Draft Essentials: Taking Your League Offline

The fifth installment of our ‘Draft Essentials’ features, advising on how to set up your Draft Fantasy Football League, takes a closer look into how to manage your Draft League ‘offline’.

We’ve been asked over and over, “what website do you use to manage your Draft Fantasy Football League, chaps?”  Some of you are aware of the answer… we don’t use a website; we’re completely offline!  In this article, we Fantasy Football Chaps take you over what ‘offline’ really means, and how much more fun it is than relying on a third party to facilitate the most important thing in your life.

During recent months, we’ve advised on several ways that we would recommend setting up your Draft Fantasy Football League.  We’ve discussed using a Head-To-Head league format, Punishing The Loser of your league, having an End of Season Awards Ceremony, and most importantly having an Offline Draft at the start of every season.  Drafting Offline is where the fun starts… and this article builds upon that concept, to take your Draft League COMPLETELY OFFLINE.

The Concept

Managing your league offline means exactly as it sounds; no use of any websites to administer squads, manage transfers, calculate points, capture lineups, enforce rules, or track results.

All you need to go offline is a gigantic spreadsheet including a player database (ours is downloaded from Fantasy Premier League), and an email thread containing your fellow managers.  It’s that simple chaps.  The rest is up to you… as you’re playing offline, you make up the rules!!

A major positive of doing this, is that you can decide the format of your league in terms of running an overall standings league for the entire season, or incorporating end of season playoffs to determine the league winner.  Making up the rules yourself, means that customising the end of season playoffs yourself couldn’t be easier.

Want a 36 game league, followed by the top four entering a playoff during GW37 and 38? No problem.  You also want the bottom four to enter a playoff to determine your overall loser (Sacko)?  No worries.  Personally, we run a 35 game league to determine the overall winner (rewarding the manager who has performed best for the majority of the season), followed by an eight-man cup competition during the final three games, with the winner receiving the first pick of the subsequent seasons draft!

The Spreadsheet

The spreadsheet will be the nerve centre of your Draft Fantasy Football League, and is critical to its management.  The spreadsheet helps you track all the fixtures, the results, player ownership, and squad management including live squad budgets (we use player values – more on that later).  Get the spreadsheet right, and the rest is easy.

In our infinite wisdom; the bigger the spreadsheet the better.  We would advise that the spreadsheet is broken down into sections, a different tab for the following:

  • Fixture List page
  • League Table page
  • Player List page
  • Squad page (one tab per manager)

All sounds pretty basic so far.  Lets add some Macros…

What we want to achieve here is the ability to click on a player name in the ‘player list’ page and assign the player to a Manager.  As a result of this, we now want this player to appear in the Managers ‘squad’ page.  Of course, what we are describing is a transfer process which is so simple on a website, but Macros can help you achieve exactly the same process on a spreadsheet.  Magic.

Another useful Macro will help pull the information required to generate your Draft Fantasy Football League Table!!  By entering the points scored by each team in the ‘fixture list’ page and using a clever Macro, a league table can be generated showing all the good information such as: games played, wins, draws, losses, points scored, points difference, total league points (we play 3 for a win, 1 for a draw, and 0 for a loss).  Magic.

“Eugh – this sounds like way too much effort” we hear you say?  Yeah it is a lot of effort but do what we Fantasy Football Chaps did, and find yourself a spreadsheet loving friend and only let him join your Draft League if they build and maintain the spreadsheet for you!

In addition to this, you will need to randomly determine the fixture list for your Head-To-Head match ups.  The easiest thing to do is outsource this to a maths genius friend, to ensure the gaps between playing each manager are sufficient.  In terms of the squad pages, these can be customised as time goes by – add a manager profile, add some photos, add a line graph of each managers progress in the league table… the spreadsheet can evolve as you go!

The Rules for Offline Draft Fantasy Football

First and foremost, you need a Rulebook.  An official document stating the rules and regulations that your Draft Fantasy Football League runs by.  Through being completely offline, there will be many occasions where the rules come under question.  As you’re not relying on a platform to determine and enforce your rules, a Rulebook is essential to avoid conflicts during a stressful and heated season.  Personally, we’re absolute pendants for rules, the harsher and more ludicrous the better.

In this section we need to nail down all the important things such as your scoring system, making transfers and trades, and how to submit your lineups.  We will explain the rules that we have decided, but the beauty of playing Draft Fantasy Football offline, is that you can decide on the rules yourself, and adjust accordingly as each season passes!

