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 (GW32)
Welcome to the beginning of the end of your normal season, for we have entered the ‘strategy’ phase of the season where sensible people have saved up their chips to use for the double-gameweeks. Lots of managers will be debating the cheaper, and out their differential options to buffer their team. We are here to provide an option to consider for every game of this hectic five days (and rotation heartbreak).
Goalkeepers (0/15): N/A
There are no goalkeepers this week, but if you are looking for a double gameweek differential then we suggest you go for either Ben Foster (Watford) or Kepa (Chelsea).
Chris Smalling (MUN), Joel Matip (LIV), Sead Kolasinac (ARS)
The first of Manchester United’s fixtures is a home tie against Watford, and with their being uncertainty over their attacking options availability due to injury we are backing their defensive players in this fixture, and Smalling isn’t the worst option as he will most likely play both games next to Victor Lindelöf.
Liverpool have two huge fixtures remaining this season which could make or break their title charge, and the first of them is this weekend when Spurs travel to Anfield. We pick Matip week-in, week-out because of the Reds ridiculously good record at home. We think it will be an entertaining game, but one that should swing the pendulum towards Liverpool’s direction. Also, you can never rule out a clean sheet at Anfield.
Arsenal versus Newcastle is one of the few fixtures that doesn’t feature in the double gameweek plans of many players, which makes this game great for differential options. On paper this is a rudimentary win for Arsenal, and we think Kolasinac has enough capability at either end of the field to make an impact. The Toon have struggled away from home against the top six and we cannot see that record changing anytime soon.
David Silva (MCI), Diogo Jota (WOL), Youri Tielemans (LEI), Christian Eriksen (TOT), Gerard Deulofeu (WAT)
David Silva (vs. Fulham & Cardiff)
Manchester City have one of the most favourable double gameweeks in recent memory. The Citizens are playing two promoted teams with a break of five days between the two games which is a dream scenario for fantasy managers. There is a giant ‘but’ when you think of Manchester City and yes that is right, that but is reserved for Pep Roulette. The City manager rotates at his pleasure, so in a double gameweek you have to suss out who will play both games and we think that man is David Silva. The Spaniard has started six of the last seven league games and has an impressive four returns from these fixtures. Pep won’t rotate the two Silva’s as they attempt to stave off Liverpool’s title charge and get back in front of the Reds. The fixtures are good, the form is there, and that is good enough for a double gameweek inclusion.
Diogo Jota (vs. Burnley & Manchester United)
Wolves have two fixtures this week, the first is a visit of Burnley, the second is hosting Manchester United. The good news for fantasy managers that Wolves rarely rotate heavily which gives Jota and Raul to start consecutive games. Jota has seventeen points from his last two games with two assists and a goal, and he has also proved his mettle in the bigger games, making him viable for both fixtures. Every wildcard team will have Raul, but they may be overlooking his strike partner in their midfield.
The Belgian has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, and Tielemans is on a four game fantasy points streak with three assists and one goal. Next up for Brendan Rodgers Leicester is Bournemouth at the King Power, and with a lot of injuries making Bournemouth an uncertain pick, we trust the player who is on a hot streak.
The new stadium opening for Spurs has been long, long overdue. Much like a fantasy return from Christian Eriksen who last hit big in GW26 against Burnley. We are not going to lie, we didn’t think the stadium would be ready until the summer after the opening kept being delayed. In terms of our fantasy differentials we hope this also ends the goal draught for their playmaker Dane.
Watford and Crystal Palace are the same team this week in that they have a comfortable home game, and then a very uncomfortable away game. Watford host Fulham, but before that fixture they travel to Old Trafford to play fifth place Manchester United. Deulofeu is the standout choice for a differential, low priced midfielder because there is a chance the Spaniard could be effective in both fixtures. The truth is that United haven’t been the best defensive unit this season so there is hope of a return against United, but we are mostly backing Deulofeu in the fixture against Fulham which should be a formality.
Glenn Murray (BHA), Michy Batshuayi (CRY), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Gonzalo Higuain (CHE)
The Seagulls have been massively inconsistent, and their most consistent player is Glenn Murray who has recently found the back of the net against his former club Crystal Palace. Southampton are visiting for the South Coast Clash which is usually a heated affair. Glenn Murray already scored for Brighton against Southampton earlier in the season in the 2-2 draw and can make it two for two this weekend.
Crystal Palace have two fixtures in this gameweek, the first is a cut and dry match against Huddersfield in which they will be expected to win. The second is against Spurs at the dawn of their new stadium, which could be a blessing in disguise as nobody would expect the Eagles doing something at the launch of the new stadium. Batsman is an obvious option against Huddersfield, but an unlikely wildcard for the Spurs game. At £6.5mil he offers a value third striker for your free hit team.
Everton’s visit of the London Stadium is a fixture in which we cannot trust with a single ounce of confidence. Either team can do something, but our money goes on Everton to be the ones to do something after they calmly dispatched Chelsea, and West Ham meanwhile have been losing the easiest games. Calvert-Lewin is now the Toffees starting striker and has two consecutive fantasy returns which is good enough form to be backed in this fixture.
