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 (GW17)
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 17 Average Points: 47pts
Gameweek 17 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), 50 (14), 46 (15), 48 (16), 47 (17) = 789pts
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), 45 (15), 41 (16), 42 (17) = 664pts
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
GW16: Divock Origi (Middlesbrough vs. Liverpool) - 11pts
GW17: Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland vs. Watford) - 15pts
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)
GW16: 41 points, 5 player returns
Slimani (1), Gabriel (1), Origi (11), Alonso (7), Randolph (8), Zaha (2), Iheanacho (0), Lloris (8), Arnautovic (-2), Phillips (5)
GW17: 42 points, 4 player returns
Alonso (6), Llorente (2), Glen Johnson (0), van Aanholt (15), Cresswell (7), Phillips (2), Boufal (1), Oxlade-Chamberlain (1), Lloris (2), Mignolet (6)
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)
3 - Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland): 15pts (GW17)
5 - Winston Reid (West Ham): 14pts (GW8)
6 - Michail Antonio (West Ham): 13pts (GW4)
6 - Harry Kane (Spurs): 13pts (GW12)
6 - Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): 13pts (GW11)
6 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 13pts (GW15)
10 - Divock Origi (Liverpool): 11pts (GW16)
11 - Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland): 10pts (GW12)
11 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 10pts (GW13)
13 - Troy Deeney (Watford): 9pts (GW7)
13 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 9pts (GW8)
13 - Callum Wilson (Bournemouth): 9pts (GW8)
13 - Seamus Coleman (Everton): 9pts (GW12)
13 - Matt Phillips (West Brom): 9pts (GW14)
13 - Divock Origi (Liverpool): 9pts (GW15)
19 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 8pts (GW4)
19 - Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea): 8pts (GW1)
19 - Theo Walcott (Arsenal): 8pts (GW6)
19 - Harry Kane (Spurs): 8pts (GW11)
19 - Cedric Soares (Southampton): 8pts (GW13)
19 - Darren Randolph (West Ham): 8pts (GW16)
19 - Hugo Lloris (Spurs): 8pts (GW16)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 17
Wildcards: van Aanholt, Rose, Rodriguez, de Roon, Amartey, Noble
Non Wildcards: Pickford, Azpilicueta, Mane, Nego, Ibrahimovic
Points achieved by Wildcards: 71pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 54pts
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.
WATFORD VS. CRYSTAL PALACE
Player: Troy Deeney (Watford)
Player Price: £6.8 million
Player Selection %: 4.5%
Nothing would be a better Christmas for Troy Deeney than reaching the hundred-goal milestone that has eluded him since October. We can already see the cheery festive headlines written in the tabloids following the recent sacking of Alan Pardew as manager of Crystal Palace, and there is no better time than in this fixture for Watford to get back into good form, Deeney included in that. Deeney has gone under the radar because of a poor run of goal scoring form, he has picked up a couple of assists in that time since he last scored in the draw against Bournemouth earlier in the season. Ending his purple patch would spell the return of the wildcard king, since Gylfi Sigurdsson is now longer available as a wildcard option (sad faces from the team here), we look back to a once reliable source of FPL points in Troy Deeney. Even if he gets on the end of a penalty the Watford skipper could turn it around for himself at the expense of Eagles side who currently do not have a manager.
ARSENAL VS. WEST BROM
Player: Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)
Player Price: £5.9 million
Player Selection %: 4.2%
Another week, and another attempt to rationalise an Arsenal defender. With no faith in the visiting team to get anything out of this encounter, and with few wildcard options in the attack or midfield of the Gunners, we look once more to a reliable source…Nacho Monreal. There isn’t a lot left to say except that Arsenal are the favourites in this match, have the potential to keep a clean sheet, and at full-back the Spaniard on the left flank has the chance to chip in with attacking returns too.
BURNLEY VS. MIDDLESBROUGH
Player: Andre Gray (Burnley)
Player Price: £6.1 milliom
Player Selection %: 2.6%
The second forward in this week’s wildcard picks is the recently reinstated Andre Gray who has been leading the line for Burnley since making a comeback from a tweet related suspension. At home, Burnley are proving their mettle, with convincing wins over Bournemouth, Liverpool, and Crystal Palace have shown that they can pick up wins at Turf Moor. Middlesbrough have been patchy, wins here, wins there, losses here, losses there, and the occasional draw. Boro have been more effective against better teams, struggling to then contain the hustle of teams in the bottom half of the table. Andre Gray is a great option because there could be the potential of a goal flurry, we have the inclination to believe that despite the hypothesis that this game could be 0-0 we have seen both teams in goal scoring form, so we have ignored any defenders, and instead looked at the forwards who can make a difference.
CHELSEA VS. BOURNEMOUTH
Player: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Player Price: £6.4 million
Player Selection %: 8.9%
The Spaniard is still a wildcard through technicality that he is still the third most selected option out of Chelsea’s defensive line, behind the pairing of Cahill and Azpilicueta the left-wing back has been an incredible source of FPL points, Alonso has only dropped points once this season against Spurs and his introduction to the Chelsea team has seen a renaissance in the Blues fortunes. Unbeatable in defence Alonso also contributes with attacking returns too and currently has two assists and a goal to his name. Also, in last week’s game against Crystal Palace he was shown to have taken a free kick and this has us in even more optimism for this player, and it is no surprise to have seen Alonso’s price rise quickly after being the most consistent FPL option this season. Bournemouth at home shouldn’t ring any alarm bells, and after a string of eleven wins you wouldn’t want to bank against the Blues right now.
Also, in case you missed it, Alonso features as our Gameweek 18 Wildcard Captain!
