How are the Scout Network approaching Blank Gameweek 18? |

After a short break, Fantasy Premier League managers are set for the rollercoaster of Blank and Double Gameweeks in quick succession.

While we wait to find out how top-flight teams will fare in the FA Cup, there are big decisions to be made about chips, transfers and captaincy.

Some of the members of the Scout Network have shared their first passes at draft teams for Blank Gameweek 18 and have discussed their thought processes.

FPL Family

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka

The additional games added to both Blank Gameweek 18 and Double Gameweek 19 made me stop and reassess my plans. Yves Bissouma’s fifth yellow card of the season means I now only have five players with a fixture next time out so I am strongly considering the Free Hit chip.

Both Manchester clubs and Arsenal have the best fixtures of the Gameweek and it makes a lot of sense to go all-out owning players from those three clubs.

However, owning nine players from three clubs also brings a large element of risk. If one of those games was cancelled that would require the whole bench to play and thus for me that is too big a risk in the current climate.

While still targeting these key games and clubs I will also invest in other players who spread the risk factor. The likes of Spurs, Newcastle and Wolves offer good opportunities to safe-guard your Free Hit team while also providing a good likelihood for FPL returns.

Harry Kane, Karl Darlow, Roman Saïss, Callum Wilson and Pedro Neto all look good for spreading the wealth as well as for returns. Especially when you couple them with key picks such as Kevin De Bruyne, Rúben Dias and/or Joao Cancelo, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney.

FPL Family

FF Titans

How are the Scout Network planning to manage Gameweek 18?

Image showing FF Titans planned team for blank Gameweek 18

After considering several different strategies for Gameweeks 18 and 19 I have decided to opt for prudence.

The new fixtures added to both last week are lifesavers and allow me to focus on bringing in assets from four key clubs: Burnley, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Manchester City.

I have saved two free transfers from the previous Gameweek and I plan to use one ahead of Gameweek 18 to bring replace Mohamed Salah with Bruno Fernandes. This will then give me potentially nine activ players for Gameweek 18 – although this includes Pascal Groß who has only played 90 minutes once in the last six Gameweeks. 

This strategy means that for Double Gameweek 19, I will have another two free transfers so I will probably sell Kane and one of my midfielders to buy back Salah and a cheaper forward option.

With what’s going on, I will make my transfers as late as possible. I am also currently planning to use my Triple Captain chip in Double Gameweek 19, while saving my other three chips for later on in the season when other Blank and Double Gameweeks will undoubtedly be scheduled.

FF Titans

El Statto

How are the Scout Network planning to manage Gameweek 18? 1

FFScout’s RMT tool showing El Statto’s early thoughts on blank Gameweek 18 team selection

I will be using my Free Hit chip this week as I focused my transfers on bringing in players who play twice later on next week in Double Gamweek 19.

I have not pushed the button yet though just due to the uncertainty around games currently so will just spend the break looking at who to bring in before making the changes just before deadline, just in case.

Initial thoughts will be to have at least one, probably two Man City defenders, likely Dias and Cancelo, as well as their talisman De Bruyne.

Fernandes and Kane are also very high on my priority own list for this Gameweek. Those four will form the basis of the side and then I am planning to target the better fixtures so players such as Bukayo Saka against Crystal Palace, Karl Darlow and/or Callum Wilson for a trip to Sheffield United.

El Statto

FPL Nymfria

I have been a little unlucky with the rescheduling, mainly because I had my team set-up quite nicely for a Free Hit in Blank Gameweek 18 and a Bench Boost in Double 19.

I sold De Bruyne three Gameweeks ago for Raphinha, mainly because of form, but with a view to fund Robertson for the Double Gameweek. In the short-term that has given me better returns, however, with Manchester City’s fixture now added to Gameweek 19, I fear this has left me at a long term disadvantage. 

For me, I think I’m now locked into a Free Hit whether I want to be or not. But if you’re still deciding? Here are three questions I always ask myself:

1. Am I selling players that I have a lot of value tied up in and that I want to keep long-term for players that don’t blank? If the answer is yes, then I would Free Hit. In my case, I’d be selling Son, Salah, Robertson and so on, for players I’m unsure I’d want to keep long term.

2. Am I happy to muddle through with just a few players in a Blank Gameweek, in the hope the Free Hit serves me better down the line? If the answer is yes, then consider not Free Hitting. The answer to this one is yes for me, however, I only have four players for Blank Gameweek 18 unfortunately, and one of them is a goalkeeper. So I can’t really ‘muddle through’ even if I wanted to.

