Empire Fantasy, it’s fantasy football NFL style but with a twist. To be honest, it’s a twist that many UK fans will recognise. You are given $200 to build your team, very much in the vein of Fantasy Football (soccer) as we know it here.
Undrafted have recently been introduced to the Empire Fantasy team and welcome them onboard as our very first sponsor. We couldn’t be more excited to be partnered with what may well be the next big thing in Fantasy (NFL) Football. The chance to be able to pick a team consisting of exactly who you want to is a welcome departure form the oft-time harrowing experience of picking at 8 or 9 in those pesky 12 team leagues. You know, where you watch every guy you are hoping for get drafted just ahead of you. With Empire Fantasy there is no no-mans land.
I thought I would dip my toe in and see just what Empire Fantasy has to offer and how it all works. Here is how I did.
As mentioned above, as an aspiring fantasy GM you have a budget of $200 to spend how you wish. Whether that be loading up at RB or at WR or whether you feel you must have that superstar QB. The only thing you must remember is that the squad must have the following:
- 2 Quarterbacks
- 3 Running Backs
- 3 Wide Receivers
- 1 Tight End
- 6 Bench Players (2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 QB)
After you have your squad you can amend this via the Market. The Market is the place to go to drop your players or to pick up new ones. You use money you have accrued (i’ll come to this next) to purchase new players. You can also sell your current players for half of their current market price. It is important to note that they are sold at their current price, not their original price. What this could mean is that if you are looking to offload an underperforming player then you are likely going to get back less that half of what you initially paid.
Scoring is half PPR, that is, for every reception a player of yours makes he scores half a point. This is on top of the regular scoring system we will all be aware of.
How Do I Win?
This is not a head to head league. Every week your team will get a score and if your score is in the top 50% of all players that week then you get a win. This continues for the first 13 weeks of the season. If, after these 13 weeks, your overall record is in the top 50% of players you advance to the playoffs. The tie breaker for same records is points scored.
Playoffs are weeks 14-16 and at the end of these three weeks the top 1% of players are crowned champions. They share the glory between themselves The top 1% of players, that’s a heck of an achievement to be part of. There is no limit to how many people can take part. If all 40 million of us who play fantasy football take part then that’s one huge league!
How Do I Make (Virtual) Money?
I could try and explain this in my words but for the sake of ensuring it is laid out correctly I hand you over to Empire Fantasy themselves:
The way you gain money throughout the season is through the Wager system. Here you are given Tokens which you wager on real NFL games to convert them over to money. You can save up your money for an expensive All Pro player or you could use it to patch up your team week by week. It’s all up to you.Empire Fantasy – http://www.empireff.com
I have submitted my 16 selections for the week. Let’s see how that goes and how much I make if anything, next week.
So…On To My Team
Whenever I play fantasy football I will always start at RB, as there are only so many elite scoring players at that position. Empire Fantasy is different in that I have every player available to me. No worry that CMC is going at 1.01, he is mine if I want him. A quick calculation tells me that for the 15 players I need to select I have an average of $13.33 to spend. This gives me an idea of where to spread my money, I start out by allocating funds between the positions just to keep an eye on what I spend. With that, let’s start.
Tight End (2)
Allocated Funds – $25
I expect this to be the cheapest position and I am right. With the aim of saving money here finding Adam Trautman for $4 makes my day. By now we all know how I feel about Trautman, in he goes. This was very nearly Mark Andrews but at $18 he felt a little rich for me. It came down to a choice between TJ Hockenson at $17 and Logan Thomas at $13 for the second spot. Whilst Thomas has the better price point, Hockenson is going to have a huge year as the number 1 target in Detroit. Welcome aboard TJ.
It is worth noting that only two TE’s can be selected so I cannot pick 4 to ride my bench, a shame but it makes sense!
Total Spend – $21
Running Back (5)
Allocated Funds – $67
The tactic here for me is to get as much scoring opportunity as I can for as little money. Scanning down the list the first thing I notice is Javonte Williams is only $13 right now, he is straight in. Even more wallet friendly is the new Ravens starting RB, Gus Edwards. $9 is steal and he joins up in quick time. This is a good start, I’m feeling confident.
Next I go bargain shopping. Carlos Hyde for $1 seems like a super cheap option with a lot of upside. Imagine Robinson goes down…Hyde becomes RB1 on that Jags team. I also have plans that he can be someone I sell later at a profit. So thats 3 RBs down and only $23 spent. $44 for my final two.
