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. 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.
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 (GW7)
The League Cup has been underway for the first time this season, and no doubt it will cause headaches to many an FPL manager with their fingers crossed for an hour before the games when line-ups are released. What we do know is Pep Guardiola is going to rotate his team, so we are giving you ten players to think about for the coming weekend actions.
Paulo Gazzaniga (TOT), Martin Dubravka (NEW)
Paulo Gazzaniga (Huddersfield vs. Spurs)
We are back to backing yet another Spurs goalkeeper, and this time we are looking third choice Paulo Gazzaniga after Michel Vorm picked up an injury. Gazzaniga was decent against Brighton, and there was nothing he could do for the Anthony Knockaert goal. Huddersfield shouldn’t worry Spurs too much, so it could be easy points for the keeper between the sticks.
Martin Dubravka (Newcastle vs. Leicester)
The second goalkeeper we are keeping are eye on for this fixture and beyond is Newcastle’s very own Martin Dubravka. The Toon keeper’ had his best performance of the season against Crystal Palace, whilst also picking up his second clean sheet of the season. The good news for Rafa Benitez is that Jonjo Shelvey is back to complete the spine of his most competitive team, and we think Leicester are going to have a very tough time breaking down the Toon. Dubravka is a consideration for the next half-season with a patch of green fixtures in the near distance.
Chris Smalling (MUN), Lucas Digne (EVE)
Chris Smalling (West Ham vs. Man United)
West Ham were unlucky not to pick up a win against Chelsea, the Andriy Yarmolenko header should have gone in, but it wasn’t their day. Bad news for the Hammers is that they must put up with their curse…Romelu Lukaku. West Ham haven’t beaten Manchester United since they left Upton Park, and their recent record is poor against them. They haven’t beat the Red Devils in their last three Premier League fixtures and haven’t scored against them either. This is good news for our differential pick Chris Smalling who we believe will keep that record going.
Lucas Digne (Everton vs. Fulham)
The left-back has taken over from Leighton Baines at the Merseyside club, and is even on some set pieces. He has had some promising performances and this fixture against Fulham is the perfect time to shake off the Toffees recent poor results. Fulham have leaked goals, so we are expecting Digne to cause the London club when they visit the north-west.
Raheem Sterling (MCI), James Milner (LIV), Aaron Lennon (BUR)
Raheem Sterling (Man City vs. Brighton)
One of the players not fielded in the League Cup midweek for Man City. 4 returns from 5 appearances. A home fixture against a side who have struggled on the road. Sterling looks like the optimum pick for City this weekend alongside the rested duo of Laporte and Aguero.
James Milner (Chelsea vs. Liverpool)
This fixture has very, very few differentials. We would love to have Xherdan Shaqiri in this fixture but with Liverpool’s rotation during the League Cup fixture we think Klopp will field the same eleven that beat PSG against Chelsea, with the inclusion of Roberto Firmino for Daniel Sturridge. James Milner is on set pieces and penalties, and is the driving force for Liverpool, he is really that good in this moment of time. The Englishman has a decent collection of returns and could add to his tally against the Blues.
Aaron Lennon (Cardiff vs. Burnley)
Burnley look like they have finally sorted out their shape against Bournemouth. Sean Dyche could trigger a turnaround of their recent fortunes, and they can do that by keeping things the same after their rout of the Cherries. Aaron Lennon had a good game with a goal and assist against the South Coast club. The Clarets travel to Cardiff and it could be another eventful fixture with plenty of goals.
Alexandre Lacazette (ARS), Raúl Jiménez (WOL), Joshua King (BOU)
Raúl Jiménez (Wolves vs. Southampton)
The Mexican is making a real splash into life in the Premier League and so far, has two goals and an assist to his name. Wolves have a real threat in the box, and his movement in the box has been his standpoint quality he brings to the team. He manoeuvred the space to make Moutinho’s goal against Man United, and now he has the chance for a game with arguably more chances for him in the shape of Southampton. Jiménez has been a reliable player so far and we are banking on him to continue his good start to the season.
Joshua King (Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace)
One striker we have plenty of faith in is the Cherries striker Joshua King. This fixture between Bournemouth and Crystal Palace could have lots of goals in it, the tight space at the Vitality Stadium makes for entertaining games with teams looking to attack. So far Bournemouth have scored a minimum of two goals at home, with most recently they scored four against Leicester, so it is a promising sign that there might be more goals for the forward this weekend.
Key Differential: Alexandre Lacazette (ARS)
The crown jewel of the differentials this season has been the Frenchman, Alexandre Lacazette. Since Unai Emery had the bright spark in his mind to play both of his main strikers together, Lacazette and Aubameyang have been on fire, with Arsenal now on a four-game winning streak in the Premier League. Since the game against West Ham when the Frenchman came on at half time he hasn’t looked back, notching three assists and two goals, making him a necessary part of the Arsenal team.
We are still concerned why it took Emery so long to start Lacazette, but that fever the Spaniard must have had has now passed and he is seeing clearly again. Lacazette can score poacher goals, long range goals, penalties, and acute shots from multiple angles, which is why we are not surprised that he has secured fantasy points in four consecutive fixtures due to his versatility.
Arsenal’s strong run of form can’t be ignored either, even if they are not playing at peak form they are pragmatic and are winning games by utilizing key assets, such as Lacazette. Amidst a period where plenty of fantasy managers are activating their wildcards we are still baffled as to why Lacazette continues to be a differential when the forward is a better, and cheaper option, than Aubameyang.
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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.
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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.