Tips

The Complete Guide to Scout’s tips and advice for FPL Gameweek 18

Our first Blank Gameweek of the season is upon us. Liverpool’s participation in the FIFA Club World Cup means their fixture against West Ham is postponed. And with Manchester City taking on Leicester City this weekend, we are faced with trickier captaincy and transfer decisions than normal. 

This is reflected in the Scout Picks with the starting XI featuring players from eleven different teams. And one of the better captaincy options doesn’t even make the cut. 

What to do with our Liverpool players?

Stick or twist. Andy made his moves early with Trent Alexander-Arnold shown the door. While the Liverpool fullback has continued his attacking potential supplying seven assists this season, the lack of clean sheets is a cause for concern.

Having looked at the Season Ticker, Andy decided there may not be too many shutouts for Liverpool on the horizon. Liverpool are second worst for defence over the next seven Gameweeks. With Alexander-Arnold costing £7.3m, the Pro Pundit feels there is better value elsewhere. 

However Andy has decided to keep Sadio Mané. A decision shared by fellow Pro Pundit Holly, but not by Scoutcast host Joe or Pro Pundit Sam

Holly’s faith in her subs allows her to bench both Mane and Alexander-Arnold this Gameweek. Undaunted by Liverpool’s upcoming fixtures, she observes:

We can see from Jurgen Klopp’s teamsheets in the FIFA Club World Cup exactly where his priorities lie. This season is Liverpool’s best chance of winning the title in the Premier League era, nipping at Manchester United’s heels for the most titles in history.

– Holly Shand

She turns to this site’s Rate My Team tool to justify her decision to hold onto Alexander-Arnold, noting that out of all defenders he’s still top for points projections despite the blank. 

Holly feels so bullish on Liverpool she’s even considering adding Mohamed Salah to her contingent. 

Indeed it’s a desire to own the Egypt international that has prompted Joe to swap Mane for Son. He then plans to bring in Salah after Liverpool’s fixture against Leicester in Gameweek 19.

Joe feels there’s an opportunity because of the Blank Gameweek to forgo a Liverpool player and take advantage of a resurgent Tottenham Hotspur. Sam agrees.

On the cusp of the top 10,000 and with her Wildcard in hand, she feels that benching a player of Mané’s value is a poor use of budget. She too is targeting a Spurs replacement. And, like Joe and Holly, is looking to draft in Salah down the line.

Pro Pundit Tom Freeman has been similarly impressed by the Liverpool attacker. In his latest article the five-time top 1,000 manager noted how a positional change improved Salah’s attacking potential:

Mohamed Salah’s (£12.2m) best goalscoring form has come when leading the line in a 4-2-3-1, with Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) positioned in the pocket just behind, and this trend continued against Watford, with the Egyptian not only scoring twice but also causing the Hornets defence problems all afternoon.

– Tom Freeman

As the Scout Notes on Liverpool v Watford confirmed, Salah’s seven goal attempts all took place inside the box and far exceeded the two for both Mané and Firmino.

Further good news for those favouring Liverpool players was provided by Pro Pundit Zophar who looked at the rest period afforded each team over the busy festive period:

Liverpool (290.5 hours) and Sheffield Utd (293 hours) have the most relaxed schedule. West Ham’s total is inflated by their blank week in Gameweek 18.

– Zophar

Although not many own West Ham players, their Blank Gameweek affords them an actual rest. And an improved performance in Gameweek 17 caught the eye of Tom Freeman, who felt Antonio and Haller thrived in their new striker partnership. 

David Wardale observed in his Scout Notes on the match:

Haller, in particular, was reborn. He’d struggled to replicate the form that had prompted his transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt, partly because he thrived in Germany alongside Luka Jovic, now of Real Madrid. Antonio is unlikely to be moving to the Bernabeu anytime soon, so his presence could continue to galvanise both Haller and the team as an attacking force.

– David Wardale

Finally, before we leave the topic of Liverpool and West Ham, Joe mentioned on the Scoutcast that Ben Crellin is predicting Gameweek 24 as a possible slot for rearranging the fixture. This would make Gameweek 24 the first Double Gameweek of the season:

Liverpool have lost their EFL Cup QF at Villa, so I reckon there’s about an 85% chance that WHU vs LIV will be moved to GW24 (Jan 28-30). It’s the next midweek that both teams will definitely have free.

