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 (GW29)
After a set of midweek fixtures, we are back again after a short few days with even more differential picks to avoid the rotation fears. The big winners from GW28 were defenders… Fabian Schär, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, and Trent Alexander-Arnold. There are also two derbies to contend with this weekend, the North London and Merseyside derbies will be the hot topic for many people, and we have you covered if you are struggling to pick your fantasy team.
John Ruddy (WOL)
John Ruddy (WOLVES vs. Cardiff)
As we were writing up this article, Wolves had their press release for the Cardiff game and revealed to the world that Rui Patricio would step aside for John Ruddy. Originally, we had Coady locked in, but given the opportunity to select a differential goalkeeper was too good not to take up. You may remember Ruddy as being the Norwich goalkeeper when the Canaries were last in the league, and after getting Wolves through to the next round of the FA Cup it looks like they are going to warm him up in aims of progressing to the Semis.
Apart from Ruddy, if you were to ask us who we thought would be the best differential shot stoppers, then we’d say Martin Dubravka (vs. West Ham) and Tom Heaton (vs. Crystal Palace) would have been our other picks for the weekend games.
Vincent Kompany (MCI), Fabian Schär (NEW), Joel Matip (LIV)
Vincent Kompany (Bournemouth vs. MAN CITY)
Last week we selected Nicolas Otamendi who got us a return, and with Aymeric Laporte and John Stones still injured, we pass the baton to the club captain, Vincent Kompany. The Belgian is the bigger differential in our eyes and costs significantly less than the other City defenders. Bournemouth is where they travel to this weekend, and the Cherries have rolled over for every big club this season. We expect a similar game as to the one against West Ham, and with injuries dotting the Bournemouth it could be another long afternoon for Eddie Howe.
Also, keep a look out for Benjamin Mendy…apparently, he has been taken off the injury list.
Fabian Schär (West Ham vs. NEWCASTLE)
Newcastle have signed an absolutely gem of a defender. deployed on the right of a three man defence the Swiss international has been giving a license to roam by Rafa Benitez, and in the last six games Schär has four returns; and within that has three goals, an assist, and three clean sheets. None of the other West Ham players spoke to us like Schär did, and after Miguel Almirón has failed to score or assist (and boy oh boy there have been chance) we now entrust the differential spot to the defender.
Joel Matip (Everton vs. LIVERPOOL)
The Cameroonian has played in the last six games consecutively, and he has three clean sheets in his last three fixtures. Everton haven’t won in this fixture in the league since October 2010, and Liverpool have kept two clean sheets in their last two games against the Toffees. Also, since Origi+6 it is safe to say that Everton’s season has totally derailed.
Christian Eriksen (TOT), James Maddison (LEI)
Christian Eriksen (SPURS vs. Arsenal)
The North London derby is upon us, and it leaves us asking for what differentials are on the table. Arsenal don’t have many, the only one worth considering is Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has thirty points in his last two fixtures. The Armenian has frustrated us this season whenever he has been selected, so we are sticking with Eriksen who has been good this season for us, and right now Spurs need a win to get over the title slipping from their grasp. If anyone can help a resurgence it is their chief playmaker, Eriksen.
James Maddison (Watford vs. LEICESTER)
Leicester have a new manager, and his name is Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman returns to the Premier League after guiding Liverpool close to the title, and then collapsing in a downward spiral that saw the Reds become a laughing stock. Mario Balotelli signed, Gerrard was benched at Real Madrid in the Champions League, and money was spent on players who were never going to make it. After a stint at Celtic in which he won everything, he makes a return to the league that once outcast him.
Whilst watching Maddison assist against Brighton, you’d be surprised to know that the Englishman has created the most chances out of any player in the league, and with a license to roam it could Maddison who the team is built around. We are expecting Leicester to have a new manager bounce and get behind their new manager after they were no longer playing for Puel.
Glenn Murray (BHA), Chris Wood (BUR), Romelu Lukaku (MUN), Gonzalo Higuaín (CHE)
Glenn Murray (BRIGHTON vs. Huddersfield)
This is a rudimentary pick as Glenn Murray has played in every Brighton game this season, and this week they host bottom place Huddersfield. The timing couldn’t be anymore perfect for the Seagulls who have been slipping slowly down the table. With the likes of Newcastle and Burnley picking up wins, and Crystal Palace picking up results as well, there is now pressure for Chris Houghton to pick up results after four losses and one draw in the last five games which has put them in the relegation fight in the close of the season. If there is anyone to grab a goal it could be their stalwart, Glenn Murray.
Chris Wood (BURNLEY vs. Crystal Palace)
The duo of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood have been in great form in the past half dozen games, sparking a revival in the Clarets fortunes. The New Zealander has six goals from his last nine games, and after a disappointing loss to Newcastle which bucked their good run of form, they have Crystal Palace at Turf Moor which gives them a chance to quickly bounce back.
Romelu Lukaku (MAN UNITED vs. Southampton)
After two well taken goals against Crystal Palace, there is surely no way that OGS will drop the Belgian among the plethora of injuries currently burdening Man United. Southampton who travel to Old Trafford may have beat Fulham midweek, but there is no denying that the Manchester club has been on one of the best runs of forms the team has had since Alex Ferguson departed. Lukaku is one of the better forwards and is better against teams not in the top six.
Key Differential: Gonzalo Higuaín (Fulham vs. CHELSEA)
Right now, the talk of the town is ‘Paul Pogba this’ and ‘Paul Pogba that’, or ‘Why has Salah been an absolute disappointment?’ and ‘I told you so, Hazard was the better player!’’ The other half of social media is people trying to compare Paul Pogba to Ronaldinho and Steven Gerrard, and most fantasy managers would spend about an hour a day tweeting about their own team and wondering why they aren’t risking the rank in the overall table.
Most fantasy managers will be looking at the Man United fixture when they host Southampton, and Wolves vs. Cardiff. There are two noticeable derbies in North London and Merseyside, and Brenan Rodgers takes charge of his game as Foxes manager. Hidden beneath a million different conversations is Chelsea’s trip to a Fulham that have just recently announced the departure of Claudio Ranieri as manager, and the appointment of Scott Parker on an interim basis. Fulham have thrown in the towel and are rolling the dice, but it is evidently clear that they are on track for a straight return to the Championship.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have been on a track to redeem themselves after losing 6-0 to Man City a few weeks ago. They drew with City but fell short at the final hurdle in a penalty shoot-out after Kepa refused to leave his post and cost them the trophy. The Blues then beat Spurs to end the Lilywhites title hopes.
Take your mind a few weeks ago when Chelsea dominated Huddersfield, and Higuain scored a brace. Chelsea are highly predictable against teams in the bottom half of the table. Fulham have already thrown in the towel and whilst the talking points of the league are away from Craven Cottage it makes this fixture the perfect differential to bank on. Fulham are downright struggling, and having a resurgent Chelsea pay them a visit can only make matters worse.
These are the games where Chelsea fans start making their Eden Hazard > Mo Salah claims, and this can only benefit Higuain who has only one fantasy return since signing on loan. This is a sure-fire fixture for the Argentine to secure his second return, and we aren’t going to ignore this match on the fantasy calendar.
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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.