Tips

The Complete Guide to Scout’s tips, advice and best Free Hit squads for FPL Gameweek 18

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Blank Gameweek 18 ahead of today’s 16:30 GMT deadline.

The most important skills to cultivate as a Fantasy Premier League manager is flexibility.

Pro Pundit Sam hit the nail on the head when discussing her plans for the upcoming matches.

The 2020/21 season continues to present challenges – the goalposts moved once again yesterday with more changes to the fixture schedule. But do those changes present us with an opportunity?

Let’s take a look at Legomané’s latest fixture ticker.

This has been updated following Aston Villa’s postponed fixture against Tottenham Hotspur and the hastily rearranged Tottenham Hotspur versus Fulham match, shifted from Gameweek 16. 

There’s talk of Southampton’s trip to Leeds United being moved because Southampton need to play their FA Cup third round match against Shrewsbury – and that must happen before the fourth round matches. 

But there’s also the chance Southampton are handed a walkover because it was Shrewsbury who were unable to field a side. However, at this point in time we don’t know what will happen.

The ‘TBA’ entries are possible slots where postponed matches could be added. These are:

  • Aston Villa v Newcastle (Gameweek 11)
  • Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur (Gameweek 18)
  • Burnley v Fulham (Gameweek 17)
  • Everton v Manchester City (Gameweek 16)
  • Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur (Gameweek 33 – EFL Cup final)
  • Southampton v Manchester City (Gameweek 33 – EFL Cup final)

Given that both Newcastle United and Aston Villa have exited the FA Cup – and their Gameweek 11 fixture needs to be rearranged – it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Aston Villa end up with a Triple Gameweek 19. Although other slots are available.

Looking further ahead, the FA Cup quarter-finals are due to take place in Gameweek 29 and teams reaching that round could see their Premier League matches moved to Gameweek 26. That looks likely to be the next big double Gameweek, with a large selection of teams playing twice.

In general, for teams still in the various domestic and european cup competitions, further postponements are likely. And of course coronavirus (COVID-19) may cause further disruption.

In addition there’s also team news to consider, and a hamstring injury to the highly-owned Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.8m) will no doubt force a rethink for many.

The Best-Laid Plans

With both ‘mice and men’ struggling, assessing the best way forward is very much team specific. 

The Scoutcast provided a perfect example of this with Joe deploying his Free Hit chip, Karam navigating the blank using transfers and Seb undecided. 

For those using their Free Hit this Gameweek, Joe’s side is a good template, featuring triple-ups on Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Joe’s Gameweek 18 Free Hit team

Arsenal, all of sudden, provide a number of budget options. Their improved performances in recent weeks have seen their players appear on the Fantasy radar.

As Neale pointed out in his Big Numbers article, Bukayo Saka (£5.3m) has mustered seven shots in the box over the last three Gameweeks, a total that no other FPL midfielder has surpassed in that time.

And the 19-year-old has been much discussed. David looked in-depth at his prospects against Crystal Palace, where Tyrick Mitchell (£3.9m) has replaced Patrick van Aanholt (£5.4m).

David concluded that, despite the change, Saka owners need not be deterred:

There is enough in these numbers to suggest Mitchell has not improved things on the left as much as we might imagine.

But for those needing to squeeze a little more out of their budget, the cut-price Emile Smith Rowe (£4.4m) is a valid alternative.

Despite playing fewer minutes than Saka over the last three matches, [Smith Rowe] has outperformed him for assist potential.

– David

Encouragingly, Smith Rowe came off the bench to score the winning goal in Arsenal’s FA Cup tie against Newcastle United, and he’s been picked out by Pro Pundit Tom Freeman as one of his three differentials for Gameweek 18.

He appears to have established himself as an important component of Mikel Arteta’s side, with Tom pointing out:

What’s noticeable is how much quicker the Gunners move the ball with Smith Rowe in the number 10 role, and having that creative figure in central areas has really helped them click going forward. In fact, since Gameweek 15, no team can improve upon their 6.87 expected goals (xG)

Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m) and Kieran Tierney (£5.4m) have impressed recently: no player has had more big chances (five) over the last four Gameweeks than the Frenchman, while Tierney’s total of seven key passes in the last three is bettered by just five other Premier League players (regardless of position).

But for Pro Pundit Lateriser, the upside option is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m). On penalties for the Gunners, his form has improved with that of his team-mates. Lateriser made the case:

Aubameyang’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.

His co-host on The FPL Wire, Pro Pundit Zophar, also included the Gabon international in his Free Hit selection for Gameweek 18.

Meanwhile, Pro Pundit Andy explored the option of using the Second Wildcard to set up a strong side for Blank Gameweek 18 and a potential Bench Boost in Double Gameweek 19. Although his article was written when Aston Villa still had a match in Gameweek 18. 

Which Man City Trio?

Elsewhere, form and fixtures have aligned for Manchester City.

Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) was Joe and David’s choice for the armband on the Captaincy video. And Jan Sienkiewicz had the Belgian ahead of team-mate Raheem Sterling (£11.4m) in Captain Sensible:

De Bruyne is certainly the safer of those two considering the most recent fitness update on Sterling but he remains the exciting explosive option considering his hat-trick performance against the Seagulls last season.

Tom Freeman highlighted the improvement at the backRúben Dias (£5.8m) and John Stones (£5.0m) have conceded just one goal in eight starts together.

A double-up on their defence appeals for many, with Joe including João Cancelo (£5.8m) alongside Stones in his Free Hit team. According to Tom, “attacking returns look imminent!” for the Portuguese.

But if you fancied a cheap attacking player then look no further than Ilkay Gündogan (£5.4m).

Karam’s differential on the Scoutcast, a player the creator of Live FPL, Ragabolly, picked out when interviewed by Lateriser and Zophar, and one written about in glowing terms by both Tom and Neale.

His seven shots in the box and four big chances in his last four matches are more than any other City player. And the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has spoken of a shift to a more advanced position:

… even though I like to be included in rotating the ball, when I am playing as a number eight and more offensive position, I try to put myself in the spaces where I think something could happen or I feel like the space is not occupied by a player of ours or the opponent. Both goals I scored in the last games were similar in the way they were from the right side and Raheem assisted me both goals and I tried to be in a space where I am free and able to get the ball and finish with one touch. It worked out quite well and as long as I am playing in that position I try to continue like that.

– Ilkay Gündogan

How to cope with a rollercoaster season

Mindfulness coach Dominic Watts wrote an excellent piece last week on how to handle the highs and lows of this uniquely challenging season.

On the face of it, I can understand the view that we should not get ourselves worked up about FPL. After all, you’re picking an imaginary team of real players who get points for you and then getting really annoyed when you don’t pick the right ones.

But if you want to pick it apart, you can make similar arguments about most things people care about. The thing is that as human beings we create meaning. We give meaning to the things that we care about and so if we decide to care about FPL, it becomes meaningful to us.

Without doubt FPL matters to those of us who play it seriously.

In his article, Dominic described how we are ‘time-travellers’ who ride the rollercoaster of FPL. He offered us ways to manage this uncertainty but acknowledged how difficult that can be:

Uncertainty relates quite nicely to acceptance because it’s hard to accept uncertainty. When we can’t accept something, we fight it, and this uses up a lot of energy.

The solution he proposed is to learn to look properly and that by connecting to the present, we will be able to see things in a different light. Well worth a read.

Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures

RedLightning rounded-up the Community mini-leagues and competitions last week.

The ‘open-to-all’ Fantasy Football Scout mini-league and the Community Members mini-league are currently the top two leagues in FPL. Congratulations to the high-flying managers participating in those.

For the 8,000+ competing in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here, and the fixtures for Gameweek 18 can be found below:

Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.

Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.

May your arrows be green!

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

TopMarx Fan of Fantasy Football and Monty Python. "Archimedes out to Socrates, Socrates back to Archimedes, Archimedes out to Heraclitus, he beats Hegel. Heraclitus a little flick, here he comes on the far post, Socrates is there, Socrates heads it in! Socrates has scored! The Greeks are going mad, the Greeks are going mad! Socrates scores, got a beautiful cross from Archimedes. The Germans are disputing it. Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.”

2,473 Comments Post a Comment
  1. PATSON DAKA
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    A or B please?

    A) Leno and Holding

    B) Ramsdale and Shaw

    1. Nolberto Solano
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      A

    2. Captain Haddock
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      A please

    3. azambadboy
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      absolutely A

  2. SoShy
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    FH

    Lloris
    Stones | Tierney | Digne
    Saka | Zaha | Bruno | Son | Sterling
    Wilson | Martial

    Sanchez | Brewster | Adarabioyo | Kilman

    1. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      think you need kane

  3. Olson
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    What are Smith-Rowe's prospects for holding his place?

    1. Nolberto Solano
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Should start

    2. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      his to lose in my opinion

    3. Neo-Viper
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Pep says he was tired in the last game and he mentioned alternatives to him too.

      don't know what to make out of it!

      1. Neo-Viper
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Reply fail!!

  4. Nolberto Solano
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Help complete a FH team. First to 3 wins:

    A) Leno, Stones, Rashford & Smith-Rowe
    B) De Gea, Tierney, Gundogan & Saka

    1. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      b

    2. Marcin the Pole
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      A and its not close.

    3. azambadboy
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      A

    4. Old Gregg
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      a

    5. Don Van Vliet
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      A

  5. ChickenTikkaMoSalah
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Is cancelo fine to start?

    1. Nolberto Solano
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Yes

    2. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Should be

  6. LewanGOALski
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    (C):
    A) KDB
    B) Sob
    C) Kane
    ??

    1. Xna
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Gut call, I am going with A, City exciting to watch when dominant

    2. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Im on KDB

  7. Bobby_Baggio
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 9 days ago

    Afternoon all. Which FH team do you prefer please?

