In this article, I (@FPL__Raptor) reveal my FPL Gameweek 25 Wildcard team, as well as discussing my chip strategy for FPL Double Gameweek 26, and how I will navigate Blank Gameweek 29 without my Free Hit chip.
In amidst the pending fixture announcements and injury rumours, there is a small chance that I will make one or two changes to my team prior to the Gameweek 25 deadline. I will be posting my final team on Twitter shortly before the deadline, so keep an eye out for any possible changes there (my Twitter).
It is important to note that at the point of publishing this article, the DGW26 fixtures have not been announced, and therefore unfortunately we are only making educated assumptions on which teams will double. My current overall rank is 139k.
Here is the general layout for the article:
- The upcoming schedule
- My draft
- My squad explained
- Gameweek 25
- Gameweek 26
- Gameweek 27 and 28
- Navigating GW29
- Dealing with GW31+
- My advised draft for those bench boosting in GW26
- Key take home messages
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Please do read through the entire article if possible. Some of my inclusions may seem strange at first, but they have been carefully planned including future transfers, captaincy, navigating blanks and doubles and also creating a balanced squad for GW30 and beyond.
The Upcoming Schedule
Before discussing my team, here is the likely upcoming schedule courtesy of Ben Crellin. I want to thank Ben for continuing to provide the Community with free advice and guidance throughout the FPL season.
It is vitally important than you are not short-sighted with your wildcard. Do NOT treat it as a free hit for the upcoming doubles. This is your last wildcard this season, so it will need to allow you to navigate all the way to GW38.
It is important to familiarise yourself with the doubles in 25, 26 (27/28?) and the blank gameweek in 29. I will be referring to this schedule throughout in my rationale.
Thanks to Ben’s work, I will be assuming that the teams with the brown/gold colour are doubling in 26.
The Draft (£1.6m itb)
The first thing to note is that straight out of the gates (without any transfers) this draft includes:
- 3 doublers in DGW25
- 10 doublers in DGW26 (predicted)
- 9 players in BGW29 (predicted)
The second thing to note is that I am clearly not building for a bench boost here in GW26 (I used it in GW19). With Bamford, Raphinha, Burn, Strujik, and Fabri in my team, this is not a suitable draft for those of you bench boosting. Therefore, at the end of this article I have included my suggested wildcard draft for BB26.
The third thing to note is that I am assuming throughout both variations that you have either: a) used your free hit already; b) you will be using your free hit in another gameweek other than GW29 (N.B. I think GW33 is the best week to use your free hit as Spurs and Man City both blank).
Making this assumption therefore encourages us to bear in mind that GW29 will be fast approaching and we would like to ideally field at least 8 or 9 players in this gameweek. If you plan on free hitting in 29, you needn’t focus any of your attention on bringing in players for GW29 and can adapt accordingly.
For context, my team value pre-wildcard was just over £105m. Post-wildcard (i.e., right at this moment) my team value is £104.1m (money tied up in sold players lost). Most top managers will have a team value higher than that, so feel free to upgrade in certain positions. For those with less, look at specific positions where compromises could be made.
Let’s take a look at why I have chosen the players I have.
My Squad Explained
Martinez (£5.3m, 36.0% tsb) – I don’t need to convince you to have Emi Martinez in your squads. With 128 points he is the top scoring goalkeeper in FPL this year, with 5 double digit returns and 2 nine-pointers. Aston Villa could have the most arguably the most appealing double gameweek in 26 (lee & EVE/shu), the possibility of another double in 27 or 28, and they are also expected to play in BGW29. Martinez is set and forget, and I love it.
Fabri (£3.9m, 1.8% tsb) – Fabri is in because I don’t plan on rotating my keepers. I personally think that the funds are best used elsewhere (unless you are bench boosting). The other options at £3.9m are Steer and Carson, who block a triple up on Villa and City respectively.
If you are bench boosting (see the final section) I would suggest Areola (£4.5m, 3.8% tsb) as your second goalkeeper alongside Martinez, but only if Fulham get a double gameweek. He has great fixtures, could double in GW26 and plays in GW29. He also makes a lot of saves and is playing in an improving Fulham defence.
