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 (GW5)
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 5 Average Points: 48pts
Gameweek 5 Wildcard Points: 37pts
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), 48 (5) = 234pts
Wildcard Points: 25 (1), 25 (2), 26 (3), 57 (4), 37 (5) = 170pts
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
GW5: Manuel Lanzini (West Brom vs. West Ham) - 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)
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)
GW5: 37 points, 5 player returns
Oscar (2), Monreal (2), Huth (6), Bravo (6), Lanzini (7), Stekelenburg (-1), Rooney (1), Benteke (2), Tadic (6), Lloris (6)
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 - Manuel Lanzini (West Ham): 7pts (GW5)
6 - Michel Vorm (Spurs): 7pts (GW2)
7 - John Terry (Chelsea): 6pts (GW3)
8 - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth): 6pts (GW4)
9 - Robert Huth (Leicester): 6pts (GW5)
10 - Dusan Tadic (Southampton): 6pts (GW5)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 5
Wildcards: Zuniga, Coleman, Chadli, Townsend, Walcott, Slimani
Non Wildcards: Jakupovic, Fuchs, De Bruyne, Sterling, Lukaku
Points achieved by Wildcards: 83pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 58pts
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.
MAN UNITED VS. LEICESTER
Player: Robert Huth (Leicester)
Player Price: £5.0 million
Player Selection %: 1.8%
Leicester look unbreakable against Burnley who rarely threatened the Foxes goal, this week they travel to Manchester where they take on the Red Devil’s, and whilst they aren’t a newly promoted team there is plenty of confidence in Leicester getting a result after Jose’s men fell to a third straight defeat in all competitions. Since being woken up after the decimation by Liverpool they have defended beautifully and Man United’s attack might be caused a few problems by familiar opponents, especially because they seem to be lacking any fluid momentum in their front three. The defeat to Watford has shook them, and this could be Leicester’s opportunity to exact some revenge on the Red Devil’s after beating them in the Community Shield earlier in the season. Robert Huth did nothing wrong last week and retains his place in the wildcards for Gameweek six.
BOURNEMOUTH VS. EVERTON
Player: Yannick Bolasie (Everton)
Player Price: £6.0 million
Player Selection %: 5.7%
Everton show no signs of slowing down after Ronald Koeman has taken this team to an entirely new level, and after an unbeaten start the Toffees travel to the south coast where an inconsistent Bournemouth team lie in wait. Nobody would have banked on seeing Everton in the top four at this stage, and the genius of the move to the Merseyside club appears to not be one made in vein for Koeman. One of the players he has brought in has been the energetic Yannick Bolasie who was Crystal Palace’s driving force during his time at the Eagles. Now Everton utilise that pace and movement to free up Lukaku in the central striking role which makes the Toffees forward line a powerful unit to cope with. It has only been a short period for this season so far but Bolasie’s role is crucial to their build up play, just as it was at Crystal Palace. Already claiming two assists in the past two games, both for Romelu Lukaku; he makes it into our wildcard team after being a popular pick last season for his reputation as a terrifying forward…and Koeman has fostered that into his Everton team, whilst Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels prepares for one of the toughest games of his season.
LIVERPOOL VS. HULL CITY
Player: Joel Matip (Liverpool)
Player Price: £5.4 million
Player Selection %: 1.5%
After surprising everyone with their attacking play the Reds have ten points after trips to Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, and a home win against the reigning champions Leicester. Nobody expected their defence to amount to a clean sheet in these matches, the tie against Burnley was an anomaly, but that was the general consensus. Liverpool return to Anfield for a visit of Hull City who just got brutalized by Arsenal in Gameweek five, and under the new Main Stand they will want to keep fostering their defence which actually appeared to be capable of actually defending and working in tandem with one another. A big part of this change has been the introduction of Joel Matip alongside the rejuvenated Dejan Lovren, a huge and imposing figure capable of dominating the air or making daring runs into the opposition box. Having weathered a tough storm Liverpool are now on the side of a good run of fixtures beginning with Hull at home, so long term could see the Reds keep some clean sheets along the way. We are predicting that Hull will do little to trouble or press Liverpool’s defence, leading to the first clean sheet for Jürgen Klopp’s team, with Matip having a big part to play in it.
MIDDLESBROUGH VS. SPURS
Player: Hueng-Min Son (Spurs)
Player Price: £7.4 million
Player Selection %: 0.7%
Spurs have been going strong the past few weeks, and the standout performer for the Lilywhites has been the South Korean forward Hueng-Min Son who has been the man of the match in the past two games against Stoke and Sunderland, respectively. The relentless work-rate and eye for goal has seen him usurp the usual attackers in Eriksen and Lamela, and by the form he is in he could keep them rooted to the bench. Middlesbrough have been proven as nothing more than flavour of the month for the opening few games of the season and as they realise the full weight of their Premier League ambitions it comes at the wrong time, an in-form Spurs can cause any team countless problems and having registered more shots in the past two gameweeks than any other play it will be Son who will be the main vocal point of the Spurs attack since Kane’s new injury.