The Points Scoring System

Firstly, we would highly recommend setting up your League with a Head-to-Head Format, which we have outlined in detail in a previous Draft Essentials Special Feature.  The general idea is that you alternate between facing each specific manager during the individual gameweeks, with the highest score between the pair of managers taking home the three points; it’s the ‘matchplay’ format made popular in America.  In terms of the scoring, if your team scores 50 points to your opponents 49 points; you’ve got the 3 point victory!  The league table is therefore based upon the highest total matchplay league points, rather than the total gameweek scores achieved.

For our scoring system, we use the Fantasy Premier League scoring matrix, as this is the most well-known scoring system, and is (mostly) simple to understand.  We have also chosen to use the FPL bonus points, even though they never seem to make any sense!  You could easily get rid of these, as the points scored by the individual players will already be pretty diverse in a Draft League format.  If you wanted to take things to the next level, you could come up with your very own scoring system; rewarding goals or assists more heavily than FPL currently do for example.


Now this is where you can really customise your Draft League set-up, as you can create a transfer policy to make things harder for each manager.  One thing that struck us about the online draft platforms, is that you can essentially make unlimited transfers each and every week, and not receive any points deductions.  In our league, you get one transfer per week, no exceptions.  So if you get two injuries, a red card, and a rotation wanker; you cannot ditch all of them at once!  It therefore requires a lot of skill to juggle your squad members, and ensure your one transfer is a good one.  Deal with it Chap.

As well as only having one transfer per week, we also make things incredibly difficult for ourselves, by using the actual player values as per the FPL website.  This makes drafting, as well as squad management throughout the season, all the more difficult.  You cannot simply sign up all the big names and hope for the best.  Every player has a price assigned to them, but these do not change as the season progresses (no inflation or depreciation).  With each manager subjected to a budget of £100m, and only one transfer a week, no manager will have total dibs on the best players in the league.  A good example was in January when only 33% of the managers in our Draft Fantasy Football League could effectively afford to sign Aubameyang, due to their squad value already being high.

Perhaps the hardest aspect to replicate by using the offline method is the waiver wire used for transfers.  Our solution…don’t have one!!!  There is no waiver wire here chaps, anything goes.  As soon as a new gameweek begins (as per the FPL website), you are free to make a transfer.  It sounds unfair, but 11.30am transfers on a Saturday morning are legendary.  Beating a rival manager to a fit again Yannick Bolasie because your Broadband is faster?  Yes please.  When is the earliest you can transfer in a new Premier League player you may ask?  For us, the player must be available on the FPL website, and you must of course have a transfer available as well as the budget.

The real art to Draft Fantasy Football is picking out a gem from a bunch of shit.  You can only own a maximum of three players from one club; so check out out Punting for Gold and Calculating the Cleanie articles highlighting these low ownership gems!

Submitting a transfer is easy.  Remember when we said you would need an email thread containing all managers…this is where this feed comes into use!  Your weekly transfer will be made via this email feed.  Of course, knowing whether the player you are about to transfer into you squad is much harder, but believe us when we say checking and double checking the email thread, and the ‘squad list’ and ‘player list’ pages in the spreadsheet is so much fun.  No amount of checking will ever fully take away the nerves when you click send on your transfer email!  Simply state the player you wish to offload, as well as the player you wish to replace him with.  Transfer done.

So what if you get it wrong and you transfer in a player already owned by a fellow manager?  Bad times chap, bad times!  We heavily punish a transfer balls up, and rightly so.  If a manager messes up their transfer, they lose their right to make a transfer (so the transfer you tried to make doesn’t count, and you lose your next gameweek transfer) and they also receive a three point league deduction.  Too harsh?  Nah, it doesn’t happen very often.


Trading players between managers: this is where things get tasty!  Establishing a trade is a dark art, normally undertaken in private messages between rival managers.  You all know the drill with trading…collusion between managers, or trying to screw over your mate by offloading your deadwood is highly recommended.  We enable unlimited trading between managers…providing you don’t go over budget (we use player values remember) or end up with too many players from one club, anything goes.  Swap your entire team if you like!

Submitting a trade is simple; one manager proposes the trade by email, via the email feed that you have created containing all managers.  The other manager must then either confirm or reject the trade proposal by responding to the trade email.  The nice thing about this, is that if you having nothing to do with the proposed trade, you can read all about it and then attempt to hijack the trade with a proposal of your own.  Banter.

