Spot the Differential

Phillips can offer excellent value as Liverpool prepare for fixture-swing

Gameweek 31 is almost upon us which gives us an opportunity to have a look at some more differential options.

This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Leicester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, who we think have the potential to make an impact.

As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.

Nathaniel Phillips

  • FPL ownership: 1.9%
  • Price: £4.0m
  • GW31-35 fixtures: AVL | lee | NEW | mun | SOU

Academy product Nat Phillips (£4.0m) has taken his chance at Liverpool this season and now offers Fantasy managers exceptional value.

The 24-year-old spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at VfB Stuttgart, where he helped them gain promotion to the Bundesliga. Having arrived back at Anfield ahead of the current season, he wasn’t expected to feature in many games, but has been thrust into action after injuries to key defenders Virgil van Dijk (£6.2m), Joe Gomez (£5.2m) and Joel Matip (£5.4m).

The Englishman has now made 11 Premier League appearances and alongside January loan signing Ozan Kabak (£5.0m), has kept back-to-back Premier League clean sheets. The duo have formed a decent centre-back partnership, and despite a challenging Champions League night earlier this week, it is worth remembering Real Madrid are an altogether different proposition to what they will face domestically during the run-in.

Crucially, the performances of Phillips have the added bonus of allowing Fabinho (£5.4m) to return to midfield. Jürgen Klopp’s side badly missed the Brazilian as a number six, and look a far better side with him sitting in front of the back four.

Up next for Liverpool is Aston Villa, who could be missing Jack Grealish (£7.5m) again this weekend. After that, the Reds take on Leeds and Newcastle, before closing the season with games against West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Phillips costs just £4.0m, and as one of the cheapest starting defenders in the game, could be a quality enabler for the remainder of the season.

James Maddison

  • FPL ownership: 5.0%
  • Price: £7.1m
  • GW31-35 fixtures: whu | WBA | CRY | sou | NEW

James Maddison (£7.1m) returned with an appearance off the bench against Manchester City in Gameweek 30, having missed six matches through injury.

The playmaker had been in exceptional form prior to being side-lined, producing five goals, three assists and 64 FPL points between Gameweeks 17 and 25.

Unsurprisingly, the attacking midfielder has been Leicester City’s main creative outlet this term. Amongst team-mates, he leads the way for final-third touches, successful crosses and chances created, plus expected assists (xA).

However, since late last year, Maddison’s goal threat is improving too, something he touched on in an interview in January: 

“Me, the gaffer and Jack, the analyst, sat down and looked at where I can get more goals. Playing a bit deeper, I was a No.8 today, and breaking into the box and getting beyond that last line and really, kind of, almost smelling where the ball is going to drop. It’s not an easy thing to do. Frank Lampard was the best at it, arriving late and scoring goals, and that’s what I did today.” – James Maddison

Now shooting closer to goal, in more central areas, he has found the back of the net 11 times this season, eight of which have come in the Premier League.

Personal motivation could be a key factor, too. If Maddison is to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championship this summer, he will need to play a starring role during the run-in. Encouragingly, the fixtures offer him an opportunity to do exactly that, as Brendan Rodgers’s side face West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Newcastle United between Gameweeks 32 and 35.

Whether fielded out wide, as a number 10 or deeper, Maddison has found a way to impact games, and could be a smart differential for those on the lookout for a new midfielder.

Rob Holding

  • FPL ownership: 3.4%
  • Price: £4.2m
  • GW31-35 fixtures: shu | FUL | EVE | new | WBA

Another budget defender you might want to consider is Rob Holding (£4.2m).

Following the news that David Luiz (£5.4m) will miss a number of weeks with a knee injury, we think the Englishman is likely to start alongside either Gabriel Magalhães (£4.9m) or Pablo Marí (£4.4m), who are both left-footed.

As the clubs only naturally right-sided centre-back, Holding is the obvious candidate to replace Luiz, and with a schedule that sees Arsenal take on Sheffield United, Fulham, Newcastle and West Brom in the next five Gameweeks, he can offer FPL managers real value.

This season, the 25-year-old has started 21 Premier League matches, and kept eight clean sheets during that time. He has arguably been Mikel Arteta’s best defender, and as a result, was rewarded with a new contract back in January.

