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 (GW13)
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 13 Average Points: 46pts
Gameweek 13 Wildcard Points: 42pts
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: GW12 - 57pts, 6 player returns
Worst Wildcard Week: GW10 - 24pts, 2 player returns
Average Points: 44 (1), 57 (2), 42 (3), 43 (4), 48 (5), 45 (6), 42 (7), 39 (8), 42 (9), 58 (10), 52 (11), 40 (12), 46 (13) = 598pts
Wildcard Points: 25 (1), 25 (2), 26 (3), 57 (4), 37 (5), 32 (6), 46 (7), 36 (8), 35 (9), 24 (10), 39 (11), 57 (12), 42 (13) = 481pts
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
GW10: Claudio Bravo (West Brom vs. Man City) - 6pts
Yannick Bolasie (Everton vs. West Ham) - 6pts
GW11: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea vs. Everton) - 13pts
GW12: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. West Ham) - 13pts
GW13: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea vs. Crystal Palace) - 10pts
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)
GW10: 24 points, 2 player returns
Monreal (0), Smalling (0), Adama Traore (3), Alli (2), Deeney (2), Bravo (6), Christian Benteke (2), Bolasie (6), Redmond (2), Pieters (1)
GW11: 39 points, 3 player returns
Wilshere (2), Keane (1), Gundogan (3), Bony (2), Alonso (13), Kane (8), Fonte (1), Matip (2), Sigurdsson (5), Zieler (2)
GW12: 57 points, 6 player returns
Monreal (2), Zaha (6), Coleman (9), Karius (6), Martins Indi (2), van Aanholt (10), Musa (1), Kane (13), Alonso (6), Vokes (2)
GW13: 42 points, 5 player returns
Yaya Toure (2), Phillips (5), Simpson (4), Matip (6), Sigurdsson (10), Alonso (2), Deeney (2), Mustafi (1), Mata (2), Soares (8)
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)
4 - Harry Kane (Spurs): 13pts (GW12)
4 - Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): 13pts (GW11)
7 - Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland): 10pts (GW12)
7 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 10pts (GW13)
9 - Troy Deeney (Watford): 9pts (GW7)
9 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 9pts (GW8)
9 - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth): 9pts (GW8)
9 - Sheamus Coleman (Everton): 9pts (GW12)
13 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 8pts (GW4)
13 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea): 8pts (GW1)
13 - Theo Walcott (Arsenal): 8pts (GW6)
13 - Harry Kane (Spurs): 8pts (GW11)
13 - Cedric Soares (Southampton): 8pts (GW13)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 13
Wildcards: Grant, Dawson, Martins Indi, Fer, Zaha, Sigurdsson, Llorente
Non Wildcards: McAuley, Sanchez, Negredo, Aguero
Points achieved by Wildcards: 154pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 48pts
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.
MANCHESTER CITY VS. CHELSEA
Player: Pedro (Chelsea)
Player Price: £7.3
Player Selection %: 4.8
Clean sheets are not guaranteed in this fixture, Chelsea and Man City are both capable of getting past each others defences. In recent years Sergio Aguero has haunted Chelsea, in last seasons massive double gameweek two of Aguero's four goals occurred while playing at Stamford Bridge to stifle the Blues momentum under then stand-in manager Gus Hiddink. Also, let's face it, defensively Man City have been woeful...they are suffering with the same problems that Liverpool have been. Choosing a defender in this fixture would be brave as a wildcard, if you did we vouch for Marcos Alonso who has the potential of adding goals and assists with foraying runs into the box. Instead we look towards the maverick Chelsea attacking midfielders...Hazard and Pedro. Along with Diego Costa this trifecta of forwards have caused havoc to plenty of Premier League defences and with two double figure returns in the FPL in his last five fixtures the tricky Pedro has just been as influential as Eden Hazard from an attacking perspective. Able to worm his way through a defence or try his luck from distance the Spaniard like he did against Spurs he is one of the first names on the team sheet after ousting Willian out of the position. Man City's inability to keep a clean sheet leaves us thinking that Chelsea will inevitably score, and an in-form Pedro has the tools to unlock such a shaky defence and stick it to his former manager.
