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Rate My Team: FPL GW38+ Free Hit Chip Edition

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It’s the final game week, and I’ve got one chip left in my pocket. Time to toss it in play and build the perfect team!

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva - Manchester City - Premier League
Is this the right Sky Blue trio for my team?
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The approach of the final EPL game week is a wonderful time for reflection as we look back and ponder what we did well and where we could have done better. I’m enjoying my best-ever FPL season (fifth try’s the charm!), so thankfully there’s a lot more of the former than the latter, but of course I’ve made more than my fair share of mis-steps. On the positive side, one thing that stands out is that I have been able to make enormous inroads climbing up the ranks in the latter part of the season, and most of the credit in that regard comes from my savvy (and fortuitous) second half chip play.

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LOOKING BACK AT MY SECOND HALF CHIP PLAY

We are each given five chips to use over the course of the season, and up to four of them can be played in the second half of the campaign for those patient enough to hold off for optimal reward. Through the first 19 game weeks, I had amassed 1,109 points with a global rank of # 78,116. In the second half, it has taken a lot of work (and plenty of luck) to forge up to where I currently stand at 2,334 points and a worldwide position of # 2,243 before Sunday’s finish.

Using the triple captain chip on Mo Salah in game week 24 when Liverpool headlined a mini-double was a no-brainer (though I feel tremendous sympathy for those who used it on Sadio Mane who went out injured during the first contest). When the restart came, since I had already used my treble armband, I adopted what seemed like a commonsense strategy. I used the restart’s unlimited free transfers to load up on the maximum of 12 double game week players in GW30+ while using my bench boost chip, and then I played my second half wildcard in GW31+ to rid myself of unwanted assets and craft the ideal squad for the end run. My second half chip results:

DGW24 (Triple Captain): 96 points, including a 16 point boost for triple captain Mo Salah.

[that moved me from # 89,838 before the week up to # 28,721 after]

DGW30+ (Bench Boost): 130 points, including a 27 point bump from my bench.

[moved from # 21,047 up to # 6,572]

GW31+ (2nd half Wildcard): 84 points

[moved from # 6,572 up to # 5,944]

Since then I’ve moved up a tad further, and now of course there remains a bit more work to be done with my remaining chip!

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RECONSIDERING MY FREE HIT CHIP STRATEGY

I didn’t know for certain when I would use my free hit chip, but at the restart, I reckoned that I would probably wait until the GW38+ finisher to put my final chip into play. At GW33+ that idea was further cemented when I used my two free transfers to add a pair of Manchester United players, leaving me with seven starters who faced daunting match-ups in GW38+:

  • Danny Ings (Southampton v. Sheffield United)
  • Raul Jimenez, Matt Doherty and Rui Patricio (Wolves at Chelsea), and
  • Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka; AWB has since changed to Mason Greenwood as part of a double switch (Manchester United at Leicester)

(Of course, Leicester has hit a rough patch now, changing the view toward that fixture regarding Manchester United assets.) As the season progressed (rapidly) from GW34+ through GW37+, another reason I held onto the free hit was that I felt I had a pretty strong team, while thankfully avoiding a tangle of catastrophic events. Sure, I’ve constantly been worried about rotation here and there from stars such as Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah, but I haven’t suffered a rash of injuries/suspensions/permanent benchings/descents into poor form to trigger the necessary use of the chip.

However, I do wonder if I should have been less cautious after all. In my immediate post-wildcard game weeks, I averaged 75 points from GW32+ through GW34+ (69, 67, and 89), but since then my team’s output has dipped to a mean of 64 points in GW35+ through GW37+ (54, 53 and 84). Should I have played the free hit a bit earlier?

