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 (GW30)
There are now only nine weeks left of the season, which when said aloud doesn’t feel like a lot. There are only twenty-seven points left to play for, and we are approaching the end season for FPL players where they start considering their strategies for the Double Gameweek's, the reduced gameweek, and player rotation. This will be considered one of the last ‘normal’ weeks for fantasy managers before the pandemonium of dropping a serious amount of points becomes a reality. Here are ten players for this week before the chaotic endgame for the season commences.
Martin Dubravka (NEW)
Martin Dubravka (NEWCASTLE vs. Everton)
The first differential is the Toon goalkeeper, and barring a blip against West Ham, the recent home performances have been encouraging for the local supporters. Dubravka has two clean sheets in his last two home games, and despite it being Everton we believe the home form of the Toon should be enough for a tight fixture with a home win. Defensive returns more likely than attacking in this one.
Benjamin Chilwell (LEI), Toby Alderweireld (TOT), Joel Matip (LIV)
Benjamin Chilwell (LEICESTER vs. Fulham)
Brendan Rodgers start as Foxes manager didn’t start with a bang, and our memory of this match reminded us when Troy Deeney scored goal that sent Watford into the playoffs a few years ago in the Championship. Watford have been a good side, and this week Rodgers side has Fulham at the King Power for the Northern Irishman’s home debut. Fulham have conceded the most amount of goals this season and are on a five-game losing run away from home.
The Cottagers have also failed to score in eight of their away games, making them easy prey for our differentials this week. We are opting for a player who has potential at both ends of the spectrum which is why we are backing Chilwell to have a high scoring Gameweek.
Toby Alderweireld (Southampton vs. SPURS)
Spurs performance mid-week against Borussia Dortmund in a valiant 1-0 win in front of the Yellow Wall was out-of-character for a what a lot of people expect out of Spurs, and it was their defence that got them through, and a whole bunch of Lloris saves to keep their tie alive. We have selected Eriksen a lot lately, but we are going to mix things up by backing Alderweireld against his former club. Southampton are the most goal shy team at home, which is what we are banking on in this fixture over attacking returns.
Joel Matip (LIVERPOOL vs. Burnley)
Four straight clean sheets in the last four games says it all. Liverpool host Burnley in hope of Matip’s fifth consecutive defensive return. Right now, Liverpool’s defence is the best quality of their team and that is always worth getting behind now.
Manuel Lanzini (WHU), David Brooks (BOU), Bernardo Silva (MCI)
Manuel Lanzini (Cardiff vs. WEST HAM)
The Argentine has returned after a recovering from a lengthy injury, and it couldn’t be better timing for Manuel Pellegrini. Marko Arnautovic is back, Antonio and Felipe Anderson are available, Declan Rice is in incredible form, and they are fresh off a win against Newcastle. Lanzini is a highly talented player who has been a big miss for the Hammers, and they travel to a now Sol Bamba-less Cardiff who are currently drifting in the relegation zone. The return of Lanzini is great differential story, and someone who may remind them of their talents this weekend.
David Brooks (Huddersfield vs. BOURNEMOUTH)
The Welshman has been Bournemouth’s good luck charm this season, and since his transfer from Sheffield United he has six goals and four assists to his name for his debut Premier League season. After coming back from a short-term injury, he will retain his place against the surely relegated Huddersfield who put up a valiant effort against Wolves recently. We don’t think that their performances will be stable enough to keep them in the league, and Brooks is a player capable of adding to their woes.
Bernardo Silva (MAN CITY vs. Watford)
Without doubt, the Portuguese midfielder has been City’s best player this season. Either playing as part of a three-man midfield, or on either flank, Bernardo Silva has kept Pep’s team ticking over as they have watched their title rivals Liverpool drop enough points to usurp them in the table. A home fixture against Watford feels like one of them rudimentary fixtures that City will dominate by quite a few goals, and if that is the case then Bernardo can end up on the end of some fantasy returns.
Michy Batshuayi (CRY), Gonzalo Higuaín (CHE), Romelu Lukaku (MUN)
Michy Batshuayi (CRYSTAL PALACE vs. Brighton)
The early games are always a tough call for fantasy managers, and this time it doesn’t get better for managers who are looking at a clash between two sides in the bottom half that are separated by three points. This is the type of fixture where people on twitter advise everyone to avoid the early fixture, and at first, we too were sceptical. However, the Eagles have scored in their last nine Premier League games, and in their last four home games within that. Brighton meanwhile have conceded in their last nine away games with their last away clean sheet was the 1-0 win over Newcastle during GW9. Michy Batshuayi has three returns from his five fixtures as an Eagle. The patterns are encouraging for Palace to continue their good scoring run, if you are still unwilling to trust the early fixture.
Romelu Lukaku (Arsenal vs. MAN UNITED)
Originally, we had Andreas Pereira as the differential, but then Lukaku scored another brace against PSG, making it his third brace in a row after the games against Southampton and Crystal Palace in the league. There is no denying it, but Lukaku is a man on a mission after he was dropped by OGS in favour of Marcus Rashford as the leading man at the Red Devils. The Belgian is now only four fantasy points away from Rashford’s tally, and it should alarm Arsenal that Lukaku has scored against a good team. Whatever OGS is selling at United everyone is buying, and Lukaku looks a much more confident player without Jose Mourinho isolating him.
Key Differential: Gonzalo Higuaín (CHELSEA vs. Wolves)
Last week we talked about Chelsea as being a team quietly going about its business. Since the fiasco at the League Cup final loss to Man City, the Blues have gone on to beat follow Londoners Spurs and Fulham. The talking point was about the future of Sarri as manager, but almost very conveniently after the win over Spurs there has been next to little talk about Sarri’s future and it isn’t even part of the conversation anymore. Anything can change in football, and Chelsea are a team that emphasise with that saying more than any team. Their team constantly drifts between finishing in the Europa League places, challenging for the Premier League, and qualifying in the Champions League places. They truly are the biggest differential team in the top six now because you have no idea what you are going see from the Blues on a game-to-game basis.
Next up for Sarri’s team is Wolves who have most surprisingly lost at Huddersfield. The narrative this week focuses on Manchester United overcoming PSG in the Champions League, the big match between Arsenal and Man United, and will Liverpool take back top spot off Manchester City? The Chelsea vs. Wolves match is interesting because you’d expect Wolves to be competitive in this fixture, but fantasy managers will rightfully be sitting on the fence as many managers will most likely have clashes for this fixture. Who they drop, Raul or Alonso? Hazard or Doherty? Play all of them?
The one Chelsea player who we banked on notched a goal for our differential record, and that man is Gonzalo Higuaín. Another well taken strike against a recently promoted team, and now the Argentine has the chance to add to his record against recently promoted teams. Hazard had a good game against a bottom half team, and this is typically the type of fixture that Chelsea normally eek out a 2-0 home win. We are still unsure if Higuaín is an upgrade on Morata (who is currently lighting it up in Madrid), which makes him a perfect differential captain in a fixture with a huge question mark on it.
There were few differential captaincy options this week with lots of evenly balanced fixtures. Crystal Palace/Brighton, Newcastle/Everton, and Arsenal/United were the other considerations for Batsman, Rondón, and Lukaku; but we thought we ignored Chelsea’s obvious potential. Gonzalo Higuaín is in form, as are Chelsea, and sometimes that is all you need as captaincy potential.
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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.