Pro Pundit Teams

The case for Aubameyang as part of a Free Hit squad in FPL Blank Gameweek 18

In his latest column, three-time top 200 finisher Lateriser argues that deploying a Free Hit chip is the perfect time to awaken your inner maverick.


“A ship is always safe at the shore but that is not what it’s built for.” – Albert Einstein

Gameweek 18 is upon us and inadvertently, for a lot of you (but not me), it means that the Free Hit chip is about to be deployed.

Even the name tells us that this is a once-in-a-season, no-strings-attached, no-holds-barred, inner-voice-enabling chip! If you’re not channelling that inner instinct most weeks because this is ‘template season’ and are way too fearful of losing to the crowd, then this is the week to awaken your inner maverick. Put on your multi-coloured jacket and listen to yourself. Do it this one Gameweek – if you’re using the Free Hit, obviously. I insist!

Going with the theme of this introduction, I’m going to throw in a few not-so-template names in the hat that might seem ridiculous or not smart at first go, but I’ll build a case for them and leave the decision to you.

Also, I am writing this article before the Manchester cup derby so do not have any relevant information from that game at my disposal.

So the stage is set: enter Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m). I know, I know. Bukayo Saka (£5.3m) is literally mirroring his stats in the last few Gameweeks and costs six million less.

But when you’re looking at one stand-alone week, value doesn’t matter. So what case do I have for Aubameyang? In the last two Gameweeks, when he’s started with the in-form, rejuvenated Arsenal attackers, he is matching the stats of Saka and Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m).

He’s registered 1.42 expected goals (xG) in his last two games, which is the same he managed in five full matches previously. His total of two big chances in the last two Gameweeks is also the same he managed in five full games previously.

All it takes is one game to click, to come back into form. All it takes is one poorly time Joel Ward (£4.3m) tackle in the penalty box for Aubameyang to hammer a penalty in the top-right corner. I mean, with 22 goals and a 24% conversion rate in both of his previous seasons, we know the class and the finishing ability of the man.

Arsenal are playing much better football right now, so much so that they are joint-top of the league (tied with Aston Villa) for shots in the box in the last four Gameweeks. If he’s going to get the chances, you’d fancy him to convert.

It comes down to the age-old argument of judging the data set of this terrible season that Arsenal have had or that of his previous six seasons, where he’s been one of Europe’s most lethal finishers.

Now if this was a long-term commitment, there’s no way I’d encourage getting into a more serious relationship with him. But he seems exciting enough for a fling, in my opinion. If you don’t do it, fair enough; I know there are ‘more right’ things to do on a Free Hit.

The next name I am going to throw in the ring is Luke Shaw (£4.8m). Yes, I’m recommending a player that has one Fantasy Premier League assist to his name in the last two seasons.

I’ll give you five reasons:

  • a) He’s not injured at the moment
  • b) He’s playing some really good football right now
  • c) He’s on some free-kicks and corners
  • d) No defender has created more chances than him in the last four Gameweeks
  • e) Burnley are bottom five in the league for shots in the box conceded in the last six Gameweeks

The third and final name that I’d like to throw into this hat is Raheem Sterling (£11.4m). I’m presuming most Free Hitters will triple up on Manchester City and while a double-up on defence might seem the right play long term (Joao Cancelo (£5.7m) needs to be one of them), for one Gameweek alone, I do like a Sterling punt.

He’s been in pretty good nick of late, registering six returns in as many games and clocking 90 minutes in all of them. When I’m looking at one-week punts, Sterling is one of those players that screams ‘brace potential’ to me. He did more than that last time he played his Gameweek 18 opponents, having scored a hat-trick at the Amex Stadium in 2019/20.

He’s second only to Jack Grealish (£7.7m) for expected assists (xA) in the last four Gameweeks and has four shots in the box in the same timeframe. Why I do like Sterling (and a City attacking double-up) in a fixture against Brighton is because the Seagulls will want to play their own game, rather than sit back. Like the Chelsea match, this will suit the press-resistant Manchester City attackers and offer them more space than they are generally used to.

For those that are not on the Free Hit, it seems like a good time to target assets from the Manchester teams as they play three matches in the next two Gameweeks and the fixtures are pretty decent from Gameweek 20, as well.

If you are still on the edge in terms of whether to Free Hit or not, one other factor I’d like you to consider is this: if you are using the Free Hit in Gameweek 18 and then spending transfers to get the same players from the Manchester teams next week, it might be worth holding onto the chip and then taking a hit or two to just bring the players in ahead of next Tuesday.

Remember it’s about the quality of the players you have and not the quantity.

Spurs v Fulham postponed as second Gameweek 16 fixture falls by the wayside

On a personal note, I’ve been climbing steadily and am currently ranked at 1.8 million in the world but can’t help but feel miffed at being on the wrong side of coronavirus-influenced rescheduling in Gameweek 16, having spent my last four transfers on Spurs and City players. I mentioned that the City defence were the best in the league last time I wrote and nothing has changed my opinion since.

If you want to know more about other, not-so-maverick Free Hit picks, as well as an in-depth discussion on Arsenal and the Manchester teams, do have a listen to this week’s episode of The FPL Wire (linked below). We’ll be doing another special episode this Saturday where we’ll be interviewing Ragabolly, who is the creator or LiveFPL, VirtualFPL and a new Fantasy planning tool – so look out for that, as well.

Good luck this Gameweek!


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734 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Barnes Owl
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    13 days, 16 hours ago

    Pick one to bring in for 18:

    A) Sterling (c)
    B) KDB (c)

    1. Pep bites Kun
      • 4 Years
      13 days, 16 hours ago

      A for me

    2. Black Knights
      • 8 Years
      13 days, 16 hours ago

      I'm quite conservative so i'd go B. With Sterling, you're one Pep rotation or a frustrating blank away from wanting to ditch him. At least with KdB you have pens and way less rotation so you wouldn't waste further transfers changing him. But again, that's me.

    3. marcos11
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        B

    4. BHA_Seagull
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      13 days, 16 hours ago

      Pretty happy with this current FH draft
      Darlow
      Shaw - Cancelo - Stones
      Saka - Son - KDB - Fernandes
      Laca - Wilson - Kane

      Forster - Mitchell - Smith Rowe - Mee

      Pull it to pieces

      1. drughi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        looks good

    5. Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      13 days, 15 hours ago

      Commenting on an RMT - ‘it’s ok but boring and template’

      Someone puts up an article suggesting a differential

      ‘OMG’
      ‘no way’
      ‘it’s a trap’

      1. HollywoodXI
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        You’ve been here before right? Lol

      2. Camzy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        There are good differentials and bad differentials imo.

        I think Auba counts as a 'bad' differential because he's so prohibitively expensive while matching stats of players like Saka who are 6m cheaper.

        Players like Richarlison or Foden I consider to be 'good' differentials. Foden because he offers serious cost saving on Sterling and when he starts has great potential. Richarlison because he offers an option in a less popular game while also being a key attacker on penalties.

        1. Ajax Hamsterdam
          • 6 Years
          13 days, 15 hours ago

          Siggy great option too this gw imo

        2. Magic Zico
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          13 days, 15 hours ago

          What about saving money from Sterling by selecting Foden and then use the money to get Auba instead of Saka? Practically Sterling Saka or Foden Auba ...

          1. Camzy
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            13 days, 15 hours ago

            Why not Saka and Foden?

            That gives you money to buy everyone else you could possibly want including having a good bench. This is where my current draft is.

    6. The Mighty Whites
      • 5 Years
      13 days, 15 hours ago

      Thoughts on 3-5-2 FH team, 0.1 ITB?

      DDG / Forster

      Cancelo / Dias / Tierney / Yedlin / Mitchell

      KDB / Fernandes / Rashford / Son / Saka

      Kane / Wilson / Brewster

      1. drughi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        as template as it can come but very good balance and well covered, will have something similar just havent decided on rashford or lacazette

        1. The Mighty Whites
          • 5 Years
          13 days, 15 hours ago

          Cheers, yeah that's what I'm toying with

      2. Offside Trapattoni
        • 4 Years
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        Probably the most complete I've seen thus far

      3. Rinseboy
        • 9 Years
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        For a free hit I'm just not sure on Dias over lets say Foden?
        Dias feel like 6 points max

      4. Tonyawesome69
        • 2 Years
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        I prefer 2 City attackers and 1 def in FH18 but team still looks pretty good. All bases covered

    7. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 6 Years
      13 days, 15 hours ago

      Thoughts on Bowen ? Have soucek and cresswell already. Could the departure of Haller benefits him?

