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 (GW20)
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 20 Average Points: 62 points
Gameweek 20 Wildcard Points: 44 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), 48 (17), 52 (18), 60 (19), 62 (20) = 994pts
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), 53 (17), 34 (18), 35 (19), 44 (20) = 794pts
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
GW17: Nick Pope (Burnley vs. Stoke) - 11pts
GW18: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton vs. Swansea) - 9pts
GW19: Charlie Austin (Southampton vs. Huddersfield) - 8pts
GW20: Marko Arnautovic (Bournemouth vs. West Ham) - 15pts
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)
3 - Marko Arnautovic (WHU): 15pts (GW20)
5 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW6)
5 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW12)
5 - Sadio Mane (LIV): 13pts (GW14)
8 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
8 - Alvaro Morata (CHE): 12pts (GW3)
10 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
10 - Jack Butland (STK): 11pts (GW2)
10 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 11pts (GW10)
10 - Nick Pope (BUR): 11pts (GW17)
14 - 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)
GW17: 53 points, 6 returns
Pope (11), Mignolet (0), Ederson (7), Christensen (6), Martial (3), Mahrez (8), A. Sanchez (3), Son (8), Zaha (5), Gayle (2)
GW18: 34 points, 3 returns
Pope (6), Butland (2), Ederson (2), Christensen (8), Kabasele (0), Smalling (2), Mahrez (2), Sanchez (3), Mane (0), Sigurdsson (9)
GW19: 35 points, 3 returns
Mane (2), Pedro (3), Andre Gray (2), Ederson (6), Austin (8), Butland (4), Zaha (1), Cresswell (1), Son (3), Mahrez (5)
GW20: 44 points, 4 returns
Ederson (6), Christensen (0), D. Sanchez (1), Robertson (6), Arnautovic (15), Mata (2), Mahrez (8), Sigurdsson (3), Ozil (2), Depoitre (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)
GW17: 129pts (9/11 differentials)
GW18: 141pts (7/11 differentials)
GW19: 135pts (7/11 differentials)
GW20: 152pts (6/11 differentials)
Totals: 2,666pts (153/214 differentials)
Gameweek 20: Dream Team
Wildcards: Pickford, Alexander-Arnold, Arnautovic, Sanchez, Son, Lingard (6)
Non Wildcards: Alonso, Azpilicueta, Alli, Kane, Firmino (5)
Points achieved by Wildcards: 81pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 71pts
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 (GW21)
There are only nine matches this gameweek, with Spurs and West Ham making an awkward double gameweek later down the line, annoyingly. Losing Harry Kane will be a big blow for many managers, and if you have any assets from the Hammers or Spurs you might need a stronger bench to rotate in. Not to fear, we have nine differentials that could provide some inspiration ahead of a hectic few days.
Ederson (MCI), Nick Pope (BUR)
Seeing the last names ‘Pope’ and ‘Ederson’ in the dream team is just a formality, and we at The Hype Train are growing concerned why either goalkeeper aren’t popular options. Both keepers have proven their worth in the FPL and are within the top seven goalkeepers, in fact most of the top seven are classed as differentials.
Pope may have had a tough time of things recently playing Man United and Spurs, but Burnley’s answer to Tom Heaton’s absence has been stellar for the Clarets and against Huddersfield it should be a better stroke of luck. Prior to two though games Pope kept three clean sheets, so the value is still there.
Elsewhere, the Brazilian Ederson has the easiest job in world football getting to watch Man City run riot on teams as their teams are keeping nearly eighty percent possession per game. Like Pope, Ederson has three clean sheets from his last five, but the City keeper is coming off two straight returns in the FPL. We aren’t backing anyone to beat Man City soon, so it is an easy pick to continue putting faith in Ederson for yet another Gameweek.
Victor Moses (CHE), Jamaal Lascelles (NEW), Molla Wagué (WAT)
Three defenders to consider for your team, one premium (Moses), and two of a reasonable price (Lascelles & Wagué). Moses has settled back into the team after a disrupting injury and picking up regular minutes, and we would normally pick Christensen but there are doubts over his fitness. The Nigerian wing-back has been in good fantasy form with five returns from his last seven, of which three of them prelude gameweek twenty-one. There is both attacking and defensive potential from Moses and we welcome him back to the differentials whilst Christensen is a doubt.
The cheaper options in defence are easy to explain, Lascelles at home against Brighton is a no-brainer for starters. The Seagulls have struggled for any goal scoring form, and the Toon have improved tactically in the last few weeks. This game will have one, or two goals, in it maximum. Lascelles is guaranteed minutes and we think Rafa Benitez will start the new year smiling.