STOKE VS. WEST BROM
Player: Nacer Chadli (West Brom)
Player Price: £6.4 million
Player Selection %: 1%
Who can ignore Chadli after his unbelievable performance against West Ham? He and Rondon looked like they had played together for several years as the dispatched the Hammers on home soil, and up next is the worst defence in the Premier League in the shape of Stoke City. Two assists and two goals is unbelievable, and whilst we don’t think that he will repeat that kind of performance he is now considered to be a piece of the jigsaw that West Brom desperately needed in attack, some proven quality to bring the best out of Rondon. Chadli is pure quality on his day and Stoke will be rueing over West Brom’s good form, the Potters may not have enough time to recover if Rondon and Chadli pick up from where they left off in Gameweek five. Speaking about the potential of the Baggies attacking prowess feels alien, and there may not be a better time to speak of it than now.
SUNDERLAND VS. CRYSTAL PALACE
Player: Steve Mandanda (Crystal Palace)
Player Price: £4.4 million
Player Selection %: 3.7%
Every week we aim to pick a differential goalkeeper and this week the honour goes to France international Steve Mandanda who has cemented his spot in goal ahead of Wayne Hennessey after a string of promising performances between the sticks. Having been vocal about Crystal Palace’s chances The Hype Train have been proven wrong about the Eagles who are soaring towards Operation Pardew: Forty Points, and having a goalkeeper the calibre of Mandanda doesn’t hurt to aid that mission for the team. We aren’t choosing Mandanda because of Palace’s good run of form; on the contrary we are putting our collective eggs in the basket of banking against relegated Sunderland. Those are David Moyes words, not our own. Their lack of goal threat makes Mandanda an easy pick out of all the Crystal Palace players because at this stage of Sunderland’s typical early season form you don’t associate them with scoring many goals, and when you place them in the path of an in-form team then it just becomes a logical choice. Mandanda should hopefully continue our good trend of goalkeepers getting points in our differential forecasts.
SWANSEA VS. MAN CITY
Player: Alexsander Kolarov (Man City)
Player Price: £5.9 million
Player Selection %: 4.4%
Bournemouth were not in the mood to challenge Manchester City at the Etihad, they had promising moments, but the City defence was just so marshalled and normally bystanders that you had Kolarov making bursting runs into Bournemouth’s penalty area to cure his boredom. Kolarov deserves all the plaudits after a commanding display at the heart of defence and it means questions marks linger over the head over John Stones suitability if Vincent Kompany mounts a return. Swansea have had a poor start to the season by their standards and having not won since the opening day of the campaign at Burnley they are winless, a visit by Manchester City won’t help matters, neither will the echoes of their toothless performance at Southampton last week. We are expecting a second consecutive clean sheet for the Citizens with Kolarov pulling the strings once again from deep, there isn’t much else left to explain for this pick except that the Serbian is a bonus point collector when he has a good game and is still on some set piece duties.
ARSENAL VS. CHELSEA
Player: Theo Walcott (Team)
Player Price: £7.5 million
Player Selection %: 2.2%
An unsung hero for Arsenal this season has been the resurgence of Theo Walcott who has started all five games this season, and has a decent haul of points so far with three returns out of five in Premier League games. Walcott’s pace and interplay has seen him an integral part of the attacking setup with youngster Iwobi that it is forcing Sanchez to play as a striker, and it is working for them. Goals are once again guaranteed with Arsenal as they seek to perfect their quick attacking style, no longer relying on the slow hold up play of Olivier Giroud. Walcott on his day can make a real difference and no doubt that his starting position against Chelsea is safe, this could be a big year for Theo as he makes up for lost time after several injuries that have plagued him. Chelsea normally rule the roost against Arsenal but after a dip in form against Liverpool the Gunners could add salt to the wounds at the Emirates with a win, stranger things have happened, and nobody is betting on Arsenal laying the Blues to waste which could happen if David Luiz keeps his place in the team. Just imagine Sanchez, Iwobi, Ozil, and Walcott running past him. He doesn’t stand a chance.
WEST HAM VS. SOUTHAMPTON
Player: Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)
Player Price: £6.4 million
Player Selection %: 0.1%
The Hammers are losing convincingly, they regardless of their defensive fragility it can’t be said that they aren’t creating and scoring their chances. During the defeat to West Brom all three of the attacking midfielders got FPL returns, Payet got two assists, Antonio got a goal, and Lanzini got a goal too. West Ham still has one of the most mouth-watering attacks in the league and should be able to cause Southampton plenty of problems if they stoke the coals of their revival. Defending may be the issue, but goal scoring isn’t, and I still expect the ‘Usual Three’ getting among the FPL points when the Saints visit London, and that conviction of faith sees Lanzini retain his place after a solid showing where he completed his second ninety minutes since returning from injury.
BURNLEY VS. WATFORD
Player: Troy Deeney (Watford)
Player Price: £6.9 million
Player Selection %: 3.5%
Troy Deeney has made three out of five returns so far in this Premier League season and with some hindsight it is worth seeing a valuable FPL asset blossoming once again right in front of our eyes. The imposing forward is leading the line as Watford’s captain and penalty taker, so there is real value in considering him as an option. During Gameweek five he scored a last minute penalty against Manchester United which confirmed that he is now a consistent source of points after the opening handful of fixtures, and things get much better for the Hornets on paper. Up next Deeney travels to Burnley who have struggled so far this season for any real consistency, and with Watford coming into form the Hornets will be buzzing to continue their good form. Deeney is the king of differential players and after Burnley they also face Bournemouth, Middlesbrough, Swansea, and Hull. Everything is in place for Deeney to be the biggest understated option for the next month.
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