In FPL, every transfer decision you make has trade-offs, and nowhere is that more relevant than deciding if taking a 4-point penalty is worth it.
Taking a 4-point hit is one of the least appealing transfer options in FPL since if you don’t get your points back, your gameweek could be ruined.
While taking the hit can seem risky, a balanced and calculated risk can reap massive points returns, and this article will help direct you toward that goal.
Here’s all you need to know about taking a 4-point transfer penalty in FPL and if it is worth it.
What is a Point Hit or 4-Point Penalty in FPL?
We all know that every manager gets one free transfer per week, and if they roll it over, they get two free transfers the following week. But sometimes, this low number of free transfers can’t fix the deficit in your team.
A point hit or 4-point penalty is a deduction of four points from your gameweek total points haul if you exceed your free transfer limit and have no active transfer chip.
If there is no Wildcard or Free Hit chip in play, any transfers made after your free transfers have been exhausted will result in a 4-point penalty. The 4 points deductions also keep adding up if you continue making transfers.
The only way to undo points hit or 4-point penalties is to activate your Wildcard or Free Hit chip before the transfer deadline. You will then be able to eliminate any deficits you may have incurred because of excess transfers made in that game week.
Scenarios Where a 4-Point Penalty Is Worth It
There are six scenarios where taking one or multiple 4-point penalty hits is objectively worth it, and they include:
#1 As a sort of mini-Wildcard
When you have two free transfers, combining them with additional transfers can be a solid strategy. When combined with rolled-up free transfers, taking an additional one or multiple 4-point transfer hits can give you a mini-Wildcard transfer week.
This will allow you to refresh your team, especially if you have several dud players and want to use something other than a chip to start a mass clearout. It might seem expensive, but it can transform your team and save your season if done correctly.
You can find out how a wildcard differs from the Free Hit chip here.
#2 Your team has a lot of injuries
When you have a bunch of injured players and your bench is filled with subpar players who can’t effectively replace them, you often have no option but to take one or multiple transfer penalties. Especially when you have no transfer chips, then this is the only way to dig your team out of the injury-sized hole.
This is often the best thing to do for a squad with about 2–3 players with injuries. Even more so, shifting them becomes crucial if the injured players are the most expensive and are out for a long time.
It may be better to take the 8–12 point hit and avoid playing your Wildcard or Free Hit chip, as it may be a waste of valuable chips that you will need later in the season!
#3 Preparing for a double gameweek late in the season
Teams with long Cup/Europe runs have certain double-game fixtures usually scheduled at the very end of the season. Unfortunately, by the time this is set, most managers have exhausted their Wildcard or Free Hit chips, so they must take a transfer hit to benefit from this.
The math makes sense, as there are two attempts to get points. For example, players who start both games already have a potential base point of 4 which cancels out the transfer hit. They now have over 180 mins to score, assist and keep clean sheets earning you more gameweek points.
A double gameweek can be a huge point haul if you have the right players and a top-notch fixture list. Setting up your team to take advantage of this can give you the final points push that wins your private or public league.
#4 Planning for a blank gameweek
FPL managers usually have no Wildcard or Free Hit chips when the blank gameweek occurs late in the season. As a result, managers often take point hits to fill their squads before a late-season blank gameweek.
This is a risky move because you are then stuck with the player beyond the blank game week. However, this is a risk worth taking because every point matters at this stage of the season.
Most FPL managers consider this a two-point hit since the player is guaranteed two points from his appearance points. The additional points earned from goals, assists, saves, and clean sheets further reduce the deficit and justify taking the hit.
#5 For a captaincy pick with a good run of fixtures
It might be worth taking a transfer hit on a player who appears to have a good run of easy games ahead of him and is a viable captain choice. This is often the case with attackers or premium midfielders who are in form and heavily blacked in the captain’s poll.
Taking the hit is more advisable if the options in your squad do not convince you. The downside of taking a four-point deficit is offset by the potential points return from having a premium player with an easy fixture list.
There is even more potential benefit if you set up the player as your captaincy pick during the run of easy fixtures, allowing you to score even more points.
You can find out what happens if both your captain and vice-captain don’t play here.
#6 To take advantage of a player’s price rise
One of the often overlooked reasons to take a point hit is to take advantage of an upcoming price rise on a particular player.
That may seem counterintuitive, but a player on the verge of a multiple-price increase is worth a point hit. They will probably be more expensive in the future and out of reach unless you adjust your team to raise funds to get them, which might unbalance your squad.
Another benefit is that taking the hit to get that price increase can be helpful if your team needs a revamp later. Any price differential you manage to get now can help finance that.
Scenarios Where a Point Hit or 4-Point Penalty Is Not Worth It
The following are four scenarios where taking a point hit or a 4-point penalty is not worth it:
#1 To get backup players
Taking a point hit means you are starting the game week already behind, so you may not want to rush and take a transfer penalty on a player, only for him to sit on the bench!
It’s a bad idea to take a deduction for a player you have no intention of playing that gameweek.
Avoid taking hits on backup players because it is a waste of points. The player cannot make up for the deficit you created when you brought him in. Any player you hit must be an active player in good form with the potential to get top points to offset the 4-point penalty.
#2 When your team is doing well
When you have a high-point squad with most players in your team in form, it is advisable to keep it that way and avoid messing up a team that is obviously working.
Taking one or multiple 4-point penalties is not a sound strategy if the player you are trying to replace is in form too. This would be playing fast and loose with crucial points that will come in handy if you’re competing in private leagues or the FPL Cup.
If the player you are transferring does not significantly improve your team over the one who is leaving, it is not a penalty worth taking.
#3 To get speculative players
One of the general guidelines for making transfers is to avoid taking unsound point hits on players that may or may not perform.
Some players who areare not suitable candidates for taking a point hit include:
- Players who are not guaranteed starters
- Players who are injury prone
- Players who have tough fixtures
Again, this is because there is a very high probability that they don’t deliver the required points to cancel out the point hit.
Any point hit has to be on a player in good form with a reasonable chance of returning the point deduction. Taking a speculative penalty on an inconsistent player will almost certainly backfire!
#4 The player being transferred out has better fixtures or will gain value
This is a no-brainer, but you absolutely must never take a point hit to bring in a player who has a worse fixture list than the player he is replacing.
Once the fixture difficulty chart shows a near or equal difficulty index, taking a point is not advisable. This is because there is a high chance both players net the same average points, with the probability of the player transferring out potentially getting more points.
The same principle goes for transferring out a player about to get a price rise. A price rise usually shows the player is in form and is highly coveted by other FPL managers.
If you ask any FPL veteran if a newbie should get into the habit of taking points hit, you most often will get a definite no. Most consider taking point hits a risky strategy that might ruin your gameweek before it even starts.
The best idea is to do your research and trust your instinct. It is also advisable to answer the following questions before taking a point hit.
- Will the addition of the new players improve the look of your team?
- Will they get better points that gameweek to offset the deductions?
- Will they set up your team for long-term gains?
If they check any of the boxes and the scenario you find your team matches those listed above, then the conditions are right for you to take a 4 points penalty.
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