In this article, I’ll outline the fixtures that point to an early wildcard for Gameweek 6 in FPL this season. I’ll also provide a little look at how my wildcard went last year, and give a short summary of why I think I might adopt the strategy to activate my WC in GW6 this time around.
Whilst Nick and I were planning both our fixtures and our prices podcasts, we quickly identified that, after GW5, fixtures suddenly turned noticeably more favourable for 4 of the top 7 sides last season: Arsenal, Spurs (GW6-8 at least), Everton, and Manchester City:
Manchester United, another of last season’s top 7, have also been slated as having the strongest set of opening fixtures:
(nb these screenshots are from our season ticker, which we haven’t published as of yet as there are many others readily available which are very similar.)
We thought if you built a side with a core of players from these teams, it would form the spine of a new team that would be well equipped for the fixtures to come as the swing happens.
This would likely mean activating the wildcard at this point, with the “GW6ers” having a mixed early schedule. Some, like Everton and even Arsenal (our “UEL2”) are going unrepresented in teams currently due to that. However, their players will certainly be assets that we’ll want to bring in come GW6 with those fixtures. We may have one City player and one or two Spurs, coupled with our United mainstays (for me, Kaku, currently 47% owned (!), is a must plus maybe a defender) from the outset, but we are definitely presented in GW6 with an early opportunity for an overhaul.
Put simply, it could be time for a GW6 wildcard!
What I did last year
Hello, I’m Tom, and I’m an early wildcarder.
I essentially use the wildcard early every year as a course correction tool whilst giving me a little boost both in my OR and ML, with my squad well set up (following the rejig) for upcoming weeks. It’s also just the tonic if you have had a multitude of poor Gameweeks.
Additionally, the start of the season is, in my view, a good time to take some punts on players who have decent underlying stats in the hope that they will be a breakout differential for you. I think that in this period we’re looking at players and changing our teams frenetically to try to jump onto emerging key assets showing form, alongside teams with an upcoming kind run of fixtures.
This was certainly the case for me last year, looking at my GW5 squad (prior to me pulling my WC – coincidentally when I might pull it this year but unplanned):
Some key points here:
- Morgan, Shaw and Stones owned from GW1 – looked bargains at the time!
- Redmond and Gray also owned from GW1 – 1 good Gameweek each
- Remember what I was saying about punting on players with good underlying stats? That’s why Mirallas is in there… honest
- Iheanacho was in as I’d bought Zaza (I actually did, allured by my Football Manager related love for him) who obviously needed to go, and was starting for a Kunless City v BOU.
After this Gameweek, I remember thinking it was time to wildcard.. This was probably due to a culmination of factors: I was down in the doldrums after a few awful weeks (841k in GW4! Not good), early punts failing to fire (I’d completely ignored Capoue as well, who had just scored his 5th in a row) and my defence was a mess. Eriksen not starting compounded matters.
So I pulled the Wildcard to rejig – here’s pre and post side by side
I do have my transfers made screens too but they are long. I love a tinker. But here’s what I did:
Retained: Sanchez and Amat. Go on, Jordi lad!
I shuffled the remaining 13 players; 87% of the side.
Heaton OUT Pickford IN
Robinson OUT Jaku IN.
- I was reeled in by the 4.0/4.0 ‘keeper combo I remember, making me drop Heaton to invest more up top. Still not sure if this was the right call or not to this day!
Premium: Shaw OUT Walker IN
- Couldn’t ignore him anymore, was an idiot not to get him in at 5.5. Tripper not leaving this year!
Mid-range: Stones and Morgan OUT Lovren and Williams IN
Budget: Fernandez OUT Lenihan IN
- Think Lenihan was the only sub 4.0 defender at the time! Amat was playing so he became my “4th” defender and enabler-in-chief, allowing me a spare 0.5 and squeeze out an extra 0.1 by owning 3.9 Leni
Premium: Hazard OUT Firmino IN
- I had no Liverpool and Bobby was beginning to be deployed as the no.9 by Klopp. I needed one to compete with Coutinho, who I’d missed completely. Firmino scored me a good enough 54 points over the next 11 Gameweeks – a satisfactory 4.91 per game – including 15 points in GW11 in the 6-1 thrashing of Watford.
Mid range: Eriksen OUT Antonio IN; Mirallas OUT Capoue IN
- Antonio turned out to be a total mistake; four blanks saw his removal in GW10. I did reinclude him from GW16-26, though, when he got me 4.90ppg, including three assists (15 points) on GW21.
- Capoue’s 1 goal per game output I’d avoided, but I finally succumbed in GW6… the week he, obviously, dried up. However, I cottoned on to the “enabler” strategy using him as my 4th midfielder to get more valuable assets elsewhere by that point.
Budget: Redmond OUT Fletcher IN
- My love of Darren Fletcher is well documented.
Gray OUT Lukaku IN
Iheanacho OUT Kun IN
Ibra OUT Costa IN
- Now does it suddenly make sense why I was scraping the Mo Barrow elsewhere? This would be my front 3 until Kane emerged from his August hibernation; I’m actively considering Kun Kaku Kane this year as a result as I do love a good power forward line.
I think, looking at the front 3 achieved with an acceptable balance in my side, the wildcard side I created was pretty decent. I got the “bounce” that I wanted from it, too, bumping up the rankings after a poor start:
Not a bad wildcard, really, moving me from 571k to 62k in 6 Gameweeks. I’ll compare it to the impact of my actual wildcard this year later in the season.
First time planning
This year, it’s a bit different because I’ll actively work toward the early wildcard, with the new squad out at GW6.
The fixtures are very nice indeed for the four big teams stated, whilst we also retain United assets that would have risen in value, plus perhaps those in form (which I can’t predict currently) if “this year’s Mahrez” emerges from the off.
Looking at last years Gameweeks 1-4, I started really poorly, and I can’t ever remember starting well in all the 4 seasons I’ve played FPL seriously (I stupidly kept the same account that I used when my flatmate Sam and I messed around trying to get the high score each week at uni, so some pretty interesting finishes prior to 2013-14!). This suggests I need a little time to settle in to each new season, and therefore deploying the early wildcard at around GW6 certainly makes sense as it seems to help mitigate against the weaknesses in my haphazard early season playstyle.
I like it in terms of team composition as well, as this will allow you a team with perhaps 1-2 players from United Everton Arsenal City and Spurs, plus 5-6 other spare slots for things like your differential that caught fire or Amatish enablers. If you’ve played the markets well, you could squeeze quite some team together to take full advantage of this strategy: we’ll be keeping tabs on the market all season long and will let you know how we’re viewing the race for value as the early weeks pan out.
I’m also sure we’ll be firing out some suggestions on social media and the forums for GW6 WC sides when the identity of these assets becomes more predictable.
All in all, I think , with a chance to refresh and course correct for the upcoming round of fixtures likely to provide me with a vital early season bounce, a wildcard at this point is looking highly likely (especially if I start poorly again).
If this sounds familiar to you, it might be worth having a look at those fixtures again too and seeing what you reckon.
We’ll keep tabs on this prediction as the early season unfold, but just thought we’d note this theory here for now in the preseason hinterland.