Hindsight is 20/20, but I may have gotten it wrong by holding onto my free hit chip too long. Many fantasy managers adroitly implemented the strategy of playing their free hit in recent weeks when sides not fully represented in their teams enjoyed extremely favorable match-ups. If they chose the right players, and captained the most prosperous one, they hit pay dirt big time. Here’s how I scored in the recent trio of game weeks, and some star players I failed to profit from adding in:

GW35+: I scored 54 points while missing out on:

GW36+: I scored 53 points while missing out on:

  • David Silva 13 points (Manchester City v. Bournemouth)
  • Harry Kane 12 points (Tottenham at Newcastle)
  • Cesar Azpilicueta 9 points (Chelsea v. Norwich City)

GW37+: I scored 84 points while missing out on:

  • Raheem Sterling 17 points (Manchester City at Watford)
  • Harry Kane 13 points (Tottenham v. Leicester City)
  • Aymeric Laporte 12 points (Man City at Watford)

I don’t expect that I would have done better using the chip in GW37+, but it looks like I should have in GW35+ or GW36+. On the other hand, I may have just as well been extremely fortunate that I kept my original plan. If I did use my free hit chip one of those weeks, would I have picked the right players, and would I have chosen the right captain? Maybe, but maybe not.

Looking at my Fantrax NMA XI team (which features unlimited transfers, unlike FPL), I only selected one player from that list above, Azpi in GW36+. For the most part I did target the stand-out match-ups, I just didn’t select the right players. Instead, I ended up picking around the points. When Michail Antonio exploded in GW35+, I went with West Ham teammate Jarrod Bowen. When David Silva enjoyed a big day in GW36+, I targeted Gabriel Jesus instead. When Raheem Sterling went off in GW37+, I kept Gabriel Jesus who tanked and David Silva who was glued to the bench after (unexpectedly to me at least) starting the FA Cup semifinal.

So it’s far from a slam dunk that I would have actually profited from playing my free hit chip the past few weeks. I’ll take the charitable view and say maybe I’m better off having kept it for now. Of course, can I pick the right players when it matters here? Let’s hope so!

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THE STARTING POINT

Now that I’ve saved the free hit chip for use in the finale, it’s time to try and keep up my savvy second half booster use. This was my team at the finish of GW37+:

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CONSIDERATIONS WHEN PICKING MY GW38 TEAM

That’s a pretty good team, but there are plenty of players who can get the heave-ho in my search for improvement. Now whom should I choose among for GW38+?

THE TEAMS I’M TARGETING

There is no shortage of teams with favorable match-ups when it comes to targeting players, though of course some seem better bets than others. Still, with such a beautiful bevy of attractive options, it’s going to be tricky trying to pick out the absolute essentials.

Manchester City (v. Norwich City)

Neither team has anything to play for per se, but the Sky Blues will want to use this as a tune-up for their Champions League affair with Real Madrid on August 7. Given the mouth-watering match-up, I want the maximum of three Manchester City players. The Sky Blues should keep a clean sheet, but I don’t want to pay dearly for Ederson (£6.0m) or any of the defenders when I can get almost as good of a chance at a clean sheet elsewhere for cheaper, especially when that would also cost me a valuable attacking slot. Although I do like the affordability of Eric Garcia (£4.5m), central defender could be even more dicey than attack in terms of rotation risk with five players — Garcia, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones — as possibilities to pair for the two spots.

I’d rather go with three Citizens’ attackers than only two on offense and one on defense. I expect Ederson and any of the defenders to deliver 6 points. I’m hoping that at least two of the three City attackers can go big, hopefully double digits; I don’t know if I’ll pick wisely, but say I miss on one, it’s better to hit on two of three in attack than only one of two. Yes I’m wary as always of Pep roulette on offense as well as defense, but at home against Norwich City, I’ve got to take the chance. Manchester City has scored 97 goals, by far the most in the league, while Norwich has allowed an EPL-worst 70. Nothing has changed since the restart, as the Sky Blues have scored 27 goals in that time while the Canaries have conceded 18. This could — and should — get very ugly, very quickly.

