FPL Blank Gameweek 18: Transfer Tips, Captain & Team

fpl gw18 tips

There is not a lot of time before the deadline of Fantasy Premier League Blank Gameweek 18 and FPL managers have to react quickly to prepare their squads for this round, where Manchester City and Brentford do not play at all. We are in a very busy schedule, so we need to adjust our strategy to that.

Without further ado, let’s start with our FPL GW18 Tips with the best picks, fixtures, transfer targets, odds, captain picks, and team selection.

1. Fantasy Premier League Blank Gameweek 18 Tips

Note.: Gameweek 17 was closed, Bournemouth vs. Luton game will be replayed later in the season. So points from Solanke and other Bournemouth players were voided (0 points).

  • We have a blank gameweek – try to field 11 players if you can
  • Try to avoid hits, unless it is the only way how you could field 11 players for GW18. If you cannot field 11 playing players with free transfers, it is OK to take a -4 point hit.
  • We advise saving free hit for later, for example for blank gameweek 29 – which is likely to be the biggest blank gameweek of the season. Read more: When to use Free Hit in FPL?
  • If on Free Hit, consider double up on Aston Villa defence
  • Have a plan, for how you bring Haaland back in GW19 or GW20 – depending on when he is fit
  • You can use the first wildcard either before GW18, GW19 or GW20. After GW20, the Second Wildcard will be available
  • Teams to focus on: Aston Villa, Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bournemouth
  • Plan what you will do with players that will go to AFCON, plan your Salah, Son, Kudus replacementsRead more about which players will miss PL due to AFCON and Asian Cup in our article: Which players go to AFCON and Asian Cup? (+Impact on FPL)
  • Check how AFCON, Asian Cup, blank and double gameweeks align with Fantasy Premier League schedule in our FPL calendar
  • Nkunku is back – get him on your watchlist, Chelsea with good fixture run
  • What to do with Haaland? If you did not sell him before GW17, you probably want to wait now whether he is fit for City’s first game in FIFA Club World Cup (19.12). And if he is fit, you might consider just benching him (if you can cover it with your bench) and then have him ready for GW19 – this would save you 2 free transfers, as you would likely buy Haaland back in GW19. Read more about it in our article: What to do with blank gameweek players? But Haaland was not fit to play to City’s first game in FIFA Club World Cup. However, there were pictures of him back in training. He is a sell for us, unless you have more pressing issues to solve in your team. But be prepared to get him back in GW19 or GW20 if fit.
  • What to do with Diaby? If you have him, keep him for the Sheffield fixture and rather focus on transferring out injured or blank gameweek players. Even if Diaby is benched against Sheffield, he could deliver from the bench.

Team news:

  • Gordon injury news: Gordon will be assessed before the game, so there is a chance for him to start. We think he will start.
  • Eze is back, put him on your watchlist, could be a great differential against Brighton who have not keep a clean sheet this season
  • Dan Burn is back for Newcastle, Livramento could be benched
  • Isak is injury doubt – Calumm Wilson could be another great differential
  • Pau Torres is out with an injury

Read more: 

2. FPL Gameweek 18 Transfer Tips and key players to pick

Key players to pick

  • Salah – great form
  • Saka, Odegaard – aim to have at least one Arsenal midfielder – you could even double up on their midfield once the AFCON starts (as you will be looking for Son and Salah replacement)
  • Gabriel/Saliba/Raya –  have at least one Arsenal defensive player
  • Gordon – could be absolute gold during Newcastle’s fixture run, but wait for injury news
  • Palmer
  • Watkins
  • Dubravka/Lascelles
  • Solanke
  • Pedro Porro – attacking threat, on set pieces while Maddison is out

Transfer targets

  • Watkins
  • Eze
  • Solanke
  • Douglas Luiz – on penalties, long term pick, not just for blank GW18
  • Konsa  – Aston Villa top for clean sheet odds
  • Leno

Who to transfer out

  • Brentford and Man. City players – but if you can cover few absences with bench players, you could just bench 1 or 2 City players
  • Johnstone, Andersen, Edouard
  • Fernandes
  • Mbeumo
  • Jimenez
  • Sanchez
  • Reece James
  • Areola

3. Fixtures to target in Blank Gameweek 18

In which fixtures we could expect a lot of fantasy points? These are the fixtures to target in Blank Gameweek 18 according to bookies odds.

  • Aston Villa vs. Sheffield: The Villans 81 % to win, 50 % to score 2.5+ goal
  • Fulham vs. Burnley: Fulham 60 % to win, 30 % to score 2.5+ goal
  • Luton vs. Newcastle: Newcastle 59 % to win, 30 % to score 2.5+ goals
  • Tottenham vs. Everton: Spurs 50 % to win, 28 % to score 2.5+ goals

Find 2.5+ goals odds for all teams in our article: Premier League Over 2.5 Goals Odds.

