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 (GW9)
The recent international break lasted roughly two years, and with a hospital full of injury scares there will be plenty of FPL managers who are sweating on the fitness of a whole host of players. Don’t fret, we have offered up ten differentials who could help ease the heartbreak of your players being dropped after the international break.
Martin Dubravka (NEW)
Martin Dubravka (NEWCASTLE vs. Brighton)
Newcastle vs. Brighton screams 0-0. We highly doubt that there will be more than one goal in this fixture, so much that you could begin to trust Newcastle and their upcoming run of fixtures just that little bit more. Brighton haven’t done anything on their travels, there are a home-centric team and could find it tough to break down a stubborn Newcastle team that should be refreshed after an international break where many of their players weren’t on international break. Dubravka is the natural choice this week and could be a lock in your team for the next dozen matchdays.
Toby Alderweireld (TOT), Willy Boly (WOL), Dejan Lovren (LIV)
Toby Alderweireld (West Ham vs. SPURS)
Spurs once again provide The Hype Train with a headache. Spurs are competitive, lack differentials you have security with, and make you doubt the other team enough not to trust their other players. Big Toby has been picked just on the basis that Spurs are the team in-form and you must roll the dice with the team picking up points. If Spurs aren’t all that impressive there is still hope Toby can walk away with some points.
Willy Boly (WOLVES vs. Watford)
What more can we say, this fixture will probably finish Wolves 1-0 Watford. You go where the points are and right now that is in the Wolves defence.
Dejan Lovren (Huddersfield vs. LIVERPOOL)
Arguably the best moment of the game in an otherwise drab affair between Man City and Liverpool was the excellent tackle made by Dejan Lovren on Gabriel Jesus to keep things scoreless. We have no idea what the Liverpool team will throw up but based on the performance of the world’s self-professed best defender against the Champions, we doubt he is going anywhere. This fixture shouldn’t trouble Liverpool, and it might give Lovren the time to reintegrate back into the Reds defence.
Ross Barkley (CHE), André Schürrle (FUL), Raheem Sterling (MCI), Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVE), David Brooks (BOU)
Ross Barkley (CHELSEA vs. Man United)
Manchester United’s visit to Chelsea is a game with very few differentials to speak of, but the one player who is back on the footballing radar is Ross Barkley. Sarri-ball has unlocked his potential after an injury ravaged year, and it was an underwhelming January move for Barkley, we didn’t think he would become an established player, we just thought it would be another case of wasted potential once again leaving Chelsea. Despite all doubt Sarri has made Barkley a real threat and roaming presence in the Chelsea midfield. A goal and assist in his last outing make Barkley a great differential conundrum. Man United may not know how to cope with him and Hazard in the same team.
André Schürrle (Cardiff vs. FULHAM)
The German continued his torment of Arsenal with a fine lifted lob over Berndt Leno, and it was probably the biggest lifeline that Fulham had against their London rivals. This week won’t be as defensive for Schürrle, and it is a six pointer against Cardiff. The simple fact is that Fulham have more quality than Cardiff, so it should be a simple affair with the German likely amongst the goals.
David Brooks (BOURNEMOUTH vs. Southampton)
Joshua Kings injury doubt has given way to an even bigger differential stepping up this week. David Brooks has been critical for Eddie Howes Cherries’ of late with a goal in both of his last two games, showing his potential since his move from Sheffield United hasn’t been wasted. The Coastline Clash will have goals and a £5.0mil midfielder option who is in goal scoring form is the biggest differential of all.
Raheem Sterling (MAN CITY vs. Burnley)
England stunned Spain in the UEFA Nations League, who can believe that can be said? Sterling scored two goals, his first an absolute stunning strike, and the next being in the right place at the right time. The fruits of Pep Guardiola’s labour are starting to show in Sterling, and no doubt he is irreplaceable in the Spaniards team. In his current form you can’t back against Sterling in any fixture.
This week’s differential captain is Gylfi Sigurdsson, and we have explored his potential further down the article.
Jamie Vardy (LEI)
Jamie Vardy (Arsenal vs. LEICESTER)
The only forward this week is Jamie Vardy who is the biggest differential in this match, if there is anyone capable of breaching Arsenal it is the former England striker. Arsenal have been scoring plenty of goals, but they haven’t been solid in defence, meaning Vardy is a worthy differential to not overlook.
Key Differential: Gylfi Sigurdsson (EVERTON vs. Crystal Palace)
We said we wouldn’t back an Everton player as differential captain this week, but here we are. Josh King is an injury doubt, and we could have opted for Raheem Sterling against Burnley which would be the obvious move, but with the Icelanders resurgence in form it makes him an ever better differential threat. Gylfi Sigurdsson has turned back time by standout displays akin to when he was a Swansea City player, and it is showing in the recent weeks that Marco Silva has made Gylfi the focal point of the team.
There isn’t anything that Gylfi Sigurdsson doesn’t do for the Toffees.
Free kick? He’s on it.
Corner? He’s by it.
Penalty? He’s on the spot.
Open play? He’s been in the right place at the right time.
Four goals in four games is an outstanding return, and with Crystal Palace on a giant wobble the midfielder who has accumulated thirty-three fantasy points in four games should make the Palace defenders wary of the Everton threat. Richarlison is back in-form, Bernard is adding a different dimension, and the string that is knitting that team together is the experienced Sigurdsson. Gylfi can make it three returns in a row at Goodison Park with another stellar performance. Why is he a differential?
Oh, and one more thing...
Let's spare a moment for Josh King, who was originally part of our captaincy lineup this week until Eddie Howe confirmed speculation of an injury whilst playing with Norway during international duty. We'll still put our words about Josh King below, even though Sam decided to axe him at the 11th hour for David Brooks...
Bournemouth have been playing attacking, open and attractive football this season, outscoring Liverpool (16 goals to 15) from their opening 8 fixtures of the season, and sit pretty in 6th placed ahead of a Southampton side who have struggled on the whole with Mark Hughes at the helm.
Josh King, who rose to prominence at the end of the 2016/17 season, scoring 16 goals for Bournemouth that season, has found form alongside Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser, igniting remembrances and comparison of the Norwegians breakthrough season in England top flight.
King has scored 4 goals this season, 3 from the penalty spot, with his most coming from open play against a disorganised Watford side that look a shell of the side that started the season with 4 successive victories.
Wilson (49pts) and Fraser (48pts) have been immense from open play situations, though King's advanced positioning and set-piece potential means he is attracting more BPS on a weekly basis whenever he does provide an attacking return.
King's 8 bonus so far is only outmatched by Harry Kane's 9 bonus, whilst Wilson, who has 10 attacking returns so far this season (3 goals, 7 assists) is off the pace with just 3 bonus.
Given that Fulham's Alexsander Mitrovic has become an early season favourite, the overlooked Cherry has just as many points with a pairing of delightful fixtures against Southampton at home before squaring off against Mitrovic's Fulham side - both of which are games with immense potential for Bournemouth to solidify their entertaining start to the season. King could be the differential of the three to make the real difference in both.
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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.
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