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 (GW12)
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 12 Average Points: 56 points
Gameweek 12 Wildcard Points: 67 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: GW12 - 67pts, 7 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), 56 (12) = 595pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1), 40 (2), 48 (3), 21 (4), 44 (5), 37 (6), 41 (7), 43 (8), 34 (9), 38 (10), 45 (11), 67 (12) = 495pts
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
GW12: Eden Hazard (West Brom vs. Chelsea) - 18pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 18pts (GW12)
2 - Raheem Sterling (MCI): 15pts (GW8)
3 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW6)
3 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW12)
5 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
5 - Alvaro Morata (CHE): 12pts (GW3)
7 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
7 - Jack Butland (STK): 11pts (GW2)
7 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 11pts (GW10)
10 - 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)
GW12: 67 points, 7 returns
Alexis Sanchez (7), Zaha (7), Hazard (18), Pope (8), Coutinho (13), Mahrez (2), Hadergjonaj (-1), Smalling (7), Gray (5), Murray (1)
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)
GW12: 145pts (7/11 differentials)
Gameweek 12: Dream Team
Wildcards: Begovic, Mustafi, Hazard, Will Hughes, Coutinho, Wilson, Niasse
Non Wildcards: Alonso, Walker, Salah, Pogba
Points achieved by Wildcards: 94pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 51pts
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 (GW13)
Lucky number thirteen, the week of the wildcard. Take your chance on these superstitious differentials.
WHU/LEI: Riyad Mahrez (LEI, MID, £8.4mil, 4.7% ownership)
CRY/STK: Wilfried Zaha (CRY, MID, £6.8mil, 5.3% ownership)
MUN/BHA: Chris Smalling (MUN, DEF, £5.4mil, 2.8% ownership)
NEW/WAT: Will Hughes (WAT, MID, £4.6mil, 0.3% ownership)
TOT/WBA: Davinson Sanchez (TOT, DEF, £6.0mil, 0.6% ownership)
SWA/BOU: Callum Wilson (BOU, FWD, £6.0mil, 1.9% ownership)
LIV/CHE: Philippe Coutinho (LIV, MID, £8.8mil, 5.1% ownership)
SOU/EVE: Leighton Baines (EVE, DEF, £5.8mil, 5.2% ownership)
BUR/ARS: Nick Pope (BUR, GK, £4.6mil, 3.2% ownership)
HUD/MCI: Vincent Kompany (MCI, DEF, £5.8mil ownership)
C: Callum Wilson
VC: Philippe Coutinho
VVC: Vincent Kompany
12W: Will Hughes
Nick Pope (BUR)
The Burnley keeper did not disappoint in gameweek twelve, hauling in eight points to bolster an already impressive collection. Having already amassed 53pts so far, the keeper has only not made a return in one of his nine fixtures this season. Pope is statistically guaranteed points, so he retains his place against Arsenal. This fixture isn't all doom and gloom for the Clarets considering that Arsenal are coming off a Europa League fixture, and Burnley have been competitive against big squads this season; winning at Chelsea, drawing at Liverpool just two examples. The worst-case scenario is that Pope makes a tonne of saves and collects points anyway.
Chris Smalling (MUN), Davinson Sanchez (TOT), Leighton Baines (EVE), Vincent Kompany (MCI)
Choosing the defenders was easy this week, all four are obvious picks:
Chris Smalling: Man United (H) vs. Brighton
Davinson Sanchez: Spurs (H) vs. West Brom
Vincent Kompany: Man City (A) vs. Huddersfield
Leighton Baines: Everton (A) vs. Southampton
The top three picks are against goal shy teams, and in our minds open and shut cases for defensive potential. Chris Smalling also represents a goal threat as demonstrated in his performance against Newcastle in the last gameweek. Kompany was rested in the Champions League to keep his safe for the Huddersfield clash, and Sanchez comes up against a declining West Brom at Wembley. All three of these picks should be easy points on the board. We have covered Leighton Baines in my depth further down the article.
Riyad Mahrez (LEI), Wilfried Zaha (CRY), Will Hughes (WAT), Philippe Coutinho (LIV)
Having witnessed the new era of West Ham under the watch of David Moyes made us realise that hope is a defining word for their season, for better or for worse. Hammers fans will be hoping every day for a sudden and unexpected turnaround after West Ham laboured to a defeat at Watford, and barring some tame shots, their luck has run dry. Claude Puel must be licking his lips at the current situation for West Ham, and their woeful defence, as he looks to set Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, and Demarai Gray against the Hammers defence. Mahrez, barring a frustrating defeated to Man City which is understandable, has been a maverick for the Foxes once again. We didn't even need to second chance his inclusion in the differentials, he is writing himself into the selections this week as he is the biggest wildcard of the match. There is a feeling the Algerian is going to tear apart West Ham and unleash Vardy, so as far as we're concerned it is a natural selection.
The same applies to Zaha of Crystal Palace, he has a steady supply of fantasy returns since his return from injury and is the spark that the Eagles have needed to ignite their relegation fight. The midfielder playing as a forward should have enough in his engine to graze past a team that conceded two to Brighton on Monday. No Stoke players offer the same kind of value that Zaha currently does, so it would be stupid to ignore an in-form player from the differential picks.