I’m choosing among five attackers — forward Gabriel Jesus (£9.9m) and midfielders Raheem Sterling (£11.9m), Kevin De Bruyne (I’m holding him at a sell price of £10.1m), Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) and David Silva (£8.4m) for three spots in my team.

Liverpool (at Newcastle)

Jurgen Klopp’s dream of EPL immortality may be gone, but the league title is theirs. Following a sluggish finish, the Reds will desperately want to go into next season with momentum. This is technically an away game, but there will be no devoted Geordies rooting on the home side at St. James’ Park. Looking at overall goal differential, this is a glaring mismatch: +50 for Liverpool versus -18 for Newcastle.

I’m mulling over the standard set of ‘Pool favorites: defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (holding at £7.3m) along with midfielders Mo Salah (£12.5m) and Sadio Mane (£12.2m). TAA got his mojo back with a goal and a helper against Chelsea, reinforcing his status as the best double threat defender in the game, and now he comes with a plus match-up. Salah has failed to convert chance after chance after chance these past three games, but with an outside shot at the Golden Boot he won’t want to go into the offseason having failed in four. Mane has disappointed a bit with three goals and one assist since the restart, but is always a threat to go big. Picking between the two “midfielders” is never a slam dunk as Salah has the advantage of being on PK duty, while Mane is the Reds’ best pure scorer.

Tottenham (at Crystal Palace)

Tussling for a Europa League spot, the Lilywhites are unbeaten in their last five EPL games, with four wins and a draw, outscoring the opposition 9-2 in that span. The Eagles, on the other hand, have lost seven straight with a 17-2 deficit over that time and seem as if they left on vacation long ago. I’m choosing among the usual Spurs’ suspects: forward Harry Kane (£10.9), midfielder Son-Heung Min (£9.7m) and defender Serge Aurier (holding at £5.0m). After posting double digit FPL point tallies only twice all season through GW35+, Kane has amazingly done so each of the past two weeks with braces, so to say the Spurs’ talisman is on fire would be an insult to torches. Since the restart, Son boasts two goals along with four assists, while Aurier has one assist and four clean sheets in that time. Which can — and should — I fit in?

Manchester United (at Leicester)

As mentioned, a few weeks ago this looked like a tricky fixture and I most likely would have stayed away from both sides. However, while the Red Devils have been riding high, unbeaten in their last 13 league contests, the Foxes have imploded with only two victories plus three draws and losses apiece since the restart. In the past three games, the Foxes have been outscored 7-3 via an incomprehensible 4-1 defeat at lowly Bournemouth and a 3-0 thrashing at Tottenham, though they did beat the Blades 2-0 at home.

There is plenty riding on this game — a spot in Champions League next season! — but as a result of recent form and circumstance (Caglar Soyuncu is suspended, while Ben Chilwell, Christian Fuchs, James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira, and possibly Marc Albrighton will miss out injured), Leicester will be clear favorites to finish 5th despite being at King Power for the finale.

You are surely familiar with the United stand-outs: midfielders Bruno Fernandes (holding at £8.8m) and Anthony Martial (holding at £8.3m), along with forwards Marcus Rashford (£8.9m) and Mason Greenwood (holding at £4.7m). Affordable wing defender Brandon Williams (£3.8m) could also be enticing, even just to stash on the bench.

Burnley (v. Brighton)

Goalkeeper Nick Pope (£5.1m) leads FPL in scoring at the position, and he’s vying for the Golden Glove, so all focus will be on keeping a tight ship in the Clarets’ defensive end. That makes cut rate defenders Phil Bardsley (£4.4m), Kevin Long (£4.3m) and Erik Pieters (holding at £4.2m) also attractive. I probably have to go with at least one, and may go with two among them.

Everton (v. Bournemouth)

Bournemouth is battling for its EPL life, and while showing plenty of fight lately, has only won once in the past dozen games. The Toffees have kept three clean sheets since the restart, while the Cherries have blanked four times in that period. You’ve got to like the chances for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (£5.2m) along with defenders Lucas Digne (£5.9m) and Jarrad Braithwaite (£4.0m). Midfielder Richarlison (£8.2m) has been the only bright spot in the Everton attack with three goals in the past six games, and Bournemouth has conceded 14 times across their past half dozen affairs.

