Free Hit Activated – DGW32

Planning for the “business end” of the FPL season began when Ben Crellin posted the potential double and blank game weeks. The unscheduled games were confirm on Tuesday by the Premier League. This allowed me to finalize when I would use the Free Hit Chip (FH) and activate the second Wild Card (WC). Initial plans had me using the FH for BGW31 and WC in GW34. After listening to Planet #FPL and their chip strategy, as well as discussing chip options with Casey during Episode 26 of The Pitch & Pint Podcast, I changed my strategy for better chip usage.

This is the first time in six seasons, I’ve held all my chips this late into the season. There is something to be said about keep options open when the doubles and blanks play such an important role in the success of your fantasy team.  Hopefully BGW31 isn’t an indication as to how these fixtures are going to play out, as it was a disaster for many FPL mangers. Luck on my side, I skated by scoring 39 points, picking up my second consecutive green arrow, climbing to 39k in the Overall Ranking (OR). Could not think of a better way to head into the business end of the 2018/19 FPL season.

Chip strategy is now confirmed, as I’ve activated my FH Chip for DGW32. The Wild Card makes excellent sense as well, as Gabe, FPLLens said, “Take advantage of more weeks with a WC team. Get the very best players for 33 with FH rather than rely on the 31/33 mix.” Looking ahead to BGW33, my team looked good, as it reverts to the starting nine players that scored 39 points. While the total points were low, I would still be putting many of the same players into my starting XI.

The second Wild Card will be activated ahead of GW34, as I build for a 2-week period, while looking ahead to the final three weeks of the season. The DGW35 schedule isn’t as full as DGW32 and will represent the best opportunity to activate my final chip, the Bench Boost. These next four weeks will dictate how I finish the season. The plan in place does allow for some flexibility through all XI players.

Planning has started with a 3-4-3 formation, but budget might go further if I shift to a 3-5-2. Based off my season statistic, I’ve only played a 3-5-2 twice this season averaging 77 points. Compare that to the more popular, 3-4-3, played 13 times with an average score of 59.1 points. The fact midfielders score more points then forwards, could see me go with two premium forwards and build my team around them. Balance though belongs to the 3-4-3, which has been very consistent for me all season long.

INITIAL XI

It’s highly unlikely this initial squad will be the one I go into BGW32 with, but it’s my starting point. Now, I’ve already had comments from many other FPL managers are having a full 15-man squad, which squanders valuable budget on the bench. If I were to put three on the bench, van Aanholt, Duffy and Jota wouldn’t play in DGW32. Wasted budget? Yup! This would leave me with nothing ITB. The other line of thinking, would be to downgrade those three players to budget options would give me £17.0 to spend.

This would allow me to spend £3.8 on two non-playing defenders (Simpson & Connelly) and a £4.3 forward (Quaner) resulting in £9.4 ITB for a fifth midfielder. Now, this is where the fun begins, as I start chopping and changing and realizing the base of this starting XI is good, but where I can slot in a few differentials, as I, like every other FPL manager look for an advantage?

Looking at current ownership numbers of the top 1000 managers based on Fantasy Football Fix, there are some players who could be tagged as “must owns” or “essentials.” It comes as no surprise that Chelsea’s, Eden Hazard is owned by 75.5% of the top 1k (41% across FPL). His ownership statistics remain high, after Chelsea featured in BGW31, in a losing effort at Goodison Park, 2-0. Paul Pogba still owned by 51.3% (44.8% across FPL) is another player who isn’t in form, unless of course you are a Man United fan. Not sure I can chance both Pogba and Hazard in a starting XI based on their recent run. While the ownership stats say otherwise.

Defensively, owning three Chelsea assets is probably more of a liability than a “sure thing” then again, this is FPL, there are no sure things and luck plays a big part in the game. The last time I owned three defensive assets was the start of the 2017/18 season, when I favored So’ton and their fantastic run of fixtures to start the season. Needless to say, it didn’t pay off as big as expected, but a big risk. Think I do need to minimize the risk and look at a few other defenders to build around.

Up front, Sergio Aguero appears to be one of potentially two premium forwards I will own. While this above image only favors the City man, Michy Batshuayi is a bit of an enabler, while Raul Jimenez (37.9%) has been one of the most consistent players all season long for Wolves. Harry Kane is still on the table, as is a differential in Troy Deeney. I have very little interest in the popular selection I’ve see on many RMTs of Marcus Rashford. Not high on United at this time, they haven’t looked good recently and feel there are a few better options out there as Watford and Wolves are tough fixtures.

Man City could potentially be the only team I treble on, as I am currently planning; Sterling, B. Silva and Aguero. There isn’t much risk here, offensively it feels a safe risk that attempting to navigate Cardiff and Brighton with three Chelsea defenders. Lots to consider over the next 10 days and I’m just getting started.

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