Here’s Rob Reid with his fantasy premier league wildcard tips GW23 article where he talks through his decision and reasoning in activating his 2nd wildcard. Rob has finished 3 of the last 4 seasons in the top 0.5% of FPL managers.
fantasy premier league wildcard tips GW23 – Rob Reid talks through his decision to activate his wildcard
In a change to my usual strategy and after much consideration over the last couple of days I’ve decided to activate my Wildcard for GW23. This probably comes as a big surprise to many (I know FFG and a couple of my fellow contributors certainly weren’t expecting it) but there are many reasons why I think it suits me which I’ll go through in this ‘Why Wildcard?’ article. I hope you enjoy it.
Why Wildcard? You’ve Gone Mad!
Once again, I’ll start out with a little disclaimer here. My preferred option would have been not to Wildcard! If my team was inside the top 150k, if I had a higher OTV and I didn’t have a collection of injuries and cheap players who are simply passengers then I would be holding my Wildcard to help me deal with the fixture chaos that happens towards the end of the season (more on that in a bit.)
Sadly however I’m not in this position. I have a disastrous Overall Rank of 906k (100-odd points off the top 100k) I have a lot of problem players in my team, I’m missing core players who are in form, my OTV is fairly average at 102.9m and my team has been in free-fall over the last few weeks. I’m also well out of contention in my mini-leagues and to be honest and most importantly, I’m not enjoying the game with my current squad. To quote the old Jackson Browne song, I’ve been ‘Running on Empty’ for a little while now. It’s time for a change.
I’ll remind you of my team again at the end of GW22:
So I’ve got Kane injured (likely for a month), passenger players in Patricio, Pereyra, Kamara, Diop and Masuaku, no Mo Salah and no City coverage. Not a pretty sight really. To compound this, I moved early at the weekend to bring Salah back, with TAA coming in – always a risk I know. And guess what? he’s now injured as well! So I’m sitting on a -4 at present and I still have Kane and TAA in my squad! It’s a situation I have to take full responsibility for. Yes, I’ve not been very lucky this season but aside from what I’ve just done, I’ve made a number of progressively bad decisions: a poor first Wildcard, selling Salah just as he came into form, selling Son just as he came into from, not carrying Bournemouth assets earlier in this season, the list goes on.
For me the season is a bit of a lost cause now, and my priority is firstly to try and enjoy the rest of the campaign. I’d also like to try and experiment a little bit with a different strategy. I’ve used the same strategy in the last 3 campaigns, saving my Wildcard for just before the double gameweeks then unleashing it to max out on the Bench Boost chip. It worked brilliantly in 15-16, ok in 16-17 and not so well last season. This season looks a little different though and I think a different strategy could be effective. I also believe it wouldn’t compromise my team too much in the build-up to the doubles (as it did last season) allowing me to make back some ground in GWs 23-30, instead of merely treading water at best, or continuing to free-fall at worst.
The Blank and Double Gameweeks – What’s Different?
You can also see the Geeks blank and double gameweeks article here
In previous seasons, the major blank gameweek has fallen between GW28 & GW31 in conjunction with the FA Cup 1/4 finals. There have also been smaller blank gameweeks that coincide with the League Cup Final (GW26 or 27) and the FA Cup Semis (GW33-35.) The Doubles have then fallen with a few weeks in between. Here are the last 3 seasons for example with the weeks with the most cancelled or extra fixtures in bold:
Blanks – 27,30,35
Doubles – 33,34,37
Blanks – 26,28,34
Doubles – 27,34,36,37
Blanks – 21,31,35
Doubles – 22,34,37
Things are a bit different this season as the scheduling has altered slightly. Without going into too much detail, the likelihood is that it will look something like this:
Blanks – 27, 31, 33
Doubles – 32, 35 + possibly one other unknown (if Man City and Everton make the FA Cup semis for example)
In previous seasons, the preferred strategy would be to use the Free Hit in the biggest Blank gameweek and then play your Wildcard the week prior to the biggest double, then playing Bench Boost in this big double. (Remember you can’t use more than one chip in a gameweek.) This strategy looks impossible this season with the biggest double likely to be GW32, so straight after the biggest blank. It therefore looks like the optimum strategy if you have your Wildcard is to build your team towards either Bench Boost or Triple Captain in GW32. Use the Free Hit in GW31 to navigate the biggest blank then use your Wildcard in either GW33 to navigate the second blank and build for GW35 or in GW34 if you’re able to navigate the blank GW33 on 1ft or a small points hit. You then play your remaining Bench Boost or Triple Captain chip in GW35
A Different Approach
So here’s my alternative plan. I’ll start by navigating the mini-blank caused by The Carabao Cup Final in GW27. There is a small chance the cancelled fixtures may appear in GW25 so I’ll aim to have at least some City and Everton assets for this in case – both have good fixtures in between anyway. I’ll then sell enough of these to make sure I have a full team for GW27 (this looks a good natural exit point for Everton anyway.) I’ll then build my team to navigate the blanks in GW31 and 33, using my Free Hit in GW32 to get 11 double gameweek players and then use my Bench Boost in GW35, using my other transfers (plus possible points hits) to get as many double players in as possible for this. I’ll then use my Triple Captain somewhere else – either in GW25 for example if a mini-double appears there or possibly as a differential in one of the blank gameweeks.
Who’s likely to Blank and Double?
We pretty much have confirmed one blank for GW27 – Everton vs City. This will be joined by either Burnley vs Spurs or Chelsea vs Brighton. The FA Cup has 2 more rounds to go before the 1/4 final fixtures dictate the blanks for GW31. The 4th Round Draw means that there will only be a maxiumum of 10 EPL sides in the last 16 so this could open up more possible fixtures in the blank weeks. There is one confirmed GW31 fixture (Fulham vs Liverpool) with the most likely teams to miss out at the moment looking like Man City, Man United, Everton, Chelsea, Spurs, Palace, Arsenal and Wolves. There is also one confirmed GW33 fixture at this stage – Huddersfield vs Leicester.
Initial Team Thoughts
I’d like to try and reach a compromise between players in form and building for these later weeks. It therefore looks prudent to have 3 Liverpool players (good form and GW31 fixture guaranteed.) I’ll also probably have good coverage from City and United – both also in good form, though I’ll obviously need to bench my City players in GW27 and possibly sell some others before GW31 if they’re still in the cup. Everton also have good fixtures still, but their players would need sold before GW27, with Leicester looking like a team with good like for like swaps.
So my plan now is to look at how I can fit this into my slightly more meagre budget, while still trying to score well over the next few weeks. A busy couple of days tinkering ahead. I hope this has been of interest to you and keep and eye out for my final Wildcard team, which I intend to post on Friday evening. Over and out!
If you want to see how these players performed in GW22 see our underlying stats article for that gameweek. Also there’s the players with the best fixtures upcoming in our fixture ease article. You can also see the most popular transfers so far this week in the bandwagons article
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