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 (GW4)
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 4 Average Points: 44 points
Gameweek 4 Wildcard Points: 21 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: GW4 - 21pts, 1 player return
Average Points: 58 (1), 44 (2), 43 (3), 44 (4) = 189pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1), 40 (2), 48 (3), 21 (4) = 145pts
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
GW4: Stephen Ward (Burnley vs. Crystal Palace) - 8pts
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 (GW3)
5 - Stephen Ward (BUR): 8pts (GW4)
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)
GW4: 21 points, 1 return
Emre Can (1), Moses (2), Sigurdsson (2), Phil Jones (1), Alexis Sanchez (1), Yoshida (0), Knockaert (2), Stephen Ward (8), Abraham (2), Mounie (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)
GW4: 146pts (7/11 differentials)
Gameweek 4: Dream Team
Wildcards: Lascelles, Kiko Femenia, Gross, Choupo-Moting, Sane, Obiang, Welbeck
Non Wildcards: Elliot, Davies, Kane, Jesus
Points achieved by Wildcards: 99pts
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.
Differentials: FPL Gameweek Five
A healthy selection of options is on the table ahead of Gameweek 5, with the latest edition of our weekly differentials featuring two recent PFA Player of the Year’s, in Riyad Mahrez, and Eden Hazard, who both enter this weekend’s round of games with a small FPL ownership, and fixtures to prove a point.
BOU/BRI: Pascal Groß (BRI, MID, £5.4mil, 2.2% ownership)
CRY/SOU: Fraser Forster (SOU, GK, £5.0mil, 8.0% ownership)
HUD/LEI: Riyad Mahrez (LEI, MID, £8.5mil, 5.2% ownership)
LIV/BUR: Emre Can (LIV, MID, £5.0mil, 7.4% ownership)
NEW/STK: Jamaal Lascelles (NEW, DEF, £4.5mil, 1.8% ownership)
WAT/MCI: Benjamin Mendy (MCI, DEF, £6.5mil, 1.1% ownership)
WBA/WHU: Allan Nyom (WBA, DEF, £5.0mil, 3.6% ownership)
TOT/SWA: Kieran Trippier (TOT, DEF, £5.4mil, 2.7% ownership)
CHE/ARS: Eden Hazard (CHE, MID, £10.5mil, 2.4% ownership)
MUN//EVE: Marcus Rashford (MUN, FWD, £7.5mil, 6.1% ownership)
Fraser Forster (SOU)
A goalkeeper graces the wildcards of Gameweek five, and this time it's Saint's titanic 'keeper Fraser Forster. Having not been convinced by Crystal Palace's announcement of Roy Hodgson we are predicting that things are about to get a lot worse. Currently, Palace aren't scoring goals, Benteke is a yellow card liability, and with the coach that led England out of the Euros after the nation’s most embarrassing defeat to Iceland it is a recipe for only more disappointment. The real winners are Southampton who can use this to springboard themselves into a good run of fixtures.
Jamaal Lascelles (NEW), Benjamin Mendy (MCI), Allan Nyom (WBA), Kieran Trippier (TOT)
Differential defenders are all the rage now, and we have four in the books this week which could strike big again. Newcastle are first up with a visit of Stoke, and their captain Jamaal Lascelles was the reason why they didn't lose by rushing back to prevent an easy goal by Tammy Abraham (who was our wildcard in the last game), and he also scored the winner for the Toon. Newcastle are picking up momentum, they aren't doing it in any spectacular fashion but that has always been the Rafa Benitez way.
Next up is Kieran Trippier who was rested during the Champions League fixture against Dortmund, leaving him in line to start against Swansea. Last year Spurs dominated Swansea in this fixture and after seeing their toothless performance against Newcastle it could be a good week for Spurs defenders.
Meanwhile, Allan Nyom returns to the differential list as West Brom entertain West Ham, a fixture that usually sees the Hammers bubble burst. West Brom can surprise you with a clean sheet at any given time, and we don't fancy West Ham to breach their defence. Don't let one game fool you, this one could be an ugly affair as Tony Pulis seeks a reaction for their loss to Brighton.
