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 (GW16)
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 16 Average Points: 43 points
Gameweek 16 Wildcard Points: 38 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), 43 (16) = 772pts
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), 38 (16) = 628pts
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
GW16: Riyad Mahrez (Newcastle vs. Leicester) - 9pts
Wilfried Bony (Swansea vs. West Brom) - 9pts
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)
GW16: 38 points, 4 returns
Christensen (2), Pope (6), Sakho (1), Murray (2), Trippier (2), Bony (9), Mahrez (9), Sanchez (5), Coutinho (1), Kompany (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)
GW13: 120pts (9/11 differentials)
GW14: 148pts (9/11 differentials)
GW15: 131pts (8/11 differentials)
GW16: 125pts (9/11 differentials)
Gameweek 17: Dream Team
Wildcards: Begovic, Zanka, Schindler, Ogbonna, Son, Arfield, Mounie, Defoe, Gayle
Non Wildcards: Otamendi, Salah
Points achieved by Wildcards: 103pts
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.
Weekly Differentials (GW17)
Here we are again during a set of midweek fixtures to saviour, and no doubt most FPL managers will be hoping and praying that Pep Guardiola doesn’t rotate their midfielders or forwards out of existence. Nether fret, we have your backs with plenty of midfield options to consider, but also it could be the time to shake things up in goal with some astute picks flying under the radar. Out of principle we have steered clear of full-backs who are usually the biggest casualties of midweek fixtures, and with that said here are our chosen ten differentials to consider for the coming gameweek.
Nick Pope, Simon Mignolet, Ederson
Amidst a gameweek of potential rotation we opt for three goalkeepers who are certain to play. Ederson, Pope, and Mignolet are crucial for their team’s stability in defence. Klopp is keen not to rotate his league goalkeeper, opting for Karius to start in the cup competitions. Guardiola would be insane to drop Ederson after his heroics against Manchester United with a double save better than David De Gea’s at Arsenal. Lastly, Nick Pope is playing on another level and after keeping another clean sheet it is highly unlikely that Sean Dyche will rotate him unless Tom Heaton has made a miraculous recovery from injury in the next two days. All three goalkeepers are in favourable fixtures, and in a time of rotation we look at goalkeepers to help steady the differential ship.
Here are the current stats for Liverpool going into the next gameweek. We did have Coutinho pencilled in to be the main differential once again, but in less than five days the Brazilian has doubled his ownership and is no longer an option for differentials, but the stats apply to Mignolet just as much:
Liverpool are currently unbeaten at home this season (W4, D4, L0).
Liverpool have only conceded three goals at Anfield this season (Burnley's Arfield, Chelsea's Willian, and Everton’s Rooney). Liverpool have kept five clean sheets at Anfield.
Coutinho was rested during GW16 and came on as a substitute against Everton.
Coutinho has four double digit FPL returns from eight league starts.
Coutinho's last Premier League start saw him register four attacking returns: three assists, and one goal. The Brazilian was the top scoring player of GW15.
Liverpool are going into this fixture having lost only one of their last eleven games (W6, D4, L1)
Mignolet might be tested at some set-pieces, but we can see it being a quiet afternoon for the Belgian goalkeeper.
Most of the defensive assets are loaded up in goal, and normally it is full-backs who rotate frequently so it isn’t worth taking the risk changing left or right sided defenders. Take Spurs, the biggest example of this, and without any crystal ball we know that Serge Aurier and Danny Rose will be the starting full-backs for Spurs home game against Brighton. Luke Shaw might even get minutes at Man United, as will Trent Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool.
The morale of the full-back story is to take your selections with a pinch of rotational salt, and instead focus on central defenders if you must make a defensive transfer. None come better than Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen, having ousted David Luiz, the Danish defender is a cheap(er) option than all the premium options currently in the FPL, and with a great fixture list. Huddersfield have struggled against top-six teams and we are expecting that Chelsea will react after a crippling loss to West Ham at the London Stadium.
Anthony Martial, Riyad Mahrez, Alexis Sanchez, Heung-Min Son, Wilfried Zaha
An absolutely stacked midfield selection this week with five in-form midfielders to whet your appetite for inspired transfer picks. Four of our picks all registered fantasy returns in GW16; Sanchez (assist), Son (two goals, one assist), Zaha (one assist), and Mahrez (one goal) were the standout performers of differentials last week so they will be all playing regardless of rotation.
Leicester will keep their same team, Wenger would be stupid to drop Sanchez in pursuit of the top four, Son must play after being the player to pick apart the Stoke defence, and Zaha’s creativity in a relegation battle can’t be replaced. Martial of Manchester United is the only player who we are taking a gamble on, last week he played against Manchester City, so it is understandable if you don’t return against the Champions-elect.
We have covered Sanchez and Mahrez in more detail further down the article.
