Pro Pundit Teams

How an early Wildcard helped me into the top 1k – and what I have learned

Currently sitting well inside the top 1,000, Let’s Talk FPL’s Andy looks back at the success of his early second Wildcard – and explains how he plans to cope without the prized chip going forward.


Nearly a month ago now (January 6, to be precise), I wrote an article about the pros and cons of playing the second Wildcard early in Gameweek 18, especially for those of us that had used the first one early as well.

After starting Gameweek 18 ranked at 41,610th, I’ve now moved up to 679th at the start of Gameweek 22. It’s safe to say that the early Wildcard has worked pretty well. In this article, I want to quickly touch on why it worked well, and what my future plans are without a Wildcard in hand.

Why did it work

As I mentioned in my article at the time, we were in a unique situation where there was a chance to attack a big Blank Gameweek followed by a big Double Gameweek, without any “normal” Gameweeks in between. They also both involved teams with good fixtures, good players and perhaps even more importantly, good fixtures following the Double. Those teams were Manchester City and Manchester United.

Of course, along the way, you need some lucky. Back in my January article, I wasn’t predicting John Stones (£5.2m), João Cancelo (£6.0m) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.4m) to all score 17+ points in an individual Gameweek. Sometimes the luck comes all at once, and I couldn’t have been much luckier, really.

But the logic was there of targeting a Blank, Double and following fixtures all at once. At the time I had no Manchester City players, and they looked key going forward. A Free Hit would have plugged the gap in Gameweek 18, but I’d have been left with lots of hits from that point forward.

I’ve seen a few people now contemplating an early Wildcard but it does feel like the boat has been missed on the opportunity now. We’re so close to Double Gameweek 24, which is when we’ll likely have all the information we’ll need for a potential Blank Gameweek 29, and Double Gameweek 26, that using the Wildcard in Gameweek 23 could be a disaster. I’m not sure anyone’s team is in such a bad state they need to use it now, and Wildcards are such a good way to attack a set of Gameweeks that using it now would be sub-optimal, I would say.

Future Planning

One thing I’m finding is planning feels even more crucial than normal without a Wildcard, and so many big Gameweeks still to manage. I’ve already seen several content creators talk about getting players in for a few weeks because they’re Wildcarding soon, and I don’t have that luxury.

That’s why in Gameweek 21, I bought in Son Heung-min (£9.7m) and Jack Grealish (£7.8m) and ended up ignoring Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m). It’s likely that Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa will have a good Double Gameweek so I felt they were better long-term moves, to essentially save my transfers down the line. Everton have, of course, ended up getting a Double Gameweek before that – and this is naturally one of the downsides to Wildcarding so early.

With the Free Hit chip, I’m keeping my options open. Before we get more confirmed fixtures, I’m essentially trying to get in players like above that are good for right now, but also for the Doubles. If my team is set for Gameweek 26, then I will use the Free Hit in Gameweek 29 – but depending on how my team is looking for Gameweek 29, I could just use the Free Hit in the big Double Gameweek instead. I do have my Triple Captain as well but due to the number of fixtures that still need to be rearranged, there’ll probably be other chances to use it.

To Keep Doing

Fernandes stakes captaincy claim ahead of Gameweek 9 meeting with West Brom

I wanted to quickly touch on some things that I’ve changed in my strategy to FPL this season which I plan on carrying on for the rest of the season. I’m sure some of this will be simple to many, or things you’re already doing, but it’s helped me so far.

I will caveat straight away to say again that of course luck is a big part of FPL. Just because this has worked this season doesn’t mean it will work next season, but for now I’ll keep doing with it.

Captaincy

I think sometimes we underrate just how important the captaincy is. We might hear things like “I’ll just captain him instead” or “I’ll take a punt on him”. Both ways of doing things are fine, but this year I’ve made a conscious decision to always have who I believe is the best captain each week, even if that means transferring out a big hitter. This sounds simple, but often FPL managers will forgo the best captain because they don’t want to sell a big hitter. Obviously who the best captain is, is subjective but I’ve tried to target them in advance, and unless there’s something major which happens in between I won’t change my mind, even for “form”. For example, my next captain in Gameweek 23 will be Son.

I’ve sold Salah, Son, and Kane twice already this season and I’ve found not having value wrapped up in them makes my decisions much easier knowing I can just buy them back as there’s no money “lost”.

I’ve also not looked to take any punts. It’s whoever I think the best points potential is regardless of what everyone is doing. Will that player be 150% effective ownership or 50%? I don’t particularly care, and have ignored ownership so far this season.

