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. THFC4LIFE
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    Transfers done and team all set. Good luck all

    1. Black Knights
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Good luck! FPL is (almost) back!

    2. Marcin the Pole
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Good luck man!

    3. nico05
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Good luck! You got 11 players playing?

      1. THFC4LIFE
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        10 with a -4. Anguissa and Mitchel included though so not to optimistic lol. How about you?

  2. Sarri-ball
    • 11 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    James rod a good punt this week only

    1. Marcin the Pole
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Not for me.

    2. The Hoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      No - Wolves ahve good defence and better options (e.g. Saka). what would you do in my position (below)

      1. Sarri-ball
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Got saka.

  3. Pukki Party
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    Fill last two spots here

    Pickford
    Cancelo Holding
    Son KDB Sterling Bruno ESR
    Kane

    A) Wilson, Bogle
    B) Aurier, Maguire

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Could be Yedlin over Bogle

    2. The Hoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      On a FH? A - higher potential. What would you do in my position (below)

      1. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Thanks

    3. Bad Kompany
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      A imo with yedlin

      1. Pukki Party
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Thanks

    4. S.Kuqi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      B

  4. The Hoff
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    AWB/ Cancelo / Dias / Bruno /Saka / Kane and 1 FT. GTG or would you FH? Would captain Kane. Only players I'd really want in are KDB/Son, maybe Wilson – rest would be filler.

    1. Sarri-ball
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Id take -4 get rid of any deadwood as becomes a -2

    2. Jimmy Boy
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      How would you go about getting KDB? I'd say if you can do that for a FT then go for it, that way you've covered all the main bases people will have on their free hits anyway (Utd, City defence, Utd, City, Ars and Spurs attackers)

    3. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      I'd get in one of KdB / Son yeah

  5. Jimmy Boy
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    Is this eight good enough for this GW without a FH?

    *
    Dias - Cancelo - Reguilon
    Bruno - Rashford - KDB - Neto
    Kane

    Also got the exciting prospect of a one-pointer off the bench from Riedewald

    1. Bad Kompany
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Yes. It’s not much worse. Save fh. Good luck mate

    2. FF Dirtbag
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Yeah don't FH

    3. The Hoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      8 definitely good enough! What would you do in my position (above) - I only have 6...

  6. Bad Kompany
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    Smith Rowe and Sterling or Rashford and Saka? Currently thinking of going with the former

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      First option

    2. Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 28 days ago

      First one on fh

    3. Jimmy Boy
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      First one probably has greater risk but a higher ceiling

    4. The Hoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      I would downgrade something to get Sterling and Saka - Saka is a bargain and very atttacking. What would you do in my position (above)

      1. Bad Kompany
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Is Saka much better than Smith Rowe? I’d want to get kdb in for this gw. If you can’t then i might fh

  7. Steve The Spud
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 28 days ago

    Wc loaded any last tweeks needed before it all goes wrong ? BB19 maybe

    Areola
    Stones Cancelo Maguire holding
    Kev Bruno rash Smith-Rowe
    Laca Kane

    Flappy bam souceck coufal

    1. Bad Kompany
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Awb over maguire imo. Rest seems pretty good although I haven’t really looked at making a wc team

    2. The Hoff
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Looks good, but Smith-Rowe, Holding and Laca not nailed. Maybe upgrade to Saka (who is nailed) and downgrade Laca? Holding is cheap enough that it doesn't matter if he misses games.

      What would you do in my position (above)

  8. Bobby_Baggio
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    Afternoon people. 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. KEVIN DE CLAUS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 28 days ago

      A

    2. Bad Kompany
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      A

    3. G Banger
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      A is my team

    4. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      cheers all - was sweating then

  9. Original Pirate Material
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    These pages flying by, unbearable this close to deadline.

  10. TimoTime
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 28 days ago

    Better to go with Dias over Cancelo on FH after Pep's comments?

    1. Abusive_Sgt_Daelrhos
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      What comments?

    2. Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Whattt?

