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. Tshelby
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Getting Aurier in and not Dier is probably wanting to be too cleaver?

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

      Stick with Dier

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

        Yeah cheers!

  2. jdp219
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Cancelo, Holding...
    1) Stones
    2) Saiss

    Captain...
    A) KDB
    B) Kane

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

      1A

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

      Personally Im going 2B

  3. HM2
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Play????

    a) Holding
    b) Saiss

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

      B

  4. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    burke and yedlin or anugissa and mitchell

    1. Saïss doesn't mat…
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      I hope these are bench options 😀

  5. HD7
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Anybody on FH and KDB is not his captain?

    1. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Plenty

    2. Cilly Bonnolly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Bruno for me.

    3. Tshelby
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Kane here

    4. Saïss doesn't mat…
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Auba for me

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

      (K)ane. I dont trust Pep enough.

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

        Sterling for me - have all other key options and need to make some ground in ML (no-one else getting him)

    6. Party time
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      BRUNO!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    That's the 11 sorted. Best bench!?

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

    Cheers!!

    1. Yes Ndidi
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 19 days ago

      B

  7. Salan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    I expect Crystal Palace will score against Arsenal, and play gk/defenders from Manchester teams and Spurs.

  8. Cilly Bonnolly
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!

    Just kidding, I'm done.

  9. yanky
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 19 days ago

    Help please!!!!

    Lloris
    Tierney ___ ____
    KDB Bruno Saka ___
    Kane Wilson Lacazette

    a) Cancelo Dias Son
    b) Stones Shaw Sterling

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

      B

    2. Kante Touch This
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      a

    3. TNB
        1 month, 19 days ago

        A

    4. londontom
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

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

      1. Saïss doesn't mat…
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 19 days ago

        343 surely

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

          Went for that in the end

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

      Who to bench?

      A. Saka
      B. Gundogan
      C. Wilson

      Team.

      Lloris-
      Awb-dias-tierny
      Saka-bruno-kdb-son
      Kane-wilson-laca

      ..

      1. For Fuchs Sake
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 19 days ago

        wilson

    6. Sous Chef
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Good luck everyone

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

      Hit the button fellas !!!!!!

      1. pitstop1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 19 days ago

        Great advice.

    8. Lindelol
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      who is spreading kdb rumours. please sh*t up

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

        What is this?

    9. Six Season Wonder
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Best MCY defender apart from Canelo pleeeease???

    10. Kaneyonero
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Captain Son Bruno KDB Kane or Lacs? I'm going with Son Hattrick

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

      After the Cancelo benching rumors im se to get KDB, Sterling and Stones triple up!

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

        No Rashford?

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

          Nah. Bruno + 1def

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

        same 3! as a Cancelo owner i'd love him to be rested this week

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

      Someone pls tell me they’ve picked Foden on FH? I feel like the only one lol

    13. Better Call Raul
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 19 days ago

      A) Son Cancelo Cavani

      B) Sterling Dier Wilson (plus gives me cash to upgrade bench option to Yedlin)

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

        Close but A

    14. Jinswick
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Either of these worth a -4? Currently starting Martinelli.

      A) Martinelli -> 5.2 (ESR)
      B) Targett -> 4.8 (Shaw)

      1. Sarri-ball
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 19 days ago

        Both for me. Becomes a -4 as both should play

        Saka?

    15. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 19 days ago

      Thinking about playing FH this week. What do you reckon?

      1. Kane Lane
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 19 days ago

        you have 2mins left

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

        I’d think about it

      3. TNB
          1 month, 19 days ago

          Na, WC i'd say

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

        Thoughts on Reguilon over Dier? Money no problem

        1. TNB
            1 month, 19 days ago

            Reg

        2. Kane Lane
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 19 days ago

          A) Sterling Saka Wilson
          B) Auba Gündogan Wilson

          Which one guys!

        3. S.Kuqi
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 19 days ago

          Is it safe to hit the fh button now?

        4. Genji3lade
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 19 days ago

          Start Saiss or AWB?

        5. Jdpz
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 19 days ago

          a) Sterling + AWB
          b) Bruno + Cancelo

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

          Just logged in and 4 players have game. What to do now?

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

            FH quick

          2. Balls of Steel
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 19 days ago

            Auto-select....

            1. Kane Lane
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 19 days ago

              lol

          3. Arteta
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 19 days ago

            Free hit.

        7. Clinton19
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 19 days ago

          Guys martial or lacazet????

        8. 'Broadsword Calling Da…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 19 days ago

          Will find out over the coming days if holding the Free Hit and playing just 8 was the right call or not (hopefully make it up later in the season if it goes wrong though).

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

            Doing the same thing - could be a huge error of judgement, but seems drastic to FH to get 3 extra players and upgrade 1 or 2 more. With the way matches have been called off in recent weeks, there could be major disruption further down the line. Holding the FH as a Get Out of Jail Free card myself, but could blow up in my face if 2 or 3 differentials go big this week...

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

            Same here but I expect to lose quite a bit of ground this next two gameweeks. Just take it on the chin and come out fighting. The free hit teams will mostly have the 8 that I am playing. It's those who have chosen a few diffs we need to be worried about.
            Getting the captain right will ease the pain. C'mon harry c'mon c'mon.

            1. 'Broadsword Calling Da…
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Well, I'm assuming you lads have a decent set of players for the DGW19. This week could be a red arrow, but hopefully, the big picture will reward us down the line, but let's see what the hand is dealt. Good luck!

        9. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 19 days ago

          lOKcked iN!

          DDG
          Cancelo Tierney Stones
          KDB Bruno Son Saka
          Kane Martial Laca

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

            Best FH (or is it wildcard) team that I have seen. If I'd known i could field a team like that, I would have been tempted to play a chip, but ke sera.

            1. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 19 days ago

              Cheers! GL