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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Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships and monthly subscriptions are now available.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

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TopMarx Fan of Fantasy Football and Monty Python. "Archimedes out to Socrates, Socrates back to Archimedes, Archimedes out to Heraclitus, he beats Hegel. Heraclitus a little flick, here he comes on the far post, Socrates is there, Socrates heads it in! Socrates has scored! The Greeks are going mad, the Greeks are going mad! Socrates scores, got a beautiful cross from Archimedes. The Germans are disputing it. Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.”

2,473 Comments Post a Comment
  1. TheBiffas
      9 months, 7 days ago

      chances of a cavani start?

      1. Pukki Party
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Low

      2. Ginger Pele
        • 11 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Would be too much of a gamble for me.

    • Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Lloris
      Cancelo / Tierney / AWB
      KDB / Fernades / Son / Gundogan / Saka
      Kane / Lacazette

      Areola // Saiss / McGoldrick / AWB

      How does it look? You can never be too safe, eh? 😉

      1. Bad Kompany
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        I’d downgrade your bench to upgrade your starting 11

        1. Hazz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          With your recommended players being..?

          1. Bad Kompany
            • 3 Years
            9 months, 7 days ago

            Gundogan

            1. Hazz
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              9 months, 7 days ago

              To whom? Too big a jump for Rashy without changing much else.

              1. Bad Kompany
                • 3 Years
                9 months, 7 days ago

                Wilson or Neto/Traore maybe

      2. Ginger Pele
        • 11 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Looks decent. I like it.

      3. The 12th Man
        • 8 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Virtually the same as me.
        I have Saiss starting though with Yedlin and Wilson on the bench McGoldrick and AWB.

    • fantasist
      • 11 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Lacazette or Wilson?

      Help meeeeee choose

      1. Bad Kompany
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Laca

      2. janowsc
        • 6 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Laca between the two...so many coin tosses this week

      3. OptimusBlack
        • 8 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Laca

      4. fantasist
        • 11 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Thanks all, Laca it is

      5. Ginger Pele
        • 11 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Laca the better option I think. Depends where you would spend the change.

    • Bad Kompany
      • 3 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Is Smith Rowe much worse than Saka?

      Could stretch to saka but it would mean no bench in case cancelo doesnt play

      1. JBG
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        No

    • Pukki Party
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Anyone know why Aurier hasn't started last two PL games?

      1. Guru Mediation
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        He stupidly gave away a penalty so being punished by Jose (is my read of it)

        1. Pukki Party
          • 4 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Ok so a doubt then

    • Stupendous
      • 9 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Patricio
      Dier Holding Saiss
      Esr Son Kdb Sterling
      Jesus Kane Lacazette

      Boom!

      No United in my city leagues

    • Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      A) Lacazette (Saiss, Doucoure)
      B) Rashford (Holding, Brewster)

    • Whats the Mata?
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Best one week punt midfielder for gw18 who's Not Bruno, Saka, Son or any City midfielder? Who you'd get for a -4? (Essentially a -2 as I don't have a full 11)

      Budget 7.5m

      1. Drogba Legend
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Gotta be someone like Neto, Traore, Zaha, Berjg

      2. Ginger Pele
        • 11 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Neto or Zaha. I fancy Zaha this week personally.

    • FPLGeezer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Which pair on FH

      A) Rashford & Kane & Dias
      B) Sterling & Laca & Cancelo

      1. edgardavids
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        That‘s a threesome!

        I prefer Son over Rashford or Sterling

    • Champions League Varane
      • 2 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Thoughts on Mané over Salah for the double? Gives me much more cash that I need right now.

      1. lindeg
        • 2 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        I got Mane, he looks on it atm, and is imo a better player than Salah

        1. Champions League Varane
          • 2 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Don’t agree with the last bit but that’s true may lean toward him

          Thanks

      2. HashAttack
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        40 points more for Salah for just an extra 0.6m .... maybe if they were away matches but not for 2 home matches

    • Better Call Raul
      • 2 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Have low team value so looking at this FH with 0.1 itb:

      Leno
      Dias-Stones-Holding
      KdB-Bruno-Son-Rashford-SmithRowe
      Kane-Cavani

      and a weak bench.

      G2g or too risky with Cavani and no bench?

      1. Drogba Legend
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Don't like Cavani, would rather go Wilson and upgrade bench

        1. Ginger Pele
          • 11 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Agree with this.

    • grennans2
      • 1 Year
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Is Shaw likely to start?

      1. Nemes1s
        • 8 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        He and Telles get rotated a fair bit

    • gomez123
      • 8 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      KDB or KANE ELCAPITANO??

      1. Zladan
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        DB

      2. jtreble
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Ambas son buenas opciones.

      3. Ginger Pele
        • 11 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        KDB

    • Champions League Varane
      • 2 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Will Mari start!!??

    • The Road to Turfdom
      • 5 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      reckon Sterling starts?

