There are a couple of options what to do with a wildcard. But first, what is a wildcard? Basically its a button available in your transfers page to make unlimited transfers once you hit -4 points on an excess transfer. You must make sure you don’t sell players who have made 0.1 on their original price then want them back in your team, or you lose that 0.1m profit! The same can be said for 0.2m gained players, if sold and want back you will need to find a way to pay that 0.1m back.
Honestly I think there are only two options for the wildcard, either hold back or use it as soon as gameweek 3 kicks off. Each has their own merits. If you are holding back you are either holding for the emergency that injuries hit numerous players (Happens at some point every season), or if there is a double game week(resulting from a reschedule due to bad weather or fixture congestion, for example from FA Cup priority scheduling), or if there is a swing in fixtures (i.e when Man Utd/Newcastle’s run of good fixtures run out, you can transfer them out for Everton/Arsenal players who have a good run). Last year we had a double gameweek in GW1 and a blank in GW4, so most wildcards were activated early. This year if we are wanting to wildcard early we won’t have a double gameweek, and will be banking on the benefits of early bandwagons for an increase in team value. Since it worked so well last year I think I might go down this path again. The strategy is to plan your initial team for the first 3 gameweeks, before activating the wildcard during GW3(on international break) when there is a two week gap in fixtures. The hope is to make 0.2m profit on players so you can sell straight away to bank the 0.1m. On last years experience there was only two players that made the 0.1m sell profit, so this is not a big deal. The biggest hope is that you catch some players you want for the long hall on justified bandwagons. Ramsey and Toure were exceptional last year, all reaching 2.0m+ profits by seasons end.
Let’s plan this three week team shall we? When looking at the first three weeks, we should understand that Liverpool (Suarezless now), Man City and Arsenal were goal scoring machines no matter what opponent. Chelsea and Crystal Palace offered defensive returns home and away.
Looking at the fixtures, Burnley (CHE*, swa, MUN) and Leicester (EVE,che,ARS) are write offs, other than basement price fill ins. Next with the worst first three fixtures are Liverpool (SOT, mci, tot) and Everton (lei, ARS, CHE) and should only be in the team if you are to cover for a bad fixture.
The premium defences to buy are Man Utd (SWA, sun, bur) and Chelsea (but, LEI, eve), budget defences to buy are Hull (qpr, STO, avl) and Aston Villa (sto, NEW, Hull).
The premium attackers to buy are Man Utd (SWA, sun, bur) and Spurs (whm, QPR, LIV). The budget attackers to buy are Hull (qpr, SOT, avl) and QPR (HUL, tot, SUN).
A transfer strategy to use in first few gameweeks should be simple, using the first available transfer for a Stoke player to Swansea player gives you AVL, BUR, WBA. With next available free transfer ARS (lei), AVL (HUL), MCI (STO), MUN (bur), NEW (CPL) and SWA (WBA) have the next best fixtures to choose from. I’ll be hoping a big scoring gameweek happens during GW3 so there are plenty of transfers and price changes happening. The start of the year is when there is the highest number of active FPL players online. I still believe a hybrid team made of players with a strong first 3 fixtures and a long term plan can be made without the use of a wildcard, and in any case, will not stray too far from the template team most people will have. Using this strategy will just have a better chance at points in the first 3 gameweeks, that’s what a wildcard is designed for after all.
* Block letters indicate a home fixture
So that’s my thoughts on taking an early season wildcard. There was one other device that turned out to be very handy for me during my successful season last year, and that was a season ticker. The conditions are that a team must not play a top 4 team(Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal) with in a 6 week bracket. Hopefully this saves you some research time!
Arsenal – 8-16, 22-29
Aston Villa – 8-21, 25-33
Burnley – 2-9, 11-17, 20-25, 33-38
Chelsea – 12-22, 24-33
Crystal Palace – 2-7, 18-25
Everton – 7-14, 28-38
Hull – 10-15, 17-23
Leicester – 4-13, 29-38
Liverpool – 3-10, 18-26
Man City – 6-21, 28-38
Man United – 1-8, 17-29
Newcastle – 2-9, 33-38
QPR – 1-7, 12-17, 19-27
Southampton – 2-12, 30-37
Stoke – 4-12, 32-37
Sunderland – 1-8, 22-32
Swansea – 5-11, 14-19, 24-29, 30-35
Spurs – 26-34
WBA – 1-6, 19-29
West Ham – 10-17
Now I’m not saying this is a perfect way to separate teams fixtures. It does not factor in the teams Man Utd, Spurs and Everton which are near the top 4, or any other unfavourable fixtures like Stoke Newcastle away. It also doesn’t take into account rotation paired players. It is however very useful in many ways, you can get a feel for when certain players will hit form, and also helps in situations when swapping two players, ie a Man Utd player for an Arsenal player in GW8. It’s not overloaded with information plus it’s quite simple to follow, and will help you adapt your own theories and rules throughout the season.
Hope this helps guys! Spent my boring couple of hours at work trying to look like I’m doing something!