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 4 Average Points: 43pts
Gameweek 4 Wildcard Points: 57pts
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: GW4 - 57pts, 5 player returns
Worst Wildcard Week: GW2 - 25pts, 1 player return
Average Points: 44 (1), 57 (2), 42 (3), 43 (4) = 186pts
Wildcard Points: 25 (1), 25 (2), 26 (3), 57 (4) = 133pts
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
GW4: Romelu Lukaku (Sunderland vs. Everton) - 17pts
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), C. Benteke (2), Lukaku (2), Huth (4), Fonte (2), Holding (2), Abel Hernandez (2), Stuani (2), Otamendi (2)
GW4: 57 points, 5 player returns
Nolito (2), Mustafi (2), C. Wilson (6), Heaton (2), G. Ramirez (0), Bony (2), Antonio (13), Wijnaldum (5), Sigurdsson (8), Lukaku (17)
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 - Romelu Lukaku (Everton): 17pts (GW4)
2 - Michail Antonio (West Ham): 13pts (GW4)
3 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 8pts (GW4)
4 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea): 8pts (GW1)
5 - Michel Vorm (Spurs): 7pts (GW2)
6 - John Terry (Chelsea): 6pts (GW3)
7 - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth): 6pts (GW4)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 4
Wildcards: Boruc, Smith, Koscielny, Son, Antonio, De Bruyne, Lukaku
Non Wildcards: Walker, Firmino, Capoue, Costa
Points achieved by Wildcards: 89
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 51
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.
CHELSEA VS. LIVERPOOL
Player: Oscar (Chelsea)
Player Price: £7.5
Player Selection %: 1.3
We wanted a Liverpool midfielder as a wildcard for this fixture, but Firmino, Mane, and Coutinho are so favoured that we were left looking at the forward players from Chelsea. Oscar had a good game against Swansea and under Conte has been getting regular minutes, and the visit to the Liberty Stadium also saw Oscar pick up his first FPL returns of the season as he assisted Diego Costa for one of his two goals. Liverpool's defence has also been as faulty every single match so far this season so you know that there will be goals on both sides, so why not Oscar? Liverpool are bound to concede and haven't kept a clean sheet against the Blues in what feels like forever so there is lots of opportunity for the Brazilian to make an impression against fellow countrymen Firmino and Coutinho.
HULL CITY VS. ARSENAL
Player: Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)
Player Price: £6.0
Player Selection %: 5.1
Third week in a row, third Arsenal defender chosen for the weekly wildcards. Hopefully there will be a better success when Arsenal visit Hull at the weekend after seeing Rob Holding leak a goal against Watford, and then new Gooner Mustafi last week against Southampton do the exact same thing due to the ball ricocheting off of Petr Cech's back. On paper Hull should be pressed back to the edge of the box when Arsenal come to the KC Stadium, in this fixture if you are an Arsenal defender you would be looking at this match with the intent of doing very little in terms of actual defending. Monreal's price increase this season means that by comparison to Bellerin there isn't a contest, the speedster right-back will get the nod over Monreal in most FPL manager’s minds because of the potential for goals and assists, thus leaving him behind for representation. Let’s not forget that despite the impact of Bellerin that Monreal finished as one of the top scoring defenders last season for FPL points and is occasionally good for the surprise assist, he may not be as flashy as Bellerin but in a fixture against Arsenal this should be easy points on the board.
LEICESTER VS. BURNLEY
Player: Robert Huth (Leicester)
Player Price: £5.0
Player Selection %: 1.7
A safe pick in the heart of defence this week and our wildcard picks is the stoic German, Robert Huth. Leicester need a big win after Sadio Mane destroyed their defence at Anfield in GW4, so expect a stern reaction from the Foxes who look to bite back against one of the promoted clubs, Burnley. Sean Dyche's team hasn't been a force to be reckoned with in attack, they can field a solid defence, but they are still figuring out their attacking flow since adding Steven Defour to their ranks this season. On paper, and we have said it quite a lot this season, these types of matches scream out for a clean sheet. Robert Huth should be getting a clean sheet in this fixture, if the Premier League wants to evoke more chaos in the league that is out of all our hands, but on paper Huth is a strong option this week as Leicester repair themselves after their previous loss.
MANCHESTER CITY VS. AFC BOURNEMOUTH
Player: Claudio Bravo (Team)
Player Price: £5.5
Player Selection %: 0.8
Claudio Bravo had a debut to remember, not all for the right reasons that is, after nearly conceding several penalties and making an error to set up Zlatan for the Red Devil fightback the Chilean will be eager to move on after making his best Simon Mignolet impression during the Manche$ter derby. FPL managers will be keen to avoid the new Citizens keeper whilst under this kind of form, but at The Hype Train we dive deep for the best differentials and with a home fixture against Bournemouth there is reason to optimistic by Bravo’s wildcard potential. Pep has chalked up Bravo’s performance due to nerves in a huge fixture which isn’t the worst excuse, so come this weekend we could see a more calm and relaxed Bravo who has the chance to settle these nerves in a much easier contest where he may not have to actually do much goalkeeping.
WEST BROM VS. WEST HAM
Player: Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)
Player Price: £6.4
Player Selection %: 0.1
Hammers fans are raving about the beast that is Michail Antonio, and after shattering expectations in our wildcard picks last week we were too, but flash forward a few days and the England international is no longer a differential option after his potential begins to be realised by the FPL community. If Hammers fans aren’t talking up Antonio it was also a warm welcome back to the Premier League for Dimitri Payet who made both assists, so naturally nobody would think of the returning Manuel Lanzini as the talk of the town. That is what we look for, the understated, and Lanzini’s return is most definitely understated. The Argentine has been a staple of the midfield and has completed his first ninety minutes of the season since recovering from injury, and he travels as the third cog in the attacking midfield with Antonio and Payet to West Brom where they won by a margin of three goals last season. Lanzini has yet to hit the ground running but whilst the eyes of the world are looking at the Hammers top players we are expecting some surprise names to beat them to the chase at the Hawthorns, Lanzini included.
