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 (GW8)
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 8 Average Points: 39pts
Gameweek 8 Wildcard Points: 36pts
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), 39 (8) = 360pts
Wildcard Points: 25 (1), 25 (2), 26 (3), 57 (4), 37 (5), 32 (6), 46 (7), 36 (8) = 284pts
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
GW8: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Arsenal vs. Swansea) - 9pts
Callum Wilson (Bournemouth vs. Hull) - 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)
GW8: 36 points, 4 player returns
Slimani (1), Sigurdsson (9), Callum Wilson (9), Nolito (6), Arnautovic (5), Danny Rose (0), Christian Benteke (-1), Deeney (2), Forster (2), Milner (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)
4 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 9pts (GW8)
4 - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth): 9pts (GW8)
7 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 8pts (GW4)
7 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea): 8pts (GW1)
7 - Theo Walcott (Arsenal): 8pts (GW6)
10 - Manuel Lanzini (West Ham): 7pts (GW5)
10 - Michel Vorm (Spurs): 7pts (GW2)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 08
Wildcards: Stekelenburg, Holebas, Daniels, Cook, Stanislas, Allen, Lanzini, Moses, Austin
Non Wildcards: Clyne, Walcott
Points achieved by Wildcards: 125 points
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 22 points
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.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH VS. SPURS
Player: Bamideli Alli (Spurs)
Player Price: £8.2
Player Selection %: 6.4
Were it not for the meteoric price rise for Alli he would not be a differential option, and were it not for Son stealing all of the limelight then we would be talking about Dele Alli who has had to up his game and be the difference maker for Spurs in Kane's absence. FPL managers loved Alli because of his affordability, at the beginning of the season it was a risk bringing in a player who didn't have much to do with set-pieces or penalties. What Alli offers is all round play, much like the midfield equivalent to Diego Costa. In-form players are just that, and with four returns in the last five Premier League games Alli boasts three goals and an assist. Within the ranks of The Hype Train we believe that Alli is their star player and is getting into a consistent rhythm that can no longer be ignored. Bournemouth away from home shouldn't phase Spurs, the last time they were there five goals were scored for the Lilywhites, and whilst Alli may have not scored on that occasion he is the best bet of a Spurs breakthrough at the Vitality Stadium this weekend.
ARSENAL VS. MIDDLESBROUGH
Player: Shkrodan Mustafi (Arsenal)
Player Price: £6.0
Player Selection %: 1.2
First meets last place in our power rankings this game week. Arsenal who have been topping the pile in recent weeks have potential all over the board, except forward players, and Boro have for the majority of the season failed to live up to any of their initial hype when the season started. Boro lured in FPL managers with returns only to reward the faith placed in them with sub-standard performances from a team which prided itself on shutting out other teams. That shouldn't be the case at the Emirates when the Boro come toe-to-toe with the best FPL midfield. Sanchez, Walcott, Ozil, and Iwobi will be licking their lips at the thought of the Teesside club visiting for their second consecutive fixture at home. Points won't just be in the middle of their team, their defence should be the essentials this week among some curious fixture for other teams. This match should be a total whitewash for Arsenal and they should secure points in the majority of their players, the reason why we have chosen Mustafi is that his performance level has been top-notch since signing from Valencia and he and Koscielny are developing a solid partnership in the heart of the Gunners defence. Centre-halves are racking up plenty of bonus and we hardly doubt Boro will have sight on goal in this game...there are safe points in the defence and Mustafi represents incredible value for gameweek nine.
BURNLEY VS. EVERTON
Player: Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton)
Player Price: £5.1
Player Selection %: 3.6
After a man of the match performance against the might of the Manchester City referee the Dutchman saved two penalties, one from FPL darling Kevin De Bruyne, and the second from the man half the FPL trust their lives in...Sergio Aguero. Karma struck the Argentine after he replicated the penalty De Bruyne had saved and Stekelenburg deserves all the credit due to him since Koeman placed faith in one of his long term employees. Up next for the Toffees is a trip to Turf Moor where they face struggling Burnley. Either this could be Rambo 2: Second Blood when the Clarets take more points from Merseyside teams at home this season, or it could be another typical drab game that lacks goals, the latter being more than the likely outcome. There are few wildcard options from Everton because of injuries and midfielders that are being rotated, so the man of the hour is the only safe bet from Everton for this fixture. Once upon a time this season we were able to pick Romelu Lukaku but we all know the story about him.
