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. Jeremy Corbyn
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Charlie Taylor in for a hit?

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

      You mean out?

    2. londontom
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      God no

    3. Pep bites Kun
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      C'mon Jeremy, get your act together. You've got a lot more time to spend on fpl now - bloody nora!

    4. Jeremy Corbyn
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 2 days ago

      Only joking!!

  2. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    That's the 11 sorted. Best bench!?

    A) Maguire, Doucoure
    B) Saiss, Doucoure
    C) Neto, Fernandez

    Cheers

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

      Why have a 5.3 mill def on the bench? Id have one decent bench option like ESR, and put rest of money into the 11!

      1. Catastrophe
        • 10 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Nothing to upgrade in the 11!

        Lloris
        Dias, Stones, Tierney
        KDB, Son, Fernandes, Saka
        Kane, Lacazette, Wilson

        Cheers

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

          Maybe Cancelo over Stones if you had the cash - but could backfire!

          Rest looks good.

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

    A - Tierney, Foden (with Brewster first sub)
    B - Stones, Wilson (with ESR first sub)

    1. JohnBlack
      • 2 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      B

    2. Trane84
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      B

  4. Wirbelwind
    • 3 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Would you rather have Bruno or Sterling on a FH

    (no other ManU attackers, already have KDB)

    1. Connor's Calling
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Tricky - think Sterling could be great this week, but current form says Bruno

      1. Wirbelwind
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        agree, gonna leave it like that and abandon hopes of getting sterling in the team without sacrificing laca or kane

  5. Henning
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    United or Wolves defender?

    1. Luton_Fan
      • 11 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      United

    2. Quan MisTaka
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      wolves

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

    Would you rather have double Arsenal defence or Tierney and AWB??

    1. Salan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      I don't trust Arsenal (defence).

  7. C_G
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    GTG?? FH team

    DDG

    Cancelo Stones Tierney

    Bruno Son Saka KDB

    Kane (C) Laca Wilson

    4.0 Yedlin Mitchell Burke

  8. Dynamic Duos
    • 7 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Saiss, Dier or Bellerin? please

    1. tomasjj
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Saiss

  9. Connor's Calling
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    A) DDG Dier
    B) Lloris Saiss
    C) Lloris Shaw

    1. Dynamic Duos
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      B

      1. Connor's Calling
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Thank you

  10. Sloane426
    • 1 Year
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Dias or Cancelo?

    1. Wirbelwind
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Dias, Cancelo has the usual Pep shroud of doubt over it.

      1. F_Ivanovic
        • 5 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Rubbish. Cancelo is probably the 4th name on the team sheet and as nailed as can be with how instrumental he's been in City's attack and the fact he can play almost anywhere.

    2. Connor's Calling
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      Been struggling with this, think Cancelo

  11. londontom
    • 4 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    4-4-2 with Yedlin and without Wilson or
    3-4-3 with Wilson and without Yedlin?

  12. jamiet
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    ON FH - A or B

    A - Saiss, Ramsdale, Rashford, Lacazette
    B - Holding, Sterling, Wilson, DDG

    Have KDB, BRUNO, SON & Kane

  13. dopellganger
    • 2 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    gtg?

    Lloris
    Cancelo Tierney Saiss
    Kdb(c) Bruno Son Saka Neto
    Kane Wilson

    Darlow Holding Brewster Mitchell

    Would u change something? Got 2m not spent

  14. Mr. O'Connell
    • 9 Years
    5 months, 3 days ago

    Brewster hat trick tonight?

    1. TNB
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Defo!

      • elwardio
        • 9 Years
        5 months, 3 days ago

        Yes

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

        Only if he's a part-time magician.

    2. DAZZ
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 3 days ago

      A) Leno Dier Saka
      B) Lloris Tierney ESR

      ??

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

      Captain:

      A - Kane
      B - KDB
      C - Son
      D - Bruno

      First to 3 votes wins it...

      1. TNB
          5 months, 3 days ago

          B

        • tomasjj
          • 6 Years
          5 months, 3 days ago

          B

      2. TNB
          5 months, 3 days ago

          My final FH team 😉

          Lloris
          Cancelo-Stones-Tierny
          Kdb-Son-Bruno-Saka
          Lacca-Kane-Wilson

          (Martin-Yedlin-Burke-Douglas)

          Thank you for the input and good luck to all!

        • jdp219
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          5 months, 3 days ago

          Stones or Saiss?

          (alongside Cancelo and Holding)

          1. TNB
              5 months, 3 days ago

              went with Stones

              1. mikeycee93
                • 5 Years
                5 months, 3 days ago

                Same here

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

              Saiss

          2. Big Hippo
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            GL all!

          3. FPL FAN
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            5 months, 3 days ago

            DCL Salah Chilwell ---> Kane Son Wan Bissaka for -4

            Yay or nay?

            1. HuttonDressedasLahm
              • 11 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              Surely

          4. mikeycee93
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Neto or Foden??

            1. The VAR Team
              • 1 Year
              5 months, 3 days ago

              Neto

            2. tomasjj
              • 6 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              Neto

          5. The VAR Team
            • 1 Year
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Late cry for help:

            Are these 8 good enough to roll with on a -4 or should i FH?

            Cancelo Holding
            KDB Bruno Zaha Saka
            Kane Wilson

            1. mynameisq
              • 7 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              Free hit, hurry you've got 12 mins

            2. Connor's Calling
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              i prob wouldnt FH at this stage - 8 ok

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

              Good

            4. tomasjj
              • 6 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              Looks good enough.

            5. HeyHeyDembo
              • 2 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              I believe so, yes. Im in the same situation but with only 7 players and decided to save FH for a later DGW.

          6. GoonerGirl
            • 1 Year
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Hi Guys,
            A or B?

            A) Lloris
            Tierney, Stones, Maguire (Holding)
            Saka, Rashford, KDB, Bruno, Son
            Wilson, Lacazette (McGoldrick)

            B) Lloris
            Tierney, Stones, Saiis (Shaw)
            Saka, Gundogan, KDB, Bruno, Son
            Wilson, Lacazette (McGoldrick)

          7. FPL InDYaeh
            • 3 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Need suggestions guys,
            1. Wilson+clark
            2. Dias+ saka

            Thanks

          8. corderz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Would you swap any of my team about to get get sterling in?

            Lloris
            Cancelo Stones Tierney
            KBD Bruno Rashford Son Saka
            Kane Lacazette

            Brewster Mitchell Bernardo

            1. Hybrid.power
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              Nope

          9. FDMS All Starz
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Help!

            A) Laca and Rashford
            Or
            B) Wilson and Sterling

            1. Twisted Saltergater
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              A if not captaining Sterling.

            2. Dynamic Duos
              • 7 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              B

          10. The Frenchie
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            Captain and why? 🙂

            A) Kane
            B) KDB
            C) Bruno

            1. Wirbelwind
              • 3 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              any is a valid option. one could argue burnley park the bus better than the other options

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

            just one last question
            1. Johnstone
            2. Areola
            on WC

          12. LABILLETHEGOAT
            • 8 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            anyone thinks double city defense is risky?

            1. Twisted Saltergater
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              Yes

          13. jdp219
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 3 days ago

            KDB (c) and Kane (vc)?

            1. tomasjj
              • 6 Years
              5 months, 3 days ago

              I got this.