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Think of the chip fun: The case for GW38 Free Hit

For many, this week may be their last chance to consider a crazy alternative chip-strategy. With this in mind, here are some oft overlooked, alternative gameweeks (GWs), in which it is possible to play your Free Hit (FH) chip: GW34, 35, 36, 37 and 38!

Remember, it’s completely up to you to decide what’s best for your team. As J0E says on the Scoutcast, it’s not a matter of which rival faction you wish to enlist in for FH Strategy War II, but rather about what kind of discipline your players are crying out for (or something like that).

Gameweek 38 Free Hit

As an example, here are 9 benefits of playing the FH in GW38:

1. Increase the power of this incredible Unlimited Transfers chip by using when you have your largest budget of the season.

2. On a day when many Premier League managers might experiment with youngsters and wasters, you could be handpicking your players with the maximum possible information, right up to the 14:00 Sunday deadline. (Note: the “handpicking” rhetoric can be, and currently is being (right this second), applied to other GWs).

3. You can pick players from teams with something to fight for on the final day of the league, rather than players from mid-table teams with their minds on James Milner’s Summer Beach Party Extravaganza.

4. Having perhaps used your Wildcard (WC) in GW34 with a Bench Boost (BB) in GW35 in mind, you won’t need to carry your bloated booty all the way to the final day – unlike Luke Shaw.

5. Your GW34 WC can be tailored specifically towards GWs 34-37, which improves the average quality of your picks for those four gameweeks. For example, you could triple on Wolves and Brighton assets when, otherwise, you might only pick one or two from both teams to maintain a ‘balanced’ team, capable of a respectable GW38 score. You then have the opportunity to sell these players before their dire final gameweek fixtures, when both teams might be already safe from relegation, and both teams match up against one of the two sides battling for the league title (Liverpool and Manchester City, respectively).

6. Playing the FH earlier in the season effectively burns a precious Free Transfer (FT). Playing it in GW38 allows the maximum use of FTs from GW2-37: 34 FTs (after two WCs), as opposed to 33 FTs (after two WCs and one FH). The FT you burn in GW38 is effectively meaningless, as you cannot save it for the following week (nor the following season, unfortunately). Over the GW31-33 period, this would give you an extra FT to dust off your base team – a luxury which FH speculators will not afforded with their dusty old “Boomerang” teams from two gameweeks prior.

7. You can play the Triple Captain (TC) in GW32 to give you 2 extra fixtures. GW32 may be the best opportunity to maximise the return from this chip, as City could play whipping boys, Fulham and Cardiff. You could also consider employing the BB in GW32, which could include some potent single GW players from Liverpool, Leicester and Bournemouth, for example, leaving GW35 open for the TC.

8. An optimal FH in GW31-33 may require more hits than an optimal non-FH strategy (in which you aim to minimise transfers). A lack of fixtures for your non-FH team could be offset by any hits necessary for an optimal FH in GW31-33 (See ‘Save the Chip Fun: Count the Fixtures‘ below). The advantage for the FH strategy, in this scenario, is effectively the total points scored by the additional player across the two non-chip gameweeks (e.g. 3 points + 3 points for David Brooks = 6 points) less the hit (or appearance points) across these two gameweeks (i.e. minus 4 points = 2 point). A manageable loss, perhaps?

9. The differential element of this late play may be excruciatingly pleasurable.

Analysis

One potential pitfall of saving the FH would be the lack of knowledge we currently have about the double GW. However, if the earth-shattering power of the FH in GW32 stems from the quality and quantity of the double GW schedule, it’s possible the fixture announcements will also be a disappointment those managers who’ve committed to playing it in that week, as the potential gains may not be as unimaginable as imagined.

The major issue with saving the FH is essentially missing out on the benefits of playing the FH in GW31-33. Therefore, when considering an alternative strategy, it’s vital to consider how much benefit the FH will bring your team in GW31-33. Forget about comparing your length to other managers’ shiny swords. Forget about shielding yourself against temporary rank drops.

If playing your FH in GW31-GW33 would only minimally increase your points potential, then it may be time to consider utilising the chip in a future week, such as GW38, as you may be able to gain even more points in the future than you would lose by saving the chip over the next few gameweeks. For the vast majority of managers, especially those who committed to a specific chip-strategy a couple of weeks ago or more, this may not be feasible. However, it may feasable, and even productive, for you. Regardless, you’re gonna have a fun figuring it out!

Saving the Chip Fun: Count the Fixtures

As an exercise, simply count the number of fixtures you expect to get between GW31-33. This does not account for the quality of fixtures (nor the quality of the players and expected points), but you may be surprised to find how well your non-FH team stacks up against your potential FH team across this period, at least in terms of an appearance count.