Benjamin Mendy has a full preview for Gameweek five further down the article.
Pascal Groß (BHA), Riyad Mahrez (LEI), Emre Can (LIV), Eden Hazard (CHE)
Four midfielders have been selected, and we start with former PFA Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez. Leicester are looking to keep open the fresh wounds of the Terriers after their crippling loss to West Ham, and one player of immense quality that usually thrives away from home is the Algerian Mahrez. Huddersfield and Leicester assets don't offer excellent value at the moment, so we are relying on a bit of magic from the winger to see us through this week.
Emre Can has the opportunity to score in consecutive games against Burnley in Liverpool's hosting of the Clarets, and the Reds will seek an immediate reaction to a horrifying loss against Man City with a strong home performance. Can has been a rock in the starting eleven for Klopp, and he might have that x-factor to add another goal to his tally against Burnley.
Speaking of tallies, we have seen Pascal Groß burst onto the scene as he was counting up fantasy returns once he was done carving open West Brom. The midfielder is playing as a second striker in Brighton's current formation which is great for FPL value, and with Bournemouth stuck in the mud it could be a frantic edition of the 'Coastline Clash Series' going on this year, so expect lots of goals on Friday night.
We have another former PFA Player of the Year in our differential ranks: Eden Hazard has a full preview for gameweek five further down the article. What a time to be alive.
Marcus Rashford (MUN)
One lucky forward makes the differentials this week, Man United's prodigal child, Marcus Rashford. The Englishman is fresh off scoring in his Champions League debut for the Red Devils and visiting Old Trafford are the struggling Everton, who come off a dreaded Thursday night Europa League fixture. Having three returns from four fixtures so far, this season Rashford is proving to be a reliable source of FPL points, and with the way that Everton defended against Spurs last week you would think that Rashford was worth his FPL asking price this week.
Key Differential: Benjamin Mendy (MCI)
One player who really burst onto the scene in Gameweek 4 was Man City's new left-back from Monaco, Benjamin Mendy. The world’s most expensive defender looks to have instantly settled into life at the Etihad, cementing his place in the starting eleven now that he is fit. The most impressive quality that Mendy possesses is that he looks to distribute the ball quickly, he doesn't hold it or wait too long, he aims for the striker and relies on his team mates to put away his chances.
Mendy is the wing-back of any team’s dreams, and we're sure that Aguero and Jesus will have reliable service all season with the Frenchman marching down the left flank. Coming off from an assist and clean sheet against Liverpool the Citizen's travel to Watford where they have an unbeaten record against the Hornets in the Premier League. Looking back, you'd have to go back to the 4th March 1989 for the last time Watford beat Man City in any competition, and it was in the English League Division Two when Man City weren't bankrolled by billionaires.
Out of the last four league fixtures between the two clubs Man City have kept three clean sheets, and scored eleven goals against Watford. Mendy could be easy points if the record continues.
Key Differential: Eden Hazard (CHE)
The Belgian has steadily made his return to the Chelsea fold after coming back from a prolonged injury, and the timing couldn't be any better for the Blues. Arsenal in a real awkward situation as they enter the Europa League group stage for the first time in Arsene Wenger's tenure at the North London club. The Gunners hosted FC Koln in a 3-1 victory in the Europa League at the Emirates, and it is very likely that against Chelsea they will capitulate once again at the hands of a rival top six team.
Chelsea also have the added advantage of playing from Tuesday to Sunday which means they will be fresh for their visit of Arsenal, giving more time to Conte to integrate Hazard back into the mix. We don't need to sell you on the benefits of Eden Hazard, he is one of the best players in the league, an FPL option when fit, and Chelsea's penalty taker. Arsenal are normally put to the sword by Hazard, and in recent history they get beaten heavily by the Blues.
Eden Hazard comes into the Gameweek as the most coveted differential we've had so far, and alongside fellow differential Alexis Sanchez it will be an interesting encounter on Sunday which could see Hazard announce his return to the FPL with a bang. Chelsea have won the last five encounters at Stamford Bridge, so we know who our money is on this Gameweek.
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