The second option is Molla Wagué, an interesting pick because of his low ownership. Marco Silva has looked to his squad for answers to their form, and Wagué kept Leicester relatively submissive with Kabasele in the heart of his defence, so there won’t be any logical reason to change it. Wagué even picked up his first goal, which will fill him with confidence against low-scoring Swansea who are rooted in the relegation zone. The Swans may have a new manager, but it may be too little to change the situation, there has been a merry-go-round of managers in and out of the club. Changing the personnel unfortunately isn’t the answer.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE), Sadio Mane (LIV), Jesse Lingard (MUN), Alexis Sanchez (ARS)
Along with our five defensive picks for the week we select four midfield options to consider. The most surprising differential this season out of the four has been Jesse Lingard, a player now getting regular minutes and making an impact for his club. From his last seven games the England international has four double-digit fantasy returns, and of that has picked up ten bonus points. From those seven games Lingard has amassed five returns, and in total has accumulated sixty points, which is fantastic returns for a cheaper midfielder. The Man United man makes our team after showing that he is now crucial to the Red Devil’s goal threat, so it would be ludicrous if Jose Mourinho dropped him against a weakened Southampton.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Sadio Mane make up the next two, and just simply because they are in games where there are guaranteed to be goals. Everton have had a good run of form against Bournemouth, and with Liverpool’s attack firing on all cylinders you don’t want to bank on the Foxes who got thumped 4-1 last time they visited Anfield. Liverpool won the last game earlier in September, courtesy of a Mignolet penalty save, and with Virgil van Dijk linking up the game after it will be interesting to see the defence up their game to impress Klopp as to who partners the Dutchman upon his arrival. In short, Liverpool guarantee goals, and Mane will take place in the starting eleven as Klopp continues his rotation. Meanwhile, Sigurdsson is a threat whenever he is on a set piece, but we don’t fancy an Everton defender on the small Cherries pitch.
That’s right, now forwards have been selected after Laurent Depoitre disappointed us by not getting a start at gameweek twenty. The Belgian international was rotated for Steve Mounie, and if you’re looking at form alone the better striker was dropped. There are few good options to go with, but perhaps if you were looking at a striker Andre Gray wouldn’t be a bad bed against the faltering Swansea in what should be a comfortable home fixture for the Hornets.
Key Differential: Alexis Sanchez
Arsene Wenger must be a sweaty nightmare with the transfer market about to open again, it means all the clubs in the world can approach him for his two prized assets: Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. We failed on our last attempt at trying to guess which of the midfielders would be up for it against Crystal Palace and we believed Ozil had upped his game, but it was in fact the other differential, Alexis Sanchez, who was on the scoresheet.
The Chilean is a great differential with his future up in the air with Man City lurking for his signature, so fantasy managers will be keen to steer clear of Sanchez with his future up in the air. Sanchez will be keen to show off his prowess and ability during this period, so it could be argued that he ups his performance to get a move away from Arsenal. This is both a win-win for Arsenal and Sanchez; Wenger gets his wins, and Sanchez sells himself to a new club. The Chilean’s performances have been getting better and against West Brom he is the best alternative captaincy pick if you’re looking for an ‘out there’ differential.
Alexis Sanchez Key Facts:
Alexis Sanchez scored two goals in his last Premier League appearance against Crystal Palace during GW20.
Sanchez is now Arsenal’s top scoring FPL player with ninety points.
Sanchez has three fantasy returns from his last five matches, with two of them occurring in GW19 and GW20. A return against West Brom would make it three in a row.
The last two fixtures at the Hawthorns between West Brom and Arsenal have resulted in two Baggies victories.
Arsenal have scored against West Brom in every match during the Premier League era. The last time West Brom kept a clean sheet against the Gunners it was during a ‘League Division One’ match in 1985, thirty-two years ago, spanning twenty-eight matches.
Arsenal are undefeated in their last five Premier League games (W2, D3).
West Brom haven’t won a game since gameweek two, away to Burnley. All season they have struggled to pick up wins (W2, D9, L9).
Andrew Robertson (LIV, DEF, £4.6mil, 1.9% ownership)
Christian Atsu (NEW, MID, £4.8mil, 1.4% ownership)
Josh King (BOU, FWD, £7.0mil, 1.2% ownership)
Nathan Ake (BOU, DEF, £4.9mil, 3.9% ownership)
Mesut Özil (ARS, MID, £9.3mil, 2.8% ownership)
Laurent Koscielny (ARS, DEF, £6.0mil, 2.4% ownership)
Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE, MID, £8.0mil, 2.3% ownership)
Yannick Bolasie (EVE, MID, £6.4mil, 0.1% ownership)
Jonjoe Kenny (EVE, DEF, £4.5mil, 5.9% ownership)
Jordan Pickford (EVE, GK, £4.9mil, 7.5% ownership)
Andre Gray (WAT, FWD, £6.3mil, 1.8% ownership)
Christian Kabasele (WAT, DEF, £4.6mil, 2.5% ownership)
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