Happy Monday: Sign Up for the BP Fantasy League

Good Morning, people. The Community Shield, the annual August meeting between the defending Premier League champions and the FA Cup holders, kicked off at Wembley yesterday, with Manchester United rallying from two goals down to beat Manchester City 3-2.

You know what that means: one trophy has been handed out, and the season is upon us.

Next weekend, the 2011-12 English Premier League season—along with the First Annual Backpost Premier League Fantasy Competition—begins, with seven matches on Saturday and two on Sunday.

If you haven’t already signed up for the Backpost league, click here and follow the directions to do so. We’re up to 18 teams, and counting, as of this morning.

To get you ready for the season, we’re going to turn over the mic to Our Man at the Valley, co-founder and co-commissioner of the BP Fantasy League, who has some useful tips for getting the most out of your £100 million budget:

“Though I have every intent of winning the Backpost division of the Barclays EPL Fantasy Football competition, I thought I’d dish out some preseason advice in an attempt to guide some of you newcomers.

For those who haven’t registered, follow the instructions in the link above. For those who have already registered, note that you can make unlimited transfers between now and a couple of hours prior to the beginning of the season. Once the season starts you’ll be limited to one transfer a week (with a couple of exceptions; see the rules on the site).

“An initial squad of 15 that works (at least until decimated by injury) is mightily important. Twice during the season you’ll be able to play a wild-card and change your entire roster, but using up one of those early on is something we all should hopefully avoid. One preseason task is to figure out who is in a team’s starting 11 and who isn’t. Lineups from preseason friendlies are a notoriously bad indicator of who will start Gameweek 1. Transfers can wreak havoc (see Liverpool and their nine high-quality midfielders); Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam were automatic first-choice players at Aston Villa and Blackpool, respectively, last season. Will they see much action when competing with Kuyt, Gerrard, Henderson, Meirles et. al. in the Liverpool midfield? I’d suggest staying away from all of those players until Daglish manages to sort out the puzzle for you.

“So how do you choose the composition of your initial squad of 15? One big question is how many expensive players you should try to fit in your squad of 15. If you assume that the cheapest role players will cost you on average 5.0 million pounds, a squad of 10 role players and five superstars is achievable.

“As in real life, strikers tend to be overvalued. Eight strikers and nine midfielders have starting values at 10.0 million or above. But the highest price for a ’keeper or defender is 7.0 million. And while nine midfielders scored at least 150 points in last year’s game, and six strikers did the same, there were three keepers and three defenders who also reached that magic number. Still, restricting your spending to 50.0 million on five superstars starts to be difficult when you want Rooney and Van Persie and Lampard.

“Finding those keepers and defenders is very important to your overall success, and I like to cut corners here to save some money for my attacking positions. I’d suggest someone like West Bromwich Albion’s Ben Foster (153 pts last year; valued at 5.0 million as of now) in goal instead of someone like Joe Hart of Man City or Chelsea’s Petr Cech. Similarly, there are plenty of defenders who are good value at the 6.0 million range rather than the 7.5 million range.

“Of course, having role players who start, and play, is important. The idea is that over the first few weeks most of us will be swapping out players who aren’t playing for those that are. Frequently during the course of the season this is caused by injuries. Early on, though, it’s typically a function of including in your initial 15 a couple of guys who are keeping the subs’ bench warm. Be prepared to spend your weekly transfer over the first few weeks to help create a team where all 15 players appear regularly.”

Thank you, OMATV. Listen well, BPL managers.

Again, go here to register if you haven’t already done so, and keep an eye out for another Fantasy post in the next few days from OMATV’s esteemed cohort, MGlo.

Below are the highlights from yesterday’s Community Shield, and if you’re looking for an MLS fix, go read our column at the league site.

Thanks for reading, and good luck in the fantasy footy.

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