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 (GW24)
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 24 Average Points: 50 points
Gameweek 24 Wildcard Points: 54 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), 45 (21), 45 (22), 58 (23), 50 (24) = 1192pts
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), 48 (21), 48 (22), 33 (23), 54 (24) = 967pts
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
GW21: Ederson (Crystal Palace vs. Man City) - 14pts
GW22: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester vs. Huddersfield) - 14pts
GW23: Marko Arnautovic (Huddersfield vs. West Ham) - 16pts
GW24: Eden Hazard (Brighton vs. Chelsea) - 16pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 18pts (GW12)
1 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 18pts (GW15)
3 - Marko Arnautovic (WHU): 16pts (GW23)
3 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 16pts (GW24)
5 - Raheem Sterling (MCI): 15pts (GW8)
5 - Marko Arnautovic (WHU): 15pts (GW20)
7 - Ederson (MCI): 14pts (GW21)
7 - Riyad Mahrez: 14pts (GW22)
9 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW6)
9 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 13pts (GW12)
9 - Sadio Mane (LIV): 13pts (GW14)
9 - Steve Mounie (HUD): 12pts (GW1)
13 - Alvaro Morata (CHE): 12pts (GW3)
14 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MUN): 11pts (GW1)
14 - Jack Butland (STK): 11pts (GW2)
14 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 11pts (GW10)
14 - Nick Pope (BUR): 11pts (GW17)
18 - 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)
GW21: 48 points, 6 returns
Ederson (14), Pope (6), Moses (1), Wagué (6), Lascelles (6), Sigurdsson (2), Mane (6), Lingard (2), Sanchez (5)
GW22: 48 points, 4 returns (from 11 matches)
Matt Ryan (3), Mane (8), Mahrez (14), Crouch (2), Rashford (1), Southampton (2), Davinson Sanchez (0), Arnautovic (5), Ederson (3), Christensen (1), Son (9)
GW23: 33 points, 2 returns
Gomes (1), Ryan (1), Christensen (1), Lascelles (2), Shaw (6), van Dijk (0), Mustafi (1), Tosun (2), Zaha (3), Arnautovic (16)
GW24: 54 points, 4 returns
Butland (9), Dragovic (6), Stones (2), Aurier (2), Hazard (16), Zaha (2), Martial (10), Lanzini (3), Mane (2), Tosun (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 Wildcards
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 Wildcards
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)
GW21: 128pts (8/11 differentials)
GW22: 122pts (7/11 differentials)
GW23: 151pts (8/11 differentials)
GW24: 144pts (10/11 differentials)
Totals: 3,211pts (186/235 differentials)
Gameweek 24: Dream Team
Wildcards: Schmeichel, Moses, Monreal, Mawson, Fernandez, Koscielny, Hazard, Willian, Allen, Martial
Non Wildcards: Aguero
Points achieved by Wildcards: 127pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 17pts
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 (GW25)
Following another rocky FA Cup weekend, the Premier League returns to frustrate fantasy managers with plenty of rotation. Midweek games always through wrenches into the works, but we are providing ten names you probably haven’t considered for your teams.
SWA/ARS: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ARS, MID, £7.6mil, 6.6% ownership)
WHU/CRY: Christian Benteke (CRY, FWD, £7.6mil, 2.3% ownership)
HUD/LIV: Sadio Mane (LIV, MID, £9.3mil, 7.5% ownership)
CHE/BOU: Eden Hazard (CHE, MID, £10.6mil, 7.5% ownership)
EVE/LEI: Aleksandar Dragovic (LEI, DEF, £4.9mil, 0.1% ownership)
NEW/BUR: Jacob Murphy (NEW, MID, £5.0mil, 0.1% ownership)
SOU/BHA: Cédric Soares (SOU, DEF, £4.7mil, 2.5% ownership)
MCI/WBA: Ederson (MCI, GK, £5.6mil, 7.5% ownership)
TOT/MUN: Alexis Sanchez (MUN, MID, £11.7mil, 3.5% ownership)
STK/WAT: Xherdan Shaqiri (STK, MID, £6.0mil, 6.4% ownership)
One goalkeeper selected, and no surprises about the name in the list this week. Manchester City’s Ederson has been a stead option to have in your fantasy team between the sticks. A reliable source of points for a while now, it should be another easy fixture for the Citizens.
Aleksandar Dragovic (LEI), Cédric Soares (SOU)
Two defenders have been selected, and after a weekend of FA Cup action, it is hard to trust defences in general after even more Premier League teams were knocked out of the competition. Dragovic is selected after a series of good form, and Leicester having a run of three clean sheets on the bounce. The Foxes travel to Goodison Park, where hosts Everton are still figuring out their striker’s dilemma. One-minute Tosun is starting, the next they bring on Oumar Niasse to make the difference, the next Rooney is wandering aimlessly around the six-yard. Trusting in sure things is the smart thing to do right now.
The second defender is the Saints full-back Cédric Soares, who has returned to the starting berth after recovering from injury. The hotly anticipated Coastline Clash is normally a feisty encounter, but there should be few goals between these teams who are both having goal scoring issues. Instead we look at attacking defenders, and none are better in this fixture than Soares.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ARS), Sadio Mane (LIV), Eden Hazard (CHE), Jacob Murphy (NEW), Alexis Sanchez (MUN), Xherdan Shaqiri (STK)
The bulk of this week’s differentials belong to six midfielders, or more specifically, six wingers. We have added one line about each of the midfielders we are hoping strike gold in the midweek fixtures.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: The Armenian traded place at Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez, and no doubt the new signing will be intent on making a fresh start in North London after being treated poorly by Jose Mourinho. The Gunners travel to Swansea looking to utilise their new asset quickly, and it wouldn’t be any surprise to see either of the traded players start life with a bang.
