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 (GW32)
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 32 Average Points: 48 points
Gameweek 32 Wildcard Points: 53 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: GW28 - 17pts, 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), 47 (25), 43 (26), 61 (27), 49 (28), 46 (29), 41 (30), 46 (31), 48 (32) = 1,573pts
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), 32 (25), 21 (26), 28 (27), 17 (28), 49 (29), 26 (30), 37 (31), 53 (32) = 1,230pts
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
GW25: Christian Benteke (West Ham vs. Crystal Palace) - 8pts
GW26: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle) - 5pts
Alexis Sanchez (Man United vs. Huddersfield) - 5pts
GW27: Alfie Mawson (Swansea vs. Burnley) - 7pts
GW28: Sadio Mane (Liverpool vs. West Ham) - 7pts
GW29: Troy Deeney (Watford vs. West Brom) - 9pts
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Brighton vs. Arsenal) - 9pts
GW30: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal vs. Watford) - 9pts
GW31: Cenk Tosun (Stoke vs. Everton) - 13pts
GW32: Alexis Sanchez (Man United vs. Swansea) - 14pts
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)
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)
GW25: 32 points, 3 returns
Mkhitaryan (1), Benteke (8), Mane (6), Hazard (2), Dragovic (1), Jacob Murphy (1), Soares (2), Ederson (6), Alexis Sanchez (2), Shaqiri (3)
GW26: 21 points, 2 returns
Laporte (0), Wilson (2), Ryan (2), Dragovic (2), A. Sanchez (5), Sturridge (2), Walcott (2), Benteke (5), Mane (3), Rudiger (0)
GW27: 28 points, 2 returns
Butland (3), Mawson (7), Walcott (1), Deulofeu (2), Bernardo Silva (2), Ibe (1), Mane (3), Alexis Sanchez (2), Aubameyang (2), Giroud (5)
GW28: 17 points, 1 return
Federico Fernandez (0), Zanka (2), Trippier (0), Christensen (1), Mahrez (2), Stanislas (2), Gudmundsson (2), Mane (7), Niasse (1), Aubameyang (0)
GW29: 49 points, 5 returns
Schmeichel (1), Davinson Sánchez (6), Robertson (6), Arnautovic (1), Sane (3), Alexis Sanchez (5), Barnes (7), Guido Carrillo (2), Deeney (9), Aubameyang (9)
GW30: 26 points, 2 returns
van Dijk (1), Morgan (2), Moses (0), Davinson Sánchez (2), Izquierdo (2), Andre Ayew (2), Antonio (2), Bernardo Silva (1), Gayle (5), Aubameyang (9)
GW31: 37 points, 3 returns (from 4 matches)
Stanislas (10), Zaha, (3), Tosun (13), Robertson (11)
GW32: 53 points, 5 returns
Robertson (8), Cedric Soares (1), Alexis Sanchez (14), Kenedy (6), Stanislas (1), Ozil (7), Hazard (2), Glenn Murray (0), Barnes (6), Jesus (8)
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)
GW25: 137pts (9/11 differentials)
GW26: 128pts (8/11 differentials)
GW27: 146pts (7/11 differentials)
GW28: 125pts (8/11 differentials)
GW29: 115pts (9/11 differentials)
GW30: 150pts (9/11 differentials)
GW31: 127pts (9/11 differentials)
GW32: 133pts (8/11 differentials)
Totals: 4,126pts (253/352 differentials)
Gameweek 32: Dream Team
Wildcards: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Masuaku, Lejeune, Yedlin, Arnautovic, Sanchez, Joao Mario
Non Wildcards: Alli, David Silva, Aubameyang
Points achieved by Wildcards: 96pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: 39pts
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 (GW33)
A few days off the Champions League clash between Liverpool and Manchester City there is a lot of talk about will Salah play, or won’t he play. The good news is that we have you covered with some inspired differential choices for the week. We can’t believe it either, a week without Salah, what are we to do?
No goalkeepers to speak of this week, but if you are looking for differential inspiration then look at the duo of Loris Karius and Mathew Ryan to bolster your teams.
Virgil van Dijk (LIV), Benjamin Chilwell (LEI), Davinson Sánchez (TOT)
Salah will never be a differential, he was at the beginning of the season, but that changed after his first goal against Watford. His new team-mate, Virgil van Dijk, is most definitely a differential. Andrew Robertson’s popularity has seen him reach the upper echelons of defensive ownership which rules him out of the differential category this week. Virgil scored on his debut, in the FA Cup against Everton, so we are hoping for a similar performance from the Dutchman. The other central defender chosen this week is Davinson Sánchez of Spurs who is just here because Spurs have no other differentials of note in what is considered an easy victory for the North London club, so in theory it should be easy points for the Colombian.
