FPL BGW18 Free Hit
FPL 2020-2021 has been a puzzle for those managers who enjoy careful planning.
Indeed, the season has me baffled because of the amount of unexpected Covid-related postponements. I’ve read people claim that planning is pointless given the uncertainty surrounding some fixtures and yet I firmly believe planning is actually the formula to cope with such unpredictability.
Plan A and Plan B will not suffice for the serious FPL manager. The ability to assess a myriad of alternatives is intrinsic to good FPL tacticians.
Since many managers have activated their Free Hit chip, I’ve created an alternative draft to attack a fixture in which most managers will go for template selections or rather navigate the BGW without using any chips.
I’ve always believed this chip is meant to be an aggressive weapon and the perfect time to go for differentials. Don’t forget that “hit” is part of its name.
Therefore, I’ve gone for some out there picks as well some “safe ones”. I’ve left out any Spurs or Villa assets as there’s a fair chance it can be postponed but I definitely believe Tottenham players must be selected if the game goes on as they will be fully rested.
Jordan Pickford (4.8). While it is true the England international hasn’t had a great season so far, this is the perfect match to step up and remind Southgate he is still first option in the national team ahead of the Euros.
In two of the three clean sheets he’s kept this season, he’s amassed three bonus points and 8 saves. Everton will be highly overlooked given their form, but let’s remember they have been given a boost with Digne’s recovery. Coleman and James Rodríguez are set to start too.
Kieran Tierney (4.5) One of the most popular kicks before the start of the season is back. The former Bhoy has one goal, three assists and three clean sheets in his last four games.
It’s difficult to ignore a player with such upside. His individual effort against West Brom reminded us of his attacking potential. Deployed in a more attacking role of late, the Scottish international can exploit that poisoned right flank of Palace.
Rúben Dias (5.8). It is now crystal-clear Dias has become the core of the Manchester City defence.
As mentioned in one of my previous articles, his practically “non-existent” injury record makes him a nailed on asset whose best is yet to come. Having kept 5 clean sheets in his last 9 games, he is yet to score in for the Sky Blues, and this may be his best chance as Brighton have been poor at defending set pieces of late.
Joao Cancelo (5.8) Cancelo is one of the best defensive assets when it comes to stats.
The Portugal international has blanked four times this season and has been somehow unlucky not to get more attacking returns, a similar case to that of De Bruyne.
Only Robertson and Alexander Arnold have more final-third touches than the former Juventus full-back. Prospects of a clean sheet are high and attacking returns can’t be ruled out. Let’s not forget he’s a bonus magnet too.
Ciaran Clark (4.5) Most free-hitters with Newcastle defenders are likely to opt for Fernández as their preferred option.
He was an attacking threat on set pieces last seasons and FPL managers are clearly aware of it. However, Ciaran Clark has occupied that role in recent games.
Only four players have more shots inside the box in the last five gameweeks and his aerial threat is well-known. Sheffield United are far from solid in any department and chances are decent the Irish centre-back returns points at both ends of the pitch.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (11.3) Aubameyang has disappointed many managers so far this season. He’s been a shadow of his former self.
Both his hefty price tag and his lack of form have made many FPL managers jettison him.
Nevertheless, he scored in the FA cup game vs Newcastle and is only owned by 7.2% of FPL players (and some of them are probably inactive right now), which makes him a very attractive differential given Arsenal are starting to hit form and have some kind fixtured in the near future.
He’s on penalties and while he’s likely to play on the left wing, we must remember not long ago he was an explosive player with a love for double-digit returns.
Kevin de Bruyne (11.7) The Belgian midfield maestro is a no-brainer choice for anybody’s fantasy team. He’s probably the best captaincy option this GW18. He’s on penalties pieces and his assist potential is simply phenomenal. Brighton will play without Bissouma, who has been a key asset in their defensive organization, so this boosts KDB’s chances for a haul.
Bruno Fernandes (11.3) Sometimes classified as a penalty merchant, the former Sporting Lisbon midfielder have proved exactly the opposite.
With only five blanks this season, it is fair to say Fernandes is probably the ultimate FPL asset. He’s been the most consistent player so far this season and another contender for the captaincy this season as he’s been very prolific away from home.
The only reason he will not be captain is Brighton’s defence. He will be my vice-captain without a shadow of a doubt.
Marcus Rashford (9.6) Manchester United are brimming with motivation after they finished the calendar year with a win against a Villa side that has been a revelation this season.
Now they are joint top in the Premier League too, so they will want to build on momentum at Turf Moor on Tuesday. Rashford has been pivotal for United in the last gameweeks having scored four goals in the last five matches.
Only Mane and El-Ghazi have had more shots inside the box in the last four gameweeks and no player, except for Harvey Barnes, has scored more goals from outside the box during the same period. Even though Burnley are tough to break at home, I expect United to come away with at least a couple of goals.
Buyako Saka (5.3) A budget attacking midfielder always comes handy and Saka is a great value pick. In the last four gameweeks he’s had as many goal attempts as De Bruyne and Salah and as many shots as Bruno Fernandes.
His main problem before the season started was his game time but now it seems he’s secured a “regular” starting berth, so it will be difficult to ignore such FPL bargain.
However, he has a strong appeal. His recent underlying stats are far from good but he remains to be Newcastle’s attacking talisman and he’s on penalties.
Sheffield United have been so poor and that’s the main reason I’ve selected him. I know Newcastle have been poor too in recent gws –– particularly from an attacking perspective–– but the fixture is too good to overlook Wilson.
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