Fantasy Premier League

Is it time to Free-Hit in Blank Gameweek 26 of Fantasy?

21 Feb 2024
Neto, Hwang

With a number of high-owned players absent this week, The Scout gives you the best advice on when to use the chip

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The absence of a number of well-owned players in Blank Gameweek 26 (BGW26) of Fantasy Premier League can make it a productive time to play the Free Hit chip.

For those unfamiliar, the Free Hit chip allows for unlimited transfers in a single Gameweek and can only be used once a season. 

By playing the chip, managers can replace their entire squad for that Gameweek and look to gain an advantage by targeting players with the potential for major points hauls.

They need to be aware, though, that their 15-man line-up is returned to how it was at the start of the Gameweek for the next deadline, so they will retain any injured player they moved out on their Free Hit chip.

The upcoming period offers two standout opportunities for managers; BGW26 and Blank Gameweek 29 (BGW29).

There are four sides - Chelsea, Liverpool, Luton Town and Tottenham Hotspur - who all have a BGW26 due to the former two competing in the EFL Cup final.

Meanwhile, there are only three matches currently confirmed in BGW29 as they coincide with the FA Cup quarter-finals. 

Confirmed BGW29 fixtures
Burnley v Brentford
Fulham v Spurs
West Ham v Aston Villa

Waiting until BGW29 to play the Free Hit chip allows those managers to focus their transfers on the short term and simply deal with the reduced round of matches when it comes around.

By that point, they will also know the BGW29 schedule, as this is determined by the FA Cup fifth-round matches, which take place before Gameweek 27.

While the effectiveness of the Free Hit chip is ultimately team-dependant, the recent heavy investment in Liverpool assets for Double Gameweek 25 (DGW25) could play a part in managers’ decisions.

Seven Reds players can be found in at least 10 per cent of squads, with Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) and Darwin Nunez (£7.6m) both owned by a fifth of managers. 

While over 36 per cent own Chelsea’s Cole Palmer (£5.8m), making him the second most-popular midfield player in 2023/24 Fantasy, and sixth overall. 

Indeed, it is the midfield position in Fantasy that poses the biggest problem for managers in BGW26.

Essentially, the absence of Palmer, Salah and Jota, along with Spurs duo Son Heung-min (£9.6m) and Richarlison (£7.1m), means managers are without five of the 10 most-owned midfielders ahead of Saturday’s 13:30 GMT deadline

Most-owned BGW26 players
Ownership Player Position
36% Palmer MID
22% Porro DEF
21% Salah MID
20% Nunez FWD
19% Jota MID
18% Van Dijk DEF
16% Son MID
15% Richarlison MID
13% Alisson GKP
12% Alexander-Arnold DEF
10% Diaz MID
10% Maddison MID

If you have three Liverpool players, as well as Palmer, Pedro Porro (£5.7m) and Son or Richarlison, then the Free Hit chip looks to have an immediate upside.

By assessing the BGW26 schedule and pinpointing the sides with favourable fixtures, those managers should consider Bruno Fernandes (£8.2m), Pedro Neto (£5.7m) and Hwang Hee-chan (£5.5m) as solutions in midfield. 

Fernandes’ set-pieces can help Manchester United exploit Fulham’s weaknesses in defence at Old Trafford, while Wolverhampton Wanderers’ pair Neto and Hwang play at home to Sheffield United.

Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard (£8.4m) and Aston Villa’s Alex Moreno (£5.1m) have the form and fixtures to thrive for the next three Gameweeks, with the latter also having a match against West Ham United in BGW29. 

Brighton & Hove Albion trio Pascal Gross, Kaoru Mitoma (both £6.4m) and Simon Adingra (£5.0m) face Everton, Fulham and Nottingham Forest in the next three Gameweeks, underlining the host of midfield options for managers who are prepared to be patient with their Free Hit chip.

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 26 in Fantasy Premier League

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