For many FPL managers, Double Gameweek 36 was a painful one. There were big ranking swings and mini-leagues were shaken up like never before. I managed to almost double my overall rank from 10k to 19k. The challenge now is to claw it back in the final two gameweeks of the season. The second Free Hit chip gives hope to those who still have it up their sleeve.
For this week’s column, I’ve put together an aggressive Free Hit draft to take on the Top 10k managers and mini-league leaders with the hope of making up significant ground in Double Gameweek 37.
For those of us chasing, we need to take some gambles. Mohamed Salah’s high ownership and lack of returns recently made it tempting to go without him this week. avoiding Trent Alexander Arnold (£8.4 million) and Andrew Robertson (£7.3 million) and praying for a Southampton goal is another gamble I’ve taken with this squad.
There will be a significant number of Free Hits played this week, so I’ve also tried to go against some of the popular picks with the draft; Wilfred Zaha (£6.9m) for example, is not included. Defensive assets from Everton will also be popular so they have been swerved as well.
Starting in defence, going triple Aston Villa is one way to be different this week. The fixtures are good: Crystal Palace (home) and Burnley (home). Most teams will have at least one Villa attacker but if they could pull off two clean sheets, it would be huge for those who triple up. Emiliano Martinez (£5.5 million), matthew cash (£5.3 million) and Lucas Digne (£5 million) are the three to go for if you fancy going big on Steven Gerrard’s defense. The full-backs offer plenty of attacking threat. If I’m backing Villa for clean sheets, it diminishes the appeal of including Zaha.
Completing the back three is Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo (£7.2 million). It’s tempting to pick 11 players who have two fixtures but there are a few single gameweekers that are worthy of inclusion on the Free Hit, Cancelo being the first one. He’s provided assists in each of the last two games and could have another monster haul in him before the season is out. I went without him for a few weeks after the second wildcard and it was not fun!
moving into midfield, there are two more single gameweek players: Kevin DeBruyne (£12 million) and Son Heung-min (£11 million). These two have single-handedly derailed a lot of seasons. In their current run of form, I wouldn’t be betting against either of them this week. They are better picks than Salah at the moment and their ownership is much lower too. Manchester City play West Ham away while Tottenham have Burnley at home. Son is just one behind Salah in the race for the Golden Boot now and I fancy him to go on and win it with Norwich (away) on the final day for Spurs. On paper, the West Ham fixture doesn’t look great for De Bruyne, but don’t let that put you off — he’s on fire at the moment.
Leicester City midfielder james madison (£6.9m) won’t be in too many teams but he’s got the potential to be an explosive differential. If he starts both against Watford (away) and Chelsea (away), which I think he will now that Leicester are out of Europe, there’s a good chance he’ll be in the points — particularly in that Watford fixture. There’s a decent gap between the games too; it’s Sunday/Thursday, so he should be fine to play in both.
Everton’s Anthony Gordon (£4.7 million) is a great budget enabler. Including him in the starting XI makes it possible to include four £10 million+ picks on the Free Hit. Frank Lampard’s side will face Brentford (home) and Crystal Palace (home). I like those fixtures more for their attackers than I do the defence. Backing Brentford and Palace both to score to wipe out all the Everton clean sheets in rival teams is where I’m leaning.
Up front, Gordon’s team-mate Richarlison (£7.6 million) is a great pick this week. He’ll be highly owned, but given the lack of other forward options, there’s no reason to go against him when the fixtures are good and Everton are still fighting for Premier League survival. He’s one of the best captain options for DGW37.
Completing the 3-4-3 formation are harry kane (£12.4 million) and Jamie Vardy (£10.3 million). Kane reminded him of his potential with a brace and all three bonus points in the win over Arsenal on Thursday night. The Son/Kane double-up is tricky for most managers to get to, which is why I like it on the Free Hit as a differential. Vardy feels like a risky pick as he may not start both games, but even if he got around 120 minutes across the two he could be another nice differential alongside Maddison for the Leicester attacking double-up, which most free-hitters won’t opt for.
Hopefully, this has given you some food for thought for tinkering with the Free Hit chip over the weekend.
Best of luck for Gameweek 37 folks.
(Photo: George Wood/Getty Images)