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 (GW34)
It is hard to believe that there are only five Gameweek's left of the season. There is also a hell of a lot to fight for. There is no clear winner in the title rice between City and Liverpool, and in Europe it is possible that we could have two English teams have their hands on both honours this year. A few weeks ago, we said that there would be no ‘normal’ weeks left for fantasy managers, and this week is no exception as Brighton and Cardiff play twice, and then next week we see City and United doubling up with Arsenal and Wolves. As usual we provide differential picks for every fixture to help you find a diamond in the rough that can boost your team.
Hugo Lloris (TOT), Tom Heaton (BUR), Mathew Ryan (BHA)
Hugo Lloris (SPURS vs. Huddersfield)
Spurs opened their new stadium with two huge performances, and two clean sheets to mark the occasion. World Cup winning Lloris didn’t have much to do against Palace, but against Man City in the Champions League he gave Spurs the win when he saved an Aguero penalty. The third game at their new ground is against Huddersfield, and there isn’t any doubt about the defensive potential of Spurs. Lloris is nailed on for his place, and after his man of the match performance against City the Frenchman gets the nod.
Tom Heaton (BURNLEY vs. Cardiff)
Burnley rediscovered their mojo by beating the decent teams of Bournemouth and Wolves in consecutive Gameweek's, and it looks like their home life will now be important to see out the rest of the season. We are big fans of Heaton, and a comfortable home game against Cardiff is enough to consider the Englishman to secure back-to-back clean sheets at Turf Moor.
Mathew Ryan (BRIGHTON vs. Bournemouth & Cardiff)
The first of two Brighton assets to feature in our differentials, and the low-priced Ryan may be able to give you an edge in both games against Bournemouth and Cardiff this week, especially in the latter fixture. Ryan is a good shot stopper and has both Dunk and Duffy back in front of him, so it could be a week to bank on the Aussie to provide the points this week.
Last Gameweek we saw no midfielders in our differentials, and this week we see no defenders as there are better goalkeeping options. If you were to bank on a defender look at Lewis Dunk of Brighton who has two fixtures this week, against Bournemouth and Cardiff.
Youri Tielemans (LEI), Diogo Jota (WOL), Andros Townsend (CRY), Naby Keita (LIV)
Youri Tielemans (LEICESTER vs. Newcastle)
We don’t know what is in the water since Brendan Rodgers arrival, but it has seen a surprising figure emerge out the team. Playing as a roaming midfielder, the Belgian Youri Tielemans has done more in the past six fixtures than he did at his time at Monaco at the beginning half of the season. Two goals and four assists spread evenly across six fixtures is astonishing for a central midfielder. You pick the players who carry the form, and right now you can’t look past Tielemans. The good news for Leicester is that Newcastle are struggling on their travels which should see a smile on the face of Brendan Rodgers.
Diogo Jota (Southampton vs. WOLVES)
Wolves have some incredible attacking players, and on their ascent in the Premier League table the tandem of Raul and Jota has been a favourite for FPL players. Three returns in the last four fixtures (two goals and two assists) is better than any Southampton player in the same period. Wolves are clear favourites, and with Jota and Raul an incredibly sharp edge we can’t see the Saints coping.
Andros Townsend (CRYSTAL PALACE vs. Man City)
There is now way that we can predict how Pep will rotate Man City, but flash back to last year and you’ll remember that Crystal Palace outclassed City at the Etihad. City have all their defensive assets available, and they also rotated for their Champions League encounter with Spurs to make us believe the big hitters of Sterling and Aguero will start this tie. With no such clarity on the team we are opting for the man to produce the magic at the Etihad last time out when Townsend scored what may very well be the team of the season.