Arsenal (v. Watford)

The Gunners have looked improved lately under Mikel Arteta, but they’re a bit Jekyll and Hyde. Since the restart they’ve beaten Liverpool and Wolves but lost to Aston Villa and Brighton. Rather than focusing entirely on this match, they’ll likely be looking ahead to the FA Cup final on Saturday, August 1.

While Watford has plenty to play for — avoiding relegation! — the Hornets’ prospects are poor. Watford has beaten only Newcastle and Southampton since the restart, and after sacking yet another manager, are playing under a caretaker skipper again. They’ve been outscored 7-1 in the past two games, both defeats.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (£4.4m) and forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m) are the Gunners’ stand-outs from a fantasy perspective. As for Martinez, he’s kept three clean sheets since the restart, while Watford have also failed to score on three occasions in that time. A hattrick could give PEA a share of the Golden Boot with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, so you know he’ll be firing on all cylinders and his teammates should be teeing Auba up with service.

West Ham United (v. Aston Villa)

Much like Everton v. Bournemouth and Arsenal v. Watford, this looks mighty attractive for the home side on paper but could be dangerous since the away, lower-level team actually has much more to play for (again, avoiding relegation!).

One thing to keep in mind is that while motivation is great, it does not necessarily translate into results. I may be motivated to ask out Emilia Clarke, but it doesn’t mean she’s going to say yes. (Of course, I would never do such a thing because I am very happily married.)

As Aston Villa has suffered four clean sheets since the restart, West Ham defensive assets are attractive such as keeper Lucasz Fabianski (£4.9m) and defender Issa Diop (£4.3m). In attack, it will be extremely tempting to add midfielder Michail Antonio (£7.1m) who has absolutely exploded with eight goals plus an assist since the restart. Enticing further, it appears that he’s taken PK duties from Mark Noble.

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TEAM BUILDING FROM THE EDGES TO THE MIDDLE

My head is absolutely spinning from all of the above options. Instead of focusing entirely on players, maybe it’s best to start building the team from a positional perspective. I’m looking to save money where I don’t feel the need to spend it, in order to have cash on hand to splash on as many players who can go big as possible. There are three positions I can look for advantage in that respect:

Goalkeepers

I don’t see the logic in overpaying for keeper. I could pay up for Manchester City’s Ederson for a near-guaranteed clean sheet. I could go down to the mid-tier such as Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford or Lucasz Fabianski who also have a strong chance at keeping a blank. But for now, I’ll start at the even cheaper end with Emiliano Martinez, or Southampton’s Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) who is another intriguing option around the same price range; the Saints are home at St. Mary’s against goal-shy Sheffield United, and McCarthy has kept seven clean sheets in only 27 appearances. If I have more money left over later, I could move up to someone such as Pope.

Obviously I have the cheapest possible back-up keeper. One of the reasons for my success this season came from rotating keepers Nick Pope and Dean Henderson from the start of the campaign until refashioning my team at the restart, but obviously in the final week there’s no need to waste any money on bench cover at the position.

Defenders

Another way I can save money is reducing the overall cost at the defender position. Not surprisingly, I’m focusing on offense, which means I’m looking at a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2, so I could pick five cheap defenders and really save a huge amount of money for offense. Alternately, I could go with one or two pricey defenders, start one or two cheap defenders, and leave two cheap defenders on the bench. In order to free up money, I’ll do a mix but lean toward mostly affordable defenders. If I have some money left over later, I can add in a more attack-minded defender or two.

