Fantasy Premier League started as an attempt to garner more interest amongst the worldwide fan base of the Premier League for sides outside of the traditional six or eight.
The game has certainly outgrown expectations since then perhaps even of the creators with over ten million managers taking part in the season gone by.
FPL has become popular not just with the fans but even players themselves of Premier League teams and different sports taking part and playing rather seriously.
Case in point former five times world chess champion and the current four-time rapid chess champion, grandmaster Magnus Carlsen.
Former Villa manager, Dean Smith once expressed his disgust for Fantasy Premier League saying he likes to live in the real world and not in fantasy.
Such sentiments perhaps will be laughed at by Carlsen. In his Twitter bio, he puts side by side his chess achievements and the time he became world number 1 in FPL in the 2019/2020 season.
He was displaced from the top eventually by former Liverpool and Bristol City player Nick Tanner. Magnus ultimately finished with an 11th worldwide that season.
Despite all his success in the past, Carlsen did not enjoy a successful season in the game last season round. The chess grandmaster like many other managers was the victim of the FPL site crash leading to him not being able to change his team at a crucial juncture.
This was accompanied by the grandmaster himself being busy with involvement in different chess championships around the world. His team ID last season was 5977880, several much attention and interest from many FPL fans and content creators of the game alike, every season.
Carlsen had a strong start to the season with a core team of James and Salah and Rashford and Cancelo, the usual popular quartet of players.
Many seasoned FPL managers would argue the season gone by was particularly tough for anyone falling behind in the game with a lack of any potential differentials to gain ground for anyone chasing rank.
The world cup arriving in midseason meant the rest of the Premier League schedule fell with multiple double-game weeks for the same teams.
This resulted in being forced into buying the same FPL assets as everyone else for points. Every engaged team had triple Brighton and Aston Villa players with anyone willing to try different was mostly burned by such decisions falling further behind in rank.
The tremendously low pricing of all high-end FPL assets along with the lack of differentials and world cup schedule meant chasing rank Herculean task. Something that even Carlsen couldn’t navigate.
His season fell astray during this mid-way mark when all the master’s apparent attempts to return to his usual highs failed including an early wildcard.
The rest of the season he mostly either didn’t change his team often placing his captaincy on a struggling Son or transferring in players that would seem wild in logic to justify.
Carlsen ended the season with a rank of 359,378 OR, his by far lowest rank in the game ever. Carlsen will certainly be looking to change his fortunes around to make his rank return to normal standards this season.
Carlsen is known for his maverick approach to the game. While the overdose of content in regard to FPL by content creators of the game has often led to many teams looking very similar. Carlsen of course takes a different approach to such often punting on differentials and more times than not the Norwegian’s punts result in success.
Norway can be considered as the country with some of the finest FPL managers including all-time best-ranked manager Fabio Borges. Carlsen for his part shares a mini-league with his chess compatriots and another mini-league exclusive for some of the finest managers in the game including mentioned Fabio Borges, named “The Great and the Good.”
Chess journalist Svensen is aware of his fellow Norwegian great obsession with FPL. In an interview referring to such, he talked about, Carlsen’s success at FPL being down to his good memory and interest alike about English football, providing him an advantage.
Andy Murray too like Magnus Carlsen, plays FPL as something serious. He took to Twitter last season moaning about the site crash.
When asked once in an interview which he will rather win FPL or Wimbledon? He replied to Wimbledon but added laughing the two options are rather close to each other to pick.