Alternatively, if Fulham do not get a double in 26, Sanchez (£4.5m, 2.6% tsb) would be my other choice. He has a great single gameweek in 26 against WBA, and plays against NEW in GW29. One of our writers published a brilliant article exploring the defensive strengths of Brighton here.
Cancelo (£6.1m, 24.1% tsb) – Cancelo vs. Dias was a difficult decision on my wildcard. I decided to favour the attacking potential of Cancelo. I do think Dias is far more nailed, but to date he hasn’t offered much in attack and tends to be lower than Stones in bps. Over the last 5 GWs, Dias has an xG of 0.01 and an xA of 0.02. That was enough for me to favour Cancelo. Man City are expected to get a double gameweek of WHU and WOL, which is very decent from a defensive point of view.
Luke Shaw (£5.0m, 7.9% tsb) – The Manchester United full-back is posting consistently impressive numbers in the creativity department. He tops the league over the last 5 GWs for key passes (14), successful crosses (15) and is second in big chances created (3) and xA (1.69), behind Cresswell in both departments. Playing against Newcastle in 25 and possible double of che and cry in 26, he is a great option at a low price. This spot was initially saved for Stones, however, I am keeping the third City spot open for a potential return of Kevin de Bruyne.
Konsa (£4.6m, 5.0% tsb) – I have decided to double up on Aston Villa due to the aforementioned kind fixtures. One of the reasons I have gone for Konsa over Targett is due to budget, but that is not the only reason. Despite being on set pieces, the underlying statistics suggest Targett doesn’t offer a great deal going forward. Konsa has an xA of 0.02 and xG of 0.08 per game started, whereas Targett has an xA of 0.07 and an xG of 0.02 per game started. Targett has had 0 big chances all season and only had 2 shots in the box. Konsa has had 3 big chances and 8 shots in the box. Neither player offer much in attack, but the extra £0.3m does not seem to be worth it – hence, welcome Ezri Konsa!
Strujik (£3.9m, 5.0% tsb) – A beautiful enabler, but he is SO much more than that. Strujik currently posts the highest xG in the league for defenders over the last 5 games (1.02)! His xA over the last 5 (0.22) is also fairly impressive for a central defender/central defensive midfielder. As you can see in this tweet, a verified Leeds United journalist suggests that Strujik should be nailed for at least another month, which means he is perfect for BGW29 as well. Whilst Llorente has since been declared fit, most Leeds fans seem to think Strujik will remain nailed for the time being. Doubles in 25, plays in 29, cheap enough to bench consistently, and great attacking threat. He is perfect for our squads.
Burn (£4.2m, 0.5% tsb) – If you can take one thing from this article it is this – DO NOT SLEEP ON BRIGHTON. Not only do they play in BGW29 against Newcastle, but they are also one of the best teams in the league over the past 5 gameweeks for both attacking and defensive stats (see this tweet for some incredible stats on Pascal Gross and Brighton, and this article further highlighting Brighton’s form). Due to the stats discussed in that tweet and article, I think a Brighton defender that is dominant in the box is perfect on wildcard. Dan Burn should continue to play at LB with Solly March out for at least 12 weeks due to injury. At 6ft 7inches he also offers a threat in the opposing box. If you have the budget, Lewis Dunk (£4.9m, 4.9% tsb) is probably an even better option due to his attacking prowess.
Konsa, Strujik and Burn are all below 5% ownership, with Luke Shaw less than 10%. Considering how template most teams will be in attack, I personally believing getting a few differentials in defence, alongside correct captaincy decisions, will be the best way to not only maintain your rank, but also improve it.
The main potential alternative that you should consider is mega differential Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m, 0.5% tsb). A fan favourite from last year, Pereira has played 90 minutes in the last 3 games since returning from injury, keeping 2 clean sheets. He is nailed due to the injury to James Justin and also offers a massive amount going forward. Leicester have some great fixtures from a defensive point of view, and that coupled with his attacking intent could make him a brilliant alternative to my five chosen defenders.
