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“FPL addict and podcaster from the Great White North. Third year playing, with ranks of 43k, 10.8k and currently 24k. I co-host a weekly FPL Pod with my English mate across the pond called What The FPL and your readers can listen at soundcloud.com/wt-fpl and itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/wha…“.
This week we will be discussing our Chip Strategies, GW31, Maddison v Anderson and Newcastle’s FPL value.
Thanks to all those people that sent in their questions to us, we have picked out the most popular ones that have been asked. Like always if you enjoy the content, please give our Twitter account a follow along with our FPL guests this week.
“What is your current chip strategy?”
I’m fortunate enough to have all four chips left, really strong team value (TV) and 2FTs for 27, making 6 FTS in total before BGW31. But, I only have four BGW31 players at the moment and two of them are Toffees (Digne & Rich), who I badly wanted to dump over the next 1-2 weeks. So I’m standing squarely at a crossroads at the moment, and the path I choose will likely define the rest of my season (like many). Here are the two mindsets I am in right now:
Option 1: FH32/WC34/BB35/ TC 36-38 – the “popular” path by many could work for me if I commit before the GW27 deadline. I could end up with 10 BGW31 players with no hits, fielding BGW31 and 33 teams and the strongest XI for DGW32 I want.
With the WC I could shape my team for the second double and also have that triple captain chip to deploy near the end. But … I’d likely ravage my TV dropping long-serving stalwarts like Jimmy, Doherty, Rash, Pogba and more to get there while also having to ignore in-form blankers from 27-30 like Aguero, Auba and Sterling.
Option 2: FH31/BB32/WC34/TC35 – in this scenario I could build towards a strong XV for DGW32 while also rolling with the big boys for 27-30, completely ignoring the blankers until 31, when I would create the strongest XI possible (Triple Pool/Triple Chelsea). DGW32 would be free to use the BB, where I would then have a few more players (and several more fixtures) to draw from, hopefully giving me a sizable advantage over those just using their FH.
I would then need transfers and hits to transition from 32 to 33 and would likely not have a full XI but this route buys me some time to see where those fixtures land. I could still WC in 34 and then have DGW35 to TC or I could even delay my WC until later if my DGW35 team looked good. Team Value is retained.
At this point I’m leaning Option 2, as I think the combination of having in-form blankers from 27-30 + the freedom to use BB in DGW32 + retaining my TV all outweigh the issues I’ll have with BGW33. But … I probably won’t fully commit until the GW27 deadline. It’s going to be spreadsheets, research and crowd sourcing on FPL Twitter for the next few days, all to the detriment of family, friends and my job. What could go wrong?!
Emphasis on “current”. Things could – and likely might – change. We’ve already used our second Wildcard and the Triple Captain chip (which paid off wonderfully, so we’re hoping our remaining chips follow suit). That leaves us with the Free Hit and Bench Boost chips available. To set things up, let’s look at what we’re dealing with:
- GW31 is a Blank for 10 PL teams due to 5 of them being in the FA Cup quarterfinals. All 10 teams are Brighton, Cardiff, Man U, Man City, Spurs, Palace, Watford, Southampton, Wolves and Arsenal.
- GW32 is a Double. The matches are not yet determined.
- GW33 is another Blank due to the FA Cup semifinals. While the exact teams are TBD, since Wolves play Man U in the Cup, we do know that the PL version of this game that same week will not be played because one of these two teams will make it to the semis. We do also know that since Watford and Palace play each other in the quarters, one of them will make it to the semis. So one blank will be either Watford-Fulham or Newcastle-Palace.
- GW35 also looks to be a Double. No matches yet announced here either.
There are a lot of moving pieces to say the least. The way we see it, there are a couple main plans in mind:
1. Use weekly Free Transfers to get situated for BGW31 —> Play Bench Boost in DGW32 (or possibly DGW35) —> Play Free Hit in BGW33
2. Use Free Transfers to prepare for DGW32 —> Use Free Hit in BG31 —> Bench Boost in DGW35.
If we had our Triple Captain chip, we would most likely use it in DGW32 or DGW35, depending on which teams double up in those weeks and which captain options are available. We think the best thing to do between now and BGW31 is to use Free Transfers wisely to build a team that’ll set us up well for the final 7/8 games of the season. A lot of ground can be gained (or lost) in that home stretch. This is especially important for managers that have already exhausted most or all of their chips.
