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. boroie
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Last decision...

    I have Kane as captain. Who should I VC:

    A - KDB
    B - Bruno

    Think KDB will outscore Bruno but thinking of putting the vice captaincy on Bruno for safety reasons because he plays tonight

    1. Sanchit
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Bruno safety.

    2. Ibralicious
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      KDB VC

    3. HonestBlatter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Doing same for same reasons

  2. Ibralicious
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Man I should’ve gone (K)ane but followed the (K)DB hype instead :/

    1. Sanchit
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      You can still change it.
      10 minutes left

    2. Trane84
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Its not too late...

    3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      And the reason for that thought?

  3. Saosin
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Lets go lads!

    Lloris
    AWB - Cancelo - Tierny
    Son - Bruno - KDB - Saka - Gundo
    Laca - Kane

    4.0 Yedlin - Mcgoldrick - 3.8

    1. Michelle Davin
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Exact same team.you are a genius!

  4. Bubz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Very tempted indeed by Sterling...

    1. mynameisq
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      If I knew he was starting I'd go for it

    2. Kay317
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 19 days ago

      I've taken the gamble.

  5. MuelNado
      1 month, 19 days ago

      More likely to keep a clean sheet Lloris or De Gea?

      1. TNB
          1 month, 19 days ago

          Lloris

          1. MuelNado
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Had a look back through the pages and we have exactly the same team.

          2. Luton_Fan
            • 11 Years
            1 month, 19 days ago

            Lloris imo

          3. Lexi2014
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 19 days ago

            Lloris

        • Luton_Fan
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 19 days ago

          Mcoldrick or yedlin 1st sub?

          1. TNB
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Yedlin

              1. Pep bites Kun
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                This

          2. Vertigo
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            1 month, 19 days ago

            Free Hit or just play these 8 (potentially 9)?

            Cancelo, Dier, Stones, (Taylor)
            KDB, Bruno, Rashford, Son
            Wilson

            1. stu92
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 19 days ago

              I'd stick with that.

            2. MikeS
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Keep

            3. Lexi2014
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Stick. I only free hit as I had four players....

            4. Vertigo
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Cheers.

          3. stu92
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 19 days ago

            Thoughts on this FH guys? Should I get a second goalie or is Lloris as safe a bet as I can get?

            Lloris
            Cancelo Dias Tierney
            KDB Bruno Son Saka
            (K)ane Laca Wilson
            (4.0 Yedlin Mitchell Burke)

            Thanks in advance!

            1. TNB
                1 month, 19 days ago

                You're good to go!

              • A Fat Spanish Waiter
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                I have the exact same team, so ya... template. Gtg.

              • Vertigo
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                GtG

            2. JONALDINHO
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Rate this FH /10

              Lloris
              Cancelo • Stones • Tierney • Shaw
              KDB(C) • Bruno • Rashford
              Kane • Laca • Wilson
              (Gazzaniga / ESR / Mitchell / Burke)

              1. JBG
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                8

            3. Alisson WondHaaland
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 19 days ago

              A) Laca Leno Clark Stones (343)
              B) Neto Lloris Cancelo AWB (352)

            4. JelliedSpark968
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Anything glaringly wrong with this FH team?

              Leno

              Dier Cancelo Maguire

              De Bruyne Gundogan Neto Fernandes

              Martial Kane Lacazette

              1. Steadzz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                Nothing glaringly wrong, i'm interested by the Gundogan pick though.

            5. Milkman Bruno
                1 month, 19 days ago

                So Sterling is not injured?

              • DV8R
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                Who else is going for ESR over Saka to free up funds?

                1. Kay317
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Moi

              • Mr Frost
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                Tosun brace incoming ....

              • Flynny
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                What do you prefer please....

                A.....stones saka rashford 451

                B....gundogan Wilson Lacasette 343

                Thanks

                1. Zladan
                  • 3 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Rashford one

                2. Lexi2014
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  B - only cos I've got Laca and Wilson!

              • JollyGoodYellows
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                Any critiques to this FH team?

                Lloris
                Cancelo Stones Tierney (Yedlin Mitchell)
                Bruno KDB Son Saka (Anguissa)
                Kane Laca Wilson

              • Konstaapeli
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                Just took a hit and brought Cavani in for DCL. You can lol @ me later.

              • Gudjohnsen
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                Best gk that has a game in 18 and a double in 19?

              • Gustavo
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                Is Marí going to start?

              • Dynamic Duos
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 19 days ago

                Lindelof or Shaw?

                1. Kay317
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Shaw

              • Echoes
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Captain Kane or KDB?

                  1. Ibralicious
                    • 6 Years
                    1 month, 19 days ago

                    Kdbane

                • Neves say Neves
                  • 2 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  ARE YOU KEEPING CANCELO?

                  1. Kay317
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 19 days ago

                    Yes

                  2. Corgzzzz
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    1 month, 19 days ago

                    YES

                  3. Original - Wolves Ay We
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    1 month, 19 days ago

                    Sorry didn't hear you.

                    yes.

                  4. Twisted Saltergater
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 19 days ago

                    no

                • pol
                  • 10 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  FH Final decision:

                  1- Lloris + AWB
                  2- DDG + Wilson

                  1. Lexi2014
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    1 month, 19 days ago

                    2

                • FDMS All Starz
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Captain Sterling or Kdb???

                • Ibralicious
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Looks like most people have got the armband on Kane this afternoon

                • Hryszko
                  • 3 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  FH team, am I G2G? Captain choice okay etc?

                  Lloris
                  Tierney | Stones | Dias
                  Bruno | Son | KDB (c) | Rashford | ESR
                  Kane | Wilson

                  Subs: Forster | Brewster | Kilman | Mitchell

                • yanky
                  • 11 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Help pleaseeee

                  Lloris
                  Tierney ___ ____
                  KDB Bruno Saka ___
                  Kane Wilson Lacazette

                  a) Cancelo Dias Son
                  b) Stones Shaw Sterling

                • Werner Bros
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Last minute change of captaincy from Bruno > Kane. Any thoughts on this FH?

                  Lloris
                  Cancelo AWB Holding
                  (vc)KDB Bruno Son Rashford Saka
                  (c)Kane Wilson

                  Forster Brewster Mitchell Bernardo

                • MikeS
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  Who to bench?

                  A. Saka
                  B. Gundogan
                  C. Wilson

                  1. Twisted Saltergater
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 19 days ago

                    You’ve done something wrong

                    1. MikeS
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 19 days ago

                      No i haven't, just have high tv

                • Gorbitz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 19 days ago

                  I've had a break from fpl lately just to see what happens with covid and fixtures. Could you help me with these two questions:

                  1) I could field 9 players in GW18 with an 8 point hit. Would you save your FH in that case?

                  2) Taking covid out of the equation for a second - how many gameweeks do we have to adjust our teams between FA Cup 5th round and the potentially big BGW29?

                  Thanks!