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FPL tips: What are chips, and how should you use them?

Liverpool v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Anfield
(Image credit: Phil Noble)

The Fantasy Premier League season is long and tricky, but the people behind the game have provided resources to help make managers’ journeys that bit easier.

These come in the form of ‘chips’ which can be played ahead of a gameweek to enhance your team’s chances of point scoring.

Four different chips are available – wildcard, free hit, triple captain and bench boost – but only one can be played in a single gameweek.

So what are they, and how can they help?

Wildcard

Leicester City’s James Maddison (left) is congratulated by team-mate Caglar Soyuncu during a substitution in the Premier League match at St James’ Park, Newcastle

(Michael Regan/PA)

According to the FPL, the wildcard ensures “all transfers (including those already made) in the gameweek are free of charge”.

This means a manager can make unlimited transfers ahead of a gameweek without incurring the usual four-point deduction for an additional change.

Bosses are given two wildcards to use during the season, with one available in the first half of the season, and one in the second.

With that in mind, many managers choose to play their wildcard after the summer and winter transfer windows have closed, with Premier League squads more settled and predictable.

Others choose to play their wildcards ahead of gameweeks that, for whatever reason, have a limited number of fixtures, in an attempt to ensure they have enough players on the pitch that week.

However, for most the wildcard is a long-term strategy, played with the aim of setting up your team for the weeks and months to come.

Free hit

Players line up against a free kick during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday May 8, 2021

(Paul Ellis/PA)

The free hit chip is a better short-term option than the wildcard.

The FPL website says of the free hit: “Make unlimited free transfers for a single gameweek. At the next deadline your squad is returned to how it was at the start of the gameweek.”

If a fixture-limited gameweek is approaching, the free hit chip can be played to set a specialist team full of players whose clubs are actually playing that week.

When external tournaments such as the League Cup, FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League reach the business end, top teams’ commitments often mean their league fixtures get moved from one gameweek to another.

Saving your free hit for the second half of the season is advisable.

Triple captain

Close up of the Rainbow Laces captain’s armband worn by Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse during the Premier League match at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

(Michael Steele/PA)

Arguably the most appealing of the FPL chips, the triple captain option means “your captain points are tripled instead of doubled in the next gameweek”.

Most players will use the triple captain chip on one of their star players, preferably during a fixture in which they appear nailed on to score points.

Holding on until the second half of the season is a common move, with the form players having emerged at this point.

But waiting until the second half of the season is also beneficial as this is when double gameweeks begin to emerge.

If, for example, Liverpool have a double gameweek at some point in the spring, giving the triple captaincy to Mohamed Salah could actually see him multiply his point-scoring chances by six.

If he was to play well in both games, a points total of more than 50 for Salah alone would be more than possible.

Bench boost

Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane (centre) sits on the bench ahead of the Premier League match at the Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Sunday August 22, 2021

(David Davies/PA)

If you’re looking to spread your chances over more than one player, a bench boost can be equally effective.

Playing your bench boost means “the points scored by your bench players in the next gameweek are included in your total”.

That means 15 players’ worth of points, if all four of your substitutes play.

The bench boost is best saved for a week in which your substitutes look likely to play for their club sides too, while a double gameweek is also preferable.

If all 15 players in your squad played both games in a double gameweek, that effectively works out at 30 players’ worth of points with the bench boost in play.