It’s worth mentioning that the chip strategies that are circulating all have compelling arguments to use them. If managers want additional information and help, then don’t hesitate to contact us on Twitter.
For my team, I am planning on using the free transfers to build a suitable team for GW31, holding the players that I deem valuable. I will then be using the free hit chip in GW32, wildcard GW34 and bench boost GW35. That is just a brief overview of my chip strategy, I have discussed this in more detail in my latest article.
“How many players is enough to not have to free hit in GW31?”
I think that depends on your FOMO tolerance and who you’re targeting. Last year I had 7-8 players and captained Mo Salah like everyone else. Those with full XIs were posting scores 15-20pts higher than me but I more then made that difference up using the FH later on (between the doubles). I would say if you can get to 8 players and have the bulk of the most-owned guys (Salah, Hazard, Mane, Robertson, Luiz) you’ll be fine. We’ll all be captaining Mo again right? RIGHT?!
This is a really good question that we’ve been pondering quite a bit lately. Part of it depends on whether a manager has a Wildcard left to play. But for this, let’s assume it’s not an option. In that case, we’d be comfortable with 8 players (maybe 7) playing in BGW31.
Of course, this is contingent on those 7 or 8 players themselves. We’d hope for the majority – if not all – of those players to have favorable fixtures and expected to earn a healthy amount of FPL points. We’d pay special attention to Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea players. While it seems counterintuitive, playing with less than a full starting XI isn’t a terrible thing, especially if chips are limited or altogether gone.
The Chelsea result in the FA cup has really helped managers in preparing for the blank GW31. The current ownership of Chelsea and Everton players could prove to be a lifeline for those who were originally struggling, although this may mean holding onto the infuriating Richarlison and Digne!
I believe that managers have enough time, with correct planning, to field a strong enough team by GW31. The fixtures aren’t the most attractive, therefore I feel anything around 8 or more players is a suitable number. Obviously, if you have somehow got to GW31 with 3 or 4 players, then the free hit should be used!
However, there are plenty of chip strategies that suggest using the free hit in GW31 is the best move, even with suitable number of players. It should all be in relation to your team and strategy!
“If you were to free hit in GW31, what would that team look like?”
Robertson (ful) / Luiz (eve) / Pereira (bur)
Salah (ful) / Mane (ful) / Hazard (eve) / Fanderson (HUD)
Higuain (eve) / Arnie (HUD) / Wilson (NEW)
SUBS: Heaton (LEI) / Tark (LEI) / Ake (NEW) / Fraser (NEW)
For us, we would focus exclusively on the starting XI (maybe just fairly good option on the bench just in case we need a sub). Team would be: Alisson, Chilwell, Luiz, Pereira, Salah, Mane, Hazard, Fraser, Vardy, Higuain, and Wilson, with Anderson on the bench.
If I was to free hit in GW31, then I believe my team would look something like this:
Obviously a lot can change in this time period, but you would like to think that Chelsea would be in a better position than their current form. Therefore, I think a triple up of Liverpool and Chelsea would be the best play.
The fixtures for Bournemouth turn, and if Wilson returns from injury I believe that he will be a great option in this gameweek. The same applies for Brooks, at his price range he provides a great budget option that frees up funds in other areas. I will be interested to keep an eye on Arnautovic in the coming weeks to see if he stays injury free and regains some form. He could be a great option going into the business end of the season.
“Maddison or Anderson in the run up to blank GW31? Is there another option?”
I like to look behind two weeks and ahead 4 weeks when comparing two players. The last two matches point to Felipe, who led Maddison in touches, passes received, bps and goal involvement, all while playing almost 30 minutes more. Felipe is locked in for 90s while Maddison has only played the full match once since GW23. The Foxes are coming off a thrashing at Wembley while the Hammers plaid to a tight draw at Selhurst.
Both teams have great fixtures ahead although West Ham do travel to City in GW28 while Leicester don’t face another Top 4 team until GW36! The safer route is Felipe, who I think is on the verge of another string of returns, with Arnie back in tow. A maverick move would be Madisson, who I owned earlier in the season and really enjoyed. If he can put a string of 90s together I think he’ll profit and at over 10% less ownership then Felipe, could be a nice differential to own.
At that price range those are far and away the two best options. But there’s one more name I’d be looking at, see next question …
That’s a tough one. We’re not super impressed with either of them at the moment. But, Anderson gets the nod from us. He earns more points per match, has been directly involved in more goals and has a higher ICT index than Maddison does. He’s took Richarlison’s spot in our squad before GW26.
