January Wildcard Special : Play it your way! Part 1

Play it your way



Firstly, Happy New Year from the #FY team.

For the Fantasy Football enamored amongst us the New Year brings a late Christmas present…


To help you decide how to best approach the January Wildcard FantasyYIRMA.com will be running a series of articles looking at different perspectives.

First up we are delighted to feature a guest post from the 2012/13 FPL CHAMPION  Matthew Martyniak

Matt finished top of the #FPL tree in 2012/13 beating out 2.6 million (!!!) players to take the title. Big thanks to Matt for his time and contribution to the site with this excellent post.

Make sure and follow Matt on twitter if you are not already on @spiderm4tt

Here are his thoughts on the January WC…

Here is Matt en route to Hong Kong as part of his prize for WINNING 2012/13 FPL

Here is Matt en route to Hong Kong last summer as part of his prize for WINNING 2012/13 FPL

How will I use my January wildcard…?

January wildcard – How to use it? When to use it?

The question I am often asked, especially around this time of year, is –  ‘How and when will I be using my January wildcard?’

There will be plenty of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers out there that cannot wait for the January wildcard (WC) activation date after the Gameweek twenty (GW20) deadline has passed to ‘sort out’ their FPL team due to injuries, suspensions, poor players, not having the right payers, and having non playing players. Also there will be plenty of FPL managers out there that are fairly happy with their FPL team and squad for now, and therefore, feel that they do not need to use their January WC immediately – especially as one or two free transfers, or even a -4pt hit or two, over the next few GWs could fix any small problems they may have.


How to use it…

I have always said the best way to utilise a WC in general is – ‘when you feel you need to use it’…..


….Such as for restructuring your FPL team due to injuries, suspensions, poor form FPL players, not having the ‘right’ players, and/or gaining team value by ‘jumping on & off’ the player price rises & price falls.


Also a good tactical way to utilise a WC in general is to either prepare for a Double GW (DGW), or use it to ‘clean up’ your team after a DGW has occurred. The reason why I feel these are good WC tactics is so that you can have many DGW players in your FPL team in order to maximise your GW points potential score. Or if you are ‘cleaning up’ your team after a DGW, you can get rid of the DGW players and replace them immediately with quality players for the subsequent GWs.


The January WC should be utilised in the same way to an extent as the normal season WC. However, the January WC differs slightly from the normal WC, with the obvious main reason being is that it can only be used in January!


Another subtle difference when using the January WC is that the player price gains in January may not be as profitable as during the early season WC. This is largely due to the already moderate to high ownership of the better FPL players. So utilising your January WC to solely increase your team value may not be the best tactical play like it could be when utilised early on in the season.

FY BenDinnery

So when is the best time to use it?


There is no right or wrong way to use your January WC – whether to use early on in January, mid January, or late January.

Below are a couple of examples of how I successfully utilised my January WC during the past two seasons, which were at completely different times in January.

In my FPL title winning season of 2012/13, I activated my January WC immediately on New Years Day. This is because I felt it was the best time for me to utilise it.  My team at the time needed a bit of a shake up.  There was also the small matter of back-to-back DGWs upcoming after the F.A. Cup 3rd round! So in playing my January WC early worked out reasonably well for me as I had many DGW players in my team, and this was balanced with the ‘right’ single GW players, which overall helped me to maximise my GW score potential during this period, whilst helping me in the subsequent months by having the ‘right’ single GW players.


However, last season was completely the opposite for me. I was fairly happy with my team/squad, and also there were no DGWs on the horizon. Therefore, I decided to wait until the end of January to utilise my WC as an insurance just in case there were any injuries, suspensions, and poor form, that may occur to my FPL team.


Also I felt it was advantageous for me to use my January WC as late as possible last season due to the January transfer window that ended on January 31st only a few hours before the GW24 deadline. This is because many of the Premier League transfers during the January transfer window mainly occur during the final week of January, and even right up to very last moment – and by leaving my WC as late as possible, I could see if any of the late new Premier League signings would help my team or not.


My WC played at end of January last year helped me to set up my team well for the following month of February, and it also gave me a good solid platform to kick on in the subsequent months – and this helped me significantly in achieving a top 1000 overall finish.

fpl 27


There are some subtle differences this year to be aware of….

> The transfer deadline day for the Premier League is normally the last day in January, however, because the 31st January falls on a Saturday this year, the deadline day is pushed back until the next working day, which is Monday 2nd February. This means the January WC runs right up until GW23 ends, or in other words, it runs right up until the GW24 deadline, which is Saturday 7th February. This means we have an extra week to utilise the January WC if needed – and this particular first week in February could play a key role in those last minute Premier League transfer deadline day ins & outs.


> Also this season there are two International football tournaments taking place – the African Cup of Nations (ACoN) starting on January 17th, and the Asia Cup starting on January 9th. Key FPL players such as Yaya, Bony, Sakho, along with some squad players such as Jedinak, Ki, Yoshida, will be leaving to join their respective International teams most likely before GW21 occurs, & possible before GW20 for some Asia Cup players. Some of these players may even be back in time for GW23 or GW24 – even from the ACoN if their respective National teams get knocked in the group stages. So if you are considering transferring out/in these players – it needs to be thought through when considering your January WC.


> Also the current best FPL player (in my opinion), Sergio Aguero, is coming back from injury during mid to late January. He will be the first name in my FPL team again if he’s fit to play. Therefore, some restructuring of FPL teams will be needed to accommodate Aguero due to his great expense – and a January WC will make this a much smoother process.

FY BenDinnery

When will I use mine?

I will use my January WC when I feel I need to use it. However, this season is very similar to last season – in that there are no DGWs on the horizon (as yet).  Also I am fairly happy at the moment with my FPL team and squad. The green arrows are consistently coming, and the few red arrows that I have received recently are not too damaging – ‘So if it’s not broke, I won’t fix it!’.


Therefore, I will most probably leave my January WC until late as possible again for insurance, and also to see what players will be entering or exiting Premier League teams as transfer deadline day approaches.  I am targeting the 14 day window after the GW22 deadline (Saturday January 17th) to GW23 (Saturday January 31st) to utilise my January WC. At the moment this feels the ‘right play’ for me and my FPL team, my strategy, my tactics and plan. So in having the option of transferring in/out FPL players during this period via my January WC may hopefully prove fruitful again for my FPL team in the subsequent month of February, and the GWs beyond.

….Also I hope to have a fit and firing Sergio Aguero back by then – with a FPL team firmly shaped around him, and his captain armband.


All the best everyone with your January WC – and use it when you feel it is right for you to use!


I would like to say thank you and best wishes to FantasyYIRMA and to all the FPL managers out there – I hope 2015 brings you and your loved ones lots of love, joy & peace – and also it brings you all many green arrows!


Happy New Year everyone!

Matt (@spiderm4tt)

FPL Champion 2012/13



Posted on 1 Jan 2015, in Player Selection and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. ukfootballjobs

    Great post will done, it was a very interesting read.

Leave a comment on FantasyYIRMA!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: