5 Tips for Playing a Successful FPL Wildcard

Playing a Wildcard is both one of the most exciting and most stressful moments of every FPL manager’s season. Wildcards enable FPL managers to completely reconstruct their teams from scratch, without taking any points hits. This is an incredibly powerful tool and playing a successful FPL Wildcard can change the entire course of a season.

Wildcards are only given to FPL managers twice during the course of a season, so it is extremely important to approach them strategically. A poorly executed Wildcard will not only be discouraging, but can also set your team back significantly.

Below are 5 tips that will ensure you will end up with a successful FPL Wildcard team:

1. Build a forward-looking team

The primary focus of your Wildcard should be to build a team that will be successful for many weeks to come.

A common mistake FPL managers make when selecting their Wildcard team is only focusing on players with favorable fixtures in the next one or two weeks. Instead, you should look at least 4 or 5 weeks ahead to identify players who not only have good match ups now but also further down the road. Doing so will prevent a scenario where 3 or 4 of your players suddenly have a difficult fixture turn, forcing you to either take a hit to take them out, or hold onto a number of them for unfavorable matches. This is especially important for peripheral (non-premium) players who’s output is much more likely to be impacted by challenging opposition.

Building a team for the future means that you will likely need to make some short term sacrifices. You may have to stomach a few difficult fixtures in the short term if it means a great stretch of easy matches down the road. Remember, a successful FPL wildcard team should be just as strong in 4 weeks as it is the week after it is made.

2. Select a balanced squad

Pick only as many premium players as you can afford.

While there will always be the temptation to acquire as many premium players as possible, a successful FPL Wildcard team should be still be well balanced. This does not mean that you should not acquire premium players, but rather means that you should not do so at the expense of fielding a competitive XI.

A good strategy to employ is to first select 2 or 3 premium players that you absolutely know you want in your team. After that, fill out the squad with good value options. This means players who are relatively cheap, but offer good points per million spent. If you’re struggling to field a starting lineup that you feel good about, then you should consider swapping one of your premium players to a cheaper option and spreading the money around.

Remember, it is far more important to have two players who will trickle in points than having one superstar and one dud.

3. Pick players who actually play

Resist the temptation to select bench players who do not play in order to save that extra 0.1m or 0.2m.

Your bench is your lifeline. It will save you from unexpected injuries and rotation, and you’ll be looking to it much more often than you think. But your bench will only be as helpful as the players you select. If you cut corners and try to squeeze your bench budget too much then you will be left with players who are effectively useless.

My advice to you: pick players who are not only almost guaranteed to play, but also have at least some points potential.

4. It’s OK to have money left ITB

When you are building your FPL wildcard squad, you don’t have to use up your entire budget.

So often I see new (and experienced) managers fall into the mindset that they absolutely need to use their entire budget to optimize their squad. Sometimes the best team you can field costs less than what you can spend, and that is absolutely OK. Resist the temptation to upgrade a player to a more expensive option just because you have the money to do so. Remember, your goal is to build a team that will produce the most points, not to build a team that is the most expensive.

Having money left in the bank also provides you with added flexibility moving forward. It will allow you to make a direct one-for-one upgrade down the road rather than having to find the funds from within your team.

5. Don’t play your FPL Wildcard if you don’t need to

Sometimes the most successful FPL Wildcard is the one that you don’t make.

If you find yourself temped to make big changes to your team then first ask yourself this: how many starting players do I want to change? If the answer is less than 5 then you should probably be taking a points hit rather than using up your FPL Wildcard.

Number of Wildcard Changes by top 1K Managers
The majority of top FPL managers made at least 10 changes with their Wildcards

There will be many times during the course of the season where FPL you’ll want to make changes to your team. This will happen due to changing form, fixtures and injury. However, the Wildcard should not be your go-to tool for fixing your team. Maybe you can get by for a week or two with a sub-optimal squad. Or maybe you can take a -8 and burn two free transfers (known as a mini Wildcard) to adjust your team. Those 8 points won’t define your season, but wasting your FPL Wildcard will.

If you’re interested in more FPL strategy tips and tricks, check out our other FPL strategy guides.