The biggest Blank Gameweek of this season’s final months is about to begin, which usually means that a lot of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers are about to activate their one Free Hit chip.
FA Cup quarter-final action has restricted Gameweek 28 to seven matches, although the surprise lower-league eliminations of Tottenham, Southampton and Leicester City ensure that it is fuller than the equivalent weekend of previous campaigns.
According to our site poll, 17.39% will use a Free Hit, with others believing the week can be navigated quite easily and are therefore saving the chip for later on.
PROS OF FREE HIT 28
- No need for back-and-forth transfers involving the absent Erling Haaland (£12.1m), Marcus Rashford (£7.4m) and the midfielders of Brighton and Hove Albion.
- It means you can field 11 players at a time when many won’t.
- As a consequence of this, you can possess template names whilst also having room for enticing differentials that propel you up the rankings and mini-leagues.
- Later usage could backfire if it focuses on Double Gameweek players, whilst several popular one-matchers haul.
CONS OF FREE HIT 28
- The average active manager likely already has nine or ten Gameweek 28 players.
- Similarly, assuming that the highly-owned Harry Kane (£11.7m), Kieran Trippier (£6.0m) and three Arsenal options will be selected, there’s not much upside to it.
- It might be needed later on in the campaign, as more Blank and Double Gameweeks get finalised.
DRAFT ONE: THE SAFER OPTION
Of the £10m+ options, only Spurs duo Kane and Son Heung-min (£11.6m) will be taking part. Go down to £9.0m and there’s just the injured Raheem Sterling (£9.7m) and out-of-favour Jamie Vardy (£9.1m).
So the budget isn’t a factor here, Free Hit users are simply left with the choice of how template they’d like to be.
This option covers the template names alongside the week’s most-bought players Ben Chilwell (£5.9m), Ollie Watkins (£7.4m) and James Maddison (£8.1m).
It’s hard to have a ‘safe’ midfield as – using the top 100k sample size – only five players with over 5% ownership are playing. Arsenal trio Bukayo Saka (£8.5m), Martin Odegaard (£6.9m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£6.6m), alongside Maddison and Miguel Almiron (£5.4m).
Another popular name this week is Kai Havertz (£7.5m), playing up front at home to Everton. However, he’s slightly behind the front three of Kane, Watkins and Ivan Toney (£7.8m).
DRAFT TWO: THE DIFFERENTIAL BONANZA
By committing to Trippier, Kane and Saka before looking at the potential elsewhere, there’s a real chance for FPL managers to shoot up the rankings.
In the line-up below, these three are the only names to exceed 6% top 100k ownership for Gameweek 27.
The differences see Havertz in place of Watkins and the risk of only having two Arsenal assets. Aaron Ramsdale (£4.9m) is one of them, as it creates space for attacking full-back Matty Cash (£4.6m) to cause damage versus Bournemouth.
In midfield, Harvey Barnes (£6.7m) is instead of teammate Maddison, with last season’s joint Golden Boot winner Son hoping to build on his goal against Nottingham Forest.
Speaking of Forest, Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak (£6.6m) faces them and is an option over Toney but Almiron makes way for Aston Villa midfielder Emiliano Buendia (£5.7m).
Whether a manager prefers a safer XI, a differential one or a mixture of both, Free Hit 28 allows FPL managers to field a full team without needing to sell big-name absentees.
There’d probably be some sort of green arrow, although it might not bring an upside worthy of such a valuable chip. Especially when there are ten more Gameweeks to use it.
As is often the case, the decision depends on each manager and their unique squad situation.