SPURS VS. SWANSEA
Player: Christian Eriksen (Spurs)
Player Price: £8.1
Player Selection %: 4.9
Normally we'd pick Gylfi Sigurdsson because he has been the rightful wildcard king of the 2016/17 season so far, the only problem is that we also recognise that Spurs represent a huge banana skin for the Swans at the weekend. Using our thinking caps it wouldn't surprise anyone if Swansea went from the free scoring team that overcame a defiant Crystal Palace, to a team that struggled to compete against Spurs the following week. Historically that has been the case and in the ten Premier League meetings between these two sides Spurs have won eight, and picked up two draws against the Swans in the past five seasons. So, no Swansea defender is even worth considering in this fixture. Most worryingly for Bob Bradley's team is that Spurs have scored against Swansea in all of these ten encounters, they just outright have their proverbial number. The logical reasoning would be looking at where the goals are coming from, and would be either from Harry Kane who no longer is a wildcard due to a burst of people taking out Romelu Lukaku, or from one of the many talented (and admittedly under-performing) Spurs midfielders. The man who run the show for Spurs before the Chelsea fightback in gameweek twelve was Christian Eriksen who has just recently rediscovered his scoring touch after a beautifully timed strike that eluded Thibaut Courtois. The Dane is the most wildcard replacement for Philippe Coutinho who has recently been injured, and if he can follow through on the goal against Chelsea he is the ideal replacement for the Brazilian. Spurs also have some good fixtures following the fixture with Swansea that you could trust they'd perform well in.
STOKE CITY VS. BURNLEY
Player: Glen Johnson (Stoke)
Player Price: £4.7
Player Selection %: 0.1
This England legend and icon at Chelsea, Liverpool, and Portsmouth was reinstated to Mark Hughes squad in the past few weeks and with good success. Picking up his first clean sheet in the win over Watford has eased the famed right-back into the Potters squad who now face the team who have registered the fewest shots on goal away from home, enter Burnley. The Clarets haven't fare well, or at all, during their travels in this Premier League season. Staying in the Premier League for them will be largely a home effort, and despite an improvement from their last visit to the Premier League they still struggle creating chances for Sam Vokes leading their front line. Glen Johnson was a cult FPL player last season and was widely selected, injury had kept him out up to this point, and it was an injury to Beardsley that gave way to the return of one of the most discussed defenders to grace the Premier League. Stoke on paper should be comfortable winners, they have also proven to be more stubborn in the past eight weeks, and we haven't even talked about the attacking potential of Johnson either. Last season we described him as a mirror to Seamus Coleman...when it works out for him, it really works out for him.
WEST HAM UNITED VS. ARSENAL
Player: Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)
Player Price: £6.4
Player Selection %: 0.3
Nothing says a London derby wildcard than Manuel Lanzini, a player who is so under the radar as an attacking option you'd be mistaken if you had to take a second read of the team sheet. A big reason for this has been West Ham's poor start to the season, but there have been fleeting moments where Lanzini had stood out for West Ham, he is the secondary penalty taker and occasionally takes set pieces with Payet doesn't fancy his luck, and he also plays in the advanced attacking role alongside the main striker which means he is involved in any attacking play. Goals against (TEAM 1) AND (TEAM 2) are good examples of how he can influence a game. Arsenal in all fairness have maintained their winning form in the league, but the performance level is far from one hundred percent and in these fiery derby's anything can happen, involving fringe players getting among the goals. Lanzini is a wild stab in the dark for this fixture, but all it takes is one moment, and Lanzini's goals this season have come from taking his moments.
