Stemming from our beginner’s guide to FPL, we’re taking a look at the chips available in FPL – what they do, how to use them, and the ways to get the most out of them.
This time, it’s the turn of the wildcard chip. This is a core part of every FPL season and something which can turn around a dodgy season, or take a good one to the next level.
In this guide, more information will be providing as to what the wildcard chip does, how it works, and the best ways in which it can be used during the season.
What is the FPL wildcard chip?
In FPL, the wildcard chip allows you to make an unlimited number of transfers for the gameweek in which you have it active.
Normally, if you exceed the number of free transfers you have allocated, you’ll need to take a “hit”. This is a 4 point loss, deducted from your total at the end of the gameweek. With an active wildcard, you’re able to make as many transfers as you like up until the start of the gameweek.
It initially works in a similar manner to the Free Hit, though this time you’ll actually keep this squad going forward.
How do you play the wildcard chip?
The ability to play the wildcard becomes an option once you’ve made at least one transfer (and have the wildcard remaining). It will appear on the Transfers tab, alongside Auto Pick and Reset – you’ll get a Play Wildcard option.
Once this has been played, this area will be occupied by a “Wildcard Played” sign.
How many times can you play your wildcard?
The wildcard option becomes available twice – once in the first half of the season, and once in the second half of the season (each 19 gameweeks).
Due to the gap you’ll have between wildcards, choosing when to play them can take a lot of deliberation. We’ll go through some of the more common wildcard strategies further on in this guide.
How do wildcards work in the 2022/23 season?
We’ve seen changes made to how chips work in the Pandemic era, and the 22/23 season will also have its own changes. We were given an extra wildcard in the 19/20 season for the resumption of the league following the first lockdown, for instance.
This season, unlimited free transfers can also be made between November 12th and December 26th when the Premier League season makes way for the 2022 World Cup.
We basically have another wildcard. The first one should be used before GW16, this extra set of transfers will be available prior to GW17, then we’ll have another wildcard between GW18 and GW38.
How do transfers work when your wildcard is active?
Once you’ve activated your wildcard, there are a few key items to take into account:
- Once activated, you don’t need to make all of your transfers at once – you’ll have until the time the next gameweek starts to get your transfers done. You may want to get the key transfers done early in order to avoid any price rises/drops.
- If you’ve already made a number of transfers, resulting in hits being taken, you can activate the wildcard which will remove any hits.
When is the best time to play your wildcard?
So, the real main event of this guide – how do you use the wildcard chip?
There are a number of methods for this, largely revolving around which time of the season the chip is to be played. Also, individual circumstances are likely to play a role in the wildcard chip being used. Though maybe you planned to play the chip at a certain point, if you’re team has been ruined by injuries/suspension/poor form, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and freshen things up.
First Wildcard: Playing it Early
The first common strategy is to play your first wildcard early on in the season, usually around the GW5 – 8 mark. There’s valuable information to be gained during this period, with teams becoming more settled, new signings bedding in, etc. Of course, we don’t have much data to work with considering the small sample size, but a big bonus of this is to attack the opening run of fixtures.
This wildcard would be a long-term play, seeing the foundation of your team set for a good chunk of the season, while those opening gameweeks can be a bit more adventurous.
For the 22/23 season, this is even more of an option considering the extra set of unlimited transfers during the World Cup. In this instance, the first wildcard could be popped around GW8, allowing you to plan for basically two batches of 8 gameweeks before another wildcard.
First Wildcard: Playing it Late
Though a popular choice is popping the wildcard very early on, there’s also a more simple strategy of: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. If you’re off to a flyer and your team is in good shame, there’s no immediate need to play your wildcard, is there?
A viable alternative is to play the wildcard closer towards the end of its cycle (the first half of the season).
Second Wildcard: Preparing for Double Gameweeks
With the second wildcard, it’s a reverse of what is commonly done with the first one. Generally, you wouldn’t play the second wildcard towards the start of its availability. In most seasons, we’d see double gameweeks crop up towards the final 10 gameweeks of the season. DGWs crop up through the rearranging of fixtures, usually down to cup ties.
Of course, this has been a bit different in the pandemic era, especially in the 21/22 season when the constant rearranging of fixtures led to double gameweeks being scattered throughout the season.
Generally, though, we see DGWs added in the second half of the season, with one or two “big” DGWs – prime targets for wildcards. A common strategy is to wildcard prior to a big DGW, where you would then play either the Triple Captain or Bench Boost chip.
To know the situation with double gameweeks, the number one resource is always Ben Crellin – he forecasts double gameweeks through his legendary spreadsheets, compiled every year without fail.