Every week The Hype Train analyses the best wildcard options for your Fantasy Premier League teams. Historically weekly FPL Dream Team’s comprise of mostly wildcard players whose selection falls with a low selection % 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 Premier League match in the upcoming Gameweek to decide who could be the differential that sets your team apart. All aboard.
Weekly Wildcards: 2015/16 Season Review
The pursuit of Fantasy Premier League glory never hinges on the success of key 'essential' players, instead finding a differential with very little player ownership can help drive your team up mini-leagues and the global points ladders. The Hype Train invested a great deal of time last season trying to unearth the FPL gems that lay just beneath the surface of our thinking, and we have taken the journey to review our efforts from the 2015/16 season. We're reviewing what worked, what didn't, the teams and players to rely on, and those to avoid. All aboard as we review a season of Weekly Wildcard picks.
To read the full Wildcard Season review, click here, or on cover stars Troy Deeney and Gylfi Sigurdsson below.
DIFFERENTIALS: WHAT IS A WILDCARD PLAYER?
The rules for the 2015/16 season were easy enough to follow. The only rule was that a player had be to selected by less than 5% of the FPL's populace. With 2016/17's price changes, and player selection trends, we have been forced to revise our rules on what constitutes a differential. After testing the waters with selection, there are just not enough differentials with the 2015/16 classification in each position, so we have introduced position specific rules regarding what is and isn't a wildcard/differential player in the FPL that we believe is representative to the game this season.
We have set new boundaries for selection, and these rules listed below will be running throughout the 2016/17 FPL season.
- Any shot stopper outside of the top 5 selected. A differential Goalkeeper is now considered outside of the top bracket due to the overwhelming ownership selection % of the top 5 GKs for any one Gameweek.
- A GK's ownership must not exceed 10%
- Due to the pricing structure, a differential Defender is the uncommon picks for any one side. There is one or two overwhelming options for most teams in the FPL that consume ownership percentage.
- We cannot pick the top 2 selected Defenders, unless they fall below 7% ownership. We can only pick the second most selected for the same reasoning. This ensures 2 wildcard options are available for all teams.
- Any Midfielder under 8% ownership is classified as a differential.
- Our percentage criteria of 8% is due to a greater wealth of premium midfielders. There is a monopoly of top midfielders for most Premier League clubs, leaving only a handful of Midfielders that provide differential options on a weekly basis.
- We cannot pick the most highly selected Forwards in the FPL, most of which are over 10% player ownership. The exception is if the top selected Forward from any club falls below 9%.
- Our percentage criteria of 9% is high because there is already a monopoly of Forwards, and anything outside of that is considered to be a differential.
DIFFERENTIALS: GAMEWEEK PERFORMANCE (GW2)
Our scoring procedure is exactly the same as the FPL's, and each week a good barometer of success is whether or not our weekly selections outscore the average points for a Gameweek. Each week the results vary due to rotation, and unpredictable scorelines, which applies more so to differential players. We have an invested interest each and every week at finding the different players to make a difference, especially since it is easy to say Aguero or Kane will get on the score sheet.
See below for how our wildcard selections got on this past Gameweek.
Gameweek 2 Average Points: 57pts
Gameweek 2 Wildcard Points: 25pts
DIFFERENTIALS: SEASON PERFORMANCE
To help track our progress throughout the 2016/17 season, below you can check how our wildcard selections have done by week to week in the Fantasy Premier League
Best Wildcard Week: GW1 - 25pts, 2 player returns
Worst Wildcard Week: GW2 - 25pts, 1 player return
Average Points: 44 (1), 57 (2) = 101pts
Wildcard Points: 25 (1), 25 (2) = 50pts
Best Gamweek Wildcard Player(s)
GW1: Lukasz Fabianski (Burnley vs. Swansea) - 8pts
GW2: Michel Vorm (Spurs vs. Crystal Palace) - 7pts
Gameweek Wildcard History
GW1: 25 points, 2 player returns
Fabianski (8), Townsend (2), Deulofeu (3), Friend (2), Tadic (2), Nolito (1), Callum Wilson (2), Lovren (0), Diego Costa (5)
GW2: 25 points, 1 player return
Targett (1), Kolarov (2), Lallana (2), Llorente (2), Vorm (7), Deeney (1), Rondon (2), Cazorla (3), Defoe (2), Kouyate (3)
WILDCARDS: HALL OF FAME
To honour the exceptional diamonds in the rough, below is a a Hall of Fame highlighting last season's top performing wildcards, as well as the best individual points returners from this season.
2015/16: Top 5 Wildcards
1 - Troy Deeney (WAT) (P15) (77pts)
2 - Christian Fuchs (LEI) (P10) (48pts)
3 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA) (P6) (43pts)
4 - Nicolas Otamendi (MCI) (P9) (39pts)
5 - Daniel Sturridge (LIV) (P5) (38pts)
FPL Wildcards: Our Best Individual Wildcard Points Returns
1 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea): 8pts (GW1)
2 - Michel Vorm (Spurs): 7pts (GW2)
3 - Diego Costa (Chelsea): 5pts (GW1)
4 - Gerard Deulofeu (Everton): 3pts (GW1)
4 - Santi Cazorla (Arsenal): 3pts (GW1)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 2
Wildcards: Heaton, Davies, van Aanholt, Nolito, Maloney, Wanyama, Antonio, Stuani
Non Wildcards: Shaw, Ibrahimovic, Aguero
Points achieved by Wildcards: 90pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 37pts
GAMEWEEK WILDCARD DIFFERENTIALS
For each FPL Gameweek we select a wildcard player from each game.