Aside from those mentioned above, I see several other cheap defenders who enjoy a good chance at a clean sheet. Let’s start with Brighton’s Dan Burn (£4.5m) and Tariq Lamptey (holding at £4.0m). Would a nil-nil finish between Burnley and Brighton really surprise anybody? Likewise, Southampton v. Sheffield United should struggle for goals, leaving the Saints’ trio of Jannik Vestergaard (£4.5m), Jack Stephens (£4.4m) or Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.4m) attractive choices.

Forwards

Another way of saving money is starting a cheap forward. As mentioned, Mason Greenwood stands out as an excellent option there, allowing me to go up to one expensive striker in a 3-5-2 or two pricey forwards in a 3-4-3. Can I fit in Harry Kane and/or PEA?

Otherwise, should I, and can I, part with Southampton sniper Danny Ings (holding at £6.8m)? He has been a part of my team since GW14, and he’s certainly a big reason for my success with 15 goals and an assist (along with loads of FPL bonus points) since then. The Saints star faces a tough task against Sheffield United, one of the best defenses in the league. But then again, Ings boasts goals this season against Arsenal, Burnley, Chelsea, Everton (twice), Leicester, Liverpool, Tottenham (twice), and Wolves, so it’s not like he’s feasting only on poor back lines. Do I have it in my heart to ruthlessly say goodbye to Ings after all that he’s done for me, or should I be loyal and show faith one last time?

Last But Not Least, Midfielders

The reason I want to save money at the other three positions is because midfield has been the primary driver of points this season, as its superstar members account for the three highest scorers in the FPL game: Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. That’s why I’m working from the outside in, to see how much money I can leave myself in order to stock up with as many stars as possible in the middle of the pitch.

I could load up with a full quintet of stud midfielders, but If I want to go cheap with my fifth midfielder, someone like Daniel Podence (£4.9m, Wolves at Chelsea) could pay off nicely. In the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, the winter transfer displaced Diogo Jota in the XI, playing up at striker alongside Raul Jimenez and scoring the opener. Chelsea is much more difficult competition than Palace, but the Blues’ defense has been their Achilles’ heel. While a tempting option, I still think I’d prefer to go big with five really strong midfielders.

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MY FREE HIT TEAM OPTION #1

With a mind to the strategy described above, this is what I’ve ended up with for my first draft. As for the Manchester City trio of choice, I’ve settled on three midfielders. Sterling is gunning for the 20 goal mark, KDB is trying for the EPL assist record, and Silva will be feted for his grand send-off, so I expect those three to start and share much of the joy.

Regarding Manchester United, I’m prioritizing Fernandes and Greenwood. As for the former, Manchester United leads the league in penalties drawn (13), while Leicester has conceded the most (10); Fernandes is United’s primary PK taker, so it’s impossible to say no to him given this happy marriage of PK stats. It’s not just that, though. Fernandes has scored 106 points in only 13 games (8.15 ppg), which prorates to 310 points in a full season! As for Greenwood, he has been extremely productive with five goals and an assist since the restart, and he’s remarkably cheap. Starting him as my second forward (in a 3-5-2) or third forward (in a 3-4-3) allows me to spend so much more elsewhere.

I’m holding TAA at season-long discount so it would be tough to part with him. Otherwise in the back I’ve got Aurier who is a two-way threat with an enticing match-up, and I can start Pieters for Burnley representation in hoping for a clean sheet. After that, Lamptey and Braithwaite will languish cheaply on the bench.

A front line of Kane, Ings and Greenwood allows me to afford Son as my fifth midfielder with no money left over. Greenwood provides me cover as a strong, cheap-ish #1 bench option in case one of my star players unexpectedly doesn’t play.

Here it is, a well-balanced 3-5-2 team (with Button, Greenwood, Braithwaite and Lamptey on the bench):

But is it worth leaving Greenwood languishing on the bench? If I’ve got such a strong and affordable option, why not start him and use that freed up money to bolster the squad elsewhere? Can I upgrade from Son as my fifth midfielder?

