Pro Pundit Teams

The pros and cons of playing the second Wildcard ahead of FPL Blank Gameweek 18

With six top 20k finishes to his name and a current overall rank of 41,610, Let’s Talk FPL’s Andy explains why he’s considering deploying his Wildcard to optimise his chances in both Blank Gameweek 18 and Double Gameweek 19.


For most of us, this Fantasy Premier League season will be like no other. We’ve had fixture postponements before for cup runs and weather, but we haven’t had to manage a global pandemic at the same time.

Because of this, there really are completely different ways to guide our teams through Gameweek 18 and 19, while also thinking more about the long-term implications of using our chips now.

I’m someone who usually goes with the crowd. Not because I’m scared of making my own decisions, but usually because the crowd knows the best route, at least in terms of when to deploy chips.

We know that the Wildcard, Free Hit, Bench Boost and Triple Captain are usually best left until the Double Gameweeks later in the season but for once, I’m thinking about going against the grain.

A lot of FPL managers will be navigating Gameweek 18 and 19 without using their Free Hit or Wildcard, while others will be using the Free Hit to manage Blank Gameweek 18 and then using free transfers to address Double Gameweek 19.

But what if a Wildcard could do both for us? In this article, I want to argue the case for using the chip in Gameweek 18. It would mean going for more than half a season with no Wildcard in hand, but keep your mind open and have a think over what I’m about to say.

Managing the Blank and Bench Boost Simultaneously

Usually, with the blanks and doubles, there is some kind of gap between the Gameweeks where things can go wrong: be it injuries, suspensions, or in the current climate, positive COVID-19 tests. It will usually require some transfer management to switch between players blanking and then doubling, or vice-versa.

But for Gameweeks 18 and 19, they follow each other, and because of the fixture rearrangements for Manchester United and Manchester City, you can cover a lot of the popular Free Hit picks from Gameweek 18 who are also great for Gameweek 19 and beyond as well. This lets you attack two very big Gameweeks with just one chip.

It’s possible to get 10 or 11 players out for Blank Gameweek 18 and, with one transfer, get to 15 Double Gameweek players.

Below is an example of a Wildcard that could go from 10 Gameweek 18 players to 15 Double Gameweek assets just by switching Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m) to any striker with two matches, such as Danny Ings (£8.3m), Michail Antonio (£6.2m) or Rodrigo (£5.7m). If you were happy with Rodrigo, this would also leave you an option to switch Marcus Rashford (£9.6m) back to Mohamed Salah (£12.6m), if you didn’t want to go without the Liverpool winger in Gameweek 19.

andy-wildcard-gameweek-18-article

The Sacrifices

As you can see from the above team, there are some sacrifices that have to be made, depending on the players you’d be otherwise looking to target with a Free Hit chip.

The first one is that there’s no Harry Kane (£11.0m) in the team. In fact, there are no Tottenham Hotspur players at all. It’s very difficult to fit Kane in because of his position and price point, especially when four out of five of the midfielders play in both Gameweeks 18 and 19. There is space for Son Heung-min (£9.8m) but for me, he’d only be in if I was sure I wanted to get Salah back for Gameweek 20. Otherwise, I’d take Rashford, who has an extra match in Gameweek 19 and a better fixture run afterwards.

Most managers using a Free Hit chip in Gameweek 18 will likely target the Arsenal defence and/or Bukayo Saka (£5.3m), too. Given the Crystal Palace performances so far this season, it could yield a good amount of points.

But with Manchester United playing Burnley and double Manchester City defence to cover the Arsenal backline, it’s a small sacrifice to make, in my eyes.

Differential FPL XI - High Risk, High Reward

Fixture Schedule: Gameweeks 20-24

Knowing how this season has gone so far, anything that feels perfect won’t be perfect for long, but not only do we have three strong teams in Aston Villa, Manchester United and Manchester City with a match in Gameweek 18 and a Double Gameweek 19, but they also have fairly generous fixtures after the double.

These are the fixture runs from Gameweek 20-23:

  • Manchester City – West Brom (a), Sheffield United (h), Burnley (a), Liverpool (a)
  • Manchester United – Sheffield United (h), Arsenal (a), Southampton (h), Everton (h)
  • Aston Villa – Burnley (a), Southampton (a), West Ham (h), Arsenal (h)
 1

Most FPL managers are likely to want at least one Manchester City defender with Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m), Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m) and Jack Grealish (£7.7m), all of whom are great options and feature in a lot of teams.

For that fixture run, there would be no harm in adding a couple more players from these teams as well, and the fact they cover Gameweeks 18 and 19 is a bonus.

One thing this is helpful with is offloading some of the money you’ve spent on the bench. Because of the fixtures for Gamweeek 20, unless there is a big injury blow, you should be able to roll a transfer, which would allow you to make two or three moves in Gameweek 21 and start downgrading some of the bench options to give you more money to spend.

