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. Zladan
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Telles and Cavani to start for United?

    1. Gazza2000
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      My guess is that Shaw and Martial will start.

  2. The Frenchie
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    For DGW19

    A) Fabianski (BUR / WBA)
    B) Mendy (FUL / LEI)
    C) Martinez (EVE / Man City)

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

      a

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

    A) Lacazette, Wilson & Stones (Saiss, Doucoure)
    B) Rashford, Wilson & Stones (Holding, Brewster)
    C) Lacazette, Gundogan & Maguire (Saiss, Doucoure)

    Cheers.

  4. Better Call Raul
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Triple United attack overkill on a FH?

    Bruno-Rashford
    Cavani

    1. Sean
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Yes

  5. Whats the Mata?
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Neto or Zaha?

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

    GTG?

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

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

      Template g2g

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

      yes

  7. camarozz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Worth bringing in lloris or Saka for a hit??

    Will cost a hit to sell too as I want Soucek or Martinez back nxt wk

    Currently on 7 players no hits or chips used..

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

      -8 then? No.

  8. the snazzy viking
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Kane or KDB captain and why?

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

      KDB. Team form

    2. Rochdale_Cowboy
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Kane, KDB bench rumours

  9. Dream Killers 2.0
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    On wildcard. Intend to BB in GW19 Any thoughts on this team?

    De Gea
    Cancelo, Tierney, AWB, Stones
    Bruno, KDB, Son, Saka
    Kane, Wood

    Johnstone, Lowton, Antonio, Soucek

    Other option is above but Laca instead of Kane, Dias instead of Stones and Coufal instead of Lowton.

  10. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Any late news I need to know about.?

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

      Nothing I've heard

  11. OptimusBlack
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    20 Answers here
    Who to C ?
    A- KANE
    B- KDB

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

      B just

    2. Drogba Legend
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      B

    3. adamtheyido
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      A

  12. ClaireT
    • 11 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Repost

    Thoughts on this FH team?

    Darlow, Ramsdale
    Tierney, Holgate, Shaw, Fernandez, Dias
    Saka, KDB, Bruno, Rodriguez, Son
    Cavani, Wood, Wilson

    0.3 itb

  13. Atimis
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Saka or Dias ?

  14. WorldCup82
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Help! Is everyone free hitting??
    I put transfers in but they're going to end up with a -12..
    DCL to McGoldrick, Podence to fodder, Salah to De Bruyne, Mahrez to Sterling

  15. Jet5605
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Who makes up the back 3? Lloris in goal:

    A - Stones
    B - Saiss
    C - Dier

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

      a

    2. Luton_Fan
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      A

  16. Klopp it
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    How's this wildcard

    Ddg
    Stones, cancelo, awb, holding
    Kdb(c), fernandes, saka, soucek
    Wood, kane(vc)

    Bench, Johnstone, coufal, Ziyech, bamford

  17. yanky
    • 11 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    a) Kane Cancelo
    b) Sterling Maguire

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

      a but Dias

  18. Marc Jobling
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    My FH team essentially comes down to Rashford vs Lacazette

    Genuinely don't know what to do

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

      Tricky one - in the same boat (above). Both great picks, go with your gut.

    2. Atimis
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Same here, would say that Palace will be easier to beat

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

      I went laca so probably best going rash

    4. Owenuk
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      Just swapped rashford to Lacazette to hedge my bets as I have Bruno. Watch rashford get a hat trick!

  19. Redranger
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    A) Stones & Saka (have Cancelo)
    B) Holding & Gundogan

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

      a

    2. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 3 days ago

      A

  20. Boly Would
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Play with 8 and a -4, or DCL to Laca/Martial/Jesus for 9 players and a -8?

    1. Groot the Leveller
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      I was on 10, then 7 after villa off and dcl out. FH time

  21. Kay317
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 3 days ago

    GTG? any suggestions to improve?
    Leno
    Dier, Tierney, Cancelo
    Bruno, KDB (c), Son, Sterling, ESR
    Kane, Wilson
    (Fodder, Yedlin, Mitchell, Davis)

    Could downgrade Cancelo to Stones and do Leno to DDG?

    1. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 3 days ago

      G2g

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

    Captain decision so tough. Help please.

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

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

      a

  23. QUEN
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Any news on minutes for:

    Shaw
    Smith Rowe
    Stones

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Did you see that throw-in?
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      67
      71
      90

  24. Sensible Shocker
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Is Shaw's place now threatened by Telles?

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

      Of course.

      1. Sensible Shocker
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 3 days ago

        Ha ha. Hmmm.

  25. RamaJama
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Who’s more to be rested 1 game in GW 18 or 19?

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      A) Cancelo
      B) Dias

  26. The Frenchie
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Please guys need help 🙂

    For DGW19

    A) Fabianski (BUR / WBA)
    B) Mendy (FUL / LEI)
    C) Martinez (EVE / Man City)

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 3 days ago

      A

    2. Almathkourq8
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 3 days ago

      A

  27. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Anyone else cant wait for the gameweek to start just to preview there team for dgw next week lol

  28. Almathkourq8
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Hello guys

    Neto or Foden?

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

    Is the FPL site down for anyone?

  30. UshFPL
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 3 days ago

    Worth doing Gordon -> Smith Rowe to get an extra outfielder out? Or bank my FT which could be useful next week?