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MY FREE HIT TEAM OPTION #2

So I’m pretty set on my first four midfielders: the Man City trio along with Fernandes. The question revolves around who the fifth midfielder should be. My first draft started in the slightly sub-£10.0m range with Son, who is a high-quality choice. But in doing so, I was forced to drop Salah, who has been an FPL legend these past three seasons. Can I really miss out on having the Egyptian superstar in my side? What do I have to do to be able to afford Mo?

Well, it’s not too tough actually. I just have to drop Ings and go down to Aaron Connolly at the minimum forward price, while also axing one of my two £4.0m defenders for Williams in the real bargain bin at £3.8m. In losing Ings, that pushes Greenwood into the starting line-up, but Ings and Greenwood are really pretty close to a toss-up anyway. It weakens my bench, but in the final game week, I’m hopeful that all of my XI will start, I’m not really counting on depth to come into play, and both of my bench defenders should start with a decent shot at a clean sheet if needed after all.

Here is the team with a serious five-wide focus in midfield, again going 3-5-2 (with Button, Branthwaite, Williams and Connolly on the bench):

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MY FREE HIT TEAM OPTION #3

Then again, with respect to my fifth midfielder, do I really need Salah or Son? Can I make my team better if install the brilliantly in-form Antonio at a much more affordable price and either spread that money around to improve keeper and defense, or target pairing Kane with another lethal striker?

Let’s see, after dropping Salah for Antonio, that leaves me with a whopping £5.4m to play around with. I can upgrade at keeper such as Pope and get another defender with two-way potential such as Digne. That still leaves me loads of money in the bank.

Could I instead try to raise enough cssh to pair Aubameyang and Kane? I go back to Martinez and Pieters, while dropping Greenwood. But I’m still £0.7m short. To get Aubameyang, I have to drop Aurier for a cheaper defender at £4.2m, and there aren’t too many options. I go with Leicester’s Luke Thomas to bury at the end of the bench.

Here’s a team with pretty high-quality midfielders along with a deadly duo at forward while sacrificing strength in defense, yet again picking the 3-5-2 (with Button, Williams, Thomas and Connolly on the bench):

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WHICH VERSION STANDS OUT TO ME AS THE BEST?

Of those three templates, I’ve chosen the second one that features Salah as my final choice in midfield. (Crazy to think Salah would ever be fifth pick!) Why am I so set on Salah? Why not save money with Son and upgrade with Ings at forward while also upgrading my #1 bench spot with Greenwood? Or why not save even more money with Antonio and either upgrade forward with Aubameyang, or upgrade keeper with Pope and defender with Digne?

Because I feel the need of...

GOING WITH AS MANY HUGE HITTERS AS POSSIBLE

Son is a big hitter. Antonio is currently playing like a big hitter. But Salah has demonstrated over the past three seasons that he’s a truly huge hitter, really the single most devastating player in FPL. When I triple captained Salah earlier in the campaign, for that double game week all I was hoping for was one big performance, and following a 2-point dud on the first try, he came through with a brilliant 14-point effort in the second.

Further continuing with the theme of looking back on this season, I’ve taken a gander at my players’ performances in the weeks when I’ve had my best tallies. I have enjoyed seven game weeks where I’ve cracked 75+ points. (Three of those big scores involved the use of second half chips, and my other chip — first half wildcard in GW13 — fell barely short of that mark with 74 points.) In every single one of those seven occasions with 75+ points, multiple players have scored 10+. In four of those weeks, at least three players have done so. In one of those occurrences, four players have scored 10+.

Number of 10+ Point Scorers in My Best Game Weeks (thru GW37+)

GAME WEEK POINTS # PLAYERS SCORING 10+ POINTS
GAME WEEK POINTS # PLAYERS SCORING 10+ POINTS
GW4 80 3
GW19 75 2
GW24 96 3
GW30+ 130 4
GW31+ 84 2
GW34+ 89 2
GW37+ 84 3

[NOTE: The above chart only includes the captain if he originally scored 10+ points before doubling.]

