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FPL managers go large on chips

With an extra fixture for Liverpool and West Ham creating the first double gameweek of the Fantasy Premier League season, over one million bosses used one of their five chips this week.

The use of 625,930 triple captain tokens easily surpassed the previous high for a single chip this season, set all the way back in gameweek 4, when 429,973 people tore up their teams with a wildcard and started again.

For the 270,144 who went for Sadio Mane, the move did not go quite to plan as he limped off in the first half of Liverpool’s win over Wolves.

But if you have so far kept your powder dry, when should you turn to your triple captain – and the other tools at your disposal?

Triple Captain

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah during the Premier League match at Molineux

Mo Salah was a popular triple captain choice for gameweek 24 (Nick Potts/PA)

Whilst an outing against an injury-ravaged team at the foot of the table might seem like a tempting time to triple one of your players’ scores, you are probably better off waiting for another double gameweek.

This season’s 10 highest scoring players average 7.0 points per appearance in the matches identified as the easiest by the Fixture Difficulty Ratings but they still score 5.9 in the toughest matches.

This means that you could reasonably expect them to score five points higher in a pair of tricky ties than you would in a single straight forward match.

Free Hit

The FA Cup trophy

Teams’ continued involvement in the FA Cup could create the perfect conditions to use your free hit later in the season (Steven Paston/PA)

There are currently no teams who are due to play more than one match in a single gameweek but the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the FA Cup and the final of the EFL Cup all clash with Premier League fixtures.

As a result, the teams still involved in those cups will need their league fixtures to be rescheduled, creating double gameweeks.

This week sees extra fixtures for just two clubs but the pileup at the end of the season almost always leads to a bonanza round where more than half of the league get two bites at the apple.

In such a week, the use of your free hit could allow you to field a full team of players who could get up to 180 minutes on the pitch.

Bench Boost

Pep Guardiola on the Manchester City bench

It’s important to choose your substitutes wisely before using your bench boost (Joe Giddens/PA)

The one chip which doesn’t have quite the same benefits in a double gameweek is bench boost.

It might be theoretically possible to cobble together a squad of 15 who are all playing twice but there will only be a finite number of double gameweeks and you can only deploy one of your weapons in any single week.

The main thing to consider when playing your bench boost is to plan your transfers so that you have a full complement of regular starters.

Picking a cheap benchwarmer like David Button in any other week saves you money that you can spend elsewhere but when your subs add to your overall total, you will need to downgrade one of your outfield players to free up the cash for a keeper who will actually get on the pitch.

Wildcard

Newcastle United new signing Joelinton (left) with Newcastle United Manager Steve Bruce

Using your wildcard allows you to introduce a number of new signings – who may or may not prove prolific scorers for your team (Owen Humphreys/PA)

You get two wildcards per season but even if you have one of them left at your disposal, you are showing more restraint than most.

Removing the penalties for any transfers over and above your free ones, your wildcard can be used to rejig your squad in the wake of injuries but it can also be used to pave the way for other chips.

For example, you can’t play two chips in the same week but you could play your wildcard in gameweek 32 with an eye on how you might bench boost in gameweek 33.

It is even possible to craft a masterplan which involves a sequence of three or more chips in a row but you definitely don’t want to find yourself playing one in the final week, just for the sake of it, because you spent too long overthinking your moves.