After two months of hype and anticipation, many FPL managers have been left frustrated and challenged by an awkward opening weekend that saw many unexpected results. With Gameweek Two's deadline just over two days away, millions are hoping for an improved week by the heavy hitters. We're here to fill the gaps should another week where wildcard players shine.
What are differential/wildcard players?
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.
LAST WEEKS PERFORMANCE (GW 1)
Nobody expected this kind of opening gameweek, when you strip away the fantasy points for players it was one of the most intriguing opening weekends in the last five years. We had spills, surprise defeats, gritty away games, and a whole lot of wildcards making a statement on the big stage. Last week we chose eleven players, eleven wildcards selection by less than five percent of players, and each week we see how they perform. Of the eleven Patrick Bamford didn’t get a look in, so we only had ten players, and of the remaining ten another player registered zero points. This particular man was Nacho Monreal, which means of the eleven players who scored points makes our haul for gameweek one of thirty six points somewhat impressive, and that our nine wildcards bettered the average for all players.
Wildcards are hit or miss, that is the risk, they either perform or they don’t. In this week there were extremes between players who got anything, and those who got a good points collection.
Total Wildcard Points (GW1): 36 points
Gameweek 1 Average Points: 34 points
Luke Shaw: 6pts
Simon Francis: 2pts
Idion Ighalo: 6pts
Costal Pantilimon: 1pt
Patrick Bamford: 0pts
Andre Ayew: 10pts
Nacho Monreal: 0pts
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7pts
Charlie Adam: 2pts
Boaz Myhill: 2pts
TEAM OF THE WEEK WILDCARDS
Each week The Hype Train are going to look at the weekly ‘Dream Team’, the best performing players of the week, and indicate how many potential points there were to be had in wildcard options. Gameweek one was a testament to our research that wildcard options are the main source of FPL points; in this week nine of the eleven players featured in team of the week were classed as wildcards. The only two that were not were Vincent Kompany of Manchester City, and Yohan Cabaye of Crystal Palace. Those of you that are wondering about Yaya Toure he started the gameweek as a wildcard option, with players uncertain of what he could offer their teams.
Wildcard options can come out of nowhere, at least by the expectations of the calculated risk based players. At first sight Arsenal’s Petr Cech was the best shout for goalkeeper, not his opposite number on the opening gameweek in Adrian. Also, because everyone had faith in Chelsea nobody dared putting faith into Swansea going to Stamford Bridge and getting a convincing point, and nobody would have actually expected Joe Gomez to start at left-back at Liverpool and indecisively ended Alberto Moreno’s first team place at the Anfield club. Most of you will be kicking yourselves as many of these players would have been in the back of your minds, everyone at The Hype Train was also doing the same thing, but this is a lesson learned for both new and experienced players that sometimes playing it safe doesn’t get you anywhere.
The total points achieved by non-wildcard players in gameweek one was: 24 points.
The total points achieved by wildcard players in gameweek one totalled: 107 points.
THIS WEEKS WILDCARDS
For gameweek two we are once again selecting ten wildcards, one for each game. Same rules apply: the players we choose must not be selected by more than five percent of the games players. We start in order of the games listed on the official Fantasy Premier League site.
The wildcard options selection percentage is accurate as of Tuesday 11th August 2015.
JORDAN AMAVI, ASTON VILLA VS MANCHESTER UNITED
Name: Jordan Amavi
Club: Aston Villa
Position: Defender (left back)
Team Percentage: 1.1%
Scoring nine points in the opening gameweek against an attack minded Bournemouth is an impressive figure considering everyone had already written off Aston Villa without Benteke or Delph, but once against Tim Sherwood has made fools of critics and FPL managers alike. Just to set the record straight there are no wildcard options for Manchester United to pick, all their starting eleven do not reach wildcard status, hence why every week by default a member of the opposing team has to be selected. Luckily for Jordan Amavi he is that very pick, after an assured performance at left-back for Sherwood’s side he caused Matt Ritchie and Simon Francis a world of trouble and as a result picked up the three bonus points over the weekend. At £5.0mil he might be considered too expensive, but if Aston Villa rediscovers that defensive form you will be having the last laugh at that price.
The only thing going against them is the record that Manchester United possesses over the Villains. If you were not convinced yourself that the Red Devils did enough to break down Tottenham then Amavi might be a strong wildcard option for this week.
