Fantasy Premier League has a massive ten days on the horizon with the ‘blank’ gameweek 18 and the double gameweek 19 getting underway.
There will be just six matches in GW18 and a mammoth 16 in GW19, meaning preparation for these two sets of fixtures is absolutely key. You do not want to be going into them blind.
However, this is not a normal season so it has to be approached slightly different than we would have in previous years.
In this FPL column we are going to outline some of the pitfalls you need to avoid as well as how to use the all-important chips across the two gameweeks.
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Fantasy Premier League tips for GW18 and GW19:
Hold off on confirming transfers for as long as possible
This might seem like plainly obvious advice to be giving, but so many FPL managers are still making knee jerk reactions after games and swapping players well ahead of the next gameweek’s deadline.
Ahead of GW17, there were a lot of managers transferring in Burnley’s Matt Lowton ahead of their match with Fulham, ignoring the fact that the Cottagers were awaiting further test results after some of their squad contracted coronavirus. Those managers were badly burned when those tests came back with more positives, resulting in a postponement.
The number of Covid-19 positives is only increasing, too. Aston Villa had to field a team of youth players in place of their senior squad, which has been hit with a coronavirus outbreak. Their game with Tottenham Hotspur is in doubt.
Be smart and be patient when it comes to making transfers, because in these uncertain times reckless and rash moves can hurt your score big time. Make sure to follow updates of every team and avoid players from clubs at risk.
Don’t activate chips frivolously
In the same vein, don’t activate chips willy nilly – you might need them later in the season for future DGWs and further postponements down the line.
One of the most important reasons to keep this in mind is because there is always the possibility of the season being suspended, or even cancelled, at a moment’s notice just like it was last year.
If, let’s say, you had activated your chip that same week, then that chip is gone forever and it’s not coming back. As the head honchos at Fantasy Premier League clarified last March, there will not be replacement chips made available in such a scenario.
Transfers, Wildcards & Chips
⬛ Managers must also be aware that any transfers made, Wildcards or chips played in a Gameweek where all the fixtures are postponed will not be reinstated
⬛ For managers who took a point hit for transfers, their GW scores will reflect points lost
— Fantasy Premier League (@OfficialFPL) March 13, 2020
The latest round of coronavirus testing returned 18 positive tests, the highest return in a single round since the league began testing, and with the ever increasing rate of infection in the UK right now, do not rule out the possibility of the Premier League imposing a circuit breaker that would put the season on pause.
Don’t captain and vice captain two players from the same team
At the risk of stating the obvious again, it’s imperative do not pick two players from the same team for captaincy and vice-captaincy. If their team is involved in a match that is postponed, then you are left completely snookered with no captain at all for that week. Leaving yourself open to such a scenario is just asking for your overall rank to take a tanking.
Be wary of tripling up on any team
This is extremely rich of me to say considering I just bought three players from Manchester City, a team that had to postpone a game this month because of Covid-19 positives. But beware of tripling up on any single team, because that could bite you on the backside should they or their opponents not be able to field a full team.
Which chips to use in GW18 and GW19
Okay, now it’s time to get down to brass tacks. The chips are a massive part of the game every season which can either make or break your campaign. Using them effectively, and strategically, can result in a huge increase in rank for your team.
Some of you may have already used a chip by now or currently have one activated, but the majority of managers will have one of these available to them: Wildcard, Triple Captain, Bench Boost and Free Hit.
So which ones to use and when to use them? The Wildcard could be useful this week, but we recommend keeping that for down the line. It’s always best to use the Triple Captain chip during a DGW, but there’s no standout candidate in GW19.
The two best options for these two gameweeks are: Free Hit and Bench Boost. One of the most popular strategies is to use the Free Hit in GW18, before activating the Bench Boost in GW19.
This is a sound plan of action; it allows you to field an entire team when several key players will blank, before returning to normal automatically so you can use all 15 members of your squad to make the most of those playing twice.
This works most effectively if you have filled your team with players who are indeed playing twice in GW19. My original plan was to use the two chips consecutively, but I wasn’t happy with the state of my bench, so I’ve taken another route: spent the last few weeks buying GW18 players so I can field an entire XI, before using the Free Hit in GW19.
This means I can pick and choose what players I like for the DGW based on form and availability without having to worry about the future implications on my team. It truly is a wonderful chip.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using chips, though:
- You can’t activate two chips in the same gameweek
- You can’t carry over transfers when using the Free Hit chip
These are two of most common questions that arise when it comes to using the chips, and it’s important info to know before you hit that button.