– Ben Crellin

Captaincy Conundrum

I declared at the top of the article that one of the better captaincy options hadn’t made the Scout Picks. I was referring to Raul Jimenez, whose Wolves’ team travel to Norwich City. David noted in his Captain Sensible article:

While Norwich have made some improvements on the road recently, their home defence, much as it was even as they won the Championship, tends to suffer from their increased propensity to attack their opponents.

– David

Joe backed that up on the Captaincy Video, observing that Norwich have conceded 12 big chances in their last four home matches

However David did point to the recent return of Christoph Zimmermann has having boosted their defence. Although, as Neale reported in his team news round-up, fellow centre-half Tim Godfrey has been ruled out until February with an ACL injury.

Marcus Rashford was highlighted as a strong candidate in both the Captaincy Video and Captain Sensible articles. Form and fixture align: five goals and two assists in six matches, including two double-digit hauls, is coupled with a match against a Watford defence who have conceded a high number of big chances. 

Vardy and De Bruyne present form options with a tricky fixture. A trip to the Etihad means recent captain-favourite Vardy is not so heavily backed on this occasion.

The bottom line is that the attacking players are arriving at the Etihad in strong form and so are the defences. Not every Fantasy manager will be comfortable placing the armband here.

– David

Nonetheless Manchester City are tipped by G-Whizz in the latest DS stats, fixtures and clean sheet odds. And should De Bruyne continue in his advanced role, he would present an enticing option. 

Spurs duo Son and Alli have attracted a lot of attention this week. Good form meets poor form as Chelsea travel to North London for the last match of the Gameweek. Joe quipped: 

If Chelsea conceded eleven goal attempts against Bournemouth, how many will they concede against Spurs?

– Joe

Son is handed the captain’s armband in this week’s Scout Picks. 

Finally a mention must also go to Danny Ings, who was immensely unlucky not to score against West Ham. In her video review of Gameweek 17, Sam pointed out his talisman status in the Southampton side. And over the last four Gameweeks and the season as a whole, no team has conceded more shots in the box than the Saints next opponents Aston Villa. 

Seeing Double

Despite the Scout Picks featuring players from eleven different teams, attacking double-ups was a popular hot topic this week. 

It’s been a successful tactic for World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, as Greyhead reported in The Great and The Good. Currently third overall, the Norwegian has benefitted from doubling up on Manchester City and Liverpool players at different times this season. De Bruyne and Sterling early on followed by Salah and Mane later. 

With two free transfers many will be wondering whether the chess king will sacrifice one or both of his Liverpool players.

One high-value piece that is coming back into play is Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. As Rotation’s Alter Ego revealed in his team news summary the Argentina international has returned to training. Could he soon prove a canny differential?

Neal Maupay was one of the three players highlighted by Pro Pundit Ash (aka FPLHints) in his differentials article this week. While 9.1%-owned Richarlison is included in the Scout Picks, he faces Arsenal’s shaky defence this week. And the fixtures look particularly rosy for Everton from Gameweek 22. 

One midfielder who has disappointed recently is Christian Pulisic. The Chelsea forward may have registered 13 shots in the box over the last four Gameweeks but, as Karam pointed out on the Scoutcast, only two of those were on target. Pro Pundits Andy and Zophar have both parted company with the American.

To view all our discussions please visit our Hot Topics page, and if you’ve got some analysis, scout reports or features brewing, be sure to visit our community section to submit your article.

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Community Competitions

For an update on all FFS Mini-Leagues and Community Competitions, please click here to read the latest round-up.

For those interested in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 18 can be found below:


Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.

Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.

Best of luck for Gameweek 18!

TopMarx - H2H L4 D5 Fan of Fantasy Football and Monty Python. "Archimedes out to Socrates, Socrates back to Archimedes, Archimedes out to Heraclitus, he beats Hegel. Heraclitus a little flick, here he comes on the far post, Socrates is there, Socrates heads it in! Socrates has scored! The Greeks are going mad, the Greeks are going mad! Socrates scores, got a beautiful cross from Archimedes. The Germans are disputing it. Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.”

1,237 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Balls of Steel
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    Switched capacity from Rashford to Son at the very last second 11:29:59...don't normally change but the home fixture has swayed me! Watford new manager first home fixture also my reasoning...

    1. BenjoBD
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 3 days ago

      Fair do's I never fancied rash for c this week. I went Alli in the end.