      1. TimoTime
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Said he is 'tired' apparently

    3. S.Kuqi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      I would. Just in case

  11. LABILLETHEGOAT
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    guys which one would you go for? Thanks
    a. Lloris + Saka + Laca
    b. DDG + Rashford + ESR

  12. Iceball
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 28 days ago

    Too template-ish or GTG? Bench has some hopes is someone drops out.
    DDG
    Dias Cancelo Tierney
    KDB(C) Bruno (V) Son Saka
    Kane Laca Wilson
    Steer Clark Lookman Mitchell

    1. Finding Timo
        2 months, 28 days ago

        I have same except stones instead of cancelo And Kane (c)

    2. Olson
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Does Meslier, Alioski, Dallas, Smith Rowe look to be a worthwhile DGW bench boost that doesn't wreck my team?

      1. Olson
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Scrap that, four Leeds haha

    3. orxan677
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Fantasy page is down

      1. bitm2007
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Works for me.

    4. Forgetmeknot
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Areola
      Cancelo, Stones, Holding
      KBD, Bruno, Son
      Brewster

      Got this for a -8.

      Not ideal but covers me going into DGW next week.

      Scrap it and FH or should be okay (leaves me good for DGW19 and FH for later blank)

      1. Forgetmeknot
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Rashford in mid as well

    5. yanky
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Lloris
      Stones Tierney Maguire
      KDB Bruno Son Saka

      a) Cancelo Rashford Kane.
      b) Sterling Wilson Lacazette.
      c) Shaw Sterling Kane SmithRowe (Saka out).

    6. bitm2007
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      a) Rowe and Laca

      or

      b) Saka and Wilson

    7. Rhodes your boat
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Fpl down for anybody else?! Need to make my transfer!

      1. Luton_Fan
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Few ppl mentioned it but fine for most. Maybe try different browser /device

    8. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Can't wait to do DCL -> Antonio after this GW.

      1. Bobby Digital
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Might join you on that one

    9. OptimusBlack
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Simple Question Who would get more Score
      A- Rashford
      B- Gundo + Wilson

    10. goOnrobbo
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Stones or Saiss?

      1. JIMMY764
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Stones

    11. greggles
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 28 days ago

      Well, I have no more time now so this will just have to do. No goalkeeper! (-4)

      Cancelo / Stones / Taylor*
      KDB(c) / Son / Saka / Fernandes
      Kane / Brewster

      No subs. Keeping Bamford, Grealish, Bednarek, Justin and Martin. Good luck everyone.

      1. Zladan
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        No FH?

        1. greggles
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 28 days ago

          I'm keeping hold of it.

    12. Echoes
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Who is more guaranteed to start?

        A: Lindelof
        B: Shaw

        1. Alnair
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 28 days ago

          Wondering the same but surely it's Lindelof?

      • Abusive_Sgt_Daelrhos
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        ML leader going KDB captain, could Kane outscore him tho? FUL kinda more organized than Brighton, opionions?

        1. Steve The Spud
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 28 days ago

          Coin flip imo

      • JIMMY764
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Gtg? Correct bench order?

        Lloris
        Cancelo Stones Tierney
        KDB(c) Bruno Rashford Son Saka
        Kane Wilson

        (Steer Brewster Mitchell Kilman)

      • No Kane, No Gain!
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Any changes for tonight?

        Lloris
        Dias, Cancelo, Tierney, AWB
        Bruno, KDB (V), Son, Saka, Rashford
        Kane (C)

        (Steer, Brewster, Deco Reid, Mitchell)

        1. Abusive_Sgt_Daelrhos
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 28 days ago

          Explain Kane captain before KDB? I wanna do the same:D

          1. No Kane, No Gain!
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 28 days ago

            Just fancy him tonight

        2. JIMMY764
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 28 days ago

          You're gtg

      • goOnrobbo
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Leno or Darlow?

      • EVILFUK
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Tosun punt fail incoming!

      • Taegugk Warrior
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        Why everybody thinks cancelo will not play..?

        1. Catastrophe
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 28 days ago

          Not sure people think he won't play, but Pep's comments just indicate he may not be as nailed as Dias and Stones.

      • Catastrophe
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 28 days ago

        A) Wilson & Stones
        B) Foden & Maguire
        C) Gundogan & Maguire

        For Bench:

        1) Saiss & Doucoure
        2) Neto & Fernandez

        Currently on A1!

        Cheers.

        1. Luton_Fan
          • 11 Years
          2 months, 28 days ago

          C

          1. Luton_Fan
            • 11 Years
            2 months, 28 days ago

            2