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. bso
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 10 days ago

    I am .1 short to get Dias for Taylor. No other FH.
    How safe is Cancelo with Walker back? I have Stones. KWP, Saiss and Coufal.
    Thanks!

    1. Hart-ake
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 10 days ago

      Cancelo will play the majority, great pick. Wait on the City cup matches though.

      1. bso
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 10 days ago

        Thanks...have exact money and Taylor dropping tonight...so have to buy today.
        Hoping more B team players to play vs Birmingham.

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

      He's made some big errors this game, wouldn't be surprised if he gets benched.

      1. bso
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 10 days ago

        Appreciate this info.

  2. Milkman Bruno
      4 months, 10 days ago

      Rashford is off the pace

      1. F4L
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 10 days ago

        Don't like him playing on the right to be honest. Hopefully when Cavani is back Martial is shifted to the right.

      2. Bushwhacker
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 10 days ago

        Yards offside as well but nobody seems to care.

      3. Party time
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 10 days ago

        He needs milk

        1. Crunchie
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          4 months, 10 days ago

          Otherwise, he will play for Accrington Stanley 🙂

    • Mac90
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 10 days ago

      Oh wow. If Southampton Leeds go through suddenly I have 9 players instead of 5 for BGW. Niiice

      1. Mac90
        • 7 Years
        4 months, 10 days ago

        No wait a min. 10!!!!

      2. Milkman Bruno
          4 months, 10 days ago

          What’s this about then? Chance of it being played?

          1. Mac90
            • 7 Years
            4 months, 10 days ago

            Noooo!!!

      3. Milkman Bruno
          4 months, 10 days ago

          How has Sterling so much space there?

        • Daniel Jebbison
          • 11 Years
          4 months, 10 days ago

          So many disallowed goals tonight

          1. Party time
            • 2 Years
            4 months, 10 days ago

            City will go through

        • Milkman Bruno
            4 months, 10 days ago

            Pogba starting to throw his arms in the air again. We had him driving in without complaints for 2-3 games.

            1. popey
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              4 months, 10 days ago

              Partly because he was fouling himself vs Villa

          • Reeker
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            4 months, 10 days ago

            Martinez - Peacock Farrell
            Dias - James - Robertson - Coufal - Dallas
            Son - Grealish - Salah - Fernandes - Soucek
            Calvert Lewin - Bamford - Brewster

            2.3 ITB - 1 FT

            What chip strategy would you do with this lot? FH 18, TC 19
            or WC 18 - BB 19?

            Was 100% on FH 18 but not sure anymore. Just looking for a bit of guidance of what you would do with this squad.

            1. Reeker
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              4 months, 10 days ago

              Thats 10 DGW players now with potentially 11 DGW with no hits.

              1. Reeker
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 7 Years
                4 months, 10 days ago

                Six GW18 players (which includes Brewster) so obviously a chip is needed for this GW

                1. Tonyawesome69
                  • 2 Years
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  Take a - 4 and bring in 2 players from Utd, City, Villa or Burnley which play in 18 and double 19. James and Salah to Dias/Cancelo and KDB

                  1. Tonyawesome69
                    • 2 Years
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    8 players for 18 and save FH.

          • Hart-ake
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 10 days ago

            Which one for dgw19:

            a) Rashford and Rodrigo
            b) Ings and Raphina

            1. Tonyawesome69
              • 2 Years
              4 months, 10 days ago

              B by a big margin

          • McSauce
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            4 months, 10 days ago

            Pep gonna rip up the team sheet for gw18 isn’t he hahah!

            Canelo out
            Sterling prob on bench
            Who knows about Dias or stones
            KDB should be safe

            1. F4L
              • 6 Years
              4 months, 10 days ago

              Hopefully Cancelo back to LB if anything. First XI can get a rest for the cup game.

            2. Tonyawesome69
              • 2 Years
              4 months, 10 days ago

              Most likely all rested for the FA Cup game on Sunday against Birmingham, game before GW18

              1. McSauce
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                4 months, 10 days ago

                Ye true hopefully

          • icanseethroughyou
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            4 months, 10 days ago

            Martinez, Forster
            Zouma, Justin, KWP, Dias, Saiss
            Grealish, Salah, Fernandes, Saka, Bissouma,
            Kane Bamford Welbeck

            Planning to tackle GW18 and 19 without a FH. My transfers would be:
            GW18 - Salah to KDB, Bamford to Martial
            GW19 - Saka to Soucek

            I’d have 9 for BGW and 9 double fixture players for DGW.
            1. Is this sound? 2. Am I better free hitting GW19?