Teams with bad defensive stats (the season):

You can target players playing against them.

  1. Sheffield United (41.16 xGC)
  2. Luton (40.53 xGC)
  3. Burnley (32.39 xGC)

Source: Understat

4. Updated watchlists: Best players to pick in Blank Gameweek 18 and beyond

We also looked at players from each position: goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and forwards and updated our watchlists.

We examine which players are best picks in each price bracket: budget enablers, midpriced picks, and premium options. Check our watchlists with our ratings and comments here:

5. Best captain pick in GW18

According to our captaincy indexSon is the best captain in FPL Gameweek 18 with a captaincy index score of 1.73.

Waktins (captaincy index score 1.6) is the number 2 captaincy pick and Salah (1.5) is number 3.

If you are looking for a differential captain, you could consider Gordon or Solanke.

6. What bookies odds say about Gameweek 18

As usual, we converted bookies odds into probabilities using our Odds to probability calculator, to assess the potential of gameweek 18.

Clean sheet odds for GW18

Aston Villa (52 %) is the most likely team to keep a clean sheet in GW18. Bookies also favor Fulham (38 %) and Newcastle (36 %) to potentially keep a clean sheet in GW18

Bookies expect 4.21 clean sheets in gameweek 18 (but we have one game less). Last season, we were used to a rate of 5.45 per clean sheets gameweek. This season we have seen clean sheets at the rate of 4.41 clean sheets per gameweek.

Expected clean sheets

Due to correction in the number of clean sheets: Newcastle, Everton

Newcastle overperformed their defensive expectations the most of all teams. They should have kept 5.01 clean sheets instead of 7 according to our expected clean sheets table.

Due to an improvement in the number of clean sheets: Brighton, Luton

Brighton underperformed their defensive expectations the most from all teams. They should have kept 4.36 clean sheets instead of 0 according to our expected clean sheets table.

You can see the expected clean sheets table and clean sheet odds for all Premier League teams here.

Goalscoring odds for GW18

Check who leads any time goalscoring odds during Haaland’s absence here: Premier League Goalsocring Odds.

7. Using Chips in Blank Gameweek 18

Free Hit – save it for later

There is some potential to use free hit in blank gameweek 18, although we think this chip will be more valuable later. We think it is better to navigate Blank Gameweek 18 with free transfers. Blank Gameweek 29 should be bigger blank gameweek than GW18, so it should be a better time for deploying this chip.

But if you are keen on using free hit now, here is our suggested team for inspiration: FPL Free Hit Team for Blank Gameweek 18

First Wildcard – the window is closing

However, if you still have your first wildcard left, you can use it up to GW20 (including).

So, if you still have your first wildcard, you can either:

  • Use it now – good strategy if you have too many injured, suspended players or too many Brentford and Man. City players
  • Use it before GW19 – to rebalance your squad and bring back Haaland and Brentford players
  • Use it before GW20 – to rebalance the squad before the AFCON start (GW21) – a good strategy for managers with too many AFCON players (and the first wildcard available). But you would be without AFCON players for one gameweek – GW20.

If your team is full of injured, suspended and blank players, and you are considering using it now, here is our team for inspiration: FPL Wildcard Team for Blank Gameweek 18

Read more: FPL Best Chip Strategies for 2023/24 season

8. FPL GW18 Team selection

Now let’s look at our FPL team selection for GW18. Watkins is our captain.

fpl gw18 wildcard team second draft
fpl gw18 wildcard team second draft

9. Fantasy Premier League Tips

Find more tips, strategies and picks for Fantasy Premier League in these articles:

We hope our FPL GW18 tips with the best picks, fixtures, transfer targets, odds, captain picks, and team selection helped you to gather some useful information before the Blank Gameweek 18 deadline.

Feel free to JOIN our Fantasy Football Reports mini-league by clicking this link or using our league code ti56kl.

Good luck in FPL GW18!


Matej Šuľan

Fantasy Football enthusiast with two top 1k finishes in FPL. Best FPL overall rank: 119th in 2019/20 season. Five top 500 finishes in UCL Fantasy, best overall rank: 23rd in 2018/19 season. Founder of Fantasy Football Reports.

2 thoughts on “FPL Blank Gameweek 18: Transfer Tips, Captain & Team

  1. Assuming you are playing only 3 defenders, you should save money on 2 cheaper defenders who will be on the bench. You can save more by getting a cheap sub goalkeeper, if your first option is very likely to start. Then use that excess cash to buy strikers better than Brewster and Davis, who are incredibly weak options.

    1. Thanks for the idea! Actually, I plan to play 4-5-1, with Yedlin, Brewster, Davis on my bench (in this order). I like playing on four defenders due tu value distribution in recent seasons.

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