Personally, we don’t allow uneven trading as this makes things a bit more complicated due to the offline nature of the league.  But its your league, so customise as you wish!  We also have a trading deadline several weeks before the end of the season, in order to stop collusion as the season reaches a crescendo.

Submitting Lineups

There are some immediate things to point out about our Draft League set-up:

  1. Lineups do not have captains – so no doubling up on Harry Kane’s points, chaps
  2. Lineups do not get the luxury of auto subs, once you have selected your lineup and you have submitted it to the other managers, there is no going back!

We would highly recommend taking on board these two points.  Captains in Draft Fantasy Football are a complete no go, and auto subs is incredibly infuriating when playing online.  Still with us…good.  So how do you submit a lineup?  Well, your lineup is selected from your 15 man squad, and your lineup must comply with the standard formations as per FPL.  This just makes things a lot simpler.

  • a goalkeeper
  • a minimum of 3 defenders and a maximum of 5
  • a minimum of 2 midfielders and a maximum of 5
  • and a minimum of 1 striker, a maximum of 3.

A lineup is only valid once it has been emailed out to all other managers in your Draft Fantasy Football League.  As part of your league set-up, you will have a designated email feed containing all managers.  Choose your lineup, and send this out on the group email feed.  We would suggest making a rule that each manager must name their starting eleven, plus their four designated substitutes.  Once the email has been sent, that manager is locked down until the next gameweek deadline opens.  No changes can be made to their lineup, and no transfers or trades can occur.

Of course, every new gameweek requires an emailed lineup submission; do not expect your lineup to be carried over.  This encourages active participation in your Draft League.  The deadlines we use for lineup submissions are the gameweek deadlines as specified by Fantasy Premier League.  Using the FPL deadlines, as well as fixture schedules, will make things a lot easier for you.

The positive to the emailed lineup submissions is that you may be able to see your gameweek opponents’ lineup before you submit yours.  Therefore, if you have a transfer available, you could use this to combat your opponents’ lineup (i.e. cover off one of their clean sheets) before you submit your own lineup!  Leaving your lineup submission to the very last minute could be to your advantage – you could see the starting eleven your opponent has selected, as well as have the most up-to-date injury information.

What happens if someone forgets to email out their lineup?  Well, punishments for non-submissions can be really fun.  In our classic 8-man Draft Fantasy Football League, missing the deadline results in a point deduction from the managers league points total (remember we play ‘matchplay’ gameweeks i.e. Manager A vs Manager B – with 3 points for a win) so a point deduction can cost a league title.  What about if you name a player in your email submission that you’ve recently sold and just forgot about it?  POINT DEDUCTION.  Pretty harsh?  Ask the other Fantasy Football Chaps; its part of our game and it only adds to the stakes.


So there you have it.  There isn’t much to it really.  Just a gigantic spreadsheet riddled with Macros and a rule book thicker than the Yellow Pages.  The upside to running your own league and making all the rules is huge.  In light of the end of season issues experienced by users of websites such as http://www.PlayTogga.com and http://www.DugoutFC.com, using an offline format will resonate with many users.

Believe us when we say, Offline Draft Fantasy Football is the best thing we have ever done.  You own the rules.  You make it into whatever you want.


📢 More Draft Essentials 📢

Want to read more on how to manage a Draft Fantasy Football League, check out our other ‘Draft Essentials’ features:

Draft Essentials Part One: Head-To-Head League Format

Draft Essentials Part Two: Offline Draft

Draft Essentials Part Three: Punishing The Loser

Draft Essentials Part Four: End of Season Awards

Draft Essentials Part Six: How To Draft


📝 Draft Platform 📝

Here at The Fantasy Football Chaps, we’re proud to be pioneer’s for having a Draft Fantasy Football League that runs COMPLETELY OFFLINE!  Check out our article looking into how to make this a reality, and have full control over customising your Draft League!

If this sounds like too much effort, we would highly recommend using an online platform from either the guys at Draft Fantasy or Fantrax.   Draft Fantasy uses a scoring system similar to the standard Official FPL game, where as Fantrax mainly uses the more intelligent scoring system made famous by Togga.  Both offer potential for end of season playoffs, as well as many other options for customisation!


🔥 Hot or Cold Player Rankings ❄️

Our Hot or Cold Player Rankings are here to outline the current prospects of key Draft Fantasy Football Players.  Our ‘Hot‘ or ‘Cold‘ status will help take away your emotional attachment to certain Premier League players, and bring in the players that you need to help you dominate your Draft League.  Use these hints and tips to increase your chances of success!


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