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 (GW13)
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 13 Average Points: 43 points
Gameweek 13 Wildcard Points: 29 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), 43 (13) = 638pts
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), 29 (13) = 524pts
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
GW13: Will Hughes (Newcastle vs. Watford) - 8pts
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)
GW13: 29 points, 2 returns
Mahrez (2), Zaha (2), Smalling (6), Will Hughes (8), Davinson Sanchez (2), Callum Wilson (2), Coutinho (2), Baines (1), Pope (2), Kompany (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)
GW9: 130pts (8/11 differentials)
GW10: 122pts (8/11 differentials)
GW11: 127pts (9/11 differentials)
GW12: 145pts (7/11 differentials)
GW13: 120pts (9/11 differentials)
Gameweek 13: Dream Team
Wildcards: Fabianski, Zeegelaar, Sakho, Naughton, Koscielny, Sanchez, Albrighton, Tadic, Austin
Non Wildcards: Bertrand, Sterling
Points achieved by Wildcards: 98pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 22pts
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 (GW14)
Midweek fixtures mean these three words for fantasy managers: sweating over rotation.
In such trying times the aim is to select absolute certainties for your FPL teams, there is no point in wasting transfers on dubious full-backs who may not play this weekend. Spurs and Liverpool are prime examples of this, as we have no faith that any of the four full-backs will start in their respective fixtures. Davies and Trippier are most likely making way for Aurier and Rose, and there is a big chance that Moreno and Gomez will make way for Robertson and Alexander-Arnold. The teams playing in Europe will treat this as a game on the continent, rotating a handful of individuals to keep the team fresh for the weekend.
With that in mind we select the following chosen ten.
PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES:
BHA/CRY: Glenn Murray (BHA, FWD, £5.8mil, 3.2% ownership)
LEI/TOT: Davinson Sanchez (TOT, DEF, £6.0mil, 0.7% ownership)
WAT/MUN: Marvin Zeegelaar (WAT, DEF, £4.4mil, 0.4% ownership)
WBA/NEW: Salomon Rondon (WBA, FWD, £6.0mil, 0.6% ownership)
ARS/HUD: Alexis Sanchez (ARS, MID, £11.8mil, 2.7% ownership)
BOU/BUR: Nick Pope (BUR, GK, £4.6mil, 3.6% ownership)
CHE/SWA: Eden Hazard (CHE, MID, £10.6mil, 7.0% ownership)
EVE/WHU: Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE, MID, £8.0mil, 2.1% ownership)
MCI/SOU: Vincent Kompany (MCI, DEF, £5.8mil, 2.2% ownership)
STK/LIV: Sadio Mane (LIV, MID, £9.3mil, 7.4% ownership)
DIFFERENTIAL CAPTAINCY PICKS (GW14)
C: Alexis Sanchez
VC: Eden Hazard
VVC: Sadio Mane
12W: Gylfi Sigurdsson
Nick Pope (BUR)
Burnley's answer to a Tom Heaton injury once again graces the differentials. Pope's inclusion is testament to our belief that you should only choose players in midweek fixtures that are dead-set to start. Pope isn't going anywhere, and whilst the loss to Arsenal was a disappointing end to a great run of returns there is still plenty of optimism for the young English goalkeeper. Pope was robbed of a clean sheet from a dubious penalty decision awarded to Arsenal, a ninetieth minute decision went against Burnley and Pope was unlucky continue his run. A small blip doesn't deter us from selection Pope in the differentials, and the Clarets travel to Bournemouth who are in a mixed bag of form; a chance for Pope getting back to his usual FPL points schedule.
Davinson Sanchez (TOT), Marvin Zeegelaar (WAT), Vincent Kompany (MCI)
Three defensive options are favoured this week, two names roll over to this week from last week. Sanchez and Kompany both conceded in unlikely circumstances which caught us off guard, but there is hope on the horizon this week with City returning to the Etihad for an anticipated mauling of Southampton, and Spurs return to the King Power Stadium where they butchered Leicester at the end of last season. Spurs are better away from home, and Man City perform good anywhere. The two central defenders will play so there is no risk of including them in your teams this week.
The newcomer in defence is Marvin Zeegelaar who has exploded onto the scene. Having collected twenty-two fantasy points in his first two games is a great start to his FPL journey, and make no illusion about it...Man United are in for a tough game at Watford. Defensively stubborn the Hornets are all grit, and all grind. Playing with a formation that seeks Femenia and Zeegelaar as wing-backs able to surge forwards it will be tough for Man United to contain them. Very few people expect Watford to pick up a result against Man United, who laboured and toiled to a win against Brighton, so there isn't any reason they can slip up away from home to Watford. Zeegelaar will keep his place due to his strong form, and priced at £4.4mil he could prove to be a great asset for a cheap defence.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE), Alexis Sanchez (ARS), Sadio Mane (LIV), Eden Hazard (CHE)
For the first time this season we have finally united the 'Differential Power Four' of goal scoring threats; and we start with a resurrected Gylfi Sigurdsson who has been our differential of the year in the past, and with an assist and goal from his last two matches the Icelander is ramping up nicely going into this must win encounter for Everton. The Toffees have been struggling and it Gylfi will need to summon his relegation battle experience to help his new team out of the jam they are in. Deadly on set pieces, or from range, the technical midfielder should benefit from West Ham's terrible defence giving Everton hope they can walk away with a positive result.
