Which Gameweek should I use my Free Hit?

I still have a single Free Hit chip left and, with this article, am going to selfishly write down the pros and cons of using it at different times whilst hoping that it helps you along the way. I’m not going to consider just the popular Gameweek 33 and 36 options but will look at various other options as well.

Gameweek 32

The reason I’m including Gameweek 32 in this list is because Manchester City are about to host Liverpool and there is an opportunity to avoid that fixture completely and target other fixtures. That being said, we have seen many goals in this tie previously.

On average, we’ve seen 3.5 goals a game during the last seven times these teams have met. You would think that the match could be cagey but history says otherwise. Therefore you wouldn’t mind fielding attackers from either team and even their defenders have a significant attacking threat.

If we do want to ignore this fixture, which others stand out to me from an attacking perspective?

  • Everton vs Manchester United
  • Arsenal vs Brighton and Hove Albion
  • Southampton vs Chelsea
  • Watford vs Leeds United
  • Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur

No fixtures jump out to me except the Manchester United tie and they aren’t exactly reliable. A lot of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers already owning Arsenal and Spurs assets – both with decent fixtures on paper – and Chelsea’s match at Southampton is sandwiched between both legs of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid, which could mean a lot of rotation . Keeping these factors in mind, a Gameweek 32 Free Hit doesn’t appeal too much to me.

Gameweek 33

We already know this is a fairly big Double Gameweek. The fixture pairs you’d normally pick players from are from the following teams:

  • Manchester United (NOR, liv)
  • Leicester City (new, eve)
  • Newcastle United (LEI, CRY)
  • Arsenal (sou, che)
  • Burnley (whu, SOU)

Now, whilst I previously thought that this isn’t a very convincing set of fixtures, getting attackers from Manchester United and Newcastle United – whose sole focus is going to be on the league – could be a decent bet. The problem with the Magpies is that there aren’t many good attackers to target.

Their defensive stats have improved a lot (let’s chalk Sunday’s defeat down to a bad day at the office for now) but the opposition they face do like to score goals. That said, the chances for a Newcastle clean sheet against Crystal Palace are fairly decent, so you could go there. Sprinkle an Arsenal attacker and defender alongside some Leicester City punts and you could field a solid team who most of the field doesn’t own.

However, Leicester play this game after their second European leg against PSV Eindhoven and the result of that tie might decide how much they prioritise the league. The problem is what the rest of the field does own.

A lot of FPL managers are likely to already have a healthy component of Arsenal assets and a player or two from Burnley and/or Leicester. In addition, you’d expect the rest to own players from these four fixtures:

  • Tottenham vs Brighton
  • Liverpool vs Manchester United
  • Manchester City vs Brighton and Hove Albion

On paper, Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester City have good-looking single matches. Because of this, I personally have no qualms fielding players from these teams, despite them having no double, and you might opt ​​for a few of these players on a Gameweek 33 Free Hit anyway.

That said, I do think using a Free Hit here is a decent option and, if one or two of the doublers do find some form in the next two Gameweeks, I’d be more open to it than previously. My current thinking is to have a fluid approach towards this chip but, right now, I’m more likely to not Free Hit in Gameweek 33.

Before we look any further, I just want to put this chart here from Legomane, which predicts the rounds beyond Gameweek 34. Please note that this is just a prediction and things could easily change.

Gameweek 34

Let’s quickly look at a Free Hit in Gameweek 34 because there is a small chance that Leeds v Chelsea and/or Burnley v Aston Villa could get added to either Gameweek 34 or 35.

If it’s the first option, this is what we’re looking at in terms of potential doubles:

  • Chelsea (WHU, lee)
  • Leeds United (cpl, CHE)
  • Aston Villa (lei, BUR)
  • Burnley (WOL, avl)

They do look fairly enticing if all four fall this way and there is a solid temptation to go heavy on Chelsea if they get this – especially as a double would mean they are out of the Champions League. Given Leeds United’s recent results, I wouldn’t mind getting an attacker or two from them and, despite Aston Villa’s dip in form, I’d still probably go there. A lot of that team’s balance is dependent on Marvelous Nakamba (£4.4m), who is expected to be fit very soon.

  • Norwich City vs Newcastle United
  • Liverpool vs Everton
  • Manchester City vs Watford
  • Brentford vs Tottenham Hotspur

Newcastle assets could be highly-owned if people buy them for Double Gameweek 33. Ideally, you would already have several Liverpool and Manchester City players heading into Gameweek 36 but these prime home games where we can cherry-pick their players based on rotation predictions might be worth a go.

You’ll probably have players from Spurs anyway, whilst even Arsenal’s home game against Manchester United isn’t a particularly tough fixture these days.

I would not rule out a Free Hit if the two fixtures get added to Gameweek 34 but my thinking is that it’s also a good week to take a few hits and load up on assets from City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Those who will Free Hit in Gameweek 36 don’t need to go heavy on hits.

