Written by Jønathan Kahn. You can catch him on twitter @jkisthe1. Kahn has ranked as high as 105th on the All-Time FPL Manager list!
One crucial aspect of early-season planning this season is the fact that Manchester teams United and City and with them, Aston Villa and Burnley won’t play. This creates a dilemma for managers looking at popular picks like Sterling, de Bruyne, Fernandes, Martial and Pope. So the question is how can we navigate through this? Here I’ll give you a rundown of the main strategies.
The early wildcard
One answer is simply to set a team for the first one/two weeks then play the wildcard. This has the obvious benefit of allowing you to maximise your points potential in the opening weeks before you grab the City and United assets without fuss. But on the downside, you use your valuable chip early before Cup and European games have really started and before the transfer deadline, meaning you have to navigate these waters using just transfers for 15 or so weeks.
Another option is to simply use placeholders. The likes of Aubameyang, Salah, Son and Jimenez are all similarly priced to those United and City assets we are looking at so a couple of transfers could be all that is needed to get the players you want, but hits at this early stage are a risky business. But if you want to save your wildcard for another time then this is one way of doing it. Or you could try…
Benching some assets
The last option could be to take up to three outfield assets plus a goalkeeper and leave them benched the first week. If potential price rises for someone like Fernandes worry you then starting with him is one way to avoid it. It’s a risky strategy as you lose cover on your bench, but for the first week, you should be able to get guaranteed starters meaning you won’t need your bench anyway. Then you have them ready to go for Gameweek Two whilst others are spending transfers or Wildcards to get them
Which route will you pick?