When is the right time to play a second Wildcard? Should Fantasy Premier League managers deploy it before or after the next set of Double Gameweeks?
The questions around this particular chip are endless and I can understand why. We are entering a pivotal part of the campaign so it is important to get our strategy correct.
With this article, I talk about the pros and cons of using your Wildcard now versus later in the season as I continue to mull over this decision. I intend on presenting the factors you should consider while making this decision, which should hopefully help you with the same.
Is it time to go all in or should you hold on for a little longer? Let’s discuss that question in more detail.
For me, the serious planning begins in Gameweek 25, as I’m very likely activating my Wildcard with the intention to Bench Boost in Gameweek 26. It is worth pointing out that I have a Free Hit also in my pocket so I don’t need to worry about Blank Gameweek 29 at this point.
ADVANTAGES TO WILDCARDING NOW
In an ideal world, I would have liked to Wildcard after using my Bench Boost in Gameweek 26 but there are a few reasons for me pulling the trigger now. Let’s call them the advantages of Wildcarding in Gameweek 25:
- I have a non-playing goalkeeper and two of my outfielders are Oliver Burke (£4.2m) and Tyrick Mitchell (£3.9m). This means that if I want to Bench Boost in Gameweek 26 without using my Wildcard, I need to spend transfers on these three spots. This is a little inconvenient in terms of attacking the doubles in Gameweek 24 and 25 before that, which is where I’d have liked to spend my transfers.
- I am currently ranked at 1.2 million and, if I need to have a respectable finish to the season, I don’t have enough time to recover it by simply taking hits and trying to get the right team in place. I want to press the Nitro Boost button early and hope that the Wildcard sustains itself for a sufficient period and helps take my season in the right direction. Personally, Wildcarding later in the season might be too late given my rank.
- Buying extra games for at least 15 players in Gameweek 25 and 26. I currently have just one Leeds United and zero Southampton players. I am hoping that I am buying at least 15 extra games for my squad by playing my Wildcard.
- I could potentially have two Burnley players in Double Gameweek 24 and I don’t necessarily want to carry them in Gameweek 26 as their potential Double at that point does not look very attractive. One of the advantages of Wildcarding in Gameweek 25 is I can get rid of my Clarets without any fuss.
If I had a decent bench right now, I would have considered Wildcarding in Gameweek 24, 25 or 26. There are advantages to pulling the trigger on a new squad after the Bench Boost…
WILDCARDING AFTER MY BENCH BOOST
First up, the distribution of funds is correct. Once we have the Bench Boost chip out of the way, we do not need to have a second playing goalkeeper and can also afford to have a bottom-price 14th outfielder. This helps us compress funds and spend more on the pitch rather than distributing the money through the squads.
Also, on this note, I am anticipating that it might be fairly difficult to build a good Bench Boost team in Gameweek 26 because we could have Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea all having Double Gameweeks.
Yes, the budget midfielders and forwards are making life easier right now but Harry Kane (£11.0m) has returned and Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) is already back on the training pitch. It might be very difficult own a lot of these big hitters and have a balanced squad all at the same time.
If you are not Bench Boosting in Gameweek 26, it is possible to have a more appropriate distribution of funds which might allow an additional big hitter or two.
A big worry I have right now is being guilty of short-sightedness. If I Wildcard in Gameweek 25 looking at the Double Gameweek players, I worry about building a new team that is too heavily focused on the doubles and the Bench Boost.
This is a real concern and we definitely need to pay attention to the fixtures after the next Double Gameweeks when putting together a new squad for the rest of the campaign.
It is very important to not have a blindspot just for the Double Gameweeks and build a mid-term team with good fixtures in the future.
This is one of the advantages of Wildcarding after Gameweek 26 as there will be a balanced focus towards the good players and teams rather than just the Double Gameweek players.
Being able to assess the impact of European football returning is also a big advantage in terms of Wildcarding later. There are Champions League and Europa League games coming for a lot of important Premier League clubs and I am wondering whether we spot certain trends in the European games which might help our Fantasy squads… and a later Wildcard.
Something as simple as Pep Guardiola preferring certain centre-backs in Europe to others in the league could potentially impact which players we choose for a Wildcard or Bench Boost squad.
THE RIGHT MOTIVATION
Another factor I worry about is motivation and certain teams visiting the beach way sooner than expected. In my opinion, the league is most certainly going to be won by Manchester City and we could have a season where the relegation race might be decided a lot earlier than normal. Again, this could lead to certain team selection and form trends which might be more visible a little later in the season.
One thing that you could do to safeguard yourself against this is that the race for the top four as well as European places looks like it could go deep into the season. Teams vying for these spots will continue to be motivated right until the end of the season and it might be worth investing in them if Wildcarding early.
THE FREE HIT
One of the reasons I’m not worried about the Wildcard in Gameweek 25 and Bench Boost in Gameweek 26 is that I don’t need to consider the Blanks in Gameweek 29 at all (because I have a Free Hit Chip still to use).
This might not be the case for a lot of managers who might need to keep an eye on the Gameweek 29 fixtures and maintain a balance between them and Double Gameweekers in Gameweek 26. This is why a lot of managers are considering a Bench Boost even in Gameweek 24 and then Wildcarding in Gameweek 26 where the bench is focused towards those playing in Gameweek 29.
An alternate option is to dead-end into Gameweek 29 by focusing transfers between Gameweek 26 and 29 towards the Blank Gameweeks and eventually use the Wildcard chip in Gameweek 30 with a focused view on the last eight fixtures where the factors state above can be taken advantage of.
One thing I want to mention, if you have already used your Wildcard or if you are playing your Wildcard after the Double Gameweeks, is do not take a lot of hits and maximise on all the Double Gameweeks.
That might not be possible, I appreciate. You will need to pick and choose the Double Gameweek fixtures you want to attack and compromising on one might mean being able to jump in on another.
For example, Burnley are not a team renowned for their attack and it might even be a good idea to jump on a Danny Ings (£8.4m) who has a decent looking fixture against Wolves in Gameweek 24 before his Double Gameweek in 25.
Point being, you need to pick the teams and Doubles you want to target if you’re keeping the Wildcard in the pocket for later. I particularly mention Ings here because, to me, he looked really sharp against Newcastle and got a lot of shots off which hasn’t been the case with him normally.
A lot of the Southampton first-team players are coming back as well which makes investment in them a lot more attractive.
When it comes to the Chip Strategy and use of the second Wildcard, a lot depends on your own team and how the fixtures look in Gameweek 26 and onwards once the FA Cup results are in.
I am writing this article before all the latest FA cup games have been played and I’m patiently waiting for the chips to fall into place.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as I tried loud thinking and noting all the factors you should consider before deploying your chips. Do let me know in the comments section how you find this article and if I missed out on any factors I should consider. If you want to know more, we will be recording the next episode of The FPL Wire on Thursday evening.