FPL Differential XI: Season Review (so far)

We’ve all seen the “template XI” and will, no doubt, have figured out which elite assets we’re going to jump on this season.

Whether you’re on the Salah train or the Haaland bus (or both), you’re going to be needing some handy differentials in your side to ensure you’re always one step ahead of your mini-league rivals and can climb up those world rankings!

With the international break upon us, now is the perfect time to assess which differentials have shot FPL managers ahead of their closest rivals thanks to their unexpected points!

Goalkeeper: Nick Pope Newcastle United – £5.2m

New club but same old story for Nick Pope. The Burnley stopper swapped claret for black and white over the summer but he’s still the joint busiest Goalkeeper in the league having made 30 saves over the first seven weeks. Throw in three clean sheets and he’s the top scoring goalkeeper though few started the season with him thanks to a £5.0m pricetag. He’s pretty popular now though…

Defenders: William SalibaArsenal – £4.9m (44 points), Max Kilman – Wolves £4.5m (28 points), Eric DierTottenham – £5.1m (33 points)

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo, Andy Robertson, Reece James…all valid guesses for the current top scoring defender but would you have guessed William Saliba? The young Frenchman has finally broken through at Arsenal and his top performances have transferred into fantasy points with the commanding centre back scoring a massive 44 points (and that’s even with an own goal in week two) largely thanks to two goals, one assist and three clean sheets.

Eric Dier is the least fashionable of all of the Spurs defensive picks but has scored the most points so far (we’re looking at you Ivan Perisic) and is still only 6.7% rostered while Wolves centre back Max Kilman still fits the differential criteria and 1.7% ownership. Kilman is still priced at £4.5m but is trundling along quietly as the 9th best defender so far. Will he be your defensive differential going forward?

Midfielders: Pascal Gross Brighton – £6.0m (42 points), Alexis MacallisterBrighton – £5.6m (39 points), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg Tottenham – £5.5m (33 points), Marcus Rashford – Manchester United – £6.6m – (40 points), RodrigoLeeds United – £6.3m (38 points)

While Saliba top scores among defenders, the midfield position is dominated by…Brighton. Despite playing one less fixture than the majority of the field, differential favourites Pascal Gross and Alexis Macallister sit at 2nd and 5th respectively in the midfield top scorers. Only some guy called Kevin De Bruyne is above the aforementioned German.

It remains to be seen what effect Graham Potter’s departure will have on Brighton assets in general but Gross and Macallister have enjoyed their hot start to the season so far!

Marcus Rashford’s career has been revived under Erik Ten Hag too with his goal against Liverpool kickstarting a decent run of form for the England man who had struggled for form. Playing out of position as a forward and priced at £6.6m, is Rashford going to be your differential midfielder in the future?

Making up our five man midfield are the injured Rodrigo and the previously unfashionable Pierre Emile Hojbjerg. Leeds man Rodrigo was this season’s “out of nowhere” star of the early season. Four goals and an assist over the first four games saw the Spaniard’s popularity skyrocket before he departed after 30 minutes through injury against Everton in GW5. A massive 509,864 managers had transferred him in for that game as well as the 1,332,069 who had done the same the week before. Can you name anything “more FPL” than that?

Meanwhile, Danish enforcer Hojbjerg is proving to be excellent value at £5.5m. All the talk pre-season was around Pedro Neto and Leon Bailey for that slot but the Tottenham man has comfortably outscored both of them thanks to two goals and an assist. He’s still only rostered by 2.9% too…

Forwards: Ollie Watkins Aston Villa – £7.2m (26 points), Bryan MbuemoBrentford – (24 points)

Our forwards are ranked 7th and 8th respectively in their position but still sit comfortably below the differential threshold of 5%. Work that one out!

They’re hardly setting the world alight at the moment but Ollie Watkins and Bryan Mbuemo have score 26 and 24 points respectively while still only being rostered by 2% and 1.8%. Aston Villa in particular have a few nice fixtures to come so getting Watkins in now ahead of plenty of potential points could be a smart play if you need a differential on your GW9 wildcard!

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