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 3 Average Points: 42pts
Gameweek 3 Wildcard Points: 26pts
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: GW3 - 26pts, 2 player returns
Worst Wildcard Week: GW2 - 25pts, 1 player return
Average Points: 44 (1), 57 (2), 42 (3) = 143pts
Wildcard Points: 25 (1), 25 (2), 26 (3) = 76pts
Best Gamweek Wildcard Player(s)
GW1: Lukasz Fabianski (Burnley vs. Swansea) - 8pts
GW2: Michel Vorm (Spurs vs. Crystal Palace) - 7pts
GW3: John Terry (Chelsea vs. Burnley) - 6pts
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)
GW3: 26 points, 2 player returns
Janssen (2), Terry (6), Benteke (2), Lukaku (2), Huth (4), Fonte (2), Holding (2), Abel Hernandez (2), Stuani (2), Otamendi (2)
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 - John Terry (Chelsea): 6pts (GW3)
4 - Diego Costa (Chelsea): 5pts (GW1)
5 - Robert Huth (Leicester): 4pts (GW3)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 3
Wildcards: Given, Gibson, Dann, Sanchez, Sterling, Willian, Milner, Defoe
Non Wildcards: Valencia, Evans, Hazard
Points achieved by Wildcards: 89
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 28
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.
MANCHESTER UNITED VS. MANCHESTER CITY
Player: Nolito (Manchester City)
Player Price: £9.0
Player Selection %: 5.3%
The Manche$ter Derby has arrived upon us; the one fixture that the media want you to think is the title decider for this season. This match sees two teams with few wildcard options pitted against one another for top bragging rights of their respective city, and also their new managers. The last two encounters were drab affairs with a goalless draw at Old Trafford, and then a Marcus Rashford goal at the Etihad to seal a Man Utd win over their local rivals. Before that there were goals in this fixture, and plenty of them too, normally in the favour of Man City. Pep Guardiola has done a good job at getting the Citizens firing on all cylinders and a big part of that is the contribution of new signing Nolito, a tricky customer who can alleviate some of the goal scoring pressure from the shoulders of the FPL's hallowed Sergio Aguero. Having already picked up 19pts from three fixtures Nolito is in fine form and will be look to help in the goal scoring department with the suspension of Aguero hanging over the head of Guardiola. FPL managers should consider reinvesting their spare change from the transfer of Aguero into the Spaniard who has hit the ground running this season.
ARSENAL VS. SOUTHAMPTON FC
Player: Shkodran Mustafi (Team)
Player Price: £6.0
Player Selection %: 0.2%
Mustafi might not be the world-class, team of the year, super player attached with the world record transfer status on his head, but it is who Arsenal has gotten. Credit to Mustafi because he is a very capable defender and last season made more interceptions than any other defender in the league, it might just be that Arsenal supporters want the FIFA 'Team of the Year' players coming to the Emirates, so they undervalue their new signings which are very competent players. Mustafi is more Arsenal than they want to believe, he is quick, is a great passer, and like a portion of their team had won the world cup with Germany a few years back. Mustafi was purchased to bolster their weakened defence and will come straight into the team for the visit of Southampton. We were going to go for Rob Holding again prior to the transfer because the Saints have been in worrying form ahead of the match with Arsenal, who themselves found their scoring touch against Watford in gameweek three. Southampton removed the threat from their team when the sold Mane to Liverpool and have struggled to make many goal scoring chances, so an Arsenal defender was a natural pick for this match and with Mustafi looking to make a grand entrance this would be the perfect time to put some of the Gooners supporters fears about their new players to rest.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH VS. WEST BROMICH ALBION
Player: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
Player Price: £6.4
Player Selection %: 2.1%
We are taking a second bite at the cherry with the selection of Callum Wilson in this fixture, the English forward did not perform on the opening day against Manchester United but the quick feet of Wilson should have an easier time against West Brom. In the last four fixtures between the two sides there hasn't been a clean sheet, which is surprising considering the acumen of Albion's defensive capabilities, and of those last four fixtures Bournemouth have normally been the team with the advantage with two wins and a draw to their name against the Baggies. Bournemouth need a big win at home to kick-start their slow start to the season, and they should be scoring goals with their attacking talent. West Brom are odd because they are either resolute or can just drop off, so we expect Eddie Howe's high intensity style to once again plague the Baggies and Wilson could be a benefactor of that system, he might also be back on penalties since returning from long term injury.
BURNLEY VS. HULL CITY
Player: Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Player Price: £4.5
Player Selection %: 7.3%
Life under Sean Dyche has been prosperous for Burnley, it has also been very disappointing in the way in which they got relegated a couple of seasons ago. Then again, we have assessed Burnley and think that they are a stronger unit this season, they have signed some good players and are looking at putting their heels in to stay in the Premier League this year, of which they have every chance. A big reason for this is down to their captain Tom Heaton, a goalkeeper who has really stepped up to the plate and put in some stellar performances so far this season. The England international looks at home in the Premier League and even if he concedes he is making a decent return on save points. Looking back at the head-to-head history of Burnley and Hull it makes for interesting reading. In the last seven encounters there has been a clean sheet in every single game by either side, Burnley have won five fixtures (all by a score line of 1-0), and Hull have won two encounters. The last two encounters at Turf Moor Burnley have won, the writing on the wall is that these two teams enjoy a hard fought encounter and there are few goals and clean sheets to be made in this fixture.
Hull have been surprising everyone so far but they travel to a team that they have struggled against in recent history and should history repeat itself Tom Heaton should be making a minimum of 6pts this Gameweek.
