top of page


WEEKLY WILDCARDS 2017/18: FPL Gameweek 1

Ahead of each round of Premier League games The Hype Train analyses the best wildcard player options for your Fantasy Premier League teams. Historically, weekly FPL Dream Team’s comprise of mostly differential players whose selection falls with a low selection percentage 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.


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 were been forced to revise our rules on what constitutes a differential. Now in the 2017/18 season, after testing the waters with selection, there are just not enough differentials with the classification in each position from years past, 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.


- Any shot stopper outside of the top 8 selected. A differential Goalkeeper is now considered outside of the top bracket due to the overwhelming ownership selection % of the top 8 GK's for any one Gameweek.

- A GK's ownership must not exceed 10%


- A Defender's ownership must fall below 8%, with the top 20 owned defenders all harbouring 8% ownership or more.

- The Outsider Rule: This new rule applies to defenders who are the last defensive option in a team who we provide an exception to as the 4th of 5th most owned defender from one team if they offer a different value. For Example, if Chelsea or Spurs have three defenders with 10% plus ownership, and their 4th defender choice has downwards of 10% ownership, we will include them as a differential, as they are outside of the common conversation when picking defenders, even from within their own squad. This rule will mostly be used when adding defenders from top half clubs, who lack proper differential status for their defensive options.


- 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.


- The top 10 most owned Forwards in the FPL at any given time can not be touched as a differential.

- Any Forward outside of the 10% ownership range, who is not in the top 10 owned forwards.


  • 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.

FPL Gameweek One: Differentials

The Premier League is back, and after a long summer of patiently waiting and wincing at the activity in this years inflated transfer market it is now time to return to the actual game. Every gameweek this season The Hype Train will be back to feature in covering the movements of the Fantasy Premier League, and we will continue reviewing a differential in each Premier League fixture. After the resounding success of our foray into all thing differentials we continue to examine those players who don't get much love from the FPL community, and if you take the examples of Marcos Alonso, Josh King, and Gylfi Sigurdsson from last season a nobody can become a serious option to your fantasy team.

You can catch up with our progress from the 2016/17 season by clicking the below link:

We are spoiled for choice in the opening gameweek, there are some great fixtures to kick off the season, and we are really embracing the spirit of the differential. Nobody knows what is going to happen on the opening day this time round. At the beginning of last season Etienne Capoue of all players became a staple of most players fantasy teams after netting against Southampton, Arsenal were stunned by Liverpool on the opening day, the Champions Leicester City became the first defending champions to lose their opening fixture to an eventually relegated Hull City, and the only two clean sheets were from Swansea and West Brom who were playing away from home. Let us remind you of the randomness of the opening day, with a set of scores nobody could have predicted:

Opening Day 2016/17: Hull 2-1 Leicester

Southampton 1-1 Watford

Middlesbrough 1-1 Stoke

Everton 1-1 Spurs Crystal Palace 0-1 West Brom Burnley 0-1 Swansea Man City 2-1 Sunderland Bournemouth 1-3 Man United Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool Chelsea 2-1 West Ham

The takeaway from the beginning of last season is to expect anything; disappointment, players being unexpectedly benched, joy over the most unlikely player scoring you points, and the eventual sighs as you declare that a player you considered in pre-season was in your concept teams before you removed him prior to the opening game. This is a settling in period for teams back into the hustle of the Premier League, we expect plenty of goals but also plenty of teams chancing their hand at any defensive solidity that they experienced during pre-season.

All that in mind our ten picks are players of raw potential for the opening gameweek, if you kept up with us last season there will be some trusted faces in the ranks of this gameweeks differentials:

FPL Differential Selections: Gameweek 1

ARS/LEI: Rob Holding (ARS, DEF, £5.0mil, 1.7% ownership)

WAT/LIV: Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV, DEF, £4.5mil, 1.4% ownership)

CRY/HUD: Steve Mounie (HUD, FWD, £6.0mil, 0.6% ownership)

WBA/BOU: Josh King (BOU, FWD, £7.5mil, 4.8% ownership)

BRI/MCI: Leroy Sane (MCI, MID, £8.5mil, 6.2% ownership)

EVE/STK: Davy Klaassen (EVE, MID, £7.5mil, 2.5% ownership)

SOU/SWA: Maya Yoshida (SOU, DEF, £5.0mil, 1.4% ownership)

CHE/BUR: Pedro (CHE, MID, £8.0mil, 3.0% ownership)

NEW/TOT: Matt Ritchie (NEW, MID, £6.0mil, 4.0% ownership)

MUN/WHU: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN, MID, £8.0mil, 6.1% ownership)


No goalkeepers are selected this week, there were considerations in Begovic and Mignolet, but we won't start looking at keepers until things settle down. Goalkeepers also don't obtain enough bonus points unless they have stellar performances, so any differentials from the back line we select this week are better off being defenders.


