The most exciting gameweek of the season is upon us.
There are 17 games, 14 teams with a double gameweek, and the chance for a mammoth score with the right squad selection, a little bit of luck, and probably the use of a precious FPL chip.
The best bet, if you've still got it and if you've set your squad up to be ready to use it, is the Bench Boost. Our expert on the Fantasy 606 podcast, Statman Dave, has done precisely that and has 15 double gameweek players ready to rack the points up for him. I have to admit I am very envious.
But if you're not in a position to do that there are plenty of other ways to try and cash in on the feast of fixtures in gameweek 26.
Should you consider a minus points hit with transfers...?
Using your Free Hit chip if you still have it is one way to go about it. Select a squad for one week and one week only which will then revert back to your original squad for gameweek 27. Some managers will be saving this chip to get themselves through gameweek 29 when there are only four fixtures but this is definitely a more aggressive and exciting way to use it.
You could choose to use your second wildcard this week which, like the Free Hit, gives you carte blanche to make as many changes to your squad as you like within your budget, but remember this will be your squad for the rest of the season and you can't then play the Bench Boost chip or Triple captain chip in the same gameweek.
I'll come onto the Triple Captain option in a bit but another avenue open to you is to take points hits on transfers and this week I find myself in that quandary that FPL managers always face - how many points hits can I justify to get my squad to where I want it to be?
You lose four points for every additional transfer after your free ones and in my case I could take a 12-point hit this week to bring in Alphonse Areola, Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
That would get me to 12 double gameweek players in my squad plus Vladimir Coufal, Raphinha and Patrick Bamford. I could then be tempted to use the Bench Boost with my two Leeds players having a home fixture against Aston Villa.
If I take another four-point hit then I could also bring Matt Targett in for Coufal but where do you stop? And selling Coufal means I lose one of my players who is scheduled to play in gameweek 29.
It all depends on your attitude to risk in this game. In my case Areola would be coming in for Jed Steer who's not even on the bench for Aston Villa anymore and Son would replace the injured Jack Grealish. Those are easy decisions to make.
The others would see Kane and Calvert-Lewin replace Danny Ings and Edinson Cavani who potentially could play two games for Manchester United in gameweek 26 if fit and selected. So do I back Kane and Calvert-Lewin to outscore those other two with both effectively starting on minus four points?
I think the answer is yes to that question but I still don't like starting a gameweek on minus 12 points and I'm keen to save my wildcard for later in the season after we've got through gameweek 29.
Fernandes or Kane as triple captain?
So that brings me on to the Triple Captain option this week. If your squad isn't set up to benefit from the Bench Boost then this could be the way to bag the big score if you can pick the right man. The problem is picking him!
Bruno Fernandes is the top points-scorer in the game and one you might describe as "fixture-proof", ie. he will deliver whoever Manchester United are playing, and in gameweek 26 they go to Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
I would definitely be tempted by Harry Kane with a home game against Burnley and a trip to Fulham even though that flies in the face of Tottenham's struggle to score goals in the Premier League recently. And if Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit to play both of Everton's games against Southampton and West Brom then you'd fancy him to be in the goals.
Manchester City have home games against West Ham and Wolves but going with a City option means playing an even riskier game of Pep roulette and Mohamed Salah's not a sure thing either given Liverpool's recent travails.
Harvey Barnes, Jamie Vardy and Ollie Watkins are other names that spring to mind, or for a real differential how about Statman Dave's surprise shout of West Brom's Mbaye Diagne for home games against Brighton and Everton.
I'll leave you to choose. Good luck.
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