Fantasy Premier League

FPL expert: How to avoid costly cards in GW33 FPL Challenge

10 Apr 2024
Bukayo Saka booked

Sam Bonfield explains her approach as bookings and dismissals come with BIG points penalties

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Fantasy expert Sam Bonfield from FPL Family reveals how she is planning to approach Gameweek 33 of FPL Challenge, where players get BIG points deductions for yellow and red cards.

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As an FPL content creator this is the best part of the season for me in the "regular" Fantasy game. It’s the time when I hope that all my careful planning pays off and I get a string of green arrows between now and Gameweek 38.

But it also comes with some frustrations. There are a number of players every week where I think, "I wish I had him for this fixture." But that transfer either doesn’t fit into my longer-term planning or he only has ONE nice fixture, or he only has single Gameweeks left and no Double Gameweeks.

This is why I love FPL Challenge. 

It’s an opportunity to think about just one Gameweek at a time - to have ALL the players who you think are the best options, without worrying about their long-term potential for points returns or the influence of Double Gameweeks.

FPL Challenge is the perfect foil for the main Fantasy game. 

The Gameweek 33 challenge

This week's FPL challenge is potentially the most difficult one yet: "Sportsmanship". In Gameweek 33, if your players receive a red or yellow card then the minus points are multiplied, so every red card is worth minus-eight and every yellow is minus-five!

Last week with the "Red Rivalry" challenge there was an obvious strategy - invest heavily in the Manchester United and Liverpool players who were going to benefit from double points.

This week, it's almost the opposite. We want to AVOID the assets who we think are most likely to pick up a booking - even if they look like one of the best assets for the weekend. With a yellow card resulting in minus-five points, any goals, clean sheets or assist points would be entirely wiped out. 

Players to avoid 

Kai Havertz (£7.3m) and Darwin Nunez (£7.7m) have been sitting on eight yellow cards for a couple of weeks now.

Both have been in good form in FPL and both have the potential for good returns at the weekend, at home against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace respectively. However, I have worries about picking them because they've shown over the season that they're two of the players who have received the most yellow cards this campaign. 

Players get a two-match ban if they pick up 10 yellow cards in their team's first 32 Premier League matches of the season. This is something that FPL managers are always really cautious of.

There are a number of players who have been sitting on eight yellow cards, but the risk of losing these players for two weeks has largely disappeared now. Every club apart from Chelsea have now played at least 31 matches, so their players with eight yellow cards can no longer be booked in two different matches before their 32nd match.

It means Havertz and Nunez are safe. But does that make them relax and abandon any caution they've recently shown? Are they now MORE likely to pick up a card this week? That’s one of my major concerns.

Now freed from the worry that one mistimed tackle could rule them out of two matches at a crucial time in the title race, the pair could become more involved in their teams' play and therefore more likely to get attacking returns, but that extra involvement could also make them more likely to be yellow-carded. 

These are the big decisions ahead of the weekend. 

You can see below some of the players who have been carded the most this season, and who might be best avoided, including Anthony Gordon (£6.0m) and Bruno Fernandes (£8.2m).

The appeal of Malo Gusto (£4.3m) at home against Everton on Monday is also arguably reduced by his disciplinary record.

Yellow and red cards 2023/24  
Player Club Position Cards
Joao Palhinha FUL MID 12Y
Yves Bissouma TOT MID 7Y 2R
John McGinn AVL MID 8Y 1R
Rodri MCI MID 8Y 1R
Anthony Gordon NEW MID 8Y 1R
Nicolas Jackson CHE FWD 9Y
Kai Havertz ARS MID 8Y
Darwin Nunez LIV FWD 8Y
Bruno Fernandes MUN MID 8Y
Morgan Gibbs-White NFO MID 8Y
Malo Gusto CHE DEF 6Y 1R
Cristian Romero TOT DEF 6Y 1R
Players to target 

At the other end of the spectrum there are players who have been almost saint-like this season. For me, this week’s challenge is all about working out which teams you want to target and then finding these "safe" players from within those squads. 

For example, if Nathan Ake (£5.0m) is back for the weekend, having not travelled with the Manchester City squad to face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League, he would be a good player to target. Ake has made 20 starts for Man City this season and is yet to pick up a yellow or red card.

Likewise, Leandro Trossard (£6.5m) has a good record of not picking up yellow or red cards and, if he is in Arsenal's starting XI in between their Champions League ties against Bayern Munich, he could be a great pick. 

Here are some players who are well worth considering given their proven points potential in FPL and their excellent disciplinary records.

Players' yellow and red cards 2023/24
Player Club Position Cards
Leandro Trossard ARS MID 0Y 0R
Mads Roerslev BRE DEF 0Y 0R
Caoimhin Kelleher LIV GKP 0Y 0R
Nathan Ake MCI DEF 0Y 0R
Chris Wood NFO FWD 0Y 0R
David Raya ARS GKP 1Y 0R
Phil Foden MCI MID 1Y 0R
Erling Haaland MCI FWD 1Y 0R
Alexander Isak NEW FWD 1Y 0R
Luis Diaz LIV MID 2Y 0R
Virgil van Dijk LIV DEF 2Y 0R
My initial picks 

One of the massive positives about FPL Challenge is the ability to make changes after teamsheets are announced.

For now, I'm picking a number of players who could potentially start their match based on their likely involvement in their teams' midweek European matches.

When the teamsheets are announced over the weekend, if any of my players don’t start then they can be swapped out for another asset for that team who DOES start and has a a good sportsmanship record. 

Sam Bonfield's GW33 FPL Challenge team

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