The final defender chosen for this gameweek has sixteen fantasy points in his last two games alone. Ben Chilwell has usurped Christian Fuchs to become Leicester’s first choice left-back, and with two assists to his name in the last two games the young Fox has potential against a Newcastle who always struggle for goals.
André Ayew (SWA), Aaron Ramsey (ARS), Eden Hazard (CHE)
Three midfielders buffer the differentials this week, Ayew of Swansea leads the line for the Welsh club with his brother Jordan suspended after picking up a red card recently. We always back against West Brom with their current slump taking them into the Championship, so we can’t ignore Swansea’s potential this week. The second midfielder scored two goals against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League on Thursday and are playing a relegation threatened team at home. Aaron Ramsey has been on and off the boil this season, but we are hoping that the confidence from his performance in Europe can carry over domestically.
Eden Hazard has been nominated as our differential captain and has been covered in more detail further down the article.
Joshua King (BOU), Glenn Murray (BHA), Ashley Barnes (BUR), Gabriel Jesus (MCI)
A haul of four forwards completes the differentials for GW33, and most of them have been reliable options of late. Glenn Murray missed a penalty against Leicester, but this shouldn’t overlook the fact Brighton host a goal-shy Huddersfield, so it is a shot at redemption. The in-form Englishman has been a constant threat for Brighton all season, so we have no concern over Murray’s form heading into the Gameweek.
Joshua King, a real favourite within The Hype Train, has played the last two games to completion and has returns both. Most recently the Norwegian international secured nine points against Watford, so we are here to ask the question if King will have a late season resurgence and pick up some of the same form that made him an essential in the latter half of the 2016/17 season.
Ashley Barnes in the meantime has scored in his last four games, an incredible achievement, so his place in the differentials in secured. We are surprised more people haven’t picked up the cheap forward, Burnley have a great run of fixtures and feature in the double gameweek.
Lastly, Gabriel Jesus is still in-form since his return from injury, and his goal against Everton should worry Man United. The Brazilian likes to break lines and cause plenty of problems for static defenders. Aguero is still injured, so Jesus will continue make the differentials until the Argentine's return.
Key Differential: Eden Hazard (CHE)
What has happened to Eden Hazard this season? Last year the Belgian was one of the most selected players in the FPL. We have a theory at The Hype Train that the FA’s new mantra of officiating has gone against set-piece takers like Hazard, penalties for example are becoming rarer and rarer as the FA would rather not go under scrutiny from managers over if a penalty was rightly awarded or not.
The other part of the theory behind Hazard’s dip in form has been down to Chelsea’s mindset this season. Conte’s team, just as they did when Mourinho won the league, have taken their gas off the pedal. This consistency of doing well only to then wobble the next season transcends managers, but what this makes Chelsea is a massive wildcard team this year as you don’t know if they are going to turn up on the pitch, making them excellent differential picks. Eden Hazard personifies this the best, and you could argue that the Belgian is overdue a big week in the FPL.
Eden Hazard Key Stats:
Hazard has eleven goals and five assists so far this season. Last season when Chelsea won the league he scored sixteen goals and provided nine assists.
Hazard has returned in only eleven games this season from twenty-three starts, additionally the Belgian has not provided an attacking return if he has started on the bench.
Of Hazard’s eleven returns, six of them have been double-digits, and none of them have been in back-to-back matches.
Hazard’s last fantasy return occurred during GW28 when he provided an assist against Manchester United.
Chelsea have only won two of their last seven games, the two victories at home came against relegation threatened West Brom in GW27 and Crystal Palace during GW30 (W2, D0, L5).
West Ham have also won two of their last seven games, both at home to Watford in GW27, and Southampton during GW32, and bizarrely the Hammers have collected more points in this period than their London rivals (W2, D1, L4).
West Ham have lost their last three away games, but they have scored in each of them.
The reverse result of this fixture ended with a 1-0 West Ham victory, with a lone Marko Arnautovic goal proving to be the difference during GW16.
Whilst most of the FPL community look to Willian and his cheaper price tag, the discussion about Hazard has stopped. What makes Hazard such an inspired differential selection this week is that a player of his quality has been forgotten, and with a home game for the Blues to bounce back from the defeat to Spurs, we haven’t forgotten about the Belgian.
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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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