Weekly Wildcards: Gameweek One
Every week The Hype Train analyses the best wildcard options for your Fantasy Premier League teams. Historically weekly dream team’s comprise of mostly wildcard players whose selection falls under 5% of overall players, to which there is no doubt that their influence cannot be ignored. With such an abundance of points coming from the FPL’s hidden gems The Hype Train selects one player from each match in the upcoming gameweek to decide who could be the differential for your teams.
Before we jump into our ten for the week, here'sthe fixturs that FPL players and pundits have been staring at for weeks.
LUKE SHAW, MANCHESTER UNITED VS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Name: Luke Shaw
Club: Manchester United
Team Percentage: 4.2%
The former Southampton full-back had an injury blighted first season at Old Trafford, having originally been accused by Van Gaal as being overweight and unfit, it now looks like the Englishman is going to have a starting berth in the Dutchman’s team this year. Priced at £5.5mil he will be one of your most expensive defenders, but a favourable early run for Manchester United could be a big selling point for his inclusion in your FPL team.
Shaw faces Spurs, Aston Villa, and Newcastle in the opening three games and might be worth the investment if he can find some of the form that propelled him to Manchester United in the first place.
SIMON FRANCIS, BOURNEMOUTH VS ASTON VILLA
Name: Simon Francis
Team Percentage: 4.0%
Bournemouth as a whole are a team made up of wildcards, not many people seem to be taking the bait and having faith in Eddie Howe’s team on the whole. Bournemouth’s team is built around making space for full-backs to bomb forward to influence the play. Francis was in the Championship team of the Year in 2014/15, and could be a big factor of their success this year. The Hype Train team are surprised that Francis hasn’t been selection by more teams in all honesty. There are many cheap defender options out there, but at a reasonable price of £4.5mil he might be the perfect defender to rotate in your teams.
Bournemouth begins their maiden Premier League campaign by hosting Aston Villa on the opening day at Dean Court, a favourable draw for them. Following this you could have Francis in your teams for the games against West Ham, Leicester, Norwich, Sunderland, and Watford from the first ten.
ODION IGHALO, EVERTON, VS WATFORD
Name: Odion Ighalo
Team Percentage: 0.9%
Watford’s pre-season has been an interesting one, mostly because between every game there is on average of two new additions to the squad that keeps both Watford fans and FPL managers guessing on the state of their team. One constant in all of this has been Odion Ighalo who has been on fire for the Hornets, operating on the right side of midfield he has been a contributor for goals and assists. The only downside is that even the manager for Watford is uncertain on the team he will opt for.
Travelling to Everton on the opening gameweek, whose defence has been questioned of recent, could yield unlikely returns for Watford. But, what is clear is that if anything is going to happen for the Hornets then do not be surprised to see Ighalo involved. Fixtures against West Brom, Southampton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, and Stoke might mean that Ighalo who is priced at £5.0mil could be the perfect rotation forward any team requires.
COSTAL PANTILIMON, LEICESTER VS SUNDERLAND
Name: Costal Pantilimon
Team Percentage: 1.8%
Why no more than 2% of players have Costal Pantilimon in their teams is a question that can be asked until the opening day of this season. Having only played half of last season the giant Romanian finished in the top six goalkeepers, he is a true force to be reckoned with between the posts. Sunderland nurture the perfect goalkeeping option, they are synonymous for grinding out goalless draws, resulting in clean sheets for Pantilimon, but on the flipside even when they do concede it is ‘Three Point Panti’ who is an ace at racking up endless save points. Pantilimon is a safe pair of gloves, and were it not for Cech moving to Arsenal he could have had higher representation.
An opening day trip to a tinkered Leicester might be a great start to Pantilimon’s season, and in the first ten games against the likes of Norwich, Swansea, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, West Ham, West Brom, and their rivals Newcastle (which is the safest clean sheet in the FPL Kingdom) make Pantilimon a wildcard who could be the perfect alternative to Arsenal’s new gatekeeper.
PATRICK BAMFORD, NORWICH VS CRYSTAL PALACE
Name: Patrick Bamford
Club: Crystal Palace
Team Percentage: 2.1%
Opening your account with a hatrick must have made the hairs on Alan Pardew’s neck bristle with the goosebumps of possibility. Priced at £6.0 he is affordable, but at risk of rotation. If history serves anyone a lesson then there might be an incentive with picking Pardew based players early, as the former Newcastle boss likes to collect as many points as soon as he can and this could mean big returns for the first half of the season. Bamford’s agility and pace, and keen eye for goal could make him a very unsurprising wildcard that scores high and rises price as the season develops.
After the opening fixture against Norwich there are some patchy matches for Crystal Palace in the shape of Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs. The opening ten shows a lot of promise for Crystal Palace, and with Murray soon to depart the club then it might be Bamford’s time to rise to the occasion and continue the trend of Selhurst Park being a top-four team killer.
ANDRE AYEW, CHELSEA VS SWANSEA
Name: Andre Ayew
Team Percentage: 3.7%
Nobody expects Swansea to go and win at Stamford Bridge in the opening gameweek, but crazier things have happened in the Premier League. Swansea has been bolstered by some key signings, and one of them is the Ghanaian Andre Ayew. The former African Player of the Year could be played in a central striking role for Garry Monk’s side on the opening day with concern of an injury to Gomis during pre-season. Any midfielder playing as a striker is a dream for any FPL manager which is why he is included in this list, even if it is against Chelsea.
