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 (GW11)
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 11 Average Points: 44 points
Gameweek 11 Wildcard Points: 45 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), 50 (9), 46 (10), 44 (11) = 539pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1), 40 (2), 48 (3), 21 (4), 44 (5), 37 (6), 41 (7), 43 (8), 34 (9), 38 (10), 45 (11) = 427pts
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
GW9: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton vs. West Brom) - 9pts
GW10: Eden Hazard (Bournemouth vs. Chelsea) - 11pts
GW11: Jan Vertonghen (Spurs vs. Crystal Palace) - 9pts
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)
5 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 11pts (GW10)
8 - 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)
GW9: 34 points, 4 returns
Cresswell (0), Hazard (5), Rashford (7), Stones (6), Joselu (1), Butland (1), Abraham (2), van Dijk (9), Pickford (3), Joe Gomez (0)
GW10: 38 points, 4 returns
Trippier (0), Alexis Sanchez (2), Wilfried Zaha (7), Joe Gomez (6), Kiko Femenia (1), Ederson (1), Hazard (11), van Dijk (2), Mahrez (6), Ritchie (2)
GW11: 45 points, 5 returns
Mahrez (7), Lossl (8), Yedlin (2), Pope (8), F. Fernandez (1), Sturridge (0), Vertonghen (9), Ederson (2), Hazard (3), Andre Gray (5)
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)
GW9: 130pts (8/11 differentials)
GW10: 122pts (8/11 differentials)
GW11: 127pts (9/11 differentials)
Gameweek 11: Dream Team
Wildcards: Begovic, Steve Cook, Malone, Baines, Matip, Shaqiri, Son, Mane, Niasse
Non Wildcards: Azpilicueta, Salah
Points achieved by Wildcards: 100pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 27pts
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.
Differential Picks (GW12)
After another international break calls to a close, fantasy managers are taking stock of their teams, and scrambling for all available information on their players ahead of gameweek twelve. Injuries, schedules, rotation worries, knocks, bumps, goals, and overall form. Speaking of rotation there will be plenty of surprises for line-ups and results, it is never kind when players return home to domestic action. Chaos is the name of the game for differentials so hopefully there is plenty of that going around if The Hype Train continues its good run of selecting weekly differentials.
FPL GW12 Fixtures
ARS/TOT: Alexis Sanchez (ARS, MID, £11.8mil, 2.8% ownership)
CRY/EVE: Wilfried Zaha (CRY, MID, £6.8mil, 4.6% ownership)
WBA/CHE: Eden Hazard (CHE, MID, £10.6mil, 5.1% ownership)
BUR/SWA: Nick Pope (BUR, GK, £4.5mil, 2.2% ownership)
LIV/SOU: Philippe Coutinho (LIV, MID, £8.8mil, 4.4% ownership)
LEI/MCI: Riyad Mahrez (LEI, MID, £8.4mil, 5.1% ownership)
BOU/HUD: Florent Hadergjonaj (HUD, DEF, £4.5mil, 0.0% ownership)
MUN/NEW: Chris Smalling (MUN, DEF, £5.3mil, 1.5% ownership)
WAT/WHU: Andre Gray (WAT, FWD, £6.3mil, 1.3% ownership)
BHA/STK: Glenn Murray (BRI, FWD, £5.8mil, 2.1% ownership)
Nick Pope (BUR)
We start with the most obvious differential pick this week, the deputy for Tom Heaton, Nick Pope. Having slotted into the main team it is like Heaton was never away with a young goalkeeper of equal talents. Honestly, we are questioning how good the Burnley scouts and coaching system is right now because the players they have to replace injured or sold players is startling.
When Michael Keane was sold to Everton they replaced the England international with James Tarkowski who has stepped up to the plate, and now with Heaton out Pope is having the same kind of impact. The definition of squad game is clear at Burnley, there is a plan in place which makes it easier for players to adapt to the system and come in to deputise or replace key components without any disruption to their cause. Sean Dyche's miracle coaching has seen Nick Pope not only become a quality goalkeeper, but also a legitimate FPL asset.
