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!
As we pass the halfway mark on this FPL season attention starts to turn to how to maximise our remaining chips to ensure a strong finish to the season. I will attempt to run through the various strategies that could be used based on what chips you have left.
Scenario: 1 – I have all my chips left
If, like me, you somehow got through Gameweeks 18 and 19 without using a chip then there’s a good chance you have everything left. If this is the case then there are a couple of possible routes to take. My first suggestion is to use the Free Hit in 29. This is likely to be the biggest blank of the season featuring as few as 4 matches. For anyone looking at bench boost for the doubles, this will be impossible to navigate without the Free Hit and even for those not, they will likely be making transfers for players they don’t want just to cover that week, whilst you can make normal transfers and just navigate that week with the Free Hit. They may wildcard into 30 but the chances are the wildcard teams won’t look much different to the team you have put together before then making normal transfers. So what about the other chips?
The most popular strategy is to wildcard in Gameweek 25 and Bench Boost in 26. The obvious advantage here is that you can set up a team with 15 players playing twice to allow you to get 30 players. Of course, it’s no guarantee because we don’t know what the fixtures will be but it’s been the most popular route down the years. Of course, it can have downsides. You could potentially sell good options without a double like Bamford, Soucek or Calvert-Lewin to make it work and then you have to spend those transfers getting them back, as well as possibly having to sell whichever keeper you don’t want outside of the bench boost. This will be the most popular option but it isn’t the only one.
Another potential strategy could be to Bench Boost in Gameweek 24 and use the Wildcard in 26 to set up for the double and fill your bench with players with poor fixtures that week but who you might want long term, like Soucek and Bamford. This strategy could work if certain players in your team have a good single fixture that week but not in the double. West Ham are a prime example with Sheffield United at home in 24 against Manchester City away in 26. Of course, this could backfire if West Ham say, lost 1-0 bur it’s a fixtures play. Another advantage of this route is the double for Southampton and Leeds in 25. Leeds can not double in 26 whilst Southampton rely on Spurs beating Everton. So if you wanted to go for options in this double like Dallas, Ings etc. and they don’t double, do you get them on wildcard in 24 and how do you get them out? By wildcarding in 26 you can get them in without a problem and just wildcard them back out.
The final, slightly more unconventional route is to eschew the earlier wildcard, navigate DGW season using transfers and follow the managers without the Free Hit and wildcard in 30 to set up for the run-in. It’s arguably the most difficult because of the wild fixture swings, especially if you want to use the bench boost, but if you can make it work it could really give you a late boost
As for your triple captain, use that whenever you want, most likely in one of the smaller Doubles.
Scenario 2 – I have everything except my Free Hit
So you used your Free Hit in 18? In that case, your priority should probably be to get through 29. In this scenario, I would go with what was discussed in the opening section. Use transfers to navigate through until 29, then wildcard in 30 to clear out the dross you have from that blank week. If you don’t want to do that then my alternative would be to wildcard in 26 but don’t bench boost (perhaps in 24 instead?) That way you can bench three players who play in 29 in 26 and fill the squad up in a way that allows you to navigate 29 as best as possible even if it means you can’t get 11 doublers in 26.
Scenario 3 – I have everything except my Bench Boost
If you didn’t Free Hit in 18 but did Bench Boost in 19 then you have the same options as those with all their chips, minus the use of the Bench Boost. In this instance, I would advise against the 25 wildcard unless you intend to use triple captain in 26. You can either wildcard in 26, Free Hit in 29 and use transfers in between, or you can make transfers as normal and use the Free Hit 29, Wildcard 30 strategy. I would say do not use the wildcard in 29.
Scenario 4 – I have everything except my Wildcard
OK, this one is actually quite simple. Use your bench boost in either 24 or 26, depending on your team setup, make normal transfers and Free Hit in 29. It’s important to use it in 29 because you don’t want to be stuck trying to get the dregs from your 29 team without a wildcard, so using the Free Hit then deals with that problem so you can focus your transfers on the rest of the gameweeks.
If you have Triple Captain left, just throw it in wherever you like.
I hope I have managed to make a bit of sense from all the ensuing chaos for you and have covered your situation. But I’ll say it again, there is no right or wrong way, you should do whatever suits your own team. I just tried to give you what I think are the best routes going forward.