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 (GW25)
Tom Heaton (BUR), Kepa Arrizabalaga (CHE)
Tom Heaton (BURNLEY vs. Southampton)
Well, well…well. Look who we have here. At first, we thought this was a myth, that the once best goalkeeper in the league was just ‘filling in’. After Pope was injured, and Hart’s influence faded, Dyche turned back to the club captain to steady a sinking ship. Tom Heaton returned against West Ham and kept a clean sheet, and since has another against Watford, both at home. Southampton make the journey to Turf Moor this weekend and passed on the newfound home resilience by the Clarets it could be a long journey back down to the south coast.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (CHELSEA vs. Huddersfield)
Rotation season calls for stable players. Right now, we don’t fancy picking Gonzalo Higuain, especially after Sarri called him, well, fat. Kepa should be keeping a clean sheet against Huddersfield at Stamford Bridge, it is an obvious pick in what should be a rudimentary result.
Patrick van Aanholt (CRY), Joel Matip (LIV)
Patrick van Aanholt (CRYSTAL PALACE vs. Fulham)
Fulham produced a memorable comeback against Brighton last week but travel to a well drilled Crystal Palace side who struggle in their full-back positions. License could be there for Wan-Bissaka and PVA to get forward and cause problems in the attacking third. Palace have only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 5 games
Joel Matip (West Ham vs. LIVERPOOL)
We just don’t trust any West Ham asset in this fixture, we can’t imagine going for one of them knowing all too well the recent history of this fixture. Matip will play, and Liverpool will most likely dominate. Again, another player filling the void of rudimentary results.
Pascal Groß (BHA), Diogo Jota (WOL), David Silva (MCI x2)
Pascal Groß (BRIGHTON vs. Watford)
The German has been slowly been gathering pace right under the noses of FPL managers that once hailed him as one of the most vital options outside of top six teams. Three returns from four games (two assists, one goal) is a sign that the team is coming back to form around the German, and whilst his contributions go unnoticed, we have taken a keen eye and think if there is anyone to unlock Watford, it will be him.
Diogo Jota (Everton vs. WOLVES)
Wolves have scored seven goals in their last two games, dispatching both Leicester and West Ham in dramatic fashion. The heartbeat of those performances come from Diogo Jota, he was the one who scored the hat-trick to sink the Foxes and was there to help dismantle West Ham by picking up an assist. Wolves travel to another mid-table team for what we can imagine to be more of the same.
Fernando Llorente (TOT), Joshua King (BOU), Jamie Vardy (LEI)
Fernando Llorente (SPURS vs. Newcastle)
From zero to hero, that is the story of Fernando Llorente. Filling the boots of Harry Kane is no small feat, and after scoring an own goal that nearly undid Spurs against Fulham, he repaid the faith placed in him by Poch by scoring the winner against Watford. Newcastle have struggled in this fixture and whilst he is a differential, we will put a little bit of faith in the Spaniard before Kane returns.
Joshua King (Cardiff vs. BOURNEMOUTH)
Nominated for the January Player of the Month award, the Norwegian has been in unstoppable form. Two years ago, King started the best goal scoring run of his life when he became the Cherries player of the year. Calum Wilson is still side-lined which means King will remain as the crown in the Cherries attack, and with four attacking returns in the last two games alone it could also be a bright start to February for the forward, albeit against a mourning Cardiff City.
Jamie Vardy (LEICESTER vs. Man United)
The man for the big occasion, Jamie Vardy loves a goal against a top six club which is long overdue now. Man United really struggled against Burnley, and after a dogged performance against Liverpool it is the Foxes who will feel the momentum is on their side in this fixture. Once owned by a respectable amount of fantasy managers, Vardy now lurks in the differentials and is there because of the inconsistency, but it is safe to say he is a better performer against the better teams.
Key Differential: David Silva (vs. Arsenal and Everton)
On paper, the next run of fixtures for Man City could make or break their title campaign. They have Arsenal and Everton in their immediate run, and then followed by Chelsea. The hardest stretch of games requires the best assets to step up on the big occasion, and one of the veterans of the team can do that in a very tough fixture. Arsenal were well beaten by Man City at the Emirates earlier on in the season, reigniting the belief the title was already being kept safe and secure in the blue half of Manchester.
David Silva is now a differential in this team, as is De Bruyne currently, the game changers, the dribblers, the ones looking to work the space and find the angle. Silva is at the core of this team and the way Pep plays and having played from the start in the last four out of five matches is reminding Pep that he needs the old guard to work their magic again if they are going to stop Liverpool from winning their first Premier League title.
The reason the Spaniard is a fantasy differential is due to the uprising form of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling, leaving the central midfielders in the dust trails of lower ownership. They aren’t differentials by the definition as Silva and De Bruyne are two of the league’s best players, but they are the sharp edge that can force the issue and be in the right place at the right time. Arsenal and Everton have usually rolled over the Man City in past fixtures, unable to compete with their passing intensity. A Man City differential option was the logical captain, and whilst all eyes are on the forwards, it is the those who play deeper who normally have the most impact on the game in this Man City team.
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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.