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 (GW2)
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 2 Average Points: 44 points
Gameweek 2 Wildcard Points: 40 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: GW2 - 40pts, 4 player returns
Worst Wildcard Week: GW1 - 36pts, 3 player returns
Average Points: 58 (1), 44 (2) = 102pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1), 40 (2) = 76pts
Best Gamweek Wildcard Player(s)
GW1: Steve Mounie (Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield) - 12pts
GW2: Jack Butland (Stoke vs. Arsenal) - 11pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
2 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
2 - Jack Butland (STK): 11pts (GW2)
4 - Maya Yoshida (SOU): 6pts (GW1)
4 - Christian Fuchs (LEI): 6pts (GW2)
4 - Phil Jones (MUN): 6pts (GW2)
8 - Maya Yoshida (SOU): 5pts (GW2)
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)
GW2: 40 points, 4 player returns
Phil Jones (6), Josh King (2), Stephen Ward (2), Fuchs (6), Wijnaldum (3), Yoshida (5), Butland (11), Mounie (1), Ben Davies (2), Ederson (2)
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)
GW2: 136pts (7/11 differentials)
Gameweek 2: Dream Team
Wildcards: Butland, Maguire, Schindler, Richarlison, Mahrez, Mooy, Jese
Non Wildcards: Alonso, Bailly, Pogba, Chicharito
Points achieved by Wildcards: 77pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 59pts
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.
FPL Differential Selections: Gameweek 3
BOU/MCI: Danilo (MCI, DEF, £5.5mil, 4.6% ownership)
CRY/SWA: Christian Benteke (CRY, FWD, £7.9mil, 7.0% ownership)
HUD/SOU: Jonas Lossl (HUD, GK, £4.5mil, 4.4% ownership)
NEW/WHU: Michail Antonio (WHU, MID, £7.5mil, 0.4% ownership)
WAT/BRI: Richarlison (WAT, MID, £6.0mil, 2.0% ownership)
MUN/LEI: Daley Blind (MUN, DEF, £5.5mil, 2.8% ownership)
CHE/EVE: Alvaro Morata (CHE, FWD, £10.0mil, 8.2% ownership)
WBA/STK: Allan Nyom (WBA, DEF, £5.0mil, 0.9% ownership)
LIV/ARS: Georginio Wijnaldum (LIV, MID, £7.0mil, 5.9% ownership)
TOT/BUR: Kieran Trippier (TOT, DEF, £5.4mil, 2.8% ownership)
One week before the international break and we are already over the first hurdle of the new season, but we aren't done just yet with ten key differentials to consider for your fantasy team in Gameweek three.
Goalkeepers (1/10): Jonas Lossl (HUD)
Only one goalkeeper was selected this week in the differentials, and that man is Jonas Lossl who has joined on loan from the Bundesliga. Filling the boots of the impressive Danny Ward, the new keeper has kept two clean sheets out of two for the Terriers, and at the bargain price of £4.5mil in the FPL he could be a real investment for your team, especially in the draft mode as well. Jonas have been making saves and picking up bonus points as well, so there is plenty of potential for big game weeks if Huddersfield perform. We would have opted for Mooy or Mounie in this match, but both teams will be battling, so it is more likely that there will be few goals or none in this match, than a free scoring exhibition. Lossl is safe hands in this form.
Defenders (4/10): Danilo (MCI), Daley Blind (MUN), Allan Nyom (WBA), Kieran Trippier (TOT)
Four defenders are selected this week in obvious fixtures. Bournemouth have been lethargic to start the season which will suit Danilo fine, he'll be at right-back instead of Walker this week, or if Mendy isn't fit then it'll be Sterling on the right and Danilo on the left. Either way, the Brazilian has a place in the team and you fancy Man City's chances against a struggling Cherries who haven't found their rhythm yet this season. On the other side of Manchester, you have the Red Devils pulling out two victories by four goals, and two clean sheets, putting them top of the Premier League. A visiting Leicester only should be reminded about last season’s score, and Man United's current form to shudder at a potential repeat when this week’s differential pick Daley Blind returns to haunt the Foxes from set-piece situations. West Brom and Spurs round off the clean sheet potential this week with Nyom and Trippier the core considerations, and namely Trippier facing his old club Burnley could be an interesting watch as the Clarets venture to Wembley on what will be a rare and special appearance for the whole club. The result may not reflect that, it's still Spurs.