Meanwhile, Will Hughes announced himself as a Premier League player after a dominant displayer against West Ham, dictating the temp of play, and picking up a goal and an assist to cement his place in Marco Silva's team. The young Englishman signed from Derby in the summer is priced nicely at £4.6mil, and if you are looking for a Tom Carroll replacement then the Hornets midfielder is a great replacement who offers a goal threat. Newcastle have been terrible in recent weeks and lacked their usual composure without captain Jamaal Lascelles, so it will be another nervy ninety minutes for the Toon with bright up-and-comers like Hughes running the show in midfield.
The Reds magician has been covered in our featured differentials further down the article.
Callum Wilson (BOU)
After becoming the first Englishman to score a hat-trick against Huddersfield the FPL community has been reintroduced to Callum Wilson who once a popular value option when Bournemouth got first promoted to the Premier League. Now, he has shown the same qualities as in previous seasons. To make it easier we have broken down his differential status into pros and cons.
1. Personal Form: Coming off scoring three against Huddersfield he could carry that form into GW13. Hungry, motivated, he looks to keep his place in the team alongside Josh King.
2. Clean Sheet Wipe-outs: Swansea have not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since GW8 when they hosted Huddersfield in a 2-0 win.
3. Cherries Form: Eddie Howe is turning around the luck for this season, and they are now undefeated in their last two encounters without conceding, and scoring five goals. Swansea have lost their last four games.
4. Budget Option: Priced at £6.0mil he is a cheap forward option with plenty of potential.
5. H2H Form: Bournemouth are undefeated against Swansea in their four Premier League encounters, picking up three wins and one draw. The Cherries have scored ten goals and kept two clean sheets in these four encounters.
6. Long Term Fixtures: Bournemouth have Swansea, Burnley, Crystal Palace, and Southampton in their current run of fixtures, so you wouldn't need to drop of rotate Wilson out of your team.
1. Away Form: Overall, Bournemouth have lost four of their six away games so far this season. However, the last two they have won.
2. Rotation: Approaching the Christmas period the Cherries have all of their attacking options fit (Defoe, King, Wilson, Afobe, Mousset. There is never a guarantee with minutes. However, it is unlikely that Howe will drop Wilson after scoring three in his last game.
3. The Premier League: Who knows what the league throws at fantasy managers any game, both teams are bottom of the table and a fixture like this could throw up any manner of surprises.
On paper there are very cons of including him into your fantasy team, it makes sense to make a tactical gamble on Wilson. Also, the cons are not cons but potential pitfalls more than anything. In short, there is no reason why Callum Wilson shouldn't be in your fantasy teams.
Key Differential: Philippe Coutinho (LIV)
Arguable the hardest choice this season was who to pick between Coutinho and Hazard. Both of the potential picks are red hot fantasy options, and it is with a heavy heart we decide to opt for the Brazilian ahead of the Belgian. Coutinho and Hazard are midfield heavyweights, but for all the hope for Hazard we believe that Coutinho is the better pick for Chelsea's trip to Anfield. Here are some thoughts behind our reasons:
Liverpool had their game on Tuesday in the Champions League, Chelsea had theirs on Wednesday in Baku. The Reds should be better prepared for their trip.
Liverpool have scored three goals in four consecutive games.
Liverpool have only conceded one goal at Anfield in the Premier League this season.
Jurgen Klopp is undefeated as a manager against Chelsea, winning two, and drawing two.
Coutinho is on set pieces for Liverpool.
Coutinho is in-form for Liverpool.
You could draw up a list for Hazard, but it is a more difficult fixture for Chelsea than it is Liverpool on paper, and in the moments where Liverpool need a moment of magic it is usually served up by Coutinho.
Key Differential: Leighton Baines
Defenders are dropping like flies now in the Premier League, so if you are looking for replacements for Eric Bailly, Jamaal Lascelles, or John Stones then Leighton Baines is the heir apparent to your teams. Southampton aren't scoring, and Everton are slowly fighting their way out of a dark hole with Unsworth at the helm. We would fancy anyone keeping a clean sheet against anyone, literally...anyone. There is a real chance that Everton could get the better of the Saints, there is just a real rot at the South Coast club since Ronald Koeman left, Claude Puel got a bad deal, and now Mauricio Pellegrino has inherited a stagnant squad in desperate need of freshening up. The computer running Southampton's transfers must be broken.
Leighton Baines has two consecutive returns and is chipping in goals, so and it is a safer bet than some of the other options around the same price.
Eden Hazard (CHE, MID, £10.6mil, 5.5% ownership)
Andre Gray (WAT, FWD, £6.3mil, 1.4% ownership)
Christian Kabasele (WAT, DEF, £4.5mil, 0.2% ownership)
Heurelho Gomes (WAT, GK, £4.5mil, 2.1% ownership)
Josh King (BOU, FWD, £6.0mil, 2.5% ownership)
Ederson (MCI, GK, £5.5mil, 5.0% ownership)
Georginio Wijnaldum (LIV, MID, £6.7mil, 2.5% ownership)
Kieran Trippier (TOT, DEF, £5.7mil, 8.8% ownership)
Hueng Min-Son (TOT, MID, £7.9mil, 1.7% ownership)
Dwight Gayle (NEW, FWD, £6.1mil, 0.6% ownership)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (MUN, FWD, £10.0mil, 0.3% 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)
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