Here’s Andrew Whitfield with his FPL blank gameweeks and double gameweeks article. He outlines his strategy to deal with the newly announced blank GW18 and double GW19.
FPL blank gameweeks and double gameweeks – Andrew Whitfield outlines his strategy for BGW18 and DGW19
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Hi everyone !!
You can see Geeks introductory article to blank GW18 and double GW19 plus the further prospects over the season here. It’s good background reading for this article
You may or may not be aware, that the Premier League have this week announced a change to the original fixtures, to accommodate the January tv schedule. The purpose of this article is to try and set out the key changes and what it means for our FPL teams, and to provide some guidance on how we may plan ahead to tackle this and put ourselves in a strong position against our mini league rivals !!
It’s important to state that the vast majority of FPL managers, will probably not be aware of any of this until they wake up to find they only have five players in their team in GW18 !! By planning ahead, we can get ahead of the curve.
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So what fixtures have changed ?
Originally, we had 10 games scheduled for GW18 and 10 games scheduled for GW19, as you would expect. We have known right from week one that these would “split”, but until this week, we didn’t know how.
Essentially, instead of 10 in GW18 and 10 in GW19, we now have FIVE in GW18 and FIFTEEN in GW19. So instead of a 10–10 split, it’s now 5-15 !! This means we now have a “big blank gameweek” and a “big double gameweek “. Some teams will have no game at all in GW18 but play twice in GW19.
Which teams are affected ?
There are now only FIVE games left in GW18 which are as follows…
Man City v Brighton
Spurs v Aston Villa
Arsenal v Palace
Newcastle v Sheff Utd
Everton v Wolves
All the other ten teams have no game in GW18. Most FPL managers will only have 5-6 players in their team with a fixture , which would be a bit of a blow if you tried to put a team out that week !!
There are therefore 15 games in GW19, with ten teams playing twice. So 10 teams simply play one match in each week as normal, but the other 10 teams have no game in the first week but two in the second week instead.
Which teams have a “double gameweek “ ?
I have tried to rank these in an order of which teams appear to have the best double gameweek in GW19 with two favourable fixtures. This means we can target getting players from these teams in GW19 to maximise our chances of big returns.
West Ham – BUR WBA
Leeds – BRI SOU
Liverpool – MANU BUR
Chelsea – ful leic
Southtn – lei leeds
Leicester – SOU CHEL
WBA – wolves, w’ham
Man Utd – liv ful
Burnley – w’ham liv
Fulham – CHEL MANU
So you can see that teams like West Ham, Leeds etc can be very attractive to us in planning our GW19 teams.
So how can we best prepare ?
The best way is to use our “chips” that we are provided with.
A “free hit” allows us to select a “one week only” team, which is ideal for GW18 when we might otherwise have only 5 or 6 players. We could of course use this in GW19 instead to select a team of players who all play twice.
The “bench boost” can also be useful to us as we can have a full bench of four players all playing twice and get an extra eight games counting on top of our usual 11 players.
You may fancy throwing a “triple captain “ chip at GW19 if you have a captain who can score you points over two games instead of one.
All these chips are powerful weapons and the biggest mistake some FPL managers make is to waste them when they can be significantly more advantageous in a blank or double week. Why play free hit in a “normal “ week and then leave yourself a blank week with no players, or play bench boost when your bench plays only once instead of twice, or triple your captain when he only plays 90 mins instead of 180 ?
So what are my plans ?
It very much depends on your own circumstances and how your own players fit with the fixtures. There are two trains of thought.
You may have plenty of players available for GW18 and so want to add to these over the next few weeks and then free hit in GW19 to maximise your “doublers “ with two games, saving your bench boost for a later double gameweek.. or you may have very few players in GW18 so want to free hit in GW18, and build your GW19 team gradually to have a team of doublers and then bench boost in GW19.
If you are going to bench boost in double gameweek 19, you need a strong bench with all four players starting, including your second keeper, preferably with most if not all playing twice. If it’s going to be too difficult to get your bench up to scratch, then you might want to defer your bench boost until later in the season as you won’t get full advantage.
I have been thinking about GW18/19 for a few weeks. We knew it was coming. We just didn’t know which teams would have the blanks and doubles, until this week. So I have been strengthening my bench, partly for cover against rotation through the busy schedule ahead. But partly with one eye on GW18/19
Let’s look at my team as an example:
You can see that I only have FIVE players in GW18. It’s therefore good for me to free hit in GW18. I don’t have to think about GW18 then. If you look at the five remaining fixtures in GW18, I can free hit a team with triple Man City v Brighton, maybe triple Spurs too, throw in some Villa, Everton, Wolves etc and have a good looking team, at a time when many players will have only 5/6 players and no free hit. I don’t have to worry about building my GW18 team up for the blank as I can play Free hit.
But my team already contains NINE players with a double gameweek. That’s fortunate, but then again, I have been strengthening my bench with this in mind. I can spend the next six gameweeks just adding extra double gameweek players so I am well set up and then bench boost . You will notice that I already have four double gameweek players on my bench who start every week. I only need to add a 2nd playing keeper and I then have a full playing bench, all with two games !! That’s already looking great for a bench boost !!
