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AFL's new draft fantasy game: AFL Fantasy Elite

AFL FANTASY players will have a new challenge to tackle in 2013, with the launch of draft-style game AFL Fantasy Elite.

Free to play and fully customisable, AFL Fantasy Elite pits coaches against one another under the pressure of a live draft, with each player able to be selected on only one team.

Click here to play NAB AFL Fantasy Elite

With the clock ticking, will you pick Dane Swan or Gary Ablett? Scott Pendlebury or Matthew Boyd? Lance Franklin or Dean Cox?

Getting it right could make your season. Get it wrong, and you'll need to head to the trade table to strengthen your line-up.

Everything in the game – with the exception of how the points players earn are calculated, which is based upon AFL Fantasy Dream Team scores – is fully customisable by the league creator or ‘commissioner’, meaning you can choose the league size, squad size, trading rules and even competition start date that suits you.

The new game format will run alongside the traditional AFL Fantasy Dream Team game, which will continue this season.

Here's all you need to know about AFL Fantasy Elite:

Setting up a league

The commissioner can start a new league to begin at any point throughout the 2013 home and away rounds, choosing between leagues with finals or one where the ladder leader at the conclusion of the league is the winner. You can also decide whether the league is private or open to the public for anyone to join.

Leagues can be customised to contain six, eight, 10 or 12 players, rolling lockouts (with changes to sides possible right up to the start of each individual game) or – as per the previously announced changes to AFL Fantasy Dream Team – fixed lockouts, and double or standard points for team captains.

Before the draft takes place, you can set up your preferred and desired player draft list for
convenience during the live draft, which will also act as your auto-pick order if you are unavailable or take too long during the draft.

When it comes to setting up the draft, there are three options:
A live draft with all members of the league selecting turn by turn. Set your own time that each coach gets to make their pick – ranging from 60 seconds to no limit at all – take it in turns at your convenience when each coach makes a pick.

OPTION 2: An auto draft, where teams are automatically selected based on each fan’s preferred pre-draft selections.

OPTION 3: A live single computer draft, where a live draft takes place with each user taking turns to select on the same computer – or take it offline and let the commissioner submit each squad’s selections (this is only available in private league options).

The draft itself can be ordered in three different, easy-to-follow ways:
Snake draft, where the order is reversed each round

OPTION 2: Linear draft, where the order stays the same each round

OPTION 3: Banzai draft, where the order reverses in round two, stays the same in round three, and then continues as per the snake draft

Setting up the sides

There are a whopping seven different team structures to choose from in AFL Fantasy Elite, with two options of 12 players in each squad, four variations of 15 players, and one with a 22-man make-up:

• 2 defenders, 2 midfielders, 1 ruckman, and 2 forwards (with 5 additional players on the bench)
• 2-3-1-2 (4 bench)
• 2-2-1-2 (8 bench)
• 2-3-1-2 (7 bench)
• 3-3-1-3 (5 bench)
• 3-4-1-3 (4 bench)
• 5-6-2-5 (4 bench)

Once you’ve filled your on-field team via the draft, the next selections are your bench selections, with a ‘floating’ bench where, if you choose to activate the Auto-Emergency option during your league setup, your lowest scoring bench player can replace anyone who doesn’t play from your on-field starting side.

Waivers and Trading
Why would you have a player score a donut when you can waive an injured player and replace him from the unselected pool of players?

When a player is cut from an AFL Fantasy Elite team in your league, he is added to the 'waiver pool', where he can be picked up by other teams.

The waiver order can be customised as either reverse ladder order or last pick option, where the waiver order is never reset and coaches go to the bottom of the priority order after each successive pick.

You can also try to improve your team by trading with other coaches in your league – you can nominate a player to trade and then watch the offers roll in.  Or, make a direct trade offer for a player on another squad.

As per the fully customisable nature of AFL Fantasy Elite, the commissioner gets to decide how trades are approved:

• By veto vote from a percentage of coaches in the league
• Approved solely by the commissioner, or
• a free-for-all style system

Don’t panic, we’re here to help
If all of this sounds complicated, don’t fret – there are step-by-step guides to take you through the process, as well as an easy quick-pick option that will set up the draft for you based upon recommended options.

Or you can simply join a public league that is set up how you want to play the game.

Organising a draft party with your mates might be an option you want to consider; crazed fantasy fans sitting in bars with laptops glowing is a common sight in the US at the start of every season.

Commissioners can start creating leagues and inviting players to join their leagues at any time during the season.