With only my Free Hit chip left to use on my Fantasy Premier League team, planning is in some ways a bit easier as there’s no concerns about whether to Bench Boost or Triple Captain in a Double Gameweek or when to plan to Wildcard.
On the other hand, I have to think about how I’m going to manage the rest of the season, especially with no Wildcard.
I want to use this article to talk about whether saving the Free Hit for a Double Gameweek is the ideal scenario, or whether it should be used in Blank Gameweek 31 and my thoughts on both scenarios.
As with any chip strategy, it will be dependent on your own team and how many chips you have left, but hopefully, you can take something from this either way.
In order to provide context to my thoughts, here’s my current situation:
I’m not counting Adama Traoré (£5.8m) as a Blank Gameweek 31 option any longer given the uncertainty of starts.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m)
- Willy Boly (£4.8m)
- Charlie Taylor (£4.3m)
- Mohamed Salah (£12.7m)
- Dwight McNeil (£6.0m)
- Raúl Jiménez (£8.0m)
With two four-point hits over the next two Gameweeks, I could potentially get to 10 players all playing in Gameweek 31 without using my Free Hit chip.
While they’re not set in stone it’s looking like potentially being:
- Diogo Jota (£6.4m)
- Sadio Mané (£12.4m)
- Troy Deeney (£6.2m)
- Ben Foster (£4.9m) or Nick Pope (£4.8m)
Is this enough to not Free Hit? Let’s find out…
Benefits of using Free Hit
First of all, the chip would allow me to get the “ideal” team for Blank Gameweek 31. While I’d have ten players in the scenario above I’d have Boly instead of someone like Matt Doherty (£6.2m) for example. I’d definitely be looking at the Irishman if I was Free Hitting.
The obvious benefit is completely ignoring the Blank Gameweek and solely focusing on getting players you want for the short and long-term.
An example of this is Marcos Alonso (£6.1m) who’s been in fine form recently and plays Aston Villa next. Saving the chip would mean he wouldn’t be on my radar until Gameweek 32 at the earliest.
The chip will also potentially straight away save you a certain amount of points. In my scenario I’d have to spend eight points to get 10 players. The Free Hit chip would save me eight points, plus the appearance points (you’d hope your player would get them at least!) of the additional players you could get, plus any returns they get as well.
So already you’re on potentially 10+ points, without even taking into account defensive and attacking returns.
Benefits of Saving Free Hit
There’s nothing to say you have to have 11 players being fielded in Gameweek 31. If you can get to eight or nine players without a hit and you’re happy with the quality you have, it could be worthwhile saving the chip for a later stage.
There are only eight teams and four matches to pick from so at some stage you’re likely to have attackers playing defenders and vice versa.
While we don’t know exactly how the Double Gameweeks will be scheduled, we do know there’s a good chance of a high amount of the fixtures being put into Gameweek 37.
That’s still eight Gameweeks away, and knowing how quickly things can change in FPL, we just can’t know for definite which players will still be in form, who will be fit, and which teams or even players will have something left to play for.
It’s one of the reasons I used my Bench Boost earlier rather than holding it without a Wildcard. I knew what the situation was for my team right now, I didn’t know how it will be looking several weeks down the line.
If I’m already close to fielding a team I’m happy enough with for Gameweek 31, is there a good reason to use a chip which could benefit me down the line?
If I have the Free Hit in my back pocket, essentially waiting for a rainy day it also means I’m not fixated on bringing in players based around whether they have a Double Gameweek or not later on in the season. I can just get who I need at the time, react to potential smaller Double Gameweeks, and when Gameweek 37 comes around I have the chip if I need it, and if it ends up working out that I don’t need it I have a backup plan which is to use it in Gameweek 38 for some potential big differential options.
You’ll be “stuck” with Blank Gameweek 31 players
One of the key concerns people have with saving the chip is bringing in players just for the Blank Gameweek which you’d then be “stuck” with.
I don’t think there’s much need to discuss Liverpool here as they’re great to own, and most FPL managers likely aren’t concerned with holding Jiménez and a Wolves defender.
Jota has looked in good form recently and I’m not letting a blank against Brighton (home) put me off just yet. There are Europa League fixtures to think about of course, but with Aston Villa (away) straight after the Blank, I’m happy to hold him in the short term.
Deeney and Ismaïla Sarr (£6.3m) have both flourished under Nigel Pearson. Following the Blank Gameweek they have Southampton, Norwich and Newcastle United at home in the following four Gameweeks. These are great fixtures for a team fighting for their Premier League place.
Players like Taylor can be held in squads with little worry as they just enable money to be spent elsewhere.
If you’re going for a full XI then it may leave some slots free for players you potentially don’t want to hold long-term, and this would be worth considering when weighing up your options, as to how many transfers you might have to use after Gameweek 31 to change your squad up again.
I think there are good arguments for both using it and saving it. After writing this I’m still siding with saving it, mostly due to the fact my squad is in good shape and I have all the details for the Blank Gameweek already.
I still don’t feel like I have enough info for the Double Gameweeks and having a Free Hit chip in my back pocket could really help with that.
I’ll also be in a position at the end of the season to know just how different my Double Gameweek side needs to be to get that last boost up the ranks. With lots of big teams having Double Gameweek fixtures there could be lost of potential for points there from players I may not already have in my team.
Although there’s a bit more to it, it feels like a couple of extra players from Wolves, Burnley or Watford for one game. Or picking my ideal 11 players all playing twice. I know which sounds more fun…
Ultimately there will be countless hours spent thinking about this, and probably for marginal gains. Would we take FPL any other way?
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