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 (GW9)
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 9 Average Points: 42pts
Gameweek 9 Wildcard Points: ??pts
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
GW9: Winston Reid (West Ham vs. Sunderland) - 14pts
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)
GW9: 35 points, 2 player returns
Dele Alli (2), Mustafi (5), Stekelenburg (1), Joe Allen (2), Huth (2), Sigurdsson (2), Reid (14), Matip (2), Austin (2), Moses (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 - Winston Reid (West Ham): 14pts (GW8)
4 - Michail Antonio (West Ham): 13pts (GW4)
5 - Troy Deeney (Watford): 9pts (GW7)
5 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 9pts (GW8)
5 - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth): 9pts (GW8)
8 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 8pts (GW4)
8 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea): 8pts (GW1)
8 - Theo Walcott (Arsenal): 8pts (GW6)
11 - Manuel Lanzini (West Ham): 7pts (GW5)
11 - Michel Vorm (Spurs): 7pts (GW2)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 9
Wildcards: Valdes, Reid, Cahill, Shawcross, Francis, Shaqiri, Pedro, Arfield, Cabaye, Iheanacho
Non Wildcards: Mane
Points achieved by Wildcards: 116pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 12pts
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.
SUNDERLAND VS. ARSENAL
Player: Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)
Player Price: £6.0
Player Selection %: 4.8
There isn’t much to be said here in all honesty, Sunderland have proven to be ineffective in almost every way, and Arsenal are in a good vein of form currently. Nacho Monreal is a strong wildcard option because the likelihood of the Gunners keeping a clean sheet is extremely high. That is sound logic, and to which we won’t waste any more time justifying a good option for this upcoming fixture.
MANCHESTER UNITED VS. BURNLEY
Player: Chris Smalling (Man United)
Player Price: £5.9
Player Selection %: 1.4
Hard to think that Burnley had had six of their nine games so far at home and in those three the Clarets have only registered one goal courtesy of a Sam Vokes penalty at Southampton in gameweek eight. Things couldn’t be any more questionable for their goal scoring ability when they travel to Old Trafford for a meeting with Manchester United who are hot off the heels of a win in the ‘derby’ midweek. Injury to Bailly has seen Chris Smalling’s stock raise considerably in the past few weeks (barring the nightmare at Chelsea) with the England international now firmly the clubs only first choice centre-half. Burnley should barely threaten or produce chances, so this should be a fairly routine defensive display for the Red Devil’s, so if you are looking for an obvious pick it would be the towering figure of Chris Smalling.
MIDDLESBROUGH VS. AFC BOURNEMOUTH
Player: Adama Traore (Boro)
Player Price: £4.8
Player Selection %: 0.1
At the midnight hour we had Junior Stanislas as our wildcard in this fixture, but our minds kept wandering back to what could have been when Middlesbrough nearly ruined Arsenal all thanks to our wildcard pick for this fixture…Adama Traore. Stanislas is still an option, so please by all means still consider him, but we are picking Traore because he is the definition of a difference maker. Middlesbrough prior to the Arsenal game was tame and unable to threaten an open goal. Now, with this lightening quick Traore in the team they look to unsettle the balance some more. Traore is such a wildcard option he doesn’t even have a picture when you click on his name on the Fantasy Premier League website. Opting for the most extreme option isn’t wise but that is exactly what Traore is…risk, and for £4.8 he can easily be your fifth midfielder if all else fails. Traore had glimpses of his promise when at Aston Villa, now he is resurrected at Teesside and will have set his eyes on adding his first Boro goal to his record. Charlie Daniels is going to have a terrible weekend ahead of him.
We haven’t informed Rob who makes all of the graphics for The Hype Train of the decision to switch from Stanislas to Traore, so here is the graphic on Junior Stanislas to ponder over, he is still a terrific option and in this fixture the smarter one to make. We just couldn’t turn down the chance of having Traore representing this week.
SPURS VS. LEICESTER
Player: Bamideli Alli (Spurs)
Player Price: £8.2
Player Selection %: 6.7
What difference a year makes, the Foxes went to White Hart Lane and thanks to a Robert Huth (and easily remembered Christian Fuchs assist) power header that looped over everyone it was the travellers that took all three points. This time round the Foxes are struggling to regain the momentum of last season and their patchy form away from home is concerning…no other team has conceded more goals in the Premier League than Leicester have. Things don’t get better for the Champions as they travel back to once happy hunting grounds to find a Spurs team looking for sweet redemption in what can now be argued as one of the defining fixtures of the Premier League last season. Alli is the man to be amongst the goals along with Son if the Foxes are to concede again, the English Talisman has had to pick up the team since the injury of Harry Kane and he has made good on his efforts too. More problems on the road for Leicester? Probably.
WATFORD VS. HULL CITY
Player: Troy Deeney (Watford)
Player Price: £7.0
Player Selection %: 8.
Hull City have slumped since August when Mike Phelan won the Manager of the Month award, the second he signed the contract they shipped six goals basically a day later. The foot has been taken off everything, both defence and attack has floundered, and the Hornets of Watford will be very pleased that they will be paying them a visit. Troy Deeney, the quintessential king of differential options has been looking hungry for a goal and here isn’t a better opportunity that this week to do just that. The last two weeks have been frustrating for Deeney so here is to hoping that the king can return to his throne with a smile on his face, or others will start lining up for a shot at the big seat.
One alternative to this could be Jose Holebas who has come onto the list of hallowed players currently on The Hype Train. The Greek defender is on set piece duties and has a rocket of a left boot when he connects, so we recommend some traditional Greek defending if you are uncertain on Deeney’s contributions to your team.
