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 (GW18)
The Christmas frenzy is upon is, come forth the rotation, come forth the season’s greetings. Our contribution towards the Christmas spirit is picking ten players that will get game time to prevent the inevitable dropping of key assets over the holiday period. We give you ten differentials to ponder for this gameweek.
I think there will be too many goals to back a goalkeeper, and there are far more tempting differentials in midfield and attack to consider. If you were to consider one goalkeeper then look at Chelsea’s Kepa, and Martin Dubravka of Newcastle.
Nathaniel Clyne (LIV)
Nathaniel Clyne (Wolves vs. LIVERPOOL)
The only defensive option this week has finally come in from the cold after rumours of an upcoming exit from the club. Clyne is one of the Southampton graduates that made it to Merseyside, and his return against Manchester United was a display that reminded people just how good he is. The display was hugely confident, and he looked like he had never been away from the team after such a long spell. We can’t turn down the opportunity of selecting a differential of this calibre. This week we go old school with a Brendan Rodgers player.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ARS), Willian (CHE), Robert Snodgrass (WHU), Christian Eriksen (TOT)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ARSENAL vs. Burnley)
What can we say about the Armenian? For a player of such talent he only has three returns all season against Chelsea, Wolves, and most recently against Southampton. Mkhitaryan has severely disappointed fantasy managers by plenty of inconsistent performances and being on the bench more than anyone would like. We have decided to roll the dice with the attacker because there aren’t any better differentials than him in this fixture. This could be the first time Mkhitaryan has back-to-back returns.
Willian (CHELSEA vs. Leicester)
Sarri has official reverted to thinking like Antonio Conte…he has recognised that neither Giroud or Morata can play in his system. Pedro, Willian, and Hazard leading the line are now the blessed three. Leicester are in a typically downward spiral under Puel, and it could be another of them routine Chelsea wins which puts Sarri’s mobile front three the cutting edge to get the job done. Willian can add to his recent assist against Brighton by adding another return at the Bridge.
Robert Snodgrass (WEST HAM vs. Watford)
All the Scotland internationals returns this year have occurred in the last four weeks, and between him, Anderson, and Chicharito the Hammers have become legitimate fantasy options. Snodgrass has also six bonus points in the last three games which is incredible and priced at £5.4mil the winger is an enticing option to have at a budget price. There are only about two midfielders in better form than Snodgrass and we aren’t ignoring his potential in this fixture.
Christian Eriksen (Everton vs. SPURS)
The Dane’s comeback has been surprising because he has four returns in his last five games, and this has gone under the radar. He is now Spurs second best performing midfielder behind Lucas Moura, and because of his inflated price he will most likely remain a differential for the next dozen weeks. Eriksen has been the one providing the goals for the North London club, and he most recently scored his first goal of the season to down Burnley. Things are looking good for Spurs and with the Dane they are a more potent attacking squad, one which should edge Everton which is exactly what Eriksen has been doing…edging the quality of the others around him.
Joshua King (BOU), Danny Ings (SOU), Gabriel Jesus (MCI), Salomón Rondón (NEW), Romelu Lukaku (MUN)
Joshua King (BOURNEMOUTH vs. Brighton)
Things haven’t been easy for Bournemouth lately, their wheels are squeaky, and coming off with every passing game. The good news is that this is the type of fixture the Cherries love to dominate and could be a welcome return to their usual goalscoring ways. The best differential to do this is Josh King who is bolstered by the return of Calum Wilson, which could be good for all the team.
Gabriel Jesus (MAN CITY vs. Crystal Palace)
We know that Sergio Aguero is back in contention to start, but after the Brazilian’s display against Everton it would be harsh to drop Jesus against Palace. There are doubts Aguero can play sixty minutes, so we expect the Argentine to come off the bench if Project Jesus doesn’t work out. All eyes in the FPL community are about the return of Aguero(oooo) but we are convinced that he will be shelved to allow Jesus time to shine, and with City chasing Liverpool we doubt that Pep would make a move that could cost them their own momentum.
Salomón Rondón (NEWCASTLE vs. Fulham)
The dice are still rolling with Rondón after he has performed admirably in our differentials, and last week the Venezuelan scored the winning goal against Huddersfield which became quite predictable now. The good thing is that Rondón is in such a vein of form you know that he is now the main threat for the Toon, their vocal point, their sharp edge. Fulham have yet to keep a clean sheet and it could be a fourth straight return for the in-form forward.
Romelu Lukaku (Cardiff vs. MAN UNITED)
The arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjær could mean good things for the Man United forward line. Rashford has been in good form under Jose, but if there is anyone that can benefit from the Norwegian arriving at Old Trafford is the Belgian forward who has been heavily ridiculed this season. There is no doubt that Lukaku is highly talented when he can bully defences, he suits being on the front foot, not at the centre spot as his team is parked into a bus formation. Solskjær also returns to Cardiff, and nobody is looking at the Red Devils to do anything significant, so they are a huge differential for this week and we expect them to score. We’re hoping the interim manager lets Lukaku off the leash, we remember how good we can be.
Key Differential: Danny Ings (Huddersfield vs. SOUTHAMPTON)
The on-loan Liverpool forward is the perfect fit for Ralph Hasenhüttl, in many ways the Austrian is a similar coach to Liverpool’s own Jürgen Klopp with a high tempo pressing style. It is why Naby Keita was an attractive option for the Reds and why they spent big money on him, and why they held an interest in Timo Werner…and with Ings a student of Klopp it is isn’t surprising to see the Englishman leading the Southampton team.
When the Austrian turned up, he must have been feeling fortunate to have a player of Ings’ quality at his disposal, and there are similarities between Ings and Werner, who was the main man at his former club RB Leipzig. Moving between the spaces was key to Werner’s success, and after watching Ings get in between the Arsenal defenders to score two well placed headers was like watching the same player. We think Ings is going to thrive at Southampton under the new coach, he has made himself immediately irreplaceable after sinking Arsenal, and with a much easier contest on the horizon against Huddersfield at the John Smith Stadium all eyes are on the Englishman to replicate his heroics against a relegation bound team.
Hasenhüttl loves his strikers working spaces, and Ings is a tireless worker who will play the way he wants, and against a stubborn defence Ings could be the key that opens that lock. We didn’t consider any other player for differential captain this week, that it how confident we are that this is a winning combination for Ings and Hasenhüttl.
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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.