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.
WILDCARDS: WHAT IS A DIFFERENTIAL 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 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.
DIFFERENTIALS: GAMEWEEK PERFORMANCE (GW1)
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 1 Average Points: 58 points
Gameweek 1 Wildcard Points: 36 points
DIFFERENTIALS: 2017/18 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: GW1 - 36pts, 3 player returns
Worst Wildcard Week: GW1 - 36pts, 3 player returns
Average Points: 58 (1) = 58pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1) = 36pts
Best Gamweek Wildcard Player(s)
GW1: Steve Mounie (Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield) - 12pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
2 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
3 - Maya Yoshida (SOU): 6pts (GW1)
Gameweek Wildcard History
GW1: 36 points, 3 player returns
Holding (1), Alexander-Arnold (0), Mounie (12), Josh King (2), Sane (1), Klaassen (1), Yoshida (6), Batshuayi (1), Ritchie (1), Mkhitaryan (11)
WILDCARDS: HALL OF FAME
To honour the exceptional diamonds in the rough, below is a a Hall of Fame highlighting the top performing differentials in our Weekly Wildcards series, now into its third season.
2015/16: Top 5 Wildcards
1 - Troy Deeney (WAT): 15 appearances, 77 points
2 - Christian Fuchs (LEI): 10 appearances, 48 points
3 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA): 6 appearances, 43 points
4 - Nicolas Otamendi (MCI): 9 appearances, 39 points
5 - Daniel Sturridge (LIV): 5 appearances, 38 points
2016/17: Top 5 Wildcards
1 - Marcos Alonso (CHE): 9 appearances, 70 points
2 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA): 8 appearances, 62 points
3 - Patrick van Aanholt (SUN & CRY): 6 appearances, 55 points
4 - Troy Deeney (WAT): 13 appearances, 47 points
5 - Gini Wijnaldum (LIV): 10 appearances, 45 points
FPL DREAM TEAM: 2017/18 ANALYSIS
Each week we assess the FPL's overall Dream Team, pinpointing who were classified as differentials or non-differentials, and which category of player is appearing more for each Gameweek.
2017/18 Gameweek Dream Team's
GW1: 131pts (8/11 differentials)
Gameweek 1: Dream Team
Wildcards: Lossl, Hegazi, Davies, Zanka, Mkhitaryan, Xhaka, Vokes, Vardy
Non Wildcards: Salah, Eriksen, Lukaku
Points achieved by Wildcards: 95pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 36pts
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.
Gameweek Two: Differentials
Back for a second week, our Gameweek 1 differentials, as it has been in the past, have an indifferent opening to the season. With three player returns and Steve Mounie's brilliant Gameweek 1 at the helm last week, ahead of Gameweek 2 there were some tough decisions to be made in particular fixtures. Each week we'll be posting our wildcard team, which managed a good 65 points for Gameweek 1, a score that could've been dramatically improved had somebody who wasn't Josh King take the armband, and we stuck faith with Ben Davies in the starting line-up.
FPL Differential Selections: Gameweek 2
SWA/MUN: Phil Jones (MUN, DEF, £5.0mil, 1.4% ownership)
BOU/WAT: Josh King (BOU, FWD, £7.5mil, 5.8% ownership)
BUR/WBA: Stephen Ward (BUR, DEF, £4.5mil, 4.0% ownership)
LEI/BRI: Christian Fuchs (LEI, DEF, £5.0mil, 4.1% ownership)
LIV/CRY: Georginio Wijnaldum (LIV, MID, £7.0mil, 6.7% ownership)
SOU/WHU: Maya Yoshida (SOU, DEF, £5.0mil, 1.8% ownership)
STK/ARS: Jack Butland (STK, GK, £5.0mil, 2.3% ownership)
HUD/NEW: Steve Mounie (HUD, FWD, £6.0mil, 3.0% ownership)
TOT/CHE: Ben Davies (TOT, DEF, £5.5mil, 7.3% ownership)
MCI/EVE: Ederson (MCI, GK, £5.5mil, 4.7% ownership)
Gameweek 1 was devoid of Goalkeeper's in our differentials article, and perhaps wisely so. Only 4 keeper's who are classified as a differential kept a clean sheet (Fabianski, Forster, Ederson, and Lossl), with the 4 remaining clean sheets coming from shot stoppers with 10.0% plus player ownership.
We've doubled down on Goalkeepers for Gameweek 2, with Man City keeper Ederson the first inclusion. The Brazilian had the easiest game of the season away at a goal-shy Brighton, making just the two saves, and never looking in relative trouble, which is alien for a Man City defence that has a combustible, and often unreliable defensive. Everton will offer a stern test for City's credentials, but aside from Wayne Rooney, the club lacks goal scoring outlets and we can see the Merseyside club struggling to efforts on goal, which once again might benefit City's defenders.
Our second Goalkeeper inclusion is Stoke's Jack Butland, whose side either thrive or fall against Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side. Stoke have a decent home record against Arsenal, though the Gunners beat Mark Hughes's side away from home last season. Stoke were compact away at Everton and may limit Arsenal to few goal scoring opportunities. Butland has been a solid FPL differential ever since arriving in the Premier League, and starved of options from both sides, the England international gets the nod for the second Gameweek of the season.
