Written by Jønathan Kahn. You can catch him on twitter @jkisthe1. Kahn is ranked 211th on the All-Time FPL Manager list!
For many of us, this Gameweek has been long anticipated. The chance to build a one-off team to maximize our points in a Double Game week without losing some of key assets (like Liverpool players for example). But who should we be looking to buy? Well, it’s not difficult to pick the likes of Aguero, Sterling, Pogba or Hazard. But our budgets only cover so many of these players, meaning we have to fill our remaining spots with other options. What I want to do here is run you through some possible differential options. For the purposes of this piece, I am going to define a differential not just by overall ownership but by likely live ownership.
Chris Smalling (Man Utd) Price 5.6m, Ownership 1.4% – Fixtures (WAT, wol)
We start a real differential though. Whilst many people are opting for Lindelof or De Gea they could be overlooking the real gem in the United defence. Although he is .5 more than his central defensive partner Smalling has historically offered a serious goal threat. A comparison of the pair over their last four in the league reveals that whilst Smalling has only registered two shots, Lindelof hasn’t registered any, whilst Smalling has no chances created to Lindelof’s one, which resulted in Lukaku’s second goal at Crystal Palace. So, It could be worth spending the extra (assuming you have it) to go with the Englishman.
Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) Price 5.4m, Ownership 5.4% – Fixtures (HUD, tot)
We all love Aaron Wan-Bissaka right? A 4.0 starting defender who has steadily racked up points. But he has actually been outscored this season by the man on the other side. The former Chelsea and Sunderland man has a history of delivering attacking returns. His numbers have dwindled this season with just one goal and two assists, but the threat remains. Again if we compare the pair over the last four, it’s PvA who comes out on top with three attempts to AWB’s one and two chances created to one. Palace’s home form and the second fixture being the first competitive game at the new Tottenham stadium could be off-putting, but in counter to that, Huddersfield at home could be the ideal fixture to reverse that home form whilst the Tottenham game could offer opportunities with Spurs no doubt wanting to put on a spectacle.
Shane Duffy (Brighton) Price 4.7m, Ownership 6.5% – Fixtures (SOT, che)
We also need cheap players in our team, so-called, enablers and the Seagulls and Ireland man could be just the one you are looking for. Duffy has shown surprising goal threat finding the net five times, more than any other defender. Southampton are much improved under Ralph Hassenhuttl but are still prone to conceding whilst Chelsea are unpredictable and could have an eye on the Europa League. In comparison to his partner, Lewis Dunk, Duffy has registered an incredible nine goal attempts in his last four, Dunk, just one. Compared to other defenders, Newcastle’s Fabian Schar matches Duffy with nine attempts, the next best is five. So if you want a cheap, low owned defender with clean sheet chances and goal threat, Shane Duffy could be your man.
Delle Alli (Tottenham) Price 8.8m, Ownership 2.4% – Fixtures (liv, CPL)
Playing a slightly different role this season Alli hasn’t quite hit former glories in a more withdrawn role with just five goals and three assists so far. But a goal and an assist in his last two starts point perhaps to a change in fortunes. This season it’s been Son who has been the Spurs midfielder of choice but perhaps now is Alli’s time to shine. He’s already stepped up in a big game this season delivering a goal and assist against Chelsea and Liverpool have looked a little more vulnerable at the back in the recent weeks and has a famous goal against Crystal Palace to his name and there’s sure to fight for the honour of scoring the first goal in the new stadium. Over the last four games, Alli is vastly superior to Son with 24 Penalty Area Touches to 17, eight shots to three (six in the box v one) and seven chances created to three. There is however a small caveat. Son was left out of Spurs’ last league game only playing 18 minutes. This gives Alli significantly more minutes over those four, which may explain some of the significant differences. Nevertheless, those are still impressive numbers for Alli.
David Silva (Man City) Price 8.5m, Ownership 4.8% – Fixtures (ful, CAR)
There was a time when David Silva being a differential was almost unheard of. There’s some serious FPL pedigree here. Season after season of netting double digits for assists made Silva a consistent scorer and a staple of many FPL sides. But the emergence of Sterling, Sane, de Bruyne and Bernardo has pushed the little wizard down the pecking order for our affections. Could a FH change that? With de Bruyne still working his way to fitness Silva’s creativity could be crucial to City. Over the last 4 the Spanish Silva has been finer than the Portuguese Silva with 38 Penalty Area Touches to 22, six shots to five (six in the box v four) and ten chances created to seven (two big chances compared to four). All in fewer minutes. If you are struggling for your third City player alongside Aguero and Sterling, David Silva could be your man.
