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. jb1985
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Crazy to captain Sterling over KDB if I am chasing in my ML?

    1. Gazza2000
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      No

  2. Alex1995
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Who’re people captaining?

    Been flicking between Bruno, Kane and KDB...

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      kdb

    2. Die Hard
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      Kdb

  3. Pukki Party
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Best gk?

    A) Ransdale
    B) Guaita
    C) Pickford

    1. Ginger Pele
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      I’m thinking of going Rammo. More for the price than in expectation of a clean sheet.

  4. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

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

    Cheers

  5. Lionel Messi of Premier Lea…
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Did Rashford+Dias+Saka out for Sterling+Saiss+Smith Rowe

    Final team
    Lloris
    Stones Saiss AWB
    Sterling Kdb Bruno Son(C) Smith-Rowe
    Kane Wilson

    Rate that please!

    1. The Road to Turfdom
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      I've done similar, am a fan

      1. Lionel Messi of Premier Lea…
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 12 hours ago

        All the best!

    2. Kante Touch This
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 12 hours ago

      honestly i prefer the original!

      1. Lionel Messi of Premier Lea…
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 12 hours ago

        Too templatish. Need some excitement maybe? (Inb4 this backfires)

  6. King Huth
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    chance these player starting?

    A. Martial

    B. Jesus

    C. Foden

    ??

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      80%
      80%
      85%

  7. Whats the Mata?
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Neto or Zaha for gw18 only?

    1. Carlton_Goal
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      Zaha

  8. ZLNR
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Will SHU score?

    1. Corgzzzz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      Yes I think they win 2-1

    2. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      Maybe

    3. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      McGoldrick brace

  9. Atimis
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Saka or Dias ??

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      Dias

  10. TheSteel
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Stones Saka
    Or
    Cancelo Smith-Rowe?

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      SS

    2. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      B

    3. Ginger Pele
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 12 hours ago

      B

  11. Arteta
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Brewster hat-trick inbound?!

    1. Pep bites Kun
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 12 hours ago

      After this topsy-turvy week, it wouldn't surprise me 😉

  12. Dele
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    DDG and Maguire overkill?

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      Yes. Go Lloris

  13. Runaway
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Any word on LEE-SOU game?

  14. ZAWAd25
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    A) Smith- Rowe (3-5-2)
    Or
    B) Holding (4-42)

    Have Tierney

    1. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      A

  15. JONALDINHO
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Surely Shaw starts after Telles played in the cup. Was Shaw injured?

  16. Steve The Spud
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Don’t forget to put your vice on Bruno

  17. NATSTER
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Help please. Between these two.

    A: Rashford + McGoldrick
    B: Martial + Saka

  18. Genji3lade
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Whos the best attacking defender to get from either Spurs or United?

    1. bench boost for every gamew…
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 12 hours ago

      Shaw and aurier but i would not be sure they start.

  19. Flynny
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Strigflong here....Any views on best free hit option here please??

    A.....343..

    Lloris
    Dias tierney maguire (YEDLIN Mitchell)
    Kdb Bruno son GUNDOGAN (SMITH-ROWE)
    Kane Lacasette WILSON

    B.....451

    Lloris
    Dias tierney maguire STONES (Mitchell)
    Kdb Bruno son RASHFORD SAKA
    Kane DAVIS BREWSTER

    Thanks

  20. Arteta
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Who is your captain?

    1. Boom XhakaLacaSaka
      • 1 Year
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      KDB

  21. Jet5605
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    FH team G2G? Or should I consider McGoldrick as Mark has picked?

    Lloris
    Dias - Stones - Tierney
    Son - Bruno - Saka - KDB (c)
    Kane - Laca - Wilson

    4.0 - Clark - Burke - Mitchell

  22. wulfrunian
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Do you think that Sterling will start?

  23. Greyling
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Please help. Team A or B on Free Hit (REPOST).

    TEAM A
    Darlow
    Stones, Cancelo, Dier
    Fernandes, KDB (C), Saka, Son
    Wilson, Lacazette, Kane (VC)

    Bench: Dubravka, Smith Rowe, Kilman, Mitchell

    TEAM B
    Darlow
    Cancelo, Bellerin, Dier
    Sterling (C), Smith Rowe, KDB (VC), Rashford, Son
    Kane, Wilson

    Bench: Forster, Davis, Mitchell, Bryan

  24. gelisiguzel
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    couldn't decide whether I should go with Kane or Sterling? In most of the templates, people prefer Kane but Sterling vs BHA could be a big differntial and he could get more points than Kane does against Fulham. What do you think guys?

  25. Don Kloppeone
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Why do you think the RMT tool has such a low prediction for Gundogan - basically shows him blanking with < 2pts?!

    Hasn't left my last 50 drafts but making me doubt myself now!

    1. Ragabolly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      Trust your decision

      1. Don Kloppeone
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 13 hours ago

        Thanks mate - while I have you, would you start Wilson or Saka (I know.... I know....)?

      2. Jambot
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 13 hours ago

        This.

  26. Woy_is_back
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Darlow might not start?

  27. corderz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    A) Rashford, Saka, Tierney
    B) Sterling, Smith-Rowe, Yedlin

  28. wildnothing
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    Reguilon/Darlow/Dubravka or Saiss/Lloris

    1. Lionel Messi of Premier Lea…
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      B

  29. Granville
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 11 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

    I've made an observation.

    As deadline approaches, posts start converging to one word.

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      yes

    2. The 12th Man
      • 7 Years
      4 months, 13 hours ago

      People talking faster.

  30. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 13 hours ago

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

    Cheers