Ayew may be a favourable pick in your squads anyway, after travelling to London the Welsh team then host Newcastle in the next gameweek which is a promising fixture for them. Following on from this Ayew will play games against Sunderland, Manchester United, Swansea, Everton, Aston Villa, Southampton, Spurs, and Stoke in their remaining games. There are points in these games for Swansea players based on their records against these teams, and Ayew could be the perfect alternative midfielder. Ayew may only be a wildcard for a short period of time, here’s hoping anway.
Expect him to be transferred in, only Chelsea play from this team would be Willian, but after GW1 Swansea have a favourable run and it might be worth banking on Ayew from the start, after all Swansea have gone to Chelsea and scored goals.
NACHO MONREAL, ARSENAL VS WEST HAM
Name: Nacho Monreal
Team Percentage: 1.1%
Debate over the Arsenal left back slot rages on, and it is the only position that FPL managers have seemed to not even consider out of their defensive options. Last season, and just recently in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea it was the Spaniard who got the nod over Gibbs. Just over one percent of players have taken the gamble with Monreal, the same amount as Kieron Gibbs too.
Savvy FPL players will see potential with Monreal, whilst at the same price they can obtain Hector Bellerin. The savviest of managers especially judge Bellerin as a risk of rotation with Debuchy, the man they brought from Newcastle to guard that right flank and surge forward. The same could be said with Gibbs and Monreal on the left side, but being in favour of Monreal looks most likely. For the price he is listed could be argued as too high, as is the gamble with Monreal’s selection, but it could be a gamble that pays off with Arsenal looking likely to be up in the top three for clean sheets this season.
GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM, NEWCASTLE VS SOUTHAMPTON
Name: Georginio Wijnaldum
Team Percentage: 4.7%
Steve McLaren very well may return to the Championship next term with or without Newcastle, all we know is that he has pulled some of his Eredivisie strings and brought in a gem of a midfielder that had been touted to go to a top four team. Should Newcastle get any kind of result out of Southampton on the opening gameweek then Gini could be in and around the goals. Playing as an attacking midfielder in pre-season he could be the difference between them getting any kind of result, or starting off the season on a bad note which many FPL players are predicting.
The problem with Newcastle (and it is the same dilemma as the second half of last season) is that when looking at their fixture list it is hard to see where any of their points are coming. Without strengthening at the back which should have been their priority nobody can take them seriously. Combine that with possibly one of the worst pre-season out of any of the Premier League teams nobody has any confidence in the team going forward. If they struggle to do anything the points will be few and far between like last season, which means Gini is the bravest wildcard of them all considering he will cost you the same as Jordan Henderson and Andre Ayew who promise higher returns.
CHARLIE ADAM, STOKE VS LIVERPOOL
Name: Charlie Adam
Club: Stoke City
Team Percentage: 1.0%
Mark Hughes would love nothing more than to inflict another humiliation over Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium; rubbing salt in the wounds of Brendan Rodgers team would be the perfect start for a Stoke City squad who have been busy in the transfer market. One man who will retain his place in the middle of the park is the former Liverpool player Charlie Adam, who could carry in some of last season’s form and grant the wishes of the Potters faithful. Adam could be playing behind the lead striker, and let’s not forget that he has the ability to score from anywhere on the pitch.
If you are uncertain on picking a Stoke player, look no further than this game for a potential wildcard selection. Jordan Ibe (£5.0, 3.1% selection) or Adam Lallana (£7.5, 1.1% selection) are Liverpool midfield options of whom have both had a strong pre-season for the Reds and look set to get some time in the opening weeks as Firmino and Coutinho work towards match fitness. Ibe and Lallana have impressed Brendan Rodgers, especially Ibe who could fill the shoes left behind of Raheem Sterling, and they could be rewarded with part of the revenge plan against Stoke.
BOAZ MYHILL, WEST BROM VS MANCHESTER CITY
Name: Boaz Myhill
Club: West Brom
Team Percentage: 2.0%
Under the guidance of Tony Pulis the Baggies were a defensive rock for most of last season, alongside Sunderland they were kings of forcing out a stalemate. When Ben Foster got injured last season up stepped Boaz Myhill and he took the FPL by storm with his unbelievable save rate. Manchester United and Manchester City understand this best because on his day Myhill is a brick wall that won’t be knocked over so easily. Last term he registered seventeen saves against Manchester City, who may be without Aguero for the opening gameweek. This is an extreme wildcard as Man City is formidable in front of goal, however West Brom is a team who know how to defend and frustrate attacking teams. With other defensive reinforcements such as James Chester linking up with their defence they could be on set to keep just as many clean sheets as last time out.
Myhill looks like a good wildcard goalkeeping option if Pulis doesn’t sign another goalkeeper which he is expected to, West Brom are going to keep a tight defence and FPL managers will want Myhill there for when that time comes.
Also, if you haven’t seen it here are some of the essentials and wildcards for you to mull over before the deadline this Saturday. For full coverage of Gameweek One, check out our 'Weekly Hype' page where we've put up our picks for the week.