Salah (£12.6m, 42.9% tsb) – managers are shipping Salah out in masses to fund a more balanced squad. I think if you are bench boosting there is certainly a lot of merit to this strategy (i.e., to spread the funds). However, Salah’s fixtures right up until GW38 are very kind (including shu, FUL, WOL in the next 3 gameweeks). He is also still in the top 5 midfielders for most attacking underlying statistics. Over the past 5 gameweeks he ranks 2nd for shots (17), joint 1st for shots on target (7), 1st for shots in the box (13) and 2nd for big chances (5). Apart from Gundogan and Bruno, he appears to be the most threatening midfielder. He also offers a very kind route back to KDB if the Belgium finds his feet quickly.
Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m, 59.9% tsb) – I was late to the party (signed him in GW9), but Bruno hasn’t left my team since transferring him in and he will likely remain there until GW38. He has 9 double digit hauls this season, including three 17 point scores. His effective ownership has been well over 100% for multiple consecutive weeks at most ranks, and the risk of removing him can be devastating for your progress. The only potential reason to remove Fernandes is that I personally don’t have him down as the best captaincy option until GW32. Even then, it is not clear cut. If you are not going to captain him, perhaps he is expendable? Not for me.
Heung-Min Son (£9.5m, 51.6% tsb) – Son was a very tricky one on my wildcard. Classic form vs. fixtures debate. From GW1-GW12 he managed 6 double digit hauls (including 24 and 18 points), totalling 105 points. In the past 10 gameweeks he has only managed 2 double digit hauls (13 and 10 points), totalling 52 points. However, Son is undoubtedly an excellent player and I am hoping good fixtures bread good form. The Spurs double is (in my opinion) the best of the bunch, no matter which team they end up playing alongside BUR (either ful or SOU). They also face Crystal Palace in GW27 (captaincy option?), and are likely to face Aston Villa in GW29. I will be going with the dynamic winger.
Gundogan (£6.1m, 32.7% tsb) – what can we say about the player of the month? He tops the charts for almost every single goal threat statistic. He has the highest xG in the league over the last 5 gameweeks (3.13) and the most goals (6). He has also improved his creativity, with the 7th highest xA in the league over the last 5 gameweeks (1.49). He is a premium midfielder at a budget price. Get him into your team if you haven’t already.
Raphinha (£5.4m, 5.5% tsb) – I cannot comprehend how Raphinha is still only 5.5% owned. He has returned in 5 gameweeks in a row (13, 5, 9, 6, 5) and is a serious captaincy option for his double in GW25. His fixture in GW29 also makes him an ideal fifth midfielder. He has the 6th highest xA over the last 5 gameweeks (1.51), and the 8th highest xG. He is also shooting a lot with the 3rd highest shots (13) and is on almost every set piece for Leeds with Phillips injured. He is cheap enough to be benched, but also quality enough to play every week. He will likely be in my team until at least GW30.
Midfield is easily the most difficult section of our wildcards, as there are currently at least 20 options to choose from. Top of the list of alternatives are either of the Leicester midfielders, Barnes (£6.8m, 8.0% tsb) and Maddison (£7.3m, 16.0% tsb). Over the last 5 gameweeks Maddison is shooting more than Barnes (17 vs. 12), but Barnes has the higher xG than Maddison (1.29 vs. 1.11). For xA, Maddison (as expected) is a bit further ahead than Barnes (1.85 vs. 1.11). There is not much between them, but with a possible double gameweek in 26 (ARS & bur), and bha & SHU in GW27 and GW28 respectively, either of the Leicester boys are fantastic options.
Another debate is whether to choose Raheem Sterling (£11.6m, 13.8% tsb) instead of Bruno or Salah. Indeed, one of our writers covered this very dilemma earlier in the week, you can find it here. However, for me, in the new 3-2-5 formation that Pep is deploying, Sterling is playing far far too wide, and isn’t even remotely on my radar.