Despite a poor showing against Liverpool last weekend, Arsenal do appear to be heading in the right direction. Since Boxing Day, when they beat Chelsea 3-1, they have played 16 Premier League games, winning eight, drawing four and losing four, so their form has generally been good. The arrival of Martin Ødegaard (£6.0m) has added another creative option, and their forthcoming schedule offers encouragement that they can kick on and finish the season strongly.

Holding is likely to keep his place at centre-back in the coming weeks, and at £4.2m, could be a good bargain option for your squad.

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1,194 Comments Post a Comment
  1. A-L
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Thanks for that Tom - I was worried about Holding being nailed but that does explain it

  2. trinzoo
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Who to play:
    A) White (EVE)
    B) Regulion (MUN)

    1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      White

    2. A-L
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      A probably the right answer but B has a higher ceiling

      1. trinzoo
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        Everton had so many chances vs CP, so wasteful though...

  3. ChickenTikkaMoSalah
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Shaw or Fofana on a WC?

    1. A-L
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Shaw - has generally done well against bigger opponents so can play any game, and I think more nailed

    2. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Shaw for me

      1. Gazwaz80
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 16 days ago

        Shaw is flagged...

        1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 16 days ago

          Seems like he should be ok this gw. Does not sound like a major injury so sounds like worst case he could be back next gw. Looking out a few gws, I'd rather Shaw than Fofana

    3. Super Saints
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Why is Shaw flagged!?

      1. Crunchie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        went off at halftime with a knock. "Should be fine" was Ole quote

      2. g40steve
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        Slight knock last game

  4. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Gtg on WC ?
    Mendy Forster
    Holding Shaw Coady Rudiger TAA
    Salah Jota Saka Bruno Sterling(c)
    Vydra Kane Nach

    nothing left itb

    1. A-L
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Looks good - assuming Sterling will become Son for next week

      1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        Correct. Will free up some funds for other upgrades if needed. Potentially Saka to Jesse

    2. Crunchie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      G2G who is your vice and what will you do with the sterling money in the future?

      1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        Salah is vice. Sterling money a bit undecided but there's definitely room to upgrade Saka and/or Vydra as I still have BB left.

  5. Reggie Nainggolan
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Who to buy

    A) Jota
    B) Lingard
    C) Other

    1. 9I6
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Jota

    2. A-L
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Both A and B. Probably prioritise B if you have Salah already, or A if not

      1. Reggie Nainggolan
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        Thanks got Salah so go Lingard this week

        Wish I had my wildcard now

  6. 9I6
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Best way to get TAA instead of Phillips in this WC team? I’m 1.5m off

    Mendy, Forster

    Dias, Shaw, Rudiger, Phillips, Mitchell

    Salah, Jota, Lingard, Son, Bruno

    Kane, Nacho, Fabio Silva

    Could do Lingard and F. Silva to Raphina and Davis but tbh I’d rather keep Phillips and make use of the 1.8m itb

    1. A-L
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      I'm going for Phillips instead of TAA but you could go Dias to Stones and Fabio Silva to Davis as bench fodder

      1. 9I6
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        I’d lose loads on Dias (bought at 5.6) - think I might just stick with Phillips, such good value. Anywhere you’d recommend spending the 1.8itb?

        1. A-L
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 16 days ago

          I've done much better after starting to ignore value held up - it's so restrictive. The 0.3 or so lost on selling Dias only matters if you are gonna get him back again, and there aren't many weeks left to do so. But Dias probably the better pick just for chance of starting.

          But with the 1.8 I think you can do Mitchell to Holding and F. Silva to Bamford (and just bench him a few weeks ready for a good run after that)

          1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 16 days ago

            This. Absolutely do not like the Mitchell and Silva picks

  7. Malkmus
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    GTG? Subs ok? Nacho ahead of Son maybe?

    Mendy
    Shaw - Dias - Nat
    Salah (C) - Son - Bruno - Jesse - Jota
    Kane - DCL

    Subs - Nacho, Rudiger, Veltman

    Ta!

  8. Plagued by indecision
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    This is proving to be a real headache - I think I prefer just having one or two transfers to play with...