Form and data
WOLAVL dd

One thing I said I wanted to do at the start of the season was using a more statistic-based approach to my decisions, but also reduce the amount of statistics that I use. Expected data incorporates so many other statistics so I’ve stuck largely to that, especially ‘per 90’ data.

I often look at the season-long data as well, rather than looking for differences in much smaller sample sizes like last four Gameweeks. There’s obviously a balancing act here, but I’ve tried to trust players putting up good numbers over a long period of time who have good fixtures. Simple, but so far effective.

An example of this is Grealish vs Harvey Barnes (£6.9m) vs James Maddison (£7.3m). I can see that Barnes and Maddison have scored well recently but when I needed a £7m+ midfielder recently, there was no question in my mind that Grealish was the one.

Grealish has an expected goal involvement per 90 minutes (xGp90) for the season of 0.51, compared to Barnes at 0.37 and Maddison at 0.28. Maddison has scored a few goals recently, but his xGp90 is just 0.14 which is low, and his creativity isn’t that high despite creating lots of chances through corners. I’m ignoring an “in-form” player right now in the hope his returns will start to dry up, but there’s no doubting he’s playing well at present.

There’s nothing wrong with looking at recent Gameweeks to spot any major differences, but too often we are looking for something to confirm what we want to see.

Form is something we could probably talk about in a separate article, but it’s something I’ve largely tried to ignore, hence choosing captaincies in advance. Rather than look at what they’ve scored recently in pure FPL points, I’d rather look at their underlying numbers for the season and their opponents. Son this week is a great example. Spurs looked really poor against Brighton, and I’m writing this before a game against Chelsea that I’m not expecting anything from, but West Brom are a truly awful defence. Even without Kane, I’d still back Son to get points, although I can see why people might be wary, especially with Antonio as a good alternative this week.

Limiting Defender transfers

Wildcarding twice before Gameweek 19 will help with this of course, but I’ve tried to limit defender transfers. Outside of the occasional big return like we’ve seen recently, the majority of the time a defender’s ceiling is quite low. You’re looking at six points a lot of the time.

This is one of the reasons I’ve only made four defender transfers all season (outside of Wildcards). I’m trying to make sure I can focus most of my transfer on attack and captaincy where the biggest amount of points are likely to come. The only defender transfers so far are:

  • GW2 – Vinagre to Digne
  • GW7 – Alexander-Arnold to Chilwell
  • GW15 – Chilwell & Lamptey to Robertson & Coufal

It’s something I’ll try and continue doing, especially when we have Manchester City defenders in the form of their lives, who are also very cheap and carry fairly big upside, like with Cancelo.

Gameweek 23

This is how my team is currently looking:


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1,848 Comments Post a Comment
  1. JONALDINHO
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Start Stones or Gundo?

    1. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Gundo.

    2. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 7 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      gundo 100%

  2. Niho992
    • 3 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Those with BB left are you thinking to use BB in DGW 26 but save WC for later?

    1. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 7 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      have neither but probably best to wait for fixtures to be published then see the players you have

      1. Niho992
        • 3 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Thinking to bring Antonio this GW for -4 but also dont know will i save WC for later

    2. JONALDINHO
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Definitely using BB 26. Will WC 25 if needs be but hoping to wait until 27 or 30

      1. Niho992
        • 3 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Main problem i will have 3 from WHU and they playing vs City away and they wont have DGW probably and want to save WC for later

    3. aleksaa2
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      BB26, WC30/31

      1. Niho992
        • 3 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        How's your team looking?

        1. aleksaa2
          • 5 Years
          7 months, 24 days ago

          Martinez BPF
          Stones Cancelo Shaw Justin Coufal
          Gundo Son Grealish Barnes Bruno
          Kane DCL Antonio

          1. Niho992
            • 3 Years
            7 months, 24 days ago

            Thats team full of DGW 26 players probably. Wow

    4. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Prob not. Depends on how the DGWs and BGW affect current team without using WC. No point in BB in a DGW if the bench is just single game players. Could get better bang from single game bench in a normal GW.

      1. Niho992
        • 3 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        I will have 2 FTs for DGW 26 so i can use -4 hit(3 transfers) to sell Soucek, Antonio and someone else and save WC.

    5. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Plan to WC later as have a very full squad bar second keeper. Keeping a wary eye on the cup fixtures though.

  3. bigdip
    • 9 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    2FT and 3.6mn itb

    Mcarthy (Forster)
    Dier Justin Cancelo (Lewis, Mitchell)
    Salah Fernandes Sterling Soucek (Gordon)
    Antonio Bamford DCL

  4. Ibralicious
    • 7 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Martinez
    Dias - Stones - Coufal
    Salah - Bruno - Rashford - Grealish - Gundogan
    Antonio - Bamford

    (Johnstone) (DCL - Dallas - Bednarek) - 2FT - £3.3 ITB

    Any moves worth making here? If no standout options to bring in would look to downgrade the extra £ to fodder. Johnstone out or Bednarek out?