Not only is Sterling an alternative premium, but the recently fit Kevin de Bruyne (£11.8m, 10.2% tsb) has many managers scrambling to get the Belgian into their teams. Personally, it is a wait and see situation for me – I would prefer Salah until we see how KDB fits back into the side. The important thing here is that I have left the third City spot open (only have Gundogan and Cancelo). I am not sure whether I want double defence, Foden, KDB or Sterling. However, only doubling up allows me to get almost any City player I want in one move rather than needing to take a hit. Bear this in mind as a potential strategy for your own drafts.
Bamford (£6.9m, 55.4% tsb) – the forward three almost pick themselves, especially Bamford. Bamford will likely be the top captaincy pick for GW25 and plays in GW29 should you wish to keep him for the entire period. He has the highest non-penalty xG across the entire season (12.31). He is also joint second for shots in the box (13) over the last 5 gameweeks, and clear at the top for headed attempts (9). He offers a route to Calvert-Lewin in GW26 too as Bamford only plays once against Aston Villa (see my gameweek 25/26 sections below).
Watkins (£6.5m, 23.0% tsb) – this man is absolutely unstoppable at the moment, and is posting ridiculous numbers. Across the last 5 gameweeks, he ranks 1st for shots on target (10) and shots in the box (15), and 2nd for non-penalty xG (2.65) and total shots (17). He is also beginning to back up his underlying stats with clinical finishing, scoring 3 goals in his last 5. As with Konsa, he has a brilliant double and plays in GW29. He was the easiest choice in my wildcard squad.
Kane (£11.0m, 23.8% tsb) – as with Son, Spurs’ poor form is slightly worrying, but wildcarding in 25 was actually inspired by my desire to triple captain Harry Kane in GW26. For my triple captaincy I look for four things: a) likely to play 180 minutes; b) two appealing fixtures; c) penalties; d) explosive ability. Harry Kane has all four. Spurs are currently the second worst team in the league for xG over the last 5 gameweeks (4.39) which is awful for a side with their quality, but with Kane and Son they are always capable of finding form.
That being said, there are strong rumours that Kane is injured/ill after not being listed in the squad for their Europa league game. At the time of you reading this it may already be confirmed that he is (or isn’t). If he is out, I have listed two potential options below that I will move to. It will not change my overall plan or overall squad, and I will leave the money itb for a potential return to Kane in 26.
Danny Ings (£8.4m, 12.7% tsb) has a guaranteed double in GW25, and the possibility of a treble-double (doubles in 25, 26 and 27/28). With the possibility of 6 fixtures in 3 gameweeks, Ings has potential to go nuclear. I think if Kane is confirmed to be out of the match against West Ham, I will start with Ings and leave the route to Kane open for 26 (therefore have £4.2m itb for my draft).
If Kane is out, the most direct alternative in my opinion would be Jamie Vardy (£10.1m, 16.9% tsb). I don’t need to delve into the stats to tell you just how brilliant this man is. With avl, ARS, bur, BHA, and SHU in his next four gameweeks though, I would not be surprised if Vardy matches or outscores Kane even if Kane is fit. If I do not own the Foxes’ talisman, I will be jealous of those that manage to fit him into their teams.
Essentially, just for clarity – if Kane is fully fit I will stick with him. If there is any doubt I will start with Ings.
As previously discussed, for Gameweek 25 I will have triple Leeds for their double. In this iteration, I have started with Harry Kane. However, should he be a doubt, Danny Ings will be coming into the squad for GW25.
Bamford will likely be my captain, but I think that Raphinha and Ings are both great options as well. As always, I would rather captain a double gameweek player than a single gameweek player.
Gundogan is currently in the XI with Watkins first sub. If there are any doubts over his fitness (as there currently are) I will still keep Gundogan in the wildcard team, but will likely start Watkins who is in brilliant form (change from a 3-5-2 to a 3-4-3). I am aware that Cancelo is currently second bench against a struggling Arsenal side. That is reflective of my belief he may be rested. There is a reasonable chance I start Cancelo over Burn and hope that he either starts or misses out altogether.
