Fantasy Premier League

FPL champion: How to use your chips effectively

By The Scout 23 May 2024
Jean-Philippe Mateta

World No 1 Jonas Sand Labakk discusses the successful chip strategy that helped him to the title

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The 2023/24 Fantasy Premier League champion Jonas Sand Labakk continues to explain the secrets to his success and offer advice to FPL managers. Here, he discusses his use of chips over the season.

Being adaptable

Labakk enjoyed a strong start to the season, with his team sitting inside the top 24,000 in the world after the first five Gameweeks.

But after suffering back-to-back red arrows and dropping to around 162,000 in the rankings, he decided to rip up his early-season plans and change his squad with a last-minute Wildcard in Gameweek 8.

“My plan was always to Wildcard in Gameweek 9 or 10”, says Labakk. “But I saw that my team started getting worse and worse and I felt like I had to. I had two red arrows in a row, and I think I activated the Wildcard under a day before the deadline.

"People usually like to activate early to catch price rises and all of that stuff. I was a bit stubborn at the start, but then I just figured out that I had to - which ended up being very successful.”

Labakk kept just four of his 15 players – big-hitters Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland, along with Bryan Mbeumo and bench forward Cameron Archer.

His moves immediately paid off, with three of his new recruits - Diogo Dalot, Son Heung-min and Ollie Watkins - rewarding the 20-year-old's faith by delivering double-figure hauls in Gameweek 8. 

By the end of Gameweek 13, Labakk's revised plans and successful Wildcard had helped him climb to 396 in the overall rankings. 

Playing your own game

Having maintained momentum with his first Wildcard, Labakk broke into the top 20 by Gameweek 26 and remained there for the rest of the season.

But it was not until Double Gameweek 34, when his Free Hit chip helped him amass 143 points, that the champion moved into first place in the overall standings. 

Prior to that, the Norwegian "dead-ended" his team in Blank Gameweek 29, when there were only four matches.

Instead of using a chip to navigate the reduced schedule, he made short-term transfers that were aimed only at surviving that Gameweek, because he planned to play his Wildcard immediately afterwards in Gameweek 30 and pick a brand new squad for the run-in.

Meanwhile, a RECORD 1.7million FPL managers played their Free Hit in Blank Gameweek 29, unfortunately using up their precious chip in the worst Gameweek EVER.

“I believe chip strategies are very team-dependent,” says Labakk. “But I also think there are many people that see content creators and others playing it (the Free Hit chip) in Blank Gameweek 29 and they end up doing the same themselves without actually making a proper plan.

“It's quite easy to be influenced by the bigger accounts. You need to think for yourself. You can't let anyone else do all of the thinking for you. That will not end up necessarily very well.”

Targeting Double Gameweeks to make big gains

Apart from his two Wildcards, it’s notable that Labakk used his chips only in Double Gameweeks.

He played his Triple Captain chip on Haaland in Double Gameweek 25 when Manchester City had two matches, then used his Free Hit and Bench Boost in Double Gameweek 34 and Double Gameweek 37 respectively.

The champion reckons there is simply more upside to using a chip when players have two matches, and his approach allowed him to bring in a handful of differentials on his Free Hit chip in Double Gameweek 34 and move into top spot. 

“It's very important to nail the Blanks and Doubles because that's where you might see the biggest swings,’ says Labakk.

“I had identified two weeks as the weeks I could stand out. One of them was Double Gameweek 34, which was a week where I had my Free Hit while I think no one else among the top 10 managers did.

“I had a few calculated risks there - not going double Arsenal defenders, as all of my other opponents did, and I chose also [Ben] White over [William] Saliba or Gabriel because I identified that as, ‘If I want to gain something, it's now.' I thought it was a risk worth taking. Obviously you couldn't predict White getting 26 points!  

“[Jean-Philippe] Mateta as well, I think very few people in the top 10 actually had him. So instead of going, for example, [Dean] Henderson, [Eberechi] Eze and [Michael] Olise, I thought, ‘Let's go Mateta over Haaland’, who many of my opponents had. I think it was a 27-point swing or something [between Mateta and Haaland].

"Of course you have to take a few risks. But I don't think you need to take as many risks as people might think.”

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