It has been over a week since our last free hit draft article, discussing our early thoughts and views on player picks. Since then, like many mangers, we have gone through countless player combinations and drafts to try and determine the best team for GW32.
We’ll never be fully happy, and that probably applies to 99.9% of managers that are free hitting. No matter how many combinations you try, you can never fit every player that you want to own. So instead, it is best to create a team of players that you can’t be without, and then find the best alternatives to fit in the remaining of your budget.
So with that all said, we used this logic to establish a ‘base’ for the team made up of these ‘essential’ players:
The 6 players selected were our base, with the likes of Hamer and Simpson essential in regards to cheap bench picks. These types of players are important when using your free hit chip, freeing up the maximum budget available to spend on a strong starting 11. The likes of Sterling, Aguero, Pogba and Hazard either have form, fixtures or ownership that we can’t ignore.
Looking away from specific players, we also identified ‘essential’ teams that we want in areas of the team. For example, we highlighted Chelsea and Man City players as important defensive assets for the free hit team, the specific player was the challenge. A common example was whether to own Kepa and Laporte, or Ederson and Luiz/Rudiger. For many, the decision is dictated by the available budget managers have, along with the risk of rotation.
Similarly, the same applied when deciding on the best Crystal Palace defender to own. Schlupp was the ideal option – especially with the ongoing injury doubts surrounding Wan-Bissaka – but at £4.5m there were cheaper options in Tomkins (£4.3m). Players and positions like these were our secondary thought, with the budget deciding which route we went down.
In the striker positions, there was a big decision to make regarding whether to go all in on Harry Kane or not. At £12.5m, his investment would naturally reduce the options in other areas of the free hit team. We discussed Harry Kane and his FPL value in our recent Q&A article, one you need to read if you have activated your free hit.
We are almost certain that Kane will not feature in our Free Hit team, but we have created a draft that includes him in case we get tempted:
The team above has been weakened – especially in the defensive areas – and it is clear that investing in Kane does in some aspects put a big emphasis on him going big. The problem we had when creating the draft team, was the potential players that we are missing out on in other areas. For us, you have to decide whether an individual player like Kane, can outscore the potential points of the alternative players you would own without him in your team.
For example, not owning Kane enables Ederson and Azpilecueta, whereas if you own him, a likely combination is Foster and Luiz. Combinations like this should factor into your decisions when owning premium players like Kane, and how that investment will impact the remainder of your squad.
Final GW32 Free Hit Draft Team
Here is the current draft team for GW32:
Our combinations of Ederson and Azpilecueta edged out the alternative of Kepa and Laporte. We felt that the former are guaranteed gametime and also the additional funds for Azpilecueta could be rewarded with his attacking potential. He has registered 3 assists in his last 6 league matches and as mentioned, a guaranteed 180 minutes.
After the birth of his child – resulting in a rest over the international break – it was enough to convince us to bring in Lindelof. He has played 90 minutes in all but 1 match under Solskjear and we expect him to retain his place in defence. At £5.1m, it is a decent price that’s gets ownership in a top team.
Schlupp completes the defence, the compelling factors being the midfield appearances and potential injury for Wan-Bisakka. While Crystal Palace face a tough test away to Spurs, their opening match against Huddersfield provides a great opportunity for clean sheets. Huddersfield are the lowest scoring team in the league, with only 18 goals in 31 matches. Meanwhile, Palace have a decent home defensive record, conceding 17 goals in 15 games – 7th best in the league.
The forward line seemed to bring the biggest headaches, even with the decision to not include Harry Kane. There were a handful of players that we had on our list: Higuain, Rashford, Jimenez, Batschuayi and even Deeney!
With the injury to Lukaku and permanent appointment of Solskjear, it made it hard to look past Rashford. The last doubt is over his fitness, but recent reports suggest he will be fit and we would expect him to start as the main striker. We think it’s wise for managers to keep an eye on all sources up until the deadline, in case any changes regarding his fitness get released. But for now, he is locked into our free hit team.
The only player that we would deem a differential and possibly a ‘punt’ is the inclusion of Higuain. He has had an indifferent start to his Chelsea career, scoring 3 goals in 7 league matches – notably against bottom half sides Fulham and Huddersfield. He is averaging 4.35 sh90 and 1.55 kp90 with an xG of 0.41.
Giroud is knocking on the door for a start, but it seems that Sarri is adamant on Higuain and it won’t hurt his chances having not played over the international break. Another combination that we had to decide was whether to own Townsend and Higuain, or Son and Jimenez. Both have their pros and cons but we have, for now, opted for the first choice.
Townsend (£5.8m) is currently in our side however we can actively say that his inclusion is still up in the air. We recently created a budget midfielder thread, highlighting the best DGW32 options for managers. If you are struggling to choose, then our thread is worth reading:
💰 Budget Free Hit Options 💰
Looking for the best cheap midfielder for your team?
We have highlighted the most popular players and selected our top choices 👍🏻
— FPLFootballAdvice (@FootballAdvice5) March 25, 2019
Deulofeu (£5.7m) is still in our thoughts, but with the upcoming FA cup semi final rotation could be a big factor in the Watford side.
Double Gameweek 32 Captaincy Pick
Our captaincy picks was a straight shoot-out between Aguero and Sterling. Both have been City’s best attacking players and with their fixtures, you can’t look far past them. For us, the decision was which one would play more minutes over the two games, as both have high points ceilings and explosive returns.
Aguero was rested over the international break, while Jesus featured in both Brazilian matches. We fully expect Aguero to start one if not both games, whereas we don’t think the same can be said for Sterling.
Competition for places is much greater in the other attacking positions, with the likes of Mahrez, Sane and B.Silva all able to play on the wing. While we can’t predict Pep, we can come to a logical conclusion that at least convinces ourselves that it is the right decision!
We think that the chamce of rotation with Sterling is higher than Aguero, and with the added factor of penalties for Aguero, it has to be the Argentine.
We hope that this article has helped in some way with your Free Hit teams! As mentioned, this isnt necessarily going to be our final Free Hit team, with a couple of players still up in the air. To see our official final team, head over to our Twitter page tomorrow where we will update with any changes.
Good luck everyone!
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