Half of our selections ahead of Gameweek 2 are defensive ones. There was great opening games for Burnley's Stephen Ward and Spurs's Ben Davies, which puts them at the front of the queue for differential selection this week. With Burnley at home for the first time this season, and Ward coming off a superb goal at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, it is only right that the full-back earns his recognition this week, with a chance to impress again against West Brom. As for Ben Davies, it is now back-to-back goals in the Premier League for the left-back, who struck against Newcastle, and verses Hull in the final game of last season. With Chelsea coming to Wembley for a showcase feature, Spurs's are looking in good form to keep up their defensive potential.
Next in line for consideration is two players at teams the majority of FPL bank on for clean sheets. Man United's Phil Jones offers great value at £5.0 million and alongside Eric Bailly looks a certain linchpin in the heart of United's defence. Tougher opposition will arrive after West Ham's 4-0 thumping at Old Trafford, but with Swansea up next for Mourinho's men, it could be another quiet afternoon for United's back four. Talking of West Ham, they visit Southampton next, with the South Coast club already registering their first clean sheet of the sheet. Relatively unharmed against Swansea, who completes the circle of four teams switching opposition for Gameweek 2, only one moment from loan Forward Tammy Abraham looked goal bound against a Saints rearguard that is unchanged from last season. Captain Maya Yoshida, is a lock for the squad and has even assumed from free-kick taking, coming the closest to unlocking a goal for a deeply frustrated home side that registered 29 shots on target at Fabianski's goal.
The fifth selection for this week is a player with no FPL introduction necessary. Leicester's Christian Fuchs is a bonus points magnet and is once again playing left-back, after rotating much of the second half of the season in centre-back due to injuries and suspensions to Huth and Morgan. With Brighton's first away trip in the Premier League, at the home of the former Champions nonetheless, we fancy Leicester to keep Brighton from a first and historic strike in the Premier League. If that is to be the case, Fuchs is going to register well for Gameweek 2.
The sole midfielder for selection for Gameweek 2 is Liverpool's Gini Wijnaldum, back on home turf for the first time this season in domestic competition. As you can see in our Hall of Fame, Wijnaldum's home performances last season earned him a spot in our top five differentials last season, and we're keeping up that trend to start the season. All 6 of Wijnaldum's goal came at Anfield last season, with the Dutch international given more licence to roam forward into the opposition's penalty area. Gini is a dangerous outlet, making late bursts into the box, and is a capable finisher with his feet or his head. With a soft-looking Crystal Palace riding into town, one without danger man Wilf Zaha, it could be a long afternoon for travelling Crystal Palace fans.
Gameweek 1's differentials were top heavy, with a lot of midfield and forward selections, but there are just the two for Gameweek 2, and both have their places retained from last week. Keeping faith with Bournemouth's Josh King, the Cherries were the first team this season to be remembered of West Brom's defensive prowess, but with King an important player from an FPL perspective, it is only right to keep faith for a first home game of the season against Watford, a team that leaked 3 goals against Liverpool on the opening weekend. Still on penalties, and potentially paired with Jermain Defoe for the first time this season, King could give a sharp reminder why he's still Fantasy royalty before a bout of difficult fixtures which the Norway international thrived in last season.
Our second forward is Huddersfield's Steve Mounie, who took the FPL by storm with a brace against Crystal Palace on the opening day. The Hype Train has selected two key differentials this week, one is in-form striker Steve Mounie, and the other is revered left-back Christian Fuchs who makes his debut in our differential picks for the season.
Key Differential: Steve Mounie (HUD)
After hitting the ground running in his first Premier League game, the Benin international Steve Mounie has caught the eye of the FPL community after ripping a hole through the Crystal Palace defence. Not only did we see a perfectly timed header, it was followed up by a powerful strike which showcased his pedigree as a class striker. Huddersfield run rampant over the Eagles, and now the Terriers host their first Premier League game on home soil, and their opponents are familiar opposition from last season in the form of Rafa's Newcastle. The contrast of the two clubs starts to the new season is stark, Huddersfield had it all together, and the Toon fell apart after Jonjo Shelvey announced himself as the first clown of the new season. The impressive feat of Huddersfield was that they demonstrated a bit of everything against Palace, they had a steady defence, capable wingers, a ball playing midfielder in the form of Australian sensation Aaron Mooy, a goalkeeper who is good with his hands, and a presence up front with Mounie. It is early on, but you wouldn't want to bet against the Terriers causing Newcastle even more woes, and if the first gameweek was anything to go by then Mounie will love playing against the injury ravaged defence of Newcastle United.
Key Differentials: Christian Fuchs (LEI)
Leicester surprised a few people when they took the lead twice against Arsenal, but they were unlucky to not come away with a result after conceding two late goals of real quality from Ramsey and Giroud. Moving into their first home game of the season, the former Premier League champions entertain Brighton who come away from a long afternoon against title hopefuls Man City. Careful watchers will have noticed that Brighton play like Burnley of last season, they keep it tight, and they hit on the break, this is both encouraging for home ties, but away from home it could be squad that likes to sit at the edge of their box for ninety minutes. Enter Christian Fuchs, left-back extraordinaire who loves a long throw, and a long time differential favourite here at The Hype Train. The Foxes should have no problem in this fixture, the early warning signs are there for Brighton that it will be a long season with few goals, mostly because they don't have many reliable goal scorers in their team which is why Chris Houghton has been desperate to add a quality striker to their ranks in this transfer market. Fuchs loves attracting bonus points, is on set-pieces, and is excellent value in this fixture against newly promoted Brighton.
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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.
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