CRYSTAL PALACE VS. SOUTHAMPTON
Player: Wilfried Zaha (Palace)
Player Price: £5.4
Player Selection %: 4.0
Next up is the tricky winger who is ditching the England setup to join the Ivory Coast for international affairs, and you know what, we don't blame him. So far this season Zaha has completed the most amount of take-on's in Europe's top five leagues, more than anyone in Barcelona, Real Madrid, or anyone in the Premier League. There is no surprise then when you see that Zaha has been in superb form and was wrongly overlooked for the nominees for the PFA Player of the Month Award, being beaten by Nordin Amrabat of all people. Four assists and a goal in five games (all consecutive appearances too) have shown he is finding consistency in his game and proving that Palace still have an attacking outlet since the departure of Yannick Bolasie to Everton, it is now the soon to be Ivorian who takes up the attacking burden for an Eagles side who have been flying too close to danger this season. Southampton have been good defensively but after scoring for fun against Swansea, even though they miraculously lost, the attacking potential of Zaha can't be ignored after being instrumental to Alan Pardew's side in the past month.
SUNDERLAND VS. LEICESTER CITY
Player: Victor Anichebe (Sunderland)
Player Price: £4.6
Player Selection %: 3.4
What happened to Leicester City?
Less than six months ago they were parading their city on an open air bus having just shocked the world by winning the Premier League title, currently sitting in the bottom half of the table you could be excuse yourself for being wrong for remembering that this team dominated the league and stunned everyone with incredible wins over Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea last season. This time round Leicester are not even the shadow that follows around the Champions of last season, they are totally unrecognisable mostly because the Tinkerman has had to actually tinker this season with the Champions League clearly the priority. In times of such disarray you must look at the unpredictable, and one name rises above all in this fixture. Normally we would pick a Leicester defender in a fixture like this, but defensively the Foxes have been woeful, and Sunderland are proving to be tricky customers after two wins from their last three games. A big part of that has been down to Moyes having found a strike partner to accompany Jermain Defoe, so much in fact that his partner has been nominated for PFA Player of the Month for November. Step forward Victor Anichebe, a burly and strong forward whose qualities help add a different dimension to Sunderland's play, why West Brom let him go is beyond us. There is no longer faith in the Leicester defence and with two goal scorers who are in-form the Black Cats stand a real chance at defeating last seasons champions.
In case you missed it here is the FPL's forward points table, Anichebe may not be a shot in the dark after all.
WEST BROMICH ALBION VS. WATFORD
Player: Matt Phillips (West Brom)
Player Price: £5.3
Player Selection %: 3.9
Speaking of nominees for PFA Player of the Month we now turn our attention to West Brom winger Matt Phillips who has earned his stripes to be included in Novembers top picks. After hitting double figures in the FPL in gameweeks (TBA) & (TBA) the former QPR player has rediscovered his top form in the league and making a real impact on a resurgent Baggies squad. After his selection in our picks last week Phillips picked up the assist for Gareth McAuley's well-taken goal it also highlighted his potential on set-piece duty, with West Brom usually so strong from dead-ball situations Phillips could directly benefit with more assists from corner or free kick situations where Tony Pulis has built a team that thrives in dominating challenge situations. Watford are visiting the Hawthornes at the weekend and the indifferent form they are on will be encouraging for the Baggies to feel confident they can send their opposition home feeling blue, especially with men like Phillips in form. Fer, Austin, and Phillips were the holy trinity of QPR players that are were FPL options before the team got relegated, and it is good to see that all three are still making good on their potential in this crazy season.
A.F.C. BOURNEMOUTH VS. LIVERPOOL
Player: Divock Origi (Liverpool)
Player Price: £6.5
Player Selection %: 1.8
Philippe Coutinho injured? Check.
Daniel Sturridge injured? Check.
Adam Lallana injured? Check.
Roberto Firmino doubtful? Check.
Scoring return? Check.
Scoring in second game running? Check.
GW13 opposition a team Liverpool have never lost to? Check.
An opportunity to stake a claim to the team? Check.