Just for reference if you are looking at bringing in Allan Nyom here are the last five Premier League results between West Brom and Stoke City, with the Baggies undefeated in their last five and keeping three clean sheets in singe goal victories:
14th March 2015: West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Stoke City
29th August 2015: Stoke City 0-1 West Bromwich Albion
2nd January 2016: West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Stoke City
24th September 2016: Stoke City 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
4th February 2017: West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Stoke City
Midfielders: Michail Antonio (WHU), Richarlison (WAT), Georginio Wijnaldum (LIV)
Picking your midfield in this year’s FPL has been the biggest change to the season, with so many premium options the question of where to hedge your bets in midfield is anyone's guess. Outside of the high priced premium picks there are a wealth of players that could fill the void if you are looking to have a more radical look midfield. One player who really stole the show as a low-priced differential was West Ham winger Antonio who was still an asset even when playing at right-back. The England international returned from injury for GW2 and picked up an assist on his return, and whilst most of the FPL have their attention turned elsewhere you may have forgotten that the Hammers travel to out-of-form Newcastle who look resided to keep conceding. Antonio on his day was a mainstay in a lot of teams, and his return could see a boost to the Hammers attacking potential, especially for assists if you have Javier Hernandez lurking in the box.
We've talked more about Richarlison and Wijnaldum in the latter section of this article.
Forwards (2/10): Christian Benteke (CRY), Alvaro Morata (CHE)
Two forwards are selected this week, with Chelsea's Alvaro Morata also our differential captain. The Blues forwards has finally got his first league start and will look to add to his impressive display against Spurs with another against Everton (who come off playing in Europe on Thursday). The Spaniard's low selection percentage is due to the uncertainty of his current role at Chelsea with Conte stating that Morata is still a work in progress. Leaving Real Madrid was due to his ambition for more minutes on the pitch as the leading man, and surely, he will get an extended run of games to settle him into the squad. Morata has impressed, and could be why Everton find it difficult to contain Chelsea at the weekend.
The second elected forward is Christian Benteke, the powerful striker who recently failed at adding to his goal tally at Anfield against Liverpool. Crystal Palace looked more pleasing to the eye and more compact, going back to their trick of long balls into Benteke which suits his style of play. Something has to go right for Palace at one point, and because they have failed so far it wouldn't be surprising to see the Eagles rectify their past two losses with a result against Swansea of whom have been in equally poor form themselves. Benteke is still the main man and threat in the box.
Key Differential: Georginio Wijnaldum (LIV)
Liverpool are currently undefeated in all four competitive fixtures this season:
Watford 3-3 Liverpool
Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool
Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace
Liverpool 4-2 Hoffenheim
Gini Wijnaldum played in all those games, he is a crucial element to the Liverpool formula and has been unlucky not to be on the score sheet in all of them games. The Gini is a huge asset for games at Anfield, all of his Premier League goals have come at home, and in this fixture against the Gunners it was Wijnaldum's goal that put the cherry on top of a comfortable Liverpool win. Arsenal are themselves going through a bit of a struggle, they look defensively vulnerable against lesser attacks than Liverpool’s. Leicester and Stoke made life unbearable for the Arsene Wenger's defence which is total shambles of late. Two left-backs are playing in the middle, Hector Bellerin is playing left wing-back, and the Ox playing right wing-back. And of the three central defenders it is Monreal who is anchoring the middle. In a nutshell, it has been a total mess. Playing against a Liverpool team who have already scored ten goals in four games, and not losing in the process, it will be another long afternoon for the Gunners who must be praying for a miracle. Wijnaldum is the fulcrum to this Liverpool team, the tactical box-to-box midfielder who can dictate play, and we expect that Liverpool's magical Gini can grant them even more wishes against Arsenal.
Liverpool are in a 'good way', as Klopp would say.
Key Differential: Richarlison (WAT)
'Differentials' is a terrifying word for most fantasy managers, it invites them into the unknown and questions what they know about the FPL, and when fresh players like Richarlison enter the fray it only questions their belief in existing players. Two weeks in and new Watford signing Richarlison has been the real deal. The Brazilian was subbed in during the Liverpool game after Roberto Pereyra was taken off due to injury, and since then he has been right in the mix of fantasy points. Assisting a goal against Liverpool, then scoring against Bournemouth, marked the introduction to a true differential. Watford have four points when nobody expected them to have any, and even in our forecast picks the Hornets were heavily selected to be relegated come the end of the season. Marco Silva is a manager who demands effort, his tactic is to get in opposition faces and wants wide players to make a nuisance of defenders by sticking close, allowing central players to work their magic. Richarlison has caused trouble, just ask Klopp or Howe about his physical presence. Many people may regret their prediction about Watford, and with Marco Silva at the helm they might uspet a few people who banked on them dropping back down to the Championship.
Richarlison has blindsided the FPL, and with Brighton visiting this weekend it could be another electric Watford performance. Brighton are struggling, and they look like they aren't going to tighten things up or score goals. Brighton have been exposed from mistakes in their own box and as we saw against Bournemouth in GW2 then we know the man to be there for Watford will be the Brazilian, Richarlison. He has the qualities to be a terrific addition to the Premier League, and a mainstay in the Watford team. Richarlison will only get better, and right now he is the definition of a differential that can make a difference in your teams.
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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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