Learn to choose your battles. Battles not fought are not lost; simply battles not worth fighting for.
Chips are on the minds of a lot of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers. No, I’m not talking about the ones where just one is not enough (clearly FPL has adopted this line of thinking after their Christmas gift) but the ones that could potentially lead to big gains in FPL if lethally deployed.
When I’m looking around, I’ve seen a lot of FPL managers play their chips simply because of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) or because they are presuming their better opportunities will not arrive in the future. Within this article, I aim to cast an eye on what opportunities might arrive in the future and what factors you should think about while deploying your chips. I just want to reiterate at this point that what you should do with the chips is fully dependant on your team. I just want to give more FPL food to chew upon. That’s about it. At this point, I want to just take this opportunity to thank Legomane, Ben Crellin, Talha Nadeem, Planet FPL, Pras and Sonaldo who have been doing excellent work on this topic and serve as the basis of my research.
First off, let’s quickly look again at Double Gameweek 22.
As I already cited in my article last week, no team has a standout pair of Double Gameweek 22 matches on paper with the exception of Watford. In addition, popularly owned ‘single’ Gameweekers like Liverpool, West Ham United and Everton have good fixtures on paper and there is a strong chance you could miss out on some hauls if you Free Hit these players out. There has been enough conversation around Gameweek 22 so I am not going to dwell further on it. Let’s look ahead at potential future opportunities and factors to consider.
Blank Gameweek 27
The Carabao Cup has now concluded there are two games that are going to be postponed because of it:
- Arsenal vs Liverpool
- Chelsea vs Leicester City
At this point, I would like to thank regular FFScout contributor Legomane for the planning charts he makes available for us, which help visualise the free midweeks and what is scheduled for the team in play.
There is a chance that Liverpool could have a Double Gameweek 26 (which I will touch upon later). Also, these four teams are not guaranteed to blank in Gameweek 27; one of their outstanding fixtures could potentially be moved to the midweek of Gameweek 27, although that would require them and their opponents not to reach the FA Cup fifth round.
For the purposes of this piece, let’s assume that these four teams blank in Gameweek 27. The ownership from these four, especially Liverpool, is considerably high, which does tell me that there is a potential opportunity to play a Free Hit chip in this week. There are some good targetable fixtures in Gameweek 27 with your Free Hit, too, in my opinion. I’ll just list them down here:
- Everton vs Manchester City
- Manchester United vs Watford
- Crystal Palace vs Burnley
- Southampton vs Norwich
Blank Gameweek 30
As we can see above, Gameweek 30 is where the FA Cup quarter-finals take place, meaning that a lot of teams should blank. At the moment, we have one confirmed fixture in Gameweek 30 and that is Aston Villa vs Arsenal. This confirmed fixture is also quite important to note, as you can have an overview of things and a little bit of shrewdness with transfers can go a long way.
Given the way the FA Cup draw has fallen so far, we could potentially see a considerable number of teams blanking in Gameweek 30. So the Free Hit chip could be handy to tackle this Blank Gameweek if your team is hit hard by postponements.
Why I mention Arsenal and Aston Villa here is that we know for sure that they have a fixture in Gameweek 30 and both teams have good fixtures (and a potential double or triple for Aston Villa) in the weeks beforehand, which is something to keep in mind before selling players from these teams. It could potentially lead to you dead-ending your team in Gameweek 30 instead of deploying the Free Hit chip that week and then using the Wildcard in Gameweek 31.
Again, there is no straightforward chip strategy that I’m aiming to bring to light with this article. These are simply factors to consider and think about when planning when to deploy your chips. Like I mentioned at the top of the article, there will be many battles to fight until Gameweek 38 and you can avoid ‘FOMO’ by picking and choosing your battles wisely. For example, I am loosely thinking about holding onto Aaron Ramsdale (£5.1m) and Bukayo Saka (£6.4m) with the view of maybe saving a Free Hit for Gameweek 30. Aston Villa are also something to think about.
Potential Double or Triple Gameweek 23
There could be a Double or Triple Gameweek 23, with the potential for games to be scheduled during the FA Cup fourth round or during the international break.
There are free TV slots on Saturday at 5.30pm and Sunday at 2pm in the first weekend of February, which could signal a Double Gameweek (likely for Aston Villa and one of Burnley or Leeds United) – although it’s worth noting that there is a big England rugby game at 5pm on that Saturday.
Additionally, as per The Athletic, Premier League teams could schedule games during the winter break but you would think that this break is for international teams outside of Europe that have matches. Teams with important players from South America (for example) might have a problem with their blanks getting scheduled here.
This is just speculation, of course. But Aston Villa definitely have a game in Gameweek 30 and these are their fixtures in the mid-term.
They have home games against Leeds United, Watford and Southampton and an away trip to Newcastle United in the mid-term. This makes me think that instead of using Free Hit on their assets in Gameweek 23, I’d much rather spend points, take some hits and buy their players because they have good mid-term fixtures and a confirmed match in Gameweek 30 which might help me save a Free Hit there as well. Again these are just food-for-thought musings from my end and you can choose to do what you want with this information.
Potential Liverpool Double Gameweek 26
As we can see in Legomane’s chart above (click to expand), Liverpool have a free midweek in Gameweek 26 in which they play Norwich at home. They also have a home game against Leeds United still to be scheduled and if it falls in Gameweek 26, I don’t think there is ever going to be a better opportunity to deploy the Triple Captain chip with Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) facing Norwich City and Leeds United at home. The one caveat is that Liverpool are likely to blank in Gameweek 27.
Situation after Gameweek 30
At this point, without going into too much detail, I just want to touch upon what happens after Gameweek 30.
Gameweek 33 is where the FA Cup semi-finals take place. The midweek after this is free, giving potential for a large Double Gameweek. Also, teams that are in the FA Cup semi-final could either blank or have their one Gameweek 33 fixture pushed to midweek. So Gameweek 33 is one where some teams could double, some would have a single match and some could have none. A good week for chip deployment, primarily your Free Hit, Bench Boost or maybe Triple Captain.
Similarly, the midweeks after Gameweek 36 and Gameweek 37 are also free and traditionally the former is a big Double Gameweek where a lot of managers look to Bench Boost. You can even think about using your Free Hit chip here should you wish to.
I don’t want to delve too much into post-Gameweek 30 but hopefully this helps you with some planning and primarily your decision with what to do in Gameweek 22. I quickly want to say thanks to Pras and Zophar for skimming through this article. The point I really wanted to make is there will be many opportunities to be aggressive during this season and it won’t be possible to do so all the time. Pick your battles based on your team and based on potential upside.
If you want to know more, you can view our latest episode of The FPL Wire below:
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