Since last weekend, when gameweek 28 blessed us with the lowest-scoring round by some difference, chip season is widely considered to be open in FPL. What do people mean when they talk about chip season though, and why is it becoming a hot topic now?
The chips this season are the Bench Boost, the Triple Captain, the Free Hit and two Wildcards (one for each half of the season) and many managers use one or more of these transfers not just to increase their weekly score, but to navigate the so-called blank (BGW) and double gameweeks (DGW). We have had a few minor ones already this campaign, like GW28 in which Aston Villa, Manchester City, Arsenal and Sheffield United ‘blanked’. The major ones are upon us now though, which traditionally sees an increase in chip usage all over. This is why some people are referring to this part of the season as ‘chip season’. How you use your chips can have a great bearing on your final team position and this article provide tips and analysis to help your strategy just like bettingtips4you has betting tips and predictions if you are serious about betting on football or other sports. Premier League football attracts a lot of followers utlising betting or fantasy games to become more involved in the action.
This FPL gameweek, for example, is a double one for Man City and Arsenal, gameweek 30 is regular round, and GW31 is possibly the biggest blank gameweek of the season. Due to different calendar clashes, only four Premier League games will be played in Gameweek 31. This was expected for some months already, which is why planning to use the Free Hit chip in that weekend, followed by the second Wildcard a few weeks later, became a popular strategy. The “problem” now is that PL club performances in the FA Cup have resulted in a possibly very complex combination of single gameweeks for some clubs and double or blank gameweeks for some other clubs between gameweeks 33 and 37. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at this strategy and at an alternative approach, as well. For more information on the Premier League calendar, FPL gameweeks and chip strategies, we sincerely recommend Ben Crellin’s Twitter account (@BenCrellin) and FISO’s FPL Forum where there is a forum topic on FPL chip strategy.
Overview of double/blank gameweeks (may be subject to adjustments)*
|29||DOUBLE||1 free transfer||1 free transfer|
|30||normal||1 free transfer||1 free transfer|
|31||BLANK||FREE HIT||1 free transfer|
|32||normal||1 free transfer||1 free transfer|
|33||normal||1 free transfer||WILDCARD 2|
|34||DOUBLE||1 free transfer||BENCH BOOST|
|35||normal||1 free transfer||1 free transfer|
|36||normal||WILDCARD 2||1 free transfer|
|37||DOUBLE||BENCH BOOST||FREE HIT|
|38||normal||1 free transfer||1 free transfer|
*where it says “1 free transfer”, more transfers are possible for hit points as well
FPL chip strategy: popular early-season planning
To start with, the foundation of this approach was saving at least your Free Hit and second Wildcard until this point in the season. For months, the more specialised managers among us have expected GW31 to be a BGW, GW34 to be a mixture of blank, double and single fixtures, and GW37 to be the biggest DGW. The initial idea behind this strategy was to Free Hit in GW31 to allow for one less obstacle (a gameweek with just 4 matches) when preparing for GW34 by using free transfers. This planning would have to reach until GW35, because GW36 would see the second Wildcard being activated in order to benefit optimally from the Bench Boost chip in DGW37. Like this, with a lot of good planning and a bit of luck, FPL managers would be able to navigate the fixture calendar minefield at the business end of the season. Those lucky (or patient) enough to still have their Triple Captain chip can use it to further facilitate the navigation of the upcoming period.
The problem with this strategy has only become apparent in the very recent past, once the FA Cup started reaching its more advanced stages. According to Ben Crellin and other experts, by Free Hitting in GW31 and then Wildcarding in GW32 or GW33, it is going to be a lot more difficult to set your team up in such a way that it can successfully confront GW34 and GW37. That is because, according to their calculations and expectations, only four teams can have a DGW in both of these weeks and the chances of that happening are looking extremely slim at the moment. This means that, in order to put down a half decent performance in these key gameweeks, you will need two rather different team set-ups, one for each week. With just two gameweeks in between and no Free Hit chip available, this looks like an impossible task, unless you are willing to take a considerable amount of hit points.
As a result of this development, we and some other FPL managers have started thinking about alternative strategies for chip usage. With the FA Cup’s fifth round behind us, we have a lot more clarity in regard to each team’s blank and double gameweeks, which is essential when deciding on a chip strategy. The approach above could still very well work, but based on the latest developments in regard to the Premier League calendar, it can’t hurt to consider an alternative or two, as well.
FPL chip strategy: an alternative approach
Again, to start with, this approach assumes the availability of at least the Free Hit chip, the Bench Boost chip and the second Wildcard. Instead of Free Hitting in GW31, this strategy builds on preparing for GW31 by using free transfers (including GW29, you have three left for free) and then Wildcarding in GW33 to prepare for what looks like a messy GW34. The Free Hit chip can then be deployed in GW37.
In terms of the Free Hit, one of the big advantages of this strategy is that it can be used on a big DGW instead of as a tool to navigate what’s looking like quite a light gameweek 31. Only Burnley, Bournemouth, Palace, Liverpool, Spurs, Watford, West Ham and Wolves have a game that round. The question is whether this line-up allows you to optimally benefit from your Free Hit, in a very unpredictable week in terms of FPL.
In any case, preparing for GW31 this way is going to take some planning and nerve, seeing as there are just three free transfers left to do so, including this weekend’s. Should you manage though, then your team is set up rather well for the final stretch. You would be able to Wildcard in GW33, Bench Boost in GW34 and Free Hit in GW37. This also sounds helpful when you take into account that the end of the season is often one of the campaign’s most unpredictable periods in terms or starting elevens and rotation, as some teams will still have more to play for than others. On top of that, by using your Wildcard in GW32 or GW33, you can benefit from it for six or seven weeks instead of just two when Wildcarding in GW37. Like with the other strategy discussed earlier, the availability of the Triple Captain chip would be a bonus at this point, one that can help you, for example, to soften gameweek 31’s blows.
In the end, the chip strategy you choose will largely depend on the chips you still have left, the current state of your team, and developments still to come in regard to the Premier League calendar. The early-season approach is still valid as well, but it’s worth looking at alternatives as well. We have offered you one above, but we recommend to do further research as well, in order to come to the strategy that perfectly fits your own team and set-up. Advice is always available on the FISO FPL Forum and sub-forums.