HULL CITY VS. STOKE CITY
Player: Joe Allen, i.e. 'Welsh Pirlo' (Stoke)
Player Price: £4.8
Player Selection %: 3.3
People mock Joe Allen for the comparisons to Xavi and Pirlo but since the turn of 2016 are any of them laughing now? The proud Welshman found new life under a strong set of of cameo appearances under Jürgen Klopp before his move to Stoke; he was also named in the Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament. The man Brendan Rodgers repeatedly backed for great things is now living up to that prophecy, and currently he operates in an advanced attacking role where he is undoubtedly the Potters standout player so far this season. Finding space to operate within the team and hassling the defence it is amazing to see Allen show what he can do with regular first team minutes, and whilst Liverpool got a good deal out of selling him, there should be some regrets. Mark Hughes squad travel to Hull who has just been shown up by Bournemouth on their own travels, and Hughes would love nothing more than to rub salt in the wounds. Allen is the in-form player and we can't believe the words are said: a potent goal threat. Allen is turning doubters into believers and right now we are buying what the Welsh Pirlo is selling.
LEICESTER VS. CRYSTAL PALACE
Player: Robert Huth (Leicester)
Player Price: £5.0
Player Selection %: 1.8%
Robert Huth makes his standard home appearance in our wildcards, the stalwart German is one of the few constants in this Leicester team and after last week’s selection of Slimani away to Chelsea (a game the Algerian didn't even start) we have opted to right our wrongs with the selection of Huth for what should be a routine fixture for Leicester to manoeuvre through. After slipping up against West Ham, quite literally for Benteke, the Eagles have let Operation Pardew: Forty Points slide away from under their boots. Leicester's have just won their third successive Champions League game against Copenhagen so spirits will be high at the King Power for the arrival of Pardew's Eagles. Performance levels are better at home for Leicester and Robert Huth has provided returns in front of the home crowd this season, so we are choosing a safe bet in the legendary Huth.
SWANSEA VS. WATFORD
Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea)
Player Price: £7.2
Player Selection %: 3.3
Playing up front? Check.
On set pieces? Check.
On penalty duty? Check.
Good value? Check.
Reasonable upcoming fixtures? Check.
Icelandic hero? Check.
Wildcard option? Check.
We call him 'Ten Point Gylfi' for a reason, the man is normally a potent goal scorer and when he does hit target he always picks up affiliated bonus points. The Icelander is the best tool to unlock defences and has the added advantage that he takes all dead-ball scenarios for the Swans. You may also be wondering why we aren't picking our beloved Troy Deeney, a play of faith within The Hype Train, and we haven't selected him for good reason. Deeney has been consistently getting returns but they are scattered and we aren't certain which Watford are turning up to the Liberty this weekend. Swansea have been showed plenty of fighting spirit (even when Guidolin was still in charge, mind you.) and Gylfi has been a rock for FPL players looking for strong differentials who combine natural goal scoring acumen with set-piece duties. Having scored against Arsenal we are convinced he will be tormenting the Hornets defence for every conceivable angle.
Gylfi will be representing the differentials as Wildcard captain for #GW9. You can read the full Captaincy article here.
WEST HAM VS. SUNDERLAND
Player: Winston Reid (West Ham)
Player Price: £5.0
Player Selection %: 1.5
Relegated Sunderland travel to West Ham who have recently found their spark again, even though it wasn't a truly convincing win over Crystal Palace it is exactly what their season needed. Having found a new formation to fit in the current squads capabilities having wing-backs in front of a three man defence has proven to be an excellent decision. We would have picked Aaron Cresswell but he got sent off for two ridiculous yellow cards, so that dream died early to have Cresswell featured for this gameweek. Instead, we look to the rock at the back, the formidable Winston Reid whose performance against the Eagles reminded the world that on their day nothing can breach West Ham's stubborn approach to football. Having achieved two returns in his last three matches there is a case for a West Ham defender despite the recent onslaughts, their fixture list is looking much more promising and with Sunderland travelling to the London Stadium there is reason for optimism if you support the Hammers, and if Reid keeps busting his gut with man of the match performances then it won't be down to luck if they keep winning matches.