Pedro (Chelsea Price 6.4m, Ownership 4.5% – Fixtures (car, BRI)
File this under punty with Chelsea’s form and Sarri’s rotation but the little Spaniard has started four of the last five in the league so has perhaps edged ahead of Willian in the pecking order. With eight goals already this season he needs just two more for his best scoring season since arriving in England and we know he has the pedigree and he has the fixtures if you think he has the minutes. His stats are reasonable enough for a player of his price with 15 penalty area touches, six shots (three in the box) and five chances created. He hasn’t returned in the last four but perhaps these two fixtures are the perfect opportunity to change that.
Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Price 6.5m, Ownership 1.9% – Fixtures (HUD, tot)
Whilst all the talk is about Zaha or Milivojevic the Belgian has quietly begun to find some form. Two goals on international duty have followed two goals and an assist in his first six league games for Palace as well as one in the FA Cup quarter-final. Huddersfield is potentially the ideal game to continue that run. Enough has already been said about the Spurs game. How does ‘Batman’ stack up against Palace key man Zaha? Well, he has 12 Penalty Area Touches in the last four against 27 for Zaha. Batshuayi leads by nine shots to seven though Zaha has had six in the box compared to five for Batshuayi. It’s no surprise to see Zaha leading on chances created by three to one. Batshuayi may not be a better option than Zaha but he is cheaper and lower owned and maybe he could be the goalscorer Palace have been looking for.
Troy Deeney (Watford), Price 5.9m, Ownership 4.9% – Fixtures (mnu, FUL)
Differential, Talisman, Leading Scorer, Penalty Taker, what more could you want? Well maybe someone guaranteed to start both games? Watford’s progress to the FA Cup semi-finals clouds their selection with fears of rotated teams in one or both games. But if any player other than Ben Foster is likely to play both then Deeney is that man. If you are prepared to take that gamble there could be profit in there. United have just two clean sheets at home this season and Fulham are, well, Fulham. There could be goals in this DGW for Deeney if he plays both. A looks at the stats seem to suggest that Deeney has taken a back seat to Gerard Deulofeu in recent games with the Spaniard having more Penalty Area Touches (17 to 14), more shots (eight to seven) and more shots in the box (six to four). It’s only in Chances Created (five against two) where Deeney is ahead. But with Deulofeu likely to miss one game Deeney could come back to prominence and penalties are always a huge bonus.
Harry Kane (Tottenham), Price 12.5m, Ownership 15.1% – Fixtures (liv, CPL)
How can a player with 15% ownership be a differential? Well, the answer is simple, his recent injury and blank GW mean his ‘live’ ownership is just 3.3%. Live ownership is defined as those teams whose owners have made a change of some form in the last month (be it line-up or transfer). So take away the dead teams and suddenly you have yourself a very explosive, big hitting, differential, one that many managers not playing their Free Hit will simply not be able to get. Let’s be honest, this Harry Kane, you don’t need me to tell you about him The first fixture isn’t exactly ideal but, as mentioned earlier, Liverpool have been leakier at the back recently and no one will want to score the first goal at the new stadium more than Kane. A quick look at the stats shows Kane is, well Kane. 16 shots in his last four, with 9 in the box suggests he’s just back to shooting on sight. He’s also created six chances, enhancing his reputation as arguably the most complete centre forward in the world. You know what you are getting with Kane, you also know the cost. If you can live with what it does to the rest of your team then you shouldn’t hesitate.
Gonzalo Higuain (Chelsea), Price 9.6m, Ownership, 4.2% – Fixtures (car, BRI)
Perhaps overlooked by many as they focus on Hazard and double Chelsea defenders the Argentine could provide managers prepared to take a gamble with big rewards. No striker has fired in more shots than Higuain and only Aguero and Lukaku can match him for shots in the box. Perhaps Higuain is explosion imminent. He also has seven chances created to suggest he is doing the job he was signed to do. If you are happy with one Chelsea defender (and I wouldn’t blame you if you were) Higuain could fire you up those Mini Leagues.