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 (GW8)
The midweek Champions League and Europa League throw in plenty of risks over rotation and form, but if you are looking for some players to provide an edge then take a look at the ten players we are backing this Gameweek with low ownership.
Goalkeepers (0/10): N/A
No goalkeepers this week as there is plenty of outfield options to wet your tongue over.
Patrick van Aanholt (CRY), Danny Rose (TOT), Chris Smalling (MUN), Joseph Gomez (LIV)
Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace vs. Wolves)
The Flying Dutchman has been on fire in the past three weeks, picking up 22 of his 35 points in this timeframe. Wolves at home is a tricky fixture, but in the form PVA is in we can’t discount him this weekend.
Danny Rose (Spurs vs. Cardiff)
The England left-back has been reinstated as first choice for Spurs in recent weeks and has even been productive in an attacking sense. Rose has picked up two assists and had two good returns in the last two rounds of fixtures. Cardiff at home is a no-brainer fixture to select Rose who could have returns on both ends of the pitch.
Chris Smalling (Man United vs. Newcastle)
The arrival of the Toon is very good news for Manchester United, this is the ultimate fixture to get things back on track. To be honest, the Toon will spend more time sitting behind their own D, so it could be an easy ride for Smalling who will be at the heart of defence.
Joseph Gomez (Liverpool vs. Man City)
There are few differentials that will start this fixture, so we are picking the shining light from Liverpool’s loss at Napoli which was the performance of Joe Gomez. Man City have a poor record at Anfield so it could be a tight and nervy affair with few goals.
Anthony Knockaert (BHA), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (BUR), Willian (CHE)
Anthony Knockaert (Brighton vs. West Ham)
You might have heard a few things in the FPL community about Knockaert being on the radar of quite a few players, and now we are in the period of fixtures that have cleared up for Brighton. The Seagull’s best player this year has been the Frenchman, and he finally looks to have adapted to the Premier League and is now a legitimate option. Returns out of four of seven fixtures says it all and having recently scored his first goal of the season against Spurs, it could be another productive home fixture the Brighton’s lucky charm.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley vs. Huddersfield)
The Burnley midfielder has come out of nowhere in the last few weeks, and we can’t believe just how many teams have him despite him only being owned by exactly two percent of players. Huddersfield travel to Turf Moor and with the Icelander on set pieces and getting into good goal scoring positions we have no choice than to hope for a third successive fantasy return for the winger.
Willian (Southampton vs. Chelsea)
Chelsea has been the Eden Hazard show of late and it is easy to forget Chelsea have an extremely talented squad. Willian is one of those players, and with an injury to Pedro it makes sense to back him against a Southampton team who can’t force the issue with holding teams back. Willian is the perfect differential…few people are considering him because all eyes are on Eden Hazard.
Jamie Vardy (LEI), Troy Deeney (WAT), Alexandre Lacazette (ARS)
Troy Deeney (Watford vs. Bournemouth)
The Watford vs. Bournemouth fixture is one that has had plenty of goals since the pair were promoted to the Premier League. The score of 2-2 has been played out between these teams in three of the past four games, and in the odd one out it finished with a Watford 2-0 win, meaning the Hornets have scored a minimum of two goals versus the Cherries in the last four league games. With that in mind we are backing Troy Deeney to get back on the scoresheet.
Alexandre Lacazette (Fulham vs. Arsenal)
The Arsenal forward won’t be a differential for too much longer, that much is clear. Fulham have been leaking goals and whilst Lacazette remains within the differential reach we are going to keep back him. Quite literally the Frenchman hasn’t let us down so far, so we are going to keep rolling the dice on him.
You can read more in our GW8 captaincy article, with The Frenchman featuring as our alternative pick for this weekend.
Key Differential: Jamie Vardy (LEI)
Jamie Vardy has returned to the first team with a point to prove. The hungry Fox has been among the goals with two to his name, plus an assist, in the past two league fixtures. Vardy is getting better at scoring against packed defences and he proved that against Huddersfield and Newcastle.
Everton though are an odd case because they try and play like a big team, but they need to often rely on keeping their team compact. Everton have really struggled keeping a clean sheet, they may have kept one last weekend but lightening rarely strikes twice for the Toffees defensively.
Jamie Vardy isn’t a premium pick because people would prefer Kane, Aguero, Firmino, and an Arsenal forward instead. Essentially, Vardy is too costly to trust when there are better premium players to choose between.
Being the outsider suits him as a differential, and he has made the difference for the few that own him in recent weeks, and with Maddison in-form it could be another unexpected success for Vardy and the rest of the Foxes.
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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.