In our last post, I (Scott) discussed the challenges in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) for the upcoming month. Those challenges begin in earnest this coming weekend when only eight of the 10 matches will be played. Because of the Carabao Cup final, Chelsea, Manchester City, Brighton, and Everton will not see Premier League action.
The madness, however, does not stop there. With each passing FA Cup match from this past weekend, it seemed, another Premier League match from Gameweek 31 disappeared.
Gameweek 31 will be played on March 16 and 17. As of the time of this post’s writing, five of the 10 matches are scheduled to be played (if Chelsea defeats Manchester United in the FA Cup, that number drops to four). What is an FPL player to do?
The Free Hit Chip Described
New FPL players might see that Free Hit chip on their FPL apps and wonder when would be a good time to use that. The question is a matter of debate.
For those who don’t yet know, the Free Hit chip allows an FPL player to make an unlimited number of moves for a particular gameweek — just like with the two Wildcard chips — as long as the player stays within his or her funds to spend.
The difference, however, with the Free Hit chip is that the change lasts for just one gameweek. After the Free Hit chip is played, your squad will go back to what it was the previous week.
When to Play the Free Hit
As I said, this is a matter of debate. Let’s start by discussing when you should NOT play the Free Hit: Gameweek 27. Yes, there are 4 clubs not playing, and yes, two of them are Manchester City and Chelsea. Who cares? Surely, you can field a reasonable squad, even without taking any -4s.
I suppose someone out there could make a good justification for playing the chip this weekend, but for most of us, we should hold onto it.
That leaves two other options: Gameweek 31, or whenever all those matches from Gameweek 31 are rescheduled.
With only 8 (or 10) clubs in action for Gameweek 31, we know that your options for fielding a squad will be limited. If you happen to have enough players to field a squad (with minimal -4 transfers required), you may not need to play it during GW31.
Most FPL players, however, will need to. Which is okay! This is the scenario for which the Free Hit chip was created!
Alternative Free Hit Option
The alternative is to take the hit in GW31 but minimize it as much as possible. Meanwhile, you save the Free Hit chip for when those double gameweeks are going to occur. At some point soon, we will know who will have double gameweeks and when these GW31 matches are rescheduled.
Some FPL owners like to save the Free Hit for when they can maximize double gameweeks. It’s an interesting alternative, but we — and other experts out there — have written about the danger of the allure of the double gameweek before.
So when should you play the Free Hit? Probably not this coming weekend (GW27). Conventional wisdom says to play it during GW31, but keep an eye on when those gameweek’s matches are rescheduled. You might find an alternative GW that works even better.