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 (GW21)
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 21 Average Points: 56pts
Gameweek 21 Wildcard Points: 65pts
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: GW21 - 65pts, 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), 45 (19), 49 (20), 56 (21) = 1,003pts
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), 65 (21) = 886pts
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
GW21: Marcos Alonso (Leicester vs. Chelsea) - 21pts
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)
GW21: 65 points, 6 player returns
Vertonghen (6), Gray (2), Stanislas (7), Grant (2), Sigurdsson (2), Deeney (1), Carroll (5), Alonso (21), Barkley (9), Milner (10)
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 - Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): 21pts (GW21)
2 - Christian Eriksen (Spurs): 18pts (GW14)
3 - Romelu Lukaku (Everton): 17pts (GW4)
3 - Andre Gray (Burnley): 17pts (GW19)
5 - 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)
10 - Winston Reid (West Ham): 14pts (GW8)
11 - Michail Antonio (West Ham): 13pts (GW4)
11 - Harry Kane (Spurs): 13pts (GW12)
11 - Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): 13pts (GW11)
11 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 13pts (GW15)
15 - Divock Origi (Liverpool): 11pts (GW16)
16 - Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland): 10pts (GW12)
16 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea): 10pts (GW13)
16 - James Milner (Liverpool): 10pts (GW21)
FPL DREAM TEAM ANALYSIS: GAMEWEEK 21
Wildcards: Valdes, Alonso, Coleman, Arnautovic, Mirallas, Hernandez, Crouch
Non Wildcards: Walker, Antonio, Sanchez, Kane
Points achieved by Wildcards: 103pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 47pts
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.
LIVERPOOL VS. SWANSEA
Player: Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)
Player Price: £4.7 million
Player Selection %: 2.5%
The Hype Train's man of the match in the derby between Liverpool and Man Utd was the Belgian stopper who has been reborn since being dropped for Karius, only to earn his place back after the German had a shaky start to life in the Premier League. Key saves from dangerous strikes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan were skilfully dealt with repeatedly as Liverpool earned a point against the Red Devils at Old Trafford. Mignolet has stepped up his game and with a home game against Swansea (who Liverpool beat earlier in the season 1-2 courtesy of a late James Miner penalty) should have an easier time against the team propping up the bottom of the table.
Paul Clement has taken on a mammoth task and after the sacking culture has swept the Swans we wonder if they were better off keeping Gary Monk and putting faith in the man who bled for the Welsh club. Swansea haven't looked dangerous offensively for a while since playing Gylfi Sigurdsson in a deeper role, and they open themselves up because they have no other option than to try and win games, which will suit Liverpool's style perfectly. After the shambles of a display against Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium nobody is expecting Clement's team to do anything when they visit Anfield.
BOURNEMOUTH VS. WATFORD
Player: Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth)
Player Price: £5.2 million
Player Selection %: 3.2%
The Hype Train has selected Junior Stanislas as wildcard captain for the week, and for good reason. Stanislas has been in fine form and has registered a return in the last of his three matches with two assists and one goal. Not only is Stanislas on many of Bournemouth's set pieces he is also their penalty taker. Stanislas is the perfect combination of set-piece, penalty, and open play potential at a budget price, also Bournemouth are having a fantastic season and at home in particular they are proving to be a strong presence.
Stanislas has been vital to Bournemouth's team when he isn't injured and has been involved in ten goals so far this season which is the most of any attacking player in the team. Watford who travel to the Vitality Stadium have been on a poor run of form and not even differential hero Troy Deeney has been able to pull them out of this slump. Eddie Howe has been making great strides to elevate Bournemouth and the impact of Stanislas has been a big contributing factor.
CRYSTAL PALACE VS. EVERTON
Player: Ross Barkley (Everton)
Player Price: £7.0 million
Player Selection %: 6.0%
Everton's switch to a three man defence has seen Ross Barkley put into a role alongside Kevin Mirallas that allows him to be more open and free as an attacking force, and after a convincing display in the dominating victory over Manchester City when he registered two assists he is a man playing unburdened in a new role and it suits him. Playing with more freedom allows Barkley to enter the dangerous areas of the pitch where Romelu Lukaku can have more of an impact in the game. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have been woeful all season and were it not for the even worse form of the three teams below them in the relegation zone they would be set for relegation. West Ham picked the Eagles apart and with Everton travelling to London it might be another depressing afternoon for Allardyce on his mission to save Crystal Palace.
MIDDLESBROUGH VS. WEST HAM
Player: Andy Carroll (West Ham)
Player Price: £6.2 million
Player Selection %: 2.9%
How could we not include Andy Carroll in the differentials after that superb overhead volley goal he scored against Crystal Palace last week? West Ham are a team on the up, even with the defector Dimitri Payet absent from the first team squad, and there is a lot of optimism for their FPL options in the likes of Lanzini, Antonio, Cresswell, and Carroll. On his day, Andy Carroll is unstoppable and capable of making something out of nothing like the goal he scored last week, and against a team with Boro's defensive capabilities that is a requirement of victory to create something out of nothing. Slowly building up their stamina and fortitude we expect West Ham to continue their march into the top half of the table, and with the players they have at their disposal even without Payet they should beat Middlesbrough. Andy Carroll is a cheap differential forward option that cannot be ignored when he is fit and firing.
STOKE CITY VS. MAN UNITED
Player: Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City)
Player Price: £7.1 million
Player Selection %: 0.7%
Arnautovic may have scored two goals against Sunderland, but the composure and skill of which he took both of his goals tells you that the Austrian is coming back into the fine form we know he can reach. Peter Crouch has been causing problems for all teams, Liverpool and Chelsea in particular have found it difficult to play against the beam-pole striker, and with long-balls the name of the game in this encounter between Hughes and Mourinho this should be a chance for Arnautovic to feed from the good form of Crouch as he did against Sunderland.