    A) 3-4-3
    Lloris
    Tierney - Stones - Cancelo
    Son - Bruno - Saka - KDB(C)
    Kane - Wilson - Laca

    B) 4-5-1
    Lloris
    Tierney - Stones - AWB - Holding
    Sterling - Son - Bruno - ESR - KDB(C)
    Kane

    1. TNB
        3 months, 9 days ago

        A

    2. Sanchit
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      TAA to Wan -bissaka?

    3. Differentiator
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Why captain KDB over Kane?

      Me no understand

      1. Xna
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        It could go either way, Fulham's solid defensive form puts me off personally, even though it doesn't mean anything.
        I like the numbers pointing out some stuff, Brighton most conceded penalties is a cool stat, plus expect City to heavily dominate

    4. The Frenchie
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      What do you think about Aston Villa on DGW19, any risk on players still with covid?

      1. Original Pirate Material
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Hopefully will become clearer next GW.

        1. The Frenchie
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          I have to choose a GK now.. I was on Martinez

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

      Best 4.5 mid for FH that is not Smith Rowe?

      1. Nolberto Solano
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        None good enough to start IMO. Anguissa at a push

      2. Bobby_Baggio
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        anguissa

    6. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Any update on the Soton/Leeds game?

    7. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Wowza. DCL 817,140 managers already sold.

      1. PP6
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        He’s on -220.7! Might drop twice

    8. greggles
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Should I replace Grealish for a further -4? I have 7.5 to spend.

      1. DK_13
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Nah not anyone who might cover up that hit, and villa have a lot of pending games, you will want him back

        1. greggles
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          Cheers. You're right. I may reconsider if Villa's game against Everton is called off, but we'll see. Thanks!

    9. EVILFUK
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Good luck all.

    10. Flynny
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Given peps cryptic comments, who for free hit?

      A....cancelo

      B...dias

      Thanks

      1. Blue&White85
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Depends what you want. security of starts Dias, ceiling Cancelo. I personally am jumping on Cancelo but just make sure you have bench options.

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

        Taking The chance with cancelo, Clark reafy to step in

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

        I'm leaning B tbh

        1. Flynny
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          I have yedlin on the bench.....

    11. Blue&White85
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Should never have done this but started thinking about a team with Sterling. Thoughts?

      De Gea
      Cancelo Tierney Aurier Shaw
      KDB Sterling Fernandes Son Smith Rowe
      Kane

      Subs: Norris, Clark, Brewster 4.3

    12. drughi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      So it comes down to

      A. Saka and leno
      B. ASR and lloris

      1. Nolberto Solano
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        A

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

        A

      3. Blue&White85
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        If you already own Tierney, B. Wouldn't fancy double Arsenal defence.

        1. drughi
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          I own tierney

      4. In Bale We Trust
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        B

    13. how now brown cow
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 9 days ago

      Is clark nailed? Not in ffs predicted lineup

      1. Bad Kompany
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        I’d go Yedlin over him

    14. Kane and Ablett
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Which? A) stones and Mctominay
        B) holding and gundogan
        One will be first sub

      • Bad Kompany
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 9 days ago

        Sterling and Smith Rowe or Rashford and Saka?

        1. Kane and Ablett
            3 months, 9 days ago

            Sterling

        2. Manani
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          Reguilion or Dier?

          If doesnt start, Smith-Rowe will comes in (or Mitchell, depending if there's more unexpected rotation)

          1. Bad Kompany
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            Dier

        3. umerlfc
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          Final choice on a FH, which one?

          A) Lloris + Maguire + Sterling + Wilson
          B) Darlow + Stones + Son + Rashford

          1. Bad Kompany
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            B

        4. JoeSoap
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          A. Holding/Wilson
          B. Tierney/Saka

          1. Karan14
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            B

        5. Enzo the Baker
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          Is the FPL website down? I'm getting an error loading the page.

          1. Van der Faart
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            Shaw

            1. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 9 days ago

              Reply fail to below

          2. Sco
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            Yeah it keeps bugging for me and saying connection failure then other times I get the same thing you do and it's jumped me to the podcast page.

            Got a horrible feeling it'll feck up the FH and charge me -40 😆

          3. Adetro
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            It's working for me

          4. BobbyDoesNotLook
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            Same

        6. Jimbo-Jones
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          Shaw or Davies?

        7. Tmel
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          FHers who are you captaining?

          1. Xna
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            KDB, thought even off Sterling, but love watching KDB, even when he doesn't deliver points, it looks unlucky

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

            KDB

          3. Silecro
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 9 days ago

            Raheem

        8. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          No news/ strong rumour still on Leeds Southampton?

        9. Ready Manager One
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 9 days ago

          DDG or Darlow?

          TIA!

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

          Worth bringing in lloris or Saka for a hit??

          Will cost a hit to sell too as I want Soucek or Martinez back nxt wk

          Currently on 7 players no hits or chips used...