In trying to forge another strong game week playing a chip, the strategy seems simple, right? I want to roll with the heavy hitters who have the best chance of returning 10+ points. For the players I’m targeting for my team, the only player who has delivered double digits at a higher clip than Salah (27%) is Fernandes (38%), who has only played 13 games after coming over in the winter transfer window.

My GW38+ Players’ 10+ Point Scoring Rates Thru GW37+

POS PLAYER GAMES # of 10+ PT GAMES % of 10+ PT GMS
POS PLAYER GAMES # of 10+ PT GAMES % of 10+ PT GMS
MID Fernandes 13 5 38%
MID Salah 33 9 27%
MID De Bruyne 36 9 25%
MID Sterling 32 8 25%
MID D. Silva 26 6 23%
DEF Alexander-Arnold 37 7 19%
FW Kane 28 4 14%
DEF Pieters 23 2 9%
FW Greenwood 30 2 7%
DEF Aurier 32 1 3%
GK Martinez 8 0 0%

[NOTE: The above chart is by game, not by game week, so in a double game week the player’s individual game scores are used.]

As for the players I’m passing on, Son (21%) and Antonio (13%) have each delivered double digit points at a lower rate than any of the five midfielders in my team above who range from 23% to 38%. While Aubameyang (14%) looks like a big improvement on Greenwood (7%), that’s misleading because Greenwood has only been a starter recently; of the games where Greenwood has played 60+ minutes, he’s delivered double digit points on two of 11 occasions (18%) which is actually better than Auba. But like Bruno Fernandes, he has a significantly smaller sample size. Either percentage you use for Greenwood, the Manchester United prodigy is actually about in the same ballpark as Ings, who has been more of a steady churner than a whopping returner.

Regarding defense, Pieters and Digne are also surprisingly fairly comparable. And while Pope is better than Martinez, the Arsenal backstop hasn’t had many chances yet to impress, and I’m not going to fret too much over leaving out a player who’s only 11% likely to go big, especially since Pope has never exceeded 12 points in any week, whereas Salah has cracked 15+ on four occasions with a best of 18 points.

10+ Point Rates thru GW37+ of Players I’m Passing On

POS PLAYER GAMES # of 10+ PT GAMES % of 10+ PT GMS
POS PLAYER GAMES # of 10+ PT GAMES % of 10+ PT GMS
MID Son 29 6 21%
FW Aubameyang 35 5 14%
MID Antonio 24 3 13%
GK Pope 37 4 11%
DEF Digne 34 3 9%
FW Ings 37 3 8%

[NOTE: The above chart is by game, not by game week, so in a double game week the player’s individual game scores are used.]

LOOKING AT MY TEAM FOR GW38+

There’s still plenty of time until the deadline, so I may tinker a bit, but at present I feel pretty good about my team. Naturally, a huge decision will also be whom to captain. As I’ll be mulling it over between Salah, Sterling, KDB, Silva, Fernandes and Kane, that decision will probably go down to the last minute. It’s unusual to have so many outstanding choices for the armband, but that’s what happens when you use your free hit chip! Right now here’s what my team looks like for the finale, as I’m leaning toward tabbing Sterling with the armband ahead of Fernandes:

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[NOTE: Statistics used in this post came from the Official Premier League website, the Official Fantasy Premier League website, and Transfermarkt. Screen grab images came from the FPL site.]

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What do you think of my three templates and my choice among them? Do I have the right recipe with the side I’ve cooked up, or is it missing a few ingredients you’ve been sure to put in the pot? Are you using your free hit or any other chip for the finale? Don't be shy, please answer the poll below and then chat it up in the comments section. Join in the fun everybody!

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Poll

Are you using a chip for the FPL finale?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Bench Boost
    (9 votes)
  • 51%
    Free Hit
    (42 votes)
  • 16%
    Triple Captain
    (13 votes)
  • 2%
    Wildcard
    (2 votes)
  • 18%
    None Left, I Ate Them All!
    (15 votes)
81 votes total Vote Now

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