Here’s Rob Reid with his take on the FPL double gameweeks and blanks. You may know that Rob has already used his 2nd wildcard so here he talks about his possible strategies for navigating the doubles and the blanks. Rob has finished 3 of the last 4 seasons in the top 0.5% of FPL managers
FPL double gameweeks and blanks – Rob Reid outlines his thoughts on navigating them without a wildcard
Having already used my second Wildcard this season (more by necessity than choice I hasten to add) I’m now starting to take a look at a possible strategy for negotiating the upcoming fixture chaos brought on by the cup competitions. This of course leads to a run of blank and double gameweeks which can be a bit of a feast or a famine. Interestingly last season, my best gameweek score all season was actually in a blank gameweek where I played my Free Hit so it can work both ways.
Geek has already touched on where the double and blank gameweeks are going to fall this season, but just for reference I’ll quickly remind you all again.
GW25 – Double Gameweek (confirmed – Man City and Everton only)
GW27 – Blank Gameweek (confirmed – Man City, Everton, Chelsea, Brighton have no fixture)
GW31 – Blank Gameweek (4 fixtures will definitely be on so far, rest tbc)
GW32 – Double Gameweek
GW33 – Blank Gameweek (4 fixtures will definitely be on so far, rest tbc)
GW35 – Double Gamweek
There is also the possibility of another mini double gameweek or possibly even a triple gameweek somewhere else. This could happen in the eventuality that Chelsea and/possibly or Brighton reach the FA Cup semi-finals. Still with me? Good!
Next up, let’s have a look at who have guaranteed fixtures in the blanks so far.
GW31 – West Ham vs Huddersfield; Bournemouth vs Newcastle; Burnley vs Leicester; Fulham vs Liverpool.
GW33 – Everton vs Arsenal; Bournemouth vs Burnley; Southampton vs Liverpool; Huddersfield vs Leicester.
So the following teams have no blank fixtures:
Bournemouth, Burnley, Huddersfield, Leicester, Liverpool
At this stage, I can see 3 potential strategies for navigating these weeks. This of course is on the basis that you have all your other remaining chips intact. Both focus on playing the Bench Boost in one of the 2 bigger double gameweeks. Note, we will know by GW27 which teams will blank in GW31. What we won’t know is whether the GW31 fixtures will be moved into GW32. As there is an International Break between GW31 and 32, the GW33 cancellations could in theory be moved into GW32 as we will know the these by the end of GW31. Not confusing at all eh?!
Strategy 1 – Bench Boost GW32
This would work as follows:
Build your team towards DGW32 by trying to load up on likely DGW32 players over the next few weeks. Between now and GW32 this will give 7 or 8 transfers depending on how many you carry into GW25.
Possible Triple Captain GW25
Play Free Hit in BGW31 (note you don’t accrue a transfer this week – I figured this into the transfer calculation above)
Bench Boost GW32 (see note 1)
Accept you will probably have a limited GW33 team and use points hits to balance this off within reason (also see note 2 below)
GW34 as normal
GW35 Triple Captain if not used and hopefully have retained as many double players from GW32 as possible (also see note 3)
A couple of notes:
Note 1 – For me I think the aim here for DGW players for the Bench Boost will be as close to 13 as possible. Not ideal, but I suspect most managers will retain at least Salah and possibly one other for this double gameweek. It also looks prudent to me to have 3 Liverpool players for the bulk of this period due to them having no blank fixtures so this does unfortunately limit your Bench Boost peak a little, but also raises you nadir I reckon too.
Note 2 – The FA Cup quarter-final qualifiers are crucial. There are 3 teams still in the FA Cup that are key to this and 3 teams who will become key if these teams stay in. These 3 teams in the FA Cup are: Watford, Wolves and Chelsea. If these 3 all reach the quarters, Everton, Southampton and Arsenal will blank in GW31 but have a GW33 fixture. They will therefore become key teams to navigating this period successfully. If their fixtures are moved from GW31 into GW32 (not a given as stated above) then these 3 teams give you DGW32 and BGW33 players – that’s potentially 9 players towards both these weeks with 2 fixtures.