This may initially look like a squad with a benching headache each week, but as you read on you will see that the bench pretty much picks itself most weeks.
The planned free transfer post-GW25 deadline (for GW26) is Bamford to Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m, 37.5% tsb), hence leaving the £1.6m itb in the initial draft. Everton could potentially have one of the best doubles in GW26 from an attacking point of view (SOU and avl/wba), whilst Leeds only play once. See below how my side could look for GW26, with 11 doublers.
*The fixture difficulty colour code is not particularly accurate nor consistent, and is more reflective of whether I fancy it as a good fixture. If it is a good fixture in my opinion it is green, if it is okay it is blue, and if it is unfavourable it is grey*
11 doublers with incredibly tasty fixtures – it really is a beautiful sight (the fixtures are all green as a two fixtures give a very decent chance of a return). This team includes:
- 3x Villa
- 2x Man City
- 2x Spurs
- 2x Man United
- 1x Liverpool
- 1x Everton
The bench (although single gameweek players) is also very strong. Therefore, despite it being very unlikely someone misses both games, the bench is more than adequate to fill in if that instance does occur. Equally, if I am unlucky enough to pick up a few injuries in GW25, the bench could cover one or two of those. Further, if the gameweek 26 fixtures are announced and are very unkind, I would be more than happy to play Burn/Raphinha.
As discussed previously, I am planning to play the triple captain chip in 26 on Harry Kane. In fact, even if Harry Kane is injured I will still likely play the chip. I think Kane, Son, DCL, Watkins, Gundogan, Salah and Bruno are all great candidates. I think due to the fixtures, if Kane is out, I would likely punt on Watkins.
I do have a planned transfer for GW27, which involves selling Luke Shaw before Manchester United’s run becomes difficult. Southampton are estimated to double in GW27 against Sheffield United and Man City – at the very least they will play Sheffield United. They also have great fixtures post GW30, so Vestergaard (£4.7m, 2.9% tsb) is currently my planned defensive transfer. Leicester and Chelsea also have great fixtures GW31 and beyond, so a long-term move could be to bring in a defender from one of those two teams.
Alternatively, as per my picking of Dan Burn, I do like Brighton’s fixtures, and they play in GW29. Therefore, Luke Shaw could become Lewis Dunk (£4.9m, tsb 4.5%), leaving me with a double up on the Brighton defence (Burn and Dunk) and another GW29 player.
For now, let’s assume I will transfer Luke Shaw out for Vestergaard for GW27.
Gameweek 27 and Gameweek 28
Assuming I only make the Vestergaard move for GW27 (and roll my transfer for GW28), here is how the squad will look for each of those gameweeks.
As you can see, I have set myself up in a way that allows me to attack GW25 and GW26, whilst still being in a great position for GW27 and GW28. I don’t need to sell Raphinha, Burn and Strujik as they can potentially be benched in both gameweeks before the blank.
Most importantly with this current plan, I will (barring major injury/COVID issues) be able to roll my transfer in 28, leaving me with 2 FTs for GW29. This will allow me to bring Bamford back in for Calvert-Lewin (as Everton do not play in GW29), and potentially make another move. Arsenal face West Ham in GW29, and also have very good fixtures for the final run.
If Arsenal pick up form over the next 5 gameweeks I may make an Arsenal player my second transfer for GW29. Alternatively, rolling 1 FT in 29 would give me 2 FTs for GW30/31, which could prove very useful.
There is also of course the risk that Burn or Strujik lose their place over the next 5 gameweeks, so there could potentially be a move needed there (i.e., Burn to Dunk, or Strujik to Dallas).
Let’s assume for now I only make one move, Calvert-Lewin back to Bamford (rolling my 2nd FT for GW30).
Blank Gameweek 29 – Are we ready?
As you can see, I will be fielding a minimum of 9 blank gameweek players, and these include almost every highly owned player too. Apart from potentially Cresswell, Dallas, Targett and Grealish there are very few players that could damage my rank.