    1. Baron Penguin (FKA Hadebayo…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Could do Johnstone to Pope to prep for the DGW?

      1. Kiwivillan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        This. Pope Martinez Pope(DGW) next 3

      2. Ibralicious
        • 7 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Cheers. Been a little out of the loop, who do Burnley play in the double?

        1. Ibralicious
          • 7 Years
          7 months, 24 days ago

          Nevermind, just saw who they play. A chance Martinez can outscore Pope through both fixtures though since he plays Brighton :/

  5. Jdpz
    • 1 Year
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Pope
    Cancelo Coufal Dier
    Bruno Salah Sterling Gundogan Raphinha
    DCL Antonio(c)

    [Johnstone Bamford Alioski Justin]
    2 ft., 1.2m in the bank

    a) Cancelo to Alonso/Rudiger/Digne
    b) Justin to Alonso/Digne
    c) Salah to Son
    d) Salah to Rashford/Grealish
    e) Alioski to Creswell/Alonso
    f) Johnstone to Sanchez
    g) another option

  6. ShaunGoater123
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    With the double gameweek news is the best move to do Johnstone to Pope and roll a transfer giving me 2 next week? Team would then be this week:

    Pope
    Cancelo / Maguire / Dallas
    Salah / son / soucek / Fernandes
    Bamford / dcl / Antonio

    McCarthy / gundogan / stones / targett

    1. ItsJonesy
      • 11 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Similar team to mine and the same move I am making with 2 FT's next week.

    2. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Interested to see both Soucek and DCL over Gund

      The Pope move looks sound

      1. ShaunGoater123
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Yeah it’s a tough decision. Benched soucek a last two hauls so maybe it’s out of fear. Still undecided

  7. deshawn7
    • 6 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Robbo to Shaw or Rudiger?

    1. xHaTr
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Shaw

    2. Hutchiniho
      • 3 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Shaw

  8. estheblessed
    • 6 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Part of me wants Son because it's west brom BUT Spurs have looked awful going forward. What are people's thoughts?

    1. WE GO FOR IT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      It's between him and Sterling for me. I feel if I have held him so long, I have to give him the WBA game.

    2. ItsJonesy
      • 11 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      If I didn't own him I wouldn't buy him but I am not selling before this week either.

  9. DV8R
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Any point in doing Davis to Antonio with this team? I don't want a benching headache but Antonio seems a good pick. I'm also planning for DGW24

    Pope
    Cancelo, Stones, Coufal, Lowton, Dallas
    Salah, Son, Bruno, Soucek, Gundo
    Bamford, DCL, Davis

    1. _Ninja_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Yes and bench DCL away to Manu.

  10. WE GO FOR IT
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    McCarthy Forster
    Dias Cancelo Coufal Alioski Ferguson
    Salah Sterling Bruno Son Soucek
    DCL Antonio Brewster

    2FT 0.6 itb

    McCarthy to Pope is the plan.

    Who do I sell to fund it?
    A. Son
    B. Sterling

    Who do I get in as replacement?
    1. Rashford (Can't do with Son)
    2. Grealish
    3. Hames
    4. Gundo
    5. Foden

  11. Flynny
    • 6 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Already played bb. I'm likely to bring in pope tomorrow ahead of Brighton game and dgw24.

    I also have martinez. Is that too much invested in keepers?

    They rotate nicely to gw30 when I'll wildcard. Thanks

    1. _Ninja_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Looks good to me

    2. WE GO FOR IT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      With so many premiums out/not in great form, you can afford that.

      1. Flynny
        • 6 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Thanks

  12. camarozz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    A) Antonio (c)

    B) Salah➡️Son (c) for free?

    1. WE GO FOR IT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      A.

      Wouldn't get Son IN right now.

  13. Henryyy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Ditch Forster or Martinez for Pope?

    1. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      No.

      1. Henryyy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Haha

        1. Flynny
          • 6 Years
          7 months, 24 days ago

          Forster

          1. GreennRed
            • 10 Years
            7 months, 24 days ago

            Unless you're gonna BB I think that's just buying a benching headache. Pope is the better goalkeeper but Martinez is the better FPL keeper, has a better defensive setup in front of him.

  14. AD2110
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Who has doubles in 26?

  15. vincentwsho
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    1 FT... what to do?

    DDG
    Dias Stones Dallas
    Grealish(VC) Salah Bruno(C) Gundo Soucek
    DCL Bamford

    4.0 Dias Stones Brewster

    Current plan is on option A.

