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 (GW14)
Derby weekend in the Premier League sees the North London and Merseyside teams go head-to-head for the first time this season. We select ten players in a week where we have forgone the art of defending with ten offensively minded options for your consideration. Derby weekends should be all about offensive bravery and that is what we are imploring out of the fourteenth gameweek of the same.
Unfortunately, there are no goalkeepers for a second consecutive week. There are more attacking options of value to consider. If you were looking for differentials however, look at Jonas Lössl of Huddersfield, with their revised 3-5-2 formation he looks a steal this Gameweek.
Patrick van Aanholt (CRY)
Patrick van Aanholt (CRYSTAL PALACE vs. Burnley)
There is only one defensive player this week, and they have been picked solely based on their attacking potential. We aren’t favouring defenders this week, we are favouring goals, goals, and more goals. Everyone is aware that PVA is doing bits in the Premier League, and against an extremely out-of-form Burnley the Dutch full-back is a double-edged sword in terms of defensive and attacking potential.
Callum Paterson (CAR), Alex Pritchard (HUD), Leroy Sane (MCI), Stuart Armstrong (SOU), Hueng-Min Son (TOT), Xherdan Shaqiri (LIV)
Callum Paterson (CARDIFF vs. Wolves)
Most of what has been good for Cardiff this season has been down to Callum Paterson who has occasionally been played as a striker. Notching three times this system against Fulham, Liverpool, and most recently Brighton, is arguably their bright spark in this fixture. Wolves had started to build a fearsome defensive reputation, but that foundation has crumbled in the last handful of games as teams have started to expose their style of play. We will rarely have chances to choose Cardiff options, so we are taking the plunge with a differential only a tiny percentage would have mulled over to start things off on Friday.
Alex Pritchard (HUDDERSFIELD vs. Brighton)
Playing out of position in Huddersfield’s 3-5-2 formation we expect Pritchard to be the link man with Steve Mounie up-front. He is a hard worker and has the dynamism to play that role which has been acknowledged by the manager. Brighton are showing their colours…they are a home centric team, and with team clean sheets on the bounce and a revival of sorts from the Terriers it should be them who have the loudest bark in this contest.
Leroy Sane (MAN CITY vs. Bournemouth)
The German winger has secured fantasy returns in seven of the thirteen games so far this season, and five of them have come at the Etihad. At the beginning of the season he felt like an outcast, even called not good enough by his national team manager Joachim Lowe.
There was even doubts from Pep Roulettiola over his ability (even though he was an integral part of their title win last season). Flash forward to right now and we can’t see how Man City function in attack without his intelligent play with Sterling. The trio that started against West Ham of Aguero, Sterling, and Sane are the best they can field from the players they have. Riyad Mahrez is also good enough, but whenever these three starts together there are always floods of goals.
It doesn’t matter if Bournemouth have been playing well, this is an attack that is currently unstoppable. Leroy Sane has redeemed himself in fantasy managers eyes once more.
Hueng-Min Son (Arsenal vs. SPURS)
Usually we struggle to find differentials in Spurs and Arsenal, but the North London Derby has three, and all of them play for Spurs. The trio of Eriksen, Alli, and Son have all returned to the starting eleven and are now primed with confidence after a dazzling victory over Chelsea at Wembley. Out of all three, Son was selected because he is a man to force the issue, he is a tireless runner and is the most likely to challenge the Gunners back four. Eriksen is there for set-pieces, Alli there for set-pieces and poaching opportunities, and Son is there for some luck and counter-attack goals.
We are fancying Son to hit Arsenal on the break as Arsenal will attempt to play intricate football high up the pitch. Just rewind to the goal he scored against Chelsea, the South Korean is in hot form and we can’t look at another player in this fixture.
Stuart Armstrong (SOUTHAMPTON vs. Man United)
The visit of Manchester United doesn’t faze us with this differential pick, we look at picking in-form differentials and in this fixture, and there is only one…the Scot who scored two goals in trying to ruin the return of Claudio Ranieri to the league. Manchester United have been playing their worst football since Ferguson left, and we stand by that. Taking a calculated risk against them now makes sense, which you wouldn’t have said years ago.
Xherdan Shaqiri (LIVERPOOL vs. Everton)
Originally, we had the differential spot in the Merseyside Derby on Dejan Lovren, mostly because Liverpool are now a very cautious team in the league. We switched our minds watching the Champions League game where Xherdan Shaqiri was left on the bench in favour of James Milner. The Swiss will start the derby, and they will need him to break down the predicted stubborn defence that the Toffees will put up. We can’t risk Lovren, but we can keep rolling the dice with Shaqiri in this fixture.
Jamie Vardy (LEI), Salomón Rondón (NEW), Álvaro Morata (CHE)
Salomón Rondón (NEWCASTLE vs. West Ham)
Newcastle have won their last three Premier League games, incredible work by Rafa Benitez. There is a trend as well, and it looks like set-pieces will be their focus on the road, but at home it looks like their focal point will be the Venezuelan Rondón. Scoring two against Bournemouth, it could be where the forward gets most of his goals, and the Toon have a strong record against West Ham at St James Park.
Álvaro Morata (CHELSEA vs. Fulham)
Hosting Fulham should be easy points for any Chelsea forward, well, on paper. Claudio Ranieri has returned to the Premier League and picked up a much-needed win for the Cottagers against Southampton. There could be a bounce for a second straight game, but with Chelsea the most likely outcome is a home win. Sarri knows how to beat the small teams, and with a team that can’t defend crosses I can see Morata being a prime threat for them to watch out for at the weekend.
Key Differential: Jamie Vardy (LEICESTER vs. Watford)
Captaining our differentials is a man who returned to the Leicester team with a goal to his name after a thunderous penalty against Maty Ryan. We rued not selecting him due to his injury, instead favouring Chilwell against the Seagulls, but we won’t make that mistake again. Vardy is still their sharp edge, but he is on our differential warning list. Vardy may be their best option but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good thing. Leicester may have scored in every league game this season, but they haven’t won all of them, and they are shaky in defence.
Vardy hasn’t looked the same since Riyad Mahrez abandoned the King Power for the abandoned Etihad. What we like about this Leicester versus Watford fixture is that is could be a very open affair, we have no idea what to expect, or who to win. The neutral will favour a draw out of uncertainty, but we think that the Foxes will come out victors in this fixture. We think that they’ll concede, but it could be a dogged win from the home side.
Having previously selected Vardy as captain there is an element where our patience has been tested by the Englishman. Leicester are all over the place, and we have seen that before with Southampton when Claude Puel managed the Saints. The same markers are starting to show themselves again under the Frenchman which arguably make Leicester one of the most differential teams around. They have potential in any game they play in, you don’t know what you’re going to get, and that is why fantasy managers don’t want to trust their players due to this inconsistency.
Banking on a differential requires one part luck, one part expectation, and this time we are selecting a captain who could deliver on 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.