Fantasy Premier League returns tonight with an intriguing gameweek that could prove to be a major stumbling block or enormous opportunity for success.
Just six midweek games will be played, meaning eight teams are out of action including Liverpool and Chelsea.
Many are eyeing up their bonus chips in a bid to navigate the tricky GW18 and GW19 schedule, with many teams involved in a double gameweek next time out.
If you’re wondering what the Free Hit is, exactly, the chip allows Fantasy Premier League bosses to make unlimited changes in any given gameweek before their normal XI returns the following week. Think of it like a temporary, one-week wildcard.
RadioTimes.com is on hand to bring you all the latest Fantasy Premier League tips ahead of a pivotal week of FPL action including transfers to make and a full XI you could use.
Should I use FPL Free Hit in GW18?
Much hinges on whether you have prepared for the double GW19. If you have been planning ahead and made transfers based on players with two games in GW19, this is absolutely the right time to deploy the Free Hit.
Even if you haven’t specifically planned for it, but the majority of your team has two games in GW19, this is the time to Free Hit.
Unlikely as it may be, if all of your players will play during GW18, there’s no need to Free Hit. Instead, you can use the chip ahead of GW19 to maximise returns.
Bearing all of that in mind, here’s our selected XI of players you can sign with a free hit ahead of the deadline this evening.
Free Hit FPL transfer tips
Before we reveal our Free Hit XI, a disclaimer: FPL price changes mean that pre-owning some of these players will free up cash to spend elsewhere.
Our initial draft of this team came £2.9m over budget if you were starting from scratch as it was based on my own personal team value. For example, I bought Bruno Fernandes for £0.4 less than his current listed price.
Every player will have a different budget to spend, but to keep it simple, this following XI can be afforded with a £100m budget if starting from a blank template:
Bernd Leno (ARS) £4.9m
This should have been Karl Darlow’s slot until Steve Bruce decided to plunge FPL bosses into chaos by suggesting Martin Dubravka could return. Arsenal are improving, Leno has recorded back-to-back clean sheets and saved a penalty in the game before.
Kieran Tierney (ARS) £5.4m
Tierney completes an Arsenal defensive double-up with Crystal Palace in their sights. The Scottish left back offers outstanding attacking returns with a goal, assist, clean sheet and three bonus points last time out.
John Stones (MCI) £5.0m
Everyone’s favourite cut-price elite defender: Stones is back. The England international has been a firm favourite of Pep Guardiola in recent weeks and is credited with a huge role in their defensive improvements.
Ruben Dias (MCI) £5.8
Dias has barely put a foot wrong since arriving in England. Joao Cancelo may be a better option across a season due to his attacking prowess, but there’s always a niggling worry Benjamin Mendy may reclaim his place. Dias is the safer bet for a one-off week against struggling Brighton.
Eric Dier (TOT) £5.1m
See ‘John Stones’. Dier looks reinvigorated in the heart of the Spurs backline. Jose Mourinho’s naturally defensive-minded approach suits him, so too will a home match against Fulham.
Kevin De Bruyne (MCI) £11.8m (C)
Snapping up De Bruyne against Brighton is just right. He feels like a no-brainer, though some hardy souls have taken a gamble on Raheem Sterling as a worthy differential option. Again, in a one-week situation, De Bruyne is a safe bet.
Bruno Fernandes (MUN) £11.3m
Fernandes is the form player in FPL. Burnley have vastly improved at the back in recent weeks, the sole reason for a KDB captaincy ahead of Bruno, but Fernandes should still find a way to delight his owners.
Emile Smith Rowe (ARS) £4.4m
The bargain pick of the bunch. Three goals and three assists in three appearances leading up to this one make him a tantalising prospect at a price that means you can spend cash elsewhere.
Son Heung Min (TOT) £9.8m
The top points scorer in FPL 2020/21. The end.
Harry Kane (TOT) £11.0m
Kane has been in terrific form this season and with Fulham up next, he’s the best premium-price striker money can buy in GW18.
Callum Wilson (NEW) £6.6m
Wilson may not have soared to the heights in recent weeks, but he is the best of the low-cost strikers this week, almost entirely due to his match-up against rock-bottom Sheffield United.
Bench: Aaron Ramsdale (SHU) £4.7m, Pascal Struijk (LEE) £3.9m, Pedro Neto (WOL) £6.0m, Keinan Davis (AVL) £4.3m
For the full breakdown of what games are coming up check out our Premier League fixtures on TV guide.
If you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV Guide.