LEICESTER VS. EVERTON
Player: Islam Slimani (Leicester)
Player Price: £8.3 million
Player Selection %: 1.0%
Leicester have scored three goals versus Everton in both of last season’s encounters, winning both match on their way to the title, there haven’t been clean sheets between this pairing for a while, so a defender option wreaks of panic. Also, Leicester are in a good vein of form, victory over Manchester City and a comeback against Stoke City have seen that Leicester are finally figuring out life without Kante. The big news though is that Jamie Vardy is out for the next three games, three games before a certain Islam Slimani leaves for the African Cup of Nations. No doubt that Claudio Ranieri will want to utilize his hard working forward before he jets off to Gabon, so there is every chance that they play to his style while they still have him. Islam was actually our chosen at random player from the generator we use to determine wildcards in games with no clear differential. Let’s hope he can do better than the last time he was selected and got us a mighty one point.
Chosen at Random:
MANCHESTER UNITED VS. SUNDERLAND
Player: Phil Jones (Man United)
Player Price: £4.9 million
Player Selection %: 2.8%
At the heart of the Manchester United defence is now Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones, if we’d have asked any sane Manchester United fan before the season that these two would be the best pairing they would have laughed at the very question, especially after Chris Smalling had a great season in 2015/16. Even Luke Shaw has been transitioned out of the team with Darmian playing well at left-back, we’ll give Mourinho his props for making the change because it has worked wonders as the Red Devils have only conceded on goal in their last three games, and with Sunderland, Middlesbrough, and West Ham coming up in their festive schedule a central defender who won’t be rotated in this period could be the way forward.
Step forward Phil Jones, normally ridiculed for the ridiculous memes of his face, but now a player who has ousted the other central defenders in United’s ranks to claim top spot. Sunderland should be an easy fixture on paper, and another chance for Phil Jones to cement his place for the rest of the season.
SWANSEA VS. WEST HAM
Player: Andy Carroll (West Ham)
Player Price: £6.2 million
Player Selection %: 2.6%
Back from injury? Check.
Playing regular football again? Check.
Taller than all of Swansea’s defence? Check.
Good record against the Swans? Check.
West Ham back in form? Check.
Andy Carroll is the standout differential in this fixture, the big forward has a good history against Swansea with seven attacking returns against them (four goals, and three assists) in seven games against them, and with their current form slumping even under a new boss it could be the time that Carroll gets back on the scoresheet and helps West Ham to a third consecutive win. Injury to Diafra Sakho and an out of favour Zaza should see Carroll retain his place in the Hammers eleven for their trip to the Liberty Stadium, he would be a great pick to replace Charlie Austin if he still lingers in your team or if you realise the hurt of having Kelechi Iheanacho dropped by Pep Guardiola when Sergio Aguero was suspended.
HULL VS. MAN CITY
Player: David Silva (Man City)
Player Price: £8.7 million
Player Selection %: 2.2%
Hull City, once in the top four at the end of August, now…sitting comfortably at the bottom of the Premier League table. Since providing Mike Phelan a new contract the team began to settle, and it has hurt their chances of Premier League survival. The worst part of this Gameweek for the weak Tigers is that Manchester City are coming to town at Christmas, and with them an in-form David Silva who has two assists and one goal in his last three appearances. Since the suspension of Aguero the Spaniard has been stepping up to help chip in with more attacking returns, and this is the last fixture before the prodigal Argentine presumably returns to the starting eleven for the Citizens. We didn’t even have to randomly pick Silva’s name out of a hat, he has legitimately been a good FPL option in the month of December, so we are hoping that this can continue into the Christmas fixtures.
LIVERPOOL VS. STOKE CITY
Player: Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)
Player Price: £4.7 million
Player Selection %: 1.9%
There is a tale of retribution here, Simon Mignolet was dropped by Jürgen Klopp for his new signing Loris Karius after five games of the season, despite making a strong impression in goal the Belgian was forced to watch on as his German counterpart was given the opportunity to impress. After a mixed bag of form Karius was dropped after some high-profile mistakes, something Mignolet can relate to throughout his years.
Reinstated to the main team the Belgian keeper has kept two consecutive clean sheets away from home at Everton and Middlesbrough. Justification for why he shouldn’t have been dropped in the first place, and now he is set to return to the number one spot at Anfield for the first time since gameweek four against the Champions Leicester. Ragnar Klavan has a lot to do with the renewed form, a stable presence in defence and putting Lovren in his favoured role has seen a dominant Reds claim 2nd spot at the Christmas break. With the stability found in the defence, we have faith that the Reds can keep another clean sheet in front of the Kop.
SOUTHAMPTON VS. SPURS
Player: Jay Rodriguez (Southampton)
Player Price: £6.3 million
Player Selection %: 0.5%
Spurs are a funny one, because there is never any knowing who will do anything for them. Eriksen is no longer a wildcard option after tapping into a rich vein of form, the same with Harry Kane (although he should be after disappointing everyone in the past two weeks), and any defender seems erratic, bookable, or just unable to keep clean sheets. Instead, we focus on a renewed man of the FPL, who is now a midfield option. Jay Rodriguez was once a clinical FPL option during the 2013/14 season and after being periodically injured for the past two seasons he has finally returned to his usual goal scoring ways. Employed against Bournemouth as the out-and-out forward the Englishman scored two goals, one tap-in, and one goal of the month contender.
The world now makes sense for Southampton since Charlie Austin was injured, they now have a striker who can take the burden from the midfielders. Spurs aren’t invincible, and Southampton is still a tough ground to visit. Rodriguez should have no problem in this fixture if they rally like they did against the Cherries.
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For all FPL Gameweek build up, check out the Weekly Hype page now.