LIVERPOOL VS. WEST BROM
Player: Joel Matip (Liverpool)
Player Price: £5.4
Player Selection %: 1.7
One Liverpool supporter I read about in the Liverpool Echo reported on how he bet a small fortune of money that the Reds would score in every home game this season, which as you now know was a shrewd bet to begin with. It isn't all doom and gloom for this young man, Liverpool recorded their first clean sheet of the campaign against Man Utd and in doing so have opened the door to the possibility of including Liverpool defenders into the fantasy teams of many for gameweek nine. Lovren has been the rock for Liverpool this season but Matip has brought a whole new dimension of play to the defence at Anfield, for what feels like the first time in many long years the Reds now have a dominating defender who can win challenges against all types of opponents. His partnership with the Croat Lovren has been improving steadily and depending on the West Brom side that turn up to Anfield you can bank that this new duo are keen to carry on from where they left off against their hated rivals.
As wildcard experts we are gambling men, not for money, but for our professional pride in predicting differentials. Perhaps this man can find solace in taking a gamble with his fantasy team and with Joel Matip who was superb at keeping Ibra quiet during Red Monday.
MANCHESTER CITY VS. SOUTHAMPTON
Player: Charlie Austin (Southampton)
Player Price: £6.4
Player Selection %: 7.1
Pep Guardiola is starting to come to terms that the Manchester City job would not be an easy one, old problems linger whilst new ones rear their heads. Having taken a mauling at the hands of Barcelona in the Champions League the task has just become that little bit harder for Man City with a visit of in-form Southampton. So far in league they have faced poor competition, and in the two outings against teams with a high talent level they have fluffed their lines, an old problem faced by the Citizens. Southampton, prior to their game against Inter Milan, have been undefeated in their last seven games and are proving to be defensively stubborn. What they do have in their locker is Charlie Austin, a Premier League goal machine. During his time at QPR the English forward was an instrumental part of the season in which QPR got relegated, scoring eighteen goals in an amazing season for him, personally, not for QPR though. Last season we backed Shane Long to score against Man City and our faith was rewarded, so we are playing the same game in hope of lightening striking the same spot twice. Guardiola has sacrificed defensive fluidity for goals so we expect Southampton to be in a fight with Man City until the final whistle.
CHELSEA VS. MANCHESTER UNITED
Player: Victor Moses (Chelsea)
Player Price: £5.5
Player Selection %: 0.2
At the time of writing this the meeting between Manchester United and Fenerbahçe in the Europa League hadn't taken place yet. The last time the Red Devil's played in Europe they stagnated with a scrappy draw with Stoke at Old Trafford in what can only be described as the dreaded Europa League hangover. Unlike last time Jose Mourinho doesn't prepare his team for a match against a team who were in the relegation zone...this time they travel to London where Conte's Chelsea will be waiting for them. The Blue who will have had a break from European competition will relish the chance to face Man Utd in this fixture and exact revenge against their former manager, one man in particular. The Nigerian winger Victor Moses was one of the players turfed out on loan when he could have stayed and played for Chelsea, it was Mourinho who sent him to Liverpool, Stoke, and West Ham, to varied success, normally accompanied with injuries that curtailed his development. Credit to Conte for taking the plunge where Mourinho couldn't by selecting Moses of whom is one of the Blues best performing players. The Hype Train's resident Chelsea supporter has been raving about the opportunity Moses has received in this Chelsea team, and we are happy to see him get given a chance to stick it to Mourinho for failing to recognise the qualities he could bring to Mourinho's team. This is nothing more than a good old fashioned revenge story and for that reason alone we give Moses our full backing as the final differential pick for gameweek nine.
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The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015 specialising in the Fantasy Premier League (#FPL), providing beautiful graphics and weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb ranking tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review movies, television, live music, festivals, and any relevant topic in the public eye.
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