Just the one forward this gameweek, and that is in-form striker Dwight Gayle of Newcastle, and whilst he may not be getting plaudits the Englishman deserves because of the team he is playing in. Since regaining his place in Rafa Benitez’s team the former Crystal Palace striker has scored three goals…all in losing encounters, and even though he is scoring his teams defence isn’t living up to the managers expectations. As a result, Gayle is flying under the radar in a team that is in a terrible run of form.
Right now, Gayle is their best chance of scoring goals and getting back to winning ways, and there is no way that the Toon can justify dropping their best asset. Everton are still Everton, and their run can’t last forever. Neither can Newcastle’s form.
Key Differential: Alexis Sanchez
One year ago, the Chilean sensation was in the form of his life, and the FPL’s top player owned by virtually all the active players. Flash forward a year and barely anyone trusts the Arsenal attacker anymore. Cheaper options have rendered him obsolete in the eye of many fantasy managers, especially after speculation about his future move away from Arsenal a black cloud on whether the midfielder will put in one hundred percent for his current club.
As it stands the points that the Chilean is racking up speaks for themselves, and compared to other midfielders around his points tally with significant ownership things are looker much brighter for Alexis than they did in September. We firmly believe that his situation at Arsenal has settled for the time being and he is focused on his football, and the points have been coming in. Alexis is the key component of our differential team, and if you are looking for a player that can make a huge difference over a head-to-head opponent or get the advantage in the cup which launches this week then Alexis Sanchez is a smoking gun.
Sanchez's Key Stats:
Alexis Sanchez has four returns from his last five games (7, 11, 8, 1, 5). The 1pt week was the loss to Manchester United.
Arsenal have won three of their last five Premier League games (W3, D1, L1).
West Ham have the worst goal difference
Arsenal beat west Ham 5-1 at the London Stadium this time last year, with Alexis getting a hat-trick.
Arsenal’s record against West Ham is strong, having won eleven of the last thirteen fixtures against the Hammers. Arsene Wenger’s form against the East London rivals can’t be matched by any other manager. Wenger is a specialist in defeated West Ham.
Arsenal’s next five fixtures:
GW17: West Ham (A)
GW18: Newcastle (H)
GW19: Liverpool (H)
GW20: Crystal Palace (A)
GW21: West Brom (A)
Alexis Sanchez is a worthwhile investment over the Christmas period, and his extreme levels of fitness means that he is in contention to play these games without disruption. Last time round Alexis had three at the London Stadium, and West Ham must be fearing his return just as they start to pick up some momentum.
Key Differential: Riyad Mahrez
The Algerian has been a very welcome addition to the differentials, but we are concerned that if his form sustains then it won’t last for too long. Having notched three consecutive fantasy returns Mahrez is still on the cusp of being a legitimate option due to his price, although not as steep as Alexis Sanchez, Mahrez is still not considered ‘value’ which we believe is unbelievable considering the returns he is amassing. Mahrez is immune to rotation, and in some variations of Puel’s system as a second striker behind Jamie Vardy which means he is the playmaker piecing things together for Leicester’s other attackers. Mahrez is knocking on the door of his ownership and asking to be let back in.
The stats are showing that this could be a promising fixture for Leicester, and with former Saints boss Claude Puel returning to St Marys there will be revenge on his mind, and he has the perfect snake to scare his former employers.
Mahrez's Key Stats:
Leicester have won their last three games in the Premier League, and Mahrez has picked up fantasy returns in each of these fixtures.
The Algerian has two goals and an assist in his last three games, he has also picked up three bonus points spread across these games.
Mahrez has nine FPL returns from his fifteen starts, but has never managed the three bonus points on any single occasion.
Southampton haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since gameweek nine when they beat West Brom by a single goal, the goal of the month scored by Sofiane Boufal.
The Saints haven’t won since their 4-1 victory over Everton in gameweek thirteen.
Leicester are unbeaten in their last six away games (W2, D4), and the Foxes have failed to score away from home on only two occasions against Manchester United and Bournemouth much earlier in the season.
Joe Gomez (LIV, DEF, £4.6mil, 5.3% ownership)
Andrew Robertson (LIV, DEF, £4.6mil, 0.8% ownership)
Georginio Wijnaldum (LIV, MID, £6.7mil, 2.3% ownership)
Christian Benteke (CRY, FWD, £7.6mil, 2.1% ownership)
Cesc Fabregas (CHE, MID, £6.9mil, 4.7% ownership)
Jacob Murphy (NEW, MID, £5.0mil, 0.1% ownership)
Jordan Pickford (EVE, GK, £4.8mil, 6.1% ownership)
Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE, MID, £8.0mil, 2.4% ownership)
Chris Smalling (MUN, DEF, £5.4mil, 4.0% ownership)
Phil Jones (MUN, DEF, £5.3mil, 6.3% ownership)
Danny Rose (TOT, DEF, £6.4mil, 0.3% ownership)
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