Everything is nicely in place for Divock Origi to continue impressing for Liverpool after a dream return to the main team, having been brought on as Coutinho's substitution after his unfortunate injury he scored what would prove to be the winning goal against a stubborn Sunderland, and then a few days later in the League Cup he once again opened scoring for the Reds in the victory over Leeds which saw his team advance to the semi-finals of the competition. Klopp has no other alternative than to continue playing Origi after his upturn in form and fantastic reintroduction to the team, the Belgian also offers Liverpool something different which appears to be working against defensively minded teams: a combination of raw power, speed, heading ability, and the ability to get behind the defensive line with ease. Origi has proven with a pinpoint accurate goal against Sunderland and a well timed volley after getting behind the Leeds defence that he has the versatile qualities that make him a real option for Liverpool in this trying moment having lost Coutinho to injury. The good news is that Liverpool's run is still promising and the opposition in gameweek thirteen is Bournemouth, a team that Liverpool have dominated in every game they have played against the Cherries. The Red's may not be scoring five or six a game with injuries to squad but what they have now is a recognised striker who cannot be overlooked as one of the most promising wildcards in recent weeks, especially because finding a low priced striker in a top-four team has been nearly impossible up until this point.
EVERTON VS. MANCHESTER UNITED
Player: Seamus Coleman (Everton)
Player Price: £5.5
Player Selection %: 5.0
This fixture is a tough one to call because you just don't get an idea about the teams that are going to show up. Are we going to get the free flowing Manchester United or the drab defensive alter ego that claimed they "took all three points" from Anfield only a few weeks ago. Are we going to get the powerful and decisive Everton or the Toffees that can barely string a few passes together? Form for both of these teams has been a big problem for two managers who want to push onto getting as close to the top four as possible, and that in part is down to the changeover of new managers within the coaching setup. Neither 'The Dutch One' nor 'The Special One' have figured out their best teams, and in the case of Mourinho he won't have the opportunity whilst they linger in the dreaded Europa League. It is best in these types of fixtures to look at the safe bets, players you know you can trust. Unfortunately for us there are very few wildcards from Manchester United to consider because of rotation, and with Everton the only sure thing in attack is Romelu Lukaku. We are fond of Seamus Coleman, not because he has produced returns in these articles before, but because he is one of the legitimate quality players in the current Everton side and his daring runs and physicality in the opposition box make him a goal threat. He also picks up plenty of bonus points even when Everton do concede. Big Ron will want to see his team improve upon some disastrous performances of late, so expect the defence to tighten up on Merseyside this week. Lest we forget that Everton also have a good history of wins against United in this fixture, so it wouldn't be the most crazy thing to have a little faith in Coleman this gameweek.
MIDDLESBROUGH VS. HULL CITY
Player: Victor Valdes (Boro)
Player Price: £4.5
Player Selection %: 5.2
We've waited a long time to have a chance to fit the iconic Victor Valdez into the wildcard team, the Champions League winning Barcelona legend who has also won the Euros and World Cup with Spain is playing for a relegation threatened team from the north of England, it is a combination that shouldn't make any sense, but Valdez is still one of the best keepers in the world and against Hull City he should have no problem picking up some FPL points too. There is actually history between Hull and Valdes, he was in the sticks when Manchester United visited the KC Stadium in Hull's last game of the 2014/15 season which ultimately got them relegated. This turned out to be his only appearance for the Red Devil's and after a troubling season where he ended up going to Belgium for football he discovered his form when fellow Spaniard Aitor Karanka offered him a lifeline in the Premier League. The story of Valdes is so strange because of the journey he was on accelerated at an alarming rate, one minute he was one of the best keepers in the world, the next he was benched behind one of the next generation at United. At his new club Boro look a real unit, they barely concede many goals and when they do it takes a lot of work from the opposition, the efforts of Gibson in particular have made them a tough team to break down. Having a good defence in front of you helps to soothe the mind when you are looking for goalkeepers who have value from week to week, and over the long term this could benefit Boro who have already kept three clean sheets already this season. Valdes keeping the Tigers at bay will stir up some deja vu.
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