Gameweek 35

Those two aforementioned fixtures could fall into Gameweek 35 instead. This would lead to the following doubles:

  • Chelsea (eve, lee)
  • Leeds United (MCI, CHE)
  • Aston Villa (NOR, BUR)
  • Burnley (wat, avl)

Leeds become a no-go with this pair but the fixtures for the other three look very positive. If this does happen, I’d very strongly consider a Free Hit in this week given the above double-headers. The problem is that you’d want to use transfers to build a good Gameweek 36 team as well, given that a lot of big teams will likely play twice. So, depending on your own team (I know, I know), you should make the call – but these potential doubles look like an exciting prospect.

  • Manchester United vs Brentford
  • Leeds United vs Manchester City
  • Tottenham vs Leicester City
  • West Ham vs Arsenal
  • Newcastle United vs Liverpool

Out of the non-highly owned assets, Manchester United do have an interesting home game but, again, the players from popular teams also have good fixtures. I still reiterate that cherry-picking assets from these clubs due to expected rotation is still important. I quite like the look of a Free Hit in Gameweek 35 with these two added fixtures

Gameweek 36

This is where I presume I’m going to be using my Free Hit chip. The predicted doubles are below:

Some key pointers in Gameweek 36 are that we will know the status of the title race, the fight for fourth and relegation. Based on how these pan out, we can make decisions based on expected motivation levels. There could be a situation where a big team will prioritise Europe over the league.

The argument is that we are all probably building towards a Gameweek 36 team anyway, since the best teams and FPL assets – namely from Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal – all look set to have a Double Gameweek 36.

Even if it leads to you having just three or four players different from your original team, the caliber of players is such that if you catch hauls from even one of two of these premium players, it could be worth 30-40 points alone. The Spurs factor is also pretty big, since most of us are heavy on the Lilywhites and they have the least attractive potential double.

Removing money from expensive Spurs assets and investing that cash into Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea might be worth its weight in gold here. Crystal Palace also have a very attractive double and they have a lot of budget enablers that could help build a solid Free Hit team.

A lot of managers who will Wildcard in Gameweek 34 are likely going to Bench Boost in Gameweek 36. It might be worth having a strong chip to counter the potential gains made by this. One other factor is that, by not having to worry about this round, you are probably taking fewer hits in the run-up to Gameweek 36.

The argument against Free Hit in Gameweek 36 is mainly that we are buying players from these good teams with our free transfers anyway and might just be three or four players short from an ideal team but, in my opinion, it will still be worth it if those players are high-impact picks. It remains my favorite week to Free Hit, despite having a ‘fluid’ attitude towards the chip.

Gameweek 37

There is a small chance Manchester City have their double in Gameweek 37 rather than Gameweek 36. Furthermore, there are other fixtures that may create a Double Gameweek 37. This is how potential doubles look:

  • Manchester City (wol, whu)
  • Leicester City (wat, NOR)
  • Everton (BRE, wat)
  • Wolves (NOR, MCI)
  • Norwich (wol, lei)
  • Watford (LEI, EVE)

This is a so-so double because my presumption is you’re likely already going to own Man City and Leicester players and the other teams just aren’t very reliable.

That said, if you have reached Gameweek 36 with a very strong team in place, you could consider a Free Hit in Gameweek 37. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.5m) do find some form by the time this arrives, it might be worth going there. Yet it still all looks just a little unconvincing.

  • Southampton vs Liverpool
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs Burnley
  • Newcastle United vs Arsenal
  • Manchester United vs Chelsea

It is worth noting that the other popular FPL teams do have good fixtures in Gameweek 37, so it should be easily manageable.

Gameweek 38

The final day of the season is a fun time to play the Free Hit chip, as all games kick off simultaneously and FPL managers have the ability to judge the ‘xBEACH’ status of teams. We historically see a lot of goals in Gameweek 38 and it’s something I’m always open to as a ‘last hurrah’. We could even have some ‘ITK’ news if you’re engaged in the Twitter community but it’s a poisoned chalice, as panic will be caused by the mix of reliable and not so reliable information.

  • Norwich vs Tottenham Hotspur
  • Arsenal vs Everton
  • Chelsea vs Watford
  • Brentford vs Leeds United
  • Leicester City vs Southampton
  • Manchester City vs Aston Villa
  • Liverpool vs Wolfs

There are a lot of ‘fun’ games here, which might justify the chip. That said, all the five ‘good’ teams have nice-looking fixtures in Gameweek 38 so it might come down to which teams do and don’t have something to play for.

The idea of ​​this article is to just scan through all the Free Hit opportunities and do a thought-dump, of sorts. I really enjoyed penning it and it’s actually given me a clear view of the fixtures to target for the run-in, plus the Gameweeks to consider for a Free Hit. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I will have invariably missed out on a few pointers, so please do let me know. One thing I have learned while penning this article is that no matter what you do, it is always going to be a good idea to add Manchester City, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal players to your team. If Chelsea and Leicester exit European competition, they also become sides to target for the final stretch of the season.

Good luck in Gameweek 32. Until next time!

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