Naby Keita (LIVERPOOL vs. Chelsea)
Jürgen Klopp has a habit of waiting a very long time to properly introduce his players. Andrew Robertson and Fabinho are recent examples of making the players wait. Everyone knew that Naby Keita was extremely talented, but injury and fitness also got in the way of nailing on a regular spot. Well, it might be that time for Keita after uncertainty over his long-term future. Deployed against Southampton, Keita got his first Liverpool goal after getting on the end of an Alexander-Arnold cross. A few days later he then scored his first Champions League goal for Liverpool against Porto after getting into a space and seeing his deflected shot hit the net.
This was the Naby Keita Liverpool supporters were hoping for, and with more balance in midfield with Henderson as a box-to-box midfielder this trio that also includes Fabinho may also be the one to see out the rest of the season. Chelsea visit Anfield in what is Liverpool’s last colossal test of their title credentials, and if Naby is as eager in this game it could be another big display from the expensive summer signing.
Glenn Murray (BHA), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Romelu Lukaku (MUN), Troy Deeney (WAT)
Glenn Murray (BRIGHTON vs. Bournemouth & Cardiff)
The Englishman is the second Brighton player to feature in this week’s differentials, and this game sees Brighton hosting relegation threatened Cardiff. We didn’t go for Knockaert and opted for Murray instead as we see him playing both games, and also from experience we have suffered from the way that Chris Houghton rotates his wingers based on the teams he is playing and his tactics. Murray is a natural choice due to fill the attacking void this week as we don’t see Cardiff doing anything to upset the South Coast team.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Fulham vs. EVERTON)
Everton sure took their time to trust their young English talent leading the line. After all the fuss of having a forward to lead the club forward, and wondering if Tosun was up to standard, they have rolled their dice on academy product Calvert-Lewin. Seeing regular game time has seen the youngster hit some good form of late, with four returns from his last six games. Up next for Everton is a Fulham team who will have relegation confirmed if they fail to win against the Toffees. The bad news for them is that Everton have recently claimed the scalps of Arsenal and Chelsea, with Calvert-Lewin picking up assists in both matches.
Troy Deeney (WATFORD vs. Arsenal)
There is an upcoming double Gameweek for the Hornets, but that doesn’t stop us getting Troy Deeney into our teams as quickly as possible. The Englishman was ruthless in his penalty which helped turn the tide in the FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves. We would love to see Deeney to have the FA Cup to his name when he decides to retire, it would be an amazing story. After Arsenal’s shambolic away performance to Everton it is safe to say the Deeney has a chance to keep his form up if the Gunners continue raising the blood pressure of their fans who are seeing a place in the top four potentially slip away.
Key Differential: Romelu Lukaku (MAN UNITED vs. West Ham)
Now here is a footballing legend, and among Hammers supporters the Belgian is El Diablo. Eleven appearances against West Ham for Lukaku has returned eleven goals and four assists. Truly, he is the definition of ‘bogey player’. When browsing the fixtures, we could have opted for a Brighton player due to their Double Gameweek status. Logic would have said to place a bet on Glenn Murray instead, and here we are choosing a player whose reputation against one club speaks for itself.
The Belgian has an outstanding record against teams typically outside of the top six, and in order the other teams Lukaku enjoys scoring against includes Southampton, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Stoke City, and Aston Villa. West Ham is the cherry on top of this goal-scoring cake, and it is currently the leagues best striker-to-team conversion rate. If you factor in the number of fixtures and the number of returns, Lukaku has the return rate of 136% against West Ham which is phenomenal.
West Ham fans travelling up to Old Trafford will be biting their teeth on the way up the M6, with visions of Lukaku’s terror on their club a painful, reoccurring living memory. There is rarely a differential that has an impeccable record, and with Rashford stealing the limelight from Lukaku it has reversed their differential status. Even better news for those banking on Lukaku will also be pleased to know that West Ham have failed to score in their last three away games, losing all three. Additionally, their last away win was at Southampton in GW19. The Belgian was also subbed around the sixty-eight minute against Barcelona in the Champions League which keeps him fresh for the weekend.
This isn’t a differential pick, this is a self-proclaimed omen that has seen itself manifest time and time again.
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