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 (GW18)
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 18 Average Points: 54pts
Gameweek 18 Wildcard Points: 44pts
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), 54 (18) = 843pts
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), 44 (18) = 708pts
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
GW18: Andy Carroll (Swansea vs. West Ham) - 8pts
Troy Deeney (Watford vs. Crystal Palace) - 8pts
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)
GW18: 44 points, 5 player returns
Deeney (8), Monreal (1), Andre Gray (7), Alonso (6), Slimani (2), Phil Jones (2), Carroll (8), David Silva (6), Mignolet (2), Jay Rodriguez (2)
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)
19 - Troy Deeney (Watford): 8pts (GW18)
19 - Andy Carroll (West Ham: 8pts (GW18)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 18
Wildcards: Robles, Reid, Otamendi, Alli, Pedro, Yaya Toure
Non Wildcards: Koscielny, van Dijk, Firmino, Eriksen, Ibrahimovic
Points achieved by Wildcards: 70pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 52pts
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.
HULL VS. EVERTON
Player: Kevin Mirallas (Everton)
Player Price: £6.0
Player Selection %: 1.6%
We kick things off with a total stab in the dark with Belgian winger Kevin Mirallas, but one that makes sense on paper. Right now we'd back anyone to do a number on Hull with the way they are playing, there could be plenty of goals for Everton who have recently just come away with a convincing away performance against champions Leicester where Mirallas scored the opening goal after an easy run on from a Joel Robles punt. I could pick anyone from the attack from the Toffees in this fixture, Mirallas is just the best differential attacker Ronald Koeman has within the current setup and there is no way he will be dropped after an assured performance against Leicester. Seamus Coleman is also another consideration for this match, but with the goal potential outweighing the clean sheet potential we are confident that Mirallas can add to his current form against undeniably the Premier Leagues worst side this season.
BURNLEY VS. SUNDERLAND
Player: Andre Gray (Burnley)
Player Price: £6.1
Player Selection %: 2.8%
Andre did us proud and scored the winning goal against Middlesbrough on Monday, the convicted serial tweeter makes our list for the second time running for pretty much the same reasons, only better now that he has found his goal scoring touch. Boro are better at defending than Sunderland are, that is painfully obvious, and with Burnley one of the best three home sides this season we are expecting another three points for the Clarets in their ambition to remain in the league for the 2017/18 season. Sunderland must open themselves up to attack, so this could be a goal scoring fixture for both sides, especially with Defoe particularly lethal on his travels, so Michael Keane whilst being a considerable option for the main differential in this game isn't the most trustworthy option. Gray is a good priced striker with a favourable home game, he won't be rotated, and can continue his good form. Also, as it stands Sunderland still look like they might face the drop if their form continues in the same vein.
CHELSEA VS. STOKE
Player: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Player Price: £6.4
Player Selection %: 9.0%
Another week, another glorious review of the wildcard maestro Marcos Alonso. Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta have kept Alonso as a wildcard miraculously, so until he overtakes one of them the left-wing back will continue to represent the differentials on a weekly basis. Having kept an easy clean sheet against Bournemouth up next is a Stoke squad who faltered and fell apart at Liverpool on Tuesday evening, heading to Stamford Bridge is hardly good news in this busy festive period for the Potters. Alonso has just been exceptional, and in the twelve consecutive games the Spaniard has started he has only not gotten points just the once against Spurs in gameweek thirteen. On eight separate occasions, he has got six points, and has picked up only the three bonus points which is understandable when Chelsea's midfielders and forwards are dominating. At this stage, it looks like it will be harder for Alonso to drop points than it is to gain them, he is set in stone as the most consistent FPL player now and has recently been featured as our differential captain and succeeded. We are expecting nothing other than success for Alonso heading into this gameweek.
LEICESTER VS. WEST HAM
Player: Andre Ayew (West Ham)
Player Price: £7.1
Player Selection %: 1.1%
The second of our 'Double EntAndre' features a certain West Ham midfielder who is currently playing as the main striker for the Hammers alongside the gigantic Andy Carroll. This is pleasing news, albeit news at the wrong time with Ayew set to depart with Ghana to the African Cup of Nations, because it means that West Ham might have found their striking solution with the versatile attacker leading the line. Ayew had a large part to play in the mauling of Swansea, scoring one, and creating space and the opportunity for others, I was really impressed with his pairing with Carroll. Leicester have been dreadful, and West Ham are currently on a hot streak with three wins from their last three, the fire under them has caused a seismic reaction and a lot of that has to do with getting everyone up to full fitness after injuries to Carroll and Ayew. Morgan was torn apart by Mirallas and bested multiple times by Lukaku, the champions look worse than woeful and I wouldn't want to be a in foxhole with them now with the way they were playing. Ayew and Carroll should they both start will cause plenty more problems for this fumbling Leicester team.