NB: I have included captaincy and ‘triple’ captaincy in my calculations. I used Fantasy Football Scout user Jarvish’s double GW predictions along with Ben Crellin’s spreadsheet to help guide my ‘plausible’ team-building.

Plausible Team 1

STRATEGY: FREE HIT CHIP IN GW32

GW31: 10 starters = 11/12 players

GW32: 11 doublers = 24/24 players

GW33: 11 starters = 12/12 players

= 47 fixtures

STRATEGY: TRIPLE CAPTAIN CHIP IN GW32

GW31: 10 starters = 11/12 players

GW32: 10 doublers = 25/24 players

GW33: 10 starters = 11/12 players

= 46 fixtures 

Here, one hypothetical team is competing with another hypothetical team. There is no need to consider what other managers are doing. Now calculate the approximate cost of saving the FH. Now imagine an alternate timeline on which your future self still has the FH card in-hand to throw down in GW35 or GW38, and feel the benefit of this alternative universe. You can make this happen if you want it enough!

Perhaps you would be unable to manage 46 fixtures without the use of the FH, but that needn’t necessitate the use of the FH, as you may not manage 47 fixtures with the FH either. Consider how many hits you would need for optimal fixtures on either future timeline.

Plausible Team 2

STRATEGY: FREE HIT CHIP IN GW32

GW31: 10 starters = 11/12 players (-12)

GW32: 11 doublers = 24/14 players

GW33: 11 starters = 12/12 players

= 47 fixtures (-12 points)

STRATEGY: TRIPLE CAPTAIN CHIP IN GW32

GW31: 7 starters = 8/12 players

GW32: 11 doublers = 26/24 players

GW33: 10 starters = 11/12 players

= 44 fixtures 

In this hypothetical scenario, you could exchange the FH and 12 points for three additional fixtures. You could… but this would negate the notion that each hit is repaid by appearance points, as 12 points requires six fixtures break even. On the other hand, you could consider saving the FH and transfer cost. You could even save the FH while matching the hits of your hypothetical FH strategy team, as you can use the same appearance-point-repayment logic to get two, three, or even four* additional fixtures per 4-point hit you take this week.

*if replacing Collin Quaner with Gonzalo Higuain

There are two teams, Chelsea and Southampton, that could have a double GW32, while definitely maintaining a fixture in GW33 (Chelsea also have a GW31 fixture). Given Southampton’s poor GW33 fixture, I would say that acquiring three Chelsea players by GW32 would be necessary for the maximum benefit of saving the FH chip. However, the addition of Southampton players in GW32 could be useful, especially as their fixtures could be reasonable (away to Brighton and Watford).

There are other factors to consider, including the fact that either Watford vs Fulham or Newcastle vs Palace will be postponed in GW33. If you currently own any players from these teams, you would need to count these as potential fixtures in you calculations, but you could also use the situation to your advantage by balancing Watford and Fulham players with Newcastle and Palace players, so that you are able to plan your GW33 non-playing bench with certainty.

Saving the Chip Fun: Final Points

The most important number of the season is your Final Points (take a bow). To give yourself the best chance of achieving the greatest points tally, you need to decide whether to cash-in the FH now or save it for a later date. While many believe that GW31-33 is the obvious period in which to gain an advantage over those who already cashed-in, there is little discussion about how great the advantage could be over playing the chip later in the season.

Some points to consider when making your decision include the fixtures and fixture pile-up as the season progresses. GW35 is due to be another double GW, and perhaps not even the only additional double GW after GW32, either. You may wish to use your FH in this week, given the likely rotation and possible injuries which may result from the top teams competing vigorously in Europe around this time.

While we can’t say for certain what the benefits of saving the chip will be, there is merit in keeping your options open. The drawback of keeping a strategy open indefinitely is that you may miss the opportunity to cash-in at the optimum moment, while wasting resources along the way.

For example, you may lose a FT if you save it for GW32, before deciding to use your FH instead when you hear the double GW announcements. Likewise, I have personally suffered from avoiding Sadio Mané since GW24, when each week he has been an obvious transfer target for me, yet each week I decided to ignore him so as not to commit to a FH32 strategy. He went on to score 58 points in 7 GWs, and might yet punish me again in GW31 and 33.

In the long run, keeping your options open may help or hinder your points production.

It’s up to you to decide which of these outcomes is most likely for your team. I only implore: won’t somebody please think of the chip fun?

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40 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Pep Pig
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    Hi mate. Great article mate and appreciate the efforts that have gone into it.
    Although I have set my team up for GW 31 and 33 over the last several weeks, I've still pondered over FH32.
    This is a welcomed read and it's worth considering. Cheers pal

    1. Deulofale
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Cheers Pep 🙂

    2. Geoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Thanks for flagging. I had the link copied and everything but then moved onto something else without reminding people

      1. Pep Pig
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        No problem sir

      2. Deulofale
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Thanks for publishing such a long, drag of an article, Geoffers!