      1. Tonyawesome69
        • 2 Years
        13 days, 15 hours ago

        depends if WHU bring in a replacement

        1. Ajax Hamsterdam
          • 6 Years
          13 days, 15 hours ago

          Cheers

      2. NateDogsCats
          13 days, 15 hours ago

          If Antonio can stay fit I think it can help, Antonio will stretch defensive lines and create space for him and he can also actually finish chances given to him by Bowen but that is a big if over his fitness. But so far Bowen hasn't really been a good FPL option, doesn't pick up many points but definitely keep an eye on what's happening with West Ham up front

          1. Ajax Hamsterdam
            • 6 Years
            13 days, 15 hours ago

            Thanks a lot. He s been in my team nearly all season and have sold on wc. Might bet him back especially with that w brom fixture.

            1. NateDogsCats
                13 days, 15 hours ago

                Yeah he nearly always passes the eye test, he's been a bit unlucky with his own chances and hasn't been helped at all by other players not finishing chances made for them by him either, West Ham definitely can't rely on Antonio staying fit all the time so they must have someone lined up so if they're of any use I'm sure he'll be worth a look

                1. Ajax Hamsterdam
                  • 6 Years
                  13 days, 15 hours ago

                  Thanks again

        • Tonyawesome69
          • 2 Years
          13 days, 15 hours ago

          What is the latest consensus with captaincy for GW18? Surely it's KDB vs Bruno?

          - With Aguero and Jesus back in the squad, KDB to revert back to playing behind the striker rather than continue in the false #9 role, does that make him less appealing?
          - Bruno form is more consistent than KDB but with Pogba back in the 11, is his attacking ceiling lowered?
          - Based on fixtures, does City or Utd have the "easier" game with the highest scoring potential?

          1. Ajax Hamsterdam
            • 6 Years
            13 days, 15 hours ago

            Still haven't decided. Utd playing Fulham away makes me go towards bruno

          2. Jimmy Boy
            • 4 Years
            13 days, 15 hours ago

            Bruno and United in general don't have a great record against the "big six" this season which puts me off him slightly given the Liverpool game, think I'd go for KDB if I had him

            1. Ajax Hamsterdam
              • 6 Years
              13 days, 15 hours ago

              Fulham second game though

              1. Jimmy Boy
                • 4 Years
                13 days, 15 hours ago

                Yeah the Fulham game could easily be another double digit haul. Tbh I'm still bitter from the last time I trusted Bruno with the armband against SHU so we'll see if I can get over that haha

          3. Tonyawesome69
            • 2 Years
            13 days, 15 hours ago

            This is for GW18, City vs Brighton and Burnley vs Utd

          4. NateDogsCats
              13 days, 15 hours ago

              KDB for me (and Bruno far and away has gotten me the most captaincy points this season), City look like they're picking up form now and they've scored 13 in their last 3 against Brighton and there's next to no chance Brighton will park the bus against them either

          5. Jimmy Boy
            • 4 Years
            13 days, 15 hours ago

            I could get this GW18 team of nine (sort of, the nine includes Riedewald) out for a -4 hit:

            *
            Dias - Cancelo - Reguilon
            KDB - Rashford - Bruno - Neto - Riedewald (lol)
            Kane - *

            Better idea to just play the free hit right? Oddly it looks as though Arsenal would be the team to damage me if I fielded this lot.

            1. Konstaapeli
              • 4 Years
              13 days, 15 hours ago

              That's plenty. No need to FH

            2. Tonyawesome69
              • 2 Years
              13 days, 15 hours ago

              I have 8 player for GW18 and saving FH
              Martinez
              Dias Stones Holding
              KDB Bruno Son
              Kane

            3. Rossendale Rover
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              13 days, 8 hours ago

              Id keep that team and save the freehit later. Given how this season is going, Im sure a freehit could be better used down the line.

              Im doing similar. Ive the following team for GW 18.
              Martinez
              Stones - Cancello
              De Bruyne - Fernandez
              Kane - Brewster

              Im probably going to bring in one or possibly two more for a hit (Rashford for Salah perhaps)

            4. joey
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              8 days, 17 hours ago

              I'd go with that. Before the Villa game got binned I had

              Martinez
              Cancelo - Dier
              Bruno - KDB - Grealish
              DCL - Brewster

              and I was perfectly happy doing Dallas to Stones for free and rolling with that. I think FH could be very useful later in the season, either in the case of more blanks or to maximise a dgw. For me with Martinez and Grealish gone as well as DCL being knackered I've only got 5 players and 1 is Brewster, even using 2 free transfers doesn't really help and my team is quite well set for the next few weeks so I'd hamper myself. I'd be happy enough with 9, especially with 7 very good and Neto.

