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 (GW7)
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 7 Average Points: 42pts
Gameweek 7 Wildcard Points: 46pts
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), 45 (6), 42 (7) = 321pts
Wildcard Points: 25 (1), 25 (2), 26 (3), 57 (4), 37 (5), 32 (6), 46 (7) = 248pts
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
GW6: Hueng-Min Son (Middlesbrough vs. Spurs) - 15pts
GW7: Troy Deeney (Watford vs. Bournemouth) - 9pts
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)
GW6: 32 points, 2 player returns
Huth (-1), Bolasie (2), Matip (2), Hueng-Min Son (15), Chadli (1), Mandanda (1), Kolarov (1), Walcott (8), Lanzini (1), Deeney (2)
GW7: 46 points, 5 player returns
Christian Benteke (5), Karius (2), David Luiz (6), van Aanholt (7), Deeney (9), Downing (2), Rashford (2), Austin (2), Dele Alli (8), Iwobi (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 - Romelu Lukaku (Everton): 17pts (GW4)
2 - Hueng-Min Son (Spurs): 15pts (GW6)
3 - Michail Antonio (West Ham): 13pts (GW4)
4 - Troy Deeney (Watford): 9pts (GW7)
5 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 8pts (GW4)
5 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea): 8pts (GW1)
5 - Theo Walcott (Arsenal): 8pts (GW6)
8 - Manuel Lanzini (West Ham): 7pts (GW5)
8 - Michel Vorm (Spurs): 7pts (GW2)
10 - John Terry (Chelsea): 6pts (GW3)
10 - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth): 6pts (GW4)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 7
Wildcards: Bravo, Rose, Chadli, Milner, Willian, Deeney
Non Wildcards: Koscielny, van Dijk, Firmino, Payet, Costa
Points achieved by Wildcards: 60
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 58
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. LEICESTER
Player: Islam Slimani (Leicester)
Player Price: £8.6 million
Player Selection %: 2.0%
Chelsea and Leicester kick off the gameweek after another enduring international break (it never ended) and the man of the hour is an Algerian stealing the show for Leicester. No, it isn’t Riyad Mahrez but his international colleague Islam Slimani. Having taken over reigns of Okazaki’s normal position the mighty forward has already proven his goal scoring talents in front of the Foxes faithful, a powerful forward who can do it all whilst complimenting Jamie Vardy with a dose of raw power. Chelsea look feeble at the back, one win over Hull doesn’t paper over the cracks, and Slimani will be there when Sideshow Bob, I mean David Luiz, rears his afro head.
Leicester and Chelsea had some very compelling games last season, the loss Chelsea suffered at the King Power even got Jose Mourinho sacked, so we are expecting a tight encounter with the potential for lots of goals. Slimani shouldn’t have to worry about making another impression, he is playing good football and that does not go unnoticed.
ARSENAL VS. SWANSEA
Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea)
Player Price: £7.2 million
Player Selection %: 3.4%
The bell had been rung. Arsenal, Swansea, history. If you didn’t know much about football and we told you that the mighty London club Arsenal hadn’t defeated lowly welsh club Swansea in the last four games at the Emirates Stadium you would tell us we were bonkers, and that this was some sort of joke at their expense. Unfortunately this is not a laughing matter, the Swans systematically turn up when they visit Arsenal…they love it. The last four seasons have seen Arsenal drop points in every single match, with three of them matches straight up defeats. One man who has helped architect this reoccurring heist has been Icelandic hero Gyfli Sigurdsson who has a phenomenal record of getting underneath the skin of the Gunners. Goals, assists, and world class free kicks are what he pulls out of his box of tricks each time he visits the Emirates.
BOURNEMOUTH VS. HULL CITY
Player: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
Player Price: £6.4 million
Player Selection %: 2.1%
Wilson could prove to be the successor for Troy Deeney should the Watford forward no longer is a wildcard option. In each fixture that Wilson has played a full ninety minutes he has went on to score, and that is exactly what we are banking on. Hull City may be celebrating the fact that Mike Phelan finally was given the full reigns of the club but the cherry on top of the cake should be Bournemouth’s on current form. Having only lost one of their last five games you would be mistaken to think Bournemouth were faring poorly this season, were it not for a blip against Manchester City a few weeks ago they would be among the form teams in the league. Both of their last home games have finished with Bournemouth keeping a clean sheet and scoring one goal, pretty routine stuff, and it could be another day to repeat their current home exploits. Callum Wilson is the standout player of Eddie Howe’s team and is also on penalty duty, he is shaping up nicely to take over when Deeney leaves the differentials.
Another alternative would be Artur Boruc in goal, two clean sheets in the last two home games is great stuff for wildcard defensive options.
MAN CITY VS. EVERTON
Player: Nolito (Man City)
Player Price: £8.8 million
Player Selection %: 1.6%
Raheem Sterling remains an injury doubt whilst Jesus Navas remains a goal doubt; it is the right time for Nolito to return to the fold after a lengthy suspension. The Spaniard adds the prospect of scoring plenty of goals and is more akin to a second striker than an out-and-out winger anyway, so the potential is still there for even more fortunes when a shaken Everton travel to the Emptyhad after picking up just one point in their last two Premier League games. There doesn’t have to be any justification for picking a Man City midfielder, they are just performing, and were it not for being banned the Spaniard Nolito would have kept up appearances with a few more goals, no doubt about it. Nolito is flying under the radar but any keen differential enthusiast will see the signs.
