Despite being the simplest - yet much loved - fantasy football scoring format around, we explain some of the main sources of points scoring confusion below:
1) Live Scoring Feed Anomalies
Our third-party live scoring feed is susceptible to the odd error and has its own definition of what constitutes an assist. It is a regular occurrence that stats have to be manually amended after all of the day’s matches are completed to apply the Fantasy League scoring rules – it is not possible to amend them whilst matches are in progress as such changes will get overridden by the live feed.
The live scoring feed does not award assists for instances such as for successful penalties, rebounds off the woodwork and/or the goalkeeper, interventions after the goalscorer has received the ball or award more than one assist per goal (see below).
Such assists are subsequently added/amended manually.
There are also occasions when substitutions are reported at incorrect times, such as stating changes made in first half injury time as 45 minutes – suggesting that they played a full-half when they didn’t.
Hence, managers should wait until at least an hour after all of the day’s matches before querying points, and even then, there is the possibility that further review is required overnight in cases where assists are not clear-cut and requires discussion between Assists Committee members.
2) Double Assists
Fantasy League are somewhat unique in occasionally awarding two (or even three) assists for one goal - contrary to the popular belief of more recent converts to Fantasy League Auction, this has always been in place since the format was devised back in 1991.
Hence, while other football stats providers rigidly commit to only one assist per goal, our rule offers more flexibility.
The stated rule is as follows:
“If the last touch before the goalscorer receives the ball is from his own team mate but does not significantly alter the speed or direction of the ball then two (or more - in the event of a flick-on of a flick-on) separate assists are given - one to the player with the initial cross and one to the player providing the flick-on. These typically occur as a result of near post corners, long throw-ins and goal-kicks.
Again, the determining factor in whether two or more assists are awarded is whether or not the additional touch (the flick-on) has a significant impact on the direction of ball on a horizontal plane. Any change of height is not taken into consideration unless it significantly affects the time taken to reach the goalscorer (the speed of the ball).
Thus a flat corner driven in at head height towards the near post, flicked-on to the back post by an attacking player, where it is nodded over the line, would attract two assists. However, an in-swinging corner to the near post, headed outwards to the edge of the six-yard-box, from where it is turned home, would result an assist only being awarded to the attacking player making the second touch - as the headed intervention changes the horizontal direction of the ball by a significant amount.”
Whilst it does sometimes cause a little debate as to whether the flick-on is/isn’t significant (both in terms of the angle change – on a horizontal plane – and whether it affects where the eventual goalscorer receives the ball), it is especially beneficial if there is an element of doubt as to whether an attacker touched the ball before being received by the goalscorer – as it means that the previous attacking player would gain an assist irrespective of whether it was decided that the ball was touched on.
Please note that the live scoring feed will not allocate more than one assist per goal, so such instances require subsequent manual amendments.
3) Goalkeeper/Defender Sending Off
For the first few seasons of Fantasy League, goalkeepers/defenders were only liable for scoring points (or more relevantly, minus points) for the time that they were on the pitch. This was changed in the mid-1990s to cater for potentially unfair situations such as when a player is sent off at 0-0 after 80 minutes (possibly conceding a penalty in the process), leaving his team to play out the match with 10 men and going on to lose 2-0.
In this situation, the player getting sent off would score three points, whereas his team-mates score minus one. Although the player receiving the red card would get a subsequent ban, this would usually not make up for the points differential in this particular match.
Hence, the following rule was brought in:
”Goalkeepers and defenders receiving red cards will lose points after they are sent off. If a player is sent off and his team concedes goals after his dismissal, he continues to lose the points that his team-mates do. If the goalkeeper/defender is sent off and his team keep a clean sheet then he keeps the points as at the time he was sent off.”
This means that a player getting sent off during the first half would not receive a defender appearance point for playing 45 minutes or more, so will actually score a point less (or three points less if his team keep a clean sheet in his absence) than his defensive team-mates.
4) Intervention After the Goalscorer Receives the Ball (Last Pass to Goalscorer)
This is another rule that was subsequently added to the scoring structure in the late 1990s to apply the definition of an assist.
The rule states:
”If the defensive intervention occurs after the goalscorer has already received the ball from a team-mate (after a 'clean' pass), then the assist will stand, as the assist, by definition, is awarded for the last pass to the goalscorer.
For example, if a player feeds the ball to the eventual goalscorer on the edge of the box and that player shoots, but hits a defender before scoring at the second attempt, the player making the initial pass will still be awarded an assist, as the goalscorer had already received the ball before the deflection occurred.”
Essentially, after receiving the ball from a team-mate, it does not matter if the goalscorer takes one, two or even five attempts to score past the goalkeeper and/or defenders, so long as another team-mate doesn’t touch the ball in the meantime, the assist will still stand.
Again, the live scoring feed will not allocate an assist if a goalkeeper/defender blocks the goalscorer’s first attempt, so such instances require subsequent manual amendments.
5) Penalties and Direct Free-Kicks
A player is awarded an assist if they are fouled in the penalty area and a team-mate scores the resulting penalty (but also isn’t initially allocated by the live scoring feed).
It is sometimes argued that if the same player is fouled and takes the penalty, then they should be awarded the assist as well. However, we regard that as the “glass half empty” approach as, by definition, it is not possible for a player to assist their own goal and managers should be grateful that their player has the opportunity of being in control of their own destiny by scoring the resulting penalty.
After all, a successful penalty will award them three points as opposed to just the two as if a team-mate subsequently took – and scored – the resulting spot-kick.
No assists are awarded for handballs except those on the goal-line – according to the rules of the game, this would result in a sending off, so usually very easy to determine.
Also, no assists are awarded for players who are fouled for direct free-kicks that are subsequently scored.
Whilst we did initially use the argument that action leading up to direct free-kicks may not be televised, this is much less relevant in recent years with more extensive coverage, but we still feel that penalties and free-kicks are very different in that penalties offer the same chance to score (from 12 yards – the penalty spot), whereas free-kicks very much depend on the expertise of the free-kick taker themselves.
For that reason, we continue to feel that awarding assists for penalties but not direct free-kicks is a sensible differentiation, but is discussed on an annual basis.