The Telegraph is one of the few sites to offer readers the chance to play Fantasy Football with Championship teams and players – and it’s an inspired move. It’s been a long time since the English 2nd tier was the home of muddy pitches, industrial tactics and more grit than glamour. It’s now the 5th most watched league in the world and has emerged from the shadow of the Premier League to become a multi-million-pound business attracting a growing number of top-class international players, all of whom feature in the Telegraph Fantasy Football Championship edition.
Telegraph Championship Fantasy Football
Those who are tired of the monopoly that the richest, biggest clubs hold over the top flight (with the due nod to the Leicester City vintage of 2015) can enjoy a more competitive and unpredictable league just one tier below. The 2018-19 Championship season sees Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest – both former European Champions – pit their wits against the three relegated clubs Stoke, West Brom and Swansea as well as fellow footballing giants Derby County and Leeds United. Plucky underdogs Brentford and Rotherham will hope to defy the odds to compete with the more illustrious opponents in a league where Cardiff City emerged from nowhere to win promotion to the Premier League last season.
All that provides the backdrop for what is likely to be one of the most closely fought Championship seasons for a long time. That’s not likely to make your Fantasy Football choices any easier though. The unpredictability of the league ensures it’s hard to tell who will and won’t perform from one week to the next. The Telegraph Championship Fantasy Football makes it all the more difficult with their clever pricing schemes, where lots of players are very similar in value. There are bargains to be found, but they are harder to find than in the Premier League. This edition of the Telegraph Fantasy Football League is more exciting than the Premier League version in many ways.
The Telegraph Fantasy Football Championship edition is easy to play. You don’t even need to sign up before you pick your team, and everything is controlled through one page, from where you can choose a formation, scroll through a list of players and control make your selections. You can even randomly generate a team if you can’t be bothered to choose your own and although that defeats the fun of the game, I’ve achieved some of my best results via that method in the past. When you’re happy with your selection, you click ‘Submit’, at which point you’ll be prompted to register. If you already play the Telegraph Premier League or Champions League fantasy football, you don’t need to sign up separately. Just use the Fantasy Football login you already have, and you’re good to go.
Telegraph Fantasy Football Championship Team
You can choose from six different formations when you select your Telegraph Fantasy Football team. Most participants are likely to plump for either a 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 formation to maximise the goalscoring (and therefore point scoring) potential of forwards. However, that can be more expensive because defenders tend to be cheaper than strikers. That brings us nicely on to the budget, which is currently £50 million for your first XI. You aren’t asked to select subs so are required to use the transfer system to swap players in and out of your team.
With the way prices are in the Championship these days (the £10 million marks has been breached numerous times over recent years), that amount of money wouldn’t necessarily buy you a competitive Championship squad – although you try telling that to Brentford. However, players are priced sensibly in the Telegraph Fantasy Football Championship edition so you can easily build a competitive squad from that budget. Player values range from £1.9 million for the cheapest sub goalkeeper to £7 million for the most expensive striker, with plenty of bargains found around £3.5 million-£4 million, especially among the defenders.
Telegraph Fantasy Football Transfers
You can chop and change your Championship Fantasy football team as much as you like until you submit your very first choices. After that, you can swap players out each week in response to injuries, form or the fixture list. Don’t get too trigger happy though, because you can only make a limited number of Telegraph Fantasy Football transfers. The number is capped at 40 transfers across the course of the season so use them wisely if you decide to play. You can only make a maximum of 5 transfers in any one game week too.
Telegraph Fantasy Football Scoring System
Like the Telegraph Premier League Fantasy Football and Telegraph Champions League Fantasy Football, players score points for goals, assists, starting games and, in the case of goalkeepers and defenders, keeping clean sheets. Points are removed for disciplinary issues and mistakes like own goals and missed penalties. Here’s a full breakdown of the points scoring system:
• Starting Appearance – 2 points
• Substitute Appearance – 1 point
• Goal – 5 points
• Assist – 3 points
• Red Card – -3 points
• Yellow Card – -1 point
• Own Goal – -3 points
Missed Penalty – -2 points
Goalkeepers and Defenders Only:
• Clean Sheet where the player plays 60 minutes or more – 5 points
• Clean Sheet where the player plays 60 minutes or less – 2 points
• Each additional goal conceded above 1 – -1
• Penalty Save – 5 points
Telegraph Fantasy Football Championship Edition Prize Money
The Telegraph currently offers a prize pool of £100,000 across the three editions of its Fantasy Football game. You can participate in one of the three leagues for free, but you need to pay to register more than one team. In other words, you can play the Championship version without handing over any cash at all, but if you wanted to add a Premier League or Champions League team in addition to your Championship team, then you’ll need to pay for what the Telegraph calls a ‘season ticket’. It only costs £4.99 that said, and the fee also gives you the opportunity to play for the prize pool, which is shared between the overall winners of the leagues as well as victors in special categories.
