We are entering the end game of this FPL season. This is the time of year where fixture rescheduling leads to “blank” and “double” gameweeks.

At this point in the season in FPL, we will see all manner of changes. Chips are deployed, spreadsheets are employed, mini leagues are destroyed.

The blank gameweeks

GW31 will see the first major blank gameweek of the season, closely followed by GW33 which is also a blank gameweek. All of the teams that are participating in the FA Cup quarter finals will be missing from the GW31 FPL fixture list, as are the teams they are meant to be playing.

This means that many managers are going to be caught short, with more players missing than the Man United team who travelled to Paris! But just like Ole, all hope isn’t lost for those managers…

FPL Blank gameweek
A victim of the FPL blank gameweek

Playing a chip

If you’re looking at a team with just 4 or 5 players featuring this week I’d consider using either the Wildcard or Free Hit chip to give your team a much needed boost (hopefully you kept these as advised in one of our previous articles).

Bear in mind that GW32 will be a double gameweek, where many of the players who don’t play this weekend will play TWICE. So far the only confirmed teams with a double gameweek in GW32 are Wolves and Man United. That means you may not want to permanently get rid of some players who don’t feature this week. The Free Hit is useful here as those players will return to your team for GW32.

Going chip-less

If you can field anywhere between 8 and 11 players this weekend using your free transfer(s) and maybe a transfer hit, I would consider holding onto your chips. Providing you cover the players/teams most likely to perform well from an FPL point of view (Liverpool, Chelsea, Bournemouth spring to mind) I don’t think you’ll suffer too much by not playing with 11 men.

Last season I fielded 9 players in a blank gameweek and ended up with 97 points and a gameweek rank of around 350k. With at least 2 more double gameweeks to contend with, plus an extra blank gameweek in 33, those chips might prove more useful at a later date.

Mane Salah FPL
Teams without at least one of this Liverpool duo could really struggle this week

Taking hits like a Champ

Every team is different, so take any advice and apply it to your own situation, but there’s a popular theory amongst FPL managers that in blank gameweeks transfer hits are “free”.

The logic goes that if you take out a player who doesn’t play in either GW31 or G33 (such as Man United or Wolves players) for someone who plays in both, you’re guaranteed to make those points back through appearances alone. Whether you don’t have a chip to play or don’t want to use it this week, this is definitely something to consider. So let’s examine that theory.

FPL theory
Me and my FPL theories
This only applies if the player you’re taking out definitely doesn’t play in either 31 or 33.
  • Some that don’t play this week do in GW33 e.g. Arsenal, whilst others have a chance e.g. Spurs, Brighton, Palace, Watford.
This only applies if the player you’re bringing is from a team that plays in 31 and 33.
  • Not every team that plays this weekend is guaranteed to play in GW33 e.g. Newcastle.
This only applies if the player is nailed on.
  • If the player you pick doesn’t start both matches there’s no guarantee of getting the required points to pack back the hit. I’d avoid players like Willian, Hernandez, etc.
This only applies if you can’t field 11 in GW33.
  • You might bench a player this week who blanks in 31 but plays in 33 e.g. Arsenal assets. You might also use your free transfer in GW33 to bring in a player that plays that week.
This only applies if the player doesn’t either a) get booked/sent off, or b) concede multiple goals.
  • There’s not a lot you can do about bookings, but I wouldn’t take hits to bring in defenders of GKs from suspect defences e.g. West Ham.

The TLDR here is that to (almost) guarantee a 4 point increase from your transfer you need to weigh up several factors. Examples:

  • You can’t field 11 this week, and will only currently field 9 in GW33. Rashford to Wilson – does this almost guarantee 4 points? YES. United won’t play in either 31 or 33, whilst Bournemouth will. Wilson is expected to start both games, and even using a transfer in GW33 you’ll be a player short.
  • You can’t field 11 this week, and will only currently field 9 in GW33. Rashford to Rondon – does this almost guarantee 4 points? NO. Whilst United play in neither of 31 and 33, Rondon will also miss 33 if Palace beat Watford in the FA Cup. In that scenario, Rondon would need to get at least 4 points this week to justify a transfer hit.
  • You can’t field 11 this week, and will only currently field 10 in GW33. Pogba to Fraser – does this almost guarantee 4 points? NO. United won’t play in either 31 or 33, whilst Bournemouth will. Fraser is expected to start both games, but you could potentially make the transfer in 33 instead for free. Fraser would need to get at least 4 points this week to justify a transfer hit in GW31.

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