Three defenders are selected this week, two centrals, and one right-back. On the flank, we have Liverpool starlet Trent Alexander-Arnold who had a terrific pre-season for the Reds and is in line to start the season, at £4.5mil he is a great budget option to have in your team if you want to focus your money on midfield and attack. The youngster also has an eye for goal and with Liverpool's pre-season form rolling into the season it is a shrewd pick that has gone under the radar of fantasy players.

The first central defender is Rob Holding who features in the first game against Leicester, the young Englishman has been stalwart since he joined Wenger's starting eleven and with Laurent Koscielny missing the opening game of the season we expect Holding to be an affirmed start in Arsenal's new back three. Lastly, we have Maya Yoshida, whose Saints team host a Swansea who will be without their two main goal threats: Sigurdsson and Llorente. Southampton's new head coach is a defensive maestro so we expect the Saints to keep it tight as we know they already can do, we aren't expecting many goals but that benefits the potential for Southampton defenders to perform well. Yoshida loves getting bonus points, and you don't need to rotate him out of your team for the long term as Southampton don't have a bad run of opening fixtures.


Five midfielders have been chosen for the opening gameweek, and with good reason. Goals are guaranteed as the league settles back to its usual rigours, but also because the opening day last season doesn't fill us with confidence that many teams will keep clean sheets. Of the five midfielders five of them are wingers: Pedro, Ritchie, Mkhitaryan, and Sane. The quartet is odds on to all start the opening weekend and they all have track records of being able to score or provide for the central strikers, and believe it or not the most successful we believe will be Matt Ritchie. Newcastle have a way of upsetting Spurs, so we see Ritchie exploiting a strained defence to ruin, the Scotsman is on all set piece duties and was an asset when he was at Bournemouth, and we don't see that changing at Newcastle. Lastly, we have Davy Klaassen who signed for Everton for Ajax, we see the creative midfielder pulling the strings and getting on the ball a lot so if there are going to be goals for the Toffees the Dutchman will be near them for sure.


Two forwards have been selected this week, but we are going to be going into a bit more detail about them in the sections below. Up first is the Terriers record signing Steve Mounie who is hoping to keep his record in pre-season going, and second is Josh King who has been a trusted source in the FPL since January.

Key Differential: Steve Mounie (HUD)

One player of real potential who has caught our eye for the coming season is Huddersfield's new record signing Steve Mounie, a striker of real quality. Four goals from the Terriers eight pre-season games has already shown his ability to quickly gel in Wagner's team, and he embarks on his first season in the Premier League with goal scoring confidence. The match between Crystal Palace and Huddersfield could be an open affair, on one side you have an ambitious new manager in charge of the Eagles in Frank De Boer, the Dutchman is assembling a good squad but it has been the case for a while that their inconsistencies transpire despite the man in charge of the club. In the other corner, you have Huddersfield led by charismatic David Wagner, whose transfer window so far tells you of a man who is going to go for it this season, providing competition in every position on the pitch to attain survival for the coming year. The biggest piece of quality added is Mounie, his presence in the box so far in pre-season has been extraordinary and the Palace defence may not know what hits them on the opening day. Mounie is one to watch for the first handful of fixtures.

Also, he is so highly rated by our own @HypeTrainRob that the Benin international was his number one pick in the Draft mode.

If you'd like to read more about Mounie, and his club Huddersfield, we have written an in-depth preview of Huddersfield ahead of their Premier League debut away at Crystal Palace, which you can find below:

Key Differential: Josh King (BOU)

2017 has been a defining year for Josh King, since being moved to a central position by Cherries manager Eddie Howe from the right wing his goal output has been unbelievable, with Harry Kane the only player to better his ratio since January. King scored sixteen goals last season and made plenty of assists, and from a low midfield price he became one of the of most necessary assets for fantasy managers pushing up league tables. The thought of having Defoe and King up top is salivating, but not as sweet as knowing who their opposition are in Gameweek one.

Enter West Brom, who arguably have had a poor transfer window, and a poor pre-season. Pulis has struggled for results on the pitch, of their nine fixtures they have drawn two, won two, but lost five, and most worryingly is that they only kept one clean sheet. Their calibre of opposition was also poor, they faced the likes of Slough and Port Vale which isn't adequate preparation for the rigors of the Premier League. Combined with the factor their ageing squad isn't getting any younger, they have also failed to really bolster their squad which has frustrated Pulis. Consider Bournemouth's pre-season where they have been extremely competitive in their six fixtures so far. Four wins, one loss, and a mightily impressive draw against Italian high-flyers Napoli have showed that Howe is gearing his squad up nicely for the new season.

A perfect storm is in motion for Bournemouth to potentially do a number on West Brom, and with the firepower the Cherries have it could be a long afternoon for the Baggies on the first Saturday of the season. King is proven quality, and he is a real gem for gameweek one against a West Brom who have been in a tailspin before last season even ended.

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in the Fantasy Premier League (#FPL), providing beautiful graphics and weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb ranking tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review movies, live sport, and professional wrestling.

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog 2016' by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), with the final presentation held at Old Trafford in Manchester.

You can follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, or visit our website here at

All aboard.


bottom of page