      1. Podge
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        It’s dues

    2. Aj Royals
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      same here…last second change to Son... I still tried back to Rashford after seeing the captain poll result but couldn’t as it shown as the site being updated. Hope Son can give some points.

    3. Regin
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      My captain is kdb

      1. BenjoBD
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 3 days ago

        I moved from kdb to alli today. I fancied a slight diff this week at 18% ownership.

    4. Hy liverpool
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      These last minute moves always end in tears.

      1. Balls of Steel
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Yes they do, yes they do 🙂

  2. ChickenTikkaMoSalah
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    Saka playing as left back for Arsenal. I wish I owned Richarlison

  3. Mané money
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    Almost went crazy trying to decide who to captain.
    Options were Rash, Son, Alli, Kdb and Vardy.
    In the end I went with Rash but it was a tough one. Let's see what happens.

    1. Sailboats
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      Same. I switched from Son > Rashford last minute.

  4. Planet Head
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    Seconds out, Round 18 ding ding ding

  5. drughi
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    shouldve done maddison>richarlison for a hit

  6. Jafoole_88
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    LMAO at those who brought in Baines this week

    1. De Gea Van Dijk. 10
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 3 days ago

      Nostalgia pick.

  7. yakirh
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    Shocking lineup from Arsenal

    1. The gospel according to Mar…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      Their back line needs some improvement doesn't it.

      1. Lingard’s Shin Guards
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Matches teams in the relegation scrap

    2. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 3 days ago

      Surrender?

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

      Love it personally, especially Ozil not in the squad, give the youngsters a chance!

    4. Houldsworth Hatter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      They're a squad full of useless defenders and midfielders. What did you expect?

  8. Luton_Fan
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    anyone start their liverpool assets for the LOLS?

    1. Skloppy Kops
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      Both Robbo and Mane..
      Vardy and Lundy on bench

    2. yakirh
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      You know it

  9. HurriKane
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    Ended up with Richarlison (C)

    Crazy or Genius ?

    1. drughi
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      looks good actually

    2. Hy liverpool
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      On the wing today vs chambers/Saka.. Could be genius tbh.

    3. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 3 days ago

      I am jealous

      1. HurriKane
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Joking. Went with Sonaldo 😀

        Wished i owned Richa though

        1. Magic Zico
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 3 days ago

          My finger was itchy ... but needed -4 and benched Abraham. With 4 YCs and no WC here, just can't do it

    4. Supertrooper
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      Last second maddi to rich (C) transfer, let's go!

  10. Sgt Frank Drebin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 3 days ago

    What's going on with price changes? Is it because of wildcards? KDB on 150%, Mount on -140%, Mane on -380% ( 😮 )

    1. Netley Lucas
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      System can't handle a lot at once, it will settle down.

    2. iL PiStOlErO
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Could be

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

      I wish I capped Richarlison, Arsenal defensive line up looks pathetic!

      1. Luton_Fan
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        their whole team looks a mess.

        1. Houldsworth Hatter
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Nothing better in the squad. The names line Ozil etc. have been an embarrassment to the club for ages. They've appointed a new gaffer and he needs transfer windows, time and funds to rebuild. I like the fact of the attitude of the player is wrong, they aren't playing. Simple. Good management. I'm interested to see what her does given time.

      2. Lecky Legs FC
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Fingers crossed myself and a few others on here gave him the armband also coupled with the announcement of the new manager the Everton team will be looking to impress here's hoping Richarlison hauls

      3. Magic Zico
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Calvert Lewin could be the answer

    4. FDMS All Starz
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 3 days ago

      Really hope Ozil leaves this Jan, such a negative vibe player

      1. iL PiStOlErO
          2 months, 3 days ago

          The guy is such a waste of air.

        • in sane in de bruyne
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          This. Hate him.

        • _sidney_will
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Shoud of never played again after the Europa League final, sickens me that fans still want him to start, been bang average his whole Arsenal career and is paid a fortune

      2. The gospel according to Mar…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Finally Everton have realised that Michael Keane sucks.

        1. Skloppy Kops
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Overrated brat. Like almost all british yougster

      3. Warbling Wendy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Ancetoffi

        1. De Gea Van Dijk. 10
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 3 days ago

          End in tears.

        2. The gospel according to Mar…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          It's a bit worrying when you read about what went wrong at Napoli. Bringing in family members on his coaching staff. Head physio smoking in the medical centre etc.

      4. Magic Zico
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Martial, can he do something this week? Come on OOP guy!

