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 (GW15)
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 15 Average Points: 46pts
Gameweek 15 Wildcard Points: 45pts
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), 50 (14) = 648pts
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), 55 (14) = 536pts
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
GW14: Christian Eriksen (Spurs vs. Swansea) - 18pts
GW15: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea vs. Sunderland) - 13pts
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)
GW14: 55 points, 5 player returns
Pedro (1), Zaha (2), Eriksen (18), Glen Johnson (7), Anichebe (2), Phillips (9), Lanzini (2), Origi (6), Coleman (2), Valdes (6)
GW15: 45 points, 5 player returns
Deeney (2), Monreal (2), Ake (1), Benteke (6), Sigurdsson (13), David Silva (5), Alonso (6), Rose (1), Bertrand (0), Origi (9)
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 - Christian Eriksen (Spurs): 18pts (GW14)
2 - Romelu Lukaku (Everton): 17pts (GW4)
3 - Hueng-Min Son (Spurs): 15pts (GW6)
4 - Winston Reid (West Ham): 14pts (GW8)
5 - Michail Antonio (West Ham): 13pts (GW4)
5 - Harry Kane (Spurs): 13pts (GW12)
5 - Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): 13pts (GW11)
5 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 13pts (GW15)
9 - Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland): 10pts (GW12)
9 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 10pts (GW13)
11 - Troy Deeney (Watford): 9pts (GW7)
11 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 9pts (GW8)
11 - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth): 9pts (GW8)
11 - Sheamus Coleman (Everton): 9pts (GW12)
11 - Matt Phillips (West Brom): 9pts (GW14)
11 - Divock Origi (Liverpool): 9pts (GW15)
17 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 8pts (GW4)
17 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea): 8pts (GW1)
17 - Theo Walcott (Arsenal): 8pts (GW6)
17 - Harry Kane (Spurs): 8pts (GW11)
17 - Cedric Soares (Southampton): 8pts (GW13)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 15
Wildcards: Kolarov, Daniels, Zaha, Sigurdsson, Snodgrass, Okaka, Llorente
Non Wildcards: de Gea, van Dijk, Ozil, Vardy
Points achieved by Wildcards: 86pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 44pts
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.
BOURNEMOUTH VS. LEICESTER
Player: Islam Slimani (Leicester)
Player Price: £8.3 million
Player Selection %: 0.9%
Our chosen at random generator has produced three returns and one failure since we started having the raw power of fate have a hand in our differentials, the one failure being Danny Rose's terrible performance against Manchester United this past Sunday. We are hoping that the giant forward Islam Slimani can follow in the footsteps of Christian Eriksen, Cedric Soares, and David Silva to wildcard fame when Leicester travel to Bournemouth in this Tuesday fixture.
Having returned to good form after dismantling Manchester City the Foxes will be keen to put right their poor away form and after showcasing patchier form the Cherries could be easy pickings at home. One man who provides the perfect strike partner to Jamie Vardy is Slimani, the man in the box, the holdup guy, and after registering two assists the Algerian is starting to gel better with his team mates. Being hauled off early was meant for his protection so that he could be called upon again in the midweek fixture, so we aren't too worried about rotation. Slimani has that x-factor and could be the difference for Leicester against Bournemouth.
The wildcard generator gave us these results for the fixture:
EVERTON VS. ARSENAL
Player: Gabriel Armando de Abreu (Arsenal)
Player Price: £4.8 million
Player Selection %: 0.2%
We've spent a lot of time in the recent weeks justifying Arsenal defenders in recent weeks, and none of them have come true to their potential, not one. We missed out on Monreal's assist, Mustafi got injured, and Bellerin returned from injury. The change of defensive structure has a lot do with the Gunners conceding in every game for the last four. Ironically, we move onto choosing Gabriel for this encounter, we still have faith in the Gunners back line, even as our patience erodes. Fortunately, Everton are playing at a mediocre standard and faced with a tough opponent like Arsenal this could be another one of them games for Romelu Lukaku where he struggled to get a sniff at goal.