STOKE CITY VS. SUNDERLAND
Player: Marko Arnautovic (Stoke)
Player Price: £7.2 million
Player Selection %: 1.1%
Stoke have had a bad run of luck so far this season, there is a reason why they have been in the relegation zone for most the season so far. They just haven't played like their old-self's, and it is becoming abundantly clear that they need a good goalkeeper to help dig them out of a huge hole. Jack Butland was that man, and now Lee Grant stepped up after Shay Given proved to be ultimately unreliable. Picking up a result at Old Trafford was a great result and the Welsh Pirlo has a lot to do with that, but now Stoke have a golden ticket in the next run of fixtures to climb out of the relegation zone.
Goals are now the priority and their sharpest tool in the box is the Austrian midfielder Mark Arnautovic. Easily their player of the season along with injured keeper Butland, the Austrian us used to playing more as a second striker and also has a great penalty record. Stoke have to come good at one point this season and with Sunderland visiting this could be a big fixture to get their season looking more positive. Until now Stoke have been innocent bystanders so it has been easy to ignore them, but with their fixture list looking promising we might be seeing a Potters resurgence.
WEST BROMICH ALBION VS. SPURS
Player: Danny Rose (Spurs)
Player Price: £5.9 million
Player Selection %: 5.3%
Pep Guardiola got his first taste of the madness of the Premier League when Spurs stunned them to their first loss of the season, courtesy of a rock solid defence that looks to be back on top form. Last season Spurs were incredible defensively, and Toby Alderweireld was easily the best centre-half, Kyle Walker one of the best right-backs, and Danny Rose too at left back.
CRYSTAL PALACE VS. WEST HAM
Player: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
Player Price: £7.6 million
Player Selection %: 6.9%
How could we not have Benteke as our wildcard pick in this game after he was voted in as the differential captain choice for this gameweek? The burley forward has been finding his feet again in Premier League matches with three consecutive goals on the Eagles travels so far this season. West Ham visit Selhurst Park and with their defensive frailty currently a hot topic in the football community it is no wonder why Benteke was picked as your choice for the weekend. Shipping goals at a faster rate than Harambe memes on the internet the Hammers have real concern on their hands, they have a mammoth task getting back to what they once were. Operation Pardew: Forty Points is well under way and nothing looks to derail the Eagles at this stage of the season. Benteke gets the nod to score his first home goal of the season and burst even more bubbles for West Ham.
MIDDLESBROUGH VS. WATFORD
Player: Troy Deeney (Watford)
Player Price: £7.1 million
Player Selection %: 7.4%
Soon enough the iconic Watford striker will no longer be a wildcard if he keeps putting in the big performances for Watford, the English forward has been in great form this season as the attacking Hornet's side prove to be trouble for many defences. Not just a capable scorer Deeney is also on penalties and is always good for a goal in every game he features, he also knows the meaning of being selfless and will always play in a teammate if given the opportunity. Watford are still in the midst of a great run of fixtures and there is only one Hornet we can choose, and we cannot stress enough that he is still the best wildcard option (and a cheaper option too) than comparable alternatives such as Christian Benteke and Callum Wilson. A trip to Middlesbrough shouldn't phase Watford and if there is anyone who is most likely to score in this fixture the one name that springs to mind is Troy Deeney.
SOUTHAMPTON VS. BURNLEY
Player: Fraser Forster (Southampton)
Player Price: £5.0 million
Player Selection %: 4.3%
Three games in row, three straight clean sheets…Southampton are up to their old tricks. The defensive capabilities of the South Coast club have been well documented in the past three seasons and Claude Puel has found the right way to get his teams playing convincing football. Fraser Forster is a big reason why they are so dominant in these patches of solidity, his calming presence at the back and natural acumen between the posts has earned him a call up as England’s back-up keeper behind Joe Hart. The big Englishman is also the main goalkeeper in our wildcard team currently in the FPL, we have been very happy with his performances so far this season and with low-scoring Burnley visiting St Marys the Saints have a fantastic chance to be the first team this season register four clean sheets in a row. Goalkeepers have fared well in our differential picks so Forster gets the thumbs up for what should be a routine win for Southampton.
LIVERPOOL VS. MAN UNITED
Player: James Milner (Liverpool)
Player Price: £6.6 million
Player Selection %: 4.8%
The biggest game of football in the calendar year takes place this gameweek when Manchester United visit Anfield to take on blood rivals Liverpool. This fiery fixture is head and shoulders above the over hype of the Manche$ter 'Derby' and promises to keeping most football fans interested until the final whistle. The man of the hour in Red is most certainly James Milner who has four returns in six games this season: four goals and an assist since the start of the season. At the start of the season Liverpool supporters were fearful of his contributions whilst playing at left-back, but he has gone onto be one of the biggest influences on the entire team. The big catch with Milner is that he is taking penalties for Liverpool, all four of these goals have been from the spot so far this season and even Emre Can said he is the coolest penalty taker he has ever witnessed.
Anfield will be buzzing on Monday night when the fiercest rivalry in English football resumes and with Liverpool's strong start and Man United's shaky patch of form, and home advantage, you would favour the reds to take all three points in this fixture. The last time these teams met at Anfield was during an electric game in the Europa League where Liverpool scored a penalty courtesy of Daniel Sturridge to take the lead in their eventual run to the final in Basel. Could lightning strike twice for penalties? Many have been given and with Milner's record so far you would say it was more likely that a penalty will be awarded, than not.
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