This week’s Fantasy Premier League tips focus on the precious wildcard. If well-timed, the wildcard can be an opportunity to make huge strides with your side as you yearn to climb the rankings. It is a tense feeling, that moment in the transfer section of the game when you click “Play wildcard” and open Pandora’s Box. One could play their wildcard at any moment in time, but perhaps you should have a plan as to when to open that box.
Here are the seven scenarios of when you should consider using your wildcard, and why:
1.) After Gameweek 1 - This scenario has already passed us by this season but the premise is simple: You had an abysmal first gameweek. All of your selections look wrong, while everyone else racked up the points. This is usually not a good idea. Unless you have really been beaten with the unlucky stick, stand your ground. Your selections may not have paid off week 1, but unless you have a situation where you don’t think you can start a complete XI in Gameweek 2 due to injuries or players not starting, give your current team a longer look.
2.) After the Transfer Window Closes/International Break - This is the earliest time where I think there is a legitimate reason to play your wildcard. You’ve had a few gameweeks to scrutinize your squad. It is clear it’s not going in the direction you want it to. Heading into Gameweek 4, there is a two week gap between Premier League fixtures. It is also the period when the summer transfer window closes. Playing your wildcard here will allow you to take advantage of late player movement– sometimes a player who looks not worthy of investment on one club can turn into a bargain in their new environment. Also, a two week period for transfers to be made within the fantasy game creates a greater chance of earning team value by bringing in players who are rising in price as there is more transfer movement.
3.) The Holiday Season - In December, the Premier League schedule gets quite busy, resulting in stretches where clubs are playing 3 matches in seven or eight days. This period is when the real-life managers will rotate their starters out more frequently for sake of rest, making it ever so hard to put out a fantasy XI where all your desired starters are starting every match. One could conceivably create a wildcard team geared toward this period of the schedule, drafting in players based on guaranteed pitch time. While using your wildcard to take advantage of this is admirable in its intention, I find this strategy a little too clever for its own good.
4.) Saved for Double Gameweeks - This is probably the most popular strategy in the veteran FPL community. Without fail, there will be fixtures moved around because of Cup commitments or inclement weather. When the rescheduled fixtures are announced, this creates double gameweeks. You can stockpile a starting XI playing 22 matches if you choose wisely and have a gigantic points haul that can take your Fantasy Premier League team from grinding it out in the rankings to shooting way up the leaderboard.
5.) Double Down with January Wildcard - While option 4 is my most recommended, if it can be done in January in congruence with option 5 here, then you can really hit the jackpot. We are all given a second wildcard to use, but only for the month of January, to aid managers who may be severely crippled by player movement in the January transfer window. You can organize the playing of both of your wildcards so that you can have a really strong team for the entire month. The only downside is, it feels a bit of a waste if the first of your two wildcards still looks good when you plan to play your second.
6.) Destroy your Rival - If you have patiently held your wildcard through January and the FPL season begins to dwindle, what better reason to play it than to punish your rivals in standard and head-to-head leagues? If you have a friend or opponent that you just want nothing better to do than beat, use that wildcard with brute force. This is especially entertaining in a head-to-head league scenario where your opponent may glance at your previous week’s team, thinking he or she has an idea what they are in for, only to be blindsided by a FPL smackdown.
7.) In Case of Emergency - Hey, just hold on to it until a disaster occurs. It could be gameweek 6, 26 or 36. Inevitably, every FPL manager will face a crisis of some sort with their squad. Two starters injured, another suspended for 3 matches, another dropped from the XI the week prior, another just hasn’t done diddly-squat in four Gameweeks and you are fed up. Well, here’s a chance to right the ship and start from scratch. It’s your ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. Everybody deserves a second chance, don’t they?
May your arrows be green.
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