JAY RODRIGUEZ, SOUTHAMPTON VS EVERTON
Name: Jay Rodriguez
Team Percentage: 1.9%
Having returned from his Sturridge year the Southampton forward has a point to prove for all those who have forgotten his natural goal scoring prowess. After suffering serious injury the man who got an England call-up doubt wants to return to that perch of which he fell from nearly twelve months ago. After a solid performance in a three man attack for Ronald Koeman’s size the Southampton man might be value for money at £7.0mil.
The question for FPL managers is not if, but when, Rodriguez returns to his old ways. In the next four games the Saints face a weary Everton, Watford, Norwich, and a West Brom torn apart by Manchester City. There is points potential in Southampton, and the inclusion of a fit and firing Jay Rodriguez might literally be the best month of your FPL managerial career this year.
MAME BIRAM DIOUF, SPURS VS STOKE
Name: Mame Biram Diouf
Team Percentage: 2.1%
Not so much a surprise, as it is a formality with Spurs games, any team coming to White Hart Lane is looking to walk away with a result. Last year it was the easiest ground to go and get a result, and last year the Senegal man Mame Biram Diouf scored the only goal in victory for the Potters at the Lane last term. Stoke City worked hard to break down a stubborn Liverpool defence in the opening game, and with Xherdan Shaqiri now joining Mark Hughes side it might just be the second coming of Spurs terrible home form.
At the price of £6.5mil he is a perfect replacement for Saido Berahino if you have lost faith in the Albion forward, and Diouf has a lot to achieve with the attackers now behind him, and with an always shaky looking Spurs defence between him and goal.
JERMAIN DEFOE, SUNDERLAND VS NORWICH
Name: Jermain Defoe
Team Percentage: 4.8%
Teetering on the edge of non-wildcard status is one of the FPL’s most proven patriots, one of the “Two Jermain’s” that exist in the current Black Cat’s side. Having scored against Leicester away from home and with two upcoming games at home against Norwich and Swansea there could be points in it for the Englishman. If he continues his great goal scoring form he will be a bargain at £5.5mil.
Like always the only risk for Sunderland is that they could defy your expectation and eek out two nil-nil draws which would actually be hardly surprising knowing their style of play, and as a result adding Defoe to your squads should only be considered if you think Sunderland can break the cycle of monotonous draws.
BAFETIMBI GOMIS, SWANSEA VS NEWCASTLE
Name: Bafetimbi Gomis
Team Percentage: 2.0%
Wilfried Bony is now a distant memory at Swansea, enter the beast known as Bafetimbi Gomis. Initially aggravated by the lack of opportunity at the Liberty Stadium under Garry Monk, he now finds himself centre stage having made a mockery of Chelsea’s ‘air tight’ defence. Scoring six points in the opening weekend he looks like he has made a statement of intent for the season, and backed up by Ayew and the trickery of Jefferson Montero and Jonjo Shelvey’s passing ability in midfield the points against an uncertain looking Newcastle could be pointing towards Gomis stealing the show once again.
As a side note, we are still encouraging players to give Andre Ayew a chance in your teams. Like Gomis he is a current Swans goal threat and of the two wide-men he is the one that likes to find space in the box for a shot or header. Currently selected by less than four percent of players the Ghanaian is hot property that could offer the same returns as last week.
MIGUEL LAYUN, WATFORD VS WEST BROM
Name: Miguel Layun
Team Percentage: 0.6%
Scoring seven points for a defender in high scoring draw away from home is amazing. The Hype Train has been high on Layun and everyone was originally sceptical about his selection in a Watford side that can’t stop adding new faces to its team (we've an in-depth Watford article that you can read right here as testament), but now that we have our answer he has boarded the earliest journey to this week’s wildcards options after a convincing performance against an Everton that did not know what to make of the new look side.
Layun might be defender royalty, playing as an attacker and listed as a defender is literally the stuff of dreams. Watford have two upcoming home games against West Brom and Southampton, and if you liked what you saw against Everton then it wouldn’t be a risky bet to put a little bit of faith into what could be a fantastic fourth or fifth defensive option for your teams.
