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FPL tips: How do elite managers use their chips?

FPL
(Image credit: PA)

The FPL gives each manager three chips and two wildcards with which to maximise their points-earning potential every season – but how best to use them?

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By studying the moves of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their name, we have been able to analyse how the elite spend these valuable commodities. We'll talk you through each one, so that you can get a better idea of how and when to use these valuable tokens.

A graphic showing how top Fantasy Premier League managers use their FPL chips

Free Hit

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta gestures as they prepare to make a substitution during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool

(Jon Super/PA)

The Free Hit chip allows a manager to make as many transfers as they like ahead of a gameweek, but those transfers will disappear once the gameweek has finished.

Elite bosses have a clear tactic when it comes to this chip, according to the numbers at least: they use it when a gameweek is comprised of fewer games than normal, rather than more.

A total of 680 of them used the Free Hit chip in gameweek 18, as opposed to just 23 in GW19. With just 12 teams in action last week, it’s clear that this group of managers felt it was more useful as a way of setting a specialist squad for a blank-hit gameweek.

This makes sense when you consider that these managers don’t want to be lumbered with players for the rest of the season just because they were among the only people to play in one week.

Just 283 have yet to use the Free Hit – with the coronavirus pandemic seeing games postponed, perhaps this chip may come in handy sooner rather than later.

Bench Boost

Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale (centre) on the bench during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

(Matt Dunham/PA)

The Bench Boost chip allows managers to earn points from their four reserve players, and is often used during a double gameweek to maximise points returns.

With GW19 being just that, with 15 matches rather than the usual 10, 10,291 top managers used their Bench Boost this week, compared to just four in total in the weeks before.

As to why 705 managers have yet to use it, it is likely more double gameweeks will appear in the calendar as cup competitions make things more complicated, while it is not unheard of by any stretch for there to be more than 15 games in a double gameweek (DGW).

However, it is also possible that more of our top managers would have used this chip in GW19 if Leeds’ game against Southampton hadn’t been postponed – Patrick Bamford was their second most-owned player this week (87.6%) while Stuart Dallas was also popular.

Triple Captain

Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel wearing a rainbow laces captains armband during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield

(Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Almost a quarter of top managers used their Triple Captain chip in GW19, with just one being played prior to this week.

Using your Triple Captain chip during a double gameweek is widely held to be a sensible decision, with a TC chip placed on a DGW player effectively giving you six times the normal point-scoring power of a single player in a standard gameweek.

Playing this chip in GW19 may well have been the result of the top managers looking to save their Bench Boost and second wildcard for later in the season, but not wanting to take points deductions in order to make more transfers.

In terms of who they picked, of the 241, Kevin De Bruyne was the most popular (145) followed by Mohamed Salah (90) – the elite don’t appear to enjoy taking risks with this most valuable of chips.

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