I’m sitting here typing this with less than 24 hours until the start of Gameweek 31. It’s a small week in the Premier League, thanks to the FA Cup quarterfinals (which I plan on ignoring). Of the 15 players in my lineup, only 8 have a match, so I definitely plan to use my Free Hit chip. What I don’t know yet — but will by the end of this post — is how to use it.
What Is the Free Hit Chip?
The Free Hit chip is something you, as an FPL player, get to play once in a season. It gives you the ability to give yourself a completely different team with unlimited transfers; you just have to stay within your budget. The catch is that your team reverts back to what it was before you used the Free Hit after the gameweek is over.
In other words, your changes with this chip only last for one gameweek.
Originally, this chip was designed for this upcoming gameweek, when the Premier League faces a reduced schedule. However, since its creation two years ago, some FPL players have found that they prefer to do damage control on this reduced gameweek and use the Free Hit when they can play a lineup of players on double gameweeks later in the season.
The route you decide to take will be based on 1) how you feel about your reduced lineup during GW31 and 2) how much value you put into double gameweeks.
Free Hit in the Premier League’s Gameweek 31
Back to me. I have to play this chip; I have left myself no other choice. Before I decide how to do that, though, I need to make my predictions for the match results. After all, since the Free Hit only applies for one week, it basically means that my squad should reflect what I think the GW31 Dream Team is going to look like.
For instance, if I think that Chelsea is going to defeat Everton, then I shouldn’t play an Everton defender or goalkeeper. If I think the result will be 0-0, however, then I want defenders from both clubs.
Here are the matches for Gameweek 31:
Bournemouth - Newcastle (BOUNEW)
Burnley - Leicester (BURLEI)
West Ham - Huddersfield (WHUHUD)
Fulham - Liverpool (FULLIV)
Everton - Chelsea (EVECHE)
Weird things always happen. Unexpected players score goals and get clean sheets (and get placed on the bench rather than starting). Because of that, I’m nervous to just do the obvious things. After all, what if Fulham nick a goal off Liverpool? It could happen. Huddersfield could also defeat West Ham 2-1. Probably not, but it could happen.
It’s definitely possible to overthink this.
My GW31 Free Hit Plan
With that said, here’s my best guesses as to what will actually happen:
BOUNEW will have goals from both clubs, so I want to guess the goal scorers and avoid the defenses.
BURLEI could go either way. Vardy’s effort until new manager Brendan Rodgers has been outstanding, and the new manager bump for Leicester is still in effect.
You have to assume West Ham will get a clean sheet against Huddersfield, right? Right?
Liverpool is going to score lots of goals and probably get a clean sheet. Maybe. In this case, it’s all about maximizing the points per pound.
EVECHE is completely unpredictable. Makes me want to avoid this match altogether. With that said, I’m probably going with Hazard (because he’s Hazard) and maybe Lucas Digne (because you never know when he’ll send a free kick into the goal).
After all of my laboring, here’s my squad.
GK - Fabianski (WHU) - It was hard to leave Alisson from Liverpool, but if the result is the same, I want to use the additional money elsewhere in my squad. Ben Hamer (HUD) is on my bench as the cheapest GK in FPL.
D - Rice (WHU), Ogbonna (WHU), and TAA (LIV) - This is all about maximizing the clean sheet points. Tarkowski (BUR) and Stankowski (HUD) are on my bench as subs I don’t plan to use.
M - Salah (LIV), Mane (LIV), Fraser (HUD), Brooks (HUD), Hazard (CHE) - If I don’t score big here, then I quit. The tough choice is captain. Currently, the in-form Mane is my captain with Salah my vice-captain.
F - Vardy (LEI) and Wilson (BOU) - These guys are set up to score goals. If anyone in my squad doesn’t play, I feel good with Rondon (NEW) in my first spot on the bench.
Here’s to hoping this is the GW31 dream team!