FPL Double Gameweek season is by far the most fun and anticipated time of year for any Premier League Fantasy Football manager. It kicks off with Blank Gameweek 18 (now complete) and Double Gameweek 19, so if you’re after advice and chip strategy on how to navigate these fixtures and get a big jump on those mini-league rivals, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s also arguably the most important period as huge gains can be made if you play your cards right, or chips in our case. Early on in my ‘fantasy football career’ if I recall correctly it was the 2007/08 season (my first year playing) it was double Gameweek period in which I went in pursuit of glory and sold my soul. Determined to beat my mates in our fantasy league I took to Google and typed the usual searches ‘fantasy football cheats’ and ‘fantasy football tips’ etc. That led me to some vital information in which led me to captain Martin Laursen (of Aston Villa) and bagged a 24 point haul as he kept back to back clean sheets. Those were the good old days when fantasy football was more of a cult thing rather than the commercial giant it is today. It was from this point I was officially hooked to fantasy football.
Keeping up with all the doubles, blanks, fixture changes etc can be hard to keep up with. On top of that, there is so much out there now it’s actually information overload. That’s why this guide and Fantasy Football Hub is literally all you need to simply navigate your way through this tricky period and rocket up the rankings!
*We’ll be keeping this double and blank Gameweek guide updated, so be sure to bookmark it and check back regularly
Blank and Double Gameweek Basics
Let’s start with the basics. Blank Gameweeks are the result of FA cup games, and Carabao Cup fixtures or any other competition really coinciding with the Premier League fixtures. If the fixture can’t be moved to a midweek slot in the same week this causes a team to have a ‘blank’ fixture and means they miss out that Gameweek. This season is unprecedented due to the Covid virus as we all know. Because of last season finishing so late due to the break in football, four teams blanked in Gameweek 1 – Manchester United, Burnley, Manchester City and Aston Villa. This has never happened before.
These missed fixtures needed to be played later in the season which is usually or always in the midweek of another Gameweek, which causes a ‘Double Gameweek’ in which your players get the points played in both of their games in the one Gameweek. Now planning to load up on players who have a Double Gameweek can be made much easier and profitable if you utilise your chips correctly and most importantly plan in advance for this. It has now been confirmed that Manchester City vs Aston Villa will be played in Gameweek 19 in addition to their existing fixtures to this will now give both teams a ‘Double Gameweek’. Burnley vs Manchester United was played in Gameweek 18. I will briefly explain the chips below:
Free hit chip
The Free Hit chip is the most powerful chip after the Wildcards. Huge gains can be made if it’s played at the right time. You only get one Free Hit chip per season, unlike the wildcard in which you get two. The first wildcard had to be used by Sat 28 Dec 11:30 – GW16 deadline. The second wildcard is available after this date and can be used until the end of the season.
It’s pretty much a one week wildcard in which you can totally overhaul your squad for just the one Gameweek and then it reverts back to your original team the following Gameweek. For example, if you played your Free Hit in Gameweek 20, in Gameweek 21 your team would go back to the one you had in Gameweek 19. Your original team is still in the background so your players are still rising/falling in price. Typically it’s best used for the Blank Gameweeks as you don’t have to ‘prepare’ for it by taking out valuable players for one week, in which you can lose value, and future points etc. In this scenario having the Free Hit chip over someone who hasn’t is a huge advantage. We will discuss how to best use this chip for this season later in the article.
Bench boost chip
With this chip your bench comes into play, so just like your outfield players score points, so does your bench. A popular and proven strategy is using this chip in a Double Gameweek as you can get 15 double Gameweek players and bench boost, effectively giving you 30 players. This isn’t the only way to play this though and can be used effectively in a single Gameweek also. However, in my humble opinion, it’s always better to have two tickets to the lotto than one. Statistically, it gives you the best chance of returns and this is the strategy many top managers have used every season with good returns. Also, let’s be honest it’s much more fun!
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Your captain score is tripled rather than doubled. I would say the least valuable chip out of them all. Although it could be used to devastating effect, the odds are slimmer because you are relying on one player rather than multiple players like in a Bench Boost or Free Hit, there is more chance of a ‘fail’. Again this is the reason why I think it’s best to use in a DGW as you get two bites at the cherry.
Frequently asked questions on chips
When are the Blank and Double Gameweeks?
The first Blank Gameweek was in Gameweek 18 and the first Double Gameweek is in Gameweek 19. Thanks to our Double and Blank Gameweek expert Ben Crellin we can easily access this information via his planner. This is the go-to tool for Double Gameweek and Blank Gameweek planning and is all you need to effortlessly guide your way through this period smoothly.
Will there be a Double Gameweek 19?
Yes, the teams who blanked in Gameweek 18 will all have a double fixture in Double Gameweek 19 in addition to some rearranged matches. However it is worth noting that Leeds vs Southampton (FA Cup scheduling) and Everton vs Aston Villa (Covid issues) have been postponed. The previously postponed Aston Villa vs Newcastle match has come in to Gameweek 19 giving both team a Double Gameweek. The fixtures are as follows:
Liverpool vs Manchester United (H) and Burnley (H)
Chelsea vs Fulham (a) and Leicester (a)
Manchester United vs Liverpool (a) and Fulham (a)
West Ham United vs Burnley (H) and West Brom (H)
Leicester City vs Southampton (H) and Chelsea (H)
Burnley vs Southampton (a) and Liverpool (a)
West Brom vs Wolves (a) and West Ham United (a)
Fulham vs Chelsea (H) and Manchester United (H)
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace (H) and Aston Villa (H)
Aston Villa vs Manchester City (a) and Newcastle (H)
Newcastle vs Arsenal (a) and Aston Villa (a)
We can see from Ben’s graphic above that there a still of number of games to be rearranged due to Covid. We don’t know yet which Gameweek these fixtures will be moved too.
How to use your chips
There will be much more detailed analysis on the Hub as we edge ever closer to the blanks and doubles, but here is one possible route:
- Free Hit – if you didn’t use your Free Hit in Blank Gameweek 18 then you could opt to use it to optimise Double Gameweek 19, or if your team is in good shape it is probably better to save it for likely Blank Gameweek 29.
- Bench Boost – Double Gameweek 19 is going to be a big one with six extra fixtures, so 12 teams have a Double Gameweek. I definitely think Double Gameweek 19 is the best time to use your Bench Boost. There will be more Double Gameweeks later in the season but likely not as big as this one. Also, it gets the Bench Boost chip out of the way which means you don’t have to then hold valuable players on the bench going forward. Ideally for the remainder of the season, you want to have as many funds as possible into your starting 11.
- Triple Captain – The triple captain can be used in Double Gameweek 19 as Liverpool and Man City now both have decent fixtures with two home games, so Mohamed Salah or Kevin De Bruyne could be an option which is not a strategy I am against. It’s all team dependent and you will have to see what’s best for your team.
The importance of having a Double Gameweek plan!
The above can be seen as a lot to take in and plan for especially when work and family commitments are obviously a priority. It’s why I highly recommend using Ben Crellin’s fixture planner. It pretty much does everything for you and is a great way of visualising your team and transfers. It even has a handy video demonstration from the man himself.