If I get the captaincy decision correct, it could quite easily be a green arrow with only 9 players. Further, if I do decide to use my second FT (e.g., on an Arsenal player), I could field 10 players which would be more than most in GW29. Remember, some of the more casual players would not have planned this far ahead!
In other words, without compromising GW25-GW28, we should be able to field a very good squad for GW29. As a result I think that no matter whether you are wildcarding now or in the future, GW29 probably is not the optimal time to free hit.
Dealing with GW31+
As I said previously, there is a clear fixture swing in GW31 that begins to favour teams we may not have considered previously, and look difficult for those in our squads already (see the schedule below). This is indeed the main reason that many will be holding off on their wildcard. If you are planning on using your wildcard after GW30, read this article which should help you to navigate the next few weeks without your wildcard.
As a result, if possible it would be ideal to approach GW31 with 2 FTs, using both of those transfers and potentially taking a hit too. The main teams where I will be looking to offload my assets will be Leeds, Tottenham, and perhaps one asset from Aston Villa. Leeds in particular I would not want to keep my triple up.
Teams where I would like to potentially target for the final run are: Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool, Southampton, West Ham and Wolves. They all have fantastic fixtures.
In the below image, you can see how dreadful my GW31 team would look if I did not make any transfers before the deadline. You can also therefore see how important it will be to have 2 FTs for GW31.
However, with 2 FTs and the ability to take a -4 or -8, this team could easily be fixed. As an example, I would be tempted to move Raphinha to Neto (£5.7m, 6.6% tsb), Kane to Jimenez (£8.2m, 4.7% tsb) if he is fit, and Strujik to TAA (£7.4m, 14.4% tsb). If I have 2 FTs that is only a -4. Something along those lines would set me up nicely for future gameweeks and make GW31 look a little less dreadful (see below how 3 transfers make the situation a whole lot better for GW31 and beyond).
It is too difficult to accurately plan transfers for 7 gameweeks ahead, but you should remain aware of the fixture swing, remain aware that many will be wildcarding into it, and try your best to leave 2FTs so you can play your only mini-wildcard for only a -4 or -8, ready to attack the back-end of the season.
*If you are wildcarding in GW25 or GW26 you must be aware of the fixture swing in GW31.*
Wildcard for those Bench Boosting in GW26
Whilst I hope that the article thus far would have been useful for everyone, those that plan to bench boost in GW26 would not be able to follow a similar format to my own draft. Not only is my bench and second keeper cheap for GW26, they also only play once.
The above is a potential WC25 draft for those bench boosting (~ £2.0m itb), which will leave you with 14 or 15 doublers for GW26 (assuming Fulham get a double gameweek). This money is left itb with the view of doing either Bamford to Calvert-Lewin, or Raphinha to Maddison for the double gameweek. You could also offload both Leeds players for a -4 should you wish to field 15 doublers instead of 14. For example, Bamford to Calvert-Lewin, Raphinha to Pereira (£5.5m, 1.5% tsb).
With the current expected fixtures, that would leave your bench boost as the following:
Areola — Adarabioyo — Konsa — M. Pereira. The eight games would be: Cry, Cry, TOT, TOT, lee, EVE/shu, BHA, & EVE. That is a very decent bench boost on a pretty low budget. As a minimum there you would expect 16-20 points.
The other consideration here is that removing Bamford and Raphinha for GW26 would leave you with only 5 players for BGW29, so make sure you have a plan to get them back in if you are not using the free hit in 29.
It is also worth noting that our very own FPL Texan (top 500 overall rank in the world) will be releasing an article tomorrow (Friday morning) with his own wildcard team revealed. He is in fact bench boosting in GW26 so his team should serve as the basis for those of you following the same chip strategy. Keep an eye out on our blogging site (fplconnect.blog) for that article tomorrow.
Key take home messages
There has been a fair amount of information and opinion in this article, so here are the few things that, in my opinion, you should consider.
