FPL Differential XI: Gameweek 1

Differentials are a key part of success in Fantasy Football. Each week of the season Will Rivers from Fantasy Football 92 will be sharing his FPL Differential XI. Here we look at differentials for Gameweek 1.

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, 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!

In this weekly series, we explore those low ownership options that could be the hidden gems to help you to creap up that table. Here are the options we like the look of for GW1…

GOALKEEPER: ILLAN MESLIER – LEEDS UNITED (£4.5m) – 3.2% TSB

Leeds look to have a decent opening few fixtures and I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled off a minor shock in claiming an opening day three points against a Jimenez-less Wolves. Illan Meslier is often good for a few save points and I feel like he has a good chance of outscoring the likes of Dean Henderson in Gameweek 1.

DEFENDER: LUCAS DIGNE – ASTON VILLA (£5.0m) – 4.0% TSB

Aston Villa face Bournemouth in their opener, a side who, by their own manager’s admission, start the season in a bit of a mess. Scott Parker says The Cherries are ill-prepared due to a lack of incomings and Steven Gerrard’s Villa will fancy themselves to come away with the win.

Lucas Digne turned out to by one of those FPL picks who flattered to deceive last season which goes some why to explaining his low ownership from the off this time. A clean sheet and assist is what you typically look for from the attacking left back and that certainly isn’t out of the question here!

DEFENDER: DIOGO DALOT – MANCHESTER UNITED (£4.5m) – 4.8% TSB

United’s largely successful pre-season has boosted the popularity of a few of their FPL assets but it seems that right back Diogo Dalot has slipped under the radar and finds himseld under 5% ownership. The Portuguese full back looks to have nailed down his spot in the team under Erik Ten Hag and is always a player who passes the “eye test” thanks to his dynamic forward runs.

His £4.5m pricepoint is one of those that enables you to spend funds elsewhere and I much prefer him to the likes of Ben White and Tyrone Mings at the same price. 

DEFENDER: MATT TARGETT – NEWCASTLE UNITED (£5.0m) – 1.3% TSB

Matt Targett is a similar story to Lucas Digne really. The Newcastle man is as reliable as they come and will play all 38 games this season at left back if he stays fit. 

The Toon have what should be a favourable opening day fixture at home to newly promoted Nottingham Forest and Targett’s runs forward as well as his share of set pieces should give him plenty of opportunities to get involved in the goals. 

DEFENDER: TIMOTHY CASTAGNE – LEICESTER CITY (£4.5m) – 1.2% TSB

This is a bit of a left field one. Timothy Castagne isn’t a FPL defender you’d want at left back but playing at right back he’s a different player all together. Ricardo Pereira’s latest injury set back will mean the Belgian starts on the right in a nice opener against Brentford at the King Power. 

Castagne assisted in his penultimate pre-season outing and helped The Foxes to a clean sheet in the final game. I like him as a one week punt at least.

MIDFIELDER: LEANDRO TROSSARD – BRIGHTON (£6.5m) – 2.3% TSB

In my eyes, Leandro Trossard is Brighton’s best player by some distance and I’ve always enjoyed owning any given team’s talisman. The Belgian was on fire in Brighton’s last pre-season match, helping himself to a hat-trick and an assist in a dazzling display against Espanyol. 

Brighton travel to Old Trafford on the opening weekend in a game which is impossible to call (mainly because of United’s unpredictability) and even the Ten Hag has the Red Devils playing some attractive football, I’m almost certain that Brighton will get on the scoresheet. Don’t be surprised if Trossard is involved if theu do. 

MIDFIELDER: BRENDEN AARONSON – LEEDS UNITED (£5.5m) – 0.8% TSB

My aim is to bring you at least one “super left field” pick each week in this segment and this week’s spotlight falls on Leeds United newboy Brenden Aaronson. The midfielder doesn’t come into the Premier League with the best attacking statistics but his role in Jesse Marsch’s Leeds team could see a sharp increase in his output. 

Playing in a number10/wide hybrid role as well as dominating right footed set pieces, Aaronson should prove to be useful asset. Realisically, if you’re after a 5.5m midfielder you’re likely to pick Pedro Neto but if that’s where you want your differential to be, Aaronson is your man. A hat-trick of assists against Cagliari at the weekend should at least tempt you into signing the American up!

MIDFIELDER: MIGUEL ALMIRON – NEWCASTLE UNITED (£5.0m) – 1.2% TSB

It appears that Miguel Almiron took Jack Grealish’s comments to heart. Since the Man City star’s alcohol influenced criticism’s of his abilities, Almiron has been on fire over pre-season, scoring four times in a memorable few weeks. He’s out to prove a few wrong and has a nice fixture to start off with against Forest at home.

FORWARD: OLLIE WATKINS – ASTON VILLA (£7.5m) – 3.8% TSB

Like his team ate Digne, Ollie Watkins’ low ownership owes a lot to his underachievements of last season. I think his price point is a fair one and if he starts well his ownership should sky rocket if the likes of Darwin Nunez starts poorly. 

Watkins will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Bournemouth on the opening day. A goal should kick start a nice run for a striker with England ambitions ahead of this winter’s world cup.

FORWARD: CALLUM WILSON – NEWCASTLE UNITED (£7.5m) – 3.0% TSB

One of those who is a joy to own…when fit. Unfortunately for Callum Wilson, that day is all too rare so you’ve got to jump in there when the opportunity presents. 

Wilson will lead the line for Newcastle when they host Forest on Saturday and will be desperate to get his campaign off to a fast start. He only took five minutes to get off the mark in last season’s opener and will fancy his chances of performing a similar feat this time around.

FORWARD: JAMIE VARDY – LEICESTER CITY (£9.5m) – 4.5% TSB

Is this the start of the last Vardy Party? Jamie Vardy is fit and ready to lead the line for Leicester City going into their latest Premier League campaign and, while time isn’t on his side, the electric frontman can never be counted out. It seems that he always finds his way on to the scresheet somehow and the GW1 fixture at home to Brentford hands him another excellent opportunity to do it again. 

Going for Vardy over Harry Kane and Erling Haaland enables more funds to pack the midfield with the likes of Son and Salah. In all honesty, I’m really surprised at just how low the record-breaking striker’s ownership is.


Wondering what to expect from Gameweek 1? Check out our recent article.

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