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Traditionally, fantasy managers are given five chips per season: Free Hit, Bench Boost, Triple Captain and two wildcards.
There’s temptation to try them out early to discover how they work and steal a march on mini-league rivals, with both Triple Captain and Bench Boost available for Gameweek 1. However, the power of these chips are generally only realised towards the end of the fantasy season, so bide your time!
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For this season, fantasy managers will also be given unlimited transfers during the World Cup break, with the first wildcard being played prior to Gameweek 16.
The International Break between Gameweek 8 and Gameweek 9 will be a popular time for managers to play their first wildcard: we usually have a good idea of trends by this point in the season and there’s some significant fixture swings for Arsenal and Liverpool.
Looking at the full-season calendar, we already know that if Premier League clubs progress to the League Cup final and FA Cup semi-finals, we will have blank gameweeks in Gameweek 25, 28 and 32.
There’s space in the calendar for these games to be rearranged into the midweeks of Gameweek 29, 34 and 37 to create double gameweeks, where some teams will have more than one fixture. We will need to wait until closer to the time for the exact fixtures to be confirmed.
We view these blank and double gameweeks as the optimal times to play our chips. Having players with two fixtures gives them a potential 180 minutes to amass large fantasy point totals.
The Bench Boost is most effective in a big double gameweek and is traditionally used in conjunction with the second wildcard in a gameweek prior to it, with a view to having a potential squad of 15 players all with two fixtures. Remember only one chip can be used per gameweek.
The Triple Captain is best to be used on a premium player with two favourable Double Gameweek fixtures. A Free Hit can be useful in either a blank or a double gameweek, particularly if we see a blank gameweek where key highly owned premium players are without a fixture. Gameweek 28 looks likely to be the biggest blank gameweek of the season.