When are the best FPL Gameweeks to play the first Wildcard?

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Here, Burning Questions co-host Pras looks at windows for the first Wildcard.


I think I speak for everyone when I say, I can’t wait for the deadline on Friday! All pre-season friendly information has been processed, 2021/22 data has been applied and all permutations have been considered. But wait, have they? I have seen a lot of managers confidently say that given the Gameweek 16 unlimited transfers, they will be aggressive this season, and go for an “early Wildcard”. But there is no consensus of what “early” means. I have heard suggestions of Gameweeks 4-5 ahead of the beginning of midweek fixtures. Some say they want to wait for the transfer window to close, which is pre-Gameweek 6. Others have been suggesting the international break before Gameweek 9. Many prefer a freestyle approach.

I am all for the latter freestyle mindset and to use the Wildcard when there are enough problems in my team. However, I do still think one should know the pros and of cons each window and to take that into account when pulling the trigger. More importantly, potentially have a base case window in mind and take that into account in building your Gameweek 1 team. I will try to make the case for one Gameweek in particular.

For each key window, I will discuss the top and bottom five teams on the Season Ticker leading up to that week to take into account your optimal Gameweek 1 set-up. I also look at the top and bottom five teams on the Wildcard (ie from the Wildcard week until Gameweek 16) to assess who it is you are targeting with the chip. I’ll then talk about a few things that stand out, such as fixture swings, pros/cons and strategy.

Before we dive in, I should note that Sonaldo and I discussed this topic in great detail on the Burning Questions video this week. I would encourage you to check that out, if this topic is of further interest:

Also, I have shared below the excellent Legomane‘s calendar to reference the fixtures before and after each window.

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Gameweek 3 Wildcard – The ultra-aggressive Wildcard

There are always a few mavericks who chose a very early Wildcard route and maybe even Bench Boost in Gameweek 1. I think the Chelsea v Spurs game in Gameweek 2 presents a good opportunity to do this. One could target a ‘threemium’ draft – eg. Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Harry Kane (£11.5m) Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m) – with fillers from Man Utd, Newcastle, Villa and Wolves. Then switch the Spurs player for another City player ahead of Bournemouth (H). After the Wildcard, you can more confidently pick the Chelsea and Spurs players to complement the Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal assets.

Pros:

  • Maximize big hitters initially – then pick the right ones with some more information
  • Price rises

Cons:

  • Not enough season info/underlying data
  • Transfer window still open

Gameweek 5 Wildcard – The midweek free Wildcard

There is a line of thinking that, once the midweek fixtures commence, which is after Gamweek 4, the rotation for the top teams begins. So why not maximize that by filling up on the best five clubs and then assess thereafter? I was surprised to note however that from Gameweeks 5-16, Spurs, Arsenal and Man Utd are bottom of the ticker if you Wildcarded in this window.

Pros:

  • Since the good teams still have great fixtures, this could involve a reshuffle between them eg. Robbo vs Diaz vs Nunez, Grealish vs Dias vs Foden, Threemium vs Twomium
  • Get on Leicester, Palace early if they are looking good

Cons:

  • Not enough season info/underlying data
  • Unclear what the wildcard is for: Arsenal, Liverpool still with good short-term fixtures
  • Short window to wildcard: Gameweek 5 is during a midweek
  • Transfer window still open

Gameweek 6 Wildcard – The post-transfer window wildcard

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