    Mendy / Forster
    Rudiger / Phillips / Holding / Shaw / XXXXX
    Salah / Son / Jota / Lingard / Bruno
    Kane / Iheanacho / Davis

    I have 7.4 ITB for a big defender (Dias?), or a slight shift in thinking elsewhere (maybe get Azpilicueta). I've tried various combinations and just can't fit in TAA with the 5 mids I want. Any thoughts welcome.

    1. Crunchie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      TAA is 7.3 isn't he?

      I think TAA is a better pick than Shaw but he is good too, depending on the price of Shaw you could get a Leicester or Wolves defender instead?

      1. Plagued by indecision
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        yes, it's just with Phillips I'm maxed out on LIV options. I'm not sure I can part with Shaw...

        1. Crunchie
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 16 days ago

          Oh you have to drop Phillips, trouble is you have two fodder on the bench if you want to keep Shaw

    2. Honker Muddlefoot
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      My two best thoughts are either dropping Shaw for TAA, and using the remaining money to make Phillips and the 5th spot maybe a Wolves/Leicester and a West Ham defender, or if you aren’t planning on carrying all of those midfielders for the mid-long term, maybe you sacrifice one of them for TAA? Good luck, mate!

      1. Plagued by indecision
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        thanks! I've redrafted and I think I'm going to pull the trigger on this:

        Martinez / Button
        TAA / Shaw / Rudiger / Holding / Masuaku
        Lingard / Bruno / Son / Jota / Salah
        Davis / Iheanacho / Kane

  9. Igz08
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Saiss vs Coady

    1. Mesh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Coady more nailed

  10. Mesh
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Which 1 on WC.
    A. Shaw & Davis
    B. Fofana & Vydra

    1. Igz08
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Depends if you need them to play - Davis isn't likely to get mins

    2. The VAR Team
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 16 days ago

      B

      1. Crunchie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        A is you are never going to pay Vydra anyway

  11. Jimbo-Jones
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    £10.2 for 2 defenders....

    1. Alonso & Holding
    2. Rudiger & Coady

    Ederson
    TAA Dias Shaw xxx xxx
    Gundo Lingard Bruno Salah Jota
    Kane Iheanacho 4.2

    1. The VAR Team
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 16 days ago

      2

    2. Crunchie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      2 but one 1 is very punty

    3. Raheem S. Archer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      1 - Think you have enough coverage if Alonso doesn't play

  12. The VAR Team
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 16 days ago

    RP 🙂
    I'm 0.1 short on this WC team (got a FH for 33)

    Any suggestions on who you'd downgrade to who?

    Lloris Forster
    Trent James Rudiger Coady Holding
    Salah Bruno Son Jota Lingard
    Kane Nacho Vydra

    1. Jimbo-Jones
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Lloris to Mendy, James to Shaw. I don't really trust Spurs def even in a double, and you have no keeper for 33 currently.

      Vydra also likely to lose his place when Barnes is back - wait for Dyche presser.

      1. Crunchie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        If you want Lloris for the DGW i would downgrade Vydra to Davis. When are you going to play him?

        One fodder on the bench is fine with 8 games left and no City

    2. Azurri
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Lloris to Mendy and James to Shaw? (if fit)

  13. b91jh
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    One last puzzle in WC...

    A) Cresswell, Maddison, Wood
    B) Coufal, ESR, Vardy

    In A, Maddison starts at 32,33, Wood starts 31,33.
    In B, ESR perma bench

    The other attackers are identical to the WC template (except Son)

    1. The VAR Team
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 16 days ago

      A

  14. Tmel
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Who to transfer out for Jota?

    a) Trossard (EVE, che, shu)
    b) Raphina (mci, LIV, MUN)

    1. The VAR Team
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 16 days ago

      A

  15. The Red Devil
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Start Martinez or Sanchez?

  16. Van der Faart
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Could do with some thoughts on this. Does this need a WC?

    Martinez
    Dias Cresswell Alonso Digne
    Son KDB Saka Lingard
    Kane DCL

    Meslier Watkins Raph Dallas

    1FT, 0.6ITB

    At first glance I'm thinking yes, but then looking again I'm not so sure.