Another option to consider is Milivojevic (£6.2m). While Palace’s schedule is slightly more difficult, his influence on his team is worth noting. He also takes free kicks and penalties for his side. In fact, Milivojevic leads the league in penalties scored (6).
Both of these players have been on manager’s watchlists for a number of weeks now. Both teams have a great long term fixture schedule, while the players offer good value for their FPL price.
I believe that Leicester have the better run of fixtures, however the risk associated with Maddison is his minutes. He has only played 90 minutes twice in the last 5 league matches, whereas Anderson has played 90 minutes in his last 10 league matches.
Comparing their stats so far this season:
While both have decent stats, I feel that I would be tempted to get Maddison into my team, especially if you wanted to sell Richarlison. He is £0.6m cheaper than Anderson, and he offers a brilliant long term option. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both performed similar over the coming weeks, and either do offer good opportunities.
Another Hammers player that could be a FPL steal is the returning Lanzini (£6.4m). I wouldn’t suggest anyone getting him soon, as his fitness and form is yet to be proven and he could see very little minutes. But reports suggest he could be available in the coming gameweek, and I will be keeping a close eye on him as a potential option.
“Are Newcastle worth a punt? If so, which position/players.”
Yes indeed, but mostly from a defensive perspective. In their last four league games they’ve given up just three goals, having played City, Spurs and Wolves in that span. Looking ahead they have Huddersfield, Burnley and hapless Everton all at home and only face two Top 6 teams from now until the end of the season.
I like Dubravka (£5.0m) a lot but he’s too pricey for that position, so I would be looking at either Lascelles or Yedlin who are both priced to move. The Englishman gets the edge for me as he just looks more dangerous than the Yank. I really like Fabian Schar but he’s a yellow card magnet and at this stage of the season that’s a suspension you can’t risk.
Now, for your most maverick readers, I do think the shiny new MLS import is worth a look, and a serious one at that. I really liked Almiron’s short appearance off the bench in GW26 and I have a feeling he may replace Kennedy sooner than later in that advanced midfield role, maybe as early as their juicy tie with Huddersfield in GW27. If you don’t mind rolling the dice, he could be a cheeky differential punt at 0.3% TSB, and I really do believe returns are imminent for this guy.
Yes, we think some value can be found in Newcastle, especially given their upcoming fixtures. Aside from just two matches, none of their fixtures have an FDR above 3, with most of those being 2s. If we were to invest in a player or two from Newcastle, we’d look to their attacking assets primarily. Namely, Rondon and Almiron.
Rondon has been directly involved in 9 goals (6 goals, 3 assists) in just over 1,500 minutes (that’s the equivalent of right around 17 full 90-minute games). 11 of his 80 total points are from bonus, so he can delivery some bonus points too. He looks revitalized, and for the price (£5.7m) he could be a good third striker through the end of the season. Another reason Rondon could be worth a look is because he now has Almiron in the midfield either underneath or to the left stretching defenses and feeding him the ball.
Almiron is the other Newcastle player we’d consider. In fact, he’s on our team already. We had the luxury of seeing him play for Atlanta United in MLS the past two seasons. He was the league’s MVP and the focal point of the team’s attack. He’s a playmaker and he makes those around him better. We think that will benefit Rondon, among others. Taking our personal opinions of him out of it, while he’s new to the Premier League, Miggy has the speed, technical ability and creativity to be successful. We expect that he’ll make an impact very soon, leading the attack and being involved in goals.
Newcastle don’t blank apart from possibly in GW33, so they offer reliable players until then. Their players do not excite me from an FPL perspective, and if I were to target them it would be in their defence. Newcastle have kept 7 clean sheets in the league this season, and have conceded the joint 6th least goals.
Newcastle captain Lascelles (£4.6m) would be the target for me, with 1 assist to his name this season. The price tag isn’t extortionate and he offers the guaranteed minutes that you want from a player riding the blank GW’s.
From an attacking end, Rondon is the only nailed on player that catches the eye. He has scored 6 and assisted 3 this season, but Newcastle are the second lowest scorers in the league. At £5.7m, he is a good budget option but his FPL points ceiling is pretty low. The unknown entity of Newcastle is their January signing Almerion (£6.0m). I wouldn’t recommend buying him right now until we learn more about his FPL value. But at his price, he could be a great differential if he hits the ground running.
If you are still struggling with your team for GW27, then you need to read our article highlighting the best players and replacements.
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