- Consider BGW29 in your planning, but do NOT fixate on it – this may seem like a strange thing for me to say after discussing it throughout the article, but GW29 should not be prepared for at the expense of GW25-GW28. You could have a fantastic GW29, but if it is on the back of three consecutive red arrows it may not be worth it. Equally, if you smash GW25-28 and have a sub-par week in GW29 it may not be a big issue. Navigating all weeks to the best of your ability is what makes a top manager.
- Prioritise your transfers on a week-by-week basis – don’t panic, and don’t look at the schedule too globally. For GW25 your focus should be on Leeds players. For GW26 your focus should be on Spurs and Villa. For GW27, turn your attention to Southampton and Brighton. In this way, you are attacking each week, planning for future gameweeks, but doing it in an effective and coherent manner.
- Be aware of the fixture swing in GW31 – whilst there may be little we can do for the time being to prepare for GW31, being aware of it means you can begin to plan what your moves may be, and even more importantly, prepare to roll your transfers.
- In the land of the template, get your captaincy pick correct – with the squads likely beginning to look very similar over the next few weeks (especially in midfield and forward department), spending a little more time on your captaincy decision each week will be worthwhile. Equally, taking a few risks with captaincy should also pay off, if that is your management style.
- Keep an eye out tomorrow (Friday) for a last minute announcement on GW26 fixtures – rescheduling tends to be announced at 4pm by the Premier League, so there is a small chance that the fixtures for GW26 are announced at 4pm tomorrow, only 2.5 hours before the deadline. Be prepared for that instance!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Should I bench boost in 26? Will there be a better time to bench boost?
A: This is very team specific question. Assuming you are on a wildcard, bench boosting in 26 will almost undoubtedly give you the highest chance of a mega score (due to it being the biggest double gameweek). However, there are two things to consider here. Firstly, from GW27 onwards you will have two goalkeepers and a lot of money invested in your bench. Without a wildcard it might be difficult to take money away from the bench. Secondly, apart from Spurs and Villa, there aren’t any teams that double in 26 and play in 29, so make sure you have a plan to get players for 29 following your bench boost.
Q: When is the best time to free hit? Should I free hit in 29?
A: I personally believe (as demonstrated above) that GW29 is very easily navigated without the free hit. I also think that most of the desired assets (e.g., Leeds attack and Brighton defence) will already be in most of our squads. Looking specifically at blank gameweeks, GW33 appears to be the best time to Free Hit as both Manchester City and Tottenham blank (as well as Fulham and Southampton). Most will be tripled on City and own one or two Spurs, Fulham or Southampton asset(s).
You could potentially keep those players and Free Hit, allowing you to return to your premium assets in GW34. For example, most of us will have to keep KDB/Sterling, Cancelo, Stones on the bench (or sell them), whereas you could punt on Mane/Rashford, TAA and Luke Shaw, returning to the City players the following week.
Q: Which of the premiums are most important? I can’t have Salah, Son, Rashford, Bruno, Sterling/KDB, Kane and Vardy…
A: People are currently deciding which premium assets to include, and how many. I personally think three ‘proper’ premiums plus one ‘half’ premium is viable. For example, I currently have Bruno, Salah, Kane + Son. For my reasoning for including these four, please refer to the “My Squad” section of the article.
I think if you were to replace Son for Sterling or KDB the squad begins to feel very imbalanced. With respect to which are most important, I personally believe Bruno and Salah are non-negotiable. They are consistent, explosive, and always a good captaincy option. As demonstrated in GW24 when the two Talisman scored 9 and 7 points respectively, even when their teams play terribly, both assets can still return. Salah in particular has brilliant fixtures for the rest of the season so if you were to sacrifice one of Bruno or Salah I would just about lean toward Bruno.
I also think Kane is the best captaincy choice for GW26, and potentially GW27 and GW30 too. Therefore, I would personally go for Kane. However, Son of course has the same fixtures and the same ability to haul. In other words, I would include one of the Spurs duo, but both are not necessary. Rather than Son and Kane you could go for Son and Vardy, or Rashford and Kane. Alternatively, you could go for Sterling and Vardy and drop the Spurs duo altogether. My advice would personally be Bruno, Salah, Kane + Son/Vardy/Rashford.