    1. Bojam
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      I reckon it's ok for this week tbh. If you can afford then I'd do KDB -> Salah. Or maybe Lingard -> Jota.

      1. Van der Faart
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        Yeah Salah looks a good option. Jota just out of reach for Lingard but not concerned about taking a hit either.

        1. Crunchie
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 16 days ago

          I think a WC is needed really

          1. Van der Faart
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 16 days ago

            Yeah that's what I'm feeling. Need to steer away from the template too to make up ground

  17. Patrick Bateman
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Those on WC, anyone bringing in Reguilon?

    Decent double game week coming up, easy switch to Shaw.

    1. Van der Faart
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Probably get him for next week.

  18. Jebiga
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Should I get KDB or Sterling this gw only ?

    1. Igz08
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Probably sterling. Kdb rotation risk isnt great

  19. kysersosa
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    WC Draft 2

    Thoughts - predominantly a 352

    Martinez
    TAA, Ruduger, Stones
    Salah, Maddison, Bruno, Mount, Gund
    Kane, Nacho

    Forster, Targett Coady

    0.5 ITB

    TIA

    1. Jebiga
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Stones don't like

  20. Assist me a river
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    A or B guys:

    A: Trent - Fofana - Holding - Rudiger - Veltman
    B: Dias - Rudiger - Phillips - Konsa - Castagne

    1. Crunchie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      A

  21. Igz08
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    RMWC

    Martinez Forster
    Taa Dias Rudi Perreira Saiss
    Mahrez Salah Jota Bruno Jlingz
    Kane Iheanacho Davis

    1.2 ITB to do Mahrez -> Son next week

    Anything stands out?

    1. Jebiga
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Why do you think Mahrez is the best choice ?
      I'm on KDB currently

      1. Igz08
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 16 days ago

        Too high rotation risk for 11+ million

  22. Raheem S. Archer
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Last decision (until the next)

    A) Alonso & Coady
    B) Rudiger & Castagne
    C) Castagne & Coady

    Rest of the defense: Mendy in goal, TAA, Holding, Shaw
    Thinking is that I have enough coverage there to cover for Alonso when he inevitably gets benched, but would much rather Leicester than Wolves for said cover (can't afford Fofana).

    Also have a BB to do at some point

    1. Raheem S. Archer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      I could also go Alonso and Fofana IF I drop Mendy to Leno?

  23. Gizzachance
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    best leic def for the next decent fixtures,currently on castagne, not seeing much leic def in w\c teams

  24. yanky
    • 11 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    thoughts? here’s my “take a hit after wc” plan which i think could pay off...

    Mendy
    TAA Rudiger Holding (Coady Veltman)
    Salah Jota Bruno Sterling(c) Saka
    Kane Iheanacho (Davis)

    plan is to do Sterling Saka > Son Maddison for -4 pt hit in dgw32
    Veltman not a strong option but is my gw33 cover since kane son davis will be benched

  25. krishgorwani
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    On WC

    X Forster
    Holding Taa Rudiger Amartey X
    Bruno Salah Son Lingard Jota
    Kane Illianacho Vydra

    A) Mendy , Coady
    B) Leno , R James

    Which combo ? Any suggestions ?

    1. Raheem S. Archer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      A

    2. cravencottage
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      B has more upside

    3. krishgorwani
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Thanks lads

  26. Jimjam
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Raphibha or Gundogan out for Jota?

    1. g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Raphinha look at next fixtures

  27. jimmyharte
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Sell A or B?

    A) Digne
    B) DCL

    I'd sell both if I could lol.

    1. Super Saints
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      There is no-one to sell B for

  28. Return of the FF
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Captaincy pick this week?

    A. Kane
    B. Jota
    C. Bruno
    D. Outside pick like Azpi, DCL, Lingard...

    1. g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      D Sterling

  29. Gazwaz80
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 16 days ago

    Shaw flagged....

    1. g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Ole mentioned he would be fine after game?

  30. Weasel Boy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 16 days ago

    On a WC

    Ditch Shaw?

    1. Gazwaz80
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 16 days ago

      Tough one 75% chance of playing...