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 (GW6)
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 6 Average Points: 60 points
Gameweek 6 Wildcard Points: 37 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), 58 (5), 60 (6) = 307pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1), 40 (2), 48 (3), 21 (4), 44 (5), 37 (6) = 226pts
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
GW5: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle vs. Stoke) - 8pts
GW6: Philippe Coutinho (Leicester vs. Liverpool) - 13pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW6)
2 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
2 - Alvaro Morata (CHE): 12pts (GW3)
4 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
4 - Jack Butland (STK): 11pts (GW2)
6 - Phil Jones (MUN): 9pts (GW6)
7 - Allan Nyom (WBA): 8pts (GW3)
7 - Stephen Ward (BUR): 8pts (GW4)
7 - Jamaal Lascelles (NEW): 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)
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)
GW5: 44 points, 6 returns
Gross (7), Forster (7), Mahrez (2), Emre Can (4), Lascelles (8), Mendy (6), Nyom (1), Trippier (6), Hazard (1), Rashford (2)
GW6: 37 points, 3 returns
Davinson Sanchez (1), Wood (2), Defoe (2), Mendy (0), Phil Jones (9), Cahill (1), Fabianski (1), Coutinho (13), Ritchie (2), Ramsey (6)
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 Differentials
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 Diffferentials
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)
GW5: 133pts (6/11 differentials)
GW6: 137pts (6/11 differentials)
Gameweek 6: Dream Team
Wildcards: Ryan, Schindler, Jones, Sane, Sterling, Coutinho
Non Wildcards: Azpilicueta, David Silva, Kane, Morata, Lacazette
Points achieved by Wildcards: 69pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 68pts
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 7
An even spread of different options this week, in a 1-3-3-3 formation worthy of goals this weekend.
HUD/TOT: Davinson Sanchez (TOT, DEF, £6.0mil, 0.3% ownership)
BOU/LEI: Josh King (BOU, FWD, £7.2mil, 2.2% ownership)
MUN/CRY: Marcus Rashford (FWD, £7.6mil, 7.5% ownership)
STK/SOU: Jack Butland (STK, GK, £5.0mil, 3.8% ownership)
WBA/WAT: Kiko Femenia (WAT, DEF, £4.5mil, 4.6% ownership)
WHU/SWA: Kyle Naughton (SWA, DEF, £4.6mil, 6.0% ownership)
CHE/MCI: Pedro (CHE, MID, £7.9mil, 1.5% ownership)
ARS/BHA: Alexis Sanchez (ARS, MID, £11.9mil, 2.4% ownership)
EVE/BUR: Oumar Niasse (EVE, FWD, £5.0mil, 1.0% ownership)
NEW/LIV: Philippe Coutinho (LIV, MID, £8.9mil, 5.3% ownership)
Jack Butland (STK)
We have no idea what is going to happen in Southampton’s visit of Stoke, it could be anything after a defeat for both sides in Gameweek 6 to Man United and Chelsea respectively, but most likely a Saints team who are struggling for goals might make it easy for the Potters keeper Jack Butland adding to his good start to the season.
Davinson Sanchez (TOT), Kiko Femenia (WAT), and Kyle Naughton (SWA)
Three defenders this week, and Davinson Sanchez is getting a second crack at the whip in the differentials. Huddersfield have had their wheels fallen off in recent weeks, and Spurs are picking up motion, especially away from home. The Colombian has slotted right into the heart of defence and will surely be excellent value against a team without their star striker. Meanwhile, Kyle Naughton has the chance of four consecutive away clean sheets against West Ham, the right-back is a value option and offers returns at both ends of the pitch, so if you’re playing your wildcard he is a definite consideration moving forward.
Lastly, we have Kiko Femenia who is in decent shape to make an impact for Marco Silva’s surging Watford squad. Three factors that give us hope that Femenia will provide a return consist of:
Watford have collected 9/9 points on their travels so far, wins over Bournemouth, Southampton, and Swansea.
Watford’s only loss came at home to Man City.
Watford have two of their games 2-0 away from home, and have scored two in every away fixture.
Alexis Sanchez (ARS), Pedro (CHE), and Philippe Coutinho (LIV).
Three in-form midfielders are selected this week, the first two need no introduction: Coutinho, and Sanchez. Arsenal and Liverpool are playing promoted teams they should both claim victory, Coutinho and Sanchez should have huge potential for returns against Newcastle and Brighton. We don’t need to sell them anymore.