MIDDLESBROUGH VS. CRYSTAL PALACE
Player: Gaston Ramirez (Middlesbrough)
Player Price: £5.5
Player Selection %: 1.8%
Going as left-wing as we can with the prediction of Gaston Ramirez for the visit of Crystal Palace makes sense, the attacking midfielder has been a staple for Boro since he signed from Southampton and provides support behind the in-form Alvaro Negredo. Gaston has been revitalized since the move to Teeside and is capable of supplying or scoring goals, it is just a matter of time before he contributes with something more solid after Boro's strong start to the season. The Uruguayan midfielder has started every game and getting good minutes under Karanka which is a testament to his technical ability, he is also a very cheap option in midfield that you shouldn't be worried about fielding in this week because the Eagles have been in terrible form. Since letting Bolasie move to Everton their momentum has dropped and Alan Pardew should be concerned about the way in which his team is struggling to make or convert chances, and they travel to Boro who pride themselves on being a good defensive unit. Alternatively Ben Gibson or George Friend would be good options in this fixture for that reason.
STOKE CITY VS. SPURS
Player: Wilfried Bony (Stoke City)
Player Price: £7.3
Player Selection %: 1.1%
Bony, what a player when he is starting games. The Ivorian was a maverick at Swansea and when filling in for Aguero the imposing striker normally did well to score or create chances, the only problem is that he lost his status as a valid FPL option when he moved to Manchester City. He has done something to correct that by moving to Stoke on loan, and many are already saying he could be the final piece of the complicated Potters jigsaw. Stoke have required an out-and-out goal scorer for the past few years and Bony could plug that desperate hole, it might even make Bojan, Arnautovic, and Shaqiri even better players in what is still a potentially devastating forward line. Spurs are visiting in gameweek four and Stoke will want to right the wrongs when they were decimated by the Lilywhites on Spurs charge to challenge Arsenal for second place in the league. Bony will also have a point to prove after not seeing much game time in the past few years and getting his career back on track, so don't be surprised to see what we've been missing for the past few years.
WEST HAM VS. WATFORD
Player: Michail Antonio (West Ham)
Player Price: £7.0
Player Selection %: 5.2%
When in doubt, Michail Antonio pops up to save the Hammers. The newest England international that is fresh off being called up to the England team is on fire for West Ham at the moment and also their biggest difference maker. In a few years the winger has gone from flop at Reading to becoming a core asset to a good Premier League squad. Antonio is a beast in the air and also quick on the ground, his match winning goals have been invaluable to the Hammers and whilst Payet is yet to even get off the ground this season the focus is on Antonio keeping up his good form. There is nobody more likely to score for West Ham than Michail Antonio at present and with a leaky Watford defence visiting the new stadium nobody is expecting anything but his name on the score sheet.
LIVERPOOL FC VS. LEICESTER CITY
Player: Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Player Price: £7.9
Player Selection %: 3.0%
The new Main Stand at Anfield will be on show when Premier League champions Leicester City visit Liverpool in gameweek four, and the differential we have chosen is Gini Wijnaldum, king-pin of home FPL returns. During his stint at Newcastle the Dutch midfielder was a ghost when performing away from home with the Toon, he currently has one assist for Liverpool during the trip to Arsenal but in the other two games you'd rarely hear his name in the match commentary. Wijnaldum could warm to Anfield as he did with St James Park and with Leicester most likely going to be pinned back for most of the game there will be plenty of opportunities for him to score his first Liverpool goal. Our pick of Wijnaldum is only because it wouldn't be shocking for Wijnaldum to make a big first impression during his first home game at Anfield, after all he did score on his debut for Newcastle at St James, so why can't history repeat itself a second time?
SWANSEA VS. CHELSEA FC
Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea)
Player Price: £7.4
Player Selection %: 5.3%
Undefeated against Chelsea in the last two fixtures the Swans have the chance to make it a holy trinity when Conte's Blues travel to the Liberty Stadium this gameweek. Guidolin is still figuring out Swansea this term with two new strikers and also facing the loss of their captain, Ashley Williams. What they do have is one of the Premier League's most creative threats in the form of Icelander Gylfi Sigurdsson who scored the winning goal in the last time that Chelsea visited Swansea. There are very few wildcard differentials from Chelsea and there is an uncertainty if David Luiz will start from the start in the next game, so naturally we look to the quality of Swansea and see if there is any value in starting line-up and the obvious choice would be Gylfi, just because at any moment he could produce a moment of quality that makes us forget of his ability at either a dead-ball situation or normal play. Conte has only kept one clean sheet so far with Chelsea so they aren't the finished article either, so there could still be some room to believe Swansea will continue their good run against the Blues.
SUNDERLAND VS. EVERTON
Player: Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Player Price: £9.0
Player Selection %: 6.7%
Another returnee this week is Romelu Lukaku who we've brought back into the differentials because of his international performances which hinted that the big Belgian can return to form in the Premier League at any point now. Bagging a brace in the Red Devil's win over Cyprus could be the turning point in Rom's season as he restores his goal scoring confidence after just returning to the starting eleven for the Toffees. This week’s opposition is Sunderland away from home, already declared relegation contenders by their manager David Moyes. As we mentioned last week Lukaku is a twenty goal a season striker and it will be sooner rather than later which we see him return back to his old ways, Everton look a real force and could turn some heads this year if Ronald Koeman figures out how to use Lukaku properly. We are sticking faith that Lukaku is still the best differential option in Everton and a game against Sunderland is too hard to turn down.
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