If we also bear in mind that Aston Villa are two games behind and have two double gameweeks still to come, I also have another two players with a double to fit in. Man City and Man Utd have a double to come too from missing the opening day. It’s possible they could even be thrown into the GW18/19 mix.
It’s very important to NOT just fill your whole 15 squad with 15 doublers. Firstly, if you are taking great single game players out over the next six weeks, you are denying yourself players from Man City, Spurs etc. You are then also stuck with double gameweek players afterwards that you may not want.. single game players can still score highly in a double gameweek. For me, I don’t want 15 doublers in GW19, I am happy with four on my bench all playing twice, and maybe 11/15 doublers in total. I already have nine already !!
I can still keep 4 single game players, and my 11 doublers, with a bench boost, mean I effectively get 26 players in GW19 !!
So for me, the fixtures have dropped well. I need to make very little planning to my team over the next six weeks, I can free hit GW18 and as long as I keep in mind concentrating my transfers on double gameweek players I want to keep beyond GW19, and not bring in too many single game players, I am fine. I already have 9 doublers already and I probably only need a couple more and a 2nd keeper. It’s going to need very little preparation.
Even if you only currently have say six doublers, you have six weeks to get that up to 11/12 which is more than enough time !!
I have heard people say they can’t get the likes of Son and Kane for their great upcoming fixtures, or Man City players, as they won’t “double” but I really don’t mind having 4 essential single game players as long as they have good fixtures and I want to keep them. You can still have Harry Kane. You don’t need 15 doublers.
What about wildcards ?
If you still have your first wildcard left, it’s easy. You don’t have to think about planning ahead. You can Wildcard at the last opportunity in GW16. Bear in mind you only have TWO days between GW16 and GW17 and it’s over the Christmas holidays !!! Those holding the first wildcard were hoping we wouldn’t get the fixtures this soon so they could gain more advantage. As it’s worked out, I don’t feel the GW16 wildcarders have gained any edge at all on most players.
What about throwing your SECOND wildcard at GW18/19 ?? You can still free hit GW18 and wildcard GW17 at the first opportunity to set yourself up for GW19 and bring in plenty of doublers instead of having to do all this planning and messing about in the next six weeks. That’s true. BUT, if you use your second wildcard up straight away, it means you won’t have it for more double gameweeks that are going to crop up later in the season and that’s going to put you at a big disadvantage when your rivals can navigate them with a wikdcard and you don’t have yours !!
Your second wildcard will be far more valuable later in the season, than using it straight away, especially as we have plenty of opportunity to plan for GW18/19 and preserve the 2nd wildcard for later when we really need it.
What if I have no free hit ?
If you have no free hit available, it’s going to be very difficult to navigate between the blank week and the double week, as whatever you do will in one will be counter productive to the other. That’s how valuable the free hit is and why it’s crucial to save it for times like this.
What you could do is plan to build your team over the next few weeks to have a full team or close to it for blank GW18. Then you can Wildcard straight out of it in GW19 to get in plenty of double gameweek players who have two games in GW19. I wouldn’t advocate using your 2nd wildcard for 18/19 as it’s more valuable later in the season, but it’s a solution here to greatly help you. Losing the 2nd wildcard early is a price you have to pay for having used your free hit already.
The FA Cup will throw the biggest spanner in the works. I have been looking at his this will impact.
Round 3 – Sat 9 January
Round 4 – Sat 23 January
Round 5 – Wed 10 February
All the above rounds have no clash with the Premier games and there are no replays.
The quarter finals on Saturday 20 March DOES clash with games and has no spare midweek to follow it to receive displaced games. Same for the Semi finals on Saturday 17 April. So we WILL get postponements caused by the FA Cup, as well as the League cup final. Typically, the biggest blank and double comes from the quarters. Usually it’s 4-6 games displaced.
Again Geeks introductory article gives more detail on dates etc
That reinforces that we will really value our 2nd wildcard to navigate the FA cup rescheduling. So it’s not wise to “blow it” straight away in GW17 when with careful planning, we really don’t need it then. It will be required to help us navigate future blanks and doubles. I would strongly advise SAVING it and not using it in GW17.
It’s widely expected that we could get the biggest double gameweek in GW19 and that’s where the biggest bench boost opportunity will lie. We could get a decent double gameweek later in the season but we don’t know how many games . It’s an unknown at this stage, whereas GW19 has 10 teams known to have doubles.
We can still play the second wildcard ahead of the biggest FA cup double gameweek, and full up with doubles, but it’s my view that the biggest bench boost opportunity lies in GW19.
There doesn’t appear to be any stand out triple captain opportunities in GW19, so I will be looking to play triple captain in a later double.
So my chip strategy :
It really does depend on how your team is set up. Your team may be better set up to build for GW18 and free hit GW19 and then play your bench boost later in the season. Personally I think the better bench boost lies in GW19. So here is my plan.
– Build my team over the next six weeks to have 11 doublers by GW19, including a full bench all with two fixtures.
– Free hit GW18
– Bench boost GW19
– 2nd wildcard and triple captain around later double gameweeks.
Finally, it’s important that we see this not as a headache, but a fantastic opportunity to plan ahead and gain a big competitive advantage over your rivals !!!
Happy tinkering 😝