Hello everyone and welcome back for another season of fantasy premier league, I’m Dan Rahilly one of the members of the FPL Updates team and this is the FPL Differentials column.
Some of you may be familiar with this article however if you’re an FPL Updates newbie then you may be asking yourself: “FPL Differentials, what the hell are they?” well luckily for you I’m here to explain just that in this introduction article. I’ll be explaining the rules that I must follow and my initial plans for the 2015/16 season, including the final draft for the squad (subject to changes in the final week before the season kicks off).
So let’s get started with the rules of the challenge. As the manager of the side my task is to select a squad of differentials, this is simply a player with under a 5% ownership/team selected by percentage. Now as you can imagine this reduces my options drastically which is what makes this team such a difficulty to manage, so I have to choose carefully. As a result of this if any player in the squad rises above this 5% marker then they must be removed from the squad before the next transfer deadline. Speaking of transfers… In terms of numbers there is no limit on how many can be made during one gameweek, however normal FPL common sense would apply: why take a hit unless it’s forced, or almost guaranteed to increase your points return? The transfers for the gameweek will be made each week and once the player is purchased the ‘teams selected by percentage’ for the player is then locked in for the gameweek in question. Essentially this means that if a player’s ‘teams selected by percentage’ is 4.6%, when he is transferred in, even if the figure rises to 5.2% on the Friday night or Saturday morning he can still be used for the gameweek as he met the criteria when purchased. This rule simply allows me to capitalise on any changes in ownership during the week, instead of being forced to wait until a players selection percentage may have risen above our 5% marker.
Picking the Side
Although some of the side may change, before the season kicks off on August 8th, the core of the team is here in this first draft. Now when selecting a differential side it is important to take risks, this is essentially the whole point: to choose a player who may be overlooked or disregarded. However with this a few problems arise: will the player even start (i.e. if there are better options elsewhere) and is the player actually going to deliver (or has he been forgotten for a reason). As a result of this it’s important to choose ‘star players’ from the smaller clubs, such as a newly promoted side or a side not competing in Europe. A final point to consider is our budget, of course as the most expensive players aren’t available we are simply unable to use up the entire £100m budget and as a result we will almost always have spare funds in the bank. Taking these things into account I have selected my 15 man squad and here it is:
Adrian (2.9%) & Boruc (4.0%): Both goalkeepers provide exceptional rotation within the early gameweeks of this season and that is really why the two have been selected. As we are unable to pick up a big money goalie, due to ownership restrictions, rotation really is key.
Cedric (3.8%): The new boy at St Mary’s should fit perfectly into Clyne’s new role, one that encourages attacking movement, and with an already proven defensive stature he should bag some clean sheet points along the way.
Rose (3.8%): The Spurs left-back looks to have solidified his first team place ahead of Ben Davies, and some promising fixtures from gameweek 2 onwards mean he is definitely one to watch. The Englishman set up 5 last season and managed to turn in 3 by himself, impressive.
Gibbs (1.0%): Another left-back, however from the other side of North London. This time it’s Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs, a player who this year should be in with a guaranteed starting place while Monreal could be heading for the exit door. Gibbs also has some attacking prowess and can chip in with an assist or two, however the main reason for his selection was simply Arsenal’s solidity at the back.
Schlupp (2.1%): A very promising end to the 2014/15 saw Leicester keep an awful lot of clean sheets, something key to their survival. Despite sacking Pearson, and bringing in Ranieri, The Foxes will be looking to remain solid throughout the campaign and some relatively easy fixtures early on should help them achieve that goal.
Baines (3.5%): Despite being marked with a yellow flag Martinez confirmed that Baines would be fit for the start of the new season and as always the Englishman should be in contention, particularly under 5% ownership. However our bench should cover for any scenario where Baines does not make the cut.
Lens (0.7%): The new boy at Sunderland signed from PSV in the summer and, despite being listed as a midfielder, can be used effectively as a striker or an advanced winger. This is of course great news in the world of FPL as it means that any goals scored will be tallied to the midfielder point scheme. Personally I feel he has been drastically overlooked and although he is in a very poor Sunderland side (of late), I feel he is the attacking flair they need in order to push on this season.
Barkley (2.7%): Although his form was questionable last season there is no denying the boy has talent, and one hell of a shot to go with it. So with his ownership within our bracket and a first game at home to Watford he was very difficult to overlook.
Redmond (2.2%): A very exciting prospect this year is Norwich midfielder Nathan Redmond, a player who provides both goal and assist potential. At just £5.5m and with a ownership percentage less than 5% he is definitely worth a gamble, especially as Norwich can ease themselves into Premier League life with some relatively easy fixtures to begin with.
Young (1.4%): Perhaps the riskiest choice so far, with his first team place up in the air, particularly with LVG’s preferred formation now uncertain with the introduction of Depay, Schniederlin and Schwienstieger. However if Young does retain his place in the side he could prove to be a superb differential, especially if he continues his promising pre-season form.
Payet (4.9%): West Ham’s new signing is a very good one, particularly for FPL players. Priced at just £7.5m Dimitri Payet is an absolute steal, and it is a huge shock to me that he currently sits below the 5% ownership mark. However whether other managers will jump on him after gameweek 1 is still uncertain, let’s hope not as it will be then that Payet moves into our first eleven.
This is the area of the field where it got extremely difficult, mainly because most of the proven strikers sit well above the 5% marker. However after some lengthy searching I hopt have found three who can do the job sufficiently.
Jerome (1.1%): Another Norwich lad and after running Middlesbrough riot in the play-off final Cameron Jerome could be a budget striker to keep an eye on. With this being a possibility I’ve decided to take an early gamble and stick him in the side.
Rodriguez (2.7%): Jay Rodriguez of Southampton missed the entirety of last season through injury; however he is due to make a return this year. Although it is still uncertain whether he’ll start against Newcastle in gameweek 1, the Englishman is definitely worth the gamble and a player who can make a huge impact on the Premier League, once again, this season.
Vardy (3.1%): A strong finish last year saw Jamie Vardy earn an England call up, however it seems that he hasn’t really been considered this year. Hopefully the masses overlooking him means he can fit nicely into our team and score some points early on before others jump on the Leicester forward.
So there you have it, the FPL Differential squad in the making, while I am happy with the team so far some enforced changes may need to be made, so stay tuned for the gameweek 1 preview to follow this article next week. Thank you as always for reading, I hope you enjoyed and happy FPL planning.