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 (GW3)
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 3 Average Points: 43 points
Gameweek 3 Wildcard Points: 48 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: GW3 - 48pts, 5 player returns
Worst Wildcard Week: GW1 - 36pts, 3 player returns
Average Points: 58 (1), 44 (2), 43 (3) = 145pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1), 40 (2), 48 (3) = 124pts
Best Gamweek Wildcard Player(s)
GW1: Steve Mounie (Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield) - 12pts
GW2: Jack Butland (Stoke vs. Arsenal) - 11pts
GW3: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea vs. Everton) - 12pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
1 - Alvaro Morata (CHE): 12pts (GW3)
3 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
3 - Jack Butland (STK): 11pts (GW2)
5 - Allan Nyom (WBA): 8pts (GW5)
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)
GW3: 48 points, 5 returns
Danilo (5), Benteke (1), Lossl (6), Antonio (2), Richarlison (3), Blind (6), Morata (12), Nyom (8), Wijnaldum (3), Trippier (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)
GW3: 121pts (8/11 differentials)
Gameweek 3: Dream Team
Wildcards: Forster, Clark, Naughton, Gomez, Mbemba, Duffy, Fabregas, Morata
Non Wildcards: Salah, Alli, Firmino
Points achieved by Wildcards: 89pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 32pts
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.
Weekly Wildcards: Differentials (GW4)
The long and lonely international break has finally passed and the FPL community is gearing up for a return to action, and what better way to return than an exciting encounter between Man City and Liverpool. Many players will have played their wildcard by now, undoubtedly a lot of teams will feel let down by their old crop of players. We are tailoring this edition of the differentials to try and fit in as many value options to consider for your new teams, as you try and play fantasy Tetris with your limited budget.
MCI/LIV: Emre Can (LIV, MID, £5.0mil, 7.3% ownership)
LEI/CHE: Victor Moses (CHE, DEF, £6.5mil, 0.9% ownership)
EVE/TOT: Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE, MID, £8.5mil, 5.1% ownership)
STK/MUN: Phil Jones (MUN, DEF, £5.1mil, 4.9% ownership)
ARS/BOU: Alexis Sanchez (ARS, MID, £11.9mil, 2.4% ownership)
SOU/WAT: Maya Yoshida (SOU, DEF, £5.0mil, 2.6% ownership)
BRI/WBA: Anthony Knockaert (BRI, MID, £5.9mil, 1.3% ownership)
BUR/CRY: Stephen Ward (BUR, DEF, £4.5mil, 4.2% ownership)
SWA/NEW: Tammy Abraham (SWA, FWD, £5.5mil, 3.1% ownership)
WHU/HUD: Steve Mounie (HUD, FWD, £6.1mil, 4.9% ownership)
No goalkeepers were selected this week in our differentials, we feel there is a better range of defenders that will make more of an impact. If you were to consider a differential option in goal then you should opt for Jack Butland who might make a series of saves against Man United, or Tom Heaton who has recently become a differential, he captains Burnley against a struggling Crystal Palace who make the trip up north in what could be a defining match for new manager Frank De Boer.
Defenders: Stephen Ward (BUR), Phil Jones (MUN), Maya Yoshida (SOU), Victor Moses (CHE)
Consistency is core to your defence, you don't want to be chopping and changing your defenders if there are more points to be had in your midfield and attack. Plenty of you will be playing your wildcard to freshen things up, get in players with good fixtures ahead of them. Southampton's Maya Yoshida, and Man United's Phil Jones are two value options for your team, and playing every minute for their respective clubs. Yoshida is even on some set pieces and a target man for set pieces, and like Phil Jones they attract plenty of bonus points. We have stuck faith with this pairing because they are essential differentials options with great fixtures ahead of them, you wouldn't need to rotate them out of your team and they are part of established Premier League defences.
Another defender we are sticking faith with is the in-form left-back Stephen Ward of Burnley, who have an intriguing run of home fixtures starting with Crystal Palace this weekend. The full-back has been in good form, scoring goals, and also picking up lots of bonus points for the Clarets. The Eagles have had their wings clipped and unless there is a dramatic overturn or fortune, which is very unlikely at the moment, then this should be a comfortable fixture for Burnley to kick-start their season as Turf Moor where they were bulletproof last season. The last defender in our differential ranks this week is Victor Moses of Chelsea, whose ownership is so low due to two facts; one is the hefty price tag of £6.5mil, and the other being his early season suspension. Moses is an attacking full-back, and since his move to defence is a legitimate option to consider. Chelsea still can't be discounted in any respect against Leicester, they are finding their feet again and scoring goals and keeping clean sheets in the process, and the wing backs of Alonso and Moses are crucial to that success.
