On Boxing Day, one of the best times in the Premier League season begins. Over a 10-day stretch, three matchweeks will be played across nine days of matches. Between 12/26 and 1/4, there will only be one day without Premier League football.
As Dave pointed out on our latest podcast, this is a tough stretch for players, but it might be even more stressful for fantasy players. You need to remember to set your lineup for each matchweek.
Only now, the stakes are higher still. The FPL Cup is here!
What Is the FPL Cup?
The FPL Cup is the fantasy soccer version of the FA Cup. Whether or not you are in the cup is already determined. On a computer or tablet, visit the FPL website to see if you have qualified. To qualify, you had to be in the top 2,097,152 scorers for Matchweek 17 last weekend. If you were, you have been randomly drawn for a head-to-head matchup against another FPL player for Matchweek 18 this coming weekend.
This head-to-head matchup is in addition to the usual league play you will have this weekend. If you win, you will be randomly drawn against someone else who won. This will continue until the final week of the season. The two remaining FPL owners will face off to determine this season's FPL Cup winner.
What Don't You Like the FPL Cup?
The FPL Cup is an amazing concept. It is carried out very well and adds another layer of fun to the Fantasy Premier League season. Its ability to mirror the real-life cup fun played out by the best British clubs in the world is a major plus in fantasy soccer.
There's one possible way to make it better, though.
As mentioned above, the top two-million plus scorers from this past matchweek have been entered into the cup. Since the FPL Cup is a tournament of one-week knockout rounds until the end of the year, this seems to make sense; after all, qualification is also a big one-week knockout-style setup among FPL players.
What if it wasn't, though? What if qualification was something that had to be earned over a bigger stretch of time? What if the top 2,097,152 scorers over Matchweeks 1-17 were entered into the FPL Cup instead? Wouldn't that be better?
Our league has one of those guys, like most leagues. That guy -- we'll call him Joey -- filled his team with players from his favorite club (Chelsea) when the season started. He set his lineup for Matchweek 1, made Eden Hazard his captain, and has not touched it since.
He is doing pretty well in our league right now because...well, Chelsea. He has also qualified for the FPL Cup, but he could not care less. He got lucky by having his automatic lineup do well last weekend, which put him in the cup competition.
While it's true that luck is always going to be a part of fantasy soccer, wouldn't it be better to put the best two-million plus fantasy soccer players -- as proven over 17 matchweeks -- into the tournament rather than just the ones who scored the highest in one week?
This would likely improve the quality of the competition from the beginning by doing the most to guarantee that the best overall fantasy owners are going to qualify. Anyone can get lucky in one week; it just means that lesser-quality owners are going to make it in. Does the FPL want that, or would it rather have the best possible competition in terms of quality from the beginning?
This is obviously an opinion, and there will be opinions on both sides of this debate. Either way, the beauty of the tournament is about to begin.
What Will I Win?
The lucky winner of this tournament gets an entire list of prizes. The major highlight in this list, however, is VIP hospitality to one Premier League match of the winner's choice next season.
This trip will be the reward for winning head-to-head against another fantasy owner every week for the rest of the season. It's a huge prize and a worthy reward. It also makes us ask one more question amongst ourselves:
Isn't Fantasy Premier League soccer great?