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.


1,044 Comments Post a Comment
  1. The Senate
    • 3 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Do they just not book players for diving anymore? Mane and Salah on Monday and now Sterling and Martial?

  2. The Train Driver
    • 6 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Even Martial surprised he didn't get subbed out..

  3. Flair
    • 1 Year
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Martial flopping like the flop he is

  4. Qaiss
    • 5 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    I know Solsjoker said that other teams should stop fouling them in the box but every time there in the box, they go down like flies and scream for penalties the whole time.

  5. boroie
    • 3 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Any potential problems with this FH team...

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

    BPF; Brewster Pieters Mitchell

    1. BobbyDoesNotLook
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Not sure why everyone has Awb. Nothing going forward and Burnley could easily score from set piece etc. I would get Stones if no double City mids.

      1. Pipermaru
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        11 months, 2 days ago

        He has double City mids but agree about AWB, think Saiss/Keane/Fernandez/Stones better choices.

        1. BobbyDoesNotLook
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          11 months, 2 days ago

          Did not see Foden for some reason. Then Awb might not be bad choice but also Saiss could be good.

    2. Corona is not good 4 U
      • 1 Year
      11 months, 2 days ago

      I have the same free hit team and they said to me that Foden is too risky. But I think that is Burnley vs. Manchester United game will be pretty close as Burnley is usually very good defensively. On the other hand, I can imagine Manchester City winning 4-0 or 5-0. It is just not easy when you can not afford Sterling because he is too expensive.

  6. BobbyDoesNotLook
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    If a player gets a red on this game does the ban affect PL?

    1. The Senate
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      concerned about Cancelo toeing the line?

      1. BobbyDoesNotLook
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        11 months, 2 days ago

        Slightly 😀

    2. Bushwhacker
      • 2 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      All those Fred owners!!

  7. mynameisq
    • 8 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Martial is undoubtedly talented but is a very clear example of why talent alone isn't enough, work rate and attitude stinks, too much of a confidence player

    In his defence- I don't think he is a central striker

    1. HuttonDressedasLahm
      • 12 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      One of the multitude of players who can’t smile when scoring

    2. TomSaints
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      He’s a streaky confidence based player. Red hot then useless

    3. Duke Silver ☑
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Maybe that's just his demeanor but he always seems like he's only half trying.

    4. BenDavies
      • 8 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      He wants to play as a striker though. He's much better at LW, I agree.

  8. BenDavies
    • 8 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Can we get a petition going to count Stones' goal today towards GW18's points total?

    1. HuttonDressedasLahm
      • 12 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      This

  9. _Ninja_
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Game over.

  10. Original - Wolves Ay We
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    A beauty!!!

  11. Bookkeeper
    • 4 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    City reach the final
    Hope they win the cup now

  12. HuttonDressedasLahm
    • 12 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    At least the random scorers are now, not next week

    1. BenDavies
      • 8 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Stones isn't a random scorer!

    2. The Senate
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      it could get worse next week....

  13. The Senate
    • 3 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Let's just gloss over the fact a City player handled the ball in the build up to the corner, and VAR isn't allowed to intervene

    1. Bushwhacker
      • 2 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      A United fan complaining about VAR. Niiiice.

      1. The Senate
        • 3 Years
        11 months, 2 days ago

        oh you're here? still salty I see :')

        1. Bushwhacker
          • 2 Years
          11 months, 2 days ago

          Still supporting cheats I see. 🙂

      2. Pumpy
        • 12 Years
        11 months, 2 days ago

        Mental aren't they

    2. HuttonDressedasLahm
      • 12 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      You've been stormed tonight 😉

      1. The Senate
        • 3 Years
        11 months, 2 days ago

        I mean City def deserve to win, Dias has been immense - it's something that has always baffled me about VAR, like VAR will ignore teams scoring from a wrong-way throw in but get the line-drawing tool out for an offside that is too small to truly prove.

    3. Bookkeeper
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      makes sense now why Martial's dive wasn't awarded a penalty earlier

  14. Tsparkes10
    • 3 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    What a goal. Dias has been unbelievable tonight... one of the best cb performances I’ve seen in a long time

    1. NateDog
      • 1 Year
      11 months, 2 days ago

      He's been excellent, I hadn't seen much of him before he joined but had a friend that joked City were buying a CB that couldn't tackle but his reading of the game and positioning is incredibly good

  15. Flair
    • 1 Year
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Legend!

  16. Magic Zico
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Will Ole win a trophy for MUN?

    1. The Senate
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      If he does, it'll be the league. Never winning a semi final again!

      1. Bookkeeper
        • 4 Years
        11 months, 2 days ago

        easier to win a league or a cup?

    2. Bury94
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Maybe a pre-season cup

    3. Bushwhacker
      • 2 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Can they bring back the InterToto?

  17. Canarinha
    • 2 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Shaw is asking for a red

  18. Tinkermania
    • 2 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Is Bruno still waiting for a penalty? Sometimes you need some magic and /or graft!

  19. Salarrivederci
    • 5 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    What is this talk about Leeds - Southampton being moved to GW18? 🙂
    How likely is it? 🙂

    1. Silecro
      • 4 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Unlikely, no official news and GW18 is in 6 days

    2. stu92
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      On what grounds would it be moved?

  20. OneDennisBergkamp
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    saying this now Burnley vs Man Utd will end 0-0

    1. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Yeah, thinking Rash is a waste on FH

  21. RAFA THE GAFFA
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Stupid question probably but if I take a few hits and then later I can still use the FH chip and the point hits no longer come off? Thinking of picking up a few FH candidates tonight but don’t want to press the button just yet

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

      Yes

    2. OneDennisBergkamp
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      yep

    3. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Cheers

  22. 272MK
    • 8 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Can I vote somewhere to support Southampton Leeds to be played BGW18?

    1. BenDavies
      • 8 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      yep, you just did it. your comment counts as an official vote

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

      Why would Leeds agree to move a game which allows Sou to have a full 10/11 days rest when they will only have 3?

  23. stu92
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Dias, Cancelo, Tierney, AWB

    Which 3 would you go for on FH? Not sure whether to double up on Man City or spread the risk with other teams.

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

      1st 3

    2. The Senate
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      In order:
      Dias
      AWB
      Tierney
      Cancelo

    3. 272MK
      • 8 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      1st 3 if all confirmed ti start

    4. Bushwhacker
      • 2 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      1st 3 ; not comedy AWB

  24. Bury94
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Bruno or KDB captain this weekend?

    1. Uncle John from Jamaica
      • 9 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Same dilemma I am on KDB

    2. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      MUN are still inconsistent, MCI are back

    3. stu92
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      I own Bruno but have got KDB on the free hit. Going KDB as captain for a one off.

  25. Shark Team
    • 4 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    FPL assists on the 2 City goals?

    1. Rainer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Foden & AWB

    2. The Train Driver
      • 6 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      Foden and no ass.

  26. The Train Driver
    • 6 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Dias MOTM by miles...

  27. Naby K8a
    • 5 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    United don't get pen and lose shocker

    1. BenDavies
      • 8 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      There's an insane stat on the percentage of games United have won with a penalty scored in the game

  28. Duke Silver ☑
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    City hitting form at a good time.

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

      This

  29. RamaJama
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    Worth having both KDB and Sterling on FH bgw 18?

  30. dunas_dog
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    11 months, 2 days ago

    So best 3 City options going forward?
    KDB Dias Cancelo?

    Hopefully Walker and Mendy/Zinchenko play FA cup

    1. Rinseboy
      • 9 Years
      11 months, 2 days ago

      I think for upside its KDB Foden Cancello. Dias feels like a 6 points max player