Free Hit Flexibility

The Wildcard is often talked about as the best FPL chip, and I’d agree. The ability to change your entire team and set up for a fixture swing, or to manage multiple injuries, is huge.

But the Free Hit can offer a lot of flexibility. I’m not trying to argue that the Free Hit is better, but it might not be as bad to manage the rest of the season as it first feels.

Nothing is set in stone for future Blank and Double Gameweeks but the consensus seems to be that teams that reach the FA Cup 6th round will blank in Gameweek 29, with their Premier League fixtures likely to be brought forward to Gameweek 26.

For those with just their Wildcard left, they’ll likely set up for Double Gameweek 26 (possibly Bench Boosting) and then look to manage Blank Gameweek 29 with transfers. With the Free Hit spare, you can just manage your team as normal and Free Hit in Gameweek 29 if needed.

While no-one can safely predict who will get through to the FA Cup 6th round, we would assume that a big percentage of the top Premier League teams will progress.

Here are the Gameweek 29 fixtures:

andy-wildcard-gameweek-18-article 1

There’s the potential for plenty of these games to get called off, which would then arguably make a Free Hit in this week a little less helpful.

But because you can be flexible with it, you could switch to using it for Double Gameweek 26, as we should find out which fixtures are being postponed before we’ve reached Gameweek 24.

Otherwise it could just be saved for a rainy day, or perhaps a final-day punt.

The Downsides

The Complete Guide to FPL Gameweek 9

As with any strategy this season, it’s not perfect.

Using the Wildcard so early in the season leaves you with 20 Gameweeks to manage without the fallback of this prized chip. With the way fixture postponements and rearrangements are happening currently, it could make things very tough later on in the season.

There’s a heavy reliance on Manchester City, Manchester United and Aston Villa to do well in both Gameweeks 18 and 19 using my strategy. They have the fixtures for it, and a lot of the players will be targets of FPL managers regardless, but if Liverpool were to excel and you opted against Salah and any defenders, then it could be carnage. It’s also difficult to get Spurs players in, as I mentioned before, and they’re very heavily owned.

On top of that, there’s a reliance on no other fixture postponements for Gameweeks 18 or 19. There have only been four so far in over 160 fixtures, but three of those have come recently and betting against more happening would be foolish. There’s already talk in the community of holding the Bench Boost in case fixtures get called off in Gameweek 19, so it may be safer to wait until Gameweek 26 to start activating big chips.

What’s the right decision?

FPL Gameweek 14 injury and team news: Updates on De Bruyne, and more

I think now, more than ever, there isn’t a right or wrong way to play the next couple of Gameweeks.

People have been affected by fixture changes in different ways and the number of chips you currently have will change your thinking, as well as the players you own.

For me, I haven’t just decided that De Bruyne is a great option: my plan was always to get him back for Gameweek 20. The problem is, I sold him because he didn’t have a Double Gameweek, and now he does, along with a great fixture in Gameweek 18.

I find myself wanting three Manchester City players and I had none going into Gameweek 18. I also sold Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) recently because of no double and given his fixtures, I’d be happy to own him again. The Wildcard will not only allow me to cover Gameweek 18 but will hopefully let me nail the Bench Boost and have a good team for the Gameweeks preceding Double Gameweek 26, which should hopefully give me breathing space to plan.

It’s scary going against the crowd, and it’s even scarier to manage more than half a season without a Wildcard, but as Del Boy used to say: “he who dares wins”. In my case, though, I might end up more like Rodney, looking like a bit of a plonker.


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1,044 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Jinswick
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Any news on when Ederson will be back?

    1. fcsaltyballs
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      GW19

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

    Hows this FH18 draft please:

    DDG
    Cancelo Stones Tierney
    KDB Fernandes Rashford Son Saka
    Kane Wilson

    Forster Mitchell Davis Buur

    0.2 itb

    Thoughts appreciated?

    Thanks.

    1. ivantys
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Template

        1. fcsaltyballs
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Thanks

      • The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Can’t argue with any of those picks.
        Nice.

        1. fcsaltyballs
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Cheers mate

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

      So how about this FH18 team->

      No copying 🙂

      Darlow
      Tierney Cancelo Shaw
      KDB Bruno Sterling Son Saka
      Laca Wilson

      Steer Yedlin Davis Mitchell

      Happy new year !

      1. Sanchit
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Mostly template.

        1. Manumana
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Superb

      2. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Very nice

      3. fcsaltyballs
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Does the job

        1. Manumana
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Thx

    3. Jinswick
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Any obvious route to get a playing GK this week whilst ensuring I have 10 DGWers + Son for GW19?