Telegraph Fantasy Football Apps
You can play the Telegraph Fantasy Football game via a browser, but they’ve also introduced apps for iOS and Android so you can manage your team easily from a smartphone or tablet. The apps are free to download and use.
Telegraph Championship Fantasy Football Tips
Our general tips for Fantasy Football play still apply to the Championship edition. Don’t concentrate all your energies on attackers and midfielders, because clean sheets can be the difference between glory and failure. Try to pick set piece takers and at least a couple of penalty takers. The Championship is a slog, and some teams will benefit from more than ten penalties across a season, so it’s even more important. Do your research and keep on top of the form tables and fixture lists. There are, however, a couple of tips which are unique to the Championship version of the game too:
1. Midweek Fixtures
A 46 game season means lots of midweek fixtures. Typically, these fixtures are genuine ‘rounds’, so every team plays. However, as cup runs take hold, some teams may not play across a game week. These are moments where you can use the transfer system wisely. You don’t want to get to the end of a game week only to find that half your team didn’t play the second game. Similarly, when games are rearranged, you can benefit from picking players who represent teams who have the second game when others don’t, giving you a chance to profit from some extra points.
2. Postponed Games
On the same note, Championship games are more likely to be postponed due to the weather than Premier League games. This picture is changing because it was a slick league this games and given the size of many of the clubs down there and the money at stake, most clubs have the means and mechanisms to ensure schedules games take place no matter what the great British weather is doing. However, games that are liable to postponement are subsequently rearranged for either cup weekends or random midweek fixtures. They provide another chance to pick up extra points if you use your transfers wisely.
3. Monitor the Fixtures carefully
Game weeks in the Telegraph Fantasy Football Championship edition often span two games because of the 46 game season. It’s easy to fall into the trap of only looking at the first fixtures of the week when planning your team. Half your players may have a perceived ‘easy game’ on the weekend but a much trickier one in midweek. You’ll need to plan for midweek fixtures to if you want to maximise your team’s potential. Are any clubs playing twice at home in a week while others play two away games? Again, using your 40 transfers wisely over a season can help you achieve more.
Top Fantasy Football Championship Players 2018-19
The most expensive player in the current edition is Middlesbrough’s powerful striker Britt Assombalonga. He costs £7 million at the time of writing. The budget is more than enough to allow you to piece together a strong side. You will find midfielders proving particularly good value for money.
Villa’s Albert Adomah, the scorer of 15 goals last season in what was something of a purple patch, is the most expensive player in that category at £5.8 million. Stoke City boasts two of the most expensive defenders in Wales Captain Ashley Williams and Ryan Shawcross, both longtime household names in the Premier League, while Leeds United’s Pontus Jansson, who is always a goalscoring threat from set pieces, features highly too. The most costly goalkeepers include Stoke’s England international Jack Butland and West Brom’s Sam Johnstone, who impressed on loan to Villa during the last campaign.
A relatively small number of players are valued above the £5 million pound mark, particularly outside of the strikers. If you do some quick math, you quickly understand how £50 million will go quite far with those pricing schemes, and you shouldn’t have to dip into the bargain basement too often to fill your side unless you have an undervalued diamond in mind. You can view of a profile for each player showing their stats for the season to help you make your decisions as well.
An Example Telegraph Fantasy Football Championship Team 2018-19
I managed to piece together the following team for my first pick of the season. If you can find a fullback who plays for a solid team but is likely to get forward and create assists too, then you’re on to a winner. One player I wouldn’t leave out is Barry Douglas, who surprisingly sold by Wolves in the summer having scored the highest number of assists in the Championship last season from left back:
Top tip. Scroll down the list of defenders where you can find lots of good fullbacks in the £3.5 million brackets.
Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough) – £3.5 million
Defenders: George Friend (Middlesbrough) – £3.5 million, James Chester (Aston Villa) – £3.8 million, Pontus Jansson (Leeds United) – £4.2 million, Barry Douglas (Leeds United) – £3.8 million
Midfielders: Mason Mount (Derby County) – £3.8 million, Neal Maupay (Brentford) – £4.9 million, Matt Phillips (West Brom) – £5.5 million
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa) – £5.8 million, Dwight Gayle (West Brom) – £6.6 million, Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday) – £4.2 million