Midfielders: Emre Can (LIV), Anthony Knockaert (BHA), Alexis Sanchez (ARS), Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE)
The four-man midfield we have selected is going for goals this weekend, and we kick off with Liverpool's Emre Can who has become a real force in the midfield three for Liverpool since the beginning of the season. Pushed forward as a box-to-box midfielder the German has become a key player for the Reds since Coutinho's mysterious back injury, and has come up with crucial goals in Liverpool's Champions League playoff rounds against Hoffenheim. We don't fancy the chances of Gini Wijnaldum away from home, but we think that Can (who is priced at a measly £5.0mil) could be a real coup for FPL managers as the Reds tend to do better against top six teams. Elsewhere in the goal department Brighton are looking for their first Premier League goal, and with West Brom coming to town the long wait could be over, and Anthony Knockaert has been restored to the team after injury, he looked most likely to break the dry spell against Watford, and eventually Brighton must score, and we are pinning our bets on the Championship's player of the season to give them the ecstasy of their first goal.
Moving our attention to Merseyside we are looking at Everton's record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson to avenge himself against his former club. The Icelander tends to perform against better opposition, and with set piece deliveries likely to be the route past the Spurs defence we look no further than Sigurdsson to do the business in Everton's attack. There have been a lot of question marks over Gylfi due to his move, but with a confirmed place in the Toffees starting eleven FPL managers will be hoping that he lives up to his price tag. The Hype Train welcomes back a true differential king in Sigurdsson, and it is worth noting there is an inherent lack of Spurs differentials to pick from. The final note we make about Sigurdsson is that Spurs haven't won their last two games, so it could be a competitive fixture at Goodison this weekend, so don't rule out Everton's chances in the battle of the former Southampton managers.
We have discussed Alexis Sanchez in more depth later in this article, we believe his differential status needs a proper look ahead of Bournemouth's trip to the Emirates.
Forwards: Steve Mounie (HUD), Tammy Abraham (SWA)
Two forwards have been selected to round off our team with week, and we focus on two strikers who face teams at the lower reaches of the Premier League table. Steve Mounie of Huddersfield is first up as the Terriers make the trip to the quiet London Stadium to face the under scrutiny West Ham. Having not conceded a single goal, and also having Aaron Mooy available after an injury scare in pre-season, the expectation for David Wagner is to continue their good form and add more misery to the start of the Hammers season. Steve Mounie is the perfect kind of striker to empty the London Stadium, he is imposing, quick, and in the mold of Romelu Lukaku that knows how to terrorise the London club. West Ham aren't fairing with crosses into the box, so expect Mounie to be a pivotal focal point of Huddersfield's attack, especially with Aaron Mooy dictating play from midfield.
Speaking of strikers coming into their own, Swansea City's Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, has notched his first strike of the season in the last gameweek and visiting the Liberty Stadium this week is under fire Newcastle. The Englishman scored a striker’s goal against Crystal Palace to dampen the mood at Selhurst Park before the international break, and at The Hype Train we were discussing the potential irony of one of Rafa Benitez's top transfer targets punctuating a poor transfer window for the Toon if Abraham scores against them this gameweek. Newcastle are now without Mitrovic, and potentially makeshift left-back Mbemba, and with Jordan Ayew a doubt for the Swans it means that Abraham is an even better option. Abraham ticks all the boxes: momentum going into the gameweek, home fixture, value price, weakened opposition defence, and other strikers in his team major doubts. The long trip down to Wales might be even longer for the Toon on the pitch, and we don't expect Rafa to be making many more journeys with Newcastle if they don't start picking up consistent results.
Key Differential: Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean has been nominated as our key differential this week, and Sanchez is a no-brainer when you consider why. We start with his lack of any ownership, and due to his record price the only players left with him in their teams will most likely be dead accounts who haven't touched their teams since choosing their teams. Doubt about his future and commitment to Arsenal, and a combination of Arsenal's lack of form and general uncertainty of manager Arsene Wenger has meant fantasy managers would rather place their eggs into other baskets. Liverpool, Spurs, and Man United all have options in midfield who have hit the ground running, so it is understandable why you wouldn't want to waste your time investing in this year’s most expensive midfielder. The FPL community has gifted us a master differential, and with the overall question marks surrounding Arsenal Alexis Sanchez is the epitome of a game changing differential. Sooner rather than later Arsenal will pick up a positive result, and Sanchez is the type of player who will want to play regardless of the situation, his hunger for football is unequalled. The Chilean has even rushed back from injury not to miss a second of action, and with a World Cup fast approaching he won't want to drop off.
Alexis will leave at the end of his contract, and after recent comments made by him he wants to see if Wenger will surprise everyone and pull a result out of the old proverbial hat now the international break is over. Sanchez is still a top-quality player, and it isn't like Bournemouth pose a similar threat to Liverpool who run circles round them. Eventually, something has to tip in Arsenal's favour, and Wenger knows how to navigate clubs lower down the table, and if they don't pick up results against teams like Bournemouth then they are in a real crisis. Losing to Liverpool isn't the end of the world, but it could be a reactionary week for Arsenal with Sanchez in firm contention to potentially blow the Cherries out of the water. We all know what Sanchez can do, and if you're brave and put your faith in Sanchez you could be ahead of the curve with a differential we couldn't ignore this gameweek.
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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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