I last posted ahead of GW14 and with an international break and a hectic house move sandwiched in between, so it feels like a long time since we scoured the market for differentials.
You can see how our last team performed at the end of this article. But now it’s time to look ahead to GW17 and a double whammy for the first time this season.
Each team is playing twice and to get a flavour of the best sides to pick from, here’s the lowdown on who’s playing who:
Arsenal – Spurs (h), Man United (a)
Bournemouth – Man City (a), Huddersfield (h)
Brighton – Huddersfield (a), Palace (h)
Burnley – Palace (a), Liverpool (h)
Cardiff – Wolves (h), West Ham (a)
Chelsea – Fulham (h), Wolves (a)
Crystal Palace – Burnley (h), Brighton (a)
Everton – Liverpool (a), Newcastle (h)
Fulham – Chelsea (a), Leicester (h)
Huddersfield – Brighton (h), Bournemouth (a)
Leicester – Watford (h), Fulham (a)
Liverpool – Everton (h), Burnley (a)
Man City – Bournemouth (h), Watford (a)
Man United – Southampton (a), Arsenal (h)
Newcastle – West Ham (h), Everton (a)
Southampton – Man United (h), Spurs (a)
Spurs – Arsenal (a), Southampton (h)
Watford – Leicester (a), Man City (h)
West Ham – Newcastle (a), Cardiff (h)
Wolves – Cardiff (a), Chelsea (h)
What does that suggest?
In a double gameweek use of transfers can prove key. Few teams will have two plumb fixtures, so it often pays to rotate a little, if you’ve saved enough transfers.
However in our differential XI, it’s a case of one team for the duration, so picking the best doubles will be key.
Immediately a few teams stand out.
From the big teams, Man City and Chelsea have promising fixtures, while Arsenal’s brace of big teams looks like one to avoid. Liverpool come into the picture with an attractive away day at Burnley. Spurs’ second match, at home to Southampton, looks an excellent option for a captaincy.
Further down the table, Brighton’s games could help them regain confidence after picking up just one point from their last three. Form, however, raises alarm bells ahead of a trip to Huddersfield who will be buoyed by their 2-0 away win at Wolves last weekend.
With a strong run of fixtures coming up beyong GW17, West Ham offer a fair set of fixtures, as do Leicester as they face Watford and Fulham – though the latter could by then be stronger under their new manager.
The onus being on picking one team, here’s my differential captains for the gameweek:
Cardiff v Wolves (Friday)
Earlier in the season, the attacking Matt Doherty would have been a no-brainer. No more, with Wolves in a rut having claimed just a point in their last five.
Cardiff have returned a mixed bag in the same period but can claim home wins against Brighton and Fulham.
With the fixture tricky to call, I’m turning to Callum Paterson (£5.2m/4.6%). The cut-price option wins the day based on his potential to score points in every area. Flung into my first actual team of the season, Paterson largely disappointed as he struggled to hold down a starting berth.
Now, though, he’s registered three goals in five, as well as a tackle bonus. Could he grab a goal and a clean sheet between his two matches?
Saturday’s sky-blue thinking
Saturday is all about Man City. The only top club barring a lacklustre United on the fixture list means a double-up (at least!) is called for.
First on our list is David Silva (£10.5m/8.9%). With the likes of our go-to differentials Sterling and Laporte now above ten per cent ownership, the Spaniard has been fantasy gold in the last three weeks, scoring 37 points. Goals, passing bonus and a MOTM have all contributed to a trio of double-figure scores.
Rotation is always a threat, but with ownership of 7.4 per cent I can’t ignore Leroy Sane (£10.3m) after his 24-point haul last weekend. He was benched the week before, but in GW13 he grabbed a goal and two assists for 14 points. With two great fixtures, you would expect Sane to see enough pitch time to perform.
A London derby between Chelsea and Fulham is my pick of the Sunday fixtures. I’m hoping for a steady bonus-point return, perhaps with a home clean sheet.
Among the passing bonuses in five of the last six, David Luiz would be a fine captain choice. Pipping him to the post with a string of seven passing bonus gameweeks prior to the disaster against Spurs, Antonio Rudiger (£9.5m/3.2%) is our go-to. That run brought three double-digit scores.
A hammer blow to the Bluebirds?
We’ve tipped him before, but with an excellent home tie against Cardiff, West Ham’s Felipe Anderson (8.7m/3.03%) remains chronically under-owned for a player capable of big hauls. Anderson represents a risk, flitting between two-pointers and ten-plus scores in recent weeks, I hope it’s the latter this time round.
Return of the Dane
Christian Eriksen (11.2m/5.07%) is not likely to remain a differential for long, back from a spell on the sidelines with a 13-point score against Chelsea.
First up is an uninviting Arsenal away day, but Wednesday brings a home match against Southampton and the Dane will be a more than reasonable differential up against the go-to picks of Harry Kane and Mo Salah on the same day.
Differential XI (Under 10% ownership at the time of writing, not team’s most popular player)
Callum Paterson (c) (5.2/4.6%)
Antonio Rudiger (c) (9.5/3.2%)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.6/9.1%)
David Luiz (8.8/5.14%)
Christian Eriksen (c) (11.2/5.07%)
Felipe Anderson (c) (8.7/3.03%)
Leroy Sane (10.3/7.4%)
David Silva (c) (10.5/8.9%)
Gylfi Sigurdsson (9.1/7.5%)
Roberto Firmino (12.2/8.74%)
How the XI performed (GW14)
Key: G = goal, A = assist, CS = clean sheet, MOTM = man of the match, T1T/T2T = tier-one/two tackles, T2P = tier-one/two passing, TI/2S = tier-one/two shots, TI/2SA = tier-one/two saves (c) = captain YC = yellow card
Ryan – 1
Ake – 1
Rudiger – 9 – CS, T2P, YC
Laporte – 5 – T2P
David Brooks – 2
Felipe Anderson – 8 – G
Granit Xhaka – 5 – T2P
James Milner – 1
Alexandre Lacazette (c) – 4
Glenn Murray – 2
Jamie Vardy (c) – 4
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