Gabriel joins Holding, Mustafi, and Monreal as the Arsenal defenders we have picked this season so he gets the honour of being next up to prove us wrong. At least with the Brazilian he is a cheaper option than the rest and is now playing in his preferred position. Some good could come out of this for Arsenal's defence who are long overdue a clean sheet.
MIDDLESBROUGH VS. LIVERPOOL
Player: Divock Origi (Liverpool)
Player Price: £6.
Player Selection %: 4.9%
The Reds have no other option than to play their Belgian forward Divock Origi, the well-rounded forward has notched four goals in four consecutive appearances for Liverpool and is currently their best output for goals (along with Sadio Mane) since the injury to Coutinho. Middlesbrough will be overly cautious about playing Liverpool who will likely obtain over seventy percent possession in this encounter, and in these tough defences encounters faced by Jurgen's Reds it has been Divock who has been the best tool to break down stubborn defences. Goals against Sunderland, Leeds, Bournemouth, and West Ham prove he has a good record of scoring against 'lesser' clubs than Liverpool who are willing to put men behind the ball.
If there is anyone you'd bank on getting on the score sheet it would be the dynamic Origi, his link up play with Mane and Firmino is still improving and Boro are looking at a frustrating evening when the Merseyside club pays Teesside a visit midweek.
SUNDERLAND VS. CHELSEA
Player: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Player Price: £6.3 million *has gone up in price since graphical creation below*
Player Selection %: 7.5%
We are going to be riding the Alonso hype train for if we possibly can, the Spaniard is points-for-points the best FPL player so far, this season. Seven clean sheets, a goal, and two assists have put him up there as one of the best performers, and his Chelsea career started late having been introduced to the team after the hammering against Arsenal earlier in the season. The most incredible fact about Alonso's current FPL returns is that he has only dropped points once when he has started a game, that happened in the victory over Spurs when Eriksen scored from a powerful strike to take an early lead against the Blues. Apart from that one blemish it has been an immaculate campaign from the Spaniard and right now having a Chelsea defender just makes sense and justifying their existence in your FPL teams is pointless.
There are stark comparisons with Alonso in 2016/17 and Fuchs from 2015/16, both playing a left-back/winger role they made their teams defensively solid and offered incredible returns for managers in the FPL. Alonso remains a wildcard due to the representation of Cahill and Azpilicueta, and their best overall option in defence.
WEST HAM VS. BURNLEY
Player: Darren Randolph (West Ham)
Player Price: £4.4 million
Player Selection %: 0.6%
West Ham turned a corner in their draw with Liverpool, they looked solid and strong, and they also played Antonio in his correct position for a change. One player who has really stood out in recent weeks has been Darren Randolph who has usurped Adrian in goal for the Hammers. Crucial saves are his thing and he was unlucky to spill the ball to Origi for Liverpool's equaliser, but apart from that error he has been in fine form as West Ham showed that they are ready to fight for their manager.
West Ham could have been rolled over by Liverpool but they stood firm and Randolph was a massive part of that, and with a home tie against Burnley upcoming this newfound resurgence could be manifested into FPL points for West Ham defenders. Burnley have really struggled on the road, they set themselves up to sit deep on their travels and use set-pieces to their advantage, that game suits West Ham perfectly and this is the best chance Slavan Bilic must make a statement that the Hammers are here to stay for next season. Randolph could have a good game and the odds of keeping a clean sheet are good.
CRYSTAL PALACE VS. MAN UNITED
Player: Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Player Price: £5.5 million
Player Selection %: 7.0%
The maverick midfielder has turned from nothing into something, the undecided Ivorian/English winger is now in his most prolific season in English football and is trailblazing for conventional wingers in a time when central attacking midfielders are shoehorned into wide positions. Zaha has been the hidden gem of Alan Pardew’s team and with phenomenal returns in his last seven fixtures we can now stop if Zaha wouldn’t be here to stay. A large part of the success is that Palace have been treated by other teams as having a small team mentality, only to be shocked when they find a surge of Eagles flying into their half of the pitch.
MAN CITY VS. WATFORD
Player: Kelechi Iheanacho (Man City)
Player Price: £6.8 million
Player Selection %: 7.9%
Iheanacho playing up front.
