Fantasy football tips for Gameweek 18. In this Fantasy Premier League series FPL Junior (four top 13k finishes in last four seasons) shares his FPL tips by selecting a team each week to try and score as many points as possible. In essence, he will be “free hitting” every single Gameweek. Rather than selecting longer-term options, he’ll solely focus on players with the best form and fixtures for the upcoming Gameweek 18.

We embark on the first planned Blank Gameweek of the season after numerous unexpected ones. With late fixture changes and the goalposts moving every minute it’s not easy to navigate any Gameweek at the moment but thankfully we can make as many transfers as we want. Let’s have a look at how the Hub XI shapes up this week.

Gameweek 18 Team

best free hit team gw18

Gameweek 18 FPL Hub XI

Goalkeeper

Darlow is between the sticks against Sheffield Utd. The Blades have yet to hit double figures for goals this season after 17 fixtures. Over the past four Gameweeks they’ve had three big chances and only West Brom have a lower xG over this period amongst those teams who haven’t had a blank fixture with 2.84. Newcastle have faced three clubs from the top six in the last three games, so they aren’t carrying any defensive form into the game. This is clearly a fixture pick and with Dubravka back fit, Darlow is fighting to maintain the number one shirt he’s rightfully won.

Defence

If there weren’t a limit on the numbers of players from each team, I’d definitely go for more but Cancelo was the first name in my backline. He faces Brighton who aren’t struggling for goals in recent weeks but they are by no means carrying a significant threat to put me off the best defence in the league. The full back is hardly even being played as full back as he roams up the pitch in some sort of a central midfielder position and then sits at the edge of the box during attacks. He’s created the joint-highest amount of big chances (2) amongst defenders over the last four games and I’m honestly not sure how he hasn’t registered an assist in his last nine games. To save some funds, Stones is your man as it’s currently his place to lose.

Only a few weeks ago I didn’t expect Arsenal to be a viable option for this Gameweek. The Eagles have stumbled in recent weeks attempting the just two big chances in the last four but with Zaha in their side it’s not going to be a straight forward clean sheet at the Emirates. Holding provides me value to fit one of their defenders in with Arsenal’s recent improvement at the back during their easier fixtures making him a great option this week. However, Tierney’s attacking threat would’ve been preferred. Over the last four Gameweeks he’s had the second highest amount of key passes for defenders (11), with an xA of 0.83 as he created a single big chance. His goal threat isn’t going to be as apparent as it was against West Brom but as he gets into advanced positions he’s at least got some chance down Crystal Palace’s right hand side.

Maguire is the final player in the backline as he faces Burnley. His side is not solid at the back by any means but with his aerial threat from set-pieces, I think he’s got a high ceiling this week. Maguire’s attempted the second-most shots inside the box (5) in his last four and as he’s yet to score at Old Trafford, you’ll be glad to know he’s away this week. Burnley are also yet to score at home against Man Utd since they were last promoted.

Midfield

Both premium City midfielders get a place in this week’s Hub XI for their home game against Brighton. De Bruyne looks the standout pick from their attacking options and as I believe they’re the most likely to go big this week with Sterling completing the City trio. If you’ve watched his recent performances you would have been left frustrated by the Belgian but in the last match he showed why his price tag is so hefty at £11.8m. The pair have both created three big chances in as many games with De Bruyne only just pipping him in xG. Brighton’s impressive defensive stats have fallen off as they now sit middle of the road in terms of the key defensive statistics, not that they were able to keep many clean sheets when they were near the top of those tables. Once again if budget is an issue a second defender would be my preference.

Fernandes was an automatic pick in midfield and thankfully he was afforded a rare rest in the FA Cup at the weekend. He’s an unbelievable FPL asset on the road and I don’t think I need to justify why. Burnley have kept two of their six clean sheets at home this season but we’ve seen in the past Burnley defences frustrate Man United attackers.

Son is at home to Fulham and the games most owned player is an obvious choice this week. I don’t think it’s worth looking into Spurs attacker’s underlying stats as they have proven they are clinical with the limited supply they receive.

Saka is the man who’s allowing me to enable all the premium options. At just £5.3m he’s great value in Arsenal’s resurgent attack. At this price, it’s not the end of the world if he blanks but he carries plenty of upsides. Palace picked up their first clean sheet since their first match of the season against bottom of the league Sheffield Utd, so I don’t see Arsenal being shut out. Over the last four games, he’s on par with Fernandes for shots inside of the box (9), as well as creating one big chance. His underlying stats are extremely good for his baseline price.

Forwards

Kane leads the front two for his game newly rearranged game against Fulham. The forward options look a bit bleak this week but he’s the standout option in Mourinho’s Spurs side with penalty duties to his name. He’s been afforded plenty of rest with a game called off and a rest in the FA Cup. Fulham have missed their last two Premier League games too and have had limited time to prepare for this game.

Finally, Callum Wilson plays Sheffield Utd. Their defensive stats don’t match up with their league positions but they continue to concede goals week in week out as they are yet to keep a clean sheet as we reach the halfway stage of the season. Whilst Newcastle have missed a game, the forwards underlying stats don’t flatter but they don’t really need to when you face Sheffield Utd at the moment.

Bench

Steer, Yedlin, Brewster and Mitchell fill up the bench this week.

Gameweek 18 Captaincy

Kevin De Bruyne is the captain for the first planned blank Gameweek.

Notable omissions

No players from Everton or Wolves feature. Both sides are not in good form and I don’t think this will be high scoring affair. A defender from either side could be a nice differential, especially Saiss who sits top of the charts for shots inside the box for defenders. The form from the Everton attackers has hit a cliff in recent weeks and with Calvert-Lewin out I wouldn’t be going near them this week unless you fancy a put.

 

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