GW31 Wildcard: Transfer Strategy and Navigating GW29

In this article, we briefly explore the best use of your transfers over the next few weeks to prepare for FPL Blank GW29, with the view of using your wildcard in FPL GW31.

So, you’ve made it this far into the season and you still have your second wildcard in your back pocket. You’ve watched green-eyed as rivals exchange theirs for decent rank gains – and chuckled inwardly as others cast theirs out into a sea of bad luck.

But, like me, you still have it. That shiny button of joy/despair (delete as appropriate).

We’ve come this far – we may as well hold out… right? I mean, who doesn’t love the fresh smell of a slowly stagnating team in the morning?

Preparing for BGW29

With BGW29 coming so quickly after DGW26, there isn’t exactly a lot of time left to get players in – three free transfers, in fact (unless anyone rolled one through 26).

If, like me, you’ve had an eye on 29 for a while, you’ll likely have a handful already – and the three extras should see you on course for minimal damage in the blank. There’s always the option to rope someone else in for a hit too, depending on who you have your eye on – but the fixtures aren’t exactly the most enticing.

With the way most of us set up for DGW26, GW27 doesn’t appear to pose too many issues on paper – many have triple Man City assets already for their double, for example. So rolling the transfer straight away could offer much more flexibility closer to the blank. Unless, of course, you have any injuries to deal with, as Harvey Barnes punters may find.

At the time of writing, around 84.5% of the top 100k have also already played their Free Hit chip.

Most of us will already have a couple of Leeds and Villa players, as well as a spurs attacker or two. That’s roughly five straight off the bat. Three transfers and a hit could be sufficient to see us through with the fixtures on offer – and money shouldn’t be much of an issue if we’re wildcarding soon after.

Worth noting here that Aston Villa may also get a double in GW28 (new & EVE) – so keep an eye out for the latest news on that one.

But, with Grealish currently unavailable, Villa’s Watkins, Martinez and perhaps a second defender will be widely owned already. Likewise with Leeds assets such as Bamford, Raphinha and a third player such as Dallas or Meslier. Kane and Son have also retained popularity and continue to rise following DGW26 transfers, while there are likely to be West Ham players still knocking about on people’s benches after their superb season so far (Cresswell, Coufal, Antonio etc).

Naturally, these will be highly owned in BGW29 and will hurt rank if you don’t have them and they haul, so – with the aim being to just get through the week unscathed – these top the priority list. For example, Son and Kane both have around 51% ownership in the top 100k right now – and that will only rise before the BGW.

Outside of those two, Gareth Bale represents an interesting attacking option, fresh off the back of a double gameweek haul. The likes of Reguilón and Lloris could also work if you’re looking for defensive options.

Arsenal may also offer some tasty punts in their next three, with the impressive Saka the obvious standout. A switch to Aubameyang may also provide a risky differential if you have the cash and the mood takes you.

Elsewhere, Fulham’s fixtures are terrible over the next three, while Newcastle do not exactly fill you with FPL excitement at the moment – especially now they are missing Almiron and Saint-Maximin. If they can actually put away their chances, xG kings Brighton may offer the opportunity for a punt – if you can stomach it.

Standout/popular BGW29 players:

Kane (11.1), Son (9.5), Saka (5.2), Martinez (5.3), Targett (5.0), Watkins (6.6), Bamford (6.8), Raphinha (5.4), Dallas (5.0), Antonio (6.5), Cresswell (5.8), Lookman (5.0).

Alternatives:

Bale (9.3), Reguilón (5.5),  Lloris (5.6), Aubameyang (11.3), Tierney (5.2), Lingard* (6.0), Konsa (5.6), Grealish if fit (7.6), El Ghazi if still making Villa’s XI (5.3), Coufal (4.6), Soucek (5.3), Dunk (4.9), Areola (4.5), Meslier (4.6).

*Lingard cannot play in GW28 due to Manchester United being his parent club – wait until GW29 if interested.

As long as you have one of the popular captaincy picks (Kane/Son/Bamford most likely), 8-10 players should see you through into GW30. Even 7 could be fine, with most people being in the same boat. That also allows room to carry through any blanking heavy hitters into GW30 – such as City or United assets. A couple of differentials mixed with the big boys may even help gain a few ranks.

My personal plan is to roll my GW27 transfer and add three (maybe four with a hit) of Son/Saka/Cresswell/Bamford to my existing pool of Martinez, Dallas, Raphinha, Anguissa, Watkins and Kane.

That’ll give me 9-10 with minimal fuss. Unless the FPL gods have other ideas, of course.

For example:

GW30

With most of the key BGW29 picks having a decent fixture in 30, its worth holding out one more week for when fixtures start to turn for various clubs. This allows for a no-strings-attached punt before overhauling the whole squad. It’s the perfect time to go for an extreme differential. It works? A quick rank rise. It fails? You’ll be booting them out next week anyway.

You’ll likely have retained a big hitter or two through the blank (Gundogan, Bruno, Salah perhaps) – so who you go for is wide open. Fill your boots. Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City, Manchester United all have high potential on paper, outside of the already-owned BGW players.

Or you could go ultra-differential and captain McBurnie for the week.  That would seriously prove your genius to your mini-league rivals.

I’m joking, of course. Don’t ever do that.

Tentative GW31 wildcard ideas

So here we are, we’ve hypothetically made it to GW31. Our teams may have taken a battering but we’re still here – just about.

Now we can refresh our teams for the final stretch, while others are perhaps needing to put more effort in to navigate the fixture swing. Because these last 8 gameweeks are where the real glory lies, right? …Right?

In all seriousness though, a wildcard here will hopefully help us navigate a number of obstacles. Primarily, there’s the fixture swing for some teams, with the overhaul allowing us to hopefully capitalise on those with a kinder run of matches.

We’ll have a better idea of which teams have laid their metaphorical towels out on the sand, too – while there is also the small matter of BGW33 which will see Man City, Spurs, Fulham and Southampton blank due to the League Cup final.

That’ll probably mean dumping any Southampton and Fulham assets on the wildcard, and conjuring up a plan to bench/temporarily let go of any City and Spurs players in 33.

And if that wasn’t enough, a potential DGW35 and BGW36 could also be something to think about (keep an eye on fixture guru Ben Crellin’s Twitter for all the info you need as it becomes available).

In terms of fixtures, the likes of Liverpool, Wolves, Arsenal and Spurs have stretches of good fixtures from 31 onward so stocking up may smart if form lines up – especially if you’re looking for potential mini-league differentials (see the GW31 to GW38 fixture list below, courtesy of Ben Crellin).

As City start to rotate and progress in other competitions, the wildcard will also be handy in swapping out players that are more prone to late season Pep Roulette.

Elsewhere, we’ll probably want to be selling our Villa players as their fixtures become horrendous. Despite having served us so well this season, that last run includes: liv, MCI, eve, MUN, tot, CHE and the rearranged EVE game. Leeds also have a rotten stretch, with mci in 31, LIV in 32, MUN in 33 and TOT in 35.

There’s still so much to unfold yet so a full draft would involve second-guessing many of these factors. It’s hard to believe there is still a third of the season left to go… Who knows what delights are around the corner?

But if there’s an FPL emergency or you finally lose all patience along the way? Well, sod it… There’s always that wildcard button.

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