Key Differential: Gonzalo Higuain
Fixtures: Cardiff (A), Brighton (H)
Last week there must be some fantasy managers who wasted their free hit on what was categorically one of the worst gameweeks in FPL history. That said, we present to you Captain Obvious for the differentials. So, here we are trying to convince you that Chelsea are a decent team. We tried to convince you that Higuain would be a good option against Everton, only for the Toffees to turn up and send the travelling Chelsea fans home feeling blue. Higuain reminds us of Radamel Falcao, he made the switch to the Premier League and all its riches on the back of a huge reputation before playing a single minute on English soil. It makes or breaks you, and it didn’t quite work for Falcao as he struggled to be a game changer against a half decent team on a week-to-week basis, further reinforcing the competitive nature of the league.
Other names may not come as a surprise, and a lot of them have surprise, surprise…played for Chelsea. Remember Hernan Cresco who was so poor that he was loaned out to AC Milan (and featured in the 2005 Champions League final against Liverpool and scored two goals). Andriy Shevchenko was also signed by the Blues, as was Adrian Mutu, and you can argue that Fernando Torres was very ineffective when he made the switch from Merseyside to London. We have even given you a whole bunch of names that joined the league which might make you even think ‘Ah, I totally forgot about him!’
Andriy Shevchenko (Chelsea, 2006-09)
Fernando Morientes (Liverpool, 2005-06)
Alen Boksic (Middlesbrough, 2000-03)
Hernan Crespo (Chelsea, 2003-06)
Mario Jardel (Bolton, 2003-04)
Radamel Falcao (Man United & Chelsea, 2013-16)
Sergei Rebrov (Tottenham, 2000-03)
Adrian Mutu (Chelsea, 2003-04)
Roberto Soldado (Tottenham, 2013-15)
Diego Forlan (Manchester United, 2002-04)
The last name on the list, Forlan, took a staggering thirty-four games to notch for Manchester United. The point is that Higuain is in dangerous territory of fitting nicely into this list of names, and his performances has to improve to not be ‘another one of them’ players that everyone praised to high heaven until they pattered out in the Premier League.
The only returns from the Argentine are against this year’s promoted clubs Huddersfield and Fulham, and the final and third promoted team is in the sights of the Blues when Sarri’s travel to Wales. It could be a clean sweep of scalps for Higuain, and he can even break his own trend against Brighton at Stamford Bridge.
Here are the trends to be aware of for Chelsea’s second opponent of the gameweek:
Brighton have lost ten away games by conceding two or more goals ten times.
Brighton have only won three away games all season; with those teams being Newcastle, Huddersfield, and Crystal Palace in the most recent gameweek.
The Seagulls have only kept one clean sheet on their travels, with this one-off defensive return happening during GW9 at St. James Park in a 1-0 win against Newcastle.
The only draws Brighton have managed have been 2-2 draws. The first was against Southampton (GW5), and then at West Ham (GW21).
Five of Brighton’s six clean sheets have occurred at home.
Brighton’s biggest wins of the season were against Manchester United in GW3, and them against Wolves in GW10.
Brighton have not been able to prevent a top six club from scoring against them this season.
Essentially, this should be an easy win for Chelsea on the cards. By pure trend it would be very surprising if Brighton were to get anything at Stamford Bridge, and everyone banking on Hazard and Higuain should go into the weekend thinking that there is a high chance of solid fantasy returns. The only stumbling block is Chelsea themselves and if they can bounce back from their miserably disappointing loss against Everton before the international break. Higuain is prime real estate for this double gameweek and captain potential if you are worried that Pep Roulette may ruin your hopes. We don’t know if Higuain should be praised heading into this gameweek, but with the opportunity for Chelsea this gameweek it is a captaincy choice that is locked in by an uncertain default.
Here is a recap of the differential picks for this Gameweek:
FUL/MCI: David Silva (MCI, MID, £8.5mil, 5.0% ownership)
BHA/SOU: Glenn Murray (BHA, FWD, £6.3mil, 2.4% ownership)
BUR/WOL: Diogo Jota (WOL, MID, £6.1mil, 4.8% ownership)
CRY/HUD: Michy Batshuayi (CRY, FWD, £6.5mil, 2.0% ownership)
LEI/BOU: Youri Tielemans (LEI, MID, £6.0mil, 0.9% ownership)
MUN/WAT: Chris Smalling (MUN, DEF, £5.6mil, 1.4% ownership)
WHU/EVE: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE, FWD, £5.3mil, 1.7% ownership)
CAR/CHE: Gonzalo Higuain (CHE, FWD, £9.6mil, 4.2% ownership)
LIV/TOT: Joel Matip (LIV, DEF, £4.9mil, 1.0% ownership)
ARS/NEW: Sead Kolasinac (ARS, DEF, £5.0mil, 5.6% ownership)
WAT/FUL: Gerard Deulofeu (WAT, MID, £5.6mil, 5.7% ownership)
WOL/MUN: Diogo Jota (WOL, MID, £6.1mil, 4.8% ownership)
CHE/BHA: Gonzalo Higuain (CHE, FWD, £9.6mil, 4.2% ownership)
MCI/CAR: David Silva (MCI, MID, £8.5mil, 5.0% ownership)
TOT/CRY: Christian Eriksen (TOT, MID, £9.2mil, 5.4% ownership)
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