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WEEKLY WILDCARDS 2018/19: FPL Gameweek 17

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.


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.


  • 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 (GW17)

Champions League and festive rotation walks amongst us, torturing people across the country. Checking the line-ups with sweaty palms, heavy pulses, and then looking at your fantasy bench, and then cursing your luck as you thought you finally outsmarted Pep Roulette. If that sounds like you we have ten players for your consideration, welcome to the differentials.

Goalkeepers (0/10):


No goalkeepers of note this week. If you are looking for inspiration, then either Jonas Lössl or Martin Dubravka are solid options from a game that could be as empty as their fanbases hopes of staying up this season. Huddersfield more than Newcastle, but the emptiness has been there in the Toon for a while.

Defenders (3/10):

Antonio Rüdiger (CHE), Sead Kolasinac (ARS), Dejan Lovren (LIV)

Antonio Rüdiger (Brighton vs. CHELSEA)

Chelsea’s trip to Brighton is a rudimental trip that will most likely end in big team defeating small team. We aren’t sure of the rotation in the midfielders, so we are placing some goodwill in the German centre-back hoping for that expected clean sheet.

Sead Kolasinac (Southampton vs. ARSENAL)

Here we are again, picking an Arsenal differential. Simply put, we are hoping for a clean sheet at St Marys and that could see two returns for the left-back who impressed last week.

Dejan Lovren (LIVERPOOL vs. Man United)

Liverpool are in serious need of defensive reinforcements after Joe Gomez and Joel Matip were injured in the space of a fortnight…both impact injuries by ghoulish challenges, not the usual hamstring or Achilles tear. That leaves the Croat as Virgil’s main partner for a busy period, pushing him back into the team against temperamental Man United team who could be trounced in the red derby. Anfield is a fortress and we can’t see any other result than a Liverpool win.

Midfielders (4/10):

Bernardo Silva (MCI), James Maddison (LEI), Hueng-Min Son (TOT), Diogo Jota (WOL)

Bernardo Silva (MAN CITY vs. Everton)

David Silva’s injury allows Bernardo to be chief instigator in the middle of Man City’s team, and with their goal scoring prowess we don’t back against City often, and Everton haven’t exactly been squeaky clean defensively this season.

James Maddison (LEICESTER vs. Crystal Palace)

Two goals in his last three games has shown why FPL managers are frustrated with Maddison, the Fox has been a player best described as hot and cold. One week he is the star, the next he is blanking in your fantasy team and your left looking at your phone going ‘OK, you tease.’ Maddison is a textbook differential, you are banking on good fortune coming into your favour. Maddison is a roulette wheel and nothing, and we are puttng our money on him winning big against Crystal Palace.

Hueng-Min Son (SPURS vs. Burnley)

We are only sixteen weeks into the season and we already know that if Son keeps up his points returns, he will be in our differential team of the season with maybe one or two more returns. Coutinho made it in last year and he was only part of Liverpool for half the season, so he could follow the pattern if he doesn’t remain a differential for much longer. Son is the player making things for the North London club right now, and we don’t even need to mention who he is playing to ensure our trust in the South Korean.

Diogo Jota (WOLVES vs. Bournemouth)

Scoring in the recent wins against Newcastle and Chelsea, Jota is here to stay in the Wolves team. Raul may also start alongside him in one of the three attacking roles in his current form, or he may keep the Mexican on the bench for another week. Wolves versus Bournemouth is a tough fixture for selecting a quality differential, so we stick our faith with the players in form.

Forwards (3/10):

Salomón Rondón (NEW), Troy Deeney (WAT), Chicharito (WHU)

Salomón Rondón (Huddersfield vs. NEWCASTLE)

The Venezuelan is on fire now, and after securing an assist for our differential captaincy against Wolves last week this is one of them picks you got to keep rolling the dice with. Newcastle’s away trip to Huddersfield could either see no goals, or lots of them, but the most reliable player to trust without a shadow of a doubt is Rondón.

Troy Deeney (WATFORD vs. Cardiff)

Watford versus Cardiff is a fixture where you go with a striker capable of scoring goals for the home team. We are big fans of Deeney and it could be the perfect fixture end his goal draught.

Key Differential: Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez (Fulham vs. WEST HAM)

The one time we have selected the Mexican as our differential captain, it was three weeks ago against Cardiff at home after an intense burst of fantasy points that came after a thirteen-point haul against Newcastle. In that game against Cardiff he picked up two points when West Ham scored three goals, but then returned with a nine-point week last week against Crystal Palace.

Four attacking returns from the last three weeks is big returns for the reasonably priced forward who is destined to start in the wake Marko Arnautovic’s injury, and the recent knock to Lucas Perez. Regarding Javier’s form it cannot be dropped from the team, and we said last time that the Mexican has been a reliable scorer for every team he has played for in his career. He is showing the same form that earned him praise at Manchester United, someone that you turn to for goals, and it is overdue that Manuel Pellegrini has seen the light at the end of the tunnel for the Mexican.

Travelling a stones' throw away to the Cottage, Chicharito faces the only team to have failed keeping a clean sheet in the entire of the English footballing league. With such a record it would be foolish to not look at the goal potential, after all, the Hammers have scored three league goals in each of their last three fixtures, and we like our odds of a similar performance from the East London team against England’s worst defence.

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

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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All aboard.


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