper/defender (must play 60+ mins) 4
Clean sheet by a midfielder (must play 60+ mins) 1
Every three shots saved by a goalkeeper 1
A penalty save by a goalkeeper 5
Bonus points for the best players in a match 1-3

CAN MY TEAM LOSE POINTS?

Unfortunately, there are a few ways to lose points too.

Action Points scored
Missing a penalty -2
Every two goals conceded by a goalkeeper/defender -1
Each yellow card -1
Each red card -3
Each own goal -2

WHAT ARE CHIPS?

All FPL managers begin the season with a complete set of chips, to be deployed throughout the campaign. Try to be patient with them.

There are a range of different chips that managers can use:

Wildcard – The Wildcard allows you to transform your squad by making an unlimited number of free transfers in that Gameweek. It lasts beyond that one round and is your new team. There are two of these to use – the first can be used at any point until Gameweek 16, while the second can only be used after Gameweek 17. However, this season, managers are also getting unlimited free transfers in between Gameweeks 16 and 17 when the domestic action pauses for the World Cup – effectively giving us a third Wildcard to use.

Free Hit – This is like the Wildcard but for just one Gameweek, allowing unlimited free transfers for that round of games. Your old team resumes afterwards.

Triple Captain – For one Gameweek, your captain will score triple points instead of the usual double.

Bench Boost – If you’re struggling to relegate four players to the bench, this chip allows you to receive points from all 15 players. Just for one round, though.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY PLAYERS GET INJURED OR SUSPENDED?

Monitor our injuries and bans table regularly to check on your team and if a player looks to be out for a few weeks, consider using a transfer to replace him.

WHEN SHOULD I SIGN NEW PLAYERS FOR MY TEAM?

A player’s form will fluctuate throughout the season, so be careful. Ideally, you’d be looking ahead rather than chasing points that have already been missed out on.

Sustained form and proven point scorers are what you’re after. Jumping on bandwagons can often be profitable but only when it belongs to a player who you think can sustain their form.

There’s certainly a wealth of information to sift through on this website if you’re going to try to stay on top of things. We’ll bring you the weekly information you need to make informed decisions, plus opinion pieces from Scout writers and Pro Pundits.

Monitor our team news section prior to fixtures and also check out the post-match Scout Notes that we provide.