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Is this the real life? Is this just Fantasy?

There’s just a couple of weeks remaining in the Premier League season, and of course it’s going to be a nailbiting finish with Liverpool pushing Manchester City right down to the wire.

But while there are only two teams still battling it out for the Premier League trophy, there is still plenty at stake for more than 6 million people worldwide participating in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), the competition’s official fantasy sports league.

Incredibly, it appears that a New Zealander is in #1 spot overall and looking a great chance of taking out the top prize. Adam Levy is 68 points ahead of his nearest rivals – a pretty handy lead with only a couple of weeks to go!

Adam’s been holding top spot for two months now. He’s in line to take out a pretty useful prize pack – as well as ultimate bragging rights around the world by joining a very exclusive club! I believe there has been a couple of Australians take out first place in years gone by, but I’m not aware of a Kiwi being in the running for top spot previously. I can only imagine how he must be feeling at the moment (extremely nervous more than anything else!).

The list of prizes for the overall FPL winner – hopefully travel includes flights to & from NZ!

Analysing Adam’s week-to-week performance is interesting; his highest individual gameweek ranking is 6,405, the only week he’s been inside the top 10,000. In fact, in almost half of the gameweeks he hasn’t even been among the top 1 million scoring teams. But any experienced FPL player would be in awe of his remarkable consistency over the course of the entire season.

It’s also interesting that he’s made six extra player transfers over the course of the season that he’s taken points hits for – something which many seasoned players would suggest is a no-no. In fact, glancing at his squad and transfers it’s interesting how often he’s swum against the tide of popular opinion that’s often found across the multitude of online resources and forums dedicated to the game (and end up being an echo chamber with often catastrophic results).

He wasn’t stupid enough to transfer in Theo Walcott in gameweek 4 for a start… that’s just one of my many regrets.

Fantasy sports have been around for decades, but have exploded and become a billion dollar industry worldwide over the last decade. They’re massive in the USA, with more than 50 million Americans playing fantasy sports including American Football, Baseball, and Basketball. FPL is the biggest fantasy football worldwide, although there’s hundreds of different fantasy leagues including multiple Australian A League platforms.

Real-life performances of players and teams dictate your success, with points awarded for contributions like scoring goals, getting assists, or being part of a defence which keeps a clean sheet. Players can even lose points for picking up cards, scoring an own goal, or missing a penalty.

If you’ve never tried it, be sure to give it a go when the new season rolls around. Make sure you check out Enzo’s accurate (and hilarious) 8 Laws of Fantasyland that still hold very true.

Be warned though – it can be a quick bit of harmless fun, or an addictive time suck that can even become an addiction for some.

For some reason, despite having had a crippling addiction to football management games since the age of 12, it’s only been more recently that I’ve got hooked into the world of online fantasy sports. I’ve taken NRL Fantasy quite seriously for a few years now (and even managed a top 10 finish a couple of years ago), and am now in my 5th year of FPL. Last season was my best so far – finishing in spot 85,192. It sounds rubbish doesn’t it, but it sounds a lot better if I say “in the top 2% in the world”!

This season, I’ve taken my FPL a bit more seriously, investing much more time and effort than previously; of course that doesn’t necessarily translate to more success, with my team floundering around the 125,000 mark overall, a distant 406 points off Adam’s top spot. Argh, if only I hadn’t made that last minute captaincy change from Salah to Sterling last weekend, all because someone shared an instagram post of Mo in New York which saw me panic that he might not start against Huddersfield. With my Triple Captain card already active, that swap alone cost me around 50 points – and an overall rank close to the top 50,000.

I’m fighting to hold off a couple of mates in my football club’s private league, but reckon I’ll get pipped given they’ve got some aces still up their sleeves (in the way of unused chips). And that’s not even mentioning leagues like World of Football and Ultra Football that I’m no hope of winning!

Oh well, that’s fantasy sports for you. While my FPL season won’t amount to anything, hopefully Adam can finish off the season well and take out that fabled top spot. He’s renamed his team #TheyAreUs as an apparent tribute to the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings – a nice touch that will see the victims recognised and remembered by millions worldwide if Adam’s team does win the ultimate FPL prize. Good luck Adam, I’m sure every FPL fan in NZ is right behind you!


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Morgan Jarvis

Dunedin is my home, and I’m just another football obsessive. Over the last couple of years I’ve looked after social media content for the country’s southernmost football federation, Football South, and helped the Southern United national league teams with their content and media commitments. I’ve had a crippling addiction to Football Manager ever since I was a child. Struggling to come to grips with the “no slide tackles” rule of Masters football. Perrenial follower of teams which have seen much better days.

2 replies

  1. Great article Morgan. It is remarkable that a kiwi is top of the pile. Well done Adam.
    I’m sitting in 17,146th at present and 119 in NZ. As you allude, when you factor in 6 million odd players it feels better. I did finish in the top 16,000 last year. But most importantly I’m winning my mini league “Beat Rod and I’ll shout you a beer”. I didn’t have to shout last year and hopefully can keep my wallet closed again this year… The drama!

    1. Thanks Rod. Little did I know there was an FPL expert on the team! Those are impressive performances, there’s very few who have good back-to-back seasons like that. Guess you won’t divulge your secret 😀 I might have to give your league a hopeful crack next season!

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