Stoke City are undefeated to Manchester United in the last three encounters at the bet365 Stadium picking up two wins and a draw, so this isn't going to be the easy encounter that everyone expects from this Jose Mourinho team. Stoke are a great wildcard team because you never know what team is going to show up, and they have one of the best differential forwards playing in midfield in the shape of Marko Arnautovic. Manchester United's chances in this fixture are up in the air, so we are deciding to embrace the chaos and put differential eggs in the basket of the in-form Austrian.
WEST BROM VS. SUNDERLAND
Player: Craig Dawson (West Brom)
Player Price: £4.8 million
Player Selection %: 1.3%
The Baggies haven't had the rub of the green this season defensively, mostly because they are a more attacking unit as they have risen up the table. The visit of Sunderland represents a different opportunity that will see many people doubling down on the Albion defence as relegation bound Sunderland visit this weekend. Jermaine Defoe may be the man in-form but this fixture has produced West Brom clean sheets in three out the last four Premier League encounters, so there is more chance of a dull, goalless encounter than a goal feast from either team. Craig Dawson has been selected because he is the most certain wildcard defender to feature as West Brom look to keep a long anticipated clean sheet.
MAN CITY VS. SPURS
Player: Kevin Wimmer (Spurs)
Player Price: £4.6 million
Player Selection %: 0.1%
Starting the movement of four consecutive centre halves in the differential picks this week, and starting the proceedings is Kevin Wimmer who will no doubt replace Jan Vertonghen after his injury that could rule out the Belgian until the tail end of the season. Good news for Spurs is that they travel to the quietest place in the Premier League, the Etihad Stadium. Spurs had beat Man City earlier in the season at White Hart Lane courtesy of Dele Alli's industry, and after the destruction of West Brom and the Citizens capitulation against Everton it is the perfect storm for Pep Guardiola to look even more glum. Last season Spurs had the experience of beating Man City at the Etihad 2-1 after Kane and Eriksen put them away.
There was a time when Spurs had a problem each and every time that Man City were even mentioned, especially with Aguero and Dzeko's impressive records against them. However, times have changed, and Man City struggle to break down hard working teams like Liverpool and Spurs, so we are expecting that Spurs will go there to continue their great run. Kevin Wimmer is a huge differential option due to his low, low price, and will slot straight in to cover for Jan Vertonghen, all they will do then is promote Cameron Carter-Vickers to the main team.
SOUTHAMPTON VS. LEICESTER
Player: Maya Yoshida (Southampton)
Player Price: £4.2 million
Player Selection %: 0.7 million
Last season we couldn't get enough of Leicester City, they were just everything you wanted in terms of FPL options and flash forward one year and they look as if the title hunt had never even happened. Leicester were competitive in each fixture when they won the league, and right now there isn't even a comparison between how their team operates then and now. If Leicester hadn't won the league you could argue that there current position in the table is about right where they needed to be, which is a shame because they have fallen so far from the standards they set themselves last season. The Foxes had an incredible away record and bar a loss at Anfield to Liverpool they were pretty solid on their travels and broke on the counter, they were a menace you couldn't contain. Unfortunately their travels are less productive and the Foxes appear that they favour their den than the cold embrace of the wilderness. Southampton need a win and right now with Leicester coming to town this is the ultimate opportunity to right some wrongs in the past week where they haven't won in their past four games.
Partnering Virgil van Dijk is the Japanese Maya Yoshida who at a basement price is too hard to resist in choosing as this fixtures differential, and with it being the right place and right time for Southampton to capitalise on Leicester’s poor away form we could see the Saints defence going overlooked in favour more high profile options.
ARSENAL VS. BURNLEY
Player: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal)
Player Price: £5.8 million
Player Selection %: 1.1%
We are going back to basics by picking Mustafi in Arsenal's home tie against Burnley, not only has the German never lost whilst playing for Arsenal he has helped the Gunners back to being a trusted defensive united in the FPL. The good news is that away from home Burnley struggle to get off the mark, they are just a different side that is found at Turf Moor. Burnley are capable of defending so that is why we didn't pick on-form Alex Iwobi who could be nullified, and with Tom Heaton in goal the chances will be at a premium for Arsenal this weekend. Mustafi has fallen in price since his injury, a certain starter, and Arsenal have recently kept some encouraging clean sheets so there is every chance that the German will be overlooked because of the influence of Laurent Koscielny next to him. That, is the very definition of a FPL differential.
CHELSEA VS. HULL
Player: David Luiz (Chelsea)
Player Price: £6.2 million
Player Selection %: 73pts
Marcos Alonso had one hell of a ride as a differential in the FPL that culminated in him scoring two goals, keeping a clean sheet, and picking up three bonus points in GW21. After this performance and his steep rise in ownership it is a sad farewell to a player that rightfully deserves the title of 'non-wildcard'. All hope is not lost for differentials in the Chelsea defence, there is one bastion left, a player at the heat of the back three and has an unmistakable run up to a penalty kick. Enter the frame, David Luiz.
The last differential left in the Chelsea defence, he isn't as prolific as Cahill in front of goal, nor can be bomb down the wing like Alonso, but what Luiz has is stability in the Blues defence which revolves around him. As far as The Hype Train is concerned there is only easy points in the Chelsea defence, particularly when Hull visit Stamford Bridge. The only team to currently scupper the Blues defensive efforts has been Spurs, and Hull whilst boasting plenty of their former players are not as capable as causing Conte's team the same problems. Luiz should have an easy time of things against the Tigers, and who knows, he might whip in one of those free kicks he seems to always be taking.
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