Every Fantasy Premier League team needs to have some differential players.
While it can be argued players that are picked less aren’t as good, it can be that certain assets go under the radar.
Differentials are generally defined picked by less than 10% of FPL managers. For this article though, we’re focusing on ‘super’ differentials, players picked by 5% or less.
These players may be riskier but with that bring the potential to boost your rank massively.
Here are the top 10 differentials ahead of FPL GW1.
10. Diogo Dalot – 5% ownership
Dalot seems to be preferred by Eric ten Hag in pre-season at right-back, therefore he’s the cheapest starting United defender (£4.5m).
Last season United had an average possession of 52% per game, which should improve under the new manager who favours a possession game. By comparison, at Ajax they averaged 667% possession in 21/22.
Consequently, this could decrease the number of goals conceded (allowing 57 last term – 8th most) as their opponents have the ball less.
There are plenty of budget defender options and Dalot is another to keep an eye on.
9. Leon Bailey – 16% ownership
Update: Bailey was 5% TSB when first written, he is now 16%.
Bailey has shown excellent pre-season form, scoring twice so far in four outings. He’s the only player on this list above 5% ownership but is too good of an option to omit entirely.
The winger is a great dribbler, producing 0.1 goal-creating actions per 90 from dribbles (95th percentile in Europe’s top 5 leagues) and 6.8 progressive carries per 90 (fourth-most in the team).
The Jamaican got 0.4 returns per 90 last term in limited minutes due to injury. Without being sidelined he should produce consistent returns.
However, he may not always be in the starting 11, as Gerrard often opts for two strikers and no wingers.
8. Jesse Lingard – 6% ownership
Those who remember Lingard’s 20/21 campaign for West Ham will know how immense he can be.
That season he got 0.8 goals and assists per 90, the 5th most in the league. He also hit 1.3 shots on target per 90 (9th most), scoring 20% of his shots overall.
The versatile midfielder is creative too, making 0.7 goal-creating actions per 90 for the Hammers (7th most).
He’s on a rumoured £200k per week, so it’s likely he’ll be a starting player.
7. Lucas Digne – 4% ownership
Aston Villa are blessed with attacking full-backs, with Digne a great alternative to Cash. He got four assists last term, averaging 0.3 per 90 – the joint-second best in the team.
The Frenchman hit 20 crosses into the box (fourth most) and had the 5th most overall (96).
Also, per 90, 3.3 shot-creating actions, 0.5 goal-creating actions, and 2.1 key passes, ranking in the top four for each stat in the team.
In Villa’s first three fixtures all their opponents have an FDR of two, including newly promoted Bournemouth.
6. Anthony Gordon – 2% ownership
After a breakout season, Gordon could improve upon his output – four goals and three assists. He was Everton’s brightest player during the second half of the season playing on the wing.
The winger wins a lot of fouls, resulting in 0.47 shot-creating actions from fouls per 90, ranking him in the 96th percentile.
Additionally, he had the second most touches in the opponent’s box for Everton (616) as well as 25 carries into the box (third most in the team).
He’s one of the best budget midfielders with decent fixtures too, involving four against teams with a FDR of two in their opening 6.
5. Jose Sa – 4% ownership
Sa was great value last season, scoring 29.2 points per million which was the second most of all goalkeepers.
He’s a brilliant shot-stopper, saving 79% of efforts (the highest in Europe’s top 5 leagues) and boasting the best post shot xG – xA in the league (+9.2).
Read More: FPL Goalkeeper Strategy – How to Select a GK
Wolves had the 5th best defence last term, conceding 43, playing with the deepest average defensive line (40.1). Therefore, affording their opponents more of the ball and consequently more shots.
Their solidity may be misleading however, as their xGA was 60.3, the league’s 5th worst.
He will certainly be a busy ‘keeper, earning lots of save and bonus points as a result.
4. Kai Havertz – 5% ownership
The German has changed positions in FPL this year, switching from a midfielder to a forward.
Mostly playing as Chelsea’s most recognisable striker last term he averaged 0.5 non-penalty xG per 90, the 8th most in the league. Similarly, he had a non-penalty xG per shot of 0.2, the 10th best.
His game can only improve playing alongside an experienced Premier League winger in Raheem Sterling.
Chelsea play only one top four finisher from last season in their opening 7 games, meaning potential for a strong start.
3. Jack Grealish – 4% ownership
In Grealish’s second season at Man City he could finally become a frequent starter.
He’s a chance creation machine, making 5.2 shot-creating actions per 90 (second most) and 0.3 xA per 90 (fourth highest).
This is especially crucial with the arrival of Haaland, an out-and-out goalscorer who will be on the end of those chances.
His best asset is his ball-carrying, making 88 carries into the box (most) and 13.7 progressive carries per 90 (99th percentile). This could lead to winning penalties and therefore assists.
With Sterling and Jesus leaving, there’s less competition in his position now, so more starts should be guaranteed.
Check out our analysis on whether you should pick Grealish in FPL 2022/23.
2. Bruno Fernandes – 3% ownership
With so many good premiums this year Fernandes has been overlooked by many. At times he was overshadowed by Ronaldo and therefore wasn’t at his best.
However, he had the fourth highest xA (8.4), producing the second most shot-creating actions (145 – 4.2 per 90), key passes (88) and third most passes into the box (85).
Also, the Portugal star got 10 goals, taking the 7th most shots (87).
Under ten Hag he’ll be playing in a slightly different role as one of two advanced 8’s, rather than as a lone number 10. But there’s still potential for goals with less of the burden on him as the sole attacking midfielder.
Furthermore, now Ronaldo seems to be out of the team Bruno could be back on penalties, scoring 9 in the 20/21 campaign.
1. Jamie Vardy – 5% ownership
Perhaps the best differential is Jamie Vardy. The striker scored 15 last term at a rate of 0.8 per 90, the league’s most.
He also averaged 0.5 non-penalty xG per 90 (10th best) and 0.2 per shot (6th best).
The 35 year-old scored 28% of his overall shots and hit 60% of his shots on target, both the best rates in the league.
Leicester have a bright start too, having two home games versus teams with an FDR of two.
However, he may not feature as often this season due to his age and the likes of Patson Daka and Kelechi Iheanacho wanting game time, too.
|Name||Team||Position||Price||Pick %||21/22 Points|
|Diogo Dalot||Man United||Defender||£4.5m||5%||54|
|Leon Bailey||Aston Villa||Midfielder||£5.0m||16%||37|
|Jesse Lingard||Nottingham Forest||Midfielder||£6.0m||6%||29|
|Lucas Digne||Aston Villa||Defender||£5.0m||4%||83|
|Jack Grealish||Man City||Midfielder||£7.0m||4%||86|
|Bruno Fernandes||Man United||Midfielder||£10.0m||3%||151|