          6. Konstaapeli
            • 4 Years
            13 days, 15 hours ago

            James to

            A) Dias
            B) Stones

            1. marcos11
                13 days, 15 hours ago

                Dias is more nailed, unless you need the money elsewhere

                1. Konstaapeli
                  • 4 Years
                  13 days, 15 hours ago

                  Always short of funds but can afford both. Would take Stones if he'd be nailed.

                  1. marcos11
                      13 days, 15 hours ago

                      Would imagine Stones will play the majority of matches based on current form but I’d be suprised if he played both games of the dgw

                    • NateDogsCats
                        13 days, 15 hours ago

                        Stones seems to be as nailed as he can be, only slight worry I'd have is he might get a rest here and there just because of Pep's comments about him finally being able to play 4, 5, 6 games in a row when he couldn't before, he might feel he will need to be a bit careful with him but with the FA Cup this weekend I think he'll be fine for a while in the PL

                  2. Tonyawesome69
                    • 2 Years
                    13 days, 15 hours ago

                    Both are nailed imo. Go Dias unless you need some funds then go with Stones

                2. marcos11
                    13 days, 15 hours ago

                    Any news on Fabianski’s injury?

                    1. Steve The Spud
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      13 days, 15 hours ago

                      Whu website said he should be back for 19

                      1. marcos11
                          13 days, 15 hours ago

                          No good trying to get Randolph in so

                          1. Steve The Spud
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            13 days, 15 hours ago

                            Don’t think so, having 2 playing keepers in these times probably isn’t a bad move anyway

                    2. Steve The Spud
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      13 days, 15 hours ago

                      What does the term ‘bus team’ mean

                      1. G-Whizz
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • Has Moderation Rights
                        • 3 Years
                        13 days, 15 hours ago

                        It's given to the team you set straight after the deadline in case you get hit by a bus...

                        1. Pep bites Kun
                          • 4 Years
                          13 days, 14 hours ago

                          Haha love it! .. 'His underwear was a bit mucky, but fair play, he had his fpl sorted. 🙂

                          1. G-Whizz
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • Has Moderation Rights
                            • 3 Years
                            13 days, 13 hours ago

                            Priorities 😉 😆

                    3. Rinseboy
                      • 9 Years
                      13 days, 15 hours ago

                      are strikers worth bothering with on the FH?
                      FH draft no. 5. thoughts?!

                      Darlow
                      Tierney Maguire Cancello Dias Mitchell
                      Auba Son Bruno Rash KDB
                      Wilson 4.5 4.5

                      1. Camzy
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 10 Years
                        13 days, 15 hours ago

                        Sterling + Holding better than Auba + Dias surely.

                        We discussed having double City attack as being key. What happened? Auba is not worth!

                    4. The Mighty Whites
                      • 5 Years
                      13 days, 14 hours ago

                      FH (baring in mind I've got Cancelo)

                      A - Yedlin and Sterling
                      B - Dias and Rashford

                    5. Jellyfish
                      • 8 Years
                      13 days, 14 hours ago

                      Best budget MFD from the following?

                      a) Raphina
                      b) Saka
                      c) Neto

                      1. Pep bites Kun
                        • 4 Years
                        13 days, 14 hours ago

                        bac

                    6. Big Dave
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 5 Years
                      13 days, 13 hours ago

                      Bellerin status for CP? Why removed against WB? Poor play/yellow card and/or possible sale?

                    7. Nedvěd11
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 5 Years
                      9 days, 18 hours ago

                      How can the predicted XI for Villa be the usual team?

                      What is up with Sterling, 75% chance now :O

                    8. Scoob113
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      8 days, 15 hours ago

                      Any thoughts?

                      Darlow (Forster b)
                      Cancelo Tierney Wan-B (Mitchell Robinson b)
                      DB Gundogon Son Fernandes (E Smith Rowe b)
                      Kane Wilson lacazette

                      Captain DB
                      Vice Fernandes