        1. Geoff
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          No problem Deu - nicely written once again. Very little / no editing needed. Perfect 🙂

          1. Deulofale
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Oops, I just sent you an email 30 seconds ago requesting a minor edit to a mistake I made. Thanks again!

  2. The Overthinker
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    Great article. Loved it .

    And I totally agree about not using the FH according to the crowd who favours 31-33

    1. Deulofale
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Thanks! Are you sure I'm not overthinking things, though? I mean, what are the signs?

      1. The Overthinker
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Uhmm maybe I am the last person to ask about overthinking 😉

        Think you're fine

        1. Deulofale
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          😆 Phew!

  3. WesMantooth
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    Great read, and also a viable tactic for those that have'nt commited to the FH32. If your current can manage the transitions between the blansk and doubles without loads of hits, then this strategy definately sonds exciting.

    What I think hinders people from actually looking at the possibilities, like the ones your'e presenting, is the groupthink in various communities. Users on twitter, FFS and reddit are all seamingly backing the same tactics, and most pods are merely presenting these views as their own as well. Very few are looking at the big picture like your'e trying to do.

    Other things that have gone largely undiscussed, that also break with the F32-WC34-BB35-TCsgw"route" is:

    WC33:
    Man City and Brighton are not through yet. City are huge favourites, and brighton big favs. Meaning its very likely that city will go through and likely brghton will as well. But it's not UNLIKELY that one of them wont. This could give City or Spurs a game in 33, which would make it easier to build a wc-team for 35 in gwk33. This gives you the added benefit of having one more transfer to spend for the run in.

    BB34-36-37-38:
    BB35 is being talked about like its a given, because guess what stoopid: BB in a dgw is 8 extra players while the TC is only 2, Duh!
    I don't think its quite that simple though. If those with all their chips left wont be presented with a viable opportunity to utilize both the TC and the BB in a dgw, the situation becomes a little bit more complex. It basically means one has to weigh up the pointsexpectancy of dgwBB+sgwTC vs dgwTC+sgwBB. Fixtures may land in such a way that the cheap teams, that have a dgw, will get fixtures that realisticly only gives you the expectancy of a couple of extra appareancepoints over the sgwBB. This is a difference that the effects of the dgwTC vs a sgwTC can supercede.

    One also needs to factor in the possible advantage of having the possibility to opt for 4 players that's not a part of the DGW35-group, because you'll prob only focus on getting 11 dgwkrs for 35, instead of 15. This should help you attack (33)-34-36-37-38 in a better fashion than those that are only selecting from the pool of players with a dgwk.

    1. WesMantooth
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Loads of typos. I'm sorry.

    2. Superbadhine
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Good points, interesting read

    3. Deulofale
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      I tried (33)-34-36-37-38 but there was no answer. The attack will have to wait 😀

      Thanks for your input Wesmantooth. Always valuable. At this point, although I value differentials for being differentials, I do in this case think it might be worth taking the gamble of an unusual strategy for the sake of bring different. Or rather, simply remaining flexible by saving the FH. If the chips fall in your favour, you can cash in a lottery ticket that few others have bought. It depends if you're aiming for the dizzy heights or looking for a safe rank, but I don't have an FPL Twitter account so I'm free to go crazy.

      1. Deulofale
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        I mean: although I *don't* value differentials 😀

      2. WesMantooth
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        If their not an obvious gain to make, then yeah, it might be worth being different just for the sake of it. Exploits currently unforeseen, might become clearer at a latter stage

  4. Mysterion
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 12 days ago

    Very nice... ̶f̶o̶o̶d̶ chips for thought

    1. Mysterion
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Saw the article picture and thought "what could've been the link between chip fun and Luke Shaw..."

      reported for body shaming

      1. Deulofale
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        😀 😮
        No shame in carrying extra weight in real life. Only in FPL.

  5. dimitros
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    "Increase the power of this incredible Unlimited Transfers chip by using when you have your largest budget of the season."

    I don't think the largest budget of the season is after the second wildcard is played..

    1. WesMantooth
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Budget and Team Value are two different things.

    2. g40steve
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 12 days ago

      I have just sold two players with large value & still have SV of 105.4 so better than before last WC.

  6. dimitros
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    "You can pick players from teams with something to fight for on the final day of the league, rather than players from mid-table teams with their minds on James Milner’s Summer Beach Party Extravaganza."

    You can just plan your second wildcard without such players..