      CANCELO, TARGETT, Bellerin, Dier
      KDB, BRUNO, Son, Martinelli
      WATKINS, Wilson

      MCCARTHY, Forster, Mitchell, SALAH, BAMFORD

      Bank 0.0m, 2FT

      1. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Cancelo > Stones or
        Bellerin > Holding

        To fund a keeper.

        1. Jinswick
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Cheers. Yeah I looked at that, but (1) only leaves me with max 5.1 for keeper (so Martinez) and (2) it means max 9 DGWers + Son as will have used 2FTs and not increased number of DGWers.

          1. The 12th Man
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 10 days ago

            I’m guessing you wouldn’t want a Burnley defender like Lowton?

            Are you set on keeping Salah?

            1. Jinswick
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 10 days ago

              Yeah not keen on Burnley. Also looked at Salah/McCarthy -> DDG/Sterling, but that would also mean max 9 DGWers next week (or less if getting Salah back)

              1. The 12th Man
                • 7 Years
                3 months, 10 days ago

                It’s looking difficult then. I’d probably roll with no GK in that case.

                1. Jinswick
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 10 Years
                  3 months, 10 days ago

                  Yeah that’s the current plan. Need to use 1FT this week though - see anything better than Dier -> Stones?

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

                  Not sure about losing Son, but what about McCarthy + Son -> either:

                  A) DDG + Mahrez/Foden
                  B) Ederson + Grealish

                  1. The 12th Man
                    • 7 Years
                    3 months, 10 days ago

                    If Grealish gets booked he’ll only play once in 19.

                    I’d keep Son.

      2. Bram
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Not without a Burnley def or something far more daft

      3. redsallstars
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 10 days ago

        dier to stones looks a like the best move

    4. FPL ElasticO
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      How is this FH team looking?

      Darlow
      Cancelo / Dias / Tierney / Holding
      KDB / Bruno / Rashford / Son / Saka
      Kane

      Bench:: Forster / Brewster / Yedlin / Davis

      1. Zladan
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        I’d diversify the defence a little.

        One of the Arsenal defenders to AWB

    5. Weeb Kakashi
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Pick one for the DGW

      A Sterling Ziyech/Puli Cresswell
      B Rashford Raphinha Dias Vardy

      Rest of the team
      Areola
      Cancelo Dallas
      KDB Bruno
      Ings Bamford

      1. RichRover
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        B

      2. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Definitely B.

        1. Weeb Kakashi
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Cheers

    6. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      No rise for Cancelo again. I hope that remains. Have the exact cash to do Kane + Ampadu to Vardy + Cancelo for 19.

      1. TorresMagic™
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Very unlikely to be done.

    7. The 12th Man
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      I’ve done TAA,Salah >> Cancelo,KDB -4.
      Which gives me 8 for GW18.
      Martinez
      Dias,Cancelo
      Fernandes,KDB, Grealish
      Kane,Watkins.
      3.5m itb

      Blankers:- Johnstone,Coufal,Chilwell, Dallas,Raphinia,Soucek,Bamford.

      All options still open. As it stands I’ll have 14 DGWers plus Kane who will probably be Vardy.
      1. Is the above 8 enough to save the FH and WC?
      2. Take another -4 to get another player in this week who plays a double?
      Chilwell/Dallas > AWB
      Bamford > Martial

      1. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Anyone?

        1. Jinswick
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          I’d say ok to save the FH as you have most of the big hitters this week.

          Probs looking at Tierney, Saka, Son, some upgrades elsewhere (Martinez/Watkins -> Leno/Wilson)+ 4 points vs the value of a FH.

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

      Gw 18 which one u prefer ong with son
      A. Kane
      B. Lacazette

      1. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        One week punt, Lacazette as you already have Spurs attack. Get a player you wouldn’t normally get.
        On the hand if you think Spurs will smash Villa then double up.
        Myself. I’d split the risk and have either Son or Kane,

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

          As i am going a free hit k surly consider

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

        B

      3. WE GO FOR IT
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        I'd go Laca. Villa vs Spurs is tough to call. Will be a tight game. 1/2 goals max. Obviosuly Kane can get both and Arsenal can lose 0-1. But if you had to take a one week punt, you'd surely back Laca at home to Palace than Kane and Son both, away at Villa.

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

          K great fine i understood and i asked for free hit team thanks

    9. PogBruno
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      What are the current chances of Leeds not having a DGW?

      1. WenzelK
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Why?

        1. PogBruno
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Saints FA Cup got postponed?

          1. WenzelK
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 10 days ago

            K. Didnt know.

      2. TorresMagic™
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Low

        1. PogBruno
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Kk mate

    10. Bavarian
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      I think i'm not going to sell Son and Kane for the DGW, I beleive they can do much better than others even in a single match against Sheffield United... What do you think?

      1. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        I have Kane.
        It’s an option for me to keep him. I’ll only probably keep if one of my DGWers comes down with Covid or is injured/banned.
        Otherwise I’ll be doing Kane >> Vardy.

