Welcome back to the FPL Differentials series from @FPLTIPZ. Ahead of the new season, he will be highlighting some different differentials across different positions to help you have a strong start to the 2020/21 season. He scours the FPL market for low-owned players with the potential to pick up big points to help shoot you up the rankings. Once the season begins he will be back each week to review last week’s choices and pick out five players for the coming Gameweek who are currently under 10% owned from a variety of price points and teams.

This article will highlight some defensive differentials for the opening few Gameweeks of the season, this will be followed by Part Two, looking at midfielders and Part Three looking at forwards.

2020/21 Defensive FPL Differentials

Lucas Digne, £6.0m 6.6% owned

Lucas Digne has been one of the most highly owned assets in previous seasons. However, having been given a price of £6.0m for the 2020/21 season, the French defender has not seen the high ownership that has been seen in the previous seasons. However, looking at some of the key statistics from last season, Lucas Digne could be a strong differential for the opening Gameweeks. During the previous season, Digne has made the second-highest number of key passes per match with 2.06, only behind Trent Alexander-Arnold who currently has 56% ownership at £7.5m. Digne also ranks second for corners taken, third for free kicks taken and second for crosses per game all of which are only behind Alexander-Arnold. This indicates that Digne has a high potential for attacking returns.

Everton has strong opening fixtures including West Brom, Crystal Palace and Brighton and have an average difficulty rating of just 2.3 over the first 10 Gameweeks. Everton were expected to keep a clean sheet in 30% of the matches last season, however, due to individual errors, they only managed 24%. As well as this, Digne started 35 matches last season and made no appearances from the bench. This indicates that Digne could be a solid choice, likely to start every week and allow FPL managers to choose some differentials elsewhere.

FPL differentials

Defenders – Key Passes – GW1-38

Walker-Peters, £4.5m, 9.6% owned

Walker-Peters spent the first half of the season at Tottenham before being loaned out to Southampton where Walker-Peters has now signed a permanent deal. Within the final nine Gameweeks of the season since the resumption of the Premier League, the English defender has the third-highest big chances created out of the current £4.5m defender pool. This is only behind West Ham’s Ryan Fredericks who is currently injured, Burnley’s Erik Pieters who may not have a starting place for Burnley and Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey. In these Gameweeks Southampton also kept three clean sheets so there is a potential for both attacking and defensive points from Walker-Peters in the opening Gameweeks.

Southampton have favourable fixtures at the beginning of the season with an average difficulty rating of 2.5  across their opening eight fixtures which includes matches against Crystal Palace, Burnley, West Brom, Aston Villa and Newcastle. Walker-Peters will be looking to nail down the right-back spot having started six of the last nine matches and having been signed for £12 million by Southampton. A combination of strong opening fixtures with attacking and defensive points potential makes Walker-Peters a strong differential over the first eight Gameweeks.

FPL differentials

Gameweek 30-38 – 4.5 Defenders – Big Chances Created

Luke Shaw, £5.0m, 1.3% owned

Since the resumption of the Premier League in Gameweek 30 and since Bruno Fernandes has joined, Manchester United looked like a different team as they controlled matches and had more possession. As a result, many of their FPL assets have been more appealing and more highly owned. However, one asset that has gone under the radar is Luke Shaw. Shaw averaged 3.5 points per game, however, had expected points per game of 5.6 out of the six games Shaw started. This was due to a combination of players not finishing his big chances created and individual errors losing clean sheets for Manchester United. With Henderson potentially going in goal for Manchester United and some more time to prepare, Shaw and Manchester United could continue to look solid defensively. His teammate Aaron Wan-Bissaka has an ownership of 14.6% at £5.5m, however, had expected points of 4.9 points per game, 0.7 lower than Shaw in the final nine Gameweeks of the season.

Shaw also some strong opening fixtures to combine with his clean sheet and attacking potential. The average fixture difficulty is 2.7 after a blank in Gameweek 1 due to a delayed start to the Premier League season. These fixtures include Crystal Palace, Brighton, Newcastle, West Brom and West Ham. If managers can bench Shaw in Gameweek one when Manchester United blanks, he has the chance to be a strong differential. Brandon Williams is his rotation threat, however, having some poor performances in the Europa League it looks like Shaw will continue to be the first choice for the time being.

FPL differentials

Defenders – xPTs – GW30-38

Rui Patricio, £5.5m, 6.6% owned

This article has looked at three differentials, here is one goalkeeper to go with them.

Patricio was the fourth-highest scoring goalkeeper in the 2019/20 season only behind Nick Pope, Dean Henderson and Kasper Schmeichel with 153 points or 4.03 points per game. Wolves kept 13 clean sheets last season only behind Manchester City, Liverpool and Burnley. However, this was improved in the final weeks in the season after they only conceded 20 shots on target in the final nine Gameweeks of the season averaging just 2.22 per game. This is 0.3 shots less than second places Ederson and 0.55 ahead of third-placed Alisson. With Wolves ending the season in such strong fashion, there is potential that Wolves and Patricio could be a good place to invest in defence and in goal with high chances of clean sheets. This combines with a strong run of opening fixtures for the Portuguese stopper.

Wolves play Sheffield United, West Ham, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle and Crystal palace all in the opening seven fixtures of the season. After this, the fixtures become more difficult with Arsenal, Liverpool, Leicester and Southampton so Patricio could be a strong pick especially for FPL managers planning on playing their Wildcard earlier in the season.

Gameweek 30-38 – Shots on Target Conceded per Game.

Thank you for reading.

I hope this has been helpful looking at some defensive differentials. This article will be split into three parts, next, I will highlight three midfielders before finally looking at some forwards for the opening few Gameweeks of the season.

Thanks for reading – Feel free to message me any questions – Twitter – @FPLTIPZ

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