Gameweek 8 was the busiest week for Wildcard deployment in 2022/23 so far.
Over 650,000 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers activated it, taking total usage of the chip to around 27%.
But for the rest of us with the Wildcard still intact, when is the best time to use it?
Nearly half of the responders in our early poll say Gameweek 9 and many of those will have already hit the ‘activate’ button.
Just under a quarter of you say that they are undecided, however, so we’ll run through the pros and cons of two of the Gameweeks that many others are considering: Gameweeks 9 and 13.
This article is built on the excellent groundwork laid by Pras in pre-season, who shared his thoughts on potential Wildcard windows before a ball had even been kicked in early August – and many of his arguments for and against are as valid then as they are now.
FIXTURES SORTED BY DIFFICULTY (‘EASIEST’ FIRST)
GAMEWEEK 9 WILDCARD: PROS
- Revisit Gameweek 8 blankers: Six Premier League teams were without a fixture in Gameweek 8 and you may have transferred out some of their players simply in order to get a competitive starting XI. If sold, the likes of Mohamed Salah (£12.9m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) and Reece James (£6.0m) could be immediately brought back in at the drop of a hat, with Chelsea, in particular, now enjoying a mostly favourable run of fixtures up until the World Cup hiatus.
- Negotiate Blank Gameweek 12: A Blank Gameweek 12 is looming for both Arsenal and Manchester City, so using a Wildcard now can help plan for that postponement. Many of us may own six players between the two clubs and so now, especially with Arsenal’s trickier Gameweek 9-10 fixtures, might be a good opportunity to reduce the representation from one or both clubs.
- Fixture swings: One of the key motivational factors for any Wildcard window is fixture swings, and there are lots of those as we head into October. The fixture schedules of Leicester City, Chelsea and Crystal Palace are all suddenly a sea of blue, while many of the teams we previously targeted, such as Arsenal, Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool, have some trickier tests in the short term especially.
- Improve team value?: One nice by-product of a Wildcard in an international window is that it gives you two weeks to make incremental team value increases, rather than the usual one. If you hop on James Maddison (£7.9m) now and he rises twice over the international break, for example, you’ve increased your spending power by £0.1m. We really have to temper expectations on this front, however, as there are usually fewer double price-risers than you might imagine in a fortnight such as this.
- More time to take effect: “Never judge a Wildcard on one Gameweek”, the old mantra goes, and by using the chip now you are giving yourself a full eight Gameweeks for your carefully constructed squad to deliver on its promise and negate any unforeseen bad luck/variance you might get in one round of matches. By leaving it later, say until Gameweek 13, you’re relying on the overhauled XV to hit the ground running and prosper in a shorter space of time.
- React to international break injuries: Prepare for a deluge of yellow flags and withdrawals over the next fortnight; some of the injuries might even be genuine. Yes, it’s the first international break of the season and the last one before the World Cup, so you can probably expect to see lots of strong-looking sides named as nations gear up for Qatar 2022. The European countries are in UEFA Nations League action, too, so the extra competitive edge may lead to a small rise in injuries, especially if there are fewer in-game rests and less rotation.
GAMEWEEK 9 WILDCARD: CONS
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