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 (GW15)
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 15 Average Points: 44 points
Gameweek 15 Wildcard Points: 41 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), 47 (14), 44 (15) = 729pts
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), 35 (14), 41 (15) = 590pts
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
GW14: Sadio Mane (Stoke vs. Liverpool) - 13pts
GW15: Philippe Coutinho (Brighton vs. Liverpool) - 18pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 18pts (GW12)
1 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 18pts (GW15)
3 - Raheem Sterling (MCI): 15pts (GW8)
4 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW6)
4 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW12)
4 - Sadio Mane (LIV): 13pts (GW14)
7 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
7 - Alvaro Morata (CHE): 12pts (GW3)
9 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
9 - Jack Butland (STK): 11pts (GW2)
9 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 11pts (GW10)
12 - 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)
GW14: 35 points, 3 returns
Murray (2), Davinson Sanchez (1), Zeegelaar (0), Rondon (2), Alexis Sanchez (8), Pope (2), Hazard (1), Sigurdsson (5), Kompany (1), Mane (13)
GW15: 41 points, 4 returns
Christensen (2), Coutinho (18), Niasse (0), Mahrez (6), Shaqiri (8), Davinson Sánchez (-2), Mamadou Sakho (8), Alexis Sanchez (1), Kompany (0)
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)
GW14: 148pts (9/11 differentials)
GW14: 131pts (8/11 differentials)
Gameweek 15: Dream Team
Wildcards: Speroni, Moses, Kabasele, Coutinho, Lingard, Fraser, Sigurdsson, Calvert-Lewin
Non Wildcards: Otamendi, Hazard, Firmino
Points achieved by Wildcards: 87pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 44pts
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.
Weekly Differentials (GW16)
The rotation trend continues as teams in Europe wrestle with the aftermath of midweek games, and as such the logical step is to accept that only differentials who are certain to play are to be chosen. Ten (mostly familiar) differentials have been picked ahead of gameweek sixteen in the Premier League. Expect more thrills and spills, and a minimum of eight differential picks filling out the dream team.
WHU/CHE: Andreas Christensen (CHE, DEF, £5.5mil, 2.9% ownership)
BUR/WAT: Nick Pope (BUR, GK, £4.7mil, 4.4% ownership)
CRY/BOU: Mamadou Sakho (CRY, DEF, £4.9mil, 1.4% ownership)
HUD/BHA: Glenn Murray (BHA, FWD, £5.8mil, 3.6% ownership)
TOT/STK: Kieran Trippier (TOT, DEF, £5.6mil, 7.8% ownership)
SWA/WBA: Wilfried Bony (SWA, FWD, £5.7mil, 0.2% ownership)
NEW/LEI: Riyad Mahrez (LEI, MID, £8.4mil, 5.0% ownership)
SOU/ARS: Alexis Sanchez (ARS, MID, £11.8mil, 2.7% ownership)
LIV/EVE: Philippe Coutinho (LIV, MID, £8.9mil, 7.2% ownership)
MUN/MCI: Vincent Kompany (MCI, DEF, £5.8mil, 2,3% ownership)
Nick Pope (BUR)
Only the one goalkeeper has been opted for this week, and it is no surprise to see Nick Pope on the differential team-sheet. Having had a few disappointing weeks, the Clarets goalkeeper is still excellent value for money, and against Watford it will either be a dead game with two top half teams pressing each other into a draw with both teams struggling to find the net, or a game where Watford force Pope to make a dozen saves if they turn up with their attacking boots on. This fixture is so hard to call the only logical differential is the maverick goalkeeper Nick Pope who should benefit from this type of fixture regardless of the outcome.
Andreas Christensen (CHE), Mamadou Sakho (CRY), Kieran Trippier (TOT), Vincent Kompany (MCI)
Defensive options shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone this week, with regular picks Trippier, Kompany, Christensen, and Sakho keeping their place. Out of this bunch, Sakho oddly has the best chance of hitting big this week. Crystal Palace have been keeping clean sheets and the Frenchman has been highly influential, so much so that we have gone into more detail about the former Liverpool defender further down the article.
Trippier at home versus Stoke City makes logical sense as you'd expect Spurs to keep a clean sheet, and the same logic applies to any game when Chelsea are involved as Christensen continues to oust David Luiz out of the Blues starting eleven. West Ham's poor run is most likely going to continue into gameweek seventeen, and Christensen is still terrific value for any fantasy manager. Lastly, Vincent Kompany has been rested for the Manchester Derby, and usually they are drab affairs with few goals, so we are going with the team who is undefeated in the league to scrap through.
Alexis Sanchez (ARS), Riyad Mahrez (LEI), Philippe Coutinho (LIV)
The trio of Coutinho, Mahrez, and Sanchez continue to exist as differential options. The reason why is simple: price. Sanchez's blistering form last season saw his price skyrocket, Mahrez was a title winning PFA Player of the Year, and Coutinho was part of a Liverpool attack who were scoring goals for fun. Other options in the same teams means ownership has been low; especially in Riyad Mahrez. The Foxes co-striker Jamie Vardy is perceived as a bigger attacking threat, and due to the price hikes since Leicester won the league a fantasy manager can no longer double-down on the duo, and instead put their eggs in one basket. Vardy, Ramsey, Lacazette, Salah, Mane, and Firmino are all more attractive options either due to price or form, leaving this trio on the fringes of ownership.
Sanchez is the most understandable, as his involvement in the FPL was limited until he had returned from injury at the beginning of the season, and with Arsene Wenger rotating the south American the FPL moved on from Sanchez. Philippe Coutinho is in a similar position with his future uncertain at Liverpool, and a lot of people didn't put the Brazilian in their team due to speculation about a move to Barcelona. Now the season is settling in the three attacking midfielders share a common trait: they are FPL options once again.
