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 we select one player from each Premier League match in the upcoming Gameweek to decide who could be the differential that sets your Fantasy 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. 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. For the 2018/19 season, the rules of last season, much like those of the game, will remain the same.
- 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.
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 (GW1)
You've heard it a million times already with the season fast approaching, but the Premier League opens its doors to the world again this Friday with Man United hosting Leicester. To open our lowly differential picks we have opted against picking Goalkeeper's due to the goal-laden nature of the opening weekend, so we jump right into the defensive selections.
Davinson Sánchez (TOT), Patrick van Aanholt (CRY), David Luiz (CHE)
Davinson Sánchez (TOT):
Unrest in the Newcastle camp isn’t what the Toon faithful want to begin their season, but here we are again with turbulence over the managerial structure at the club. This has placed Spurs in a position to cease on this unrest, and with Newcastle goal-shy in pre-season it could be a second consecutive clean sheet for the Spurs at St James Park. Sanchez is the safest bet to start the season, and lowly selected, so he's in.
Patrick van Aanholt (CRY):
With the Netherlands staying at home during the World Cup, PVA has enjoyed a full pre-season with the Eagles who have been scoring goals for fun during the summer period. The Dutchman is a regular points scorer and ramped up his performances in the latter half of the 2017/18 season and could hit the ground running with a greatly enhanced Crystal Palace team. We still aren’t convinced by Fulham, and there is attacking and defensive potential with van Aanholt.
David Luiz (CHE):
The introduction of Sarri to Chelsea could be a career revival for David Luiz who is the type of orchestrator that the Italian wants in his team. Looking for a bounce from their loss in the Community Shield to Man City, the Brazilian will be an integral part of the team and potentially be on set-pieces against Huddersfield.
Alexis Sanchez (MUN), Naby Keita (LIV), Mohamed Elyounoussi (SOU), Riyad Mahrez (MCI)
Naby Keita (LIV):
After waiting a whole season to get their man, the Guinean midfielder has finally arrived at Anfield. After all the hype the new signing has fitted perfectly into Klopp’s team and has already been striking up partnerships all over the pitch, especially with Daniel Sturridge and Andrew Robertson. Liverpool have enjoyed a successful pre-season and with a marauding midfield role to play versus West Ham it could a game where it could finally be worth the wait.
Mohamed Elyounoussi (SOU):
Southampton need to score goals, specifically, they need to score goals from somewhere. The long-time problem has been finding creative players with a spark, and the Saints might have that with new signing Elyounoussi. The trick winger has been slotting in perfectly over pre-season and even scored his first goals his new club versus Celta Vigo in the ninetieth minute. Southampton have the potential to provide an upset on the opening day against Burnley.
Riyad Mahrez (MCI):
So, the player that was touted to join Arsenal for such a long time has instead joined their rivals instead. Joining up with Pep Guardiola, the Algerian winger has enjoyed a fruitful pre-season and been heavily involved with Raheem Sterling having a longer holiday after reaching the Semi Finals of the World Cup. Mahrez has caused trouble for Arsenal whilst at Leicester and could do the same for Man City.
Alexis Sanchez is covered in our wildcard captaincy further down the article.
Joshua King (BOU), Andre Gray (WAT), Raúl Jiménez (WOL)
Andre Gray (WAT):
The former Burnley forward has had a stellar pre-season with the Hornets, scoring three goals in five games. Gray looks set to start ahead of fellow Englishman Troy Deeney.
Joshua King (BOU):
The Cherries forward is a favourite of ours at The Hype Train. The Norwegian international has been in superb form during the pre-season scoring three goals in six games, two of which came in their last fixture against Marseille. Matters are made easier with the supposed easiest home game of the season up first.
Raúl Jiménez (WOL):
There is a lot of hype around Wolves return to the Premier League, and they have drafted in a Mexican heavyweight to lead their line for the upcoming season. Scoring in their last pre-season game against Villarreal, Jiménez is looking sharp for the season against an Everton team who have struggled since they beat an Austrian pub team 22-0.
Key Differential: Alexis Sanchez (MUN)
As ever, there is a lot of talk around Manchester United going into the new season. Will Mourinho stay? Will he go? What about Paul Pogba? Will the Portuguese keep fat shaming Luke Shaw? Only time will tell, but there has been a consistent presence during Manchester United’s pre-season and their top scorer with a mighty two goals against Milan and Real Madrid.
Potentially leading the line in the Friday night game for United, the Chilean should be rested after not having an international competition for the first time in four years and should be hungry in front of goal again.
All eyes are firmly placed on the likes of Aguero, Salah, Kane, Aubameyang heading into the season, but nobody is talking about Alexis Sanchez. Just like last season he is under the radar and in the lights of Old Trafford could spark a surprise return to form.
Here is a recap of the differentials for the opening fixture of the 2018/19 season:
MUN/LEI: Alexis Sanchez (MUN, MID, £10.5mil, 8.7% ownership)
NEW/TOT: Davinson Sánchez (TOT, DEF, £6.0mil, 2.9% ownership)
BOU/CAR: Joshua King (BOU, FWD, £6.5mil, 5.4% ownership)
FUL/CRY: Patrick van Aanholt (CRY, DEF, £5.5mil, 5.3% ownership)
HUD/CHE: David Luiz (CHE, DEF, £5.5mil, 2.5% ownership)
WAT/BHA: Andre Gray (WAT, FWD, £6.0mil, 1.1% ownership)
WOL/EVE: Raúl Jiménez (WOL, FWD, £5.5mil, 3.1% ownership)
LIV/WHU: Naby Keita (LIV, MID, £7.5mil, 5.9% ownership)
SOU/BUR: Mohamed Elyounoussi (SOU, MID, £6.5mil, 0.6% ownership)
ARS/MCI: Riyad Mahrez (MCI, MID, £9.0mil, 4.5% ownership)
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