DIMITRI PAYET, WEST HAM VS LEICESTER
Name: Dimitri Payet
Club: West Ham
Team Percentage: 4.6%
One of Europe’s top playmakers has become an instant classic at West Ham, being the linchpin in a Hammers side that blew away Arsenal on the opening weekend. Currently selected by just fewer than five percent of players we don’t expect this to be the case for very long if he keeps showing FPL managers that can make Stewart Downing’s contributions appear pitiful.
Homes ties against Leicester and Bournemouth are a salivating prospect for any manager looking for a smart playmaker; in the game against Arsenal he showed his true pedigree and quality against good opposition and could repeat those feats against two sides expected to finish in the bottom half of the table. The Hype Train is touting Payet to be included into this year’s PFA Team of the Year, let’s all hope that is the case because he might be an absolute steal if he performs to expectation.
The Hype Train would also like to acknowledge Reece-Oxford, a defender who is £4.0 in price, and who played in midfield in his debut. Should he get more starts he might be an amazing choice for your bench to rotate if Bilic continues faith in the youngster, but we’ll decide if he is rotation risk in the next gameweek This risk of being benched is why we opted for Payet this week as a smarter option, but in the coming weeks we hope Reece-Oxford proves even more doubters wrong after taking the dignity of Mesut Ozil away from the German.
WILFRIED ZAHA, CRYSTAL PALACE VS ARSENAL
Name: Wilfried Zaha
Club: Crystal Palace
Team Percentage: 2.8%
Things might go from bad to worse for Arsenal when they travel to the team that specialises in ending title hopes, unfortunately for them it only gameweek two. Should they lose, Wenger’s men will be written off this season and told try again next year, and with the revival of Wilfried Zaha’s career under Alan Pardew then they might be accepting that fate. Scoring a superb goal against Norwich, the interplay between Bolasie, Zaha, and Puncheon doesn’t favour well for the Gunners title hopes. This is a smart wildcard to play considering that Crystal Palace cherish the battle against top four sides, crushing many of them on their visits to Selhurst Park.
Zaha could be called up to the England squad if he has a good season at Crystal Palace, the same goes for Jason Puncheon, all we know is that if you bank your money on a £5.5mil midfielder with goals in his game then you might as well be telling Arsene Wenger the bad news yourself.
ALEKSANDAR KOLAROV, MANCHESTER CITY VS CHELSEA
Name: Aleksandar Kolarov
Club: Manchester City
Team Percentage: 3.1%
High profile games such as this technically do not have many wildcard options to pick from, with Arsenal, Manchester United, and these two teams having high representation it is usually the fringe players that would feature as a wildcard. Last season Frank Lampard was the wildcard option in this match, and we all know how that ended up.
This time around we have selected the Serbian left-back Aleksandar Kolarov who is currently first choice due to Gael Clichy’s injury, and unlike Bacary Sagna who started the game against West Brom, he doesn’t have any rotation risk pinned to him. In equal measures Pablo Zabaleta could feature here too, but at the cheaper price of £5.5mil and being on set piece duties sees Kolarov as the wiser move for FPL managers. Manchester City showed their teeth against West Brom, and having watched Chelsea suffer at the hands of Swansea then Manuel Pellegrini’s men will be smiling going into this encounter.
JOE GOMEZ, LIVERPOOL VS BOURNEMOUTH
Name: Joe Gomez
Team Percentage: 4.9%
Brendan Rodgers recruitment at times has been heralded as mostly failures at Liverpool since he took charge in 2012, with all of the money spent in the last three seasons it would be cruel irony to know that the signing of eighteen year old Joe Gomez from Charlton Athletic looks like it could be some of the best business he has done without getting into double figures on the chequebook. Currently we see no reason why Joe Gomez would be dropped, especially with cup and Europa League games to play which will see Alberto Moreno get his minutes in a Reds shirt.
Selected ahead of the usual left-back Alberto Moreno the English teenager looked composed, got the assist for Coutinho’s goal, defended brilliantly, and looked beyond his age on the pitch and it is a serious statement from Rodgers for the season ahead. Liverpool has a good record against Bournemouth so fully expect another clean sheet, and for the game against Arsenal you can drop him to the bench as he would only cost you £4.5mil and have him return to your squads for the West Ham game at Anfield. Sound logic, smart buy, and why you may have two Liverpool defenders in your team. Who’d have thought it?
For all GW 2 build up, check out the Weekly Hype page now.