The FA Cup is Done for Now, Time to Plan for FPL Again

Current Overall Points: 1,624
Current Overall Ranking: 19,137
Last Gameweek Points: 78

Any Fantasy Premier League manager knows that international breaks and FA Cup weekends are the worst. You may have taken your thoughts off of FPL, but it’s much more important to plan the weeks ahead than you might think.

Hopefully, you planned ahead already and have all four available FPL chips left to use. At least three out of your “Wildcard”, “Free Hit”, “Bench Boost” and “Triple Captain”. If not, I’m sorry you blew the TC on 2 blanks from Harry Kane.

With the FA Cup 5th round done, 12 teams will blank in GW31 and get a double gameweek in GW34.

With Man City surprisingly losing their first game this season, to Wigan of all teams, FPL looks markedly different than expected. Man City still maintains their GW34 double because Brighton are still in the cup, but they lose the enticing double GW37.

Before City’s shocking exit, the four remaining “Top 6” teams avoided each other in the Quarter Finals draw, go figure. Let’s assume everything returns to normal and the rest of the top 6 teams go through to the semi finals and are joined by Southampton.

With that, we have all the information we need to plan this whole thing out, so let’s do that:

When Should You Use Your Free Hit?

This has been a big topic of discussion. Gameweek 31 will only feature 8 teams and assuming the top 6 teams (and Southampton) go through in the FA Cup, Gameweek 35 will include 12.

It will be harder to field 11 players for Gameweek 31, so that’s when you should use “Free Hit”, right? Wrong.

First of all, less players to choose from means less players worth having. Out of the top 6, only Liverpool play that gameweek, and Mo Salah is the ONLY captain option. Considering you already have Salah (if not, shame on you), the free hit won’t make much of a difference anyway.

Besides, if you save the free hit for Gameweek 35, you can take more advantage of the double gameweek in Gameweek 34. Do you know what else could help you take advantage of Gameweek 34?

Plan to Use Your Wildcard for Gameweek 32

It makes the most sense for a variety of reasons. It’s during a *groan* international break, which gives you time to prepare and get players before their prices go up. It also means that you can prepare for the dreaded Gameweek 31 without worrying about the future. Bring in your Walcotts, your Shaqiris and your Wilsons, then get rid of them with a wildcard.

This is why you need to start planning now. You should use the next 3-4 transfers on short term options who will play in Gameweek 31. Then, once GW31 is over, wildcard in a whole new team, stocking up on players with a double gameweek in GW34. With “Free Hit” in GW35, you can keep the players who will double up in both GW34 and GW37.

That’s the “Free Hit” chip and your Wildcard all mapped out, now what? If you still have “Triple Captain” and “Bench Boost” left, you need to figure out where to use them. “Bench Boost” is nice, but “Triple Captain” is essential to get right, so let’s deal with that first.

Who Should You Choose as Your Triple Captain?

I will dive deeper into this topic in a separate article closer to GW34, but it’s always nice to have a plan. Let’s take a quick look while we’re here.

There are five players you should consider using your TC on (strongest set of fixtures in bold):

Aubameyang (GW34)
Vardy (GW37)
Lukaku (GW34 or GW37)
Hazard (GW34 or GW37)
Kane (GW34 or GW37)

The dream of captaining Aguero at home to Huddersfield and Swansea in GW37 turned out to be a mirage. It wasn’t as good as it seemed either way, with Jesus back and Man City possibly in the Champions League. On to bigger and better things!
Aubameyang won’t get a double gameweek in GW37, but away matches to Leicester and Newcastle could provide many Gabonese goals in GW34. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arsenal brimming with confidence at that point, following an easy schedule and nothing left to lose.

You can’t plan to use your “Triple Captain” chip if you already used it on Kane‘s double gameweek in GW22. An atrocious 9 point return is all you got if you did that. He has a chance to redeem himself in GW34, playing at home to Man City and Newcastle. GW37 is even better, away to WBA and Brighton.
Hazard is a tough nut to crack and I don’t blame you if you want to stay far away from him, especially as a “Triple Captain”. He does face top 4 competition in Liverpool in GW37, but they have shown to be leaky in big matches. I’m less hopeful of Hazard’s chances against Burnley at Turf Moor in GW34, for good reason.

City being thrashed out of the FA Cup might become Vardy owners’ treasure. Even if Leicester can’t beat Chelsea in the quarter finals, they still get a double gameweek in GW37 if Southampton go through. Home matches against West Ham and Southampton is a decent looking bet for using the TC on Vardy.
Lukaku also has a decent looking GW37, playing away to Brighton and Bournemouth. His goalscoring record vs GW34 opponent West Ham, can’t be denied though. At the moment I’m the most tempted to use “Triple Captain” on Lukaku in GW34 for a huge differential.

So When Should You Use “Bench Boost”?

“Bench Boost” should probably be used in the double gameweek you didn’t use “Triple Captain”. I say probably, because honestly, I don’t think “Bench Boost” matters that much. You likely won’t be able to field 15 players with double gameweeks, nor should you. It’s more of a distraction than anything, as it can affect your team for several gameweeks before or after, without actually helping all that much.

If I do decide to use it in GW34 however, it will factor in to my wildcard team in GW32. In my latest draft, I actually get to 12 players who have a double gameweek, without sacrificing much afterwards. That includes keeping Salah, despite having a single gameweek, since he has a nice matchup at home to Bournemouth.

This plan might very well change though, or scrapped entirely if I decide to use “Triple Captain” in GW34. The point is, don’t worry too much about your “Bench Boost” if you still have it. For all the other chips you have available however, make a plan now!