The top tier of RBS are priced from $49 down to about $35. For my plan this is too much. Instead I am going to take some of that sweet 49ers run game. I have high hopes for Trey Sermon and for $11 he is my next pick up. This leaves me with $33 for my final pick, the perfect amount allowing me to welcome David Montgomery to my team, with a little to spare.
Total Spent – $61
Wide Receiver (5)
Allocated Fund – $67
This is the position group that I expect to have the widest variance in price. If I can find some cheaper guys with upside it” allow me to spend more elsewhere. That said I want a couple of studs to lead this team as well. This time I am going to go expensive first. Calvin Ridley needs to be on every team I own, he is on this one, price $29.
To offset this I head to my favourite bargain basement and grab Amon-Ra St Brown for $1. There is no way his value doesn’t shoot up through the season. Another player with upside who is also an investment. I hate it but my next pick is also from the Detroit bargain basement. Tyrell Williams is also $1. Even if these two lions sit on my bench all year, they have taken up no budget. I have $36 for my final two WRs.
Back to the flashy section of the Market…..or so I thought. On my way back there I spot Terrace Marshall Jr also for $1. I figure if I can save money here then it can go elsewhere. This is also a third player who I hope to sell for profit later on. I’ll be re-visiting position groups after the initial shopping and any money saved is a bonus. I have $35 left to spend on my final WR. Considering the most expensive is Tyreek Hill at $32 I am saving money here for sure.
My final selection is fairly easy. We are in a form of PPR so reception volume counts. Davante Adams catches more passes than anyone and it is this which means, at $30, he rounds out my WR core.
Total Spend – $62
Allocated Funds – $41
I have to select 3 at this position and so the third will have to be a cheap and cheerful selection as I have little money left. Coming into this I actually have $56 rather than the allocated $41 to spend. Rushing QBs are always going to have a higher ceiling so that is where I want to focus. Lamar Jackson is sat staring at me for $35, as is Kyler Murray. Taking either of them leaves me with $21 for my last two. Even if I take a $1 QB then I have $20 for my third. This leaves me in Tom Brady range.
The above paragraph was my thought process as it came together. Come together it did beautifully. Lamar and Brady are quickly added for a combined $55. That leaves me a solitary $1 for QB3. I won’t find a starter for this money so what I want is a backup who has a legitimate chance to play this year. Without looking I hope Taylor Heineke is in that range…
…He is. I am about to click add and round out my team a happy guy. That us until I spy Tyrod Taylor sat staring at me for that final $1. A starter…for $1. Sold.
Total Spend – $56
The Final Squad
So there we have it. I’ve assembled my squad for week 1. What a great group of guys. I can;t lose! I do feel that there is probably a way to play match-ups a bit more than I have here but I will learn. I’ve approached it from a season long aspect rather than a week to week feel.
As I get to grips with the Money making side of this set-up I have no doubt my approach will adapt and change. For now though, here is the 2021 Winning Team:
It is a very straightforward format but one that requires a different head to standard NFL fantasy. As you have seen, I went with a couple of big names and then supplemented them with cheap as chips guys who could score. This is how I have always played standard (soccer) fantasy and seems to me like the easiest way to introduce myself to the platform.
Whilst I was going through it occurred to me there are a number of different ways you can set up a team. One that I may try is to buy a squad of cheap players. By spending very little, with the aim of selling them for a big profit if they perform early in the season, I should make quite a bit to go shopping with. I am curious to see whether I would then be able to put together a super team to make a late season run.
However you approach this platform, it is a lot of fun. The removal of the head to head matchup may not be for some people but it is a bonus for those who believe fantasy sports should be about purely how many points your team can score. It removes the chance of getting a loss and being the second highest scoring team in a week for example.
I’ve used a lot of the fantasy platforms and whilst this is not the flashiest it is certainly easy to use. The appearance is really good, you can tell a lot of time has been spent on it. There is nothing worse than looking at something which looks like it was chucked together in 10 minutes.
It is easy to navigate and responds well. There is no lagging or anything that held up my engagement with the site. What all of this means is that I very quickly lost myself in roster construction and cash management, exactly what I want from a fantasy platform. You can sort by team, by salary and by position meaning you’re never far from the guy you’re looking for.
One thing I would say is to remember the list is alphabetical. Go to the bottom of every list to check you haven’t missed someone at the price point you are shopping in.
Where to Find It…
I look forward to beating all of you and holding the title of the very first Empire Fantasy Champion.
If any of you avid readers out there have any questions about anything in this article please feel free to reach out to us and if we cannot answer the query we can direct you to those who can.
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