This weekly series puts the spotlight on three players who all have an ownership of 5% or under in Fantasy Premier League.
We’re just about to enter into the final third of the season and for those Fantasy managers chasing a mini-league deficit or seeking a short-term measure to improve their overall rank, a considered differential pick could have an impact.
Joao Moutinho (£5.3m) was all set for a starring role in this piece given his form, his freer role in the Wolves midfield since Leander Dendoncker‘s (£4.3m) promotion to the starting XI and Newcastle United’s weakness at set plays, but the Portuguese star’s ownership has surged to 6% this week after a flurry of transfer activity in FPL.
Instead, we have turned to another Wolves asset and two defensive options for our selections this week.
Shane Duffy (£4.6m)
FPL ownership: 5.0%
The Irish centre-back just – only just – qualifies as a differential pick, given that he has a not insignificant following in FPL already.
No defender has scored more Premier League goals than Duffy (four) this season and, in the past six Gameweeks, the Brighton stopper has had more attempts from inside the opposition box and efforts on target than any player in his position.
Duffy had three shots on goal in the 0-0 draw with Watford alone and with Pascal Gross (£6.7m) supplying the ammunition – the German having created a staggering ten chances himself last weekend – further opportunities should arise from corners and free-kicks in Gameweek 26.
Only two clubs have allowed more attempts on goal from set plays than Burnley over the last six Gameweeks, with just Watford conceding more headed chances.
Four of Brighton’s five clean sheets in 2018/19 have arrived at the Amex, with the Seagulls boasting the second-best home defensive record this season among teams outside of the “big six”.
While Brighton don’t have a match in Gameweek 27 (and possibly Gameweeks 31 and 33, if the Seagulls progress in the FA Cup), their fixtures around that blank are among the best in the division and Duffy is arguably benchable next weekend at his current price.
Victor Lindelof (£5.0m)
FPL ownership: 4.7%
***UPDATE: Reports on Friday afternoon suggest Victor Lindelof is not among the Manchester United squad travelling to Fulham this weekend***
Manchester United have recorded three straight clean sheets on the road and indeed no Premier League side has registered more shut-outs than the Red Devils over the last six Gameweeks.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has tinkered with his team on a weekly basis since taking charge in December, Lindelof has been an ever-present under the Norwegian interim manager and has greatly impressed at centre-back.
The excellent form of David de Gea (£5.7m) is a huge boost to Lindelof’s clean sheet prospects but the Swede and his fellow defenders have kept it fairly tight at the back of late, with only two clubs allowing fewer big chances than United over the last six Gameweeks.
At the other end of the pitch, Lindelof has registered five attempts on goal (one of which found the back of the net) in the last four Gameweeks – only five FPL defenders, two of whom are playing “out of position” in midfield, can better that tally.
Four of those five efforts were from Lindelof’s head and only two clubs have allowed more headed chances than Fulham (this weekend’s opponents) over the last six Gameweeks.
No Premier League side has conceded more goals or big chances than the Cottagers during that time, either.
Lindelof is guaranteed a fixture in Gameweek 27 – albeit against Liverpool – before the Red Devils take on Crystal Palace and Southampton.
Diogo Jota (£6.0m)
FPL ownership: 3.5%
While Moutinho has surged past the 5% barrier, Jota remains a relatively low-owned route into the Wolves midfield.
The yellow flag may be a deterrent to some FPL managers but the knock that caused the Portugal under-23 star to miss the FA Cup win over Shrewsbury Town is not thought to be serious and his omission from the match-day squad on Tuesday was only precautionary in nature.
Santo’s side sit top of our Season Ticker for the next four Gameweeks, with a home fixture against Newcastle United kicking off that excellent run.
Jota bagged an 11-point haul in the reverse fixture at St. James’ Park and has five goals and four assists in his last seven Premier League starts.
No FPL midfielder has had more big chances than Jota over the last three Gameweeks (five of which admittedly arrived in the 4-3 win over Leicester) while only four players in his position (all of them expensive premium options) have registered more shots on target during that time.
Jota has actually had more penalty box touches, shots on target and big chances than Raul Jimenez (£6.7m) over the last three Gameweeks.