We do not select a back-up player for the differentials we bank on – that’s the whole point, being a wildcard.
The selection percentage and player price is accurate with the posting of the article.
Our rundowns of player selections are representative of the Premier League’s TV fixture list.
SPURS VS. LIVERPOOL
Player: Vincent Janssen (Spurs)
Player Price: £8.0
Player Selection %: 1.9%
Liverpool's defence looks so suspect, so it is only natural to look at the Spurs main striker for this match. Janssen is set to stay in this position as Spurs try and find their attacking rhythm, so don't be surprised to see Harry Kane taking up the number ten role again when Jürgen Klopp's men roll into the Lane. The display made against Burnley will not be a confidence boosting trip as first hope; they now go into the match against Spurs as the team with one of the worst defences in the league having leaked five goals so far in two games. The only talking point is that Liverpool fare better against teams who play open football, of which Spurs know all too well. The Reds record at the Lane has been good, they haven't lost there in quite a while and it was also the place where Klopp debuted for Liverpool. We can't look away from how vulnerable the defence for Liverpool is, all it will take it another inevitable mistake to allow for another striker to outwit the pairing of Lovren and Klavan.
CHELSEA VS. BURNLEY
Player: John Terry (Chelsea)
Player Price: £5.5
Player Selection %: 5.1%
There was a great deal of speculation about Terry's position in the team but it appears that the Blues captain isn't going anywhere. He has played every minute in the past two games and is looking to be great value for a Chelsea defender, the faith placed in Terry by Conte has been a breath of fresh air considering the drama around his position in the club last season. The opposition visiting Stamford Bridge are none other than Burnley who just rounded off a convincing victory over Liverpool, their first ever in the Premier League era. Their defensive form may intrigue the casual FPL manager but it is that they were so clinical against a lopsided defence that gave them the win against the Reds. Chelsea are much better defenders that Klopp’s men, that isn't even in question, their core group is still the same and when it matters they know how to defend as a team with Terry as the pivot of their efforts. Burnley won't cause Chelsea the same problems as they did against Liverpool, they will also set up differently away from home. We don't even consider John Terry as a shrewd move, just a well-informed one.
CRYSTAL PALACE VS. BOURNEMOUTH
Player: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
Player Price: £7.4
Player Selection %: 2.4%
The Belgian signed for a club record fee for the Eagles after having been told by Liverpool he had no future at the club. Liverpool has sold a player that loves scoring against them, against a team that loves to upset them. Ironically it is a match made in heaven and Crystal Palace supporters will relish the thought of Liverpool returning to Selhurst Park. The big forward started his first game in the EFL Cup on Tuesday 23rd August which is encouraging news because it looks as if he is ready to start immediately in Pardew's main team. There are still concerns about Palace's goal scoring potential without Yannick Bolasie but Benteke's scoring rate in the Premier League is still excellent and only behind the likes of Kane, Sturridge, Bony, and Aguero. This is an incredibly understated transfer especially because the Eagles host Bournemouth this gameweek, and having already lost their first two games of the season there is a huge opportunity for Benteke to score his first club goal against the team of whom he scored his first club goal with Liverpool.
That is the kind of fact that will be floated about social media if he does score at the weekend, and we wouldn't doubt it happening either.
EVERTON VS. STOKE
Player: Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Player Price: £9.0
Player Selection %: 6.2%
Speaking of Belgian's we turn to Romelu Lukaku as our captaincy pick in Everton's fixture at home against Stoke City. The powerful forward has returned to the main team and looks to start his first game of the season after the Euros. If anyone remembers what happened last time when Stoke visited there were nine goals in the game and Stoke left with all of the points. Lukaku didn't notch in that fixture but it is sooner rather than later the striker will register his first goal of the season, and after watching the way that Man City routed the Potters defence you should feel confident that Lukaku is in a good position to get his season underway with a goal. Also, he may be on penalty duty which is important as Stoke gave away one last week when Shawcross fouled Otamendi during a corner. The signs are there for Lukaku to creep back into the thinking of the FPL manager, and on paper the Toffees run is actually pretty decent if you were looking for a long term replacement for a premium striker.
LEICESTER VS. SWANSEA
Player: Robert Huth (Leicester)
Player Price: £5.0
Player Selection %: 1.3%
Before the beginning of the season it was clear to see who people favoured from the Leicester defence, the pairing of Morgan and Fuchs dominated whilst Danny Simpson and a still-suspended Huth were left behind in the dust in terms of player ownership. This could be a wildcard blessing in plain sight as Swansea travel to the King Power to do battle with the champions. Last season the Swans were crushed by Leicester on both occasions, Mahrez scored four goals in total against them last season; in fact, on the last three occasions in the Premier League the Swans have failed to score against Leicester, with Huth present in all of these matches. This season Swansea look to be struggling to find an attacking rhythm and managed only one goal in the first two games of the season so this is the chance for the Foxes to register their first win and maintain their superb record against Swansea. There is no grand bet in place with this wildcard selection, just cold hard facts, and the fact is that Swan always gets hunted by the Fox.
