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 (GW8)
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 8 Average Points: 41 points
Gameweek 8 Wildcard Points: 43 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), 51 (7), 41 (8) = 399pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1), 40 (2), 48 (3), 21 (4), 44 (5), 37 (6), 41 (7), 43 (8) = 310pts
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
GW7: Philippe Coutinho (Newcastle vs. Liverpool) - 10pts
GW8: Raheem Sterling (Man City vs. Stoke) - 15pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Raheem Sterling (MCI): 15pts (GW8)
2 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW6)
3 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
3 - Alvaro Morata (CHE): 12pts (GW3)
5 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
5 - Jack Butland (STK): 11pts (GW2)
7 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 10pts (GW7)
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)
GW7: 41 points, 4 returns
Davinson Sanchez (6), Josh King (2), Rashford (9), Butland (2), Femenia (1), Naughton (2), Pedro (1), Alexis Sanchez (6), Niasse (2), Coutinho (10)
GW8: 43 points, 4 returns
Emre Can (3), Wood (7), Cahill (1), Sterling (15), Davinson Sanchez (6), Naughton (6), Alexis Sanchez (0), Sigurdsson (2), van Dijk (1), Schmeichel (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 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)
GW7: 138pts (6/11 differentials)
GW8: 119pts (9/11 differentials)
Gameweek 8: Dream Team
Wildcards: Hart, Gomez, Mertesacker, Trippier, Sterling, Cleverley, Chadli, Abraham, Gabbiadini
Non Wildcards: Eriksen, Jesus
Points achieved by Wildcards: 95pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 24pts
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 Nine: Differentials
European fixtures will no doubt cause grey hairs this weekend with rotation a possible factor of this gameweek, but we have a weighted formation of 2-4-1-3, perfect for the counter attack. Defensive options are the differential rage at the moment and this week there is potential galore for your fantasy teams. Normally we write formally about two key differentials, the only major differential this week is Eden Hazard.
WHU/BHA: Aaron Cresswell (WHU, DEF, £5.0mil, 1.2% ownership)
CHE/WAT: Eden Hazard (CHE, MID, £10.6mil, 4.6% ownership)
HUD/MUN: Marcus Rashford (MUN, FWD, £7.6mil, 9.1% ownership)
MCI/BUR: John Stones (MCI, DEF, £5.6mil, 8.7% ownership)
NEW/CRY: Joselu (NEW, FWD, £5.5mil, 1.4% ownership)
STK/BOU: Jack Butland (STK, GK, £5.0mil, 3.5% ownership)
SWA/LEI: Tammy Abraham (SWA, FWD, £5.7mil, 9.0% ownership)
SOU/WBA: Virgil van Dijk (SOU, DEF, £5.4mil, 1.5% ownership)
EVE/ARS: Jordan Pickford (EVE, GK, £5.0mil, 7.6% ownership)
TOT/LIV: Joe Gomez (LIV, DEF, £4.5mil, 2.1% ownership)
Jack Butland (STK), Jordan Pickford (EVE)
Of the two goalkeepers, both England internationals, the selection of Jack Butland was an easy one: Bournemouth are in a state of rot. Defensively vulnerable, and struggling to score goals, it is the perfect fixture to bank of Butland picking up points. Moving on, we debated the Super Sunday fixture between two clubs playing in Europe's second tier.
As for the fixture between Arsenal and Everton at Goodison we struggled picking a differential for a litany of reasons, including but not limited to:
1. Both teams playing in the Europa League
2. Inevitable quad rotations
3. Injuries to key men (Sanchez, for example)
4. Questionable defences for both teams.
5. Questionable forward lines for both teams.
6. Questionable goal scoring midfielders.
7. Key figures in both teams are not differentials, i.e. Rooney and Lacazette.
Since 2014 when looking at fixtures at Goodison Park between these two teams Everton have hosted Arsenal four times, winning two, drawing one, and losing the once. Arguably their record against the Gunners is decent at home, and when you mix in the fact that Arsenal have been woeful away from home this season the only sign of things to come could be that Everton are going to make it difficult for the North London club. So much that this match is so hard to call we are going with a certain starter, and hoping for more antics on ArsenalFanTV in Merseyside this weekend.