            1. _Ninja_
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              4 months, 10 days ago

              Good plan, save the FH

          • Milkman Bruno
              4 months, 10 days ago

              Fernandes with two shocking attempts of passes ruining two good opportunities

              1. NateDogsCats
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  The man needs a break, he's looked out on his feet at times in a lot of the last few games

                  1. Bushwhacker
                    • 1 Year
                    4 months, 9 days ago

                    Can't carry a team every game.

                  2. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    4 months, 9 days ago

                    Agreed. Ole ran him into the ground end of last season as well.

              2. Red Spider
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                4 months, 10 days ago

                Capitol Building breached by protestors, shots fired

                1. Steve The Spud
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  Are they wearing masks?

                  1. Original - Wolves Ay We
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    They're Trump supporters, what do you think? 😀

                  2. Red Spider
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 9 Years
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    yes, but masks not bullet proof...

                2. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
                  • 8 Years
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  Banana republic

                3. A Kun & Mateta
                  • 7 Years
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  Mike Pen is can expect his P45! Trumpy Baby ain't happy.

                4. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
                  • 11 Years
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  America the shining beacon of the first world

                  1. A Kun & Mateta
                    • 7 Years
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    It's a third World country now tbh. Hope Joe can turn it around.

              3. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
                • 8 Years
                4 months, 10 days ago

                Is DDG really nailed for DGW? Best team playing without him.

                1. Hart-ake
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 4 Years
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  Hendo plays the cup games.

                  1. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
                    • 8 Years
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    So its safe to bring him in for BGW and DGW?

                    1. Milkman Bruno
                        4 months, 10 days ago

                        Yes

                        1. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
                          • 8 Years
                          4 months, 10 days ago

                          Cheers

                2. boroie
                  • 2 Years
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  Have 6 players playing this GW and 1 FT:

                  Targett, Cancelo, KDB, Bruno, Son, Watkins

                  FH?

                  1. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
                    • 8 Years
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    Yes

                  2. Tonyawesome69
                    • 2 Years
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    Consider taking a - 4 and bring in 2 players from Utd, City, Villa or Burnley which play in 18 and double 19. Leaves you with 8 and can save FH. This depends on the rest of your team

                3. boroie
                  • 2 Years
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  Rate my FH team...

                  DDG
                  Cancelo AWB Tierney
                  KDB(C) Bruno(VC) Son Foden Saka
                  Kane Lacazette

                  BPF; Brewster Pieters Mitchell

                  1. Super Saints
                    • 4 Years
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    No Stones!?

                4. _Ninja_
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 10 Years
                  4 months, 10 days ago

                  Stones goal

                5. Milkman Bruno
                    4 months, 10 days ago

                    Stones goal ffs

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

                    Stones G

                  • Milkman Bruno
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Harry Maguire 🙄

                      1. A Kun & Mateta
                        • 7 Years
                        4 months, 10 days ago

                        Dougal Maguire

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

                      Stones 15 pointer.

                      1. Krafty Werks
                        • 6 Years
                        4 months, 10 days ago

                        ESSENTIAL?

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

                          Could turn into pebbles shortly.

                      2. gooberman
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 9 Years
                        4 months, 10 days ago

                        Lol. Typical isn't it. He gets his 1 goal in every 500 games in a non FPL game!

                    • Tsparkes10
                      • 2 Years
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Stones, kdb, Foden on Fh confined

                    • aapoman
                      • 7 Years
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Stones now do that in the Prem as well thanks 🙂

                    • Hryszko
                      • 3 Years
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Anyone know who assisted Stones?

                      1. Camzy
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 10 Years
                        4 months, 10 days ago

                        Foden

                      2. aapoman
                        • 7 Years
                        4 months, 10 days ago

                        Foden

                    • Camzy
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 10 Years
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Why couldn't this have been in the league...

                    • Super Saints
                      • 4 Years
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Stones runs into the ball

                    • Flair
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Stones!

                    • Alisson WondHaaland
                      • 5 Years
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      For DGW and onwards:

                      A) KDB Rodrigo Bissouma
                      B) Vardy Bowen Soucek

                      One of the 3 would be an 8th attacker but Im bench boosting

                      1. Super Saints
                        • 4 Years
                        4 months, 10 days ago

                        Hmmm B

                    • Fudgy
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Now he won't score in the league 🙁

                    • diesel001
                      • 4 Years
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Stones would score in the EFL Cup when you need him to score in the PL

                    • Super Saints
                      • 4 Years
                      4 months, 10 days ago

                      Cancelo is so good

                      1. Over Midwicket
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 9 Years
                        4 months, 10 days ago

                        Might captain

                        1. Super Saints
                          • 4 Years
                          4 months, 10 days ago

                          KDB back to his best