Sadio Mane: Liverpool can’t be trusted defensively, but they can be offensively. Huddersfield offers the Reds to bounce back from their FA Cup loss to West Brom by completing the double over Huddersfield. Jürgen Klopp defeated best friend David Wagner 3-0 at Anfield earlier in the season. Mane is a locked starter and at his best a huge differential, and goal threat.
Jacob Murphy: Newcastle are desperate for attacking reinforcements, and whilst the anxious wait for fresh faces frustrates Rafa Benitez, there is one glimmer of hope of their summer signings. Jacob Murphy who was signed by Norwich has provided two goals from his last two starts, assisting in GW22's victory at Stoke, and scoring in GW24's defeat at Man City. Burnley have conceded in each of their last 3 fixtures, and with a defence that is still patching itself together, could be there for the taking at St James' Park.
Alexis Sanchez: The Chilean made the switch from Arsenal to Man United, providing clarity on one of the longest transfer sagas of recent memory. Sanchez provided two assists on his FA Cup debut against Yeovil, and against Spurs it could be double jeopardy by having the chance to face his former North London rivals. Spurs won’t be happy to see his face again, this time for Manchester United.
Xherdan Shaqiri: Secured six fantasy points in his last home game and will be a huge component of Paul Lambert’s inherited team. The Swiss maestro can make something out of nothing, and their visiting opponents, Watford, have been in a nosedive slump of late.
Eden Hazard is our differential captain, and he is gone into more detail further down the article.
Christian Benteke (CRY)
Just one striker makes the cut this week, and it is hard to come across legitimate forward options who are differentials nowadays. We wanted to trust Benteke as the differential captain this week, especially because West Ham have a depleted squad relying on last second injury boosts to form a strong starting eleven.
The Belgian wasn’t selected due to Eden Hazard coming back into form, but if you are still looking for a replacement for Alvaro Morata, and want to pocket some fantasy change, Benteke is the man for you.
Having recorded three straight fantasy returns the Eagles striker is finding his form once again, and at the London Stadium it could be a game full of goals for Roy Hodgson’s team.
Key Differential: Eden Hazard (CHE)
Here we are again, selecting Chelsea’s Belgian golden boy as the differential captain. How very typical of Eden Hazard to start scoring big points again in the FPL when his status drops to differential. Hazard, who in the last four weeks has two double-digit returns has found a new lease of life without Alvaro Morata in the Blues team.
The problem with watching Chelsea with Morata is that the Blues tend to ride their luck with the Spaniard in the team with the 3-5-2 formation that is increasingly hard to watch as a neutral. Clogging the midfield doesn’t make sense at Chelsea when you have Kante unable to do what he does best, it also means there is less support for wing-backs, and we still aren’t sure what Tiémoué Bakayoko does for Chelsea since his move from Monaco in the summer.
Morata’s recent injury means that Chelsea have returned to the 3-4-3 formation where everyone knows their position, how they need to play, and how to be effective. The other formation does now allow that, and Hazard is better in a three, than a two. Usually marked out of the game and left isolated when just paired with Morata stifles the Belgian, but with support there is better openings for Hazard to make more decisive runs and key passes.
The easy truth is that Antonio Conte was wrong to mess with a proven formula, and now that it has made a comeback there is no surprise to see Chelsea pick up form.
Eden Hazard Key Stats:
Eden Hazard (112) is Chelsea’s third placed points scorer in the Fantasy Premier League. Marcos Alonso (137) and Cesar Azpilicueta (127) are the only players to have scored more points than the Belgian.
Hazard has eight goals and four assists so far, this season. The Belgian has two goals and one assist in his last three games.
Chelsea are undefeated in the Premier League since Gameweek Sixteen, when the lost to West Ham 1-0 at the London Stadium.
Chelsea have six clean sheets from their last eight games, and two in their last three games. The Blues have also kept four consecutive clean sheets at home.
Chelsea have scored in six of their last eight games. The Blues have scored two or more goals in a game in five of their last eight games.
The only concern for Hazard is his minutes, the midfielder has only completed ninety minutes on six occasions this season. Additionally, the Belgian has only completed eight minutes, or more, on three separate occasions.
Petr Cech (ARS, GK, £5.4mil, 4.9% ownership)
Mesut Özil (ARS, MID, £9.3mil, 2.2% ownership)
Andrew Robertson (LIV, DEF, £4.7mil, 2.9% ownership)
Virgil van Dijk (LIV, DEF, £5.5mil, 5.3% ownership)
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (LIV, MID, £5.7mil, 4.0% ownership)
Wilfried Zaha (CRY, MID, £6.9mil, 5.0% ownership)
Victor Moses (CHE, DEF, £6.4mil, 1.7% ownership)
Andreas Christensen (CHE, DEF, £5.5mil, 3.8% ownership)
Michy Batshuayi (CHE, FWD, £8.1mil, 0.6% ownership)
Karl Darlow (NEW, GK, £4.4mil, 0.4% ownership)
Jamaal Lascelles (NEW, DEF, £4.6mil, 6.0% ownership)
Nick Pope (BUR, GK, £4.8mil, 8.4% ownership)
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (BUR, MID, £5.0mil, 0.7% ownership)
Ashley Barnes (BUR, FWD, £5.2mil, 1.0% ownership)
Alex McCarthy (SOU, GK, £4.4mil, 0.2% ownership)
Maya Yoshida (SOU, DEF, £4.7mil, 2.9% ownership)
Jack Stephens (SOU, DEF, £4.5mil, 0.3% ownership)
Dusan Tadic (SOU, MID, £6.2mil, 1.6% ownership)
Jack Butland (STK, GK, £5.0mil, 2.2% ownership)
Seamus Coleman (EVE, def, £6.4mil, 0.2% ownership)
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