What all three have is raw potential, a real cutting edge and all three of them are in sparkling form for their respective clubs. Sanchez has had a recent hiccup, but against Southampton there is a good fixture that Arsenal bounce back in. Riyad Mahrez has been in stellar form and picked up an assist in the last gameweek. Fixtures are on the side of all three players, all of them in favourable fixtures against opposition they should all beat.
The differential captain for this week is Philippe Coutinho, and we have gone into further detail about the Brazilian further down this article.
Glenn Murray (BHA), Wilfried Bony (SWA)
Two forwards have been selected in the differentials this week, both coming off collecting points in the last gameweek. Murray's Brighton travel to the John Smith Stadium where they face Huddersfield whose form has been shaken, and with Brighton settled as a team tough to beat it wouldn't surprise many to see Chris Houghton navigate this fixture with help of his most trusted attacking unit, Glenn Murray.
Meanwhile, Bony has returned to scoring ways for Swansea as he netted against the club he was sent out on loan to in Stoke City. The former Man City striker has found his feet again on Welsh soil, and this should worry Alan Pardew whose Albion must be fearing the worst. Once upon a time Bony was a must-have fantasy option, and we remember the potential.
Key Differential: Philippe Coutinho
After a turbulent rocky period in September and October the Reds have figured out how to accommodate all of their attacking players into the same team, and have even improved defensively. The unifying factor between the midfield and attack is that of Philippe Coutinho, the highly sought-after Brazilian whose reputation is increasing with every game. Liverpool have entered a mean streak where they are scoring for fun, and with Salah, Mane, and Firmino ahead of Coutinho it is a dream attack which has see Liverpool blow teams away. West Ham were beaten by four, Huddersfield for three, and most recently in the Champions League the Reds scored seven at home against Spartak Moscow.
Quickly turning games into exhibition matches the biggest indicator of Liverpool's development is in Coutinho, who is weaving passes and taking shots from anywhere...and scoring them. When Liverpool need that creative spark, they find it in their little Brazilian who is pulling all the strings on Merseyside. Going into the first Merseyside Derby of the season Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane must be praying for a plague to hit Liverpool's Melwood training facility, no team would like to be playing Liverpool's 'Fab Four' which are all in form. Coutinho, Mane, Firmino, and Salah are proving themselves to be a dynamic force to be reckoned; freely scoring goals whilst Man City are starting to labour to scrappy wins with late goals.
The fixture with Everton at Anfield should be an ironclad victory for Liverpool, it is a fixture they dominate. There are a lot of grey areas in the FPL for gameweek sixteen and due to Everton's recent upturn in form after wins over West Ham and Huddersfield you might think that this would be a tighter affair, but in context Everton have just beaten the two teams who are struggling for any sort of form in the league at this stage of the season. Liverpool have the attack to trouble Everton for ninety minutes, and a shaky defence that can only pick up clean sheets against teams without any presence in attack, so despite the recent form all the indicators point towards a convincing Liverpool win.
Coutinho's Key Stats:
Liverpool are currently unbeaten at home this season (W4, D3, L0).
Liverpool have only conceded two goals at Anfield this season (Burnley's Arfield & Chelsea's Willian).
Liverpool go into this fixture having beaten Spartak Moscow 7-0 at Anfield.
Coutinho scored a hat-trick in that very 7-0 win.
Coutinho has four double digit FPL returns from eight league starts.
Coutinho's last Premier League game saw him register four attacking returns: three assists, and one goal. The Brazilian was the top scoring player of GW15.
Everton have not beaten Liverpool in any competitive game since October 2010 when they beat the Reds 2-0 in the Premier League.
Coutinho scored in the last league encounter between the rivals at Anfield, the Reds dominated in a 3-1 win.
Sadio Mane scored in both Merseyside Derby's in the 2016/17 season.
Everton have not won an away league game yet this season (W0, D3, L4).
Liverpool are going into this fixture having lost only one of their last ten games (W6, D3, L1), and in their last five games alone they have four wins and a draw (at Anfield to Chelsea).
Having already taken the podium four times as one of our best differential picks, the Brazilian is a lock for GW16. Coutinho already has a place in the differential team of the season and we aren't even halfway through the season. Coutinho should be an essential for this gameweek.
Key Differential: Mamadou Sakho (CRY)
People who think that the exile Henrikh Mkhitaryan is currently going through is the worst they have seen need to go back only to last summer and remind themselves of the ordeal Mamadou Sakho endured when he was at Liverpool. Forced into exile after a wrongful UEFA drugs ban the Frenchman's career plunged into oblivion after Klopp decided to abandon Sakho from his plans. The most ludicrous part of this exile was that Liverpool needed a left-footed central defender, and performances in the Europa League and big matches for Klopp saw Sakho become an integral part of the Liverpool team. Without replacing Sakho, Liverpool allowed the exile to spread over the course over a year. Unlike Manchester United who have an array attacking options, the same couldn't be said for Liverpool's defence, and still can't be said.
Having found his redemption at Crystal Palace the Frenchman was instrumental on their bid for survival last year, and putting in commanding performances against Chelsea, Arsenal, and Man City earned him the nickname of 'The Soldier'. The influence of one defender has given the Eagles more hope than Benteke and Zaha combined, and his organisation of Hodgson's defence has been quickly noticed with two consecutive clean sheets in the last two weeks. Bournemouth, the team travelling to Selhurst Park, have been in good form, not great, but they will be competitive, leaving Palace owners squirming over their defensive assets, but as an Eagles supporter will tell you that if Sakho plays they have a chance of surviving the drop. Crazier things have happened, leaving Sakho as a risky, but huge differential over your head-to-head opponents this gameweek.
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