MAN UNITED VS. MIDDLESBROUGH
Player: Phil Jones (Man United)
Player Price: £4.9
Player Selection %: 3.2%
We aren't going to give up on Phil Jones after a late Borini goal destroyed the Red Devil's clean sheet in gameweek eighteen, in hindsight none of us at The Hype Train are not surprised that Borini put a sour taste in our mouths over this because the Italian has made a reputation for eradicating a team’s defensive efforts. Simply put Borini is a clean sheet killer, that is what we know him as. Moving forward Man United have another similar fixture against Middlesbrough who are vying for their survival in the Premier League, but unlike Sunderland who have a Borini and a Defoe, the Teesside club don't. Having struggled against Burnley in their last fixture Boro will be worried about slipping up further and allowing rivals to overtake them, but going to Old Trafford is currently a tall order with Jose Mourinho discovering what his best team is, and we’ll say it again, Jones and Rojo at the heart of their defence is proving to be their best combination. Jones is unlikely to be rotated in this period we expect a better defensive return for the Red Devil's in this fixture.
SOUTHAMPTON VS. WEST BROM
Player: Fraser Forster (Southampton)
Player Price: £5.1
Player Selection %: 5.4%
Our pick of Fraser Forster is picked out of the need for reliability, mostly because we have seen it before, and we'll see it again with Southampton...they love to rotate their squad. We are not convinced with any of the usual differentials starting spot in this fixture, everyone has their replacement. Bertrand has McQueen, Cedric has Martina, Fonte has Yoshida, and with Boufal, Tadic, Davis, Ward Prowse, Reed, Rodriguez, Clasie, and Højbjerg filling out the rest of midfield there is plenty of room for people to be dropped to the bench. Southampton are the favourites in this match and have every chance of keeping West Brom out of their goal, usually the Saints have a sturdy defence and with van Dijk they can cope against most forwards, so a safe clean sheet in the hands of Fraser Forster is the most logical reasoning for this differential picks.
SWANSEA VS. BOURNEMOUTH
Player: Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)
Player Price: £4.4
Player Selection %: 5.6%
Antonio Conte is right to believe that a large selection of the players currently on loan at Chelsea who deserve to be considered for the main team, and it appears that the Italian is a big fan of Ake's after many assured performances and match winning goals. The cheap defender has regained his prominence after a successful loan spell at Watford last season where he was occasionally picked by us as a differential, and it looks as if he is making a step up in his development under the watchful eye of Eddie Howe at Bournemouth who must be asking the question if they have a chance of keeping him long term on the south coast. There is no reason to justify Ake anymore, he has been a great addition to the Cherries side and from the FPL point of view he is a cheap addition if you are looking to invest in midfielders and forwards, and whilst that is on the mind of the FPL manager so is stacking the deck against Swansea City in their current vein of form. After disposing of yet another manager the Welsh club are in serious trouble after only two wins in their last eleven matches, there is no consistency from the club and if they get relegated playing the way they have been it won't be much of a surprise. Eddie Howe is in the right place at the right time, and with a player like Ake stepping up they have a good chance of rubbing salt in the wounds this weekend.
LIVERPOOL VS. MAN CITY
Player: James Milner (Liverpool)
Player Price: £6.5
Player Selection %: 5.8%
Step forward our randomly selected pick, James Milner. Fitting that it should be the versatile left-back/winger/central midfielder be the wildcard in this fixture seeing as he goes up against his former team in this hotly contested encounter between two top four sides. Milner has been the unsung hero at left-back this season and has adapted quickly to playing the ball from deeper, the ultimate professional performer in Klopp's team. Milner has one distinct advantage as a differential in that he is on penalties for the Reds, and with a combination of Manchester City's haphazard defending and Liverpool's blistering attack it could be Milnaldo when the Blues visit Anfield. The Citizens have felt stinging defeat in their last two encounters to the famous footballing arena, and with the hype train Liverpool are currently riding you wouldn't back against them getting another win over Pep Guardiola's sky blues.
Chosen at Random:
1. James Milner
2. David Silva
3. Ragnar Klavan
4. Yaya Toure
5. Jordan Henderson
WATFORD VS. SPURS
Player: Hugo Lloris (Spurs)
Player Price: £5.5
Player Selection %: 7.5%
Walker and Vertonghen are both out for Spurs this gameweek, and with Toby Alderwiereld hit and miss and having missed the last match due to illness there is only one valid Spurs wildcard to consider in this match, their captain and stalwart man in the sticks, Hugo Lloris. Fixtures are low scoring at Vicarage Road and this should be an easy encounter for Spurs to continue their away form after rallying to rub salt in the wounds of the Saints. In this time of rotation, we had thought Alli was a good option, but it may impact on his minutes after playing a major role at the south coast, so we are unsure. Lloris will play, Watford have a goal scoring problem (or more of a lack of one), and we fancy Spurs to win with a clean sheet intact, and there is no way they would drop their captain for this fixture after other defenders have been side-lined via suspensions.
ARSENAL VS. CRYSTAL PALACE
Player: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)
Player Price: £8.5
Player Selection %: 1.4%
Finally, the chance has arrived for Olivier Giroud to step up to the weekly differentials, after proving his mettle and quality with the winning goal that sunk West Brom the Frenchman is in high stock. Crystal Palace who visit the Emirates come in knowing that they are one of the worst teams at defending set pieces and this is where Giroud could prove to be a pivotal part of the puzzle when it comes to shooting down the Eagles where they stand. Giroud has a physical presence that you cannot replicate with Sanchez leading the line and with other fixtures more testing than Palace on the horizon it would make sense to play Giroud and build up his confidence, use his physical prowess whilst he is on good form. We are confident he will start and once again be the difference maker for Arsenal on their way to another three points in the league.
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For all FPL Gameweek build up, check out the Weekly Hype page now.