Summary of The GW34 Preview - FREE HIT Special

Must have players on a Free Hit and who to buy if no FH left; Which Wolves players to buy? Best Son/Porro replacements; Double Arsenal attack or defence? And more DGW34 questions answered

Fellow FPL Manager,

Today’s email summarizes The GW34 Preview Thread - FREE HIT SPECIAL, answering the key questions going into the double gameweek.

Last gameweek, Haaland was the most captained player from our newsletter community with 72% of us giving him the armband - I’m happy with his goal + assist. A huge shoutout to the 4 readers that captained Palmer, I imagine you are all at the top of your mini-leagues after that 52-point captain haul (unless you’re all in the same mini-league somehow!)

Given that it’s a double gameweek, this week’s captain poll has some exciting options - especially for those with a Triple Captain chip available. Looking forward to seeing who you captain and if we have any incredible differential hauls this week. More details below on who I’d captain (or Triple Captain if I had the chip left) below.

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Q) Who are the must have players to own on the Free Hit?

  • Salah and Saka: standout picks. No explanation needed.

  • An Arsenal Defender - Gabriel my preference: Arsenal have conceded the fewest xG this season. Gabriel is top in for big chances among defenders this season.

  • A 2nd Liverpool attacker: Liverpool are projected to score 2+ goals in both of their fixtures in the double. Extremely difficult to predict which one of Darwin, Diaz, or Jota will start twice. If I were to guess, I think Diaz gets the most mins.

  • A Liverpool defender - VVD my preference: Liverpool have a 54% probability to keep at least 1 clean sheet in the double. Van Dijk has the highest chance of starting both.

  • Eze and Olise: Palace play twice at home against 2 weak defences. Eze is on penalties. Olise has the highest xGi per 90 among Palace players.

  • Solanke: On penalties. The boring but logical selection on a Free Hit.

Q) Which slots are the ones where you can differentiate on a Free Hit?

4 spots that allow you to go different on a Free Hit, especially if you are chasing rank.

  1. GK position: since Liverpool and Arsenal spots are valuable, either an Everton or Palace keeper in this position.

  2. Arsenal defender or Arsenal attacker (2 spots): more details below

  3. The 7th attacker: I prefer Mateta to Cunha, Palace's fixtures are better. Not much to split them.

Q) Double Arsenal attack or defence – what should be the preference on a Free Hit?

I prefer a 2nd Arsenal defender because there are better alternatives in attack.

Arsenal have a 62% chance of keeping at least 1 clean sheet in the double - much higher than any other team.

Gabriel is my first choice (see above). White is my preference for the 2nd spot over Saliba because of underlying stats.

Q) Odegaard or Havertz – which one would you pick?

If you have a higher risk appetite, Havertz. If not, Odegaard.

xGi per 90 over the season is very similar but Havertz’s non-pen xG is nearly double Odegaard’s - higher ceiling on paper.

Odegaard has a better chance of accumulating bonus because of chance creation and is more secure for minutes.

Q) If you were to own an Everton or Palace defender who would it be?

Mykolenko from Everton and Munoz from Palace.

If picking an Everton defender, Mykolenko is the best pick. Underlying data is similar to the other Everton defenders but much less likely to get booked (1 yellow vs. Tarkowski’s 9).

If picking a Palace defender, Munoz is the best pick. Playing RWB and has the highest xGi per 90 among Palace defenders since the new manager took over.

Q) Any Wolves/Sheffield Utd players worth getting on the Free Hit?

Cunha is the only Wolves player that appeals to buy. Sarabia and Ait Nouri are fine to hold but not worth buying.

The main appeal of the Wolves players was in the fact that they had good fixtures leading into the double – for example when they played Burnley & West Ham in recent weeks.

Brereton Diaz is the only Sheffield player I’d consider. Classified as a mid but playing up front.

Q) What to do with Haaland if injured?

If Haaland is fit, keep him. If injured, Darwin and Mateta are the best replacements.

If Haaland is out for the FA Cup this weekend, it puts the Brighton game in doubt as well. Darwin is the best replacement if you don’t own. If you own Darwin, Mateta is the best replacement.

If Haaland is fit, keep him and focus your transfers elsewhere.

Q) Who are the must have players for people not on FH? Best Son/Porro replacements?

Eze the best Son replacement. An Arsenal defender is the best Porro replacement.

Son Replacements: If you already own Eze, buy a Liverpool mid or an Arsenal mid (if you have a spare Arsenal spot available)

Porro Replacements: If you have already maxed out on Arsenal, then buy VVD.

Q) Foden worth selling for a hit if not on Free Hit?

Foden worth selling for a hit if you are buying Eze or a Liverpool mid, not worth a hit for anyone else.

Q) Is it ok to bench Palmer despite his form?

I suggest benching Palmer this week. Much better options with a double.

Playing Arsenal away, one of the hardest fixtures this season so his ceiling is low compared to other double GW alternatives.

Q) Is Bench Boosting this week a good idea?

Save your BB for GW37.

Irrespective of your WC or FH strategy, Bench Boosting in GW37 seems like the better play - given that funds for Salah won't be needed in 37 and enablers like Palmer and Gordon can fit the bill perfectly.

Q) Who is the best captain this week? Would you use the triple captain this week or in double GW37?

Salah is the best captain pick. Worth Triple Captaining Salah if you have the chip left.

It may seem that Salah is playing poorly, however, he has been getting chances in FPL terms. He is still among the top 3 for xGi in the last 4 gameweeks.

Salah is the most likely player to return anytime across the GW. Safe choice.

I would TC Salah if I had the chip left. Better to use the TC chip now and the BB chip in GW37.

Who are YOU captaining in double GW34?

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Best of luck in double GW34,

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