    A) 4.0 to Pope (play instead of DDG)
    B) Brewster to Richarlison
    C) Brewster to Ings
    D) Save FT

  16. chaser123
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Thoughts on Ederson? Only player who will play ever game in all these upcoming doubles?

    1. aleksaa2
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      That's probably the only thought people have on him.

    2. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      I know someone who TC him the last DGW for 39 points. Nice thinking there. No spectacular points but fairly guaranteed 2 sixers.

  17. primal33
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Team looks like this atm

    McCarthy
    Robbo Cancelo Maguire
    Son Bruno Salah Grealish Soucek
    Watkins Antonio

    Forster Coufal Taylor DCL

    Tempted to get rid of Robbo to free up some funds with Liverpool in poor form and a tough run of fixtures coming up.

    Do I go for:
    A) Rudiger
    B) Dallas
    C) Mee/Tark
    D) Other and if so, who?

  18. Yes Ndidi
    • 2 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Is Salah & Mitchell -> Sterling & Mee worth doing for free?
    2FT, plenty ITB.

    Other def are Cresswell Dias Justin & Targett.
    Have Foden as well, for what good it is.

  19. Footieboot
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Is getting Antonio in now a bad shout given that I will have to play BB in 26 so I will have to transfer him out by then?

    Also which Bur defender is the best to target? Mee, Lowton or just get Pope? Double looks a bit too much.

    1. Hutchiniho
      • 3 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Why do you want Antonio out? He's looked awesome last three. Could easily have 3 goals and 3 assists

      1. Footieboot
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Because I want to fully take advantage of the double for Bench Boost.

        1. GreennRed
          • 10 Years
          7 months, 24 days ago

          Will you have 15 doublers that GW?

          1. Footieboot
            7 months, 24 days ago

            It is possible, yeah. I will most likely need to get rid of the WHU assets though to do so.

  20. camarozz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Why is ticker taking so long to update for the doubles

    1. Fitzy.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      You know the fixtures, what's the issue?

      1. GreennRed
        • 10 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Do we?

          1. GreennRed
            • 10 Years
            7 months, 24 days ago

            Cheers Fitzy. Found it there after your post further down. Nice one.

      2. camarozz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        7 months, 24 days ago

        Just nice to see it in the ticker if that's alright with you?

        1. Fitzy.
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          7 months, 24 days ago

          It'll come in good time which is alright with me

  21. CrouchDown
    • 9 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Coufal to Mee to avoid burning a FT?

    1. WE GO FOR IT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Next 2 fixtures are good. Noone else you can remove?

  22. JONALDINHO
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    A) Mitchell to Mee
    B) Brewster to Bamford and play over DCL

    1. WE GO FOR IT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      A

  23. Manani
    • 9 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    A. Mee
    B. Rudiger
    C. Dallas

    will be Chiwell replacement

    1. WE GO FOR IT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Mee

  24. Jdpz
    • 1 Year
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Salah to Son for free?
    And Salah to
    a) Son
    b) Grealish
    c) Rashford

    1. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      B

    2. aleksaa2
      • 5 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      B

  25. Niho992
    • 3 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Are u selling Salah?

    1. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      No.

  26. Prison Mike
    • 5 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Rudiger or Mee to replace Robertson?

    1. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Rudiger.

  27. 03farmboy
    • 2 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    What teams have double game weeks coming up and when is it?

    1. Flynny
      • 6 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Look at Ben crellin twitter

    2. Fitzy.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      There's an article right here on FFS

    3. Jimmers
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      City, Everton, Burnley and Fulham in GW24
      Leeds and Southampton in GW25

  28. Alisson WondHaaland
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    TC Grealish in GW 26.

    You heard it here first

    1. _Ninja_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      C is enough

  29. Niho992
    • 3 Years
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Would you do this for -4 ?

    Balbuena, Davies and Salah to Mee, Antonio and Grealish.

    I would bench DCL in that case, but also i would rid of 2 fodders, and prepare for bench boost in DGW 26 and also save WC for later in the season ?

  30. Jdpz
    • 1 Year
    7 months, 24 days ago

    Pope
    Cancelo Coufal Dier
    Bruno Salah Sterling Gundogan Raphinha
    DCL Antonio(c)

    [Johnstone Bamford Alioski Justin]
    2 ft., 1.2m in the bank

    a) Cancelo to Alonso/Rudiger/Digne
    b) Justin to Alonso/Digne
    c) Salah to Son
    d) Salah to Rashford/Grealish
    e) Alioski to Creswell/Alonso
    f) Johnstone to Sanchez

    Play DCL or Bamford?

    1. _Ninja_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      7 months, 24 days ago

      Bamford