The stats are impressive:
1. Nick Pope has registered more than 2pts in 7/8 of his fixtures
2. He has also registered seven bonus points
3. Pope has averaged 5.6pts per game so far this season.
Promising fixtures upcoming, bar Arsenal (Swansea, Arsenal, Bournemouth, Leicester, Watford, Stoke, Brighton, four at home of the next seven) also means Pope is a long term investment. You shouldn't even worry about the Arsenal fixture, he'll probably make a dozen saves against the Gooners and make points anyway. Tom Heaton may not get back into the team when he returns from injury. Based on performances so far there isn't one reason why Pope should be dropped from the starting eleven. @HypeTrainSam believes it is destiny for a successful week for Pope who is currently sitting on 45pts...so far.
Chris Smalling (MUN), Florent Hadergjonaj (HUD)
The first defender on our radar is the Red Devil's very own Chris Smalling, and we don't need to sell this one. Newcastle aren't scoring goals, and Mourinho has been favouring a three-man defence with Jones, Bailly and Smalling making up the numbers. There is real unrest in the Toon support base that they are lacking the firepower up front, and that they might be slipping towards the bottom half of the table. Smalling has been getting minutes and has a great potential for a return in gameweek twelve.
Next up we have the differentials of differentials in Huddersfield's travels to the south coast where they take on Bournemouth. Florent Hadergjonaj (a real tongue-twister of a name) is a player who has come into the Terriers team and made an instant impact with a clean sheet with two bonus points in his first full start. The Cherries aren't the force they once were, and Huddersfield are a competitive team, so this could be a real gritty fixture with few goals. We couldn't turn down the chance to pick a player who is virtually owned by nobody in the FPL, and the likelihood is that you won't be able to pronounce his name correctly, making him a player that goes under the radar.
Eden Hazard (CHE), Philippe Coutinho (LIV), Riyad Mahrez (LEI), Wilfried Zaha (CRY), Alexis Sanchez (ARS)
Riyad Mahrez is having some sort of FPL renaissance, we all remember just how good he could be, but we also remember when he was more valuable at a snip of his current price. Recent fortunes though have been good for him, with consecutive returns in three fixtures. Claude Puel's tactics have benefit him and that might make his significance in the visit of Manchester City even more important. He is the Foxes best chance of making it through their defence, which as it stands has him up against Fabian Delph who is playing left-back for the Citizens. With a comparison like that you'd like the odds of Mahrez, the best differential in this fixture, making a difference.
Eden Hazard and Wilfried Zaha are more obvious picks, unlike Mahrez you shouldn't be hesitant about considering them for this gameweek. West Brom and Everton are in a competition to concede a record number of goals this season, so their defences are prone to opening up when pressured. Hazard, rested in the second international break game for Belgium, has been kept in condition to ruin an ageing West Brom back-line. Zaha also is showing signs of dragging Palace out of the mud, but the fixture with Everton is harder to judge as both teams have something to prove. Zaha is the best option out of a bad bunch, which figures.
We've gone into more detail about Coutinho we have gone into further detail further down the article.
Andre Gray (WAT), Glenn Murray (BHA)
Two forwards have been selected, one out of loyalty (and a gem of a pass), and the other is the FPL's returning wizard. Andre Gray returned to the starting line-up against Everton and made a ridiculously sublime pass to Richarlison to register an assist in gameweek twelve. Watford are all about the goals and under Marco Silva they are looking a real force in the final third, and with Deeney still suspended it could be another big week. Gray is also a great option because the team Watford host is now being managed by a Scotsman, we won't drop any names, but it could be an ugly affair for a certain London team...Watford not included.
Speaking of wizards, the wise old Glenn Murray has been listed him as our key differential this week alongside Liverpool's maverick magician, Coutinho.
