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Six FPL differential picks to consider this season

Fantasy Premier League - FPL legend John Lundstram in action last season
Fantasy Premier League - FPL legend John Lundstram in action last season
Sayantan Guha
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 21 Aug 2020, 21:53 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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The prices of the players for the 2020-21 season are already out and the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers have already started racking their brains to build the perfect 15-man squad going into Gameweek 1. 

What do FPL managers love the most? 

Good differential picks to outscore their mini-league rivals or climb up the global league rankings. Easy.  

And what are FPL differentials? 

Players who have low ownership (read less than 5 per cent), yet, potential to grab high FPL points throughout the season. 

On that note, we are going to pick out the top 6 FPL differential picks based on their individual performances and the form and setup of their team. 

DEFENDERS

1. Tariq Lamptey (Brighton & Hove Albion FC) - Brighton, under Graham Potter, ended the last season flirting with a three-at-the-back, which pushed Lamptey out wide. Listed as a defender on FPL, if he starts from the right-midfield position, Lamptey could very well become the John Lundstram of last season. 

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At £4.5m, he offers a fair few clean sheets and operating further up the pitch there remains a possibility of attacking output from him every other gameweek.

Last season, Brighton gathered 9 clean sheets. With 4.2% ownership at the moment, Lamptey, definitely, has to be a cheeky defender to consider for your teams. 

2. William Saliba (Arsenal) - Signed for £27m from AS Saint-Etienne, the 19-year-old centre-back is backed to turn a lot of heads in his debut season with Arsenal. Although there have been a lot of questions about how Mikel Arteta will field his team next season, at £4.5m, Saliba could become the cheapest entry point to the Arsenal back-line. 

Arsenal
Arsenal's new signing William Saliba could turn into an FPL asset

Last season, Arsenal kept 10 clean sheets, so, if Saliba can cement his position in the starting eleven, there is some serious potential for defensive returns. Even if he doesn’t jump into your Gameweek 1 squads, do keep an eye on him in the future. 

MIDFIELDERS

3. Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) - With Aubameyang, Rashford and Greenwood being the major forwards to be listed as midfielders in the upcoming FPL season, Diogo Jota’s position change has gone under the radar. 

Listed as a £6.5m midfielder, Jota has turned into an enticing differential pick. Last season he scored 7 goals and 1 assist in 34 appearances. However, Jota massively under-performed with regards to his 12.02 xG (Expected Goals).

Owned by just under 3 per cent FPL managers, if Jota can find his scoring boots this season he could become a valuable differential asset with the added clean-sheet-bonus for a midfielder. 

4. Stuart Armstrong (Southampton) - It’s no surprise that FPL managers have flocked for Southampton assets after their strong performance last season. Southampton suffered only a single loss after the restart.

Norwich City v Southampton FC - Stuart Armstrong celebrates after scoring against Norwich
Norwich City v Southampton FC - Stuart Armstrong celebrates after scoring against Norwich

Though Alex McCarthy, Kyle Walker-Peters and Danny Ings remain the popular choices, Stuart Armstrong, with only a 1.5 percent ownership, could be a differential pick to consider. The £5.5m midfielder has recorded 2 goals and 3 assists in the 9 games after the restart. 

Contrary to Diogo Jota, Armstrong has regularly outperformed his xG. And if he keeps doing so, there is no reason for FPL managers to ignore the 28-year-old Scottish international. 

FORWARDS

5. Che Adams (Southampton) - Almost feels like déjà vu, as even last year Adams made into a few lists of FPL differentials before the season started. However, all that fantasy came crashing down after a pretty disappointing start. 

Yet, here we are once again, trying to take a punt on Che Adams and hopefully it pays this time. With Danny Ings priced at a premium £8.5m this season, Adams could be a cheaper gateway to the promising So’ton forward line. At £6.0m, Adams allows you to save a bit of cash in the attack and invest in midfield, where the actual big guns are this season. 

Southampton FC v Sheffield United - Scored a brace in the final game of the 2019-20 season
Southampton FC v Sheffield United - Scored a brace in the final game of the 2019-20 season

And if form is anything to go by, with three goals in the last two gameweeks, Che Adams did end the season on a high. 

6. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) - Now this one involves a lot of ifs and buts but is definitely one to consider in the long run. If anyone has taken a close look into Timo Werner’s time at RB Leipzig, it’s a no-brainer that he has done his major chunk of goal scoring playing in a two-striker system. 

Under Loew, for the German Men’s National Football team, it wouldn’t be too harsh to call Werner a failure as a solo striker upfront. This should in no way be taken as a final indication or verdict, but if Chelsea does go for a two-striker system, next season, Olivier Giroud could partner Timo Werner upfront. 

Currently, with only 1.6 percent ownership among FPL managers and in the price bracket of £7.0m, Giroud could become an effective differential with the goal-scoring threat that Chelsea possess. Even if Werner, Pulisic and Ziyech do the major chunk of scoring, Giroud could grab the odd goal every other game. 

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Scored Chelsea
Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Scored Chelsea's fourth goal with an excellent finish inside the box

Most importantly, post-restart, Giroud has been on a goal-scoring spree with 7 goals in 9 league matches. He also scored in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United and further grabbed an assist in the final against Arsenal in a losing cause. 

Published 21 Aug 2020, 21:53 IST
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