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WEEKLY WILDCARDS 2018/19: FPL Gameweek 31

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 (GW31)

So, here we are. The endgame for the season has begun, and we start with the first of a reduced gameweek that sees the fixture list reduced in half. Rotation is on the horizon, cup upsets, and four English teams made it all the way to the quarters for the first time since 2008-09. With only eight gameweeks left we are in for a bumpy ride until the end of the season. We provide just the five differentials for reduced gameweek.

Goalkeepers (0/5): N/A

There are no goalkeepers this week, mostly due to the fact there are pretty much no real options. Realistically the only goalkeepers you want to consider this week are Lukasz Fabianski, Alisson, and at a push Kepa.

Defenders (2/5)

Declan Rice (WHU), Joel Matip (LIV)

Declan Rice

After abandoning Ireland in favour of England, the rightful Englishman from Kingston Upon Thames has seen sense…and his future with England. One day after being named as Ireland’s Young Player of the Year he was named in England team for the first time, and it is only natural to put the spotlight on Rice this weekend. The good thing about that is West Ham host Huddersfield which in the FPL community is known as a ‘slam dunk’. Playing in midfield and scoring goals has helped his case too. FPL managers will flock towards the reoriented Englishman this week.

Joel Matip

What else can we say? Liverpool have few differentials and you really doubt that Fulham will pose a huge threat to the Reds who just dominated Bayern Munich in her own back yard. Matip may have scored an own goal against Munich, but he was rock solid next to Van Dijk. This is now our fourth or fifth game in a row selecting Matip.

Midfielders (1/5)

Youri Tielemans (LEI)

Youri Tielemans

The Belgian has so far been a tremendous signing for the Foxes, so much so that he has amassed three fantasy returns in a row. An assist against Brighton and Watford, and then a goal against Fulham to introduce himself to the Premier League. The calibre of clubs the returns have been against have all been of the same calibre, and with license to roam under Brendan Rodgers it is clear what the intent is for the Belgian. Four in a row seems feasible, and if we don’t see Tielemans back in the Premier League we don’t want to be the people to regret not backing a player of his quality at least once.

Forwards (2/5)

Ayoze Perez (NEW), Gonzalo Higuaín (CHE)

Gonzalo Higuaín

Put frankly, we don’t believe in Everton’s ability against the top six clubs. Also, for the last few weeks since the Blues loss in the League Cup final Chelsea have quietly gone about their business and have yet to lose a game since Kepa became temporary Chelsea manager. Gonzalo Higuaín is our natural choice because we can see Chelsea posing a goal threat to the Toffees backline. Hazard has also found a little bit of form and that could be enough to come away with three points at Goodison.

Key Differential: Ayoze Perez

Lower down the ownership pecking order regarding captaincy, there are some delicious options to consider for Gameweek 31, though from our selections this week we finished on the road at the south coast.

Rather than considering Callum Wilson or a Ryan Fraser, the true differential in Newcastle’s visit to the other end of the country is Ayoze Perez, currently selected by just 1.4% of players. The Forward has seen a spike in Fantasy returns since Miguel Almirón’s arrival to the club, with Perez forming a traditional and effective strike partnership amongst Newcastle’s 3-4-3 formation.

Perez scored twice and assisted against Everton during Gameweek 30’s remarkable 3-2 comeback, with Rondón claiming a goal and an assist of his own. The Spaniard is finding himself picking up on loose balls in the box, and generally has the freedom of the box as opposing defenders are occupied trying to restrict the speed and precision of Almirón on the left-wing.

This enabling factor will be vital for Newcastle in their visit to Bournemouth. The Cherries lost 2-1 to Newcastle earlier this season during Gameweek 12 and have only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 6 Premier League outings, earning a shutout against Huddersfield last weekend in a 2-0 win. Newcastle will be boasted by Bournemouth’s defensive fragilities and with Perez fresh off 3 attacking returns, it might be another weekend for Rondón’s supporting cast to punish teams defensively.

With eyes on the likes of Wilson, King and Barnes as replacements for Raul Jimenez, it might be Perez that offers true value and difference this weekend.

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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