How to plan for a blank game week in FPL

There comes a time every season where for one reason or another, such as FA Cup draws, Premier League matches get postponed and pushed back. This leads to only a few teams playing in certain game weeks. These game weeks are known as blank game weeks (BGWs) and planning effectively for them can make or break your FPL season.

When do we find out about a blank game week?

The point in the season we find out about a blank game week depends on the reason for the matches being postponed. For example, if FA cup matches are being played in place of the Premier League games, then we know as soon as the draw has been made. These games get instantly scheduled in, usually a few weeks in advance, which gives us plenty of time to plan.

However, there are also certain situations where we’re not so lucky. For example, during covid, games could be postponed within days before, and when there is a threat of extreme weather, games can be cancelled just hours before kick-off.

There are many informative FPL tips websites and social media accounts that post information about when blank game weeks have been announced, and sometimes they can make early, educated guesses on when blank game weeks might be. For the most official information, you can check the official Premier League website.

How to plan for blank game weeks

When it comes to planning for blank game weeks, you have a few options. You can either use a chip to cover yourself, plan in advance (which usually involves taking minus points) or ride it out and hope the average score isn’t too much more than what you score yourself.

Using chips

Navigating blank and double game weeks with your chips is an effective way to use them.

Generally, the best chip to use for a blank game week is your free hit chip. With this, you can choose a completely new team for one week, then be reverted to your original team once the game week has finished. This method requires little planning as you can make the transfers you normally would every week, and just ignore the blank game week because you know you are going to free hit anyway.

Another good chip to use is your wildcard. This usually involves planning your transfers a few weeks in advance to make sure you have a good team for the blank game week, then wildcarding the week after to make a strong team for the rest of the season. This strategy is particularly effective if the teams that are playing in the blank game week are not teams that you would normally choose players from. This is because they might not be likely to score too many points in that week anyway, so you can save your free hit for a double game week to chase a bigger upside, and you are able to get rid of them straight away in the game week after.

Planning your transfers

If you plan far enough in advance, you can avoid using chips and get through a blank game week with just your transfers. This usually involves taking a few points hits along the way as it is difficult to do with just one free transfer per week.

Even if you have around 8 players, you can still come away with a decent score for the week. You do not always need 11 players, as many FPL managers will also not be able to field a team of 11. Many managers waste their chips early in the season before blank and double game weeks even come into play.

The advantage of this strategy is that you get to save your chips for better game weeks, like double game weeks that may have a bigger upside. For example, let’s say the average score for an example blank game week is 25, because only a few teams are playing and there weren’t many goals in the games. If you do not use a chip and only field 8 players you might come away with a score of 18, 7 points below average. However, you have now got your free hit ready to use on a double game week. Here you could use your free hit to field 11 players with a double fixture. Let’s say the average for that week is 80 because there are lots of fixtures, you may score 100 points because you had more double game week players than most other managers. Now you have come out with 20 points above average. When combining both game weeks, you’ve come out with a net total of 13 additional points.

Conclusion

There are many ways to plan for a blank game week. Whether you use a chip, plan your transfers in advance or decide to ride it out, there is no one correct way to go about it. As with all decisions in FPL, luck is a crucial factor. The best you can do is plan in advance and have a good reason for you why you make the decisions you do.