FPL 2019 – My Differential XI

Welcome back to FPL for another year. After consuming too much pre-season and an unhealthy dose of transfer speculation the articles on FPLBET from myself (@FPLFujtown) are back for another year!

Jared, FPLfujtown

A top 20k finish last year continued my streak of 6 consecutive seasons in the top 30k. My top finishes of 1923rd and 5,668th have seen me placed at 172 in Premier Fantasy Tools’ top managers of all time and in the top 500 of Fantasy football Scout’s hall of fame.

To start this season I will be releasing my differential XI ahead of this weekends fixtures, I will only select players with less than 15% ownership but preferably less than 10%, or players who haven’t featured heavily in a lot of drafted teams to date.

So without further ado, let’s look at the players who i believe are the best FPL differential picks for 2019…


Goalkeeper

David De Gea

  • 5.5m
  • Manchester United
  • CHE / wol / CRY / sou
  • 10.5% TSB

Starting off with a player with the most ownership in this article is a bit inconvenient but hey! De Gea will be drafted by a lot of new players and auto select sides as he is a big name and plays for a big name club. However, many managers in the FPL Twitter community will not jump on this name when a 4.5m keeper is vogue. My point about De Gea is simple and it starts with a right back;

Wan-Bissaka had an amazing year last year priced at 4.0m, he jumped out from the start in a lot of our teams and played a blinding season at Palace. He contributed 3 assists, played almost every single game, brought in 12 clean sheets and due to his fantastic acumen in tackling, ball recovery and pass accuracy he saw himself often getting bumped up the bonus point statistics where he reached a tally of 18 last season (as many as Mo Salah).

This incredible season saw him jump up to a 5.5m valuation and see him transfer to Manchester United. A truly incredible season saw him accrue 120 points. Meanwhile, De Gea slumped to 7 clean sheets and 7 bonus points, while only increasing his save tally from 115 to 123 from the season before. His point tally? 120 points like AWBs phenomenal year.

De Gea recorded 172 points in the pervious season with 18 clean sheets and 10 bonus points, while returning 15 and 14 clean sheets in the two season prior. If AWB and Maguire’s acquisitions bring United’s defence a meaner defensive solidity then the AWB would likely score a similar 120 points, seeing an increase from 7 to 12+ clean sheets at a minimum and maybe less bonus points as United may have more offensive players looking to return points compared to a relatively goal-shy Palace 18/19 team. However, De Gea, at the same price point, could increase his score closer to 150 points with this hypothetical defensive outlay.

AWB is in a lot of teams, but at the same price point, De Gea provides you coverage for popular Man Utd defenders, while giving you a higher potential points ceiling and a premium set and forget keeper at 0.5m cheaper than last season.


Defenders

Montoya

  • 4.5m
  • Brighton
  • wat / WHU / SOU / mci
  • 0.3% TSB

Under new manager Potter, Brighton have been experimenting with a 3-4-3 in pre season. This has seen Montoya pushed up into a right midfield wing back slot. Not a huge amount of data to go on, but with 2 home fixtures in the first 3 and more defensive players on the pitch Brighton could be a good shout for a clean sheet and finding some coverage could by useful (especially as lots of managers will be having the cheap Ryan / Button combo)!

Zinchenko

  • 5.5m
  • Man City
  • whu / TOT / bou / BHA
  • 8.1% TSB

It is a risk. But City’s defence is the best in the league. The way they play the game controls possession and keeps opponents boxed in when they get the ball due to an intense vertical high press. Zinchenko offers us cheap entry into this defence for a few weeks while Mendy works his way back for GW5. However, Pep now has Angelino and could have Cancelo and rotation is expected. This is a risk position, but could give you some early reward as other 5.5m defenders start to emerge as options for you to switch over to in the international break.

Boly

  • 5.0m
  • Wolves
  • lei / MUN / BUR / eve
  • 7.6% TSB

Wolves or Leicester. Wolves or Leicester. Wolves or Leicester. Last season those who followed the underlying stats would’ve seen that two clubs were posting incredible numbers in defence. In terms of shots conceded, big chances conceded and errors leading to chances two clubs far exceeded their actual points return. They were Wolves and Leicester. Both clubs found a way to concede the 1 goal every game and ruin some impressive stats and opportunities for low-mid range priced defenders. Both teams have hard starts to the season, but with Ndidi yet to return from international duty rest and Maguire moving to Old Trafford my eye moves to Wolves (albeit with their Europa League duties). Doherty has been inflated in price as has Jonny, but Willy Boly provided a goal threat last year and played most games. 8 clean sheets, 4 goals and 10 bonus points – surely he can improve on that this term as Wolves grow into the league.


Midfielders

Oliver Norwood

  • 5.0m
  • Sheffield United
  • bou / CRY / LEI / che
  • 0.6% TSB

Let’s start off being somewhat unglamorous. Norwood pinged into most FPL obsessives radars last season when Fulham won promotion. The ex-Man Utd player had posted a great promotion season at Fulham, taking and scoring penalties and set pieces for the Cottagers. However, as Fulham brought in a new squad for their disastrous league attempt, Norwood was let back to Brighton who loaned him to Sheffield United.

