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!

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2,473 Comments Post a Comment
  1. FFFoxy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    A) Saka, Cancelo (burke bench)
    B) Gundo, Stones (esr bench)
    ?

    1. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 29 days ago

      A

    2. philosopherking
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      B

  2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Finally. 8 players in 4 3 1 with no hits! Let's get it started!

    1. Sgt Frank Drebin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Nice. Good advantage if you manage to save FT

      1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Had been planning for this. Villa playing would have given me 10. But its ok.

    2. Rochdale_Cowboy
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      4-2-1 KDB benched don't forget

      1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Ok sir!

  3. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    A) Lacazette, Wilson & Stones (Saiss, Doucoure)
    B) Rashford, Wilson & Stones (Holding, Brewster)
    C) Lacazette, Gundogan & Maguire (Saiss, Doucoure).

    Cheers!

    1. Wonderful Wizard Hazard
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      B

  4. thetommy14
      3 months, 29 days ago

      I'm the only one going with Wood on wildcard?

      1. Wonderful Wizard Hazard
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Yupp!

      2. Bury94
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Andy is

    • 1912 F.A Cup Winners
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Cancelo to start so we think?? At work so have had no chance to see any news conferences!!

    • woodles
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Apologies I'm sure this has been asked a thousand times but what has to happen for the Leeds vs southampton game to be postponed? Is it if southampton get through?

      1. jason_ni
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        No - its if Southampton Shrewsbury gets rescehduled to next week when the leeds game would have been happening.
        Its either that, or Shrewsbury get booted out, and Southampton get a bye.

        1. Tommy J
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 29 days ago

          I don't get all this the premier league don't have anything to do with the FA cup schedule-why would they cause problems for themselves by agreeing to postpone another PL fixture-I am not sure they are required to?

          1. jason_ni
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 29 days ago

            I'd guess they agree to work with each other in some capacity on these things, within reason.

          2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 29 days ago

            Enough midweek slots available for Leeds Southampton. FA does not want to boot out Shrewsbury.

          3. Patio Kev
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 29 days ago

            FA Premier League vs FA Cup

            FA Cup has always taken precedence over FA Premier League games hence why we get blanks in the gameweek when the FA Cup is on.

    • jason_ni
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Would you (on a WC)
      A- keep ESR as your only option off the bench.
      B- bring in Soucek now in preparation for BB in 19, and no sub in 18.

      Starting 11 for GW18.
      DDG
      Cancelo - Dias - Dier - AWB
      Son - Bruno - KDB - Saka
      Wilson - Kane

    • Teahupo'o
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      FH. G2G?

      Ramsdale
      Cancelo Tierney Yedlin
      KDB Son Bruno Sterling ESR
      Kane Laca

      (Mitchell)

      1. jason_ni
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Solid effort.

        1. Teahupo'o
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 29 days ago

          Cheers

    • C_G
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      GTG? FH team

      DDG

      Cancelo Stones Tierney

      Bruno Son Saka KDB

      Kane (C) Laca Wilson

      4.0 Yedlin Mitchell Burke

    • yanky
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      LOCKED IN! GL ALL

      Lloris
      Stones Maguire Tierney
      KDB Sterling Bruno Rashford SmithRowe
      Kane McGoldrick

      Bench: Brewster Mitchell X

    • Boom XhakaLacaSaka
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Captains below (kdb mine)

      1. Rochdale_Cowboy
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        KDB benched. Raheem for me

        1. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 29 days ago

          Cant see it myself but gl

    • NATSTER
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      A: Rashford + McGoldrick
      B: Martial + Saka

      B?

      1. Winston.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        B yes

      2. philosopherking
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        If Mcgoldrick is in the 11, B; else A

      3. NATSTER
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Cheers

    • Niho992
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Is Cavani going to start??

      1. Winston.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Who knows...

    • AdamJ91
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Crazy to consider Kane TC?

      1. Wonderful Wizard Hazard
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Not crazy, but TC is better for DGW.

      2. Winston.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Yes

    • philosopherking
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      FH team

      DDG
      Dier Tierney Stones
      KDB Son Bruno Saka __
      Kane __

      4.0 Brewster Mitchel 3.8

      Which pair to fill the blanks?
      A) Sterling+Wilson
      B) Rashford+Laca
      Thanks

      1. Sid07
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        B

    • Sid07
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Last call on FH
      1) Dias ( Have cancelo)
      2) AWB

      1. The Mighty Whites
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        dias

      2. Alex1995
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Dias

      3. philosopherking
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        I feel 2) has a cs locked in.

    • Klopp it
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Is this worth in doing, taken Bamford out for wilson so I have 11 players playing, then next gw do Wilson too Bamford?

      1. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        My plan

        1. Klopp it
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 29 days ago

          I'm on a wildcard so il get my free transfer next week, I reckon it should be worth it lol I hope

    • 2EyedTurk
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Is it too risky going Auba?

      Leno
      Dias Clark Shaw
      Auba KDB Bruno Son Smith-Rowe
      Wilson Kane (c)

      Forster Brewster Lowton Mitchell

    • Sgt Frank Drebin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      I doubt it, but anyways. Is there any 4.2 defender that will play this GW?

      1. jason_ni
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Maybe Mitchell.

      2. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Kilman or mitchell biggest chance

      3. Sgt Frank Drebin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Thanks guys.

      4. bench boost for every gamew…
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Lascelles is a possible one, but not 100% as he is just recently back.

    • Dream Killers 2.0
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      On wildcard. Intend to BB in GW19 Any thoughts on this team?

      De Gea
      Cancelo, Tierney, AWB, Stones
      Bruno, KDB, Son, Saka
      Kane, Wood

      Johnstone, Lowton, Antonio, Soucek

      Other option is above but Laca instead of Kane, Dias instead of Stones and Coufal instead of Lowton.

    • Captain_Shirokov
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      A) Foden
      or
      B) Gundogan

      and

      1) Reguilon
      or
      2) Aurier

      ?

    • RedJive79
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 29 days ago

      GTG?

      Lloris
      Cancelo / Dias / Tierney
      KDB(c) / Saka / Bruno / Son
      Kane / Wilson / Laca

      Areola / Yedlin / Stephens / Mitchell

    • The Mighty Whites
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      DDG / Forster

      Cancelo / Dias / Tierney / Yedlin / Mitchell

      KDB / Fernandes / Rashford / Son / Saka

      Kane / Wilson / Brewster

      0.0 ITB, how to get Laca in for Wilson or would you not bother?

    • Giorgi89
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Hi lads,

      Good luck for tonight, last minute deal:
      On FH, Lloris or DDG (money no issue)

      Cheers

      1. My heart goes Salalalalah
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Lloris

    • Gemma817
        3 months, 29 days ago

        a) Bruno + Smith Rowe
        b) Rashford + Saka

        1. My heart goes Salalalalah
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 29 days ago

          A

        2. philosopherking
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 29 days ago

          A, Bruno very close to essential

      • CelticBhoy1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Chances Kilman starts?

        1. My heart goes Salalalalah
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 29 days ago

          Yes

      • JONALDINHO
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Was Shaw injured? If not he should play in the league

      • HeyHeyDembo
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        FH or not?

        Currently have the following team in play:

        Dias-Cancelo-Hodling
        Son-KDB-Bruno
        Kane

        Mad considering to save FH any later DGW?

      • Original - Wolves Ay We
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        22 minutes to PENS DOWN! Quickkkkk!

      • Alex1995
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        Wilson or Saiss on free hit?

        1. Wonderful Wizard Hazard
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 29 days ago

          Wilson