Pedro is a big differential, and we think he’ll shake off his knock in time to face the visiting Man City. The only reason we aren’t backing the German, Leroy Sane, is that the winger is predominantly playing home games for City, and coming off the bench for away games.
Potential wildcards for Chelsea versus Manchester City:
John Stones (MCI, DEF, £5.5mil, 6.9% ownership)
Ederson (MCI, GK, £5.5mil, 4.0% ownership)
Andreas Christensen (CHE, DEF, £5.5mil, 0.2% ownership)
Antonio Rudiger (CHE, DEF, £5.9mil, 2.1% ownership)
Victor Moses (CHE, DEF, £6.5mil, 1.0% ownership)
Eden Hazard (CHE, MID, £10.5mil, 2.9% ownership)
Cesc Fabregas (CHE, MID, £6.9mil, 5.7% ownership)
Pedro (CHE, MID, £7.9mil, 1.5% ownership)
It will be interesting to see how many points come out of this fixture, and within the team at The Hype Train it is one of the hardest games of the season to predict, but goals on both sides are usually a major factor. Everyone as a result a bigger differential as they come with elevated risk due to their price.
Oumar Niasse (EVE), Marcus Rashford (MUN), and Josh King (BOU)
We are backing goals this week in the differentials with three forwards, and up first is Marcus Rashford. This is an easy one, the Red Devils opposition are the goalless Crystal Palace. Originally, we selected Phil Jones due to the assumption the record would continue, and it being Man United, but now with news of Jones being injured we have opted instead for returns on the other side of the pitch.
Next up is the FPL’s prodigal son Josh King, who returned in fine fashion after netting a perfectly timed goal against the struggling Everton (that was before Niasse stepped onto the pitch). Bournemouth are fighting their way back into scoring form and Bournemouth’s record against Leicester is surprisingly impressive. Considerations for Leicester versus Bournemouth:
Leicester never beaten them in PL, even during the title winning year.
In their four Premier League fixtures neither team has scored two goals.
Both teams lost in GW6, so it could be a case of both teams cancelling each other out, or going into a goal frenzy. We are hoping the latter
Speaking of Niasse, we have gone into detail on the return of Oumar Niasse later in the article.
Key Differential: Alexis Sanchez (ARS)
Arsene Wenger confirmed that Welbeck starts over Sanchez if he is fit, now fortunately for Sanchez the England international is always injured and struggling for fitness, and on the cusp of the seventh Gameweek of the season Welbeck looks likely to continue recovery on his latest injury, freeing up the Chilean to start a consecutive league game after his appearance against West Brom.
During the 2-0 home victory over West Brom, it was clear just how much Arsenal missed Sanchez; he linked up play, had defenders stepping back, and he also made the assist for Lacazette's first goal from a free kick that rebounded off the bar. Undoubtedly, Sanchez is still Arsenal's best attacking option and should be playing every game.
Up next for the Gunners is Brighton, and this is the type of fixture that Arsene's team thrive in picking up easy wins. Sanchez. Despite not being on penalty kick duty, there is still value in Sanchez being on free kicks and other set pieces. Lacazette may not get the ninety minutes which leaves Sanchez to mop up any penalty opportunities if the Frenchman is off the pitch.
The other notable differential you could select from Arsenal is Laurent Koscielny:
Laurent Koscielny (ARS, DEF, £6.0mil, 1.1% ownership)
Key Differential: Oumar Niasse (EVE)
If you have followed our differentials from last season you will know of our admiration for Everton forward Oumar Niasse, and last season when he was at Hull City he was one of their best budget attacking options, and in the latter half of the year a great differential to have in your fantasy team.
The second Niasse stepped onto the pitch to make his league return for the Toffees the whole team were a far cry of the Everton team that had Wayne Rooney up top just weeks ago. Niasse worked hard, run into channels, challenged for the ball, held it up, allowed others into play; and in forty-four minutes he showed Ronald Koeman what a real strikers performance looked like, something that Everton hadn't seen unless it was analysing their opposition.
Capped with two goals against Bournemouth, the first an instinctive screamer, and the second a well fought header, Niasse announced his intent on fighting for a place in the Everton team as their leading man. Koeman didn't register Niasse in the Toffees Europa League squad which means he will be a fresh face for the league game against Burnley at the weekend, and after the performance he put in against Bournemouth he might be the most unlikely source of Everton's goals this season.
Considering Niasse didn't even have a locker at the clubs training ground, if we were Ronald Koeman we'd be personally etching the name of Niasse into the first locker we could get our hands on.
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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.
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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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