Fantrax EPL Flex Positions and How To Use Them

We have used the Draft Kit to feature different little quirks the settings in Fantrax allow us to use. This time around I would like to introduce a setting, or better said two features of the league setup, that let commissioners introduce changes in positional settings. Adding Flex Positions to lineups lets managers add players to their starting XI who have no positional restriction. Enabling Secondary Positions lets managers use players in two different position slots in their lineups.

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Flex Positions In Lineups

For a long time, 4-4-2 had been the staple of the English game, a legendary formation that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s. As football evolved, so did the fantasy game we play and we have a whole array of formations available to us to set the starting lineup we prefer (as a matter of fact, Fantrax have just introduced a new available formation in their Fantrax Default League setup). As the Draft game firmly has its roots in the United States, English football tradition mixes with US fantasy professionalism in our beloved game. Flex, or "flexible", position has always been a part of American Fantasy and therefore as a feature, it is available to use in Fantrax leagues.


What Is It?

It is basically an additional roster spot in your starting lineup that you can put any player in regardless of positional restrictions.

There are certain types of flex positions you can use:

  • Midfielder/Forward

  • Defender/Midfielder

  • Outfielder

As their name suggests, these spots offer more flexibility than their position specific counterpart and you can decide on which one to use based on what you want to achieve.


How To Set It Up?

As League Commissioner, you have to go to the Commissioner/League Setup/Rosters/Positions page

There, you have to use the dropdown menu titled: "Use the table below to set restrictions for each position your league uses" and add the type of flex position you would like to use and set roster minimum and maximum to 1.

Once you have done that there is one more setting you have to enable, and it is under Scoring/Preferences, where you have to put a tick next to "Score Flex positions by the players' actual positions". This way players in your flex position will get the position specific scoring from their original position.


Why Use Them?

Modern football is throwing up a myriad of different formations that are very difficult to recreate in Fantrax and roles have become much more important in starting XIs than actual positions on the pitch. Teams use different "formations" for different situations in a game, defending, transition, and attacking can feature formations from a team that would traditionally be classified as 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 within minutes of each other. Then there is the famous example of Thiago Motta lining up in a 2-7-2 formation, not dissimilar to how Pep used to set up with the Barca's most recent golden generation. These are just "symptoms" of a tactical trend that has resulted in players who would classically be considered defenders regularly occupying the position closest to the opposition goal and players traditionally considered forwards might be found deep around the centre circle. To try to cover this, Fantrax have been kind enough to dynamically change player positions from season to season to better fit each players' perceived role in the future, however, this is a very controversial topic that almost all draft managers have very different opinions on.

Here is where flex positions come in. To better tackle the changes in player positions and in some way to better reflect the fluidity of modern football formations, a league can decide on using either of the 3 kinds of Flex positions available to them in the system. Adding these positions will also offset the effect of positional scarcity among high scoring players in the game.


Secondary Positions

If you decide not to use Flex positions and keep playable formation restrictions as the default league setup suggests, you still have another option to mimic the flexibility of the modern game. Adding Secondary positions lets a manager play a player in both his Primary and his Secondary position, making him eligible to play in more roles on your starting XI.


How To Set It Up?

As League Commissioner, you have to go the Commissioner/League Setup/Rosters/Preferences page

There, you have to take out the tick next to: "Players are ONLY eligible at their initial Primary position (Beta)" to reveal the settings for Secondary Positions.


Enter the # of games that a player needs to have played the previous season at a particular position in order to be eligible for that position this season. For example, if you enter 10, and a player played 5 games at D, 12 games at M, and 40 games at F, he'd be eligible at M and F this season, assuming your league uses those positions of course.


If you choose any number for this setting or the Current Season option, then these two options will be used to determine eligibility. If both are set to None, then default positions will be used.

Why Use It?

If your league opts to approach flexibility using secondary positions it is very important to set ground rules for its usage. First and foremost, you have to agree on availability rules: Do current season positional changes take effect or do you consider the previous season's data when making decisions. Secondly, it is very important to determine the number of games played in a position that qualifies players for their secondary positions. Let me give you some extreme examples: Did you know Harry Kane lined up as a Midfielder once in 21/22? Having the dropdown menu set at one would allow you to play Kane in one of your midfield spots. ASM, on the other hand has only played 7 games as a midfielder, so if you decide to have to cut-off at 10 games, he would not gain a secondary position as a "F,M".


Some more surprising omissions at a 10-game cutoff include Nate Redmond (7 games as a Forward), Michael Olise (7 games as Forward) Matt Doherty (9 games as a Midfielder). The above shows how fragile a decision this is and you as a league have to get it right. Last, but not least, you can adopt a hybrid method as done by a very prominent league in Iceland, where managers who acquire players with secondary positions through trade, pickup, or draft get to decide on which of their positions they will use while a player is on their team. It gives a manager the initial flexibility to decide how they will be using the player, but does not result in double position players in the day-to-day roster management (obviously, this has to be manually managed by the commissioner).


Overview

As you can see, Fantrax offers never-seen-before customizability to its users and in this article, we detailed only a small facet of it. If you want to take the next step in intricate fantasy management and add a further wrinkle to your Draft EPL league, we definitely recommend giving Flex positions of Secondary Positions a try.


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