Time to select your Premier League fantasy squad
By Dale Johnson
We've reached a crucial stage in the fantasy season, with Segment 2 of our game set to begin.
New managers can join and compete in a brand new game for the second half of the Premier League season. Existing managers must reselect their squad in full.
Managers have until 7:45pm GMT / 2:45pm ET on Tuesday, Jan. 12, to select their squads before the Premier League resumes after its break for the FA Cup.
Each and every season, we are asked many questions about the switch, so let's cover those topics as you prepare to select your 15 players.
Riyad Mahrez was the top-scoring player in the first half of the season with 153 points - 25 more than the leader last season at this stage.
Why do I have to reselect my squad from scratch?
We create a second segment to add another element to the challenge and to welcome new managers who will get a second chance at fantasy success. Existing managers will carry their points over, so those who performed best in the first segment will still be in pole position to take the overall prize for the season. However, managers who perhaps had begun to lose interest after struggling at the start now get the opportunity to correct their mistakes.
One of the problems with fantasy games is that most managers eventually end up with very similar squads, differentiated by only a few names. With new values and a clean slate, there is a chance to fix this to some extent. It makes the game more interesting.
Is the game open to new players?
Yes, the second half of the season is also treated as a new competition, so you can join now and play as though this were the very start with all your friends at zero points.
What if I forget to pick my squad by Tuesday's gameweek deadline?
If this happens, you will not score any points for Gameweek 21. You can, however, still pick your players after this time and start scoring points from Gameweek 22.
Do I get unlimited transfers?
Yes, up to the kickoff on Jan. 12. After that time, you will be limited to 30 transfers for the final 18 gameweeks of the season.
Are there new prizes available?
There is another prize for the second-segment winner, an Amazon.com gift card worth $500. The overall winner will get an Amazon.com gift card worth $2,000, and the overall runner-up gets one worth $1,000. Please note that, because of legal reasons, residents of only certain countries are eligible for the prizes, as shown by No. 1 on the official rules page. However, the game is open for anyone in the world to participate.
Will I keep my budget profit from Segment 1?
This is one of our most frequently asked questions, and unfortunately, the answer is no. For the second segment to be a fair and new competition, everyone has to start on a level playing field. Any managers carrying their budget profit over would have a clear advantage on new managers. In fact, carrying over budgets would effectively make Segment 2 pointless. No one starting new, or after a bad first segment, would have a realistic chance to compete either for prizes or in groups.
Mesut Ozil will be one of the most expensive players in the new segment of Premier League fantasy.
What will happen to player values?
Every player has been reassessed and revalued based on his first-half scoring, projected club performance and personal points potential. This means that many players will go up in value, and many will go down. Note that this is based on their value at the start of the game, not at the end of the first segment.
Player values are set on a working budget of $100 million and take into account future rises based on weekly performance. So, for instance, while Arsenal's Mesut Ozil will be more than the $7.9m he cost in August, he will not be as high as the $10.8m he was for the last gameweek.
Some players might now be a higher price than they were last week, but these will be the exception.
Riyad Mahrez, by far the top-scoring player, will not be the bargain he was when the season began. He was priced at just $5.9m in the summer, and managers made a profit of $2.5m on the Leicester midfielder by the end of the segment, but he will now be priced as a high-scoring player for one of the Premier League's better-performing teams.
It is highly unlikely you will be able to pick the same squad you had at the end of the last segment, especially if you have cashed in budget profits to transfer in higher-priced players over the season. This is all part of the skill element of the ESPN FC game.
Will any players have changed positions?
A few. One example is Daley Blind, after Man United manager Louis van Gaal opted to play him as a defender in the first half of the season, meaning you will get full clean sheet points for your money.
What if a player changes position after the segment starts?
Players will score points according to their fantasy position upon launch, no matter where they are played by their Premier League team. Players are sometimes given different roles, but this cannot be changed within the fantasy game after it has begun, because it would corrupt any team that had this player.
For instance, if Wayne Rooney plays in midfield for Man United, he will not be switched to a fantasy midfielder. Any team with Rooney would then have too many midfielders and not enough strikers.
How does the transfer window affect my team?
There are a couple of important points here. First, if you have a player who is sold out of the Premier League after the unlimited transfer period has ended, then you will have to use one of your 30 transfers to replace him.
Secondly, if one of your players transfers within the Premier League and puts you over the "three players from one club" threshold, then you will have to sell one of your players from that club to make any updates to your squad: formation changes, transfers or sub alterations.