I know how it is. You already used your transfer to buy Matt Doherty like half a million other managers. That’s fine.
But if the first 8 weeks of FPL have taught me anything, it’s this: what makes your squad different at this point in the season is what can make your weekly scores beautiful. Plus, as Scott talked about this week, the winds of fixture change are blowing for a handful of clubs in the near future, so let us be your FPL weathervane(?).
Here is a list of differentials with an eye on Gameweek 9, though all these guys are worth considering beyond that.
***Warning*** - It might seem a tad Newcastle & Brighton-heavy. As of Wednesday, October 17, all players are currently less than 5% owned, though the goal is to find players owned even less so you can reap the rewards reserved for FPL’s daring-est daredevils.
Martin Dubravka - Newcastle (£5.0, 0.5% owned) -
As we discussed on our season preview podcast, from the time Martin Dubravka started in week 27 last season, the only keeper with more than his 53 fantasy points was Loris Karius (56), and only Hugo Lloris could match that total. (Is there a keeper named “Llloris” out there somewhere? Maybe he could be good too?)
But practically everyone, including our podcast, advised against owning any Magpie through the first 8 weeks. Now, just click on Martin Dubravka’s player information in FPL and see two things:
1.) Despite Newcastle’s run of tough matches, Dubravka is 9th in goalkeeper scoring and 2.) Newcastle’s schedule eases up significantly in week 9, with the bonus of playing 6 of 10 matches at home from that point.
His 7 outstanding saves vs Manchester United last week took him to 9th overall for the season. He showed his leadership ahead of the United match as well, with he and Jamaal Lascelles calling for a players’ meeting to address the club’s poor start to the season. This is exactly what you want from your real-life keeper, and I think it should help inspire FPL confidence going forward.
Mathew Ryan – Brighton (£4.5, 3.7% owned) & Jonas Lössl - Huddersfield (£4.4, 1.4%) -
Never forget: 10 clean sheets apiece for these guys last season. Yes, the Terriers play Liverpool this weekend, but both clubs have good schedules for quite a while. Both Gulls’ & Terriers’ defenses are allowing plenty of shots on target, and though Ryan has 30 saves to Lössl’s 15, Ryan earned 17 of those 30 against Manchester City, Liverpool, and Tottenham.
That £0.1 difference might matter to your roster, so even if Ryan is preferable overall, I wouldn’t feel bad saving a tenth to get Lössl.
It might be most difficult to go off-template with defenders, since the 5 most owned players are at 21.1% or more. But as we saw in weeks 6 & 7, the Doherty’s, Jonny’s, and Van Aanholt’s of the league can turn many of those arrows from red to green.
Here are some we’ve already recommended and some that you can just sit there and ponder:
The Gunners’ schedule is getting trickier, but now that they’ve shown clean sheet capability, you can feel a bit better about owning Nacho Monreal (£5.5, 2.5% owned).
I still say there’s no reason he should be owned 8% less than Hector Bellerin. Nacho is 4th on the FPL’s Threat rating for defenders, which, as you may be able to guess, measures a player’s overall goal threat.
Since we all agree that Leicester City has some nice upcoming fixtures, I’ll keep saying Ben Chilwell (£5.0, 0.8%) until his ownership is respectable, darn it!
He ranks 9th on FPL’s overall ICT Index, ahead of some names you may know: Andy Robertson, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Nacho Monreal, just to name a few. His 46 crosses is 8th best overall, and as FPL’s The Scout noted last week, entering the match vs. Everton, 38 of those were from open play, which was the most of any player in the league.
Since Brighton’s schedule is positive, we should probably say Shane Duffy (£4.5, 3.9%). One downside: 5 of those next 9 matches are on the road, where they have been bad.
However, we know he is attacking-return-capable, and if Brighton can also pick up some clean sheets, The Duffman will have you saying “Oh Yeah!” at least a few times in there.
If I’m saying Dubravka, I suppose I have to say Deandre Yedlin (£4.5, 1.1%), who has shown some nice flashes so far/is still fast.
Hammers Not Named Marko Arnautovic or Lukasz Fabianski
Yes, this does require purchase ahead of an unfavorable Spurs match, but if they can get a decent result at home against Chelsea, they can do it against anyone. Right? Maybe?
Fabian Balbuena (£4.4, 0.3% owned) is cheap and his 7 shots total is the 7th best total for all defenders so far. Plus, as the Premier League showed us this week, all 7 of those shots were taken in the box, a total better than Marcos Alonso and 3rd overall behind Antonio Rudiger and Michael Keane, both of whom are more expensive.
Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.8, 1.7% owned) or Felipe Anderson (£6.8, 2.6% owned) -
While Felipe was basically thrown in from the start, Andriy’s preseason injury saw him eased into the starting lineup. We all witnessed the growing pains, but the last 4 weeks have shown the improvement up front for the Hammers.
Yarmolenko only has 9 total shots this season, but 8 of them have come in the past 4 weeks, leading the team in 3 of 4 matches. Anderson is quite the creative force already: his 20 key passes is 5th best in the League, and his 14 accurate crosses is the 2nd highest total in the league, so getting to this point in the season with just 1 goal & 1 assist seems unlucky.
While you might not buy in on them this week, you have to like the fact that they’ve had decent returns against tougher opponents, making their upcoming run even look even better.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson – Burnley (£6.0, 3.2% owned) -
He’s more than tripled his ownership since I put his name here a few weeks ago. I take 0.1% credit for this.
Anyone jumping back in early on Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7, 3.6% owned)? The 37.2% of us that own Sadio Mané and his broken thumb might have a think or two about a straight swap to the player seemingly most immune to Pep’s rotation in the City midfield.
The Evening Standard is reporting that he is likely to start against Burnley this weekend and that he’ll be fully fit by the Spurs match in 2 weeks. Any attacking return vs the Clarets will make KDB a hot commodity after this weekend.
One more obligatory Seagull: Anthony Knockaert (£5.5) seems low at just 1.8% ownership, especially considering his real-life results of 1 goal & 3 assists. People usually flock to those kinds of returns. What gives?
Ayoze Perez - Newcastle (£6.1, 1.1% owned) -
He finally got on the attacking returns with an assist vs United last time out. Baby steps, right? You don’t like that he’s taken just 7 shots, but you do like that he’s put 5 of those on target. Fixtures should help him take some big boy steps here.
Luciano Vietto - Fulham (£5.5, 0.8% owned) -
Jiminez & Ings are still my choices in this price range, but I’m not overlooking Vietto. He’s settled in nicely with Schurrle & Mitrovic up front for Fulham, as evidenced by his league-lead-tying 4 assists.
Previously Discussed Player Who Somehow Still Counts as a Differential
Jamie Vardy - Leicester (£9.0, 4.9%) -
He finally went back up to his season-starting value. I think this will be the week we get him up to ownership respectability!
Remember: being different is fun and good. Good luck in week 9!