Having been rested in Liverpool's draw with Chelsea, Sadio Mane is primed to start for the Reds in their travels to Stoke. Having been on a barren spell due to an injury the Senegalese winger has three goals to his name this season, and returning from injury. Jurgen Klopp rotated Mane during a busy of fixtures and will most likely replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the starting eleven. Coutinho is still a differential for this game, but with rotation the most likely scenario for Liverpool this gameweek the Senegalese forward is more likely to start up top with Salah and Firmino, making him a more goal hungry pick. We don't believe it makes a blind bit of difference as Stoke's defence is in poor form, and Liverpool's attack an effective source of FPL points. Mane is long overdue a goal, so we think the clock is ticking on his inevitable return to the score-sheet.
More detail about Sanchez and Hazard is elaborated further down the article. We live in a time when these four midfielders are differentials all at the same time...what a time to be alive if you are looking for game changing options to win your head to head games, Hazard in particular is a monstrous option that could be putting distance between you and your rivals.
Glenn Murray (BHA), Salomon Rondon (WBA)
The two forwards we have named may not be as flashy as the four midfielders to come before, but these are two forwards who have a golden opportunity to make an impact, two names that are under the radar. The same justification applies to both Murray and Rondon; their respective teams are up against leaky defences and playing at home. Rondon has just broken his duck against Spurs with a well-timed finish from Livermore's through ball, and batting away fellow differential Davinson Sanchez. Murray meanwhile had a blip against Manchester United, but that was expected, but you'd expect a positive result against Palace with the former Eagle going up against his former employer.
Key Differential: Eden Hazard (CHE)
We made the mistake of not choosing Hazard over Coutinho last week, it was a tactical and well thought differential, but in the spirit of differential chaos the Belgian proved to be the more influential as Coutinho faded in and out of the game with the Blues. Four returns in his last five games has seen him return as a legitimate fantasy option, in numbers that is an average of seven points per game. Three goals, three assists, and nine bonus points is fantastic reading for people not yet convinced on Hazard as an option.
Effectively playing behind Morata the creative control of Chelsea is at the feet of Hazard, and the change in Chelsea's system has allowed him to become the focal point of the team once more. Honestly, we can't believe he is still a differential, but understandable when you factor in his price, and the average fantasy managers quest for premium forwards.
Key Differential: Alexis Sanchez (ARS)
The final name in the power four is Alexis Sanchez, a man back on track in an Arsenal shirt...how long that remains will be seen in January, but for now the always-fit Chilean is in good form (and penalty duty) for the Gunners. Five FPL returns in his last eight games is an encouraging sign that Sanchez is once again a reliable option. Even if you look at his last five fixtures he has three fixtures where he has hit positive returns for trusting managers. Three goals, an assist, and five bonus points is a great haul for a player struggling for an iota of ownership.
Arsenal host Huddersfield who were most recently beaten by a fortunate Man City. Arsene Wenger meanwhile relishes games of this calibre, he is a master of dismantling small teams and with a player of Sanchez's quality and fitness we can see him being the difference maker in this fixture. The silly thing is that we have to justify Alexis as a differential, when he really isn't, and should be a player on the forefront of your minds heading into this gameweek. The fact that less than three percent of the entire FPL have Alexis in their teams shows that he isn't a trusted option anymore, especially with cheaper midfielders on more points, leaving the Chilean as a game changing differential for your team, in a fixture that could see Alexis in the dream team.
Philippe Coutinho (LIV, MID, £8.8mil, 5.2% ownership)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE, FWD, £5.0mil, 2.6% ownership)
Manuel Lanzini (WHU, MID, £6.8mil, 0.6% ownership)
Andy Carroll (WHU, FWD, £5.9mil, 0.3% ownership)
Andreas Christensen (CHE, DEF, £5.4mil, 0.8% ownership)
Ederson (MCI, GK, £5.5mil, 5.1% ownership)
Matthew Lowton (BUR, DEF, £4.6mil, 4.4% ownership)
James Tarkowski (BUR, DEF, £4.5mil, 1.3% ownership)
Nathan Ake (BOU, DEF, £4.9mil, 12.2% ownership)
Callum Wilson (BOU, FWD, £6.0mil, 4.9% ownership)
Shkoodran Mustafi (ARS, DEF, £5.4mil, 2.5% ownership)
Laurent Koscielny (ARS, DEF, £6.0mil, 1.0% ownership)
Anthony Knockaert (BRI, MID, £5.7mil, 0.9% ownership)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CRY, MID, £4.5mil, 6.2% ownership)
Wilfried Zaha (CRY, MID, £6.9mil, 5.5% ownership)
Christian Benteke (CRY, FWD, £7.6mil, 2.1% ownership)
Mamadou Sakho (CRY, DEF, £4.9mil, 0.3% ownership)
Anthony Martial (MUN, MID, £8.0mil, 2.5% ownership)
Chris Smalling (MUN, DEF, £5.4mil, 3.9% ownership)
Kiko Femenia (WAT, DEF, £4.5mil, 5.0% ownership)
Heung-Min Son (TOT, MID, £7.9mil, 1.6% ownership)
Riyad Mahrez (LEI, MID, £8.4mil, 4.4% ownership)
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