Norwood had an inspired season for the Sheffield United, where he went on to start captaining the sides at times. He also wrestled penalty duties off McGoldrick and now shares them, seemingly with Sharp. He was on all left sided set pieces (Fleck on right sided) and contributed with goals and assists in the season. He created the 2nd highest amount of chances for teammates in the Championship last season and the highest amongst the promoted clubs and scored a long range effort in the season too.

With Wilder signing 3 strikers to sit alongside his two already Sheffield United will see rotation up front. Sharp, who turns 34 this year, will see a lot of this and thus the chances of a penalty falling to United while Sharp is off the pitch increases… this gives Norwood a big opportunity to return some points.

It must also be noted that SHU managed to concede only 41 goals in 46 games last year, and if they can replicate these statistics in the league this year in any way then a bonus clean sheet point may be heading to Norwood on occasion as well.

Ross Barkley

  • 6.0m
  • Chelsea
  • mun / LEI / nor / SHU
  • 6.3% TSB

Frank Lampard has in Ross Barkley and Mason Mount two attacking central midifelders from England. Two he can mould using his knowledge in the position. Barkley as the more senior of the two and seemingly on some penalty and set piece duties has had a stunning pre-season filling in behind the striker and allowing a small part of the Hazard hole to be filled.

Punt but could have a high reward ceiling.

Martial

  • 7.5m
  • Manchester United
  • CHE / wol / CRY / sou
  • 4.5% TSB

I’m sure we have all been burnt by Martial before but my reasoning here is simple. OGS doesn’t seem to like Martial wide left as a defensive winger as Mourinho tried to force, Martial doesn’t have the work rate off the ball for this role. He is better as a fluid forward in a fluid frontline (exactly what OGS is going for) Last time he played this role for United he scored 141 points off just 2600 minutes and it was in his rookie year, noticeably bringing in 21 BPS! Also, I believe he was classified as a striker this year in the game, so would see less points for goals and BPS (correct me if I am wrong). Since then his stats have varied but the last 2 seasons are interesting…

He has played no more than 1650 minutes in each season but has contributed 122 and 125 points respectively. If we double his minutes to a full season, we could see a point jump near the 200’s. Playing Oop for a big 6 club with Romelu Lukaku on the way out and only 1 other recognised international striker at the club with a few days of the window left… Could Martial be the differential this year!

Ward-Prowse

  • 6.0m
  • Southampton
  • bur / LIV / bha / MUN
  • 1.2% TSB

Similarly to Martial, Ward-Prowse has never played more than 1900 minutes in a season, while usually posting around 1800 minutes. Due to the managers at Southampton or his age or players ahead of him he has never played a full season. However, with the Hasenhuttl Ward-Prowse has become a key part of the Southampton attack. Last season playing Oop behind the striker in a 4-2-2-2 this season could see him drop back as Southampton experiment with wing backs but Ward-Prowse will still be on all set pieces (excluding penalties where he is 2nd behind Ings) and should still contribute. Ward-Prowse hit 98 points last term, pretty much all coming in his spell under Hasenhuttl and if his game time is adjusted for a full season he has the ceiling of 180 point player given the right circumstances.


Forwards

Wesley

  • 6.0m
  • Aston Villa
  • tot / BOU / EVE / cry
  • 1.5% TSB

The 6.0 forward bracket is an interesting one. Offsetting an expensive midfield or premium striker gives us a cheap bracket with a few assets in them. Throughout pre-season a lot of the prospects have been dealt bad hands by the market and the teamsheets, we are left with Wesley and Joelinton who we know will play regularly and Wesley has a great fixture list after GW1 and seems to have penalty duties alongside his goals in pre-season.

He seems to be a link player, who brings others into play, less of a fox in the box and more of a build up player who helps Villa’s attacking 4 around him (2 wingers and 2 central/attacking mids) – but with penalties and with a  good fixture list he could prove to be a good buy.

Lacazette

  • 9.5m
  • Arsenal
  • new / BUR / liv / TOT
  • 7.0% TSB

Two ‘easy’ fixtures attracts a lot of interest in Arsenal assets, with a good pre-season and the likes of Pepe and Ceballos around him Lacazette’s role down the center good prove a handy differential over Aubameyang’s wider based forward role. Lacazette picked up a slight knock in pre-season and is touch and go for the start but if he is declared fit he could be a good asset in a bracket that is not being given much attention; 9.5m with Firmino and 9.0m with Vardy.

Lacazette took, and scored a penalty in pre-season. With all 3 front players at Arsenal being experienced penalty takers we could see duties shared this season.

Wood

  • 6.5m
  • Burnley
  • SOU / ars / wol / LIV
  • 1.7% TSB

Pre-season Pele is back at it again. 2 hat-tricks, goals, assists and penalties … Wood once again forces his way into contention. A tricky run of fixtures GW2-4 disguises a fantastic run in 5-14 which see’s only Chelsea at Turf Moor as a hard fixture on paper, with competitive games against; taking Burnley to December.

bha / NOR / avl / EVE / lei / CHE / shu / WHU / wat / CRY

Wood was in a lot of pre-season drafts last year, as Burnley had a great ‘on paper’ start to the season. However, poor form and Europa League tiredness put pay to this asset early on who went on to grab 13 goal contributions and 17 bonus points over the season.

Could this year be different with no Europa League?

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178th Best manager of all time in FPL 💪 | Hall of Fame 🏆 | Top 30k for last 6 Years | Degree in Religion and Philosophy.

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