3. Are there players that really worry me for either the blank or the double that I can’t get without a Free Hit? If Yes, use your Free Hit in the appropriate week. For myself, no City is an issue, and with less players available to me in the Blank Gameweek, I would take one Gameweek of cover in 18 and look to add using a possible hit for Double Gameweek 19.

Teams I will be targeting for my Free Hit are Manchester City, Manchester United, Spurs, Aston Villa & Newcastle. I will then fill in the cabs avoiding Burnley and Sheffield United.

Whilst I am 95% sure I will be Free Hitting for Gameweek 18, I will not be hitting my chip until the final moments, as once it’s used, it can’t be retracted. I am going to use the international break as a chance to consider the Wildcard strategy. Though with good returns in the last three Gameweeks, I am a little reluctant to mix things up too much, I would need to have four-plus players I would want to change, and keep long term, for me to consider it seriously. 

FPL Nymfria

Bendito Fantasy

Spurs’ Heung-Min Son in action against Leicester

Para esta jornada 18 usaremos el Free Hit. 

Tenemos varios partidos interesantes y buenos equipos de los cuales echar mano. Empezamos en la portería y defensa, Newcastle enfrenta a uno de los equipos con peor record ofensivo, de tal manera que tenemos a Darlow y Fernandez en la selección acompañados por Cancelo y Stones, estos dos últimos se encuentran en gran estado de forma y enfrentan a Brighton, el city no debe tener problema con clean sheets en este encuentro. 

Seguimos con el medio campo. Son es nuestro primer nombre en la lista, enfrentan a Aston Villa y en el papel no luce sencillo, pero Son sigue siendo uno de los jugadores mas rentables en FPL este año. Gündogan lo acompaña, esta elección fue dificil pero necesaria para poder acomodar la delantera, Gündo ha encontrado la portería en los últimos encuentros y mantiene un puesto titular por el momento. Finalmente Rashford y Fernandes cierran el medio campo. Manchester United tiene un partido que luce complejo contra Burnley, sin embargo sus mejores hombres en ataque son este par y tendrían nuestra confianza de cara a la jornada. 

En el ataque tenemos a Harry Kane, que es el factor decisivo para no tener a KDB en el equipo, el emparejamiento con Son lo hace sumamente atractivo para esta fecha. Lacazette contra Crystal Palas luce muy atractivo debido a la buena forma que está mostrando el Francés, y finalmente Wilson de Newcastle para un ataque con muchas posibilidades de gol.

En la banca el primer cambio es Saka de Arsenal, quien podría entrar en lugar de Gündo de último momento. 

La tarjeta está activada y pueden haber cambios conforme los equipos jueguen en la copa, pero esta es la primera versión del equipo. 

Benito Fantasy

What’s happening in the Scout Network?

Scout Network: Thinking ahead to the blank and double Gameweek in 18 and 19

Scout The Gameweek – The new podcast from the Scout Network

Next week sees the launch of the new Scout Network Podcast – Scout the Gameweek. Each week, the show will feature a different member of the Scout Network, Scout Academy and/or FFS International to discuss the upcoming Gameweek, look back at the learning points from the previous round, considering transfers, chip strategy and captaincy options.

El Statto

El Statto’s website saw an impressive 10% increase in traffic during December, as his site continues to grow. The website also passed the 55,000 total views milestone since its September launch. Over the festive period, there were some tweaks and new features added to the interactive stats section of the website. This update allows FPL managers to look at how many returns each player has provided compared to team-mates/others in similar price or position. Articles will be back on the website soon with a look at Free Hit differential and less-discussed options aside from the big hitters.

FF Titan

FF Titan spent some time over the festive period looking at the the FPL Cup and offering advice to managers regarding cup strategy, which started in Gameweek 16. They also looked at the Premier League penalty statistics to date to see what value the penalty takers can offer us as FPL Managers.

Over the next few weeks FF Titan are planning a piece on the FPL Instagram community, looking at the most interesting accounts in this rapidly growing FPL community.

FPL Family

Over the festive period both Lee and Sam were busy with appearances on the FPL Show on both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve as well as on the Official FPL Podcast ahead of Gameweek 17. The FPL Family also passed the 8,000 followers milestone on Instagram. Throughout January, Lee and Sam will be making regular appearances on the FPL Show and Podcast as usual and both will be active on Social Media discussing their Free Hit plans for Gameweek 18 – Lee on Twitter and Sam on Instagram. Sam will also be launching the Scout The Gameweek podcast for us her at Fantasy Football Scout.

FPL Nymfria

Nymfria’s YouTube channel has been reaching record numbers and interactions over the festive period, as new graphics and content continues to be developed and rolled out into the New year. FPL Nymfria has also published a lot of content surrounding her plans for her Free Hit in Gameweek 18 and possible Bench Boost in double Gameweek 19.

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