        Also Spurs play Liverpool in 20. That will sway some to dump.

      2. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        This season we need to look beyond just one GW. It is important to have a strong squad

        1. Pocky
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          I'll defo be keeping Son. May do Kane to Vardy, but that's probably as much down to GW20 as it is GW19.

      3. PogBruno
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Doing son + Kane to Vardy + salah

      4. GuenDoozy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Keeping both

    11. Karan14
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Running away from FPL for even 3-4 days after a bad gameweek is the best thing you could do for yourself specially if you're as into it as I am.

      I feel so refreshed and happy. Fully ready to be disappointed again! 😀

      1. PogBruno
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Can feel your pain bro

    12. fcsaltyballs
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Best option (have Son):

      1. Grealish Lacazette
      2. Saka Kane

      Cheers

      1. Weeb Kakashi
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        1 sire.

    13. Weeb Kakashi
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      For the DGW pick one

      A Werner Sterling AWB
      B Vardy Rashford Dias

      Have Cancelo Bruno and KDB

      1. aapoman
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        B all the way

      2. Inazuma X1
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        B with Stones

        1. Weeb Kakashi
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Why Stones? Diaz not the better pick?

          1. Inazuma X1
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 10 days ago

            Stones is nailed, you will save money

    14. StayoutheSpiceZone
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Anyone else on here feel like Arsenal players are a bit of a trap?

      I think Palace will score against them and I’m not sure battering West Brom at the moment should be taken too seriously?

      1. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        They also put 3 past Chelsea

        1. StayoutheSpiceZone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          This is true - may be I’m overthinking

      2. Camino Aleatorio
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Yes - trap

        The cognitive challenge is that there are lots of Arsenal fans. They can start talking up players and create false promise and buzz in FPL forums

        (1) they once said that Ceballos was a cheap #10 in a top 6 side. He’s worthless
        (2) Pepe was Mane 2.0 and Liverpool wanted him badly. He’s worthless
        (3) Thierney was Robbo 2.0. He’s mostly worthlessly deployed
        (4) Saliba was their 4.5 starting CB that was superbly talented, can’t even find a Championship loan club
        (5) bellerin - totally mediocre - was being bought and hyped this year - just a few rounds ago.

        Watch them play with your own eyes snd then make the call to avoid fan bias. Arsenal must have lots of little kid fans, they worship the club - no objectivity

    15. aapoman
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Current team. 2ft and 0.5itb

      Martinez
      Stones Cancelo
      KDB Son Grealish
      Kane Watkins

      Forster*; KWP*, Coufal*, Ayling*, Salah*, Bissouma*, Bamford*

      For gw18: Salah -> Bruno
      For gw19: Kane and Bissouma -> Salah and Brewster. Planning on maybe using triple captain gw19 but not bench boosting for Ayling, KWP, Brewster.

    16. Roy Rovers
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Are these ok for 18 & 19?

      Martinez
      Cancelo Stones
      KDB (C) Son Bruno Grealish
      Kane

      Martinez Johnstone
      Cancelo Stones Dallas Coufal Cresswell
      KDB Son Bruno Salah Grealish
      Bamford Watkins Adams

      1. Roy Rovers
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Sorry....Grealish is Soucek

    17. The Train Driver
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Would you rather have Gundogan or Cancelo vs Brighton? The other will come on for the dgw anyhow.

      1. Flair
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Cancelo

      2. Captain Kakaroto (I blame R…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Good question tbh. I know that is crazy but i just compared KDB and Gundo, and KDB stats slightly better, but for the price, I think Gundo could be a great option.

      3. Camino Aleatorio
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        I got Cancelo but Gondwanaland is doing the Soucek dance-move of attacking the box from DM position and generating chances.

        He’s presently a solution to not having a true #9. An unexpected body for the defense to consider. He’s crafty and works well with mates, the opposite of Pogba that wrecks possession and gets caught offside

        1. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 10 days ago

          Is Gundogan that difficult to spell?

    18. g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Am I set for 18 & 19?

      Thoughts on BGW18 & BBDGW19?

      18,

      Martínez
      Stones, Cancelo
      Grealish, Bruno, Son, KDB
      Kane, Watkins

      19,

      Johnson,
      Coufal, Stones, Robbo, Dallas
      Bruno, Son, KDB, Soucek,
      Bamford, Watkins

      Martinez, Cancelo, Kane, Grealish

    19. Christina.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      forget FPL.

      This is whats happening out there....

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zveDwNE09_I

    20. CC1983
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 6 days ago

      What's the thoughts on this FH team, really struggling whether to hit the button or not!

      Leno
      Tierney, Stones, Cancelo
      KDB, Rashford, Bruno, Son
      Wilson, Kane, FSilva

      0.1 itb