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WEEKLY WILDCARDS 2017/18: FPL Gameweek 18

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.


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.


  • 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 (GW18)

Prepare yourselves for even more heartbreak as the FPL returns only three days after the last ball was kicked in the Premier League. Managers are toying with the nerves of fantasy managers over team selection. Common questions in the FPL now include the following:

Will my £11.5mil striker start?

Will the FPL's top player be guarenteed minutes?

Will my full-backs play?

Will Jurgen Klopp continue to justify dropping Coutinho in derby fixtures?

Will Pep Guardiola continue to dream of devestating fantasy managers aspirations?

In such uncertain times we deliver the verdict on gameweek eighteens most eligible differentials to cure the rotation blues.

Goalkeepers (3/10):

Nick Pope (BUR), Jack Butland (STK), Ederson (MCI)

For the second week in a row we are putting faith in three goalkeepers whilst we are firmly in the grip of rotation season. Goalkeepers are the players less immune to rotation, safe assets among the crowd. Ederson, for example, is the only player we are convinced is safe from his meddling ways, feeding off the heartbreak of seeing your players sit on the bench.

Two of the three selected goalkeepers provided returns in gameweek seventeen, and they keep their place in the differentials for another week. The two in the limelight are Pope and Ederson after solid displays from both their respective teams, and neither clean sheet was in doubt from the pair. The only failure was from Liverpool, as Simon Mignolet didn't play and Loris Karius stepped in, and annoyingly kept a clean sheet in a commanding display to deny West Brom with assured hands.

Jack Butland is recalled to the differentials after a long time out, and with West Ham having scored only one goal in their last two games, so whilst they are in good form the fundamental problem of scoring goals exists as they maintain a defensive solidity under David Moyes leadership.

Defenders (3/10):

Andreas Christensen (CHE), Christian Kabasele (WAT), Chris Smalling (MUN)

First defender on the list is arguably the luckiest man from last week, the Dane...Andreas Christensen. Eighty minutes in and having been taken off to give Ampadu a run out seemed like a great idea, but not if you owned Cesar Azpilicueta. The Danish international secured his clean sheet, but a last-minute Terriers goal left Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso owners wondering if their teams were cursed. The point made about Christensen is that he has luck about his returns, he was the best option out their options, a real differential in the Blues defence. Gameweek seventeen highlighted his status as a true option to have over both the Spaniards in Conte's setup. Chelsea have another home game, this time against Southampton, so expect a typically Chelsea performance with hope of a clean sheet.

Kabasele meanwhile is playing on an injury and suspension ravaged Watford, but this might be a blessing in disguise, an opportunity to reset the clock at Watford and freshen up the team. Kabasele is assured of his place and has scored a few goals so far this season, so it is an astute pick if you think that the Hornets are no longer competitive. Watford surely can't continue their bad form against Huddersfield? Can they?

Chris Smalling is easy to explain, the Man United defender plays West Brom, a team who struggle to score. The England international is playing every minute, and with injuries to Bailly, and Jones still working back to full fitness, he will continue that run in the Red Devil's defence.

Midfielders (4/10):

Riyad Mahrez (LEI), Alexis Sanchez (ARS), Sadio Mane (LIV), Gylfi Sigurdsson EVE)

We reunite members of the midfielder FPL Avengers to come out of the woodwork and score big this week, four heavy hitters that are regarded as prized assets. The speed of Mane, the vision of Sigurdsson, the trickery of Sanchez, and the magic of Mahrez make a deadly combo for our differentials this week. All the teams they play for are in heavily favourable fixtures and if none of them return this week then we will retire from fantasy football reporting, that is how confident we are that they are the best picks this week.

Here are three mouth watering stats about Riyad Mahrez, the Algerian is on a hot streak and looks like he has no intent on slowing down.

Key Stats (Mahrez):

  1. Leicester have won their last four games in the Premier League, and Mahrez has picked up fantasy returns in each of these fixtures.

  2. Mahrez has ten FPL returns from his sixteen starts.

  3. Riyad Mahrez has as many points as Christian Eriksen.

We have covered Sanchez in more detail further down the article.

Forwards (0/10): N/A

After weeks of consistent failures in the forward differentials we are choosing there won't be any selected for gameweek eighteen. Andre Gray was an option, but we are concerned he won't play. Charlie Austin is also a consideration, but away to Chelsea is such a hard fixture to have faith in a visiting striker.

Key Differential: Alexis Sanchez (ARS)

After a disappointing return to the London Stadium, the Chilean was frustrated a renewed defensive effort by the Hammers. David Moyes nullified the blistering pace of the South American forward and manoeuvred a risky fixture into a result. We believe now we were too early to select Sanchez as a captaincy option, it was a justifiable choice against West Ham considering what happened last year, but with Newcastle at home this week it is another opportunity to trust faith in the maverick midfielder.

Key Stats:

  1. Alexis Sanchez has four returns from his last six games (7, 11, 8, 1, 5). The 1pt week was the loss to Manchester United.

  2. Arsenal have won three of their last six Premier League games (W3, D1, L1).

  3. Newcastle have only won one game away from home this season, a 1-0 win over Swansea in gameweek four.

  4. Gameweek nine was the last time that Newcastle won a game, a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

  5. Arsenal beat Newcastle twice during their last Premier League campaign.

  6. Arsenal have beaten Newcastle in their last nine encounters, keeping five clean sheets from those fixtures. There was even a ten-goal thriller in 2012 that saw the Gunners beat the Toon at the Emirates 7-3.

Arsenal’s next five fixtures:

  • GW18: Newcastle (H)

  • GW19: Liverpool (H)

  • GW20: Crystal Palace (A)

  • GW21: West Brom (A)

  • GW22: Chelsea (H)

We will repeat the same message about Alexis that we had for GW17: 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.

Other Considerations

Joe Gomez (LIV, DEF, £4.6mil, 5.3% ownership)

Andrew Robertson (LIV, DEF, £4.6mil, 0.8% 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)

Eliaquim Mangala (MCI, DEF, £5.0mil, 0.2% ownership)

Ederson (MCI, GK, £5.5mil, 5.0% ownership)

Heung-Min Son (TOT, MID, £8.0mil, 3.7% 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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All aboard.


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