So, the Fantasy season is upon us and many might already have sleepless nights on when to activate their Fantasy Premier League wildcard, which gives managers the chance to completely overhaul their team. So when is the best time? Various arguments can be made for an early change, as well as a late wildcard activation. Here are a few options to consider when making up your mind.
You may as well call these “bankwagons” – if you climb onto the correct ones you will laugh all the way to the Fantasy bank as Fantasy points and Fantasy cash roll in. There are always players that start with a flurry, and when the casuals start transferring these players in by the thousands, player prices rise and it takes a strong will to stay calm and not “kneejerk”.
Last season early bandwagons. such as Aaron Ramsey, did exceptionally well and many a Fantasy season was dealt a big blow by managers being stubborn and believing these players would not maintain their form. They did.
They don’t always, though. It’s probably best to follow the advice of 2012/13 overall winner, Spidermatt, and distinguish between a player scoring a double-digit haul playing for a mediocre team and one playing for a good, potentially top-half team. The odds are that the second player is probably a bandwagon worth getting on.
Not really a factor early on. It might be a consideration later on in the season, especially if your players get injured during international breaks, Champions League, AFCON etc.
A Double Gameweek
Probably the most popular reason for wildcarding. Due to rescheduling of fixtures as a result of bad weather or fixture congestion we are always thrown a curve ball when certain teams end up with blanks and the inevitable double Gameweeks.
Managers often decide to hang onto their wildcards in order to activate them during double Gameweeks to maximise possible points.
Increase in team value
This is another very popular reason for wildcarding. This often coincides with an international break as it allows you to “play the Fantasy market” for a longer period than usual and maximise price rises to increase your team value. This year we have the following two-week breaks early on:
30 August until 13 September
4 October until 18 October
The method is simple. Activate your wildcard as soon as the Gameweek kicks off. Transfer in the players that are bound to rise in price.
Ideally, transfer out the players in your team that are injured, out of form or those who will drop in price.
You are able to pocket 50% of any increase in a player’s price. E.g. if you purchase a player for 5m and his price increases to 5.2m then you are able to sell the player and increase your team value by 0.1m. It’s very handy indeed and managers increasing their team value by as much as 1m over a two-week period is not uncommon. Remember to not transfer out those players that have risen in price since Gameweek 1 that you want to keep in your team! The last thing you want is to pay more for Robin Van Persie, for example, in Gameweek 5 than what you paid in Gameweek 1.
Note of caution: Transfer activity is often slow during an international break as managers take time off (to lick their wounds), so you might be disappointed with the increase in team value realised over those two weeks.
Also note the Premier League’s actual transfer window closes at 11pm BST on 1 September 2014. You might want to consider that when deciding on a WC activation as it might enable you get those “marquee” signings clubs sometime bring in on deadline day.
Swing in fixtures
Many Fantasy managers will make use of Fantasy Football Scout’s fixture ticker to set up their teams. Things change quickly though. For example, Manchester United have a good start but then from Gameweeks 9-12 face CHE, mci, ars.
Everton start off with ARS, CHE, liv, mun in their first eight fixtures. Then their fixtures turn for the better and they face AVL, bur, SWA, sun, WHM in their following five.
Many might consider fixture swings such as the above, as a perfect oppurtunity to wildcard and rework those early season defensive rotations that have gone wrong.
Q:I have made five transfers and forgot to activate my WC. Is it to late to activate my WC or will I lose -16 for my transfers?
A: No, it’s not to late. Once you activate your WC you will not lose points for the trades you have already made.
Q: I had two free trades. I have activated my WC, will I have two free trades next week?
A: No, you will lose your free trade. You will always only have one free trade the week after playing your WC.
Wildcarding boils down to personal preference. Many early wildcards have resulted in success and many have failed. Last season’s overall winner, Tom Fenley, wildcarded in Gameweek 30. The runner up, who lost by one point to Tom, wildcarded in Gameweek 2.
The last couple of seasons we kicked off with a double Gameweek 1 and that made many Fantasy managers load up on double Gameweek assets early on, only to wildcard in Gameweek 2. There is no double Gameweek 1 this season, so my guess is many managers will hold onto their “get out of jail free card” this time around.