Note 3 – the only thing that would change me from this would be a Triple Gameweek. Even then, I’m not sure either player would play all 3 games and is there an asset from Chelsea or Brighton who appeals? Hazard would be the obvious one, but his form isn’t great at present and he doesn’t look entirely happy. Triple Captain Mat Ryan anyone?!
Strategy 2 – Bench Boost GW35
Here the strategy is pretty much entirely focused on the FA Cup semi-finalists. If 4 EPL teams make the semis (again not a given by any means) you then have 12 players from these who will definitely double in GW32 and 35. The problem with this strategy is less predictability and the 2 blanks. You can use the Free Hit for one of them, but then you’ll be very short in the other. The best option would probably be to partially build your team for the GW31 Blank using 3 Liverpool players as the base again and use some points hits and a Free Hit in GW33 to get close to a full Bench Boost in GW35 while fielding a full team in GW33. Note this gives 8 or 9 transfers pre-GW32, then another 2 before GW35 (as you won’t accrue one for your Free Hit in GW33.) So the plan would be:
GW25 Triple Captain (see Note 1 below)
GW31 Bench 4 DGW35 players, field as close to 11 as you can (including your 3 Liverpools)
GW32 Sell SGW players for FA Cup semi-finalists (see note 2)
GW33 Free Hit
GW34 & 35 buy as many DGW players as possible to get close to 15 for your BB using hits if necessary (see Note 3)
A couple of notes:
Note 1 – Again, you could gamble on there being a Triple gameweek or another mini-double. Or use Liverpool vs Huddersfield in GW36 in the single as a fall-back
Note 2 – if you’ve fielded a full 11 in GW31 a -12 will give you 8 DGWs total this week if you’re brave.
Note 3 – Remember, any double gameweek players in GW32 that are in the FA Cup semi-finals will also have a double in GW35 so 2 transfers + 8 DGWs retained from GW32 for example gives you 10 DGW players + Salah + four other SGW players.
Strategy 3 – Bench Boost GW35 variation
This is a variation on Strategy 2 where the Free Hit is used for the double rather than a blank. The plus for this is it means you will definitely get 11 DGW players (if you want them for GW32.) The downside is that you’ll compromise your Bench Boost for GW35 as you won’t have as many double players here unless you take a lot of hits. You can basically carry 4 (including a keeper) on the bench through GW31 and 33 then will have 3 free transfers between GW33 and 35 if you carry your GW33 transfer over. So the plan would be:
GW25 – Triple captain (same caveat on this as Strategy 2)
GW31 – Field 11 with 4 DGWs on bench
GW32 – Free Hit for 11 DGWs or 10 DGWs + Salah?
GW33 – Field 11 with 4 DGWs on bench
GW35 – Bench Boost (see Note 1 below)
Note 1 – a -4 in GW34 and 35 would give you 9 DGWs for your Bench Boost here. Not ideal, but Liverpool and Bournemouth do have decent fixtures this week and you’ll carry players from these teams through the blanks.
At present, I’m predominantly thinking about GW25 but I’m keen to try and carry transfers over where possible. I’m on 3 double gameweek players for DGW25 at present and I’ll need to use 1 transfer this week, which will probably be to sell Digne. The only question is whether I trade him for another DGW player or start to look a bit further forward.
There are flaws in all these strategies and to me the major disadvantage versus those holding their wildcard is around GW34 and 35, where Wildcard holders will simply player their WC in GW34 to max out on Bench Boost for GW35. They will still have the same dilemmas around GW31-33 though so we’re even here in my opinion, especially with so many Premier League teams having been knocked out the FA Cup (that has definitely worked in the non-Wildcard holding managers favour.)
It will hinge on the FA Cup quarter-finalists for me, and if I can see an obvious path from GW32 to 33 the I’ll probably go Strategy 1. So for me, I’d need at least 2 of Wolves, Watford and Chelsea to make the quarters in that case. We’ll see, but I’ll probably make no firm decision before GW27 and will be carrying transfers wherever possible in between.
I hope this all makes sense and I’ll keep you updated on what I do!
See also our 10 top FPL managers article
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