EVERTON VS. MIDDLESBROUGH
Player: Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton)
Player Price: £5.0
Player Selection %: 2.3
After Romelu Lukaku dismantled David Moyes Sunderland following words from the Scot that he would have won the Premier League with a striker of his ability, our best wildcard pick of the season so far is now unfortunately skyrocketed in popularity and within the short space of a few days exists outside the realm of valid differentials and back into the mainstream. We instead turn our intention to the solid Everton defence created by Ronald Koeman, and his trusted Dutchman between the sticks has been a big influence on the team so far. With Williams marshalling the defence and with two of the best full-backs the league has to offer Stekelenburg could be a terrific FPL option for the next ten gameweeks should Everton continues their great start to the season. The Hype Train has had a lot of good luck with selection goalkeepers so we have a good feeling about Everton's chances of shutting out Boro when they visit Goodison Park.
WATFORD VS. MANCHESTER UNITED
Player: Wayne Rooney (Man Utd)
Player Price: £9.0
Player Selection %: 5.0
Since moving into the number ten role for Man Utd there is a lot of room for optimism with Rooney as a FPL asset this season, he is playing to support the other three attackers around him whilst also taking control of most the set piece duty which could be invaluable for Man Utd's FPL returns. Watford have been leaky and are yet to obtain a clean sheet this season, and Jose Mourinho will be keen to wipe away the blip of form they suffered to the hand of local 'rivals' Manchester City. Both of these teams will be going for it following respective form and Rooney has provided steady returns so far in the FPL, nothing huge, but points nonetheless. Watford attackers have been in fine form but you would favour the Manchester club grinding out a result and frustrating the Hornets in the process. Rooney could have a part to play in that, and there may not be other opportunities to pick Rooney as a differential.
Alternatively, you can always pick Troy Deeney who is still the wildcard king and on penalties and literally just being the anchor you need him to be, so if you’re not confident in Rooney then there is another captain in this match you could rely on.
CRYSTAL PALACE VS. STOKE CITY
Player: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
Player Price: £7.5
Player Selection %: 5.0
Crystal Palace bought a giant when they forked out for Christian Benteke in the transfer window, the former Liverpool forward was not played to his strengths under Brendan Rodgers unsurprisingly and under Klopp he was dropped outright from the main team altogether. As the ball that Zaha lifted into Benteke’s path against Boro you had a few seconds to know exactly what would happen, and then you realised why he failed to settle at Liverpool when nobody did that for him during his spell there. Benteke is the furthest point of attack, a formidable target man who can inflect heavy damage if you give him the right service. The goal Benteke scored against Boro was a warning shot fired into the air as he gains traction heading into the game against Stoke this weekend. Stoke have been dreadful all season so far and failed to make any momentum, they have also picked up the habit of giving away penalties which could directly impact Benteke who is expected to take over as the specialist from Yohan Cabaye who fluffed the last few he took. Benteke’s rise back to prominence should continue against the Potters, he has our vote of confidence to continue in good form.
Also, we don’t know if you noticed that Benteke’s Brother Jonathan was on the bench and was subbed on as Christian’s replacement. The aim is to have his brother in the wildcards at one point this season; we don’t want to miss that opportunity.
SOUTHAMPTON VS. SWANSEA
Player: Dusan Tadic (Southampton)
Player Price: £7.3
Player Selection %: 3.1
Times are tough on the South Coast at the moment; there is a general lack of form that is concerning quite a few fans already. When The Hype Train travelled to St Marys the obvious sign of things to come was that it would be a shaky, nervy season, having sold Mane and Pelle that their goals would dry up. Of course they will come into form at one point of the season, all teams do, but it is the erratic performance levels that are the biggest concern. In truth, that is what makes them one of the biggest differential teams this season…nobody is quite sure if they are good or bad yet, plain and simple. Dusan Tadic returns to the weekly wildcards after failing to register point’s right in front of our own eyes during our trip for the game against Watford, but we are backing him to start picking up confidence after forcing in the free kick against Arsenal, albeit with a little from Petr Cech. Swansea are in the same boat as Southampton but with only one win for the Swans in the last eight matches between Southampton the Saints are obvious favourites and even did the double on them last season. Southampton’s luck has to change at one point, why not against Swansea? Tadic is still their biggest player of quality, and at any moment the Serbian could come up big.
SPURS VS. SUNDERLAND
Player: Hugo Lloris (Spurs)
Player Price: £5.4
Player Selection %: 4.2%
Stoke were pulled apart by Spurs last week, it was brutal, merciless football. Spurs looked back to their best after repeating the same score against the Potters in the same fixture as last season; they looked lean and sharp as their defence kept an easy clean sheet against Mark Hughes squad. Hugo Lloris returns to the starting eleven and as goalkeepers have been sources of points this season when well-chosen we are opting to add a third to this week’s differentials list. Relegation threatened Sunderland travel to the Lane for what will be a gruelling encounter against the well drilled Lilywhites, so we are expecting a second straight clean sheet. The next ten fixtures for Spurs are delicious to FPL managers for their defensive potential, so any of their defenders are not to be overlooked. Sunderland, Boro, West Brom, and Bournemouth are sandwiched either side of Manchester City’s visit. On paper and general common sense says that Spurs should be on easy street for the next few months defensively.
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