WEST BROMICH ALBION VS. MANCHESTER CITY
Player: Claudio Bravo (Man City)
Player Price: £5.5
Player Selection %: 2.5
The English press is mostly fickle to believe that Pep can’t turn things around for Man City, sure, there are reservations from those within The Hype Train that he didn’t remould the squad enough to get a team which could challenge for the league, but this is still the coveted Pep Guardiola. Man City know how to dispatch teams others would call ‘small’ and ‘easy’, which is why we thing that there was a great ignorance from Pep about the inconsistency that rests within the Premier League. Things you think that are normal could literally be turned on their head in a matter of seconds. Sooner rather than later Man City will turn things around, and they have a decent enough record against West Brom to claw themselves out of a bad moment (which we don’t think is bad, as they are top of the league). Twelve games, no losses, and seven clean sheets against the Baggies is the recent record and Claudio Bravo is the only consistent defensive option to pick. The Citizen’s should win this one comfortably and Bravo shouldn’t have to do much except pass the ball to one of his other defenders.
CRYSTAL PALACE VS. LIVERPOOL
Player: Christian Benteke (Palace)
Player Price: £7.7
Player Selection %: 8.3
Monsters this Halloween will come in all shapes and sizes, and now we tell you the tale of how one monster yearns for redemption on those who cast him out. One year ago a young man by the name of Christian was brought in to victimize Premier League defences and give Liverpool a fighting chance at getting back into the top-four. He was billed as the monster that could do it, and after a promising start to his life on Merseyside his handler was removed, he himself cast out (now he appeared once again in the cold wastes of Scotland). Young Christian was brought in by this man of character because of what he did to Liverpool, laying them to waste each and every time he’d get the opportunity, he was merciless in an FA Cup semi-final when the Villains stopped the Reds from obtaining their dream of a trophy. A new handler was brought in from Germany, much different from the previous one, and he deemed that Christian was no longer the monster needed to elevate Liverpool up to dazzling heights. Shunned and caged it was Christian who was offered help by a man who loves to torment those dwelling in Merseyside, and together with the sly fox Mr. Pardew they hatched a plan…’come play for me’ he insisted, ‘we will pay any amount of money to have you released from your current handler’ he promised. Leaving Merseyside with unfinished business he soon discovered that the Eagles he had joined had history with the Reds, they were skilled vanquishers of men in red. This young man, this Christian Benteke, has found a place to call home, he is back to being the monster Liverpool remember him to be.
EVERTON VS. WEST HAM
Player: Yannick Bolasie (Everton)
Player Price: £6.0
Player Selection %: 5.4
West Ham fans dress up as Lukaku for Halloween, he terrorises the Hammers each and every time they clash, it is the Belgian’s favourite club to score against and if we lived in Stratford and answered the door this weekend to see Romelu Lukaku masks haunting the locals we’d be having nightmares for sure. What has been key to Romelu’s spooky return to form has been his equally as terrifying strike partner Yannick Bolasie, the haunting frame of the winger from Congo has been the driving force for Everton and has provided Lukaku with quite a few of his goals so far this season. Having just notched his first Toffees goal he and Lukaku will be conspiring against the Hammers and how to once again burst their burble. The eventual goal that Lukaku will score against West Ham is now an annual event on the FPL calendar and this time he has Bolasie to help him. If you live in Stratford don’t answer the knocking door this weekend, or watch Match of the Day.
SOUTHAMPTON VS. CHELSEA
Player: Nathan Redmond (Southampton)
Player Price: £5.9
Player Selection %: 6.3
This pick was a tricky one because both teams are in the same position as the other, both have gone onto culminate some recent good form, get their strikers scoring goals, got their defence keeping clean sheets, and even their midfielders are chipping in with FPL points. Out of the last eight games between these two teams there was only one clean sheet kept for either team in that period, this was in January 2014 when Chelsea beat Southampton at St Marys with the score finishing 0-3. The Saints are scoring in every home game so we didn’t want to choose a Chelsea defender with such harrowing stats about teams visiting the south coast. That left either a midfield option from either club as Charlie Austin and Diego Costa is no set of wildcard picks. Running down the form we looked at Pedro for Chelsea, two goals in two games, but he is getting rotated frequently and with Willian in contention to come back into the team it is not a risk worth taking. That left the only wildcard from this match Nathan Redmond…who has also scored two in two the past few weeks. The English forward is starting to realise the pressure and work rate that Puel has demanded on this Saint’s team, and with that in mind we think he could be the difference for the Saints in gameweek ten.
The Hype Train actually attended St Marys for the opening day which was the only other time we have chosen Redmond as the key differential, so we will be interested to see if he can repay the faith in his selection.
STOKE CITY VS. SWANSEA
Player: Erik Pieters (Stoke)
Player Price: £4.4
Player Selection %: 3.7
Mark Hughes has made a strong turnaround for the Potters in the last four weeks with two draws followed by two wins against Sunderland and Hull City, both with an identical final score and maintaining a clean sheet. That said, Erik Pieters is a big option for the gameweek upcoming with Swansea visiting town, and the history between the clubs in the last five seasons has been erratic with Stoke picking up four wins, Swansea three, and battling out to three draws. In the five encounters that haven taken place at the Bet365 Stadium the Swans have had their wings clipped on travels to Stoke on Trent. The Potters have found that defensive form that makes this fixture irresistible for potential new FPL options, and Pieters is one of them. The Dutchman is cheap, offers returns at both ends of the pitch, and has a promising run of fixtures.
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