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 (GW20)
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 20 Average Points: 49pts
Gameweek 20 Wildcard Points: 63pts
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: GW20 - 63pts, 5 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), 45 (19), 49 (20) = 947pts
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), 50 (19), 63 (20) = 821pts
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
GW19: Andre Gray (Burnley vs Sunderland) - 17pts
GW20: Leighton Baines (Everton vs. Southampton) - 15pts
Dele Alli (Spurs vs. Chelsea) - 15pts
Olivier Giroud (Bournemouth vs. Arsenal) - 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)
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)
GW19: 50 points, 5 player returns
Mirallas (6), Gray (17), Alonso (3), Ayew (2), Jones (0), Forster (1), Ake (8), Milner (3), Lloris (2), Giroud (8)
GW20: 63 points, 5 player returns
Valdes (0), Baines (15), David Silva (0), Klavan (1), Brunt (8), Carroll (1), Giroud (15), Townsend (1), Pieters (7), Alli (15)
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)
2 - Andre Gray (Burnley): 17pts (GW19)
4 - Hueng-Min Son (Spurs): 15pts (GW6)
5 - Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland): 15pts (GW17)
5 - Leighton Baines (Everton) - 15pts (GW20)
5 - Dele Alli (Spurs) - 15pts (GW20)
5 - Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) - 15pts (GW20)
9 - Winston Reid (West Ham): 14pts (GW8)
10 - Michail Antonio (West Ham): 13pts (GW4)
10 - Harry Kane (Spurs): 13pts (GW12)
10 - Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): 13pts (GW11)
10 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 13pts (GW15)
14 - Divock Origi (Liverpool): 11pts (GW16)
15 - Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland): 10pts (GW12)
15 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 10pts (GW13)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 20
Wildcards: Guzan, Shawcross, Baines, Mawson, Clichy, Alli, Fraser, Adam, Giroud
Non Wildcards: Daniels, Defoe
Points achieved by Wildcards: 114pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 24pts
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.
SPURS VS. WEST BROM
Player: Jan Vertonghen (Spurs)
Player Price: £5.7 million
Player Selection %: 6.7%
Spurs are finally starting to find their groove, and high on the confidence of beating current table toppers Chelsea should see them backed as heavy favourites to win any match in their current form, not just this one. After obtaining revenge on the Blues for ruining their undefeated ways the North London club welcome mid-table West Brom to the partially destroyed White Hart Lane. What Spurs have done well lately is their defensive duties since switching to a back-three with Alderweireld, Dier, and our wildcard select Jan Vertonghen a formidable wall with Wanyama and Dembele protecting them. This kind of system allows Walker and Rose to do what they do best...bomb forward, attack, and provide support Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
We are making good on Spurs before the Europa League fixtures rear its ugly head, and right now it could be anyone in the Premier League and we wouldn't expect them to get anything out of the Lane this weekend. West Brom themselves don't express themselves in an attacking manner anyway, so there is that to.
BURNLEY VS. SOUTHAMPTON
Player: Andre Gray (Burnley)
Player Price: £6.2 million
Player Selection %: 4.6%
A hat-trick against Sunderland is the kind of form that sees Liverpool pay £25,000,000 for a player, and four goals in three games is the kind of form that bumps up that figure with plenty of add on bonuses. At home, Burnley have made Turf Moor a fortress. Andre Gray has been the tip of the spear in recent times for Clarets and indeed his form might earn him a bigger move elsewhere in the summer. The next team set course towards Turf Moor is the coastline club Southampton who set sail following the first leg of their EFL Cup Semi-Final with Liverpool. So, the question is if whether Southampton in this moment value the league or trying to achieve their first domestic cup in a long, long time.
The last time Southampton won a trophy it was in 2010 where they lifted the Johnstones Paint Trophy, and if you look before that the last major honour was the 1976 FA Cup. We believe that Southampton won’t turn up the chance at going for glory in this moment, so the team heading to Turf Moor will be most likely be weakened to better their chances in the EFL Cup. Burnley will enjoy this dilemma for Southampton as it gives their main threat Andre Gray to continue building his form, and for his valuation to grow. Divock Origi may be a rotation risk for Liverpool so it wouldn’t be stupid betting putting your money in the Burnley forward.
