Time to play your bench boost? Fantasy football tips

Alistair Bruce-Ball

How you approach the final 10 game weeks of the season depends entirely on what chips you have left to play, if any.

You can be like Statman Dave on our Fantasy 606 podcast, who still has all four available to him and is happily preparing his Free Hit team for Gameweek 29 – more on that in a bit – or you might have to manage your team a lot more carefully if the cabinet is bare. If so, look out for Gameweek 32 in particular, when Manchester City, Manchester United, Brighton and Chelsea are all empty.

Many managers will use their Bench Boost this week in the biggest doubleheader week of the season, with 12 teams each playing two games.

Danny Ward losing his place to Daniel Iversen as Leicester's goalkeeper in Gameweek 28 could mean an extra transfer you didn't plan for if you're going with the Bench Boost and you also need to keep an eye on the availability of the likes of Erling Haaland, Marcus Rashford, Kai Havertz and Sven Botman.

It's not now or never with Bench Boost, and if there are too many injuries or sickness doubts, or if you feel like you have to take too many hits on transitions to get to the squad you're happy with, you can always save the chip for another day.

When it comes to taking transfer hits, the big question this week seems to be: is it worth doing it with our Arsenal assets?

Arsenal have a single gameweek with a home game against Leeds but the temptation is to take out their players for the double gameweekers such as Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes or Mohamed Salah.

The most important thing to remember is that these are not transitions for just one game week.

If you're considering selling Bukayo Saka for Fernandes, take a look at their fixtures for the next six gameweeks and see who you think will get more points over that period. You should also consider whether you can captain any of the players at any point.

Ivan Toney (center)
Is Ivan Toney a risk as he is just one booking away from suspension?

Manchester United double in matchweeks 29 and 34 but they are also clean in 32 and Casemiro is suspended for their next three Premier League games. Arsenal have no double-headers, they face test trips to Liverpool in Gameweek 30 and Manchester City in Gameweek 33, but they have a fixture in Matchweek 32 at home to Southampton.

Don't forget that if you still have your Free Hit chip you can use it in Gameweek 32 when you will almost certainly want three Arsenal players for that game but you wouldn't need to own them before or after.

For what it's worth, I plan to sell Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Martinelli this week to replace them with Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes, and I'll be using my Free Hit chip in Gameweek 32. I'm sticking with Saka for a while longer. a bit longer but he will be Salah in my squad by game week 34.

Liverpool double up on 34 with home games against Tottenham and Fulham, while Manchester City, Manchester United and Brighton also have attractive double weeks. So if you still have all your chips as Statman Dave, you can play your wildcard in game week 33 to create a Bench Boost in game week 34.

That's why Dave sounded so pleased with himself on the Fantasy 606 podcast this week and here's his Free Hit team that he hopes will give him a monster score in this monster double game week. It reads as follows….

Goalkeeper – David De Gea

Defenders – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Kieran Trippier

Midfielders – Mo Salah, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, James Maddison, Kaoru Mitoma

Forwards – Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins

Subs – Daniel Iversen, Ben Mee, Pervis Estupinan, Evan Ferguson

Liverpool have a tricky double away to Manchester City and Chelsea but Dave is clearly backing them to rise to the challenge and suggested he might even captain Salah to try and get a further edge on the pitch rather than go with the more obvious the choice of Marcus Rashford or one of Brighton's midfielders.

James Maddison looks like a good choice for Leicester's doubleheader against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa and he's also a good long-term choice if you're not in the freebies.

Ivan Toney is a slight risk because if he picks up a yellow card in Brentford's first game at Brighton, he will miss their second game away to Manchester United. He would also be suspended for the match at home to Newcastle in matchweek 30.

This week's deadline is 11am BST on Saturday, ahead of Manchester City v Liverpool which I will be watching very nervously to see if Haaland is fit as he is not in my squad.

Selling Arsenal players and no Haaland – what could go wrong?

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