SOUTHAMPTON VS. SUNDERLAND
Player: Jose Fonte (Southampton)
Player Price: £5.5
Player Selection %: 4.8%
Amidst rumours that Manchester United are sniffing around the possibility of signing Fonte from Southampton the southerners return to the St Mary's for the visit of Sunderland who have lost both of their games this season. Fonte has returned to the starting eleven and Puel will be delighted that their captain is still with them for the time being. Due to his participation in the Euro final where he kept out a potent France team his stock could not be any higher right now, the Portuguese has been rock solid for the past few seasons and it is no wonder that Jose Mourinho is interested in acquiring his services. Sunderland will be nervy at the prospect of coming up against Virgil and Fonte on their dire run of form, even Moyes admitted they are now threatened with relegation already. The Saints have been built on a sturdy defence and we would be idiots to look past the clean sheet potential in this match.
WATFORD VS. ARSENAL
Player: Rob Holding (Arsenal)
Player Price: £4.5
Player Selection %: 1.1%
Arsenal supporters are losing it with the little activity in the transfer market made by the iconic Arsene Wenger. In the follow up Wenger made a point about how good Holding was to keep out the likes of Vardy and Mahrez, he said that you don't need a £50mil player to do a good job. We actually agree with him, but we also understand the frustrations of the fervent support who want to see some ambition made with summer signings. Rob Holding is due to keep his place in the Arsenal squad after a better performance against the defending champions, and they travel to Watford to turn around their rocky start to the season. There will be few opportunities to pick an Arsenal defender at the low price of £4.5mil, so we are taking the plunge on Arsenal's newest defender Holding. Watford have posed a goal threat but Arsenal should easily dominate the possession, their first clean sheet of the season will happen, why not at Watford? This is still Arsenal we are talking about, right?
HULL CITY VS. MAN UNITED
Player: Abel Hernandez (Hull City)
Player Price: £6.0
Player Selection %: 5.4%
On social media we are no doubt going to get more grief for doubting Manchester United's defensive capabilities once again, when we stated our analysis that Bournemouth would pose a goal threat to the Man Utd defence we had half the Devils loyalists rally in defence of their back four. Well, we are back to state that Hull City (one of the form teams of the league) who host the Red Devils will cause even more surprises, we don't think they will win but they are putting up fights in their matches and have a formidable attack in the form of Diamonde and Hernandez who have so far upset Leicester and Swansea. Winning teams are winning teams, they are not to be doubted and as the nature of all things wildcard goes the story of Hull is an excellent one. Why can't Hull succeed against Man Utd, or is that not part of the larger grand design of this Premier League season? Hernandez is a cheap option in a team nobody said would start the season the way they have, we admire Hull for listening to the critics and proving them wrong. Consisting of a team made of up differentials they have our vote in this gameweek. It is also worth pointing out there are few options in Man Utd for differentials of worthy note, if there was we would have considered them an option to include.
WEST BROM VS. MIDDLESBROUGH
Player: Cristhian Stuani (Boro)
Player Price: £4.9
Player Selection %: 1.3%
Sticking with form players up next is Boro's Stuani who made quite the impression on his first start to the season, and Karanka must be grinning from ear-to-ear after finding a partnership that has clicked for his side. They travel to recently beaten West Brom who conceded two goals to Koeman's Everton, and the in-form Boro should be set up with the same attacking line-up that saw them cause Sunderland plenty of problems. When you watch highlights of games you are looking for attacking potential. Are the players in in goal scoring positions? Are they are specific type of player? How do they score their goals? How do the other team defend? Stuani scored two type of goals which is eye catching because he is not a specialist striker, he is a generalist. This is encouraging because he might be in the right place at the right time, or take a chance, or be called upon to deliver. From what I also saw of him in the Championship he also capable of heading the ball too. Stuani made the difference against Sunderland and will be expected to uphold his partnership with Alvaro Negredo.
MAN CITY VS. WEST HAM
Player: Nicolas Otamendi (Man City)
Player Price: £6.0
Player Selection %: 3.2%
West Ham looked like they lacked pace at their first home game of the season, and this was against Bournemouth who struggled against Manchester United to get an attack going themselves. Man City will hope to make the Etihad a fortress under Pep, and West Ham don't look the same attacking threat when Payet and Carroll are out of the team. The Argentine defender Otamendi had a good game partnering Stones, with that likely to be the central partnership that Pep is looking for, and Nicolas even got an assist for being dragged down for a penalty by Ryan Shawcross. Like last year there is a lot of value to be found in Otamendi as a wildcard, he returns to the differential picks for the first time this season to pick up where he left off. West Ham shouldn't pose too many problems so this could be obvious points potential.
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