Wondering how or when to play your FPL Wildcard? You’ve come to the right place.

The wildcard is by far the most powerful asset in the official fantasy football game. Veterans of fantasy football will need no introduction of what a wildcard is and what it does, but those who are relatively new may need a breakdown. It a nutshell it can best be described as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Wildcard and how to best utilise it.

What is a Wildcard?

A Wildcard allows you to make unlimited changes to your team without incurring any point’s hits. Ordinarily, fantasy managers are given one free transfer per week and two free transfers if you roll one over. You cannot roll more than two transfers over so you would effectively ‘lose’ a transfer if you didn’t use it. Every transfer you make over your initial free transfer(s) incurs you a 4 point hit per transfer. So for example, if you have one free transfer and you make three transfers, you will be deducted 8 points. However, with a Wildcard you can make as many changes as you want without incurring any points hit.

When can I use the wildcard?

In the official fantasy football game, we are given two wildcards to use throughout the season. The first wildcard you can use any time before January. It expires in the last Gameweek of December. So if you don’t use it you will lose it. The second Wildcard can be used at any time after the first Wildcard expires at the end of December all the way until the end of the season.

To use the wildcard you have to first make your transfers. When confirming the transfers the option to play the Wildcard and Free Hit will appear (be careful to pick the correct one whichever chip you are using) once you click confirm, your Wildcard is now active and you can transfer players in and out at your will.

Once you confirm the Wildcard it cannot be cancelled so be sure you want to play it before you do.

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When should you use a wildcard?

When to use the Wildcards is hugely important and the key to a successful season hinges on playing your wildcards well. There is no one set rule of when to play them but they should never be played reactionary, for example after one bad gameweek. The first Wildcard can be played to target fixture swings that need to be identified when you are picking your Gameweek one squad. For example, you can identify a number of teams fixtures picking up after Gameweek five, therefore you pick your initial team for the first five gameweeks, then Wildcard after Gameweek five thus taking advantage of the fixture swing.  This is when our fixture ticker comes in handy. This tactic seems to be quite a popular one for a lot of veterans and one I have used for as long as I can remember.

The second wildcard however is a different kettle of fish. Since the introduction of the extra chips, mainly the Bench Boost and Triple Captain, the way we use the second wildcard has changed. With the popular strategy of using the Bench Boost in a double Gameweek the second wildcard is used to load up on 15 double Gameweek players a week or so before the big double Gameweek so you can have one mega double Gameweek with 15 of your players playing twice. Now it’s been an ongoing dispute among fantasy purists whether this is the optimal strategy. On one side you can get huge scores from this method in a short period of time but on the other hand you have those who argue if the sacrifices you made beforehand lost you as many points, if not more as you may be restricted yourself by saving the wildcard for so late in the season. I have personally used the wildcard to Bench Boost strategy ever since the chips were introduced and have done well with. I still don’t believe this is the only way though, and know of many who have taken different approaches and still been successful. As they say, there are many ways to skin a cat.

Price changes

Another advantage of using the wildcard you can jump on players who are rising in price, therefore, boosting your team value. This tactic is only eligible on the first wildcard though and early on in the season when price changes are really volatile. It can be a real kick-starter to your season and give you a slight advantage for your second wildcard as you have more money to buy the players you want. I personally don’t pay as much attention to price changes than most and it should go hand in hand with a good rank. However, it’s still good to be aware of the price change landscape. Read our comprehensive price changes guide for more information on this.

A word of caution when using the wildcard though is if you plan to get rid of a player with a lot of money tied up in them make sure you are 100% certain as you cant buy them back at the same price. You will have to buy them back at their current price which will leave you either short or in loss.

In conclusion, it pays to think of your wildcard as a longer-term solution rather than a short-term fix. Plan your wildcard, be patient, and do not use it on a whim or knee jerk reaction. As I said in the article it is the strongest chip available to us and playing it well will more than likely define your season.

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