Jordan Pickford will start the game, could make some saves, and if Everton can hold their nerve against a team who struggle away from home, then Pickford is the perfect differential. On equal measure you could argue Petr Cech is in the same boat, but he has the unfortunate situation of playing for Arsenal in their current form away from home.
Placing a bet on this match is massively ill-advised.
Aaron Cresswell (WHU), John Stones (MCI), Virgil van Dijk (SOU), Joe Gomez (LIV)
Three of the four defenders selected are formalities, with home teams up against goal shy opposition. Cresswell (vs. Brighton), Stones (vs. Burnley), and van Dijk (vs. West Brom) are logical picks. We don't need to sell you on the potential of these players in this set of fixtures.
The only big risk is Joe Gomez against Spurs, but we don't think it is. Priced nicely at £4.5mil in the FPL the young Englishman has shown up the rest of the Liverpool defence with solid displays in recent weeks, even ousting Trent-Alexander Arnold out of the starting eleven. History between Spurs and Liverpool is interesting as they normally play out exciting games with the promise of goals, but if you are looking at form then the money is on Liverpool. The Reds are undefeated in their last ten encounters against Spurs, you'd have to go back to a dark era for Liverpool when they last lost to Spurs, in the aftermath of the sacking of Roy Hodgson in November 2012.
Ten games, seven wins, three draws, and five clean sheets is a fantastic record to hold. Liverpool also fair well against other top six clubs, and the risk of playing Gomez is that he is an ultimate budget option for your defence. Klopp started two years ago with a 0-0 draw against Spurs, and at Wembley where Spurs have struggled picking up results it could be a long afternoon for the home side with Liverpool having just unlocked the floodgate of goals in Europe.
Eden Hazard (CHE)
Just the one midfielder has been selected for gameweek nine, and that is the Belgian maestro, Eden Hazard. Announcing his return against Roma with two goals in a thriller at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League it must have caused a hot collar for Marco Silva who must find a way to keep up the Hornets good form. Chelsea will be looking at a reaction after stumbling against Crystal Palace, and with Hazard finding his way into form is their best option at taking the sting out of the Hornets.
Hazard is also the first of two players to feature in our Captaincy article ahead of Gameweek 9.
Joselu (NEW), Marcus Rashford (MUN), Tammy Abraham (SWA)
Lastly, we arrive at the forwards in this weeks differentials. Rashford and Abraham doesn't need much explanation, both have scored in their most recent game (Rashford in Europe, Abraham in the Premier League), so expect both to be amongst the goals this weekend. Huddersfield and Leicester are hardly in any form currently, so the signs are good. Abraham in particular is a value option if you wanted to upgrade your team elsewhere.
Joselu is the oddity, the one to watch this week. Despite seeing Crystal Palace run through Chelsea, courtesy of Zaha, we have to stay in context of the situation: Newcastle are tough to beat. We don't expect seeing a positive result for Palace who have still lost eight games so far this season, and the new face on the block Joselu has developed a knack for scoring at home (Liverpool, and Stoke games). Established at the go-to number nine in Rafa's team the striker is getting regular minutes and the target man for the likes of Ritchie, Perez, and Atsu. Newcastle are serious about their time in the Premier League, and with Rafa at the helm they are a competitive unit against most teams.
Other Gameweek Nine Differential Options:
Michail Antonio (WHU, MID, £7.5mil, 0.6% ownership)
Cesc Fabregas (CHE, MID, £6.9mil, 5.5% ownership)
Ederson (MCI, GK, £5.5mil, 4.5% ownership)
Sergio Aguero (MCI, FWD, £11.5mil, 7.9% ownership)
DeAndre Yedlin (NEW, DEF, £4.4mil, 0.3% ownership)
Christian Atsu (NEW, MID, £5.1mil, 4.3% ownership)
Wilfried Zaha (CRY, MID, £6.7mil, 2.9% ownership)
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (STK, MID, £5.6mil, 6.2% ownership)
Manolo Gabbiadini (SOU, FWD, £6.6mil, 2.1% ownership)
James Rodriguez (WBA, FWD, £5.7mil, 1.0% ownership)
1. Sane, and Sterling, were both differentials before GW8. Now they are not. Aguero is now a differential.
2. Joselu's last two goals have come at home. Zaha is playing as the main striker.
3. Liverpool kept only clean sheet in Europe on Tuesday. Would love to see Milner play but he will make way for Henderson.
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