Blimey – is it that time of year already? By which I mean is it really time for the return of the MacRumors Fantasy Football League? Why yes! Yes, it is! Our League returns for its sixth season, along with it's knock-out sister competition the MacRumors Fantasy Cup. Last season it was FFM who came out on top, pulling off a memorable League and Cup double – but their gaffer andrewstephenso mustn't rest on his laurels if he's to defend his silverware against MacRumors' finest fantasy managers. Our competitions are played played using the official Barclays Premier League game, you can read up on the rules and register on their site here. I'll be checking through the rules later and if I spot any changes from last year I'll list them in a separate post so no one's caught unawares. Our first competition is the MacRumors Fantasy League itself. A traditional fantasy league, you pick your team of players who then earn (or lose) you points depending on their real-life performances. The Manager whose team has the most points at the end of the season lifts the trophy. Easy as that and twice as simple. Our second bit of silverware is the MacRumors Fantasy Cup, which is played as a 'head-to-head' competition. It works like this – each week you're picked against another MacRumormonger, and your two teams go head-to-head, as it were – essentially, you're trying to outscore your opponent that week. Whichever team scores the most fantasy points wins, and gets three league points – the loser gets no league points and if it's a draw you get one each. This happens every week – until Gameweek 37 (currently scheduled for 28 April 2012), when the knockout phase begins! The top four ranked teams in the MacRumors Fantasy Cup qualify and are drawn against each other in a knock out competition which takes place over the final two Gameweeks. Come the final week only two teams will be left standing, and whoever wins that final tie lifts the trophy. Please note that this is slightly different to previous seasons. To try and ensure a fair head-to-head league, the Cup will be strictly limited to the first 18 entrants to register with the competition on the Premier League site. This will ensure that each team plays each other twice in the group stage – previously some teams would only play each other once, giving those stronger teams randomly paired against a weaker side a slightly unfair advantage. Note too that in previous seasons the top eight teams qualified for the knock out phase, this time (to ensure that we have a 38 week season) only the top four go through, meaning that this year qualifying will be tougher than ever. You're free to enter one or both of the competitions, it's up to you – but why not both, eh? it's how all the smart managers operate. Don't forget though that the Cup places are limited – once they're gone they're gone so book early to avoid disappointment and all that. Any questions? Yes – how do I sign up? Simply use the links above to visit the Official Premier League Fantasy Football Site and register – it's totally free to do so. If you played in the League last year then you should be automatically entered into the MacRumors League as soon as you create your team – if you'd like to enter the cup though you'll need a code from me. If you're new to this – or a previous manager wanting the code for the Cup – then just drop me a PM and I'll send you back the codes you need to join the MacRumours Leagues – if you could tell me your team name in the PM that would be useful too! I post updates league tables as the season progresses, and by posting usernames rather than real names we can protect folk's privacy a bit. Wah! I picked a player in my team but now he's injured/been transferred/I've realised he's not really that good! Can I change him? Fret not – you're free to pick your team and change players as many times as you like without penalty before the first deadline on 18 August, so don't worry about not being able to change your side to take advantage of real-life transfers or pre-season injuries. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask them here in this thread and I'll answer them the best I can – for now though, I think al that there's left for me to do to wish everyone the best of luck for this season's competition.