The week in Fantasy Premier League: When’s the right time to use your wildcard?

The suspension of that naughty Sergio Aguero has seen many Fantasy Premier League managers pull the trigger and play their wildcard. But is it wise to use it so early on?

It all seemed so easy - captain Aguero and chill. But a blank against West Ham followed by a two-game ban changed everything. 

Faced with the unpalatable prospect of watching a £13.1m player on their bench for two weeks, more than half a million FPL managers immediately shipped the Argentine talisman out.

Then, with all that loose change knocking about, few could resist the temptation to rip up their teamsheet and gleefully splurge to their heart’s content. But...

Was I right to play my wildcard so early?

Some players resist playing their wildcard early in the season because it looks or feels like an admission of failure, but that simply isn’t the case (especially now that there’s two!). Gameweek 2 was the most popular time for last season’s top FPL managers to play their first wildcard.

 

Wildcarding early also helps you gain an advantage by building a superior team value for the rest of the season. It’s not unheard of for some shrewd FPL managers to see the value of their squad soar by £1m over a single gameweek!

Oops... so should I play my wildcard now?

Absolutely not. There’s no real right or wrong Gameweek to play your wildcard, but there are wrong times of the week to play it.

If you activate your wildcard late in this, or any Gameweek, you’ll miss out on most of those crucial price rises.

But don’t worry - your wildcarding mates might be lording it over you with their shiny new teams come Saturday, but it’s a strategy that brings its own set of problems right along with it.

Reasons to be cheerful if you HAVEN’T played your wildcard this week

There’s some dodgy transfer targets about: The prospects of some the most transferred-in players during this week in particular are questionable, to put it kindly.

Those seduced by cut-price players like Holgate (EVE, 4.6m), Jakupovic (HUL, 4.1m), Pickford (SUN, 4.0m) and Kingsley (SWA 4.1m) could easily be greeted by the horrifying sight of their new recruits languishing on the benches of their respective clubs as soon as tomorrow.

 Move over Mason Holgate, Seamus Coleman is back.
Move over Mason Holgate, Seamus Coleman is back.

You can take the long view: Such a massive volume of transfer activity has also seen managers take a needlessly short-term view. Some players like Stones (MCI, 5.0) and Redmond (SOU, 6.1) could be season-keepers, but their lack of points last week have seen many give them their marching orders already.

John Stones has had a slow start, but he’s still a Man City defender for £5.0m.
John Stones has had a slow start, but he’s still a Man City defender for £5.0m.

We’re still not sure how teams will line up: The wildcarders have had their pick of transfer deadline day signings, but we won’t really know how they’ll fit in at their new clubs for a few weeks yet.

Will Lucas Perez do the business at Arsenal?
Will Lucas Perez do the business at Arsenal?

You still have that wildcard: If an injury crisis hits or the weather forces a bumper December Double Gameweek you’ll be glad you kept your powder dry. But remember - use it or lose it by the GW 19 deadline.

So who should I bring in this week?

The international break gave us plenty to ponder. Rashford, Silva, Costa and Lukaku all scored twice, whilst Arnautovic, Giroud, Tadic and our own Jeff Hendrick were on the scoresheet too.

In defense, Baines (EVE, 5.5m) has great fixtures and could post some big scores if he retains penalties. Craig Dawson (WBA, 5.0) will attract an army of suitors once he scores, which will happen any day now.

In midfield, Sterling (MCI, 8.2m) is popular, and although many don’t trust him, his stats can’t be ignored. His 34 touches inside the box and 26.8% goal conversion rate betters any big hitter you care to mention.

Given their comfortable run of upcoming fixtures, managers without Arsenal coverage could be in for a nervous few weeks. Alexis Sanchez is a nailed-on pick, but Cazorla (ARS, 7.6m) is an intriguing option for those on a more modest budget.

Up front, it’s a tough task to fill that Aguero-shaped hole. Costa (CHE, 9.7m) is an obvious choice, despite his aversion to bonus points, but Christian Benteke could be an absolute steal at £7.4m.

Quick Tip

The week in Fantasy Premier League: When’s the right time to use your wildcard?

Sergio Aguero will be back in GW6, and facing a leaky Swansea defence, no less. If you’ve sold him, you may need a gameplan to bring him back in.

BUY

Michail Antonio (WHAM, 7.0m): The arrival of Álvaro Arbeloa should finally see an end to the doomed experiment that was Michail Antonio as a right back. Now that the shackles are off, the return of Payet’s creativity, the prospect of England duty and some tasty fixtures should mean fantasy points galore.

TRY

The week in Fantasy Premier League: When’s the right time to use your wildcard?

Jason Puncheon (CRY, 5.5m): The Palace man tops the entire FPL for successful crosses so far this season, and created more chances than any player in GW3. There’s surely few better than Benteke to start converting them into points.

 

GOODBYE

The week in Fantasy Premier League: When’s the right time to use your wildcard?

Riyad Mahrez (LEI, 9.5m): It’s just not the same, is it? Thrilling on his day, but with the Champions League rotation and a reshuffling of the Leicester attack on the horizon, it just feels like that chunky £9.5m could be put to better use.

Top of the League

A solid 51 points in GW3 kept Gerard Hogan’s charges at the top of the Official Irish Examiner League (join code: 251768-521616) once again this week. ‘Ibraguero’, Mahrez and Negredo let him down,  but lesser lights such as Valencia, Lamela and Jagielka really stepped up. Luck or good judgement? Time will tell.


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