The wildcard chip is the most tempting button in the world to press, especially after a less than optimal gameweek. That is especially the case now that there are two wildcards, one to be used in the first half of the season. A lot of very experienced managers have wildcarded in the past gameweek, others are wildcarding this week, while still others are planning on activating the chip before Gameweek 8 when there will be another international break.
We asked Fanfeud writer Kuda Godfrey about when he believes is the correct time to wildcard, and how managers should plan and use the chip…
When is the correct time to play your wildcard?
Last season I played mine in GW3 and ended up with a top 10K finish. This season I haven’t used mine yet and with the GW6 deadline approaching and I’m having my worst ever season. That suggests to me that there is an argument for playing it early. Some managers might currently have 4-5 poor performing players but are reluctant to transfer them out by because rival managers have said “it’s too early to wildcard..”. Success in #FPL is largely about striking whilst the fire is hot and to ride the waves when players/teams are in great form. So don’t be afraid to hit that wildcard button if you feel you need to refresh things irrespective of what others say.
Ideally, you will give yourself a whole week to plan and action a wildcard team but we all have family commitments, jobs, studying etc to consider so that isn’t always possible but at the very least, try to give yourself 2 days to tinker with different player selections. I would strongly advise against activating a wildcard on Friday night to leave yourself less than 24 hours to restructure your team. Especially, when there is a chance alcohol might be consumed during those hours! If you’re struggling for time, DON’T use it this week just wait until next week if you’ll have more time then.
Be sure to address any weak areas in your team first, if and when you use your wildcard. So, If you’re lacking goals and an obvious captain choice most week, get a striker who is in form. If you’re struggling to get clean sheets, bring in 1 or 2 premium defenders. Yes, they are expensive, but that’s because they guarantee points in the long term. There’s nothing wrong with including a few budget players but you don’t want a situation where your week relies on those players to save your week. If last week you made a vow to bring in more Man City or Man Utd attackers then do it, do it now!!
Spend that money!
I will make sure that my final squad has the most expensive defender and the most expensive midfielder/striker and then build from there. My logic is that it’s easier to downgrade from these players if they get long term injuries or suffer from poor form than it is to upgrade to them if you start with cheaper players. Alonso is currently the most expensive defender at £7.1m but based on his form last season, there will come a period in this season when Chelsea have decent fixtures and you will want defenders from their squad. Azpilacueta, £6.5m and Cahill £6.3m are also decent options as well but you could always “downgrade”.
The most expensive midfielder is currently Sanchez at £11.9m followed by Hazard at £10.5m. I don’t own either of these players but my squad currently has the most expensive striker in Kane at £12.4m. Yes, he didn’t score in August but Spurs will hit form at some point and the two-time winner of the golden boot WILL start scoring goals every week. You then have to consider if you will be able to afford him without a big points hit. At the very least, just have a strategy to get the aforementioned players in, using 1-2 transfers post your wildcard.
There is no right or wrong way to play #FPL as long as you have fun and enjoy the banter but it seems counter-productive to take -8 or more point hit shortly after using a wildcard to get in players you could have got in before. I’m not referring to hindsight 20-20, I just mean you have to be realistic that Alonso, Sanchez, Hazard and Kane etc are going to hit form in the next few months.
Size up the opposition..
If you’re chasing in your mini leagues take some time familiarising yourself with some of your rivals before you transfer in/out players. So, if you’re near the bottom, look at teams in mid table and set them as your “target”. If you’re currently mid table, look at the teams at the top of the league and do the same for them. If you make a point of chasing 1 or 2 teams, you will find yourself naturally moving up the league. This I believe is because it gives you the motivation not to take too many points hits post wild card or make risky captain picks as you will fear losing ground.
For those in leagues with 100s/1000s of managers this method can still work but you will obviously have to adjust so maybe just look at the team 10 or 20 places above you at a time and keep doing the same as you climb. To clarify, I am not saying discard your whole team and copy the “target team” as you will never catch them using that method. But try to cover some of the players that might be popular captain choices. i.e if you currently have no Man Utd players but your rival has Mkhitaryn £8.4m and Lukaku £11.7m and they have captained Lukaku every week, it’s going to be difficult for you to catch them unless Man Utd start losing every game and not scoring! That seems unlikely as Man Utd are in red hot form at the moment so I would try to cover those points. Firstly, I would bring in Lukaku as he is in good form and is a popular captain choice because of his high ownership (57%). I would then bring in Matic £5.0m, Mata £7.0m or defensive cover like Bailly £6.2m or De Gea £5.5m. If Mkhitaryan doesn’t score or get an assist, you still have a chance of getting a clean sheet so you’re still covering Man Utd points.
My wildcard team
I’m currently ranked 2,249,030 with 241 points! For me to justify the wildcard, I am making at least 5 transfers which would be the equivalent of a -16 as I have only got 1 free transfer. If you’re only making say 3 transfers, It might be worth holding a transfer this week, keeping your wildcard and then making 3 changes next week which will only cost you -4 because of your 2 free transfers. This is the team I would likely have should I activate, but at the time of writing I am not convinced it is the correct move.
I want to play 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 most weeks and don’t think my midfield is strong enough so I need more time to consider different players. Whether that will require a wildcard, I will have to decide. Whatever your reasons are for using the wildcard now, just make sure that the team you build post wildcard is better than the team you had before it.
I hope my ramblings helped you make a decision this week and thanks for reading. You can find me on Twitter @KG_FPL.