        1. HurriKane
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Benched for Greenwood? Not been doing well recently and fans getting frustrated lot

          Ole could give him a rest and go with Rash Greenwood James front 3

          1. Magic Zico
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 3 days ago

            No chance mate

      5. De Gea Van Dijk. 10
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Sigmund starts.

      6. Tomerick
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Last minute switch to Richarlison captain has me feeling like a genius. Looking forward to that familiar dose of humility.

        1. Regin
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          I ll be happy if he hauls as an owner

      7. Triffic
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Anyone else put their Liverpool players in the first 11 so they get that “feeling” of getting points of the bench?

        1. Fred54
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          So cute.

          1. Triffic
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            I know, I don’t do it myself haha, just wondered who out there might actually do it

        2. DF
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          And Button.

          1. Triffic
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Nice

        3. Skloppy Kops
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Yes. Vardy n Lundy on bench

        4. Lingard’s Shin Guards
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Prefer my points in the 11

        5. Podge
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Never know what rank you are

          1. Triffic
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Does your live rank matter unless you are near the top, like top 10?

      8. Steirish
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Captained Grealish and already regretting it haha

        1. LochineFDC
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          me too!

        2. ppv
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          I changed from Jack to Rashford last minute. Couldn't take the pressure as a Villa fan. Good luck to you both

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

          Hopefully you get rewarded for the risk

      9. Hazz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 3 days ago

        Digne is going to realise his potential under Ancelloti. Get him whilst he's cheap!

      10. Cheesyzoot
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Fellow KDB cappers, how nervous we feeling?

          1. Fred54
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            I don't think anyone is comfortable with who they captained this GW.

            1. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 3 days ago

              Exactly that. The main thing is you probably own some you fear anyway

          2. Podge
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Very

        • Holmes (specialist in failu…
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Richarlison is playing as left winger, isnt he? Won't be against Saka.

          1. Hy liverpool
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Chambers? That's awesome

            1. Holmes (specialist in failu…
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 3 days ago

              Maitland

        • NABIL - Gettin' Siggy …
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Rash (c) in the end. Boy you better deliver..

          1. Holmes (specialist in failu…
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Atleast one goal and an assist 😉

            1. NABIL - Gettin' Siggy …
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 3 days ago

              That's gonna be awesome!

        • Holmes (specialist in failu…
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 3 days ago

          Pereira to Digne on card

          1. NABIL - Gettin' Siggy …
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Zaha to Siggy here

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

              Richarlison much better.

              1. NABIL - Gettin' Siggy …
                • 7 Years
                2 months, 3 days ago

                Tonight will tell

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

            TAA to Digne. Digne and Richarlison the players ancelotti wishes to build his team around

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

              I'll wait to see he's not building a sinking ship first, it yes - have my eyes on them.

            2. NABIL - Gettin' Siggy …
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 3 days ago

              Wow, something to ponder

        • Captain Casual
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Thank god that captain malarky is over. Now sit and wait

          • The 12th Man
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Richarlison (c)
            Let’s go

          • Hakim Ziyech
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Captain Jimmy Locked in GL guys

            1. My heart goes Salalalalah
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 3 days ago

              Yes ma'am

          • JustPark
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Mason Holgate nailed now? Bit odd Keane on bench.

            1. The 12th Man
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 3 days ago

              Not really.
              Ones been playing well, the other hasn’t.

              1. JustPark
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 3 days ago

                Didn't really tune to Everton. Thought he was a gem with the transfer hype.

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

              Any Everton players with 'Kean' in their name must shut on the bench is the rule.

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

                Auto-correct fumble.

            3. Ask Yourself
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 3 days ago

              Was going to bring him in for the OOPness so glad I didn’t know. Although looking at that arsenal line up it looks a certain CS

          • BenjoBD
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 3 days ago

            Hoping for a goal fest at spurs.

            Playing alli, son, tammy benched aurier for Kelly.

            Anyone else banking on a 5-4 scoreline?....

            1. BenjoBD
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 3 days ago

              And I captained alli

          • Gringo Kid
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 3 days ago

            KDB (c) this week, gambling this week

            1. Ask Yourself
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 3 days ago

              Literally not a gamble it’s the common sense choice with Dilva out

            2. BenjoBD
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 3 days ago

              Good luck. Lots of gambles this week. As long as rash doesn't haul it'll even itself out anyhow I reckon.