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WEEKLY WILDCARDS 2018/19: FPL Gameweek 23

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 (GW23)

We’re back for the twenty-third instalment of ‘why are you acting so crazy, and what are you thinking!’ We did terribly last week in our picks, it was pretty much a government write-off level failure. Surely, lightening can’t like strike twice. When we think about being more stable, we think…wait, let’s go further down the differential rabbit hole! Strap in because we have ten differentials.

And we can’t wait, Gonzalo Higuain will be joining us soon as a differential if Chelsea sort out their act and get him on a plane to London. We are on the verge of a premium differential, but for now we indulge you with more madness.

Goalkeepers (0/10):

No goalkeepers in contention this week, but if you wanted to get an idea of who we thought about, we think Martin Dubravka of Newcastle is the best option for a goalkeeper with potential for this gameweek in the differential bracket.

Defenders (4/10):

Conor Coady (WOL), Joel Matip (LIV), John Stones (MCI), Nathaniel Clyne (BOU)

Conor Coady (LEICESTER vs. Wolves)

Leicester travel to Wolves. We have no idea what to back in this fixture, so we are going to back Wolves captain this fixture for no other reason than Wolves reputation for keeping clean sheets at home.

Joel Matip (LIVERPOOL vs. Crystal Palace)

Liverpool have three defenders who are fit, and one of them returning is this weekend to face Palace. Joel Matip had his collarbone snapped and is now back which is great news for Jürgen Klopp who refuses to dip into the transfer market. Liverpool have conceded four league goals at Anfield in what feels like a dozen years. Liverpool are more likely to keep a clean sheet than concede at home. What strange times to live in.

John Stones (Huddersfield vs. MAN CITY)

Manchester City travel to Huddersfield. This really doesn’t require an explanation.

Nathaniel Clyne (BOURNEMOUTH vs. West Ham)

The second Liverpool defender on this list is the on-loan Englishman who has traded the Merseyside ocean winds for those of the South Coast. When we heard Arnautovic wasn’t in the squad we changed our mind on the differential for this fixture. Without the Hammers star attacker, you know the one who is most likely going to leave, so we think that this is going to be a surprise return. Clyne has been a great acquisition for Bournemouth, and it could soon click for their defence.

Midfielders (4/10):

Jesse Lingard (MUN), Ademola Lookman (EVE), Gerard Deulofeu (WAT), Christian Eriksen (TOT)

Jesse Lingard (MAN UNITED vs. Brighton)

Manchester United have been a totally different entity since OGS walked in the club, and we said it last week that sometimes you have a toxic boss who just demotivates everyone and has you out of sync. OGS has pretty much just said ‘Go out there and have fun’ which is about the furthest thing from what Mourinho did when he asked his players to stand still and just well, hope for the best. Lingard has been a beneficiary of this change, and whilst Pogba and Rashford get the plaudits, we think it is Lingard who enables both to play their best football and he is the underrated differential from the trio. We’ll pick him in this favourable fixture which should be another rout for the home team.

Ademola Lookman (Southampton vs. EVERTON)

We are happy that Lookman is get a look in the Everton team, it has been long overdue, and many Everton fans have been expecting this after Theo Walcott has shown his wastefulness. The Toffees are in a position where they would rather trust something new, than rely on something that didn’t work. Like having a car that is breaking down, sometimes the best option is to torch it and upgrade to a better model.

Gerard Deulofeu (WATFORD vs. Burnley)

We are in rotation mode between Deeney and Deulofeu, last week Deeney blanked which means that he’ll score this week. Deulofeu has been patchy but this is a favourable fixture where you should look at either option up front for Watford.

Christian Eriksen (Fulham vs. SPURS)

Spurs are really in a right old mess, sort of. Kane is out, Son has left, FPL managers are rejoicing who didn’t have either of them. Spurs now must adapt and rely on the quality within their existing ranks that are available. Luckily, they have one of the league’s finest playmakers who may have to subsidise returns while Kane is out. People will look at this and say ‘Oh, but Kane is out, they’re never scoring again!’ We think the opposite: trust the quality over the circumstances. Returns are random, sort of, except when there are players who can produce something than nothing consistently.

Forwards (2/10):

Salomón Rondón (NEW), Alexandre Lacazette (ARS)

Alexandre Lacazette (ARSENAL vs. Chelsea)

Arsenal vs. Chelsea is either a 0-0, or it is going to be huge goal fest. We don’t trust either team to also keep a clean sheet, ironically. These fixtures are tough because there is a lack of faith in differentials in big fixtures as normally the big personalities shine the brightest. Luckily, Alexandre Lacazette is available. We trust goals in this fixture, and we only have one option. Roll them dice on the Frenchman.

Key Differential: Salomón Rondón (NEWCASTLE vs. Cardiff)

When we think about what a key differential is, it is a combination of a few factors. The first is the fixture, and Newcastle at home against Cardiff has potential for the Venezuelan. This is a relegation six pointer between the teams currently placed at 17th and 18th. Newcastle need to come out of the games sprinting, this isn’t a case of sitting back and holding firm. Newcastle have been doing that to no real success, and against the Bluebirds it may be a case that they throw caution to the wind. This fixture is a must win for Rafa Benitez’s team, and it would be a massive, massive waste if they at least didn’t put up a decent fight against a team that should considered for relegation over them.

The second factor is the pedigree, and Rondón is a purebred striker. You know exactly what you get from the burley forward who is quick on his feet. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the forward was on the scoresheet in this fixture and has returned in our differentials before in this very type of fixture.

The final and concluding factor is that you look for obscurity. Returns can come out of nowhere, people will overlook this because Man City are playing Huddersfield, or Man United host Brighton, and Liverpool are having Palace visit Anfield. Most people won’t trust Newcastle, they just don’t. They’ll think to themselves that will be a ‘great idea’, but never act on it, why? Because they have an idea. The point on the differentials is to back the obscure, and if you look at the weekly dream team it isn’t made up of the likes of Kane, Aguero, Aubameyang, Salah, Alonso, Alisson, Robertson, and Rashford every single time. Maybe one or two make it, but you’ll find that it is those great ideas that take up the mantle. Suddenly that great idea is now regret, because that opportunity is gone. Hopefully Rondón causes nothing but regret for our benefit.

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.

As well as providing FPL articles on our website, we are a founding Contributor to the new Fantasy Football Hub, where you can find more unique articles, including weekly Power Rankings, from The Hype Team. You can support us and read exclusive members only content for just £2 per-month by clicking here.

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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