Key Differential: Glenn Murray (BHA)
Brighton have done well to make do without a 'marquee' striker so far this season, they have been competitive in Chris Houghton's first season in the Premier League with the Seagulls, and Murray has been looked to for goals. Crystal Palace and Bournemouth supporters will tell you that Glenn Murray works in simple ways by putting himself in goal scoring opportunities, a target, a threat to aim for, and he is always looking to be at the end of a cross. Stoke, visiting Brighton this weekend, are going through the motions and Brighton are the in-form team playing under the lights on Monday night, so expect even more differential wizardry from an FPL stalwart.
For our most recent Power Ranking article for the Fantasy Football Hub here is what @HypeTrainRob said about Glenn Murray, and he is his biggest fan mind you:
"It has been rather underwhelming for Forward’s and their fortunes recently, meaning the pack is shuffled once again, with a surprise new entry climbing right to the top of the table.
Brighton’s Glenn Murray has been the only Forward in the FPL to maintain and kind of form for more than one to two weeks, so we’re letting Murray have his moment in the sun at the top of the Power Rankings – and his inclusion at the summit is warranted. Murray has scored four goals in his last three matches, collecting 27pts for ownership that currently sits at just 2%. Murray’s trifecta of goals are his first of the season, and with Stoke on the horizon for Monday night’s fixture, hopes are high once again for Murray and Brighton."
Key Differential: Philippe Coutinho (LIV)
Liverpool in recent weeks have picked themselves up and dusted themselves off, following on from the harrowing loss to Spurs at Wembley they have subtly tweaked their system to a hybrid 4-4-2 system, relying on Can and Wijnaldum staying put in midfield instead of bombing on, and soaking up more pressure.
Consecutive wins in the last two games in the Premier League, with seven goals under the Reds belt in these two games, has seen the benefits of the new system shine through. Even better news is that Philippe Coutinho returned to Brazil duties and made a good showing of himself against England before being subbed off, which will have Jurgen Klopp smiling. The Brazilian has a knack of scoring phenomenal goals against the visitors, Southampton.
In recent times, Southampton have frustrated Liverpool at Anfield and last season held them to a goalless draw. Coutinho is the kind of player who can create a goal scoring opportunity out of nothing and put his shot away, making him Liverpool's best option to breach a stubborn Saints defence. Who knows, Virgil van Dijk might take it easy against potential future employers and allow Coutinho the space he needs.
Other GW12 Considerations:
Apart from the ten names mentioned above, the following players are the ones who missed out on this week’s differentials that you should also consider. Andreas Christensen was so close to making the cut, but Eden Hazard's influence is too hard to ignore.
Andreas Christensen (CHE, DEF, £5.4mil, 0.3% ownership)
James Tarkowski (BUR, DEF, £4.5mil, 0.6% ownership)
Lukasz Fabianski (SWA, GK, £4.6mil, 8.2% ownership)
Demarai Gray (LEI, MID, £5.3mil, 1.1% ownership)
Ederson (MCI, GK, £5.5mil, 4.8% ownership)
Nathan Ake (BOU, DEF, £4.9mil, 3.7% ownership)
Asmir Begovic (BOU, GK, £4.5mil, 3.8% ownership)
Steve Cook (BOU, DEF, £4.8mil, 0.6% ownership)
Jermaine Defoe (BOU, FWD, £7.6mil, 1.7% ownership)
Davinson Sanchez (TOT, DEF, £6.0mil, 0.5% ownership)
Heung-Min Son (TOT, MID, £7.9mil, 1.7% ownership)
Mesut Ozil (ARS, MID, £9.3mil, 1.9% ownership)
Aaron Ramsey (ARS, MID, £7.0mil, 5.8% ownership)
Oumar Niasse (EVE, FWD, £4.9mil, 2.6% ownership)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE, FWD, £5.0mil, 2.1% ownership)
Jordan Pickford (EVE, GK, £4.9mil, 6.4% ownership)
Mamadou Sakho (CRY, DEF, £4.9mil, 0.2% ownership)
Want to know more about The Hype Train?
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.
As well as providing FPL articles on our website, we are a founding Contributor to the new Fantasy Football Hub, where you can find more unique articles, including weekly Power Rankings, from The Hype Team. You can support us and read exclusive members only content for just £2 per-month by clicking here.
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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