    1. Deulofale
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Unless you want those players for the DGWs 🙂

  7. Deulofale
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    For anybody looking to flesh-out a framework to help count their fixtures, here's an updated potential DGW32 schedule from Ruth_NZ:

    "This is the summary I made for myself but caveat emptor and all that.

    Wolves - bur MUN - confirmed
    United - WAT wol - confirmed
    Chelsea - car BHA - extremely likely (90%+)
    Brighton - SOU che - extremely likely (90%+)
    City - ful CAR - highly likely (80%+)
    Cardiff - CHE mci - highly likely (80%+)
    Palace - HUD tot or HUD new - pretty likely (70%+) but HUD tot much more probable
    Spurs - liv CPL - quite likely (60%+)
    Watford - mun FUL or mun SOU - quite likely one or other (55%), each equally probable
    Fulham - MCI wat - less likely (27%)
    Soton - bha wat - less likely (27%)
    Newcastle - ars CPL - very unlikely (10%)."

    https://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/comment/20026524

    1. Morph - Finding Nuno
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Lets assume City and BHA win their cup games, and Watford v Palace is 50-50...

      If Palace beat Watford in the cup, and Watford's sole DGW goes to 35, only the first 8 teams will have a DGW32 and, of those 8 teams, only Chelsea also play in GW33.

      If Palace beat Watford, and Watford's sole double goes to GW32, you'd still need 6 from Chelsea + Watford + Soton by GW32.

      If Watford win, you'd need to have 6 from: Chelsea + Palace + Soton by GW32 for this to work (and Soton only help you if their extra game goes to GW32 rather than 35).

      So basically, to use this strategy, you'd ALREADY need 5 players from:
      Chelsea + the hopeful loser of Watford vs. Palace + Soton (but they only count if their double moves to the 'right' week)

      I just don't see how'd you'd actually get to 44 fixtures across GWs 31-33 without hits.

      I think that if we'd got the DGW32 fixtures after GW27 then interesting strategies like this would be viable. As it is, only FH32-WC34 or WC32-FH33 seem worth considering.

      1. Deulofale
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Rather than trying to convince you that it's possible, I'll say that it doesn't really matter. What matters is what is possible for your own team with and without the FH chip, and with the hits you're likely to take.

        Howmany extra points will 47 fixtures (after potential hits) get you than 44 (after potential hits)? And can you make up these points (and more) later on? If not 47 vs 44, then how about 47 vs 43, 42, 41?

        That's the important message here. Everyone has to figure it out for their own team. There's no right or wrong answer - not even if we knew the definitive fixture schedule. Not only does it depend on the number of fixtures you can get with your team, but also your personal preference for players and PL teams, etc.

        1. Morph - Finding Nuno
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          I believe it's possible that it could work.

          The problem is that you don't know whether it's possible for YOUR team until after the GW31 deadline, as you don't know which players you need to own for it to work until then.

          Whatever your team, if only those first 8 teams get a DGW32 then you are looking at 42 max for the 31-33 fixture count (I think). Many would agree 6 extra fixtures are worth a (-12).

          I can get 48 fixtures with a (-4) but have taken hits in previous weeks to get there.

          1. Deulofale
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Yeah some of the benefit of saving the chip has already been cashed-in, as I might otherwise have taken more hits in preparation for GW31 prior to GW30, and meanwhile had players which I prefered to own, who in theory at least, would have scored me more points. I cut this pointout of the article due to length.

            Making the decision at this moment in time, though, means we can disregard that benefit, and so saving the FH is actually less attractive now than it was in preceding weeks.

            I think if you have the top player/teams you would want for the ultimate GW32 DGW, and then find out the DGW fixture is diminished in comparison, then potential scores for FH teams are diminished along with potential scores for FH-saving teams. However, the 'power' of the FH in GW32 will diminish along with this 'dissappointing' fixture announcement, as you won't be getting in such potent players, whereas the power of the saved FH won't diminish at all.

            If my top players only have a SGW in GW32 followed by another in GW33, it's not exactly the end of the world, and won't much affect the total fixtures I was expecting from the squad, anyway. I could even decde to BB instead of TC if the attractive City or Chelsea double didn't occur.

  8. LSP FC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    "Well, everyone knows Custer died at Little Bighorn. What this book presupposes is... maybe he didn't."

    1. Deulofale
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Why would a review make the point of saying someone's not a genius? You think I'm especially not a genius?

      1. LSP FC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        I didn't even have to think about it.

        1. Deulofale
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          😮 😆

          1. LSP FC
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            😉

  9. Ginkapo FPL
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 11 days ago

    I'm on a horse

    1. Deulofale
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Anything is possible

  10. Amey
      2 months, 6 days ago

      Nice article Buddy !!

      1. Deulofale
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 6 days ago

        Cheers Amey 🙂