      1. The Road to Turfdom
        • 5 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        lol

    • nico05
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      This good enough? I've avoided FH & transfer hits?
      Leno
      Cancelo Reguilon Holding Taylor(Porbz injured)
      KDB Bruno Neto
      Wilson Brewster

      Should I take a hit or anywhere or ride it out?
      Thanks

      1. HashAttack
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        I'm holding a prayer circle later to wish for a Kane blank - You are welcome to join

        1. nico05
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          I think I maybe necessary haha. Whats your team like?

          1. HashAttack
            • 4 Years
            9 months, 7 days ago

            Got 11 good players - Just no Kane and no subs

            Lloris
            Bellerin, Cancelo, Stones, AWB
            KDB (C), Rashford, Bruno, Son
            Lacazette, Wilson

            Have take a -16 to bring in Lacazette, KDB, Soucek, AWB, Lloris

            1. nico05
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              9 months, 7 days ago

              Looks really strong that team. -16 is quite hefty but your team looks good, puts mine to shame for sure!

    • Zladan
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      a) DDG + Dier
      b) Leno + any Spurs/United defender

      1. nico05
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Leno & Shaw

    • RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Best option for both GW 18 and 19?

      A) Cancelo
      B) Dias

      1. nico05
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        A

    • Woy_is_back
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Aurier or Regulionnnnn?

      1. nico05
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Reguilon-more nailed imo

      2. Zladan
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Do either start?

      3. Dr Mulholland
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Or Doherty?

    • Nemanja Vidic
      • 11 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Foden or Gundogan?
      2FT 0.3 ITB
      WC FH BB TC available

      Martinez Mendy
      Regulion Saiss Justin Coufal Mitchel
      KBD Fernandes Son Grealish Saka
      Kane Bamford Brewster

      Mitchel -> Stones
      Grealish -> Foden\Gundo

      1. Woy_is_back
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Foden starts on the bench I think

    • Don Kloppeone
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      9 months, 7 days ago

      Done!

      ONLY QUESTION is.... Start Wilson or Saka?!

      Lloris
      Cancelo, Tierney, Saiss
      KDB (C), Bruno (v), Son, Gundogan
      Kane, Laca, Wilson
      (Steer) (Saka, Clark, Mitchell)

      Cheers and GL all!!

      1. nico05
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Nice team, start Wilson I think mate

        1. Don Kloppeone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Thanks mate GL

      2. Luton_Fan
        • 11 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Saka imo

        1. Don Kloppeone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          It's a killer decision!

          Thanks mate and GL

      3. HashAttack
        • 4 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        Wilson just to make the game interesting - watching SHU v NEW without any players would be so pointless

      4. Ginger Pele
        • 11 Years
        9 months, 7 days ago

        I vote Wilson. He’s got pens.

    • Diro
        9 months, 7 days ago

        A) Play with 7 players (Mitchell, Stones, KdB, Fernandes, Son, Kane, Wilson)
        B) FH

        1. MattyW
          • 5 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Play the 7

          1. nico05
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            9 months, 7 days ago

            I agree, save the free hit. Captain KDB

        2. jdp219
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          You're already flush with players in the Scout Squad (for whatever that's worth), so I would think about saving the FH.

          Is this without transfers?

          1. Diro
              9 months, 7 days ago

              Thanks all,

              It's with Transfer, early last week I made Salah > KdB and Anguissa > Soucek to anticipate price increase

        3. jdp219
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          FH G2G? Need a better bench?

          Darlow
          Cancelo, Stones, Tierney
          KDB, Son, Bruno, Saka
          Kane, Wilson, Laca
          (4.0; Burke, Kilman, Mitchell)

        4. Sean
          • 11 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Have managed to shake off my Sterling and Lacazette urges, can spend the last half an hour mindlessly saying Cancelo or Dias in my head now

          1. shady4revr
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            9 months, 7 days ago

            Dias

        5. shady4revr
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Martinez
          Dias Pieters Mitchell Dier
          KDB Son Reed(fulham lol) Bruno
          Kane Wood

          Steer Chilwell DCL Bowen

          1m in the bank, ft made, dcl to laca -4 hit? Or martinez to darlow?

        6. Lukakuna
          • 4 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Any news on the Leeds Saints fixture?

        7. Henning
          • 7 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          In freehit 1.5 m in the bank
          Good to go or should i make any changes?

          Lloris
          Cancelo Tierney Saiss
          Son Kdb Fernandes Gundogan Saka
          Kane Lacazette

          Steer Wan-Bissaka Yedlin Brewster

          1. HashAttack
            • 4 Years
            9 months, 7 days ago

            No point leaving anything ITB on a FH ... why not a second GK at least

        8. Scholes Out Forever
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Which one:

          Darlow + Cancelo + Rash + Laca
          Lloris + Saiss + Sterling + Wilson

        9. CrouchDown
          • 9 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Is Darlow a risk?

          1. shady4revr
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            9 months, 7 days ago

            Dubravka is back

        10. The Habib Beyes
          • 11 Years
          9 months, 7 days ago

          Thinking about taking a 4 point hit to bring in Tierney for KWP...

          Given I've already got Cancelo, Chilwell and Justin, am I investing too much at the back? (Also BB next week)