HULL VS. BOURNEMOUTH
Player: Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth)
Player Price: £5.1 million
Player Selection %: 1.6%
Bournemouth have been on that next level this season, for us at The Hype Train, there was no conceivable way that Eddie Howe was going to go wrong and get them relegated. We expected the Cherries to improve and get the big wins they needed not only to survive, but put their stamp on the league. After picking up points against Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal, and a methodical away visit to Stoke they are battling and competing with the teams from the top half of the table. What Bournemouth also excel at is picking up points from the teams at the bottom too, and an away visit to Hull shouldn't be concerning if you have FPL assets from the Cherries in your team. On the contrary, we advise that anyone facing Hull stacks the deck against them. Hull are doomed no matter what way we look at it, and they will continue to needlessly drop points between now and the end of May, worst of all for them this week is that they are in the thralls of a EFL Cup semi-final defeat in midweek and Bournemouth will be looking to improve on their draw against Arsenal.
The key man for their form when he is fit is Junior Stanislas, set-piece maestro, penalty kick taker, and general goal scorer, the Frenchman ticks all the boxes for the ultimate FPL option. We haven't even included his low, low price; and at such great value he could be the perfect replacement for Zaha if you're looking to unload the new Ivorian. Bournemouth also have an upcoming set of promising fixtures that you could trust Stanislas to perform, were it not for the prior injury he'd be more heavily selected.
SUNDERLAND VS. STOKE
Player: Lee Grant (Stoke)
Player Price: £4.4 million
Player Selection %: 7.7%
For the past month, we have been considering Lee Grant who has secured a permanent move to Stoke City after plenty of maverick performances to help them back up the table. Grant is in the same mould of Tom Heaton in that he can save plenty of shots on goal on his day, which can help keep his side with a clean sheet. Sunderland are still threatened with the big ‘R’ word and there will be plenty more battling between now and the end of the season, but we are banking on a thorough Stoke performance to curtail the recent uplift in confidence at the Stadium of Light. Since there are no good differentials from Sunderland it makes sense to look at a cheap alternate goalkeeper/defender from Stoke who beat them 2-0 at the Bet365 Stadium in October. Grant is the kind of player to frustrate the owners of Jermaine Defoe.
SWANSEA VS. ARSENAL
Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea)
Player Price: £7.3 million
Player Selection %: 6.5%
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. We welcome Gylfi Sigurdsson back into the differential realm after a drop in his good form that saw his ownership spike following playing as a good central striker. After Arsenal’s “Night in Bournemouth” saw the Gunners come from three down to tie the fixture there is hope that their defensive frailties can be exactly what new boss Paul Clement needs to spark some confidence back into his main man, especially because the Icelander scored at the Emirates to the frustration of Arsenal. Gylfi is the man for the Swans and with their perilous situation looking more bleak with each passing week the games will be contested as cup finals moving forward, and if there is one man you want to bank all your money on influencing a fight against fifth placed Arsenal then you wouldn’t look much further than at Sigurdsson. Hopefully a return to the wildcard ranks will see him improve his form, fingers crossed.
WATFORD VS. MIDDLESBROUGH
Player: Troy Deeney (Watford)
Player Price: £6.7 million
Player Selection %: 4.0%
This match could be as laborious and lacking the quality as it seems, or it could be a total riot. Welcome to the Premier League, and if there is once certainty about this season it will be that going to Watford is always going to be a fixture that you either dread, or one that you will love. There is no middle ground. Watford are following a very similar path as they did last season…start strong, lose heat by Christmas period, and then slump in the last half of the season. We couldn’t decide on the best wildcard on this fixture as fixtures at Watford are very hit-and-miss, so we have entrusted our faith once again into Troy Deeney who can strike at any moment and be called up to the spot to take any penalties. In a fixture like this with many wildcard options the biggest difficulty for any FPL manager is always trying to pick the smartest bet, and in most cases with Watford it would either be Holebas or Deeney, and without the Greek left-back fully fit we continue to put our faith in the former wildcard king who has a lot of ground to make up to obtain entry into this year’s differential team of the season.
WEST HAM VS. CRYSTAL PALACE
Player: Andy Carroll (West Ham)
Player Price: £6.2 million
Player Selection %: 2.8%
There was a healthy debate over the selection of Andy Carroll for this fixture, mostly because one of the Hype Team believed that without Zaha that Crystal Palace will miss their goal scoring edge and thus Aaron Cresswell should be considered the best option, and on the other side of the argument the issue of Crystal Palace's lacklustre defence came up of which would see a striker of Carroll's calibre flourish against a team who have conceded the most set piece goals this season. Either Cresswell or Carroll is a fantastic option to have in your team for this gameweek, there is potential on both sides. The decision came down to the simple fact that Crystal Palace are a goal scoring team and have upset the balance even without Zaha, so Cresswell is a calculated risk, whereas Carroll is a calculated gamble.