We are not going to spend much time attempting to justify what should be an otherwise straight forward differential pick. Iheanacho should have not come off against Leicester, what they should have done is play Nolito and De Bruyne behind the Nigerian forward, not bench one, and play the other on the wing. When you think you have Manchester City figured out they throw a wrench into the works like they did against Leicester. Goals aren’t a problem for the two-time Premier League champions, what is though is defending, an area we aren’t going to touch with a hundred-foot barge pole in the wildcard picks for a while. Even we are not that naïve to see the cracks that John Stones is sowing within that defence. Iheanacho is a sufferer of what we call the ‘Lukaku Service’, a temperamental deficiency whereby Lukaku does not got service in a game at all and becomes a ghost, or it is perfect and he becomes the prodigal son that is linked to playing for the world’s best clubs.
Iheanacho can score goals at Manchester City, he is a popular pick for a reason when Aguero is out, the problem is Man City’s ridiculous wing back system that clearly none of his players are picking up or embracing. Watford should be easier opponents than Leicester were, and hopefully Pep Guardiola can figure out how to bring his strikers into the game or he can dream about Thursday nights in Ukraine for next season.
SPURS VS. HULL CITY
Player: Hugo Lloris (Spurs)
Player Price: £5.5 million
Player Selection %: 7.1%
On paper this should be one of the easiest fixtures of the Premier League calendar, nobody is expecting Hull to mount any kind of fight against a Spurs team who will most likely dominate from start to finish. We chose Valdes a few weeks ago, against Hull because it was an easy six points, and guess what, it was. Lloris might have to bring a deck chair to the game because opportunities to be involved in the game will be few and far between when the Tigers visit the partially demolished White Hart Lane.
Going forward for the next set of fixtures Lloris looks like to be a good long term option with another comfortable home game proceeding Hull in the form of Burnley, and after that Southampton and Watford away. With Arsenal's Petr Cech struggling to obtain defensive points it wouldn't be the dumbest idea to make the swap to his North London rival between the sticks.
STOKE CITY VS. SOUTHAMPTON
Player: Marko Arnautovic (Stoke)
Player Price: £7.2 million
Player Selection %: 0.9%
Marko Arnautovic is one of the great FPL mysteries of 2016/17, you just will never know when he is going to burst onto the scene for his usual run of ten games where he is the best winger in the league and the rumours of the Manchester clubs coming to nab him in the upcoming transfer window. So far, the Austrian has had a lowkey season and has spread out contributions to his team, but against Arsenal we saw something different. When Arno had the ball, he drove forward with real intensity and it might be that Mark Hughes is finally going to let him off the leash and terrorise defences instead of playing the drab reserved game Stoke seem to grind out.
That sleek dribble that cut open the Arsenal defence lit up our eyes with future potential, a coming of the time of Arnautovic. Ranking him as an extreme pick due to the random nature of Stoke’s results is wise, but that makes picking Arno an even greater wildcard thrill, and Southampton may fall victim to him. Everyone expects Southampton to walk out with a clean sheet intact, but one this season has taught us all is that no clean sheet is safe.
WEST BROM VS. SWANSEA
Player: Matt Phillips (West Brom)
Player Price: £5.4 million
Player Selection %: 7.1%
In true Tony Pulis fashion the Englishman has stated that his squad shouldn't have to rotate in the upcoming week, bemoaning the fact his fit and healthy players should be able to perform despite limited rest breaks. This says everything about Pulis, he wants his players to be men and just get on with it, and how they are currently. Most recently the Baggies could have gotten something out of the game against Chelsea, it was just one error that led to Diego Costa sending Gareth McAuley back to the 1990's that allowed Chelsea to pick up all three points.
Good news is that West Brom will likely remain as FPL options because of Tony's stance, and a hot-and-cold Swansea won't inspire any kind of fear in the Baggies ranks. West Brom are capable of grinding results against any team, that is the Pulis way. One player who has been at the better end of results for West Brom has been energetic winger Matt Phillips who has carried his good form over into December, a real threat either from open play or set pieces he is a real maestro to the current West Brom side. Swansea have struggled for results away from home so this could be another fruitful encounter for the November Player of the Month nominee.
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For all FPL Gameweek build up, check out the Weekly Hype page now.