We see goals being scored in this encounter and Carroll is surely the biggest goal threat available on either side (we just aren't fans of Benteke's lazy penalty style truth be told). The 2016/17 season has not seen a vast array of clean sheet potential, so Carroll is the optimal choice for this encounter against former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce.
LEICESTER VS. CHELSEA
Player: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Player Price: £6.5 million
Player Selection %: 8.8%
Nathan Ake has saved Marcos Alonso's differential status, now the fourth most owned Blues defender the Spaniard has also gone down in overall ownership since the last weekend after the defeat to Spurs. After a rare blip in form Chelsea travel to the reigning champions of England where it is they are expected to bounce back against a Foxes team who are now without some of their big hitters who have travelled to Gabon for AFCON (Mahrez, Amartey, and Slimani). Such is the way of life the last time these two sides have met Jose Mourinho was on the verge of being sacked after losing to the Foxes as Chelsea slumped ever closer to the relegation zone, and Leicester were riding high and on their way to the Championship.
Quite funny this football thing, because the roles have now been reversed and Chelsea's position has been a huge testament to Conte's new system which has seen Alonso sparkle. Rested for the FA Cup fixture there is no doubt that the marauding full-back will keep his place for their return to the King Power, and at this stage the fact about Alonso is still true: he has only ever dropped points to Spurs, nobody else. Who is to say that will change against Leicester?
Alonso was recently featured in our Points Breakdown article heading into Gameweek 21. His stats so far are mightily impressive from an FPL point of view...
EVERTON VS. MAN CITY
Player: Ross Barkley (Everton)
Player Price: £7.0 million
Player Selection %: 5.9%
Picking a differential against Manchester City can be very easy because there is a high possibility that their defence will capitulate at any moment or have John Stones make a match deciding mistake. Ross Barkley is a player on the fringes who has quietly been making a difference with fifteen fantasy points in his last three appearances for the Toffees. Since Bolasie has been injured there has been a lot of pressure for Barkley to fill the attacking void and slowly but surely, he is finding his feet this season, as this is being written flashes of his goal against Manchester City from long range during the 2013/14 season in this fixture are reappearing to remind us that Barkley despite his criticism and apparent waywardness is an immensely talented player who can be the deciding factor when the heat is turned on.
We were never going to choose a player from Manchester City because all the realistic options exist in defence or David Silva who is more influential with Sergio Aguero not playing as the Argentine eats into his operating space. Everton could be boosted with the arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin who is due to reunite with Ronald Koeman from their days at Southampton, and there is the feeling that this is either teams match to win and if Barkley gets into the right gear he can continue to go under the FPL radar with another good performance.
MAN UNITED VS. LIVERPOOL
Player: James Milner (Liverpool)
Player Price: £6.4 million
Player Selection %: 5.0%
Arguably our most risky random generated pick since we started the experiment, we see James Milner of all people top the list above Sturridge, Mkhitaryan, Jones, and Mignolet. However, all hope is not lost however in Milner performing. The recent study from the CIES Football Observatory revealed that the English midfielder operating at left-back is statistically the second best left back in the entire of Europe, so there may be hope in our pick that the random generator has picked out a gem.
Ranking ahead of David Alaba and Philipp Lahm of Bayern Munich, Filipe Luis of Atletico Madrid, Marcos Alonso of Chelsea, Danny Rose of Spurs, and Faouzi Ghoulam of Napoli. The only player to top Milner was Alex Sandro of Juventus, which is a serious eyebrow raising statistic when you consider that people use the words ‘world class’ to describe Alaba and Lahm. Milner has the added advantage of being on set pieces and free kicks for Liverpool and when they are in their attacking mode he is normally playing as an out-and-out winger, so the attacking potential hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Image courtesy of The Sun.
Liverpool may have slumped in form but the derby with Manchester United is a huge encounter where form doesn’t mean anything, and Milner might be the man to continue surprising more people with another assured performance.
If you are interested in how our random generator picked the players, here were the full results:
1. James Milner
2. Daniel Sturridge
3. Henrikh Mkhitaryan
4. Phil Jones
5. Simon Mignolet
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